Rebecca Lee Crumpler

She changed the face of medicine

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

It was being raised by a kind aunt who spent much of her time caring for sick neighbors and her desire to relieve the suffering of others which led Rebecca Lee Crumpler down the a career path that would earn her the distinction of being the first African American woman physician in the United States.   In doing so, she rose to and overcame the challenge which prevented African Americans from pursuing careers in medicine.

Rebecca, a bright girl, attended the West-Newton English and Classical School in Massachusetts, a prestigious private school as a “special student”.  In 1852 she moved to Charleston, Massachusetts where she worked as a nurse.  In 1860, she took a leap of faith and applied to medical school and was accepted into the New England Female Medical College.

The college was founded by Drs. Israel Tisdale Talbot and Samuel Gregory in 1848 and in 1852,  accepted its first class of women, 12 in number.  However, Rebecca proved that their assertions were false when, in 1864, she earned the distinction being the first African American woman to earn an M.D. degree and  the college’s only African American graduate.  The college closed in 1873.

In 1864, a year after her first husband, Wyatt Lee died, Rebecca married her second husband, Arthur Crumpler.   She began a medical practice in Boston.   In 1865, after the Civil War ended, the couple moved to Richmond, Virginia, where she found “the proper field for real missionary work, and one that would present ample opportunities to become acquainted with the diseases of women and children.”  She joined other black physicians caring for freed slaves who would otherwise would not have access to medical care.  She worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau, missionary and community groups in the face of intense racism which many black physicians experienced while working in the postwar South.

Racism, rude behavior and sexism didn’t diminish Rebecca’s zeal and valiant efforts to treat a “very large number of the indigent and others of different classes in a population of over 30,000 colored”.  She declared that “at the close of my services in that city, I returned to my former home, Boston where I entered into the work with renewed vigor, practicing outside, and receiving children in the house for treatment, regardless, in measure, of remuneration.”

The couple lived in a predominantly African American neighborhood in Beacon Hill where she practiced medicine.  In 1880, she and her husband moved to Hyde Park.  It was believed that at that time she was no longer in active practice but she did write a “A Book of Medical Discourses in Two Parts”,  the first medical publication by an African American.  The book consisted of two parts.  The first part focused on “treating the cause, prevention, and cure of infantile bowel complaints, from birth to the close of the teething period, or after the fifth year.” The second section contained “miscellaneous information concerning the life and growth of beings; the beginning of womanhood; also, the cause, prevention, and cure of many of the most distressing complaints of women, and youth of both sexes.”

Rebecca Lee Crumpler died in Hyde Park on March 9, 1895.  Notes to Women wishes to celebrate this brave woman who had the tenacity to pursue a career in medicine, proving that women can change the face of a field which many wanted to bar her from because of color and gender.  Her passion to help alleviate the suffering of others was what led her to take this path.  Her courage and perseverance in the face of racism, sexism paved the way for many, not only African Americans and women but for those who like her, will seek every opportunity to relieve the sufferings of others.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler’s story is a reminder to all of us that we should never let anything or anyone prevent us from pursuing our dreams.

Selfish prudence is too often allowed to come between duty and human life – Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Sources:  Changing the Face of Medicine; PBS

Jesse/Imagination #writephoto

art

Photo by Sue Vincent

Every time I walk past the mural on the street where I used to live, I stop and stare at it.  Memories of my friend, Jesse flood my mind.  He was a phenomenal artist.  I honestly think he was born to be one.  It was his passion.  It was what made him a beacon of hope for us.  He rose above his circumstances.  He created beauty in a place where violence, drugs, alcohol and crime were prevalent.  He was a light in a very dark place.  He made other kids and me want to be somebody–to pursue our dreams.

Jesse is gone.  He was taken too soon.  It wasn’t a bullet that got him or some random act of violence or drugs–he never touched the stuff.  It was HIV.  He got it from his girlfriend who got it from a guy she cheated on Jesse with.  She’s still alive but it’s only a matter of time before she dies too.  The guy she got it from died a couple of years ago.  She said that if she had known that he had it, she wouldn’t have slept with him.  Her mistake killed her and my friend, Jesse.  I have long since forgiven her for what she had done.  Hating her wouldn’t bring Jesse back.

This time, I brought a rose with me which I now place on the ground in front of the mural.  It’s for Jesse.  It’s a token of my love of a friend whose light has gone out of the world but it still illuminates my heart.

Our minds are like canvases and our imaginations are the brushstrokes.

This is a response to the #writephoto Prompt – Imagination at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

MADS

dales-waterfall

He lost his balance and fell over, arms flailing helplessly while others watched in horror.  He landed on the rocks.  Death was instant.  That was a year ago.  The memories and troubled dreams made it feel like it happened yesterday.  She stood in the packed auditorium, watching the young faces, some of them familiar.

Taking a deep breath, she said, “My name is Catherine Stuart.  I’m the Founder and Director of MADS.  Mothers Against Dangerous Selfies.  I’m here to talk to you about the dangers of selfies.  My 15 year old son died taking a selfie at a waterfall.”

99 Words

This story is based on real stories of people who have died taking dangerous selfies.

This was written for the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  For more details, visit Here. To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.

 

Danny

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

I stood before the shed where they found my friend, Danny.

We used to hang out every day, daydreaming about how we were going to change the world.  He wanted to be a lawyer for the poor and disadvantaged while I dreamed of being a social worker.

Danny was more than a friend to me.  He was the older brother I wish I had.  I am the youngest of three girls.  My sisters didn’t have much time for me.  They were too busy with their friends and social engagements but, I didn’t mind because I had Danny.

He and I were thick as thieves.  We were inseparable.  That’s why his sudden change in behavior was a shock for me.  The sweet, easygoing guy I loved so dearly had become a stranger to me.  He had mood swings, was hyperactive and seemed to have trouble concentrating or staying on topic.  He became withdrawn and spent most of his time in this shed.  I learned later, that he was taking Crystal Meth.  It claimed his life and his dreams.

This morning, I wanted to stop by on my way to the Centre where I run a Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment Program.

199 Words.

This story was inspired by a program I watched last night on CNN about a mothers addicted to Crystal Meth.  The story that really touched me was that of a young man whose mother was taking it.  On the wall of their home hung framed photos of him as a boy and as a promising football player.  All those dreams of a bright future were dashed when he became addicted to Meth and if convicted of selling it, he faces life imprisonment.  What a waste of a young life.

This was written for Sunday Photo Fiction hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details, visit Here.  To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.

Source:  Serenity Acres

The Attic #writephoto

remains-3

She was in the attic, lit candles in her hand.  While the others were in the drawing room, she had slipped out and come up here, curiosity stronger than caution and common sense.  Philip had shown her every part of the manor, except the attic.  Why?  Was there something up there that he didn’t want her to see or know about about?  It had been where his older brother, Raymond slept.  Raymond.  She shuddered when she thought about him.  She had never met him but had heard stories about him that made her blood run cold.

Apparently Raymond had brutally murdered his wife, Estelle before he vanished.  Some people believed that he was dead while others believed that he was locked away in an asylum.  She preferred to think of him as dead.  Poor Philip to have had such a brother.  No wonder the subject was so painful for him.

She hated attics.  They were always so cold and dark.  She wished they didn’t exist.  She could find no purpose for them.  This one, though was different.  It was once used as a bedroom and study.  There was a three panel window, flanked by paintings on the walls and in front of it stood a desk and a chair.  On the left was a cot and on the right was a large chest.  She looked at the chest, wondering what was in it.

Curious, she took a step toward it and as she moved, something caught her eye.  She shone the light on it.  It looked like a feature.  She stooped down and picked it up to examine it closely.  It was a feature from a lady’s hat.  Whatever could it be doing here?  Did it belong to Raymond’s wife?  She slipped it into the pocket of her skirt and stood up.  She continued toward the chest when she froze.

She could feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand up and she jumped to her feet.  Someone was in the attic.  She could sense it.  The hand holding the candles began to shake.  Heart thudding, she stood there, terrified to look around from whence came the unmistakable sound of footsteps…

“Constance?”  It was Philip.

Almost weak with relief, she swung around to face him as he strode over to her, holding a lamp.  “Oh, Philip,” she cried.  “It’s you I heard.  I thought someone else was in here with me.”

He studied her.  “You look pale,” he remarked.  “Are you all right?”

She nodded.  “Yes, yes.  I’m quite all right, now that you are here.”

“What were you doing in here?” he asked.

“I’m sorry, Philip.  I was simply curious.”

He reached out and touched her cheek.  “I am to blame.  I should have brought you here when I gave you the tour of the house and then you would not have had to come here alone and be scared out of your wits.  Do you forgive me?”

She smiled.  “There is nothing to forgive, Philip. Beside, I don’t like attics.  I find them to be very unpleasant.”

“So, I have no reason to believe that you will come up here again.”

“You have my word that I shall never set foot in this attic again.”

He smiled.  “Very well then.  Your parents were inquiring after you.  Why don’t you go downstairs and join them?  I shall be there shortly.”

“Very well, Philip.”  She turned and quickly left the room, thankful to be out of there.

As soon as she was gone, Philip closed the door and turned as a tall figure stepped out of the shadows.  Holding up the lamp, he stared into the face that was very much like his own.  “What were you going to do if I hadn’t come in when I did?” he demanded.

“I was going to warn her about you.”

“It is a good thing for both her and you that you didn’t.”

“Raymond, you can’t get away with this.”

A frightening expression came over his brother’s face which made him recoil.  There was a maniacal look in his dark eyes.  “But, I have, my dear Philip.  Everyone thinks I’m you, including your precious Constance and as long as they do, no harm will come to her.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have guests.  Goodnight, Philip.  Sweet dreams.”  He turned and walked out of the room.  This time, he made sure to lock the door after him.

Philip sank to the floor and buried his white face in his shaking hands.  Please, God, don’t let him get away with it any longer.  Expose him for the fiend that he is and save my precious Constance.

Hours later when Constance and her parents got home, she remembered the feather she had found.  She took it out and showed it to them.  Her father, Chief Inspector with Scotland Yard, examined it closely.  “Where did you find it?” he inquired.

“I found it laying on the floor in the attic.  It looks like it belonged to a lady’s hat.”

“It looks very much like Estelle’s hat.  I was with her when she bought it.  She was very pleased with it.”

“You’re right, my Dear.  She was wearing it on the night she was found dead in her husband’s study.”

Constance frowned.  “If she was found dead in the study in the home she shared with her husband, Raymond, how do you account for this feather showing up in the Whitmore’s attic?”

Her father scratched his head.  “That, my Dear, is something we will have to look into.  In the meantime, don’t mention the feather to anyone, not even to Philip.”

“Very well, Father.  Goodnight.”  She kissed him on the cheek.  “Goodnight, Mother.”

“Goodnight, Dear.”  After she left, Mrs. Bennett turned to her husband who was studying the feather, his brow deeply furrowed.  “Don’t be stay up too long, Charles” she advised.  “Even Scotland Yard’s finest needs his rest.”

He absently nodded and she left him, her dress rustling as she moved.  The house was quiet.  Only the sound of the grandfather clock ticking was heard.  He went into his study and closed the door.  He sat down at the desk and turning on the lamp, he stared at the feather.  What was it doing in the Whitmore attic?  Why wasn’t it found on the same premises where the murder took place?

Was it possible that Estelle was murdered at the Whitmore residence and then taken to her home to implicate her husband?  But why?  Who would want to implicate Raymond in his wife’s murder?  It couldn’t have been his brother, Philip.  Philip was in the West Indies at the time of the murder.  And the murder weapon had been found in the pond, wiped clean.  It was the silver letter opener which Raymond had given Estelle as a wedding present.  From the very beginning this case had baffled the Chief Inspector and now here was a clue which could very well turn out to be a red herring or a break in the case.  Only time would tell which one it was.

This is in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday’s photo prompt: Remains.  For more details, click here.

Sought After Again

She was once a famous actress.

Sought by everyone.  Accolades

of awards adorned her lavish

home.  Photos of her with other

A list stars lined the walls.   She

was voted People’s Most Beautiful

and graced the covers of TIME

Magazine as person of the year.

 

And it seemed almost overnight…

the roles became few and far in

between and smaller.  She had

heard of Hollywood’s problem

with women over 40 but she

never imagined it would happen to

her.  She believed that they would

always want someone with her talent

and looks.  Writers and producers no

longer saw her as appealing because

she was pushing fifty.

 

Ageism had become her enemy.

The roles she wanted were going

to younger actresses and there

was nothing she could do about

it, except speak about it every

opportunity she got.  Acting was

in her blood.  She loved it and

the thought of retiring terrified

her.  She found herself settling

for roles she would never have

considered in the past.  But,

desperate times called for

desperate measures.

 

Yet, there was a glimmer of hope.

She saw it when she saw Octavia

Spencer catapult to fame at the age

of 41 in The Help and 50 year old

Melissa Leo win an Oscar.  Perhaps

one day, she would again become a

sought after star.  Perhaps she would

have her Hollywood ending.

 

Source:  Huff Post

 

 

The Flat Tire

Broken dreams.  Broken promises.

Disappointments.  Heartache.

Death.  Violence.  Lost friends.

Struggles.  Racism.  Broken

families.  Dead-end relationships.

Two different worlds.  Two different

people.  One day their worlds collided.

 

A flat tire in the middle of nowhere.

Frantic, she tried to figure out what

to do.  Had never changed a tire in

her life.  She called for her brother

but there was no answer.  Her father

was out of town.  Her uncle’s phone

was busy.  What was she going to do now?

 

Then, a sleek silver grey Cherokee jeep

slowed down and then stopped.  A

very attractive man dressed in a grey

pinstriped suit stepped out.  He walked

over to her and asked what the problem

was.  After she told him, He removed his

jacket, and placed it on the hood of her

car.

 

Grateful, she watched as he got

down beside the car and fixed the tire.

When he stood, up she thanked him

profusely.  He smiled an incredible

smile and assured her that it was no

problem.

 

“What’s your name?” she asked.

 

“Trevor.”

 

“I’m Kelly.  Thanks again Trevor.”

 

“You’re welcome, Kelly.  Have a good

evening.”

 

“Thanks, you too.”  She watched him

as he took up his jacket and stepped

back so that she could get into her

car.  He waited until she drove off

before he walked back to his jeep.

As she sped away, she hoped that she

would see him again.

 

An she did and it was quite unexpected.

She decided that it was time to join a

gym and signed up to go three times a

week.  After work, she drove there and

after she changed, she went to the area

where the exercise equipment.  And that’s

where she saw him.  At first, she just stood

there staring at him as he sat on the bench

lifting a weight.  He was wearing a black

vest and navy blue shorts.  It was him.

 

Heart racing, she went over to him.  It

had been three weeks since they last

saw each other.  She wasn’t sure that he

would remember her.  Well, there was

only one way to find out.  As she

approached him, he glanced up and

a smile tugged at his lips.  “Hello, Kelly,”

he said, getting up from the bench.

 

“Hello, Trevor,” she said, looking up at

him.  He had to be over six feet tall.

“I wasn’t sure that you would remember

me.”

 

“I never forget a beautiful woman,” he

remarked, making her blush.  “I’ve

never seen you here before.”

 

“I just joined.  Have you been a member

here long?”

 

“For about five years.”

 

“What a stroke of luck that I should find

you here.”

 

“Perhaps luck had nothing to do with

it.  I believe in Providence.  So, what

kind of workout are you going to do?

 

“I think I’ll start off with the leg press

over there, then the lat pull down and

finish with the chest press.”

 

“Well, I’ll be over here if you need any

help.”

 

She smiled, said, “Thanks” and walked

away.  As she worked out, she watched

him doing the weights, thinking how

nice and fit he looked.  A couple of times

he looked over at her and smiled.  After

he was done lifting weights, he got up

and went on the machine curl.

 

After they were finished working out, he

invited her to grab a bite to eat with him.

She readily accepted and hurried off to

shower and get changed.  He was waiting

in the reception area for her.  They walked

to a nearby bistro.  It was a pleasant evening.

Over delicious vegetarian dishes, they chatted.

 

Then, he raised his glass and said, “Here’s to

life sometimes taking us where we never

expected to be.”  She raised her glass, realizing

that he was speaking retrospectively and not

just about the present.

 

As she touched her glass to his, she silently thanked

God for the flat tire.  If it weren’t for that little in-

convenience, she wouldn’t have met Trevor.

 

That evening was the beginning of a relationship

which ended in marriage.  Two lives collided one

evening on the side of a rural road.  They were

two people destined to meet and the seemingly

chance meeting happened precisely at the right moment.

 

 

Sources: Greatest; Elite Men’s Guide; Quote Fancy

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