Black Ancestors : Susan McKinney Steward

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    The Neighborhood Files
    Today's History Maker: Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward

    The first African-American woman to become a doctor in New York State
    By C. Zawadi Morris | Email the author | February 23, 2011

    Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward was the first African-American woman to become a doctor in New York State, and the third in the United States.

    McKinney-Steward was born in 1846 to Sylvanus and Anne Smith on what was then the Weeksville farm, an area at the corners of Fulton Street and Buffalo Avenue.

    Weeksville was an early settlement of freed slaves in what is now Bedford-Stuyvesant. It was founded in 1838, 11 years after the abolition of slavery in New York State, and named after James Weeks, an African-American settler from Virginia who purchased the land from the Lefferts family estate.

    Born Susan Maria Smith, McKinney-Steward’s father was black, and her mother was of mixed heritage, the daughter of a French officer and a Shinnecock woman. McKinney-Steward graduated from the New York Medical College for Women as valedictorian in 1870.

    McKinney-Steward would go on to have a distinguished career. She treated both blacks and whites at her practice in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and she helped found the Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary in Clinton Hill in 1881.......

    ......http://bed-stuy.patch.com/articles/todays-historymaker-dr-susan-smith-mckinney-steward#c
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    FULL NAME: Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward

    DATE OF BIRTH: March 1847


    ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

    In an era when ladies either stayed at home as wives and mothers, or became teachers, Susan flaunted gender and racial stereotypes -- and the prevailing opinion that medicine was the domain of men -- to become the first African-American female doctor in New York, and the third in the nation. (Her two predecessors were Rebecca Lee, who graduated from the New England Female Medical College in 1864, and Rebecca J. Cole, who graduated from the Woman's Medical College in Philadelphia in 1867.) At that time, men openly taunted women who attempted to become doctors and the general public considered female physicians 'unsexed.'

    Why did Susan choose this path? Probably her shock at the untimely deaths of two brothers during the Civil War and the New York cholera epidemic of 1866. Susan nursed a sick neice during this epidemic that killed over 1,100 people. The experience must have stirred her compassion and her resolve to help people. She must have also had a great deal of pride and determination to strive beyond the expected limitations of black women at that time.

    The New York Medical College for Women opened in November 1863, founded by Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier, a wealthy abolitionist. Susan became a close friend of Clemence, who also was Susan's mentor, and remained so until Clarence's death in 1888. This was a homeopathic medical school; homeopathy is a type of treatment that contains some of the same germs that makes a person ill.

    Susan was selected by fellow students and faculty to be the 1870 class valedictorian. She earned this honor by studying at all hours, especially when her classmates slept. She also refused to let the taunting of male medical students during shared clinic hours at Bellevue Hospital deter her. Despite her achievement, New York newspapers did not print her valedictory. The one paper that did mention it, the Courier, only wrote about her hair and clothing -- expressing hope that her "modest attire" was a "good sign of the improvement of the African race."

    After graduation, Susan established her medical practice in her Brooklyn home. It was slow to start, but soon word spread about her skill. Her patients grew more diverse: young and old, Black and white, poor and rich. Her patients affectionately called her "Dr. Susan." Her modesty, strong will and compassion became widely known. She later opened an office in Manhattan.....


    .....On March 7, 1918, at the age of 71, Susan passed away. At her funeral, W.E.B. DuBois delivered the eulogy, and she was buried in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery with a monument to her achievements. Her grandson, William S. McKinney, Jr., persistently prompted the New York City Board of Education to rename a Brooklyn school the Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Junior High School in 1975. Later, the Susan Smith McKinney Steward Medical Society was founded by African-American women doctors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.


    http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/stew-sus.htm
     
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