A Rich and Complex Legacy

“The time is at hand, when every Christian country will demand that its highest and best educational appliances, organized in its universities, be made available to all comers, without respect to creed or race or sex…”
—Boston University President William Fairfield Warren and Deans’ Second Annual Report (1874/75)

In 1864, five years before Boston University’s official charter, the institution’s rich and complex black legacy began when Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African American woman to earn an MD, graduated from the New England Female Medical College. (The College would, just a few years later, become a major founding component of BU’s School of Medicine.)

In the 147 years since Crumpler’s achievement, many black luminaries have passed through BU’s halls, setting standards for higher-education communities worldwide. From America’s first black psychiatrist, Solomon Carter Fuller (MED’1897), to civil rights icon and Nobel Peace Prize awardee Martin Luther King, Jr., the legacy of BU’s black alumni is a story of thought leaders, world changers, and tastemakers.