1864: Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first black woman to receive an M.D. degree. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was born in 1833. She worked from 1852-1860 as a nurse in Massachusetts. Her publication of A Book of Medical Discourses in 1883 was one of the first by an African American about medicine. When she graduated in 1864, Crumpler was the first African American woman in the United States to earn an M.D. degree, and the only African American woman to graduate from the New England Female Medical College, which merged with Boston University in 1873.