James McCune Smith

American physician and abolitionist (1813-1865)

James McCune Smith (April 18, 1813 – November 17, 1865) was an American physician, apothecary, abolitionist, and author who was born into slavery in New York and later became the first African American to graduate from the University of Glasgow in Scotland with a medical degree. After his return to the United States, he became the first African American to run a pharmacy in the nation.

James McCune Smith


  • Here, Sir, you behold hundreds of poor children of Africa sharing with those of a lighter hue in the blessings of education; and, while it will be our great pleasure to remember the great deeds you have done for America, it will be our delight also to cherish the memory of General Lafayette as a friend to African emancipation and as a member of this institution.
    • Oratory of student James McCune Smith, age 11, to the Marquis de Lafayette on the occasion of Lafayette's visit to Smith's African Free School No. 2 in New York City on September 10, 1824; from the collections of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, New York, New York

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