Emma A. Reynolds

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Emma Ann Reynolds was the first African American woman admitted to the Medical College of Chicago at Northwestern University.

Reynolds was born in Frankfort in Ross County, Ohio in 1862. She eventually attended and graduated from Wilberforce University. Upon graduating, Reynolds moved to Chicago, Illinois, hoping to enter school to become a nurse. Chicago schools refused to admit Reynolds because of her race. In 1889, Reynolds and her brother, Louis H. Reynolds, a Chicago minister, sought the assistance of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams to receive training for Emma Reynolds. Williams proceeded to establish the Provident Hospital and Training School, an interracial hospital and nursing school.

Reynolds enrolled at Provident in 1891. She graduated in 1893, and she then entered the Medical College of Chicago at Northwestern University, becoming the first African American woman admitted to study at this institution. She graduated with her medical degree in 1895. In 1896, Reynolds moved to Waco, Texas, where she opened a medical practice. She lived in Waco until 1899, and the, she moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she continued to work as a doctor. In 1902, Reynolds returned to Frankfort, Ohio, practicing medicine until her death in 1917.

Reynolds symbolizes many of the obstacles that both women and African Americans faced during the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. Both groups faced opposition from sexist and racist white men that prevented women and African Americans from living in true equality with white men.

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