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*Charles Crutchfield was born on this date in 1939. He is a Black Obstetrician and Gynecologist.
From Jasper, Alabama Charles Edward Crutchfield is one of 6 children of Charles and Cessie Crutchfield. His siblings are Doris Jean, Albert, Dessie Lee, Napoleon, Josephine. He attended Walker County Technical High School. In 1955 young Crutchfield moved to Minneapolis to live with his grandmother and aunt. One year later he graduated with honors from North High School.
In 1959, Crutchfield received his B.S. and B.A. degrees from the University of Minnesota. While in med school, he also worked 28 hours a week. He had no scholarships. A teacher encouraged him to get a loan so that he could spend more time studying and improve his grades. “I took out a $17,000 loan, and that’s what I came out of school owing, $17,000 in 1962.” In 1963, he received his M. D. degree from Minnesota while being the youngest and only Black student in his class. Crutchfield was an intern of the year at Anecker Hospital while he became a specialist in OB/GYN through the University of Minnesota.
From 1964 to 1967 he did his residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. “I applied in my third year of pre-med and they accepted me. So, I was able to get into medical school when I was 19 years old and graduated at 23 as the youngest male in the class.” When applying for residency, the doctor leading the program asked him, “If I accept you in my residency program to be an obstetrician and gynecologist here at the University of Minnesota, are you going to be a Negro doctor for Negro patients?” Crutchfield answered. “If you accept me into your residency program… I will be a Negro doctor who treats all patients.”
He got the residency, he says, because of hard work: “If you are Black, even now, you have to be better than anybody else. You have to do your job better, and I knew that from down in Alabama, and I kept that ethic.” After that Crutchfield served in the Air Force and was honorably discharged as a Captain and received an Outstanding Military Physicians award. After a couple of years in the Air Force, Dr. Joseph Goldsmith asked Crutchfield to join his practice. Within two years, he was as busy.
Goldsmith left for Florida after two years, leaving Crutchfield the practice. He joined Goldsmith in ‘69,” and worked there through 2008. He has performed over 6,000 surgeries without ever losing a patient. And he has delivered over 9,000 babies, losing only three. “I’m not a ‘praise the Lord’ person, but I have had the Lord guide my hands.” Dr. Crutchfield was the first Black OB/GYN to open practice in Minnesota. “I try to give back now. I volunteered…at Open Cities…for over seven years, came back this time and volunteered two years. I’m just trying to give back to my people.”