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On this date in 1864, Georgia E. Patton Washington was born. She was a Black licensed as a physician and surgeon in the state of Tennessee, and one of the first Black medical missionaries in Africa.
Patton was born a slave in Grundy County, Tennessee but was freed after the conclusion of the American Civil War. She attended Nashville's Central Tennessee College for four years and then enrolled in Meharry Medical School in Nashville from which she graduated in 1893 as a medical doctor and the first woman to receive a degree from that school. In 1893, after graduation, she sailed to Liberia as a missionary and paid for the passage herself because her church couldn't afford the expense.
She practiced medicine in Liberia for about two years until her health suffered and she had to return to the United States. After her return, she opened a medical practice in Memphis, Tennessee, and married David Washington, one of the most highly respected local letter carriers. The couple had one child who died. Georgia Washington died November 8, 1900, at the age of thirty-six.
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York