Eliza Anne Grier

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Dr. Eliza Ann Grier lived part of her life as a slave in Atlanta. She later found her freedom in medicine. In 1897, she became the first black woman licensed to practice medicine in Georgia. But the journey wasn’t easy.

After emancipation, Grier became a teacher and studied at Fisk University in Nashville. But she wanted to be a doctor. In 1890, Grier wrote to the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, asking the dean if there was any way for an emancipated slave to receive assistance to join the profession.

Grier was admitted to the medical college, but with a challenging condition. To pay the tuition, she was required to alternate each year of medical study with a year of picking cotton. It took her seven years to get her degree and she graduated in 1897.

The next year Grier returned to Atlanta where she set up her practice. She asked one thing of the city’s medical community - for an ‘an even chance’ in the profession.

But after just four years, Dr. Grier died and her medial practice closed.

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