Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn pols honor historic African-American doctor

November 14, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The poster announcing the ceremony to name the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Prospect Place after Dr. Susan Maria Smith McKinney-Steward included a history of her life. Image courtesy of state Sen. Jesse Hamilton

Crown Heights street corner named after Dr. Susan Maria Smith McKinney-Steward

Several elected officials, including Borough President Eric Adams, state Senators Velmanette Montgomery and Jesse Hamilton, and Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr., were listed as the hosts of a celebration that took place this weekend of the life of Dr. Susan Maria Smith McKinney-Steward, the country’s first female African-American doctor.

On Nov. 10, a street corner in Crown Heights was re-named in her honor.

This year marks the centennial of her death.

The city officially renamed the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Prospect Place in McKinney-Stewart’s honor. The ceremony, which took place at the intersection, was followed by another ceremony in the auditorium of P.S. 138, located nearby, at 760 Prospect Place.   

McKinney-Steward, who was born in 1846, went on to graduate as valedictorian from medical school in 1870. She became the first black female doctor in New York State and the third in the U.S.

Her career helped pave the way for female professionals in the U.S.

McKinney-Steward’s medical career focused on prenatal care and childhood diseases. She practiced medicine for nearly 50 years and was the co-founder of the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary. She also practiced medicine at the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People and sat on the home’s board of directors.

She died in 1918. The legendary W.E.B. Du Bois delivered the eulogy at her funeral.


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