James McCune Smith (April 18, 1813 – November 17, 1865) James McCune Smith was the first African American to earn a medical degree and practice medicine in the United States. He was also the first to own and operate a pharmacy, in New York City. Smith was born on April 18, 1813 in New York City to parents who were former slaves. New York’s Emancipation Act freed his father and his mother worked her way out of bondage. Smith began his education at the African Free School in New York City, but soon found he could go no further in U.S. education due to racial discrimination. Source: PBS
Ella Nora Phillips Stewart (1893 – 1987) Ella Stewart was born in Stringtown, West Virginia. She attended high school at the age of twelve at the Storer College – the only school in the region that accepted black students. Rather than continue her training and education as a teacher, she chose to marry Charles Myers and begin a family. She had one child, a daughter, who unfortunately died at a young age from whooping cough. Advised by friends to turn her attention to new concerns, Stewart began working as a bookkeeper at a local pharmacy, where she developed an interest in becoming a pharmacist herself. Stewart wished to attend the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy but was met with discrimination when she was told admissions were closed. She persisted however, and although segregated from other students, she graduated with high marks passing her state exam in 1916, to become the first licensed African-American female pharmacist in Pennsylvania and one of the earliest practicing African-American female pharmacists in the country. Source: Bowling Green State University, Center for Archival Collections
Read more about Ella Stewart at: http://www2.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/cac/ms/page44338.html.