The New York Times reports that Columbia alum Dr. Margaret Lawrence died on 4 December 2019. Though not defined by the discrimination she faced, the obituary notes that despite being a Cornell pre-med graduate, she was denied entrance to the Cornell’s medical school.
Dr. Lawrence, “absorbed the shock, then applied to Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. She was accepted, on the condition that she would not protest if white patients refused to be seen by her. (None did.) She agreed, and became the only black student in her class of 104, graduating in 1940.
She would still face discrimination, often being mistaken for a cleaning lady. But she went on to be a renowned pediatrician and child psychiatrist and the first African-American woman to become a psychoanalyst in the United States…”
In this 1991 oral history clip, Dr. Lawrence discusses how racist discrimination amongst psychoanalytic practitioners failed to recognize that black children and families had “sufficient ego strength” to use and benefit from psychoanalytic tools.