Why It Matters
Eliza Grier became a physician at a time when women physicians were relatively rare, and black women physicians were rarer still. Black women seeking admission to medical schools and licensure to practice medicine faced double discrimination: gender and race. Additionally, the funds to obtain a medical education were often out of reach for these women. Grier worked her way through Fisk University, and in an 1890 letter to the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP), she expressed her desire to be a physician and her fear that she would not be able to afford medical school. She eventually did attend Woman’s Med with some financial assistance and graduated in “respectable standing,” but as Clara Marshall notes in this letter to Bishop Whitaker, Grier may have been capable of much more had she not had to constantly worry about money -- an issue that college students still face today.