Dr. James Durham
Dr. James Durham is often noted as the first African American physician in the United States.
Starting life enslaved, Durham's firs three enslaver's were physicians which is how he received his medical training.
His second enslaver, John A. Kearsley, Jr, made Durham his apprentice. Apprenticeships were a common way of learning medicine in the 1700's as there were very few medical schools.
Benjamin Rush, one of the founding fathers, met and wrote about Durham to push forward the idea to abolish slavery.
Dr. Rush thought so highly of Durham, that he asked permission to read Durham’s paper on diphtheria before a session of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Philadelphia. It's likely this was the first time a scholarly paper by a Black man had been read in this environment.
Durham continued to practice in New Orleans until 1801 when they insisted people needed M.D degrees to practice medicine. Image source