Dr. Robert Fulton Boyd, a Nashville dentist and physician, faced daunting odds yet still became a pioneer in the field of medicine.
Not only was Dr. Boyd the first African-American dentist and doctor to open a practice in the Tennessee town, he was also a co-founder and first president of the National Medical Association, the leading Black health organization representing physicians and health workers nationwide.
Boyd was born a slave on July 8, 1855 in rural Pulaski, eventually living on the plantation of prominent Tennessee doctor Paul Eve. Boyd dreamed of becoming a physician despite his educational limitations, so he attended Fisk University at night when he became of age. Boyd did so well at Fisk, he was able to begin teaching in local schools.
The medical department of Central Tennessee College recognized Boyd’s efforts at Fisk, and he entered the institution in 1880. Two years later, Boyd graduated with…
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