I think this is sort of a secret but you know what? After Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop comes out in September, it will be followed by a third volume in the Smashie McPerter series, which I am writing As We Speak. I really am! The document is open and everything! No Candy Crush in sight! And writing that book today inspired me to write this post as well, which is about, well, inspiration. In the form of heroes.
In this third book (SPOILER! But wicked minor! And who knows how I will revise it because I am only on the first draft, you all, and that means you got to give me wiggle room), the kids in Room 11 have a conversation with their teacher, Ms. Early, about people they look up to. Dontel Marquise, Smashie’s best friend, has always held astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson as his idol. But Ms. Early shares one of mine—the woman I named the school Smashie goes to after, even. And that woman is Rebecca Lee Crumpler.
Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first black woman to graduate from medical school in the United States. And she did this in 1864. In 1883, she wrote a book about medicine and her experiences as a doctor called A Book of Medical Discourses, in which she says:
“It may be well to state here that, having been reared by a kind aunt in Pennsylvania, whose usefulness with the sick was continually sought, I early conceived a liking for, and sought every opportunity to relieve the sufferings of others. Later in life I devoted my time, when best I could, to nursing as a business, serving under different doctors for a period of eight years (from 1852 to 1860); most of the time at my adopted home in Charlestown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. From these doctors I received letters commending me to the faculty of the New England Female Medical College, whence, four years afterward, I received the degree of doctress of medicine.”
A doctress of medicine. Think of that. And she was not only a doctress of medicine–she was the first African-American woman to become a physician in the United States. This passage gives me the shivers. When I read it, I feel the deep intuition she must have had, the compassion, the vital intellect, the everything. She was not treated well as a doctor but that did not stop her. She deserves at least to have a school named after her.
I’m also including a link to a picture of these stupendous women who are also my heroes because they are incredible thinkers and doers and it is Black History month and people are paying attention to them which they deserve because they are ASTRONAUTS, you all. They are living my dream. I was not kidding in my last post when I said I always wanted to be an astronaut. I took astronomy in college and everything. I loved every single lecture and hated every single test because it turns out I am a terrific listener to and appreciator of astronomy and a terrible doer of it. It was very sad to find this out—and I really tried my hardest—but it’s okay because I gave my dream to Dontel and he will achieve it. That young man is full of physics smarts.
How about you? Who do you look up to that gives you the shivers? Links and commentary are extremely welcome in the comments below!
p.s. I guess Dutch bakers are partial heroes to me, too, because they invented the cookie as we know it, but everyone else in this post trumps that by a mile. By a parsec, even. And that is saying a lot, because you all know I am a fool for a cookie.