For Black History Month I am choosing to highlight the accomplishments of rural born legends or accomplished men from the state of Louisiana. A few stayed in the state to serve while others left and accomplished great things. Keep in mind, rural young boys and men need role models that resemble them too. – Dr. Grady
Born the son of a sharecropper, Rivers Frederick spent the first twenty-six years of his life on the Drouillard Plantation in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana. As one of twelve children born to George Frederick and Armantine Dalcourt, Rivers came into the world on May 22, 1874. In 1890, he left the plantation and headed to New Orleans to attend Straight University, from which he graduated four years later. His goal in life was to become a physician, so Rivers enrolled in the Medical College of New Orleans University but left after two years in 1896 for Chicago to enroll at the College of Physicians and Surgeons (now the University of Chicago at Chicago Medical School). If he had stayed in New Orleans, he would not have been able to study in any of the city’s hospitals since black medical students were not permitted to do so.
While in Chicago, Rivers Frederick never received scholarships that were available to other students, but financed his entire education with assistance from family members and by tutoring other medical students on campus. In 1897, he not only received his M.D. but also became the first African-American to graduate from this institution.
[Read more about Dr. Frederick HERE.]