Celebration of James McCune Smith’s 209th birthday (April 18, 1813 – November 17, 1865)
In celebration of James McCune Smith’s 209th birthday (April 18, 1813 – November 17, 1865), the Beniba Centre has created a short film about his matriculation at UoG and his medical activism that exposed and condemned the Scottish medical community’s exploitation of impoverished and disenfranchised Glaswegian women in the 1840s.
James McCune Smith was born into slavery in 1813, however was freed by New York State's Emancipation Act on July 4, 1827.
Recognised as being intellectually gifted, McCune Smith attended the African Free School in Manhattan where his academic achievements led him to apply to several American universities.
After being denied entry to all due to his race, McCune Smith applied for – and was accepted by – the University of Glasgow’s medical school.
McCune Smith went on to gain three qualifications from the University of Glasgow - a bachelor's degree in 1835, a master’s degree in 1836, and his medical doctorate in 1837.
Upon returning to New York McCune Smith set up medical practice in lower Manhattan and grew to be recognised as a prominent figure in the New York black community and a leading intellectual.
First published: 19 April 2022