Susan McKinney Steward

Susan McKinney Steward (March 18, 1847 - March 17, 1918) was the third African American woman licensed to practice medicine and the first in New York State. Her parents, Sylvanus and Anne Springstead Smith, were prosperous farmers in Brooklyn and she taught school for several years before enrolling in the New York Medical College for Women where she graduated as valedictorian in 1870. She operated a clinic in her Brooklyn home from 1870 to 1895, specializing in treatment of childhood diseases, and also had a lucrative practice in Manhattan. She was a founder of the Alumni Association of her alma mater and taught there as well as being active in many other professional and charitable organizations including the Women's Equal Suffrage League.

She studied music as a child and from her teenage years she was organist and choir director at Siloam Presbyterian Church and Bridge Street AME Church in Brooklyn. She was also active in mission work at Bridge Street and president of the local chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Her first husband was Rev. William G. McKinney, an Episcopalian priest. After he died, in 1896 she married AME pastor Rev. T. G. Steward who was chaplain of the 25th Infantry Buffalo Soldiers. The couple lived in Montana, Nebraska, and Texas before settling in Ohio where both taught at Wilberforce University.

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