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Nathan Francis Mossell

February 3, 2010

I almost don’t know where to begin regarding Nathan Francis Mossell (1856-1946), one of the earliest African Americans to graduate from Penn, and the first to earn an MD, in 1882. In addition to being a practicing physician, he was a civil rights advocate (participating in the Niagara Movement, and founding the Philadelphia NAACP) and the founder of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital, the second Black hospital in the U.S. What we don’t see in his bio however, but can learn in Louis Massiah’s short film – Towards Inclusion – covering Penn’s diversity roots, is that Mossell was not permitted to sit in the room among White students during his initial classes. Instead, he was forced to sit in a chair next to the door, and was not allowed to speak. Without struggle…

Brian Peterson
SEAS ’93, GSE ’97

2 Comments leave one →
  1. S.Albergottie-Amoah permalink
    February 4, 2010 8:24 pm

    The Mosell family are awesome/incredible people, they are a perfect example of what can be accomplished when “opportunity and preparedness” meet.


  1. Bonus Post: Nathaniel Francis Mossell Autobiography « Reflections: The UPenn Black History Project

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