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Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, M.D.


August 1, 1872–January 16, 1953 Americans the nation's first Black psychiatrist.

Dr. Solomon was a pioneering African-American psychiatrist who made significant contributions to the study of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Fuller was born in Monrovia, Liberia. His paternal grandfather. John Lewis Fuller, had been a slave in Virginia who bought his and his wife’s freedom and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, and then emigrated to Liberia in 1852 to help establish a settlement of African Americans. His father was a coffee planter and an official in the Liberian government. His mother, Anna Ursala James, whose parents were physicians and missionaries, set up a school to teach her son and area children. Fuller's early education also included studies at the College Preparatory School of Monrovia.


He had a keen interest in medicine since his maternal grandparents were medical missionaries in Liberia. He came to the United States to study at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, graduating in 1893. Later he attended Long Island College Medical School. He graduated with an MD in 1897 from Boston University School of Medicine, which as a homeopathic institution was open to both African-American and women students. He pursued further research at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Munich, Germany, studying under Emil Kraepelin and Alois Alzheimer.




Career

He spent the majority of his career practicing at Westborough State Mental Hospital in Westborough, Massachusetts. While there, he performed his ground-breaking research on the physical changes to the brains of Alzheimer's patients. When the Veterans Administration opened the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Medical Center after World War I with an entirely black staff, Fuller was instrumental in recruiting and training black psychiatrists for key positions. In the early 1970s, the American Psychiatric Association established a Solomon Carter Fuller award lecture at its annual meetings

His Legacy

The Dr Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center located at 85 E Newton Street in Boston is named after him. It forms part of the Boston Medical Center, the primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine. There is a middle school (Fuller Middle School) named after her and her husband located in Framingham, Massachusetts. That school was formerly Framingham South High School but was converted to its current use when Framingham South and North High Schools merged in 1991. The school's history reads:




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