Dorothy Lavinia Brown was born January 7, 1919 in Philadelphia. She was the first African American woman to be appointed to a residency as a general surgeon in the United States (1948 ), to become a general surgeon in the South (1954), and to become a fellow to the American College of Surgeons (1959). A product of the orphanage and foster care system, she was also the first single black woman in modern times to adopt a child in Tennessee (1956) and the first black woman to win a seat in the Tennessee legislature (1966).* Because of her liberal stance on abortion, she lost a bid for a seat in the Tennessee senate. After a lifetime as a advocate for black women and children, Dr. Brown died June 13, 2004.
*Some info taken from Great African American Women, Darryl Lyman, Gramercy Books, 2000.