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Dr. Mildred Jefferson

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Profile image of Dr. Mildred Jefferson
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  • April 5, 2006



  • Born: April 6, 1927
  • Birth Location: Pittsburgh, Texas


  • Favorite Color: Blue
  • Favorite Food: Apples (Washington State Red)
  • Favorite Time of Year: Fall
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Monterey, California

Favorite Quote

"To Thy Own Self Be True"
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Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson was born in 1927 in Pittsburg, Texas - the daughter of Gurthie Roberts Jefferson, a public school teacher, and Millard F. Jefferson, a Methodist minister. She attended public schools in East Texas and entered Harvard Medical School in 1947 after receiving a B.A degree summa cum laude from Texas College in Tyler, Texas and a M.S. degree from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Jefferson became the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1951. She was the first woman to be a surgical intern at Boston City Hospital and the first woman admitted to membership in the Boston Surgical Society. She is, however, best-known for her longtime support and involvement in the “right-to-life movement” in America. She helped to establish the National Right to Life Committee and served three times as its president. She has been a local, regional and national speaker and activist.

After her Harvard Medical School graduation, Jefferson served as a general surgeon with the former Boston University Medical Center and Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at Boston University Medical School.

Jefferson has had a career-long interest in medical jurisprudence, medical ethics and the interface between medicine and law, as well as their impact on public policy and society. As a founding member of state and national “right-to-life” organizations, she is president of Right to Life Crusade.

Jefferson is a founding member of the Board of Governors and a past President of the Value of Life Committee of Massachusetts and is also active with the American Life League and Americans United for Life Legal Defense Fund. Jefferson is also a member of Black Americans for Life and is held in high esteem by Feminists for Life. Jefferson passed away on October 18, 2010.

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Watch the full interview in the Digital Archive