Martin Robison Delany (1812-1885) was born in Virginia; his father was enslaved while his mother was a free woman. Delany applied to Harvard Medical School at age thirty-eight, and had applied to several medical schools. He was a student of Latin and Greek, and a member of Pittsburgh's African Education, Antislavery, Temperate, Philanthropic, Moral Reform, and Young Men's Bible Societies. When Delany applied in person to Harvard Medical School, he had seventeen letters of recommendation from physicians in Pittsburgh and Allegheny, Pennsylvania, as well as three letters from clergymen, endorsing Delany's character and intelligence.
After leaving Harvard Medical School, Delany went on to become a leader in several arenas, including abolition, reconstruction, and medicine. He was a physician, author, activist, and soldier, and is considered by many to be the father of Black Nationalism. Delany died in 1885 in Wilberforce, Ohio.
More information about Delany's life and accomplishments are available at blackpast.org and Martin Robison Delany (1812-1885): physician, black separatist, explorer, soldier by Louis Rosenfeld, PhD.