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Alexander T. Augusta

Alexander T. AugustaAKA Alexander Thomas Augusta

Born: 8-Mar-1825
Birthplace: Norfolk, VA
Died: 21-Dec-1890
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

Gender: Male
Religion: African Methodist Episcopal
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: First black battlefield surgeon

Military service: US Army; to Lieutenant Colonel (1863-66)

Doctor and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander T. Augusta was the first African-American field surgeon, and at the time of his US Army service during the Civil War, he was history's highest-ranking black officer. He was tutored by a family friend in his youth, a crime because of his color, and worked as a barber before turning to medicine. Denied admission to the University of Pennsylvania, he traveled north to Canada where he studied at the University of Toronto, and after graduating he established a medical practice in Canada. He returned to America to volunteer for war duty, but his battlefield service as a surgeon was rather brief, as his white assistants bristled at taking orders from a black officer, and Augusta was soon reassigned to a military hospital for colored soldiers.

He was attacked by an angry mob in Baltimore in May 1863, for wearing his military officer's uniform in public. After the war he worked for the Freedman's Bureau and taught at Howard University, where he became the first black professor at an American medical school. He was never a member of the American Medical Association, as he was rejected due to his race. At Augusta's death in 1890, he became the first black officer buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in a plot set apart from white officers' graves.

Wife: Mary Burgoin (m. 12-Jan-1847)

    Medical School: MB Medicine, University of Toronto (1856)
    Teacher: Anatomy, Howard University (1868-69)
    Professor: Anatomy, Howard University (1869-77)

    Freedman's Bureau (1866-70)
    Naturalized UK Citizen 1856

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