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Next meeting: 17 February, 2020

Dr. William Wright and Black Enrolment at McGill’s Medical School

By Frank Mackey 

Young Dr. Wright. A 1928 copy of an earlier photo, now lost, that was retouched to enhance contrast. McGill University Archives, Photo Collection, PR008103.

The relationship between McGill University and people of African descent is emerging as an area of academic interest, with the Faculty of Medicine providing important case studies.

William Wright (1827-1908) MDCM 1848, the first Black graduate medical doctor in North America, taught at McGill for thirty years and served as the Chair of Pharmacology and Therapeutics from 1854 until his retirement in 1883. Approximately 40 people of African descent graduated in Medicine between 1907 and 1936.

Frank Mackey is a Montreal historian whose books include:

Steamboat Connections: Montreal to Upper Canada, 1816-1843

Black Then: Blacks and Montreal, 1780s-1880s

Done With Slavery: The Black Fact in Montreal, 1760-1860

Reception: 5:00
Presentation: 5:30

Billiards Room
McGill Faculty Club

One-Hundred and Eighty-eighth Meeting of the James McGill Society



The James McGill Society was formed in 1975. Its primary concern is to foster interest and appreciation of McGill University's history and personalities, which are interpreted broadly to include current activities and impending developments - that is both past history and history in the making.

The Society covers the entire spectrum of McGill life: academic and research activities, student life, and administrative activities. Arts, Science, Medicine, and all the other faculties have been discussed in rotation over the years. Macdonald College is an area of continuing interest.


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