Matilda Evans, M.D., was the first African-American woman licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina and an advocate for improved health care for African Americans, particularly children
Matilda was born in Aiken, South Carolina in 1872. She met Martha Shoefield, a Quaker who took to Matilda and helped raise money for her to attend college
She left in 1892 after graduating in 1891 from Oberlin College to accept a teaching position at Haines Institute in Augusta, Georgia. After a year of teaching Matilda entered the Woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia, again with the help of her resourceful mentor, Shoefield, who persuaded a wealthy benefactor, Alfred Jones, to fund her education
Evans enrolled at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1893. She received her M.D. in 1897 and moved to Columbia, South Carolina, where she was the first African-American woman to establish a medical practice in the state
As the first African-American woman licensed to practice in South Carolina, Evans was able to treat both white and black patients, causing her services to be in great demand.
Prior to the Civil War, most African Americans were enslaved, and very few free African Americans were trained physicians or surgeons as medical education was not open to them. African Americans seeking medical careers most often received their medical education in Canada or Europe, and a few from medical schools in the North