Martin Robison Delany

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Martin Robison Delany


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 38, 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 17 letters of recommendation from physicians in Pittsburgh and Allegheny, Pennslyvania, 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, soldier, and is considered by many to be the father of Black Nationalism. Delany died in 1885 in Wilberforce, Ohio.


Mass Civil War Photo Collection, vol. 74. U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.


U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania




“Martin Robison Delany,” OnView, accessed June 17, 2024,