Homeopathy Papers

New York’s First African American Female Homeopathic Doctor

Susan Maria McKinney Steward

Iman Navab writes about the first African American female homeopathic physician in New York.

The first female African-American medical homeopath doctor in the state of New York was Susan Maria McKinney Steward (1847 – 1918). In that era, men openly criticized women who attempted to attend medical school; however Susan was determined to become a homeopath physician.

Susan Maria McKinney Steward

Susan Maria McKinney Steward


The New York Medical College for Women was founded by Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier and opened in November, 1863. This was a homeopathic medical school. Susan became a close friend of Clemence, who was also Susan’s mentor, and remained so until Clemence’s death in 1888.  Susan earned her medical degree in 1870 and in the same year opened her own private clinic in Brooklyn, which she ran from 1870 to 1895. During this time she co-founded the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary that served many people successfully with homeopathic medicine.

To get a better idea about the success rate of homeopathy during Dr. Susan Steward’s time, it is important to mention that in the year 1873, independent statistical reports were presented by Dr. E. Kellogg for New York, for Philadelphia by Dr. P. Dudley, and for Boston by E. Russell. The following table is a summary of their general statistics that were published in the Medical Investigator, volume 10, page 401, 1873.

General Statistics:

CityYearNumber of Deaths under AllopathicRatioNumber of Deaths under HomeopathicRatio
New York187014,869151,2879
New York187115,526151,2437
Total: 54,679Total: 5,903


General Statistics from 1874 to 1877 in U.S.:

Disease type in hospitals   Mortality under Allopathic TreatmentMortality under Homeopathic Treatment
General diseases10%5%
Typhus Fever21%10%


Thanks to homeopathy and her own strong will and powerful determination, Susan’s practice was busy and her clinic well-known.  Susan was also involved in and contributed to the Kings County Homeopathic Medical Society and the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of New York.  In 1898, Dr. Steward was hired by Wilberforce University in Ohio as a resident physician and faculty member to teach health and nutrition. Her involvement in public service included local missionary work and women’s suffrage advocacy.  She was president of the Brooklyn Women’s Christian Temperance Union. A well regarded public speaker, she addressed the first Universal Race Congress at the University of London in 1911. Her presentation was about Coloured Women in America. In 1914 she gave a lecture about the role of women in medicine at the National Association of Coloured Women’s Clubs Convention.

Dr.  Susan Steward practiced medicine for 48 years; and her advice was that: recovery is better through homeopathic treatment.

God bless her soul.


References, Credit and Sources:

The Brooklyn Public Library.

Women in History. Susan McKinney Steward biography. 

Hine, Darlene Clark. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Indiana University Press, 1994.

About the author

Iman Navab

Iman Navab

Iman Navab is a certified classical Homeopath and doctor of alternative medicine from Canada. He is the President of the Applied Research in Homeopathy Foundation of Canada (www.ARHFC.ca). He is the author of 'Miasma of Cancer', and is a historian of Homeopathy. Iman teaches History and Philosophy of Homeopathy at the Canadian College of Holistic Health. Navab gives lectures and seminars to raise awareness about the rich history of Homeopathy.

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