The first women of color who gained access to medical school confronted financial hardships, discrimination against women, and racism. For generations, their families had been enslaved or oppressed. They had been denied the means of making a living and access to decent medical care. Even to begin training, these women often had to work their way through medical school or seek funding from supporters of women's and minorities' rights.
Once they became doctors, women of color often played an important role in bringing better standards of care to their own communities and served as role models for all women.