When you meet Dr. Melissa Freeman, the first thing you notice is her elegance, both in how she dresses and how she speaks. Then, it is her warmth and charm.
At 94 years of age, Freeman is still as sharp as a pin and works each and every day. When I meet her in her private practice in Harlem, she is full of questions about the countries I have traveled to in my job as a reporter. She regales me with stories of trips to Vienna to see the opera, eating the best pasta in Italy, and walking in the highlands of Scotland.
I congratulate her on a momentous milestone: 65 years as a practicing doctor in New York. It is an accolade she brushes off humbly, saying, “I’m just doing what I love to do. I love helping people.”
But don’t be fooled by her nonchalant attitude toward her career. She became a doctor in 1955, at a time when not only was it difficult for a woman to practice medicine, but extremely difficult for an African American woman.
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