Fleming, Lulu: a Medic and a Missionary

Lulu Fleming was the first African American woman to be commissioned to work in Africa, she did much of her work in Congo, which is where my family are from. Lulu knew that her mother’s father had lived near the mouth of the Congo River where he had been captured by a slave trader, and she strongly believed that her work was meant to be done in Africa. I found it inspiring that she used her studies to do good and I am sure she had touched many peoples lives as she taught and healed.


[Image of Lulu Fleming]

About Lulu Fleming

  • Louise Cecelia Fleming was born in 1862 as a slave, in Florida and was nicknamed LuLu
  • Fleming was teaching public schools n Florida by 1883, and also taught adult Sunday classes on weekends. She was spotted by a Baptist pastor who enlisted the young woman’s society of his church to raise money to pay for Lulu’s university fees
  • She attended Shaw University, graduating as class valedictorian in 1885
  • She did more teaching in Florida before being commissioned for work in Africa by the Woman’s American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society.
  • She worked in America for around two years before moving to Europe for a while then working as a missionary for five years in Palabala, Congo.
  • She combined her teaching with weekend evangelistic work in the towns.
  • Flmeing returened to the US in 1891 and graduated from Shaw Universities Leonard Medical School in 1895.
  • She went back to Congo on the year of her graduation (in Irebu this time).
  • In 1898 Dr. Fleming was stricken with a disease known as the African sleeping sickness
  • She returned to the U.S. for medical care, but sadly died on June 20, 1899

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