Zindzi Thompson makes Meharry history as youngest Black female graduate

On a Saturday, in mid-May, 21-year-old Zindzi Thompson walked across the stage of the Grand Ole Opry—but her accolades were from skill and study instead of musical talent. Thompson was the youngest Black female to graduate with an M.D. in the history of Meharry Medical College.


When Thompson enrolled in Meharry’s School of Medicine at 16, the South Carolina native would be on track to join a multitude of family members as Meharry alumni.


“I have always wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember,” Thompson told Nashville’s NewsChannel 5. “There’s nothing else that I wanted to be.”


Since she was 3, Thompson knew that medicine was her calling, and at 13, her academic determination led her to enroll in Mary Baldwin University in a four-year undergraduate program for the exceptionally gifted.


According to her parents, Machelle and Samuel Thompson, although having an academically astute daughter was the easy part, there was some sacrifice—like moving Zindzi five driving hours away from home to the undergraduate university.


Zindzi’s father, Samuel, told WTVF Nashville, “A big part of the process has been letting her go and achieve her goal—and that’s been the hardest part.”


Zindzi admits that there were challenging moments in medical school, but she remains inspirational and encourages others to persevere through the difficult moments. But before her memorable walk across the stage, Zindzi expressed her excitement to reporters. “I’ll be called a doctor—Dr. Thompson,” she told NewsChannel 5.


Dr. Thompson will spend her residency in psychiatry at Barnes Jewish Hospital at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.