Activism and Medical Career

1865 census Rosell.jpg

The entire family is listed in this 1865 census of Brooklyn. David Jr. is now 28 years of age and is named to be a medical doctor. This was taken in June of 1865, around 2 months after the Civil War had effectively ended, showing that immediately after his experience in the war David came back to his family. It was likely understandable after such an experience he would want to go back to his family, but was now free to begin the rest of his career as a physician. 

1870 census rosell.jpg

Now in the 1870 Census, David is living in the 13th ward of Philadelphia. By this time he was also married to Mary as she is listed underneath his name on row 28 as the keeper of the home while her husband is a doctor. 

1872 city directory rosell.jpg

On the first page of the Philadelphia City Directory for 1872, David Rosell is shown to be a physician. He runs his practice out of a building at 928 Lombard Street. 

A different newspaper article around the same time however lists his office at 907 Lombard Street with hours of 7-9am. Talking hours 3-5pm and then 7-8pm. Dr. Rosell would be the only African American physician in the city during his time of operation between 1864 and his unfortunately early death in 1871.

From The Christian Recorder, October 21 1865. Dr. David Rosell. 907 Lombard Street. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Roger Lane. William Dorsey's Philadelphia and Ours. August 1991. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Rossell was a part of the Montana Agricultural Emigration Aid Association. The stated goal of this society was to aid “worthy but poor men and their families to emigrate.” A usual wanderlust towards the West organization, it is perhaps not surprising for that. It is however interesting to note that there was not a single white philanthropist supporting this nonprofit organization. Although the organization came together in Rosell’s final year of life, it positioned him as an activist in the Reconstruction Era. For blacks facing persecution in the South and in some communities of the North, or general poverty and unemployment, the chance to get out west held promise. Rosell saw this and clearly found it to be a worthy endeavor to support. (pg. 255)

Roger Lane. William Dorsey's Philadelphia and Ours: On the Past and Future of the Black City in America. 1st Edition. London: Oxford University Press. 1991. Page 255. 

David accompanied Ebenezer D. Bassett (US Minister to Haiti at the time) on a portion of his visit to New York. He is one of the men who went with him to meet his steamer on the way to Port-Au Prince, this was at the time of great controversy between the US and Haiti. Similar to the liklihood of his father, David showed a presence when it came to debates of civil rights issues of the time and had acquanited himself with influential figures.  

From National Anti-Slavery Standard. June 19 1869. Public Reception of The Hon. Ebenezer D. Basset. Minister and Consul General to Hayti, At Shiloh Church New York. New York, New York.

The Sons and Daughters of Freedom