As a senior at Cornell in the 1930s, Margaret Lawrence had a nearly perfect academic record and expected to attend the university’s medical school. But Lawrence, the only Black student in her class, was denied admission. “Twenty-five years ago there was a Negro man admitted,” the dean of the medical school told her, “and it didn’t work out.” That man had come down with tuberculosis and died, thus failing to graduate. It was excuse enough to reject Lawrence. She absorbed the shock, then applied to Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, reports the New York Times. She was accepted, on the condition that she would not protest if White patients refused to be seen by her. (None did.) She agreed and became the only Black student in her class of 104 who graduated in 1940. She would still face discrimination, often being mistaken for a cleaning lady. But Dr. Lawrence went on to become a renowned pediatrician and child psychiatrist and the first African-American female psychoanalyst in the United States, according to the New York Presbyterian Hospital, where her career began. When she died on Dec. 4 at an assisted living facility in Boston, she was 105. Her daughter Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot said her health had declined in recent months. A student of Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dr. Lawrence was a pioneering therapist who treated young families in Harlem and in Rockland County, just northwest of New York City. There, she and her husband helped establish a progressive, racially integrated cooperative community in 1949 called Skyview Acres, where she lived for almost 70 years before moving to Boston to be near her daughter. “She was an innovative, iconoclastic, unusual child psychiatrist,” said Lawrence-Lightfoot, a Harvard sociologist, who detailed her mother’s life in a book, “Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer” (1988). “She understood that not just the interior life of a person but their context in the life of the family as well as forces in the community, particularly forces that are discriminatory, can leave people oppressed and marginalized,” she said. Lawrence, who became known for her empathy, even her reverence, toward children, saw her task as helping them develop their “ego-strength,” building their sense of self-worth. “Strength abounds in Harlem,” she once said. Three hundred years of oppression and it survives.”