Bessie Blount Griffin – African American History Month 2019 #BlackHistoryMonth
Today we celebrate the life and work of inventor and physical therapist Bessie Blount Griffin. She is best known for her invention of an electric self-feeding device to help amputees. Later in life, she launched a second career in forensic science.
Bessie Virginia Blount (1914-2009) led a remarkable life that began in Hickory, Virginia, where she was born on November 24, 1914. She made significant breakthroughs in assistive technologies and forensic science, becoming a role model for women and African Americans for her pioneering work.
Young Blount moved from Virginia to New Jersey to attend Panzar College of Physical Education and later, Union Junior College. It was her goal to become a physical therapist. She completed her studies in Chicago.
She became a practicing physical therapist, and, after World War II ended, many soldiers returned from the frontlines as amputees. As part of her physical therapy work, Blount taught veterans who did not have use of their hands and feet new ways to perform basic tasks. One major challenge for people in this condition is eating. It was important to many of them to be able to feed themselves in order to gain a feeling of independence and increase self-esteem.
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