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Inspire is Celebrating Black History Month!

Inspire is Celebrating Black History Month!

Inspire is Celebrating Black History Month!

The Evolution of the Celebration

February marks the celebration of Black History Month! This month is dedicated to honoring the achievements and endeavors of African Americans throughout history that have helped shape the nation.

Meet Dr. Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany

In honor of Black History Month, we would like to acknowledge an individual who helped pave the way for people of color in the dental field. Annie Elizabeth Delany, also known as “Bessie,” was born on September 3rd, 1891, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bessie was an American civil rights activist and was the second African American woman to become a dentist in the state of New York.

Bessie was among just 11 women, and the sole African American woman, out of a total of 170 students who enrolled in the Columbia School of Dental and Oral Surgery’s 1919 freshman class. She earned her DDS degree in 1923 and in 1994 was presented the Distinguished Alumna Award for her advanced work in dentistry as a minority woman.

Best known as “Dr. Bessie,” she was admired by the community as being a source of motivation, encouragement, and empowerment for others. Not only did she treat everyone as equals and provide dental care to individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds, she also offered a multitude of complimentary dental exams for children.

The Delany Sisters’ Journey to Advocacy

In 1993, at the ages of 101 and 103, Bessie and her older sister, Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany co-authored their first book with journalist Amy Hill Hearth, Having Our Say: The Delany Sister’s First 100 Years. The Delany’s faced adversity from an early age and despite the challenges they faced, they pursued their education and used their voices to advocate for change. Their story became an instant favorite, making it on the New York Times bestseller list for 105 weeks.

Bessie and Sadie’s story is a reminder of the power of resilience and the importance of standing up for what is right. Their legacy lives on through their words and actions, inspiring future generations to continue the fight for justice and equality.