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Bessie Blount Griffin


Bessie Blount Griffin (November 24, 1914 - December 30, 2009) was an African American physical therapist and inventor. During World War II, Griffin provided physical therapy to wounded war veterans. Her work with veterans inspired her to invent a device that assisted amputees with feeding themselves. When Griffin couldn't sell the device to the United States government, she sold it to the French government.

In 1969 Griffin became a forensic scientist. She was appointed the chief document examiner for the Portsmouth Police Department in Virginia and later trained at Scotland Yard, becoming the first African American woman to work there. In the final stage of her career, Griffin ran her own forensic science consulting firm and was employed to verify the authenticity of documents ranging from Civil War documents to Native American-U.S. treaties.

To read more about Griffin and inventors like her, see Mother and Daughters of Invention by Autumn Stanley.

This entry is part of MPL's National Women's History Month.


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