A Woman Inventor the Veteran Administration Ignored

Bessie Blount was an African American woman who led a life that was dedicated to helping those in need. She was a physical therapist and an inventor of apparatus that was designed to help the amputees that suffered permanent injuries in World War II. Bessie Blount has been called a "savior of the handicapped" for her invention that allowed World War II disabled veterans to feed themselves, and for her unique method of teaching them to write again.
Honoring Bessie Blount. She died on December 30, 2009 in Newfield, New Jersey. Via blackhistory.net

Here is a woman everyone should know about especially American Veterans. Her name is Bessie Blout and she was a highly accomplished woman. She was born in Virginia and moved to New Jersey to pursue becoming  a physical therapist. Later she finished her training in Chicago.

After graduating she taught Physical Therapy at a hospital in New York, but also became an inventor of devices that were instrumental in helping soldiers who were injured (World War Two) to  become independent and feed themselves.

The device was used for a soldier in a wheelchair or a bed. Each time the soldier would bite down on the tube, it would transport food one bite at a time. She later invented a smaller portable device (Portable receptacle  support) that could be worn around the neck (see image below).

Drawing and Description of Bessie Blount's Invention: Drawing of Invention - Bessie Blount Honoring Black American Inventor
Bessie Blount’s patent was filed in 1951 under her married name of Bessie Griffin. Photo Credit: USPTO

The United States Veteran’s Administration did not support either of her devices. She then sold them to France and gave them the patent rights in 1952. They used them for their war veterans. She wanted to show, “that a Black woman can invent something for the benefit of humankind.”

She created another helpful device that the VA also rejected and never used in their hospitals. It was the invention of a disposable cardboard emesis basin.  Her item was also never patented in America so she sold it to Belgium where the basins are still being used throughout their country.  American hospitals continue to use the old standard basins of 1913.

In 1969, Bessie began a career in forensic science with law enforcement, and became a chief document examiner.

In 1977, she became the first Black woman to train and work at Scotland Yard, after J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director, turned down her application.

Bessie was named as one of many notable Virginia women in history in 2005

Learn about some other Inspirational women

Honoring Black Veterans for Black History Month

 February is Black History Month. Honoring our Black American Veterans. 

African American soldiers in World War II
African American Soldiers in World War Two
First African-American woman to achieve rank of major general in U.S. Army inspires many
First African-American woman to achieve rank of major general in U.S. Army inspires many
williamcarney.jpg
Sgt. William H. Carney won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Civil War on July 18, 1863 (the first Black soldier to receive the coveted award). Sargent Carney, a member of the 54th Massachusetts Colored infantry was wounded twice during the charge on Fort Wagner, S.C. while rescuing the Union Flag.
black vet
Henry “Black Death” Johnson. “By the time reinforcements arrived, Johnson had passed out from his wounds. By daylight, the carnage was evident: Johnson had killed four Germans and wounded an estimated 10 to 20 more in a savage hand to hand combat while suffering 21 wounds himself in the fight. Henry Johnson had prevented the Germans from breaking through the French line. He was the first American private to receive the Croix du Guerre, France’s highest military honor for extraordinary valor.
Tuskegee Air Women  Tuskegee Air Women, 1940s. Assigned as weather observers and forecasters, cryptographers, radio operators, repairmen, sheet metal workers, parachute riggers, link trainer instructors, bombsite maintenance specialists, aerial photograph analysts and control tower operators in the Air Corps.
Tuskegee Air Women Tuskegee Air Women, 1940s. Assigned as weather observers and forecasters, cryptographers, radio operators, repairmen, sheet metal workers, parachute riggers, link trainer instructors, aerial photograph analysts and control tower operators in the Air Corps.
Vernon Baker, who was the only living black veteran awarded the Medal of Honor for valor in World War II, receiving it 52 years after he wiped out four German machine-gun nests on a hilltop in northern Italy, died Tuesday at his home near St. Maries, Idaho. He was 90.
Vernon Baker, who was the only living black veteran awarded the Medal of Honor for valor in World War II, receiving it 52 years after he wiped out four German machine-gun nests on a hilltop in northern Italy, died Tuesday at his home near St. Maries, Idaho. He was 90.
Brigadier General Hazel W. Johnson-Brown. The first African American female General and the first Black Chief of the US Army Nursing Corps.
The first African American female General and first African American Chief of the US Army Nursing Corps. Via: Black Art Depot
Who Were the Harlem Hellfighters? -- great read by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2013/11/who_were_the_harlem_hellfighters.html
One of the few black combat regiments in World War I Their nickname they’d received from their German foes: “Hellfighters,” the Harlem Hellfighters.

But did you know……………………………

On June 14, 1864 Congress passed an amendment to the Enrollment Act of 1863 calling for equal pay for black and white soldiers. Before this, black soldiers were paid $ 7 per month compared to $ 13 for whites. #TodayInBlackHistory
On June 14, 1864 Congress passed an amendment to the Enrollment Act of 1863 calling for equal pay for black and white soldiers. Before this, black soldiers were paid $ 7 per month compared to $ 13 for whites.

We thank ALL of our Veterans.