It is October a.k.a P.T. month. Time to celebrate those who have paved the way for current and future physical therapists everywhere. Every one in the field of physical therapy knows about Florence P. Kendall. If not, then Google her. According to many, she is one of the most influential physical therapists and educators. She is also in the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. Kendall’s books are used heavily in physical therapy practices and schools across the nation. Not that it is a big deal but of course, she is white (which is not hard to believe since she gets so much recognition). People praise her for everything that she has done for the world of physical therapy.
On my quest to find more black physical therapists, I decided to search for influential/famous figures. You hear about African Americans such as Dr. Charles Drew and Dr. Ben Carson in the medical world but nobody in rehabilitation medicine. It is almost as if society is hiding us; yet they are so quick to show black people committing crimes or acting out like wild animals. It’s not fair at all.
So one night while I was super bored, I decided to google “black physical therapists”. I did not get many hits so I changed it from “Black” to “African American”. Some stuff popped up such as minority scholarships and HBCUs with P.T. programs. But one name stuck out: Bessie Blount Griffin (1914-2009). I pulled up the website and I was amazed at what I was reading. She was one of the first African American physical therapists in the United States. I had never heard of or saw a picture of her before. I never even saw her acknowledged during black history month. In addition to being a P.T., she was a forensic scientist and an inventor during a time when racism was so prevalent.
It sent a chill down my spine. I’m not going to go into great detail but, she contributed a great deal to the world of P.T. in the 1950s up until her death. How did I not know about her? Are they hiding us so that we cannot have our own positive figures or role models? Maybe I am over-thinking it (not really).
Anyway, click on the links below to learn more about Bessie Blount and the obstacles she overcame to build a legacy. I am encouraged more than ever to make a name for myself. People will know my face and name for all of my contributions to the community. Many do not know about her but I guarantee you that it won’t be for long. For this reason, black history month should be extended to the same length as white history year! If black lives matter, then so does black education!
I am new to this blog thing so feel free to ask questions and I can answer them or come up with a FAQ post. Remember that we rise by lifting others!