A Historical Overview of African American Veterinarians in the United States: 1889–2000 Eugene W. Adams


The annals of veterinary medical history rarely mention the presence of African American veterinarians and other minorities. Between 1889 and 1948, records show, a meager 70 African Americans graduated from veterinary schools in the United States and Canada. It was not until the veterinary school at Tuskegee (Institute) University was established in 1945 that a significant increase in the number of African American veterinarians occurred in the United States, and over the ensuing years their participation in every facet of the profession has been striking. Their employment in various areas of the profession and their successful performance in the workforce have done much to dispel stereotypical perceptions about minorities. Despite demographic data indicating that the United States is moving rapidly toward a multicultural society, recruitment programs to increase the number of African American students and faculty at the 28 US veterinary colleges have not kept pace with the declared goals of ethnic diversity. If the needs of a changing culture are to be met, veterinary medical education must look toward more ethnic inclusion in the student body and faculty. To that end, the Iverson C. Bell Symposium has consistently advocated the adoption of new and creative methods for increasing minority student enrollment and expanding faculty opportunities in the nation’s veterinary colleges.

Table 1: African American Veterinary Graduates, 1889 - 1948
School of
Veterinary Medicine
Number of African
American Graduates
Colorado 4
Cornell 7
Guelph 1
Harvard 1
Iowa 7
Kansas 22
Michigan 2
Ohio 14
Pennsylvania 7
Washington 1
Other Schools 4
Total: 70

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