Science, Inventions, Medicine, and Aerospace

Black Women in Medicine

What black women were the first to receive the doctoral degree in veterinary medicine?

The first two black women to graduate from veterinary school and to receive the doctorate in veterinary medicine degree were Jane Hinton (c. 1920–) and Alfreda Johnson Webb (1923–1992); both graduated in 1949. Hinton received her degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Her father was William Augustus Hinton, a medical researcher at Harvard who invented the Hinton Test (an accurate test for syphilis). After serving as a technician in Arizona during World War II, Jane Hinton pursued her degree in veterinary medicine. She graduated and returned to her home in Canton, Massachusetts, and worked in Framingham as a practitioner for small animals. She later became an inspector for the federal government, working in Framingham Center, Massachusetts. Alfreda Johnson Webb was born in Mobile, Alabama, and received her bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee Institute (now University) in 1943. Tuskegee established its veterinary school that same year; it remains the only such school on a black college campus. The school was established specifically to train black veterinarians. After receiving her veterinary degree from Tuskegee, Webb completed her master’s degree at Michigan State University in 1951 and went on to teach and conduct research. She moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, and taught at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State College (now University). She also became a renowned anatomist.


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