Bessie Blount

Physical herapist and Forensic scientist

Early Life & Education

Bessie Blount was born on November 24,1914 in Hickory, Virginia. She is a Physical Therapist, Inventor, and an Forensic Scientist. She is also known by her married name Bessie Blount Griffin.

For education Bessie left Virginia to New Jersey to become a physical therapist. She studied at Panzar College of Physical education and attended Union Junior College.


After graduating, she began working with world war ll amputees.She taught people to do the work that their feet and hands once did. She invented a device that delivered food through a tube, one bite at a time, to a mouthpiece that could be used whether the patient was sitting up or lying down. When the person wanted more food, he just bit down on the tube and it signaled a machine to send the next morsel. It was also called a "portable receptacle support''. She was the first Black and the first woman to be given such recognition.

Forensic Science

In addition to her career as an inventor, Griffin shifted gears to forensic science during the 60s. She worked for multiple police departments, becoming chief document examiner in Portsmouth Virginia by 1972. Though her application for the FBI was turned down in 1976, she quickly bounced back when she became the firm black woman to train and work at Scotland Yard (Britain’s “FBI”). She continued her career in forensic science until her death in 2009.