Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Garnett, Jessie (Gideon), 1897 - 1976
Jessie Garnett (Gideon) (1897-1976), D1919, was the first African-American woman to graduate from Tufts School of Dental Medicine. She went on to be the first African-American woman to practice dentistry in the Boston area.
Born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada, on April 20, 1897, Garnett moved to Boston, Massachusetts as a teenager and attended Girls High School. She enrolled in the Tufts Dental school as a member of the Class of 1919, the only African-American student, and one of just ten women. Her first offices were in a professional building on the Roxbury-South End line. She later built an office behind her home on Monroe Street in Roxbury. Due to arthritis in her hands, Garnett retired in 1969, after practicing dentistry for nearly fifty years.
Garnett was a member of the NAACP and Urban League, sat on the boards of directors of the Boston YWCA, St. Mark's Congregational Church of Roxbury, and the Freedom House. Garnett had also been a charter member of the Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She was married to Robert C. Garnett, with whom she had two children. She died September 5, 1976.
A memorial scholarship fund for African-American female students attending the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, the Dr. Jessie Garnett - Dr. Mary Thompson Scholarship, was established by Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha in Garnett's memory.
Source: VF, SSDI
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