“Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history” - History.com. It is no secret that more times than not, only a fraction of the achievements and contributions by African Americans are celebrated and published openly in our country’s history. However, when you take a moment to dig deeper, African Americans are woven into each and every achievement in the U.S., even when not openly credited. This month, we will be honoring the contributions and celebrating the achievements of African Americans in animal welfare, Veterinary medicine, and animal shelters.
Highlight Week One: 2/5/2021
Each year, Black History Month has a theme and 2021’s theme is the “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity” (5). That is why our first week’s highlight centers around pets as part of the family, the history of African Americans in animal sheltering, and several noteworthy African Americans who dedicated their time to animals in need in the 1950s-1970s, specifically in Philadelphia. The images we discuss in the article are copyrighted so we cannot post them within our article. Instead, we have provided links with descriptions so you can view them directly in the Temple University Library’s Digital archives! Read the full article HERE!
Highlight Week Two: 2/12/2021
There are so many amazing African American Veterinarians throughout our country’s history, who have made immeasurable contributions to veterinary medicine and animal shelter medicine. This week, we will highlight one inspiring Veterinarian who not only opened doors for Black, Female Veterinarians for generations to follow, but made incredible advancements for veterinary medicine in an animal shelter setting. This is the story of Dr. Lila Miller! In the full article, we will also be giving a brief history of African Americans in veterinary medicine and discussing barriers in the industry for African American Veterinarians. Read the full article HERE!
Highlight Week Three: 2/19/2021
Representation matters. This is something that Dr. William Draper and Dr. Francoise Tyler learned as they navigated the path to becoming Veterinarians. A message that they carried throughout their schooling, during their professional development, and a message they carry now as full time Veterinarians, animal lovers, and parents. This week we are highlighting Dr. William Draper and Dr. Francoise Tyler - a dynamic duo - married Veterinarians who have been paving a path for diversity and representation in the field of veterinary medicine for years. For the full article, click HERE!
Highlight Week Four: 2/26/2021
As we look at our research over the past month, we see several photos of Black men, women, and children caring for, rescuing, or bonding with animals, whether it be their own pets or animals in need of help. In much of our research on the history of animal shelters and animal welfare specifically, photos of African American animal advocates are only in the archives of libraries. In several of the photos we found, the people are unnamed. When their names are included, an additional search of their name doesn’t yield much. This truly highlights the lack of appreciation for African American animal advocates throughout history and the lack of diversity of voice and representation throughout the history of animal sheltering and pet ownership. This week, we wanted to share some of the photos we found with you all. We also take this week to recognize the many other African American pet owners and animal advocates whose contributions to animal sheltering and animal welfare (past and present) are undocumented completely and look forward at next steps. Click HERE for the full article.
About Black History Month: “African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Each year, Black History Month has a theme. “The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States. (all quotes are from History.com - linked at bottom).
Author: Sarah MedingSOCIAL SHARE