Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, DDS, Becomes Second African-American Registered Dentist in New York State

Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delaney was born in 1891 in North Carolina. During World War I, she moved to New York with her younger sister, Sarah (or “Sadie”). Bessie was the only African-American woman entering the 1919 class at the Columbia School of Dental and Oral Surgery. She graduated in 1923, becoming the second African-American registered dentist in the state of New York. Commonly referred to as “Dr. Bessie,” she practiced dentistry in Harlem, where she was an important community member. Columbia's School of Dental and Oral Surgery awarded her the Distinguished Alumna Award for her trailblazing work as an African-American woman in the field of dentistry in 1994.

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