CIRCA 1919

Jessie Gideon Garnett (D19) was the first African-American woman to graduate from the Tufts College Dental School (later, TUSDM). In a class of 165 students, she was the only black woman, and one of only 11 women overall. So rare was her presence on campus that, upon first meeting, Dean Charles Fairbanks Painter assumed she had been admitted by mistake. With her acceptance letter as evidence, Garnett stayed in the program and became the first African-American woman dentist in Boston. Over the course of her 50-year career, Garnett was an active member of the NAACP, Urban League, YWCA, and the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha—a chapter of which she helped found at TUSDM.