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Thu, 09.03.1891

Annie Elizabeth Delany, Dentist born

Annie E. Delany

*Annie Elizabeth Delany was born on this date in 1891.  She was a Black dentist and activist. 

Annie Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany was the third of ten children born to the Rev. Henry Beard Delany and Nanny Logan Delany, an educator. H.B. Delany was born into slavery in St. Mary's, Georgia. Nanny Logan Delany was born in a community called Yak, Virginia, seven miles from Danville.  

Young Delany was born and raised on the campus of St. Augustine's School (now University) in Raleigh, North Carolina, where her father was the Vice-Principal and her mother a teacher and administrator. Delany was a 1911 graduate of the school. In 1918, she followed her sister to New York City, enrolling at Columbia University, from which she earned her dental degree in 1923. She was the only Black female of 170 students in her graduating class. She shared a dental office with her brother, Dr. H. B. Delany Jr., at 2305 Seventh Avenue and, later, 2303 Seventh Avenue, in Harlem.

Throughout her life, Bessie participated in many protests and marches and encouraged American Civil Rights organizers to meet at her and her brother's office.   She was a racial justice activist who was the subject, along with her elder sister Sarah "Sadie" Delany, of The New York Times bestselling oral history, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years

She was the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York State and became famous, with the book's publication, when she was 101.  Annie Delany died on September 25, 1995, at 104 in Mount Vernon, New York, where she had long resided. She is interred at Mount Hope Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

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