Bessie Blount Griffin
She was born Nov. 24, 1914, in Hickory, Va, to George Woodard and Mary Elizabeth Griffin.
During World War II, as part of her work with wounded soldiers, Blount devised an apparatus to help amputees feed themselves. She invented an electronic feeding device in 1951, a feeding tube that delivered one mouthful of food at a time, controlled by biting down on the tube. The American Veterans Administration did not accept her invention, so she sold it to the French government. Blount was once a physical therapist to the mother-in-law of Theodore Edison, son of famed inventor Thomas Edison. She and the younger Edison became close friends and while in his home she invented the disposable cardboard emesis basin. The basin was fashioned out of newspaper, flour and water, which was then baked into a hard form.  This invention was also not accepted by the American Veterans Administration, so she sold it to Belgium. In 1953, Blount appeared on the WCAU Philadelphia television show “The Big Idea”, becoming the first African-American and the first woman to be given such recognition. On the program, she stated, “A Black woman can invent something for the benefit of human kind.”
in 1969, Blount went into law enforcement as a forensic scientist, at the Vineland police Department and the Norfolk Police Department. In the mid-1970s, she became the chief document examiner at the Portsmouth Police Department. In 1977 at 63, she became the first American woman accepted for advanced studies in the Document Div. of the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory, London, England (Scotland Yard), earning the affectionate nickname “Mom Bessie.” She continued in private practice training attorneys on the handling of questioned documents and advising various law enforcement agencies. She is a past member/associate of the International Association of Forensic Sciences (IAFS), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Virginia Women in History Past Honoree (2005) and the Montreal Rehabilitation Institute among other organizations. She donated her time and services to the Vineland NAACP, Camden Community College and the Creative Achievement Academy
She ran her own business as a forensic science consultant in the 1990s, until age 83, studying slave papers and Civil War documents as well as verifying the authenticity of documents containing Native American-U.S. treaties.
Bessie Griffin, at the age of 95 died at her Newfield home on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009.She is her legacy lives on through her son, Philip Griffin; grandchildren, Philip, Nicholas, Aaron Griffin and Katharine Wormus; and four great grand children
“A black woman can invent something for the benefit of humankind” – Bessie Blount