Dr. Augustus Lushington (1869-1939)

Today’s high achiever of African American descent in veterinary medicine is Dr. Augustus Lushinton. This man was the first male of African descent to earn a DVM in the US! After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s 3-year veterinary program he moved to Lynchburg, Virginia even with the racial tensions occurring there. He began his veterinary adventure treating cows, horses and other live stock. Dr. Lushington would work multiple jobs to make ends meet and unfortunately never got to retire. You may wonder why this something that a veterinarian of livestock would have to do as it was a very important job to keep the farms healthy. The answer is simple. This wonderful and kind hearted man would walk miles to treat the different livestock that needed help and would give his services to these creatures even knowing he would not get paid! Now you may ask why he was not getting paid, well at this time many white farmers would refuse to pay him for his services and in these times had no practical right to refuse service. He continued on anyway and even though during this time he was unable to take any legal action for his unpaid services due to the colour of his skin. According to Arthur Bunyan Caldwell’s History of the American Negro: Virginia Edition, was that

the first essential to progress is a better understanding between the best elements of the two races.

Dr. Augustus Nathanial Lushington

Dr. Lushington being an important part of veterinary history, has many things to teach us in the world about understanding. Something we should all follow as veterinary medicine colleagues.

Written by: Ashley G, VT