When the students at the University of Pennsylvania enter the Veterinary school, one of the first portraits they encounter is of African-American pioneer, Augustus Nathaniel Lushington.
Augustus Lushington of Trinidad was the first black degreed veterinarian in the United States. Lushington also worked as a meat inspector and weekend probation officer to make ends meet.
The animal specialist left his home in the British West Indies for Lynchburg, Virginia in the late 1800’s. He would walk miles to treat sick animals through farm country.
White farmers often requested Lushington to treat their livestock, and then refused to pay for his service. As a professional black man of the South in the early 1900’s, Lushington had no legal rights or the right to refuse service to non-payers. Despite the odds, he made a national name for himself in agriculture.
Though he was subject to the social depressions of blacks in the 19th century, Lushington’s work spoke volumes, gaining national recognition. He held memberships with the Federal Department of Agriculture and the Lychburg Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Lushington worked until he died in 1939. His practice was passed down to a father-son team, George Jackson, Sr. and George Jackson, Jr.