Gladys Kidd Jennings


Today, we’re focusing on a revolutionary figure in the nutrition field, Gladys Kidd Jennings. Jennings was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1925 and studied nutrition and dietetics throughout her schooling. She earned a BS in Dietetics from Ohio State University in 1945 and a master’s degree in Foods and Nutrition from Washington State University in 1948. In fact, Jennings was the first African American woman and person of color to gain a master’s degree at the university! She spent the rest of her life teaching nutrition and dietetics at various universities, and she was also involved in several organizations to promote nutrition and the study of it to the Black community.

Jennings was an active member in the education and nutrition fields, but she is best remembered for her commitment to promoting Black inclusion in her studies. Her early work focused on safe food habits and preparation, but she later devoted her teachings to African American health. She wrote numerous essays and theses on how the Black community could improve their health, and she also spoke about how they could make healthy choices while still embracing the food of their cultures. Jennings remained in this field for most of the 20th century and has been retired in Washington State since 2008.

Jennings was a pioneer and a true example of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. She brought awareness to the struggles that the Black community faced in receiving proper nutrition and helped provide them with the resources they needed while still retaining their culture. Her work has inspired countless of Black female nutritionists to follow in her footsteps and provide nutritional education throughout their communities.

For more information about Jennings, visit

Last updated February 22, 2022