Beebe Steven Lynk continues to be a highly searched and highly influential chemist who paved the way for Black Americans in chemistry, particularly Black women.
Lynk (née Beebe Steven) was born in Mason, a small town in western Tennessee lying about halfway between Jackson and Memphis. She is one of the first female, African-American, professional chemists in the US. Her early life and social background are poorly documented. For example, the educational backgrounds and professions of her parents are not known.
Beebe Steven, as she was then known, obtained a degree in 1892, at the age of 20, from Lane College, a historically black liberal-arts college located in Jackson, Tennessee. Lane had been founded only ten years earlier, in 1882. It is not known whether Steven entered the college early, or whether she pursued a two-year degree there. Since Lane specialized in the preparation of teachers and ministers, it is likely that Steven’s initial training was in teaching.
The following year, in 1893, Steven married Dr. Miles Vandahurst Lynk, a physician, author, publisher, and educator. Miles Lynk was the first African-American to establish a medical practice in Jackson. In 1900, Beebe Lynk assisted her husband in founding the University of West Tennessee (UWT), a black medical school, also located in Jackson.
In 1901, Lynk matriculated at UWT in pharmaceutical chemistry, a two-year program of study. She was awarded the degree of PhC (Pharmaceutical Chemist) in 1903. Almost immediately upon graduation, Lynk joined the faculty of UWT as professor of botanical Latin and materia medica (pharmacopoeia). She was one of two female faculty members, and one of only ten UWT professors altogether. In 1907, the Lynks and the rest of the UWT faculty all relocated to Memphis, where the university continued in operation until 1923, conferring some 216 medical degrees during the 23 years of its existence.
In addition to her contribution as a chemist and educator, Lynk is remembered for her book, Advice to Colored Women, published in 1896. She was also active in the women’s clubs movement, a network of private, volunteer organizations dedicated to raising the social and economic status of women through education and self-help. In 1919, Lynk published a textbook entitled, A Complete Course in Hair-Straightening and Beauty Culture.
According to Wikipedia,
Beebe Steven Lynk served as the professor of medical Latin botany and materia medica at the University of West Tennessee. She was an active member of the early black women's club movement, authoring a book, Advice to Colored Women in 1896.
Beebe Steven Lynk is affiliated with the following schools: