On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Dr. Alfred Nelson Poindexter Jr., Prairie View A&M University professor emeritus and veterinarian. Dr. Poindexter, or “Doc” as his friends, colleagues and students affectionately called him began teaching animal science and practicing veterinary medicine at Prairie View A&M University in 1945, when he was 24 years old. He remained at PV for more than 50 years until his retirement in August 2004.
Before his retirement in 2004, Dr. Poindexter was the oldest practicing African American veterinarian in the United States.
Born on July 22, 1921, in Kansas City, MO., Dr. Poindexter attended Kansas State Teachers College for two years, and in 1945 he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Kansas State University. He was the only African American in his class. Dr. Poindexter then began his career at Prairie View A&M University as an adjunct lecturer. In 1947, he became a professor in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences and university veterinarian, a position he held for 59 years until his retirement. During his time at PV, Dr. Poindexter taught classes on anatomy and physiology, diseases and sanitation, animal health, animal breeding and reproductive physiology. He also provided veterinary services to the community and counties in the area.
In 1947, Dr. Poindexter became one of the first two African American members of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association. In 1992, he was selected by the Texas commissioner of agriculture as one of the four most outstanding African American agriculturalists in the state. He has also received the Humanitarian Award from Banneker Honors College and has a Gold Card Membership in the American Veterinary Medical Association. In 1995, Dr. Poindexter established the $300,000 A. N. Poindexter scholarship fund for students attending Prairie View A&M University. In 1996 he was the recipient of the George Washington Carver Award for Public Service from Tuskegee University. Also that year, he was inducted into the Texas Heritage Hall of Honor.
On August 19, 2006, Dr. Alfred N. Poindexter died from natural causes. He was 85.