DUSK HEROINE: Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner

DUSK HEROINES are people who inspire us - dreamers, thinkers, poets, innovators, doctors, artists and activists who have shaped the world with their important work around female health. 

Presenting Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner. An inventor of numerous products we use today and has the most patents of any African American woman.

Kenner’s first patent was in 1957 for the sanitary belt. While she originally invented the sanitary belt in the 1920s, she couldn’t afford a patent. Over time she improved her earlier version and other versions that were patented before hers. The sanitary belt aimed to prevent the leakage of menstrual blood on clothing, which was a common problem for women at the time. The Sonn-Nap-Pack Company got word of this invention in 1957 and contacted her intending to market her invention, however when they discovered that she was Black, they declined. Beltless pads were invented in the 1970s and, as tampons became more popular, women stopped using sanitary belts.


Information from BlackPastHistory