She Exposed The Dangers Of ‘Hidden Hunger’

Flemmie Kittrell
Leslie Taylor-Grover
March 3, 2021

It seemed like Dr. Flemmie Kittrell was never satisfied. When she’d trained in “home economics,” she found ways to make everyday Black families healthier. When she was hired as a Dean at Hampton University, she created a nursery school for Black children in the local community. 

But now, a curious mystery dominated her thoughts.

Sent to Liberia to study hunger, she discovered children were suffering from malnutrition even though they were eating “enough!” This mysterious phenomenon was suspiciously similar to what she often saw among Black American children. So what was her plan to attack this issue?

Through her study in Liberia, she showed that malnutrition could show up as “hidden hunger,” caused by eating food that lacks necessary nutrients. Her work helped children in Zaire, Guinea, India, Japan, and many other countries – but she wasn’t finished.

Kittrell returned to the U.S., where she continued her work to strengthen Black families. Her initiative created studies and community outreach that improved the lives of Black families – and eventually led to the creation of the Head Start Program.

Kittrell wanted to ensure we had healthy Black families through the study of nutrition. Whether it’s by investing in healthy food, healthy relationships, or a healthy dose of Black history, we must always work to strengthen our community by strengthening our families and children!

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