George Franklin Grant was born in 1847 in Oswego, New York, the son of former slaves. He was a very intelligent man and a great student, and in 1867, after two years' apprenticeship with a local dentist, was awarded the first scholarship to Harvard Dental School given to an African-American. This was the first university-based dental school in the United States, and had only opened a year or two before. In 1870 Grant graduated with high honors in the second graduating class of the dental school.

Within two years, Grant was appointed Professor of Mechanical Dentistry at Harvard (the first black faculty member). He was internationally recognized for his invention of the oblate plate, a prosthetic device for people with cleft palate. He spent 19 years working at Harvard, and was a founding member of the Harvard Odontological Society. Grant was elected president of the Harvard Dental Alumni Association in 1881.

Also a golfer, Grant's concern for sanitary conditions made him dislike having to make a mound of sand to place the golf ball on before hitting it with a club. The results of hitting from different mounds also affected the player's game. In 1899 Grant patented the first golf tee. He made no money from his invention, and gave away tee to anyone who wanted them. Grant died in 1910.

Sources: A Journey Into 365 Days of Black History calendar 2001's_tee_time.htm