Tracye McQuirter, MPH, was named a national food hero by Vegetarian Times. She's the author of the new book Ageless Vegan, and the national best-seller By Any Greens Necessary, which established her as one of the most influential vegans in the country, as well as the first free African American Vegan Starter Guide, with nearly 500,000 copies in print. As a public health nutritionist, author and 32-year vegan, Tracye has been teaching people how to live a healthy vegan lifestyle for 27 years.
Tracye McQuirter is an American public health nutritionist, vegan activist, author, and speaker.
McQuirter grew up in Washington D.C. and graduated from Sidwell Friends School in 1984. She received her B.A. from Amherst College in 1988, and her Masters in Public Health Nutrition (MPH) from New York University in 2003.
McQuirter was introduced to vegetarianism by her 7th-grade teachers at Sidwell Friends School. When McQuirter was a sophomore at Amherst College in 1986, the Black Student Union brought global human rights activist and Civil Rights Movement legend Dick Gregory to campus to talk about the state of Black
America. Instead, he talked about the plate of Black America — the health, politics, economics, and culture of what Black people ate, and why they should become vegetarians. McQuirter couldn't get what Gregory said out of her mind, so she began reading about vegetarianism.
McQuirter went to Howard University and discovered a large Black vegan and vegetarian community in Washington D.C. By the time she returned to Amherst for her senior year, she was a committed vegetarian. She was still eating cheese, so she was not yet a vegan, but was able to finally let go of cheese during her senior year.
During her senior year in college, McQuirter co-founded We Feed Our People in 1988 with her sister, Marya McQuirter, and friend Water McGill, to feed unhoused residents living in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr, Memorial Library in downtown Washington, DC.
McQuirter began her career as a museum director at the Mary McLeod Bethune National Historic Site in Washington, DC, from 1990–1996. While there, she served as an honorary delegate to the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1996, in recognition of Mary McLeod Bethune's role as a co-founder of the United Nations.
McQuirter served as a public policy liaison for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine from 1999 to 2000, where she was a strategist for the successful lawsuit against the USDA proving racial and food industry bias in the formation of U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
McQuirter co-founded the Black Vegetarian Society of New York in 2002, while in graduate school at New York University. After returning to DC, McQuirter directed the first federally funded vegan nutrition program in the U.S., the Vegetarian Society of DC Eat Smart Program, from 2004 to 2009. McQuirter also created the first vegan cooking and lecture series at Whole Foods stores in the Washington, DC, area, titled from Soul Food to Whole Food during that time.
According to the New York Times, her 2010 book, By Any Greens Necessary was a key book that contributed to the rise of veganism among African-Americans between the time of its release and 2017 (when the article was published).
She wrote her second book, Ageless Vegan, with her mother, Mary McQuirter in 2018, to celebrate their 30 years of being vegan.
In 2019, she was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame, and PBS named her a "Woman Thought Leader."
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