DENTISTRY IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY: AN ABBREVIATED OVERVIEW.....By Clifton O. Dummett, D.D.S.
In the 17th century, dental care was secondary to medical care and more often than not, medical practitioners supplied both. Prior to 1880 there were fewer than a dozen trained black dental practitioners in the southern United States, where the greatest number of African Americans resided. During the earliest forays of dental practice into black communities, several African Americans were identified as providers of varying levels of acceptable dental services.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, dentists were trained through apprenticeships and preceptorships. The dental profession received a boost in 1840 when the world's first dental school, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, was founded in Maryland. African Americans were not accepted for training at any dental schools until 1867, when Harvard University initiated its first dental class and accepted Robert T. Freeman as its first black student. A second African American, George Franklin Grant, graduated from Harvard in 1870 and subsequently was appointed to the school's dental faculty.
There were few trained black dentists in the early 19th century. However, preparation and training of African American dentists increased in the late 1800s with the establishment of Howard University's dental college in Washington, D.C. (1881); and the dental department of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee (1886). Since their inception, these two predominantly black schools have produced the majority of black dental graduates.Please click the link below for the whole story.....