Dentist Harvey Bryant Smith was born October 22, 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents, Baptist Reverend Harvey Miles Smith and Stella Bryant Smith, attended Morehouse College and Spelman College, respectively, and were friends of Rev. A.D.Williams, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s grandfather. Smith grew up in Albany, Georgia, where his father was pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. He attended Ashby Street School in Atlanta, and Ware Street School and Monroe Elementary in Albany. Inspired by dentist Joseph Ellis, Smith dreamed of becoming a dentist. He graduated from Georgia Normal College High School, now Albany State University, as class president in 1939. After graduation as a pre-med student at Morehouse College in 1943, Smith entered the United States Army. The army paid his way through Howard University Dental School, and in 1946, he graduated, was married and opened a dental practice on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia.
Returning to the U.S. Army in 1951, Smith served as captain in the Dental Corps at Fort Stewart, Georgia through 1953. Smith became active in the integration of the Georgia State Dental Association in 1953. He also became a member of the Northern District Council for Dentistry. When Atlanta’s most prominent African American dentist, Dr. B.F. Anderson lost his arm, he gave his practice to Smith, who then worked to increase the practice. Smith’s patients included Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders. Appointed to the Advisory Board of the Georgia Dental Association by former United States President, then Governor Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s, Smith sought to encourage opportunities for black dentists.
Smith was a member of the National Dental Association, the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. In 2001, Smith retired and continued to live in the home he bought in 1957.
Smith and his wife, Laveda, had three grown children, Jane, Harvey and Homer.
Dr. Harvey Smith passed away on May 4, 2018.