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Dr. Henry Lucas

Dr. Henry Lucas was born on February 27, 1932 in Rahway, New Jersey. Following his graduation from high school, Lucas attended Howard University and received his B.S. degree in 1957. He completed his studies in dentistry at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1960 and his postgraduate studies in orthodontics at the University of the Pacific in 1972.

Serving as a dentist in the U.S. Air Force before going into private practice as a dental surgeon, Lucas started his own private practice, the Sutter Place Dental Group in San Francisco, California. Recognized as one of the Outstanding Young Men of America in 1966, he was voted one of the top ten dentists in the United States in 2004. A lecturer at the University of the California School of Dentistry and a past president of the California State Board of Dental Examinations, Lucas is also a Fellow of the American Academy of General Dentistry and a member of the American Cosmetic Dentistry. His other professional affiliations include The American Society of Dentistry for Children and the California Dental Health Advisory Committee.

An active Republican, in 1981, President Reagan appointed Lucas to the President’s Commission on (Iran) Hostage Compensation. President Reagan later appointed him to the President’s Private Sector Initiative Task Force and the Department of Transportation Committee. Also a member of the Minority Business Resource Center, the Foundation for the Advancement of Minority Enterprise (FAME) and the Martin Luther King Commission for the State of California, Lucas founded and serves on the board of directors for the Time Savings and Loan Association. In 1997, he endowed the Henry Lucas, DDS Scholarship Fund at Meharry Medical College to assist promising dental students.

Lucas passed away on June 1, 2009 at the age of 77.

Lucas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 1, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.093

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/1/2005

Last Name

Lucas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Grover Cleveland

Rahway High

Meharry Medical College

University of the Pacific

Howard University

First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Rahway

HM ID

LUC04

Favorite Season

Winter

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Skiing in France

Favorite Quote

It Is Better To Have And Not Need Than To Need And Not Have.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/27/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Collard Greens, Fricasseed Chicken

Death Date

6/1/2009

Short Description

Dentist Dr. Henry Lucas (1932 - 2009 ) served as a dentist in the U.S. Air Force before going into private practice as a dental surgeon and heading a group practice, the Sutter Place Dental Group, in San Francisco. Lucas also lectured at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry and is a past president of the California State Board of Dental Examinations.

Employment

Martinez Outpatient Clinic

Sutter Place Dental Group

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Henry Lucas' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Henry Lucas lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his childhood in Rahway, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes the smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers being disciplined by his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers his favorite teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers working at the Mark Harris Department Store

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls his experience at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes being one of the few African Americans in Rahway, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his activities at Rahway High School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls his aspirations as a young man

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls issues about skin color at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls first learning black history at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Henry Lucas explains why he attended Meharry Medical College

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his experience at Meharry Medical College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers attending Howard University with HistoryMaker Andrew Young

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls serving in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Henry Lucas recounts a story from his time in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his experience at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Henry Lucas explains why he moved to California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls practicing with HistoryMaker Dr. Daniel A. Collins

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers becoming interested in politics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers surviving a life-threatening car accident

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers working on President Richard Milhous Nixon's campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers developing his black capitalism program

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers President George Walker Bush

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his practice

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Henry Lucas explains the benefits of alternative medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls being named one of the top ten dentists in the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes being recruited to the board of Meharry Medical College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls his efforts to keep Meharry Medical College from closing

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Henry Lucas recalls joining the President's Commission on Hostage Compensation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers serving on the President's Commission on Hostage Compensation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his philanthropic work

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his children

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Henry Lucas talks about skiing

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Henry Lucas gives his case for reparations

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Henry Lucas critiques the American welfare system

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Henry Lucas remembers President Ronald Wilson Reagan

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his hopes for the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Henry Lucas reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Henry Lucas explains his philosophy on life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes the African American community since the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Henry Lucas reflects upon his core values

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes his grandchildren

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Henry Lucas describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Henry Lucas speaks about the importance of history

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Dr. Henry Lucas recalls first learning black history at Howard University
Dr. Henry Lucas recalls joining the President's Commission on Hostage Compensation
Transcript
Coming from this very small town [Rahway, New Jersey] and going to [Washington] D.C., which was larger (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh yeah, it was like (laughter)--$$--and there were lots of black people there.$$Yeah.$$How did, how did you feel about that.$$Oh, I felt wonderful. I mean it was like a, like being on another planet 'cause I did not know that black people existed like this, I mean professors, teachers, beautiful women, you name it. I was like, you know, I was so excited about it all.$$And you started studying black history [at Howard University, Washington, D.C.]?$$Yeah, oh yeah.$$What kind of things did you discover?$$What did I discover? Oh, everything. I mean I started going back to days of slavery and the whole bit, you know, going back into the 17- 1600s, you know, and what happened, you know, how slave system came about and the whole bit. The more I read, the more angry I got (laughter). Oh, I really got angry. I can't begin to tell you how, what it did to me. I, I got over that though after a while because I was determined that that anger had to be turned into something more positive. And, and I, I don't, I don't know philosophically what caused that, but that's--you know, you go through being angry because you don't know anything about your past, and you know, and, and, and, and, and the fact that, that no one ever told you about it. You know, my mother [Margaret Williams Lucas] and father [Henry Lucas, Sr.] didn't, never told me anything about black history. In fact, you know something? The more I think about this, I think back in those days, black people were, were embarrassed that they were black. I, I more--I'm more convinced about that than ever before because my mother and father, and no, no one ever, you know. And I think, I think that that's, that was part of our history, so we never talked about it. I think that slavery was, was something that, that black people didn't talk about because they were embarrassed to be, to be, to have been slaves. And the sad part about that is, is that, that, that they should never have been. And I think that in today's world, I think things are a lot differently today. I think it, it's not one of punishment or one of, of revenge, but I think that, that today, in today's world, black people should never let the world forget slavery, just like Jews will never let the world forget the Holocaust. It's, it's not one--it's, it's some, it's, it's a, it's a thing that happened, and, but the world should never forget it.$$That's right--$$And that's, that's part of how I feel about it, and that's probably why I've done all the things I've done over the years.$$Okay. You mentioned you had all this anger, and was there anything that made you want to--and then you channeled it into something positive. Was there any spark, or how did you go about that? Was there any one thing, or just over time you just kind of--$$No, I, I think, I think that, I guess where I channeled it was being, was being the best, top student, top wherever I could be. And that was, that was my, you know, because of what I learned about slavery and what have you, my attitude was then hey, I'm gonna wind up being the best, not mediocre or whatever. I was, it was--I, I mean I'm not sure how, how it all happened, but that's, I think that was like--that's probably was my attitude.$I guess I was--let me think here. I think I'd just come off the Iranian hostage commission [President's Commission on Hostage Compensation] at the time, yeah, somewhere, somewhere, somewhere in there. You remember the Iranian hostage--$$Right.$$--situation.$$(Unclear) some, yeah, I do remember it.$$Yeah.$$And I noticed you were on the commission.$$Yeah, yeah.$$Could you tell us something about that experience?$$I can you some about it, but some of them I can't.$$Okay.$$When, if you recall, on the-Carter [President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.] was president at the time, and he was trying to get the hostage freed. And we had, we had sent in, sent in a couple more helicopters, and they got shot down and the whole bit and a couple of days before. And this was a couple of days before Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] was, was inaugurated. And that afternoon, Reagan was over at, at New York [New York]. The air raid was at twelve noon. And I think probably with, within the, I guess it was in an hour at the time the hostages were freed. Well, during the Carter administration the [U.S.] Congress had, had passed legislation to create a commission to deal with this situation. At the time, no one knew what was, was gonna be--I mean who was gonna win the elections, and it was bipartisan at the time. And depending upon whoever won the election would, the, the ruling party would have more seats on it than, than the out, outgoing party. Well, when Carter left, he left Cy Vance [Cyrus Vance], his secretary of state. And you remember Ms. Tricia Roberts [Patricia Roberts Harris]?$$Um-hm.$$Yeah, she, the two of them were--left on the committee. And so I get this call, and (unclear) coming to the White House [Washington, D.C.] and (laughter), and Mike [ph.] and them said to me and Neesom [ph.] to me, you know, we need a favor. And we need you to go on the Iran, Iranian hostage commission. I said you gotta be crazy. What's wrong with you guys (laughter)? I said you must be nuts. I don't wanna give out any hostages. I said come on, I, you know, I'll do anything I can to help, but I don't, I don't need this thing. And they said well, we, we just got to have some people. And there's another fellow who, who was Reagan's chief of finance at the time. I knew him. He and I were there at the time, and so it was he, myself, and another lady from--oh--what was that? I know her. She's since passed away, from South Carolina. Anyway, so three of us got, got put on this commission. And it was, it was--they assigned this lieutenant general to us to teach us about terrorism. It was, it was just unreal.