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Dr. Ada Cooper

Dentist and lawyer Dr. Ada Cooper was born on October 19, 1960 in New York City to Dr. H.H. Cooper, Jr. and Edith Blue Cooper. Cooper graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1978, and earned her B.A. degree cum laude in political science at Amherst College in 1982. She was awarded the John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship in Law to attend Harvard Law School, graduating with her J.D. degree in 1985. Cooper completed her D.D.S. degree at New York University College of Dentistry in 2002.

Cooper began her legal career as a litigator at the law firm of Jenner & Block in 1985, and then worked as an associate in the litigation section of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in New York from 1986 to 1989. Cooper returned to Jenner & Block in 1989, and was later named a partner in 1992. After thirteen years in the legal profession, Cooper returned to school to study dentistry. Not long after graduating from the New York University College of Dentistry in 2002, Cooper was selected to be a national spokesperson and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA). Cooper appeared on the Dr. Oz Show, CNN, NBC Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. She was also quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Women’s Health magazine.

Cooper served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section and Corporate Counsel Committee, as well as the United States District court, Northern District of Illinois, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She also served as a member of the NIDCR “PEARL” Protocol Review Committee, the Greater New York Dental Meeting Seminar Committee, the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the New York State Dental Association. In addition, she served as a member of the New York County Dental Society Legislative Committee and the New York State Dental Society Benefits Committee. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boys Club of New York, and serves on the board of directors of the New York County Dental Society. Cooper also received many awards and honors, including the American College of Dentists’ Outstanding Achievement Award, the New York University Key Pin Award for Outstanding Achievement, and induction into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Dental Society.

Dr. Ada Cooper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 23, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.028

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/23/2016

Last Name

Cooper

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Sheryl

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 20 Clinton Hill School

J.H.S. 104 Simon Baruch

Amherst College

Harvard Law School

New York University College of Dentistry

Stuyvesant High School

First Name

Ada

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

COO12

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/19/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Dentist and lawyer Dr. Ada Cooper (1960 - ) began her career as a litigator for Jenner & Block, before returning to school to become a dentist. She then represented the American Dental Association as a national spokesperson and consumer advisor.

Employment

Ada S. Cooper D.D.S.

H.H. Cooper Jr. D.D.S

American Dental Association

Mt Sinai Hospital Dental Clinic

Jenner & Block LLP

Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue

Favorite Color

Fall Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Ada Cooper's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her maternal family reunions

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes how her maternal great-great-grandparents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her maternal grandfather's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her paternal great-grandfather's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her paternal grandfather's education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her paternal family's interest in medicine

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her paternal family's legacy in dentistry

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her father's early career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls her father's entrepreneurship in Nigeria

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers moving to the Upper East Side of Manhattan

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her community on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her community on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers her father's rules

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers her mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls her decision to attend Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her and her siblings' education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls joining the law firm of Jenner and Block in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her career at Jenner and Block

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers defending a homeless client, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers defending a homeless client, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers her mentors at Jenner and Block

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes the advantages of workplace diversity

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls her decision to pursue a career in dentistry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers her father's support for her career change

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls graduating from the New York University College of Dentistry

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers practicing dentistry with her father

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about the birth of her children

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls becoming the national spokeswoman for the American Dental Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her father's innovations in dentistry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her dental practice

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her advice to aspiring lawyers and dentists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her children

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Dr. Ada Cooper describes her career at Jenner and Block
Dr. Ada Cooper recalls her decision to pursue a career in dentistry
Transcript
I remember--you know, I remember small things and acts of real genuine appreciation. I worked in a group that was headed by a man named Jerold Solovy who died a few years ago and I remember being a first or second year associate and I was at the office really late working on a memo that I was writing for something, and Jerry and a number of the other partners were on trial, and they were out of town and they called. It must've been one or two o'clock in the morning. I don't know why I was there, but I was there. And he called and he talked to the operator because he was looking desperately for an associate to research a particular question, okay.$$At one or two o'clock in the morning?$$And he searched around and they searched around and I was there. From that moment on, he was one of my absolute ardent supporters. I think that what he appreciated was not the fact that I was there at one or two o'clock in the morning alone, wasn't necessarily the fact that, you know, I got the right answer or whatever it was, I think that what he really valued was commitment, was commitment, and, and the hard work that comes with that. And since that's something that had been instilled in me from the time that I was five, it sort of came naturally (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) You have to work hard.$$--and easily to me, you know, came easily to me and that's something that I could do. That's something that I could do easily. So, I was very happy. I was very happy. There were some cases that I think were more gratifying than others. Some of the cases that I found most gratifying were the habeas corpus cases where I knew that the work that I put in had, you know, a direct effect of having somebody who had been accused of a crime represented with, you know, skill and success. There were others that were disappointing, disappointing not because of the way that the firm [Jenner and Block] handled it by any means, but because I became acutely aware of the fact that your hard work, your diligence in the legal system doesn't always pay off. And some of the instances in which my hard work didn't pay off and resulted in a bad decision were very difficult, were very, very difficult, and I found it difficult to become the kind of lawyer that could see practicing law just as a sport, you make your good argument, the joy and the thrill comes from the argument itself and not from the result. I was much more I think psychologically tied to the result and losing became really defeating, honestly. And I have to say there weren't many losses and there were some cases that I thought, we probably should lose, honestly, and in those instances, you give your client what they deserve, which is the best conceivable representation. But there were some instances where I really thought that we should have won.$And so I'm wondering, as, as you were making up your mind that it's time for you to make a different choice, did you have any feelings of guilt about the possibility of leaving and, and you being one of those people who, oh, they invested in me and, and--$$It's funny. No--well, I think that when I left, there were lots of mixed feelings among the people that I worked with. A lot of people thought that it was sort of wasted talent. I think that Jerry Solovy who was a--just a really amazing mentor to me thought that I would be back, thought that I would be back. And, and I, frankly, wasn't certain that I wouldn't be back. I always held out the possibility in my mind that I could always go back to practicing law. And so when I first decided to change careers, I had to do all the premed things that I didn't do my freshman year in college [Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts], and I started to do those in Chicago [Illinois] while I was still a partner [at Jenner and Block].$$Did you tell anybody you were doing this (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) No.$$So, how in the world--$$No.$$--did you find time if you're still sometimes being at the office at one o'clock in the morning?$$Here's the thing that I found, that the things that I did in--that, that I did in college and high school [Stuyvesant High School, New York, New York] were a lot easier at that point because I was a lot more mature, I was a lot more focused, I was a lot more organized, and because I had been practicing law for so long, I was able to cut through the nonsense and identify really quickly what mattered in various subjects, and that made the work a lot--a lot easier and a lot less time-consuming.$$Well, and people have said that preparation to be a lawyer really can prepare you for anything.$$Oh, yeah, yeah. And, and, and, and preparation to be a lawyer and taking the bar required learning volumes and volumes and volumes of material and sitting through, you know, two or three day exams, and with--even as you're practicing law, each case that you have requires you on some level to become an expert in whatever the subject matter of the case is, and you learn to become an expert really, really quickly. And so the training that I got in practicing law and becoming a lawyer and passing the bar and then practicing law made it a lot easier for me to take those, you know, college courses, and, and devote, you know, whatever time I had to it, at night while I was still practicing.$$Where did you study?$$I started taking courses at Loyola University [Loyola University Chicago] in Chicago and after doing that for about a year, I resigned from the partnership, told people what I was doing, resigned from the partnership and moved to New York [New York] where my father's [Henry Cooper, Jr.] practice was at the time, and took courses at NYU [New York University College of Dentistry, New York, New York] and Hunter [Hunter College, New York, New York].

Dr. Harvey Smith

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.

Accession Number

A2005.202

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/24/2005

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Georgia Normal College High School

Monroe Elementary School

Ware Street School

Ashby Street School

Ashby Street Learning Academy

Morehouse College

Howard University

First Name

Harvey

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

SMI11

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

Take Care Of Business.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/22/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish

Death Date

5/4/2018

Short Description

Dentist Dr. Harvey Smith (1922 - 2018 ) was a captain in the Dental Corps of the U.S. Army. As a dentist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of his patients.

Employment

Private Practice

U.S. Army

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:357,2:15112,331:18304,400:20204,443:20888,463:24232,527:35380,635:38400,655:39183,736:43702,795:47106,842:47474,847:59239,1009:61878,1051:76250,1266:85762,1371:86234,1380:95130,1476:95386,1481:104549,1621:106595,1650:120134,1874:121901,1895:122273,1900:126384,1931:130212,2009:136976,2223:145466,2307:154118,2536:170306,2691:170782,2700:178340,2834:178616,2839:179996,2860:195802,3058:198196,3122:221780,3450$0,0:1790,20:11284,127:12488,144:13004,151:26374,333:27256,343:40534,562:49335,694:53328,750:54496,775:78730,1153:101581,1468:104608,1508:109822,1694:113377,1834:119733,1902:144960,2185:157410,2323
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Harvey Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Harvey Smith lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his paternal family's history as ministers

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his father as a pastor in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his father becoming a pastor in Albany, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his conversations with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his inspiration to become a dentist

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his jobs as a young boy in Albany, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes the sights of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls a lynching near Albany, Georgia around 1934

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls attending school in Albany, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his favorite high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls having to work to attend Morehouse College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his experience at Morehouse College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls Dr. Benjamin Mays

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his extracurricular activities in college

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his favorite teachers at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls joining the Army Specialized Training Program

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls starting a family and a dental practice

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls serving in the Army Dental Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls integrating the Georgia Dental Association

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his first job as a dentist

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes inheriting his dental practice

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls a fundraiser with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. moving back to Atlanta

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls the effect of integration on black businesses

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes attending Atlanta's Friendship Baptist Church

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Harvey Smith reflects upon the evolution of dentistry, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Harvey Smith reflects upon the evolution of dentistry, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Harvey Smith reflects upon the evolution of clients' expectations

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Harvey Smith reflects upon his mistakes as a young dentist

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his experience at Atlanta's Ben Massell Dental Clinic

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Harvey Smith reflects upon his career's highlights

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Harvey Smith reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Harvey Smith reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Harvey Smith talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Harvey Smith reflects upon his career's highlights and his religion

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Harvey Smith describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Dr. Harvey Smith recalls joining the Army Specialized Training Program
Dr. Harvey Smith recalls his experience at Atlanta's Ben Massell Dental Clinic
Transcript
I finished Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] and went on to, to Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.] of course. When I, when I did go to Howard and making a decision, of course, back in those days, all--the only words that you knew was Meharry [Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee]. Everybody knew about Meharry; wasn't nobody talking about no Howard or nothing like that. But when I got time to go to dental school, I had heard about Howard and learned about Howard. I decided I was gone be different. I didn't want to go to Meharry, so I applied for Howard--$$Okay.$$--and I got accepted to Howard University.$$To the school of dentistry [Howard University College of Dentistry, Washington, D.C.]?$$School of dentistry.$$Okay.$$I sure did, and I--when I was going to Howard I knew that I was not going to have money to stay. And I knew my parents [Stella Bryant Smith and Harvey Smith] wasn't able to send me there. But it was World War II [WWII], I guess. And they had established the Army Specialized Training Program [ASTP] in the colleges; Army Specialized Training. So if you were in dentistry or medicine, if you got in medical or dental school and could get in the Army Specialized Training Program, they paid for your school. So I went there knowing I wasn't gone be able to stay if I couldn't get in the Army Specialized Training Program. And I got there; was doing fine; was living with Robert Smith [ph.], a friend of mine from Morehouse. We both taking dentistry, and he got in on the Army Specialized Training Program first and looked like I wasn't gone get in--my money run out, I didn't have money. And so I told Smitty, my roommate, I told him I said, "Smitty, I'm not gone be able to stay 'cause my money running out and I'm not getting in the [U.S.] Army. And I just don't know what in the world I'm gone do." Robert Smith was his name from Waycross, Georgia, and he grabbed me by the hand and look me dead in the eye and said to me, "You ain't going nowhere. I'll take care of you 'til you get in the Army." And he did; he paid my room rent there 'cause in about thirty days later, they inducted me into the Army. They took me into the Army and from that point on there was no problem.$$Now what, what year was that when you were inducted into the Army?$$Okay let's see I went there 1943, see (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So that's in the heart of the war?$$Yeah, see it was in the in the summer of '43 [1943] when I got inducted into the Army and they kept us two years. And they had enough dentists in the Army; they didn't need no more dentists. So they put the dentists out of the Specialized Training Program all over the country. And then I had to hustle to make it by myself then. But I'd been there long enough to get established; got me a job at the post office working after school. I'd get off in time to come, go to class, you know, so I made it all right 'cause the government had paid most of my way. And I made it, made it through just fine. Dental school was not a problem. But for me, I was doing all right; always a subject I have trouble with; didn't, didn't pass comparative anatomy. I had to take that course over in dental school, but I finally got through with it. Never was on the honor roll there, just another student, just hitting it hard, yes sir (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So when did you finish, was that 1946?$$Forty-six [1946].$$Okay.$The Ben practice in dentistry, I learned that in the Ben Massell Dental Clinic [Atlanta, Georgia]. That was a clinic that was sponsored by the Jewish people; they sponsored the Ben Massell Dental Clinic.$$How do you spell that?$$B-E-N, M-A-S-E-L [sic.], Ben Masell it was a Jewish--you didn't pay nothing to go there. And it was a volunteer work, so we black dentists was volunteering to go on Wednesday. That's the only day they would let us come; we'd have to come on Wednesday. And the white dentists, of course, could go whatever day they wanted to give some time; say well I'll take off on Thursday, I'll give some time on Thursday. But any rate, I never shall forget that Dr. Marvin Goldstein was the administrator of the clinic. And one time I remember that the president of the Emory University School of Dentistry [Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia] came to visit in the clinic. And he--Dr. Goldstein was walking him around the clinic introducing him to everybody, but when he got to me and Dr. Robinson [ph.], he didn't let us meet the good doctor, I guess because we were black. But another thing I learned there, there was a white dentist by the name of Dr. Harris [ph.], who was a root canal therapist. And he worked in there too, so they asked him, they wanted him to run the clinic to be in charge, to be the supervisor of the clinic, Dr. Harris, white dentist. So they asked Dr. Harris; say, "Dr. Harris, would you be the director of the dental clinic?" And he said to them, "Yes I would, under one circumstances, and that is that you let the black dentists come like we do when they can. And when they can give the time and if you're--if you do that I'll be the director." And that--he was an endodontist, root canal therapist, and I thought he was such a beautiful person; he stayed that way all during the time during my practice.$$Now what year was that?$$Ben Massell Dental Clinic; I'd come out of the [U.S.] Army then. I would say it was in the, in the early '60s [1960s].$$Okay.$$That's when that was, in the early '60s [1960s], yep.$$So he helped to integrate the (simultaneous)--?$$(Simultaneous) Oh yes, he sure did. He did integrate it. Yeah, he integrated it, and it stayed that way; it's that way even till today and they still have a beautiful clinic. Yep.

Dr. Judith M. Davenport

Dentist Judith Marylyn Davenport was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 10, 1939. After graduating from Taylor-Allderdice High School, Davenport attended Penn State University, earning her B.S. degree in 1961. Davenport continued her education several years later, earning a master’s of public health in 1973 and then a doctorate of dental medicine degree in 1979, both from the University of Pittsburgh.

While earning her M.P.H, Davenport focused on low-income dental programs, and this furthered her desire to become a dentist. After completing her D.M.D., Davenport opened her own private practice in 1982, where she continued to practice until she retired in 2000. As a dentist, Davenport was featured in Fred Rogers’ Going to the Dentist, as well as the video Women in Dentistry. In addition, she and her husband, Ronald Davenport, Sr., founded the Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation in 1973. Starting with four radio stations, now the corporation’s holdings include the American Urban Radio Network, with 400 affiliates around the country.

Since her retirement from dentistry, Davenport has remained active on a number of committees in the community. She serves as a trustee of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Pittsburgh Public Theater, among others. She is also the chair of the board of directors for Carlow College and is on the Washington Regional Selection Panel for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Some of her many awards include the Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania Award and the Distinguished Alumna Award from Pennsylvania State University.

Accession Number

A2004.136

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/20/2004

Last Name

Davenport

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Marylyn

Occupation
Schools

Taylor Allderdice High School

Pennsylvania State University

Burgwin Elementary School

Gladstone Middle School

University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health

University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine

First Name

Judith

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

DAV15

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Never Say Never.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

8/10/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pittsburgh

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Dentist Dr. Judith M. Davenport (1939 - ) co-founded the Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation, which began with four radio stations, and has expanded to include the American Urban Radio Network, with 400 affiliates around the country.

Employment

Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation

Judith M. Davenport DMD.

Favorite Color

Green, Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Judith M. Davenport's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her maternal family's interaction with the Daughters of the American Revolution

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her mother's immediate family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her maternal grandfather's conflict in the A.M.E. Zion church

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her maternal grandfather's activism

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport lists her mother's various childhood homes

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her maternal grandmother losing her savings during the Stock Market Crash of 1929

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her mother's catering career

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her maternal grandfather's education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes how her parents met and married in Akron, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her father's work at U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes growing up in the Glen Hazel Heights housing project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her childhood role models

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her maternal grandmother's disapproval of historically black colleges and universities in the South

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about the loss of her maternal grandmother's family history

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes attending Burgwin Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about visiting the library as a child and the music her family listened to

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about going to church and listening to the radio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her mother losing a radio broadcasting job to disc jockey, Mary Dee and the creation of Loftin Party Service

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes attending Gladstone Middle School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her relationship with her Jewish classmates at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes the prejudice she faced from administrators at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania and the freedom there

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her fellow students at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about a Ph.D. student she worked with at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes meeting her husband, HistoryMaker Ronald Davenport, and settling in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with him

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes going to the University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about being accepted into the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes a sexist incident in her admission process to the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and her study group

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport remembers the sexism and racism at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her mentor at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about the dental practices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that she worked in

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport reflects upon her career in dentistry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about the medical advances in dentistry and dentures

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about the availability of affordable dentistry and the challenges facing new dentists

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes common dental issues among African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her affiliation with dental associations

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport explains her decision to pursue dentistry rather than medicine or a career in broadcasting

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about founding Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation with HistoryMaker Ronald Davenport in 1972, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about founding Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation with HistoryMaker Ronald Davenport in 1972, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her organizational affiliations and activities

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about her father's interest in dentistry

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Dr. Judith M. Davenport describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about being accepted into the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Dr. Judith M. Davenport talks about founding Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation with HistoryMaker Ronald Davenport in 1972, pt. 1
Transcript
So I had to do a thesis and I did my thesis on a dental health program in--at the--at Allegheny General Hospital [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] which was a program in which kids got dental treatment if their parents signed a form but the parents didn't have to be there. Most of the reason--one of the main reasons children do not seek--I mean children don't have proper dental care is because the parents are responsible for seeing to it that they get to the dentist. So this was a way--this program was a way of taking the responsibility of getting the child to the office away from the parent by them signing a note. And the school was involved. There was a bus that would go to the school on certain days, these kids would come in, and they were brought into our clinic. So this program really fascinated me. I just--it was wonderful. It was a great program and I saw these kids getting all kinds of dental care and, you know, I was--and I'd always had dental problems of my own. So I said to one of the doctors in the program, I said, "Dr. [Harold] Binstock, you know, I--you know, I think I'm really just a frustrated dentist. I really should've gone to dental school." So he said, "Judy, it's not too late." So I said, "What do you mean?" So he said, "What did you major in? What's your grade"--so I told him, I said, " I was in medical technology but it was--you know, I said I had all--every chemistry course they offered, I had physics, I had math," I said--he said, "Why don't you apply to dental school?" So I said, "Do you really think so?" So he said, "Yeah." So I applied. I got the application and I just, stupidly, I just went and sat in at the--took the DAT, the Dental Aptitude Test, and I did poorly on the aptitude test. Well, I was furious with myself. So I said, get your brain together, get the book. There is a book on the Dental Aptitudes. Everybody studies for the Med CATs [Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)]. I remember kids studying for the Med CATs when I was in college [Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania]. Get the book, do the homework, take the test--retake the test. So I did that and I did very well on the test, so I took my application, et cetera, up to Pitt [University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], and they said, "Well, you know, you look like a strong student, but, you know, we're not--why don't you take organic chemistry in the summer?" Well, organic chemistry I had already had, and I said, "I already had organic." They said, "Yeah, but, you know, maybe it was--it's old." Organic is never old, but anyway, so they made me--they suggested that I take this organic chemistry course, which was four weeks, four hours a day, and I took the course and I did very well in the course. They didn't make me take the lab, but I took the course. And I took my grade in to the dean of admissions and he said, "You got a B in organic chemistry in the four-week summer program? Most kids fail." I said, "Yes." He said, "You're in."$Now what station did you buy and how did you come into that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) We bought four radio stations. In 1972, we bought WAMO [WAMO Radio, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], WILD [WILD Radio] in Boston [Massachusetts], WAMO--AMF [ph.] in Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], WILD in Boston, and WUFO [WUFO Radio] in Buffalo [New York].$$Now what gave you the idea to buy radio stations or did you come into--$$Well, Ron [HistoryMaker Ronald Davenport] and I were talking and we would always talk about ways in which we could, you know, have an independent source of income, and we thought about banks, banking, and we thought about newspapers. And Ron is a very--he's a big reader of biographies, and he had noted that many people had made their, gotten start in, in radio, and one of them was [President] Lyndon Baines Johnson. So we were looking and he said, you know, black radio, radio is an interesting thing. We didn't care if it was black, white, green or indifferent. But we figured if we were into black radio, whatever we were in, we, we wanted something that did not make us dependent on white folks for an income. So this opportunity--Ron had a student who was researching the opportunities for--in broadcasting, banking, and newspapers. Because John [H.] Sengsacke was a friend; we knew the [Pittsburgh] Courier [New Pittsburgh Courier] people. So anyway, it turned out that these four radio stations were available, and we started getting excited about it, you know. I said--I said, "Ron, that's the old station that they rejected mom from, you know (laughter) that?" So he said, "Yes." So we--you know, we put together--there were about four of us, Maggie [ph.], Art [ph.], Reagan [ph.]--there were four of us. We put together a group and the bank--we put some money in, but the bank lent us the money to buy these radio stations. And Ron had--Ron was very active in our community and he had made some very good friends, and one of them was a banker and--Johnny Myer [ph.], vouched for us to get this loan. He was president of Mellon Bank [Mellon Financial Corporation; BNY Mellon, New York, New York], and that's how we got the loan. But we--you know, we hired the staff, and we thought, oh, this will be ideal, we'll just live off this income. But, you know, (laughter) it doesn't work that way often--very often.

Dr. Enrique A. Riggs

Harlem dentist and businessman Dr. Enrique A. Riggs was born on June 3, 1943, in Panama City, Panama, to Winifred and Eric Riggs. Riggs is an active member of several civic organizations and the Army Reserve.

After earning his B.A. in psychology from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Riggs enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1968, rising to the rank of colonel in the Dental Corps. He earned his master's degree in counseling from the State University of New York at Albany in 1971, and in 1978 he received his degree in clinical dentistry from Howard University. Since 1978, Riggs has been in private practice in Harlem at an office he owns with his wife. Riggs was a co-founder in 1983 of the Small Business Stock Exchange of America, providing growing and emerging companies with expansion capital. He earned an M.B.A. in finance from Iona College in 1997 with a certificate in international business.

Since 1995, Riggs has served as a military academy liaison at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He is responsible for recruiting cadets from the New York area and minority cadets from the nation at large. Following the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, Riggs used his professional expertise to examine dental records and help identify victims at Ground Zero. In 2002, the U.S. Army Dental Command appointed Riggs North Atlantic Region Dental Commander in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Riggs has been active in a number of other civic and professional organizations, including the 100 Black Men, the American Association of Securities Dealers and the American Dental Association. He sits on the Boulé Foundation Board. He and his wife, Dr. Carol Morales, were married in 1983 and have one daughter, Myra Christine. Riggs lives with his family in White Plains, New York.

Accession Number

A2003.216

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/17/2003 |and| 6/7/2005

Last Name

Riggs

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

Central State University

State University of New York at Albany

Iona College

Howard University

First Name

Enrique

Birth City, State, Country

Panama City

HM ID

RIG01

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/3/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Panama

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Dentist Dr. Enrique A. Riggs (1943 - ) co-founded the Small Business Stock Exchange of America in 1983 and has served on its board of directors. Riggs also served as a military academy liaison at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and was appointed as the North Atlantic Region Dental Commander in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Employment

State University New York Albany

Hudson Valley Community College

Delete

NYSA-ILA Medical Center

New York State Department of Corrections

Small Business Stock Exchange

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Enrique A. Riggs' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his mother and how his family came to Panama

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes his mother and various phrases she used

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his father and the death of his older brother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his desire to visit Panama

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs recalls his earliest childhood memories of Panama

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs recalls moving to New York, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes his move to Harlem, New York and ethnic divides in the area

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about learning to cook and adjusting to America as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs recalls his childhood in New York, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his family's musical abilities and how he became interested in drumming

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about taking up the drums

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes the schools he attended as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about jazz musicians he admired as a junior high schooler

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes how he was exposed to jazz as a child and his involvement in the Minisink Warriors

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes growing up near musicians Jimmy Cobb and Ben Riley

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his love for playing the drums

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs reflects upon how well-regarded jazz musicians found their sound

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about running track as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes his interests as a youth inside and out of school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his parents' support for his decisions

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his family's expectations and his involvement with the Order of the Arrow as a Boy Scout

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his path to higher education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs recalls what led him to attend Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about the history of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and his time as a student there

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his decision to major in psychology

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about Dr. Charles Wesley, president of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about social unrest at Central State University during the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about the musical tradition at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Enrique A. Riggs' interview, session two

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs recalls being drafted into both the NFL and the U.S. Army in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about playing for the Green Bay Packers as a reserve player

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about black players for the Green Bay Packers

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs recalls being drafted into the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about earning his M.A. degree and working for Educational Opportunities Program

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about a doll test project he worked on in the early 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes how he ended up studying dentistry, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes how he ended up studying dentistry, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes his experience at Howard University College of Dentistry in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes his experience at Howard University College of Dentistry in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about the musical tradition at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about the musical tradition at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about opening the Small Business Stock Exchange of America, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about opening the Small Business Stock Exchange of America, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his dental practice

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his dental residencies with Dr. Marcus Moore and at Sydenham Hospital in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about an endeavor into opening a teaching hospital in the Bahamas

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about returning to school in 1995 to pursue an M.B.A. degree

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his dental training and that of black dentists during World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about race issues in dentistry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about practicing forensic dentistry following September 11th

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about going to Mississippi during the 1960s and the importance of historical understanding

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about trying to block funding-cuts for Central State University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs recalls presenting a threat analysis for on an oil company during business school

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs laments the state of contemporary education

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes his experience in the U.S. military during the Gulf War

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about being stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and being a recruiter for West Point in New York

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes how he recruited minorities to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in West Point, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs reflects upon his experience in the military

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about organizations in which he has taken part

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs explains why he agreed to be interviewed for The HistoryMakers

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Dr. Enrique A. Riggs reflects upon his legacy and words from HistoryMaker Ossie Davis

DASession

2$2

DATape

4$5

DAStory

10$7

DATitle
Dr. Enrique A. Riggs describes his experience at Howard University College of Dentistry in Washington, D.C., pt. 1
Dr. Enrique A. Riggs talks about his dental residencies with Dr. Marcus Moore and at Sydenham Hospital in New York, New York
Transcript
Howard [University College of Dentistry, Washington, D.C.], and what was that experience like, Howard University 1970, in the '70s [1970s] up until '78 [1978] when you completed it?$$Stressful, but wonderful, wonderful. I would not have wanted to do it any other way.$$Who were some of your instructors and some of the influential people on campus in, in the '70s [1970s]?$$As far as dental school was concerned, there were a number of, of instructors and professors that we had in dental school that, that made an impact. Certainly, Dr. Henry, Joe Henry [Joseph L. Henry] who was our dean, I'm sorry he was presi, he was the dean of the dental school. He was one person who made an impact. Well, a lot of them, Dr. [James] Stanback, who was a professor and chairman of the oral surgery department. In fact, the entire oral surgery department was a superb group of individuals. There was a gentleman who I was very close to over the years, a Dr. Hancock, Victor Hancock who was a Tuskegee Airmen who just recently, recently passed about a month ago, month and a half ago. Victor was chairman of American Express, Kenneth Chenault's father-in-law. Victor, Victor was a very, very unique man. Dr. Marcus Moore, he wasn't a professor, but he was a doctor who I started working with when I first got out of dental school. In fact, this was a gentleman that, that my wife and I purchased his practice when I retired. He has now since passed on. He was a major force and my, my first father-in-law also was a, was a dentist, that's Dr. Alfred Proctter [ph.] out of Norfolk, Virginia.$So let's talk about developing the practice. How, how did you go about doing that? I mean you're a young man, you're straight out of Howard's dental school [Howard University College of Dentistry, Washington, D.C.], you buy the practice and what's the day-to-day life--?$$Well, that didn't happen automatically. You come out of dental school and, and one of the things that you want to do, if at all possible, is to secure a post-graduate training program. Then we didn't have that many post-graduate training programs in dentistry. The difference between getting post-graduate dental training and post-graduate medical training is that every physician that finishes medical school has his name on a residency somewhere in this country. It may be his or her first choice; it might not be his or her first choice, but they have their name on a residency program somewhere in his country. It's sort of the next step. In dentistry, there not that many residency programs around. We're getting better, it's growing, but these residency programs are so highly coveted and so highly competitive and very, very difficult to get. So, my first year out of school I worked with Dr. Moore in the office and looking around for other opportunities because you can walk into an office and see patients lined up wall to wall every day. It wasn't like that. It's not like that today. So, oftentimes you found yourself sitting around twirling your thumbs looking at the four walls. Part of that is that a lot of our patients now are not staying uptown, they're going downtown. They're going elsewhere were we don't go because we can't go for whatever reasons. But, you just happen to mention it's ironic that you, you don't have a black dentist, you didn't know many. Well, that's the story that a lot of people are beginning to talk about now. They're saying I never had a black, a black doctor before. You know one of the patients that I had is during my residency program--I did get a residency program--Sydenham Hospital [New York, New York] on 125th Street which just really broke my heart. I was on emergency service one day and a woman came in she was obviously upwards of eighty. She came in on emergency basis and she had a, denture work being done there at the hospital. She came in and she had a complaint that whenever she drank hot tea that her teeth just kept moving and I just thought gee that didn't sound unusual, that's sounded a little, a little unusual. So, I asked her more questions and, heat sort of oriented questions, when you eat hot food do the teeth move around, you know tell me more. She said well anytime she eats or when she drinks hot tea the teeth just seems to move. So, I said okay well let me just take a look at, at your denture. I had took out the denture, and you know what she was wearing, she was wearing what we call a trial denture. This is a denture that we set in wax before it's sent to the lab to be fabricated. Someone let this woman go out with a trial denture, the teeth sat in wax as the competed denture. And the thing that broke my heart about it was that she said to me, she kept staring and I wondered if there was something wrong and I said well, I can't recall her name now, I said is there a problem. She says no, she said you make me so proud I've never had a black doctor before, but she was upwards of eighty years old. That broke my heart. So, we deal with some of that. But, you know, you get through it and so these are the kinds of things that, that had another dimension to your life and you try to make it better, you try to change things, if you can. So, overall, the dental practice is one of the most positive things in my life. I enjoy it. My wife's [HM Carol Morales] a dentist. She does a lot of the general work--she's a HistoryMaker as well, and I now come in and I do the difficult surgical procedures and that's what I really enjoy; I enjoy that.