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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.