The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

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
0,0:1761,37:10516,96:11027,104:12920,140:17584,212:18992,234:20224,249:24840,312:26336,341:26880,350:27220,356:27492,361:28240,375:30470,383:31290,395:32110,407:35144,470:36538,491:40690,512:41581,523:44134,541:45104,553:47200,566:47980,573:48500,578:51524,602:54572,627:55499,638:57971,686:60237,721:60752,727:69560,875:70010,881:70820,898:78771,993:80318,1012:84322,1117:86597,1172:101610,1388:102585,1410:112430,1546:117877,1611:126295,1749:141700,1883:142330,1893:146110,2016:151215,2120:153115,2146:154540,2162:155205,2177:155965,2194:157105,2213:163246,2332:167020,2376:174650,2432:175010,2478:175640,2486:188491,2649:188815,2668:189544,2678:189949,2685:190273,2690:190597,2695:191164,2703:191893,2713:192379,2721:193594,2736:201454,2767:202042,2776:203218,2793:203554,2798:204058,2810:206020,2819:208389,2868:215063,2933:218050,2963:228280,3062$0,0:3262,113:18644,462:18940,467:42140,679:43428,689:48074,719:48542,724:48854,729:49634,740:49946,745:60914,890:68706,1005:69022,1010:69338,1015:69733,1021:71708,1063:72419,1073:82934,1182:86810,1220:92230,1247:93946,1268:94783,1394:111816,1530:112369,1538:113949,1561:114818,1587:121563,1660:121878,1666:134615,1748:135290,1759:138780,1809:139509,1826:152445,1933:153210,1943:160807,2046:170370,2239:177890,2349
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.