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Dr. Daniel A. Collins

Dentist Daniel A. Collins was born on January 11, 1916, in Darlington, South Carolina. Collins attended elementary school and high school in Darling, South Carolina. Following high school graduation in 1932, Collins attended Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, from which he received his B.S. degree in science in 1936. Collins continued his studies at Meharry Medical College, where he earned his D.D.S. degree in 1941; he later obtained his master’s degree in dental science from the University of San Francisco in 1944.

Prior to moving to California, Collins studied children’s dentistry at the Guggenheim Clinic in New York City. Collins was offered a teaching position in California in 1942, where he became the first black dentist on the faculty of the School of Dental Science at the University of San Francisco; he continued teaching until 1968, when he opened a private practice that included several prominent people. Collins founded the Oral-Facial Consultative Service, which provided constructive surgery for those with facial deformities, and was a co-publisher of the newspaper Reporter. Collins later joined Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. as Director of the West Coast Division, where he was instrumental in hiring several black authors and staff members; two of his acquisitions were The Black Child in White America, by Andrew Billingsley in 1975, and There is a River by Vincent G. Harding, in 1981.

Throughout his career, Collins was involved in politics both locally and nationally; he helped to establish the National Urban League’s San Francisco Bay Area office, the San Francisco Foundation for Aged Colored People, and the Northern California United Negro College Fund. Collins served on the governing boards of the National Committee for Citizens in Education; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; and the Golden Gate Regional Center. Collins was a member of Governor Pat Brown’s Committee to Study Medical Aid and Health in California; the California State Board of Public Health; the California State Board of Public Education; and the National Advisory Council on Minorities in Engineering.

Collins continued to expand his professional knowledge by writing, lecturing, and instructing in a clinical setting at several universities, including Meharry Medical College, Howard University, Georgetown University, Stanford Medical College, and at conventions of the American Dental Association and the National Dental Association. Collins was a member of several professional groups, including the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association, the California State Dental Association, the American Academy of Oral Pathology, and the Royal Society of Health.

Collins passed away on September 13, 2007 at the age of 91.

Accession Number

A2005.082

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/28/2005

Last Name

Collins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Andrew

Occupation
Schools

Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology

Paine College

Meharry Medical College

University of California, San Francisco

First Name

Daniel

Birth City, State, Country

Darlington

HM ID

COL07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tahoe City, California

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/11/1916

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Shellfish

Death Date

9/13/2007

Short Description

Dentist Dr. Daniel A. Collins (1916 - 2007 ) was the first African American dentist on the faculty of the School of Dental Science at the University of San Francisco; the founder of the Oral-Facial Consultative Service; and the co-publisher of the Reporter newspaper.

Employment

Guggenheim Dental Clinic

University of California, San Francisco

Department of Education

Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich

Private Practice

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Daniel A. Collins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes Rosenwald Schools and his mother's grocery store

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his maternal aunts and childhood trips to South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his half-brother, Waldo Collins

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his half-brother, Elliott Turnage, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his half-brother, Elliott Turnage, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his sister, Andrena Collins Baumgardner

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his father's business and his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes Bethel A.M.E. Church in Darlington, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his experiences at Mayo High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his best friend from childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recalls an incident with a high school classmate

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his music lessons

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recalls his decision to attend Paine College in Augusta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recalls clearing land for highways with his father in South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes Paine College in Augusta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes the racial climate at Paine College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes Paine College alumnus and writer, Frank Yerby

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes notable alumni from Paine College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recalls being discriminated against by the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins explains how he avoided the draft during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recalls teaching at the University of California, San Francisco

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his dental practice and entry into politics

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his experiences in politics

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins shares his opinion of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recalls his move to California in 1942

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes African American migration to California in the 1940s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Daniels A. Collins describes the formation of San Francisco's National Urban League chapter

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes the San Francisco National Urban League's community efforts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes the Fillmore neighborhood in San Francisco, California

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recalls the founding of Dr. Howard Thurman's first interracial church

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his living situation in San Francisco, California

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recounts moving to Mill Valley, California

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his career in book publishing

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his role at Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins recalls his trips to Sweden and Denmark

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins remembers HistoryMaker Willie L. Brown

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his friends in California

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his publishing work and writing his memoirs

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins talks about Synanon and his charity work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins shares his thoughts on cults

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his two oldest sons

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his son, HistoryMaker Charles Collins

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his wife's nonprofit organization, Lifehouse

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his wife and youngest son

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Daniel A. Collins narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes his father's business and his childhood neighborhood
Dr. Daniel A. Collins describes African American migration to California in the 1940s
Transcript
Could you tell us something about the neighborhood you lived in?$$Well, of course, it was the colored part of town. There was, when I was a kid, there were no, there was no city water supply. We had a well. When I, my youngest memory. My father [Andrew Collins] was in the draying business before he became a house mover. He's in the draying business. He moved tobacco around from the warehouse to warehouse and moved cotton around from the gins, pardon me, but he was a dray- had dray, had a drayage company and had a big barn in the back of our home with maybe about eight or ten horse teams, eight or ten, about ten horses, it'd be four, two-horse teams which he used to pull his dray trucks. I can remember in the mornings those guys coming down by the side of the house, going back to the barns, watering up the horses and tying them up to the wagon and so forth and I can remember my dad bought the first Republic [Republic Motor Truck Company] truck. The Republic truck was an old diesel truck, a two-lunged diesel truck. It had thick, hard rubber tires, about that thick, I mean, hard rubber, not like the soft rubber now in automobiles this would have been, when it went along, it went along with a big jolt but it was a diesel. Dad had his diesel, I remember that and, of course, diesel didn't last very long before it hadn't got into Ford [Ford Motor Company] and Chevrolet began to build trucks, a lot of weight trucks and more efficient trucks.$$So what was your community, the neighbors, your neighborhood?$$My neighborhood, of course, all black. There was a house of prostitution down the street, about a block from my house. My mother [Lucy Miller Collins] had a grocery store. She never, she never disparaged the prostitutes and we had this grocery store, so I had to sometimes deliver groceries there and she said, "Son, you go in and you be courteous and you come on back out." But it's a funny thing. I finished high school [Mayo High School; Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology, Darlington, South Carolina] in 1932. That was in the height of the Depression [Great Depression], and my family made the decision, all of my brothers had gone, my brother, one brother had gone to Georgia State [Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia], Waldo [Waldo Collins], one [Elliott Turnage] had gone to into Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and Fisk [Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee], my sister [Andrena Collins Baumgardner] had gone to Allen [Allen University, Columbia, South Carolina] and AU [Atlanta University; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia]. When it came my time to go to college in 1932, my parents were hard up, money was short. They made a temporary, they made a decision that I would not go to college and Ms. Buford [ph.], that was her name, she was the headmistress at the whorehouse, came in the store one day and asked me what I was going to do. I guess I was blue, maybe crying, I don't remember that. So I said, "My parents said I couldn't go to college, they couldn't afford to send me to college." So she berated my mother and she said to her, "Ms. Lucy, how could you not send this boy to college? He's the nicest kid you got," and that was what it took for my dad to go down on a Sunday morning to the home of the guy who was the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company agent, borrowed $200 on his insurance policy, which I finally saw that when he died, I, when I cashed that policy, there was the $200 he borrowed. He'd gone to the, to the agent's home that Sunday morning and got a $200 check to give to me to go to college. So you never know where strength comes, you never know from whence it comes.$But I made it here and where these blacks, this new population of blacks coming into town in mass numbers and the only, for the most part, the type of black person or white person who could pick up stakes, take a one-way ticket and go to a new territory was not the guy who had a job, was not the school teacher or the butcher or the baker, he, it was guys who would take anything, could only pay them at a dollar and five cents an hour, a dollar and ten cents an hour. It was no big bonanza, it wasn't a gold rush, but it was a job and if you knew you had, that caliber of newcomer in large numbers and the Japanese almost the same day, it was only a month or so apart that the Japanese had been taken out of the Fillmore District [San Francisco, California] and put into concentration camps, and blacks ended up in town. That's why they ended up in the Fillmore District because that's where, that's where the Japanese lived and there were vacant spots. They just went into that, to that vacuum of space but then you had, you got these old time, old timers, I would have called them, about 3,000 that would have been in San Francisco [California] for, some of them for several generations, been here for a long time and they were pretty well settled. The most important person in town was a man who drove, who drove the, the, who was the chauffeur for the, for the mayor, by the name of Walter Sanford. He was the mayor's chauffeur. He was the, he was, that's the man that you want to front for you because he would, he could get some action. So you had to, the YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association] and some very thoughtful Caucasian ladies, Dan Carcelen [ph.] from the Levi Strauss family, formed a committee to study this new social situation in San Francisco and invited Charlie Johnson [Charles S. Johnson] who at that time was the president of Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia], I mean of Fisk [Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee], invited Charlie Johnson to come out and conduct a study and people did this sub- study over about three or four months, he came back, had a series of meetings with the Social Service Department [California Department of Social Services], with the YMC--with the YW--YMCA who sponsored this thing, I'm just finding out, and decided that Charlie Johnson suggested that the Urban League would be the best social answer to this new population. Another group is, another group, old timers here, did not want New York-type people controlling, they wanted local people, they formed the Council for Civic Unity.