February is Black History Month and at Krengel Dental we want to shine light on those who have made dentistry a more diverse field. To celebrate, we have put together a list of black pioneers who have made an influential change as dentists.
- Ida Nelson Rollins
Born: Clarksville, TN in 1867
Influence: Rollins was the first black woman to become a dentist in the United States. After earning her doctoral degree in dentistry, she began assisting Jonathon Taft, a dentist who advocated for women in the field. She became the first black woman to open a dental practice in Cincinnati and Chicago.
- William Thomas Jefferson
Born: Washington D.C. in 1864
Influence: Jefferson finished his studies in dentistry at 22 and joined the army shortly after. As a lieutenant, he was dedicated to overseeing the dental health of soldiers. While in the military, he owned a dental surgery and made efforts with the U.S. government for black men in dental practice.
- Robert T. Freeman
Born: Washington D.C. in 1846
Influence: A son of a slave, Freeman was one of the first six people to enter Harvard?s dentist program and was the first African American to receive a doctoral dental degree in 1869.
- George F. Grant
Born: Oswego, NY in 1846
Influence: Grant was also a son of slave parents who grew up assisting the resident dentist in his town. He attended Harvard for dentistry and later became the school’s first black professor. Fun fact: he also invented the wooden golf tee.
These dentists all paved way for minorities who wanted to pursue dentistry at a time when political and cultural change was needed. Thank you for celebrating Black History Month with us at Krengel Dental. If you have any questions or want to set up an appointment, call us at (952) 888-1311.