New York University College of Dentistry is hosting the National Museum of Dentistry exhibit: “The Future is Now! African Americans in Dentistry,” a retrospective on 150 years of African Americans in the dental profession, from December 5, 2006 through January 12, 2007. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Exhibit hours are from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 am to 4 pm on Friday at the NYU College of Dentistry, 345 E. 24th Street, corner of First Avenue, NYC.

Premiering in 2002 at the National Museum of Dentistry at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the exhibit tells the story of African American dentists from the late 19th century to the present. The exhibit highlights the challenges they faced in their struggle for professional acceptance and their impact on dental education, research, patient care, general practice, dental specialties, military service, and public health.

“The Future is Now!” includes photographs, charts, artifacts, and memorabilia depicting the entry in 1895 of black dentists into the National Medical Association, a group founded by African-American physicians both to advance black physicians’ careers and to address the healthcare needs of African Americans; the creation in 1932 of an African-American dental association, the National Dental Association; and the attainment in 1964 of full membership by African Americans in the American Dental Association, all set against a background of racial issues, socioeconomic developments, and civil rights activism spanning the 20th century.

“Being chosen to host this historic exhibit is particularly rewarding,” said Interim Dean Richard I. Vogel, “in that NYU College of Dentistry’s heritage has always been closely bound up with the academic and professional aspirations of members of underrepresented groups. We are honored to host ‘The Future is Now! African Americans in Dentistry,’ and we encourage all members of the NYU community to stop by and discover an important portion of our national history.”

The exhibit is sponsored by the National Dental Association Foundation and the Colgate-Palmolive Company, and NYUCD.

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Christopher James
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