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New Era Dental Society cordially invites you to share in what is our window to the representative body of African American dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware. 

We are an affiliate of the National Dental Association ( whose genesis was over 100 years ago. The NDA and New Era Dental Society (NEDS) are committed to being a forum for minority dentists advancing their rights, dedicated to providing care to minority populations, providing dental education and guidance to the disenfranchised and offering scholarships that aid in the promotion of dental careers as viable professions. We are a service organization and service is what we render. It is in our blood. 

To put the contributions of African American dentists in the tri-state region in perspective, let us consider our distant past with mention of two Black dentists. 

Perhaps one of the first African American dentists, John S. Rock (1825- 1866), practiced here in Philadelphia, PA. Born in Salem, New Jersey, this pioneer was an African American leader and orator prior and during the Civil War. He first became a teacher at 19, taught himself medicine while working for two white physicians but was refused entrance to medical school. He then studied dentistry on his own and obtained a dental certificate opening a dental practice in 1850. While successfully practicing dentistry he applied and gained admission to Philadelphia Medical College and received a M.D. in 1852 at 26 years old. He then opened both a successful dental and medical practice here in the city. As a brilliant orator, he advocated for the abolition of slavery and self-improvement. He later closed both his dental and medical practices due to health and studied law in Boston, MA. John S. Rock is credited for making history as the first African American admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in Washington D.C. (1865).

Jessie Max Barber (July, 5 1878 - September 20, 1949) was born in Blackstock SC. He worked as a barber to obtain a teaching degree from Benedict College. Later at Virginia Union (1903), he was editor of the University Journal and Literary Society President. After graduation, he became managing director of the Voice of the Negro (1904) the leading black magazine in the United States with a circulation of 15,000. As an associate of W.E.B.Dubois, a member of the Niagara Movement and the NAACP, he was an outspoken critic of racial injustice. The Atlanta race riots of 1906 drove the magazine to move to Chicago later closing in 1907. He entered Philadelphia Dental College (later named Temple University School of Dentistry and then Kornberg School of Dentistry) and opened a dental practice here in 1912. He continued to fight for the rights of the African American community as president of the NAACP Philadelphia Branch. His quotation in the Philadelphia Dental College yearbook was, "Do not shun me because of the color of my skin". I have talked of our past let us touch on the present.

New Era Dental Society and African American dentists of the area support the Tri-State Dental Hygienist Association and their scholarship program. Our members lend their time and assistance for public school mentoring programs including the Paul Robinson Charter School. We volunteer on the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Oral Health Van that provides dental screenings for children across the Delaware Valley. 2014 is the year of the Veteran and New Era members spearheaded an outreach along with Kornberg School of Dentistry for the veteran community to increase their access to quality care. NEDS is committed to providing quality continuing educational courses to its members. Many members extend themselves without fanfare to serve a community that urgently needs our services. NEDS includes general practice dentists, dental public health dentists, endodontists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, pedodontists, periodontists, oral pathologists and radiologists, prosthodontists, academia and oral allied health professionals.

What does the future hold for New Era Dental Society?

Education of the benefits of good oral health care and its relationship to general health to the wider community - Yes. Helping in the development of a healthy dental environment for the minority community - Yes. Providing answers to dental problems and offering dental solutions to prospective new patients - Yes. Attracting both existing members and recruiting new ones to this rewarding profession - Yes. Yes it is a lot to bite off (no pun intended) but I assure you we can do it with your help! Contact us at or visit us on Facebook New Era Dental Society under groups. Thanks.

James Cooper, DMD
Past President

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