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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with George Simkins, April 6, 1997. Interview R-0018. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Segregation at dental schools

Simkins matriculated at Harvard's dental school in 1949, when only two schools accepted black students. He assumed that segregation would continue.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with George Simkins, April 6, 1997. Interview R-0018. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

KAREN KRUSE THOMAS:
When you entered dentistry in 1949, what was your sense of the opportunities that were available for African-American health professionals? Did it seem like there were more opportunities opening up than there had been before?
GEORGE SIMKINS:
At that time, there were two dental schools that accepted blacks, Meharry and Howard, in Washington, DC. Some of the Northern schools would accept blacks, but no dental school in the South. There weren't many opportunities at that time.
KAREN KRUSE THOMAS:
Were you aware of any attempts to encourage Southern schools to admit black students at that time, or was it accepted that those two schools would be the main places?
GEORGE SIMKINS:
At that time, everything was "separate but equal." I had no idea that these schools would later be integrated, because I thought it was going to stay the same.