January 2001

James F. Brown, DDS

Dental surgeon

“Dr. James F. Brown’s parents, Ephraim and Eugenia Brown, were school teachers. As educators, they instilled in their son a keen sense of community service. He was born on February 3, 1925, in Charleston, South Carolina. He obtained his elementary and secondary education from Avery Institute in his hometown. (Avery Institute, one of the first liberal arts schools for African Americans, was founded in 1865 by Charles Avery). Recognizing that he preferred a career in dental medicine rather than education, he prepared himself for his life’s work. Prior to receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from South Carolina State University in 1948, Brown served in the U.S. Air Force in the European Theater during World War II. Dr. Brown earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, (DDS), from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1952. He began his professional career in Charleston, S.C., where his work was much needed by the residents of his hometown, and he became a dedicated dental surgeon. In order to link himself with other African Americans in his profession, Dr. Brown joined the Palmetto Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association in 1952. Established in 1896, the PMDPA was a professional medical entity to which African Americans could align which provided access to new medical information, and techniques, professional development, networking and socializing with other medical professionals. (The U.S. Supreme Court case, Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896), had set the framework for “”Separate but equal is inherently equal.””) Even though this was a known fallacy, African Americans were banned from joining white professional organizations and soon began their own professional organizations. The PMDPA has rendered outstanding service for over a century and is the only medical association that still merges dentistry, medicine, and pharmacy. Dr. Brown, who is past president, is still an active member of the PMDPA, and has held many leadership positions with the organization. As president in 1968, he proposed in his presidential address, the “”Philosophy of Success,”” practical reforms that would make the organization more effective and efficient. One such achievement was the recruitment of more young people to study the medical profession and practice in South Carolina. The PMDPA currently has 500 members. Active in his community, Dr. Brown serves on the boards of the Trident Chamber of Commerce, the Franklin C. Fetter Health Center, the United Way, the Bank of South Carolina, the Rotary Club and the Charleston Business and Professional Association. He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities, the Athenians Social Club and the Owls Whist Club. His professional affiliations include: the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association, the Charleston Dental Society and the South Carolina Dental Society. Dr. Brown also remains an active member of St. Paul A.M.E. Church.”