Hemphill P. Pride, DDS was one of seven children born to Debra Crawford and Sandy Pride in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He attended Rock Hill public schools, Harbison Junior College (Irmo, South Carolina), Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, North Carolina), and Meharry Medical College (Nashville, Tennessee).
As a medical student, Dr. Pride worked as a dining car porter on the Southern Railroad to pay for his education. After graduating from dental school, he opened his first office in Florence, South Carolina in 1929, practicing general dentistry. In 1930, he moved to Columbia where he was employed by the then-segregated Richland County public school system. While there, he implemented the first dental health program for “Negro” students in the South. As part of this program, Dr. Pride traveled throughout the county with portable dental equipment and provided dental care to the students. Many of these students had never received any type of dental care or instruction in dental hygiene.
In 1933, Dr. Pride opened his second private practice and married Maud D. Pendergrass of Sumter, South Carolina, a devoted wife of more than thirty years. To this marriage were born three sons, Hemphill P. Pride, II of Columbia, Norman S. Pride (deceased), and a third son who died shortly after birth in 1944. Dr. Pride did not stray away from public service. During this period, he devoted much of his time to providing dental care to the John G. Richards Reformatory School for Negro Boys, South Carolina State Hospital as well as African-American inmates detained at the city and county detention facilities.
He was a pioneer in developing the African-American business community in Columbia. Dr. Pride founded and owned Capital City Real Estate and Insurance Company, one of the first insurance companies in Columbia to be owned by an African-American. In 1937 he became one of the first African-Americans to sponsor amateur boxing at the Township Auditorium in Columbia. He was also involved with other business endeavors.
He was a member of many civic organizations including the Congaree Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Association for more than thirty years and the National Dental Association. In addition, Dr. Pride was a very active member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. He was a second generation member of the Presbyterian Church and attended Ladson Presbyterian Church in Columbia for more than thirty years. Ladson is one of the oldest African-American Presbyterian churches in South Carolina and Dr. Pride served as Deacon and Trustee for many years.
Dr. Pride is to be applauded for his innovative efforts to provide the indigent with dental care as a first. His generosity and commitment to community needs serve as a beacon to other health practitioners. Dr. Pride passed away on October 15, 1966, at the age of 65. His son, Hemphill P. Pride II is a Columbia attorney, and his five grandchildren are Hemphill P. Pride III, Elliott Caldwell Pride, Ki-Ga Dingalt Pride, Touami Dingalt Pride, and Linous Dingalt Pride.