HSDM Declares Foundation of Tolerance and Inclusion

The dental school, after deliberate internal discussion among its faculty, declared from the beginning that it would be founded upon notions of tolerance and inclusion. Of the 1868 admission and success of Robert Tanner Freeman, Dean Leroy M.S. Miner would later recount: “Robert Tanner Freeman, a colored man who had been rejected by two other dental schools on account of his race, was another successful candidate. The dental faculty maintained that right and justice should be placed above expediency and insisted that intolerance must not be permitted. Dr. Freeman was the first of his race to receive in America a dental school of education and dental degree.”

From Leroy M.S. Miner, “The Dental School,” in Samuel Eliot Morison, ed., The Development of Harvard University since the Inauguration of President Eliot, 1869-1929 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1930), p. 597.  Historian Clifton Orrin Dummett would later remark of HSDM and its stance on admitting and training black students: “This school deserves the credit for setting the precedent in liberalism, justice, and the true scientific spirit.”  In Dummett, The Growth and Development of the Negro in Dentistry in the United States (Chicago: The Stanek Press, on behalf of the National Dental Association, 1952), p. 7.

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