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School of Dentistry graduate, retired faculty member, and former Leadership Council member Dr. Wilson Wright, Jr. shares his “Stories About Scotty.”

Jacob Martin sitting outside the School of Dentistry.Dr. Charles A. “Scotty” McCallum Jr.

Dr. Charles A. “Scotty” McCallum Jr. was a man of vision, integrity, and equality. Much like President John F. Kennedy, Dr. McCallum defined civil rights as not just a constitutional issue, but also a “moral issue”. Dr. McCallum, a man of high moral integrity, demanded the desegregation of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, in earnest, in 1969.

In 1969, I was fortunate to apply and was admitted to the University of Alabama School of Dentistry. My admission into the dental school was not without dispute nor consternation. However, Dr. McCallum, Dean of the UAB School of Dentistry was not discouraged nor deterred. He met with several prominent civil rights leaders in Birmingham to ensure the end of segregation in public facilities and require the sole public dental school in Alabama to be integrated.

Dr. McCallum ensured that the dental school continued without bias to adhere to its policy of admitting individuals with the intellect and the fortitude to withstand the rigors of a dental education. He also had conversations with businessmen like A. G. Gaston and religious leaders, to build the necessary support required for minority dental students to be admitted and to excel within the dental profession. Dr. McCallum convened university faculty and state leaders to assure that all students admitted into the dental program would be both knowledgeable and competent to surmount the dental education.

Jacob Martin sitting outside the School of Dentistry.Dr. Wilson Wright

Although I am one of the first African Americans to be admitted at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, such admission has become the standard. Dr. McCallum is commended on his courage and foresight for extending the opportunities of a dental education to individuals of all races.

Dr. McCallum was a man who inspired others to achieve, explore, and triumph. He instilled within me the confidence in my ability to achieve and excel, by my selection as a member of the “Super Eight”, an innovative program that experimented with decreasing the faculty-student ratio. After completing my dental requirements, Dr. McCallum approached me to remain at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry as an Instructor. I began teaching at the School of Dentistry in 1974 and successfully taught for more than 35 joyous years, retiring as a full professor and achieving the recognition of Professor Emeritus of the University of Alabama System.

Dentistry has wholly enriched my life and my family in countless ways much to the profound encouraging impact of Dr. Charles “Scotty” McCallum, Jr., a man of inspiring vision, formidable integrity, and equality. I will forever have many fond memories as a student and as a teacher of Dr. McCallum.