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Born just before Texas slaves were freed, Dr. Marcellus Clayton Cooper lived through a time of segregation and racism. Despite the challenges, he strove to be an upstanding community member as Texas’ first Black dentist, providing oral health care services to all people, regardless of race, for more than 20 years.

Dr. Marcellus Clayton Cooper overcame segregation to become Texas’ first Black dentist.

Today, Cooper’s legacy continues through the Dr. M.C. Cooper Dental Clinic, a community-based practice in South Dallas’ underserved areas. Opened in April 2021 following a significant donation, the clinic provides Texas A&M University College of Dentistry students the opportunity to see patients as part of their degree program.

Dr. Cooper’s legacy lives on through the clinic named in his honor. The community-based clinic serves South Dallas’ underserved areas.

“Oral diseases pose a major health burden for many underserved communities and affect people throughout their lives, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death,” said Dr. Kishore Shetty, administrative clinical director. “This clinic will offer dental services to all community residents, treating oral diseases and maintaining dental health in South Dallas with no out-of-pocket expense to the patient.”

The new clinic expands the college’s role as the largest single oral health care provider in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Members of Dr. M.C. Cooper’s family attended the clinic’s opening in April 2021.