John McGriff Dental Society

The John McGriff Dental Society is the Tidewater component of the Old Dominion Dental Society.

Dr. John McGriff was a general dentist in the city of Portsmouth, Virginia.  He was a native of South Carolina.  He set up a dental office that broke through racial barriers with 60% of his patient base being non-African American.  He loved tennis and has been credited with teaching and inspiring tennis stars of the 1940s and 1950s.

The John McGriff Dental Society was established in 1953 after his death.  This component delivers Thanksgiving baskets to deserving families each year.  They also spear head health fairs to educate the general public.

Dr. McGriff set up a dental office that broke through racial barriers with 60% of his patient base being Non-African American.

Dr. John McGriff

Meetings Held:
3rd Wednesday of each month

President:
Dr. Andrew Gray

Vice President:
Dr. Keith Simmons

Secretary:
Dr. Sonya Thomas-Webb

Treasurer:
Dr. Harry Jenkins

In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

John McGriff Dental Society members who have contributed to the community:

Dr. Hugo Owens

  • First President of the John McGriff Dental Society
  • Civil rights leader – forced the desegregation of Portsmouth City Park & Golf Courses
  • Forced the Desegregation of Portsmouth General Hospital
  • Chesapeake City Council
  • Vice Mayor of Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Hugo Owens Middle School named after him

Dr. James Holley

  • General Dentist, Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Mayor of Portsmouth for two terms
  • Political Activist
  • Past President of National Dental Association
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