About Dr. Jack Kimbrough

Dr. Jack Kimbrough


Dr Kimbrough

Dr. Jack Kimbrough, one of San Diego's first Black dentists was born on July 26, 1908 in Lexington, Mississippi. He was the third child of Sam and Martha Kimbrough.

Dr. Kimbrough was educated in Alameda, California, and earned his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He pursued his doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of California, San Francisco and completed his studies in 1934. Later that year, Dr. Kimbrough successfully passed his California dental board examinations, receiving the third highest score in the state.

Eager to begin his dental career, the certified dentist borrowed money from his grandmother and hitchhiked to Los Angeles, California. Upon learning that the dental equipment could be leased at a more reasonable cost in San Diego, California, Dr. Kimbrough ventured further south.

In San Diego, Dr. Kimbrough realized a more pressing need, the great demand for dental services in the Black community was overwhelming and he was virtually the only dentist available to fill that void. Teaming with the late Dr. Antonio DaCosta, a Black physician, the two combined their services and opened a practice located at Imperial Avenue and 29th Streets. Dr. Kimbrough not only devoted himself to dentistry, but was also a family man. In 1936, he married Quincella Nickerson, the daughter of Bertha and William Nickerson, Jr., founder of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles. The couple had four children.

The health needs of the minority community flourished. To support their growing practice, Doctors Kimbrough and DaCosta decided in 1940 to build a medical office at 25th and K Streets, the first Black dental and medical facility in San Diego. During World War II, Dr. Kimbrough believed that he could best serve his country by volunteering for military service. Military authorities denied his participation because of the greater need for his dental services in the Black community. They believed that he could better serve his country by providing dental services to defense workers so that they would not lose much time away from their jobs.

Dr. Kimbrough's desire to volunteer civically and professionally in the San Diego community was influenced by his drive for Black progress politically and economically. In 1948, he organized sit-ins to desegregate hotels such as the U. S. Grant Hotel and restaurants throughout the city. Further involvement including organizing the first chapters of the San Diego Urban League and the N.A.A.C.P. and served as president for both.

Dr. Kimbrough became the first Black dentist in San Diego to break ground in many aspects of his profession. He was the first Black dentist to become a member of the San Diego County Dental Society and the Southern California Dental Association. He helped organize the San Diego Clinical Hypnosis Society, which was an organization to promote the use of hypnosis in dentistry. He also organized the San Diego Dental Seminar, offering postgraduate basic science teachings to dental professionals.

Other honors included serving as the first Black editor for the San Diego County Society Bulletin for practicing dentists, first Black president for the San Diego Dental Society and recipient of an honorary fellowship in 1962 from the American College of Dentists. Finally, he was appointed to the California State Board of Dental Examiners, later becoming their president in 1968 for a two year term.

Dr. Jack Kimbrough served on the Children's Home Society Board of Directors. He perceived a real need for the adoption of Black and Latino children. As a result, his wife Quincella, became the founder and first president of Las Munecas, an auxiliary to the Children's Home Society ( an organization promoting the family adoption of Black and Latino children.)

His concern for the health care of all people influenced his participation in the Flying Samaritans, providing free medical services to remote villages in Baja California. The area was so remote that it was accessible only by airplanes. His participation in this project spanned fifteen years.

Dr. Kimbrough held many other interests and traveling influenced his interests in African art and culture. He ventured extensively and was a student of African and African-American culture and history. His extensive collection of art and Black literature is renowned throughout the United States and many of the autographed first editions are used by San Diego students as an educational source and for research.
Dr. Kimbrough dedicated his life to community service and was one of the most influential senior statesmen in San Diego. He relished any opportunity to provide lectures and seminars on a myriad of subjects from dentistry to art and literature. Jack Kimbrough's contributions to so many areas of the San Diego community and his ability to reach people from all walks of life will be missed.

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