Dr. Perry Fennell overcame adversity. Born in North Carolina in the era of Jim Crow, his family moved to West Philadelphia where he attended public schools. Fennell received his undergraduate degree from Temple University and matriculated from Temple’s dental school.
e went on to found the Dental First Corporation, which is now run by his daughter, Dr. Renee Fennell Dempsey. Besides his work in dentistry, Fennell was a social activist. He founded Interested Negroes Incorporated, an organization of volunteers providing career counseling to junior high students. From 1967 until 1982 this organization served over 1500 children per year.
In his later life, he has had to deal with the effects of Lupus. In his autobiography, Reflections of a Closet Christian: A Basic Primer for Life, he writes: “I am a separate and unique individual like no other that God has created.
I feel that I am the culmination of the genes of all my fore-parents arranged in a specific pattern. Every person born can make claim to the same thing, so I’m not so special.” But what Dr. Fennell did with his life was indeed special.