The author is the oldest child, born into a Christian family of dreamers and pioneers. “Hope and hard work” was the mantra Shirley heard growing up with post-depression parents. Her family moved a lot, first from her birthplace of Monroe, Lousiana then to Detroit, Michigan, and years later to Los Angeles, California. Although Shirley attended many schools, she was an excellent student, graduating high school at age 16 and college at age 20. Becoming the first doctor in the family fulfilled a dream deferred on both sides of her family. Shirley attended two historically Black Colleges, earning a Bachelors of Science of Biology from Fisk University, and a Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree from Howard University. For more than 30 years, Shirley served her community as a leader in dentistry and founded the Association of Black Women Dentists. She also served as President of the California State Board of Dental Examiners and was elected by her peers as a commissioner for the American Dental Association, national board exams, and was honored by Howard University as a Distinguished Alumna. She was elected as a fellow in the American College of Dentists. After retirement, Shirley served as a Dental Director for Delta PMI, Century Dental Plan, and Continental Dental Plan with distinction. She was an expert witness on the standard of care for the state of California, arbitrations, and a member of the Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners.
Shirley married Dr. Henry Dan Bailey, a general surgeon, and is the mother of four children and eight grandchildren.
She is a gregarious, funloving, world traveler who is a family and career woman. She is a community activist, as evidenced by her membership in organizations such as Links Incorporated, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Carousels Incorporated. Shirley loves to play the piano, and enjoys Broadway musicals, British dramas, mysteries, and theater.
Her pioneering accomplishments as a black woman dentist are chronicled in these memoirs. Her struggle to overcome multiple challenges, including the opposition she faced, as well as the lifelong relationships she formed along the way are central to her story.