Poindexter, Zeb Ferdinand, Jr. (1929–2012)

By: Kimberly M. Gay

Type: Biography

Published: August 23, 2013

Updated: June 29, 2017

Zeb Ferdinand Poindexter, Jr., dentist, was born to a single-parent home in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 5, 1929. He attended Terrell High School and graduated in 1945. He then went to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where he graduated in 1949. He was subsequently a graduate from Texas Southern University in 1952 with a degree in endocrinology. Poindexter also served as a second lieutenant in the Air Force Reserves and left active duty with the rank of captain.

In 1956 Poindexter became the first African American to graduate from the University of Texas Dental Branch. That same year he opened a dental clinic in the “Chocolate Bayou” neighborhood of southeast Houston; he was the first African American to do so. About 1960 he opened Poindexter Dental Inc., a dental clinic located at 7703 Cullen in the Sunnyside neighborhood, where he served the black community for about fifty years before retiring in 2000.

Poindexter was the first black member of the Houston Texas District Dental Society and the first black faculty member at the University of Texas Dental Branch where he held a faculty appointment as Associate Professor of Community Relations. He founded the Zeb F. Poindexter, Jr. Chapter of the Student National Dental Association there.

Poindexter was active in many organizations and held memberships in the American Fund for Dental Education, United Negro College Fund, YMCA, Gulf State Dental Association (where he served as president), Charles A. George Dental Society, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Urban League, National Dental Association, and others. He was nominated for the Academy of General Dentistry Outstanding Dentist of the Year Award in 1991, and he was honored with the University of Texas Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1990. Poindexter was awarded Professor Emeritus status at UT School of Dentistry in 2012. His other honors included becoming a Fellow in the International College of Dentists in 1992 and earning membership into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society. He was a delegate in the House of the Texas Dental Association. He was a founder and trustee of Loyal Missionary Baptist Church and a member of St. John Baptist Church.

Zeb Ferdinand Poindexter, Jr., died in Houston on April 28, 2012. He was survived by Ruby Revis Poindexter, his wife of fifty-eight years; two daughters, Merlene Russell and Eleanor Dixon; and a son, Dr. Zeb F. Poindexter III.

“Dental Pioneer & Trailblazer Dies Dr. Zeb Poindexter Jr., First African-American UT Dental Graduate,” Houston Forward Times, May 6, 2012 (http://forwardtimesonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=862:dental-pioneer-a-trailblazer-dies-dr-zeb-poindexter-jr-first-african-american-ut-dental-graduate&catid=89:community&Itemid=146), accessed August 13, 2013. Houston Chronicle, May 1, 2012. “Trailblazing Dentist Zeb F. Poindexter, Jr. Passes Away,” PRLOG: Press Release Distribution (http://www.prlog.org/11863101-trailblazing-dentist-zeb-poindexter-jr-passes-away.html), accessed August 13, 2013. “Zeb Ferdinand Poindexter, Jr., D.D.S.: A Legacy To Look Up To,” Houston Style Magazine, May 4, 2012 (http://www.stylemagazine.com/zeb-ferdinand-poindexter-jr-d-d-s-a-legacy-to-look-up-to/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter), accessed May 31, 2012.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Dentists
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
Time Periods:
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas in the 21st Century
  • Houston
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Kimberly M. Gay, “Poindexter, Zeb Ferdinand, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 13, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/poindexter-zeb-ferdinand-jr.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 23, 2013
June 29, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: