Renowned Dentist Emma Louis Eagan Dies

One of the leading African American pioneers of dentistry, Emma Louis Eagan, has died.

Eagan, who graced the cover of JET magazine back in 1958, died in her sleep at the age 85 from an unknown cause, according to the Detroit Free Press.


The trailblazer graduated from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry after receiving her degree from Spelman College and was believed to be the second Black hygienist in Michigan. Her then-husband John Eagan, a Morehouse graduate, was Michigan’s first African-American orthodontist.

During the height of the Civil Rights movement, White dentists would only see Black patients on Fridays and after work. But when Emma Eagan and her husband stepped on the scene, they made a huge difference.

JET heard the good news and the Eagans were featured in a story about rising stars in the dental field.

Upon practicing dental hygiene, she moved on to the Dental Allied Health at Wayne County Community College in Detroit, where she retired as the director.

Eagan leaves behind three children and eight grandchildren.