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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                  STANLEY PERRY BRICKMAN

INTERVIEWER:             SHIRLEY MICHALOVE

LOCATION:                    ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                             FIRST INTERVIEW (January 25, 2002)

                                        SECOND INTERVIEW (February 1, 2002)

Transcript (PDF)

Biography

Stanley Perry Brickman was born on December 23, 1932 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the son of Ida (Siskin) Brickman, and Paul Myer Brickman. Both his parents were children of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. His mother was raised in Chattanooga and his father was raised in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Perry and his sister Rita were raised in an Orthodox Jewish family. He regularly attended cheder, shul, and was bar mitzvahed. He attended public schools in Chattanooga, and Baylor (while it was a boys-only military school). His post-secondary education included time at Emory University, University of Tennessee, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and University of Pennsylvania. He served in the United States Air Force at Stoney Brook Air Force Station in Chicopee, Massachusetts, a Strategic Air Command (SAC) location during the Cold War. He married Shirley Berkowitz in 1955 and together they raised three children, Lori, Teresa, and Jeff.

Perry Brickman is a board-certified dentist and oral surgeon in multiple states, including Georgia, where he set up his practice in Decatur. He has served on the Georgia State Board of Dental Examiners and the Georgia Society of Oral Surgeons.

As an oral surgeon, he often faced antisemitism as he tried to obtain hospital privileges and serve patients. His biggest, and most well-known battle with antisemitism involved his time at Emory University in the 1950s. Under the direction of John E. Buhler, Dean of Emory Dental School from 1948 - 1961, there was a systematic practice of mistreating Jewish students and denying them degrees. Thanks to the efforts of Brickman, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and other prominent members of the Atlanta Jewish community, Buhler was ultimately removed from the Emory faculty. Years later, in 2012, Emory made a formal apology to Brickman and all those who had been treated unfairly during that time. Perry Brickman’s book, Extracted – Unmasking Rampant Antisemitism in America’s Higher Education describes this prevalence of injustice on college campuses and how it affected the dental profession in twentieth-century America.    

Perry and Shirley Brickman have been active members of the Atlanta Jewish community for many years. Perry served as President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta from 1990 to 1992, and served on the boards of the Atlanta Jewish Academy, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, Atlanta Israel Bonds, Georgia Israel Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), and The Southern Jewish Historical Society, among others. Perry received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and he and Shirley are past recipients of the City Wide Israel Bonds Award, B'nai Brith Gate City Lodge Community Service Award, and have been honored by both Yeshiva High School and Torah Day School. Now retired, Perry remains active in Jewish life in Atlanta, enjoys photography, and spending time with his wife of over 60 years, their children, and six grandchildren. 

Scope

Brickman describes growing up in an Orthodox Jewish community in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his mother, father, and sister. He describes his religious upbringing, his education in cheder, in public schools, and at Baylor School. He recounts his experiences in the military and at college as he earned his degree in dentistry and became an oral surgeon. He then shares the impact of his time at Emory University and the antisemitism he faced there, particularly as a result of the actions of John E. Buhler, Dean of Emory Dental School at the time.

Perry tells of his courtship and marriage to Shirley Berkowitz and their life together raising three children while he built his practice as an oral surgeon in Decatur, Georgia. He also shares the many ways he and Shirley have been, and continue to be, active members of the Jewish community in Atlanta.

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