Savannah was never the plan for Dr. J. Alfonso Dandy. Back in 1972 it was just a stop on his way to set up practice in Daytona Beach.
“I stopped to visit some friends of mine, and they asked me had I ever thought about practicing in Savannah,” says Dandy.
He and his wife wound up staying in Savannah, Dandy became the city’s first black eye doctor. Then, around 1975, he made history again as the first black doctor to practice on the south side of Victory Drive. He says he was not welcome, and that white residents broke out his windows, spray-painted the n-word on his building, and every morning dog waste covered his parking lot. Dr. Dandy says it was strategic, “because there would be dog droppings right in front of the doors.”
But Dandy didn’t run, and eventually the harrassment stopped.
He credits perserverance and daily prayer. “I would get on my knees and pray and ask God to guide me that day, and I did that every morning for 48 years.”
In 2004 the doctor lost his sight – forcing him to close his practice, but dandy was soon back at work founding antioch foot and ankle group.
but he felt he should be doing more.
“One night I was lying in bed, and I decided oh, I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to open up a youth center.”
He opened Dandy Youth Development in his old office building in 2015.
Through mentoring, tutoring, and a focus on black history he’s teaching black boys how to be leaders, and to avoid the lure of gun violence.
“And to love one another. And if they manifest that type of love then they’re less to get a gun to shoot somebody.”
Most of the money to run Dandy Youth Development comes from Dr. Dandy. If you would like to make a donation to DYD here