The legacy of West Paces Ferry Orthodontics began more than 75 years ago with our founder, Dr. Marvin Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein’s commitment to bettering the lives of those around him made an impact on many people, both in and out of the office.
Dr. Goldstein earned his dental degree from Emory University in Atlanta in 1938. He opened West Paces Ferry Orthodontics, a practice that defied the segregationist sentiments of the time. In addition to treating members of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., family, Dr. Goldstein treated other African American patients from around the South who traveled to Atlanta for specialized treatment they could not receive elsewhere.
In the early 1960’s, Dr. Goldstein opened a hotel, the American, which was also integrated. It became a haven for black people and for civil rights workers turned away by other establishments. Among them was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who held meetings there with his top aides even before the hotel formally opened.
The opening of the American became a crucial part of Atlanta's acquisition of its first major professional sports franchise. The Milwaukee Braves agreed to relocate to Atlanta in 1966 only after being assured that integrated visiting baseball clubs could stay at the American.
Soon after, the Ku Klux Klan picketed the hotel. When Dr. Goldstein was told that an integrated hotel would be required to have at least separate drinking fountains for blacks and whites, he was reported to have replied, “Then we won't have any drinking fountains.”1
Dr. Goldstein passed away in 1997, having truly changed the landscape of the Atlanta, GA community.