St. Augustine dentist Dr. Julius Fields was community leader in ’60s

Wayne Gazelle Fields is very proud of his late father, Dr. Julius Gazelle Fields. Dr. Fields was a Black man and native son of St. Augustine, born in 1921 to Ruben Homer Fields and Annie Mae Hankerson. Growing up in the African American community of Lincolnville, he attended the segregated West Augustine School Elementary School No. 6 and Excelsior High School, and graduated from Florida Memorial College, which was then located in West Augustine.

“My father was a child of segregated St. Augustine, where people of color at that time were not expected to achieve much,” Wayne Fields said in a telephone interview from his home in Gainesville. “But my dad proved them wrong.”

After graduating from Florida Memorial, Fields was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army, where he served in the Philippines in World War II and was wounded. Receiving the Purple Heart, he was discharged as a captain, returned home and attended Fisk University in Nashville and then Meharry Medical College to study dentistry. 

Dr. Julius Gazelle Fields

After medical school, Dr. Fields returned home to St. Augustine to set up his practice in the large Victorian home of his mother Annie Fields, at 82 Bridge St. in Lincolnville in the city in 1951.

The home was sold to the city after the death of Mrs. Fields and was demolished to build a parking lot.

According to local historian David Nolan, the intersection of Bridge and Oneida Streets was the medical and dental center of Lincolnville for the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, with the offices of several dentists and physicians.

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