RALEIGH, NC, October 24, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- AT&T North Carolina has announced the unveiling of its inaugural edition of "The Heritage Calendar: Celebrating the African-American Experience" as well as 16 honorees who have made a tremendous impact on the lives of African-Americans in North Carolina. The individuals will be recognized at a gala event on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, located at 2 E. South St. Thirteen living honorees and their families, who hail from across the state, as well as representatives for the other three honorees, plan to attend the gala celebration as honored guests.
Each individual profiled has inspired others, improved the state's communities and served as a key contributor in making North Carolina and the world a better place to live. They have played an invaluable role in weaving the rich tapestry that is North Carolina, and their stories are meant to inspire future generations. Resources about each honoree, developed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI), will accompany the printed and online versions of the calendar to serve as useful tools for education across the state.
The 2013 Heritage Calendar's recognized honorees are:
- Former Wake County Sheriff John Haywood Baker Jr. of Raleigh, who passed away in 2007, spent most of his career serving Wake County with a particular focus on its adolescent community. Baker spent 11 years in the National Football League as a defensive lineman while contributing to his community in the off-seasons as a youth counselor with the Raleigh Police Department. He later became the first African-American sheriff in North Carolina since Reconstruction and continued his efforts in serving adolescents by founding the John H. Baker Jr. Charter School in the county jail as part of an education program for imprisoned youth.
- Tom Bradshaw, former mayor and resident of Raleigh, helped lead a campaign to build Interstate 40 and the Raleigh Beltline, which made the idea of a single integrated countywide school system viable. He also developed the YMCA Achievers Program in 2003 to inspire leadership skills, entrepreneurship and perseverance in young students throughout the Triangle in order to honor the passing of his successor and the first black mayor of Raleigh, Clarence E. Lightner.
- Retired Congresswoman Eva Clayton of Raleigh bravely made her first run for Congress in 1968, at the peak of the civil rights movement. Although she was defeated, the campaign helped raise African-American voter registration to its highest level in North Carolina's history. Several years later, in 1992, Clayton became the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress from North Carolina, as well as the first African-American since 1901.
- Dorothy Counts-Scoggins of Charlotte dedicated 40 years of her life in helping children of all ages receive a decent education. She established a child care program for disadvantaged children at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, where she served as the director for 12 years, and then joined Child Care Resources Inc., where she worked for 24 years to ensure that all children received a quality preschool education. She has traveled to Raleigh and Washington, D.C., on numerous occasions to speak with legislators and advocate for preschool education, and she has mentored students in public schools across North Carolina, sharing her inspiring story and stressing the importance of education.
- Justice Henry Frye and his wife, Shirley Frye, of Greensboro, have made their continuing contribution to the Greensboro community through volunteer work, endowed professorships at their alma mater, N.C. A&T University, and the Henry and Shirley Frye Summertime Kids Fund. Justice Frye joined the N.C. General Assembly in 1986 as the first African-American legislator in the 20th century. He later became the first African-American to serve on the N.C. Supreme Court and to be appointed Chief Justice. Ms. Frye has worked in schools, including teaching special needs children for 10 years, and service organizations across the state and served as president of the Greensboro YMCA.
- Clarence Edward "Big House" Gaines Sr. of Winston-Salem, who passed away in 2005, transformed the sports program at Winston-Salem Teachers College, now known as Winston-Salem State University, into one of the most well-known and respected athletic departments in the country. Throughout his career, he established the record for most basketball wins of any African-American coach in the nation. Gaines inspired his African-American players to see themselves as more than athletes and to prepare themselves to achieve high goals in the classroom, beyond the athletic arena. Many of his players, who credit Gaines with inspiring them to push the boundaries, graduated and went on to become successful lawyers, doctors, teachers and coaches.
- The Greensboro Four, Jibreel Khazan, Frank McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond, who passed away in 1990, fought segregation through protest at the Woolworth's sit-in in 1960. The men, who were then freshmen at N.C. A&T University, took seats at Woolworth's lunch counter in downtown Greensboro to protest peacefully the segregated policy of the business. This movement quickly spread to other North Carolina towns and eventually to 54 cities in nine states throughout the South, rapidly gaining national attention and publicity. Their protest led to Woolworth's and other restaurants integrating their seating for patrons, which spurred a movement to end legal segregation in the South.
- Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. of Raleigh is credited for changing the perception of the state. As the longest-serving governor in North Carolina history, he led the state through tremendous and remarkable economic change, education reform and cultural growth. He served as chair of the N.C. Democratic Party reform commission in 1970, where he expedited a rewrite of party rules to require more participation by African-Americans, women and youth, as well as encouraged the party to reach out to minority voters. Additionally, Gov. Hunt was the first governor to bring women and minorities into central roles in government, including North Carolina's first African-American cabinet secretary, first African-American Court of Appeals judge, first African-American Supreme Court Justice and first African-American Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- Ammie McRae Jenkins of Cumberland County founded the Sandhills Family Heritage Association (SFHA) in 2001 to address and rectify the issue of other African-Americans from near her ancestral home who lost their land through racial intimidation. Under Jenkins' leadership, the SFHA implemented several successful programs including community education and a farmers market, with the knowledge of community elders and the hard work of volunteers. Jenkins was also the first African-American to integrate High Point College in 1962.
- Olinzie D. Johnson of Durham is a perennial advocate for education and has served as a guiding light in her community. Johnson has marched in opposition to busing, ensured ways for children to get to school, mentored in the classroom and founded the Albert E. Love Scholarship Fund, in honor of her mother, for high school seniors and college students. She is a recent recipient of the Inspiration Award, granted by the Durham Center for Senior Life, where she continues to volunteer and teach a low-impact exercise class.
- Mary E. Perry of Wendell was the longest-serving NAACP president in North Carolina history. During her affiliation with the NAACP, Perry personally registered more than 10,000 voters. As president, she implemented the Wendell-Wake NAACP Scholarship designed for local students involved in the NAACP Youth Council who hoped to attend college. Today, Perry continues remains active as an advisor for the local youth council.
- Dean Smith of Chapel Hill, the former head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, fueled desegregation efforts when he recruited New York native Charles Scott as the school's first African-American scholarship athlete in 1966. Smith also played a critical role in the integration of the well-known Chapel Hill restaurant, The Pines, in 1964 and helped a close African-American friend, Howard Lee, purchase a home in an all-white neighborhood, without ever seeking praise for his actions.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, PNC Bank, The News & Observer and Capitol Broadcasting Company/WRAL-TV served as primary partners on The Heritage Calendar Project.
To learn more about the AT&T 2013 Heritage Calendar, visit http://ncheritagecalendar.com/.
"The inaugural honorees are all incredible role models and have made a lasting difference in their relative fields and communities, excelling in areas as education, public service, civil rights, sports, arts and law enforcement," said Cynthia Marshall, president of AT&T North Carolina. "It is our hope that this calendar will serve as a tribute to their tremendous integrity, commitment and dedication to enhancing the lives of African-Americans throughout North Carolina's rich history."
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