portrait of unsung heroes
My Unsung Hero for Black History Month is Torrence Brannon Reese founding director of FAMLI (Foundation for Arts, Mentoring, Leadership and Innovation), a non-profit after school mentoring program at Audubon Middle School in Los Angeles, CA. His two gender specific programs are “See A Man, Be A Man” and “Princess to Queen” for underserved boys and girls.
In 2008, the program lost its entire funding due to the city’s budget crisis. Instead of shutting down the program, Mr. Reese assembled an all-volunteer staff in order to continue providing services to the youth. Day in and day out he continues to come out o his own pocket for the much needed services for the youth. He provides meals, field trips, arts, and cultural and other activities for the kids in his program. He also performs in the Doo Wop group, Renaissance to raise funds for the kids.
In addition to mentoring the children, he meets with their teachers, counselors, principal, foster parents and/or social worker to assist them academically as well as in their personal lives. For all that he does to improve the lives of these vulnerable boys and girls in the community with out hesitation or complaint makes him my unsung hero.

My Unsung Hero for Black History Month is Torrence Brannon Reese founding director of FAMLI (Foundation for Arts, Mentoring, Leadership and Innovation), a non-profit after school mentoring program at Audubon Middle School in Los Angeles, CA. His two gender specific programs are “See A Man, Be A Man” and “Princess to Queen” for underserved boys and girls.

In 2008, the program lost its entire funding due to the city’s budget crisis. Instead of shutting down the program, Mr. Reese assembled an all-volunteer staff in order to continue providing services to the youth. Day in and day out he continues to come out o his own pocket for the much needed services for the youth. He provides meals, field trips, arts, and cultural and other activities for the kids in his program. He also performs in the Doo Wop group, Renaissance to raise funds for the kids.

In addition to mentoring the children, he meets with their teachers, counselors, principal, foster parents and/or social worker to assist them academically as well as in their personal lives. For all that he does to improve the lives of these vulnerable boys and girls in the community with out hesitation or complaint makes him my unsung hero.

My unsung hero would be my uncle James L. Alston.  During his lifetime he fought for the rights of many African-Americans in our small town in North Carolina.  He was denied the right to register to vote because he “talked too slow” or had a “speech impediment” and could not be understood by the registrar.  He never gave up to register to vote.  He would walk downtown to attempt to register until he was finally granted the opportunity to register.  He was a community activist, a bricklayer, and a writer.  In going through his things at his death, I found letters written to the NAACP in North Carolina about the unfair treatment of “Negroes” in our hometown.  He served as a member and officer in our local NAACP.  He was a role model for all of his nieces and nephews and many others in the community.

My unsung hero would be my uncle James L. Alston.  During his lifetime he fought for the rights of many African-Americans in our small town in North Carolina.  He was denied the right to register to vote because he “talked too slow” or had a “speech impediment” and could not be understood by the registrar.  He never gave up to register to vote.  He would walk downtown to attempt to register until he was finally granted the opportunity to register.  He was a community activist, a bricklayer, and a writer.  In going through his things at his death, I found letters written to the NAACP in North Carolina about the unfair treatment of “Negroes” in our hometown.  He served as a member and officer in our local NAACP.  He was a role model for all of his nieces and nephews and many others in the community.

Tiffani “Hot Chocolate” Hall. Rising above Jim Crow laws and flourishing cotton fields in her hometown of Forrest City, Arkansas, Tiffani Hall set a shining example for her seven younger siblings. Leaving the south for better opportunities, she landed in St. Louis, MO.     Wanting more than a high school education, Tiffani became the first woman and the first African-American to graduate from Brown Institute in Minneapolis, MN.
Armed with a First Class license in broadcasting and engineering, Tiffani returned to St. Louis. Pinning the name “Hot Chocolate”, Tiffani began working as a radio personality for WESL Radio in neighboring East St. Louis, Illinois.  Beating out most of her male personalities, a 1974 Arbitron survey rated her “the most listened to voice in the metro-east area.” Later on, she was promoted to Chief Engineer for the station.     After turning down an offer to work for a nationally syndicated radio station, Tiffani embarked on a television career.
Paving the road for reigning hosts, Oprah, Mo’Nique, Tyra and Wendy Williams, Tiffani hosted her own talk show in 1974. “Proud” was a show of Black perspectives that included celebrity interviews.     Tiffani gave back to her community through volunteering. She received rave reviews for her rendition of “The Creation”. As keynote speaker for countless engagements, she encouraged children and adults to rise above their circumstance, empower themselves with an education and be “Black & Proud”, the anthem of that day. She dazzled audiences with interpretive and belly dances, was crowned first place winner of the Miss A.P.A. (Academy of Performing Arts) beauty pageant and could kick things into high gear with her karate training. In addition, she protected and served her community as an officer for the St. Louis County Bureau of Civil Defense Police Department, at a time when African-Americans and women on the force were few and not graciously accepted.
Tiffani has been featured in a host of periodicals and newspapers, most notably, Jet and Ebony magazines. She won an Emmy for her work as an Engineer at KPLR-TV in April 1978. Never far from her roots, Tiffani moved back to Arkansas after retiring as the first female engineer for KPLR-TV and Hugo Wholesale Jewelry Company.
Today Tiffani enjoys speaking engagements, volunteering and working with the Entre Nous Club, the oldest Black nonprofit organization in Hot Springs, AR.

Tiffani “Hot Chocolate” Hall. Rising above Jim Crow laws and flourishing cotton fields in her hometown of Forrest City, Arkansas, Tiffani Hall set a shining example for her seven younger siblings. Leaving the south for better opportunities, she landed in St. Louis, MO. Wanting more than a high school education, Tiffani became the first woman and the first African-American to graduate from Brown Institute in Minneapolis, MN.

Armed with a First Class license in broadcasting and engineering, Tiffani returned to St. Louis. Pinning the name “Hot Chocolate”, Tiffani began working as a radio personality for WESL Radio in neighboring East St. Louis, Illinois. Beating out most of her male personalities, a 1974 Arbitron survey rated her “the most listened to voice in the metro-east area.” Later on, she was promoted to Chief Engineer for the station. After turning down an offer to work for a nationally syndicated radio station, Tiffani embarked on a television career.

Paving the road for reigning hosts, Oprah, Mo’Nique, Tyra and Wendy Williams, Tiffani hosted her own talk show in 1974. “Proud” was a show of Black perspectives that included celebrity interviews. Tiffani gave back to her community through volunteering. She received rave reviews for her rendition of “The Creation”. As keynote speaker for countless engagements, she encouraged children and adults to rise above their circumstance, empower themselves with an education and be “Black & Proud”, the anthem of that day. She dazzled audiences with interpretive and belly dances, was crowned first place winner of the Miss A.P.A. (Academy of Performing Arts) beauty pageant and could kick things into high gear with her karate training. In addition, she protected and served her community as an officer for the St. Louis County Bureau of Civil Defense Police Department, at a time when African-Americans and women on the force were few and not graciously accepted.

Tiffani has been featured in a host of periodicals and newspapers, most notably, Jet and Ebony magazines. She won an Emmy for her work as an Engineer at KPLR-TV in April 1978. Never far from her roots, Tiffani moved back to Arkansas after retiring as the first female engineer for KPLR-TV and Hugo Wholesale Jewelry Company.

Today Tiffani enjoys speaking engagements, volunteering and working with the Entre Nous Club, the oldest Black nonprofit organization in Hot Springs, AR.

My unsung heroine is my own late mother, the late Dr. Effie H. Jones.
Dr. Jones was a school administrator, principal, assistant principal, counselor, teacher, and the organizer of the Office of Minority Affairs for AASA (American Association of School Administrators). She committed to working for the closing of the academic, social, and health gaps between the children who have and the ones who don’t.
She created a space where minority and women educators could be nurtured, supported, challenged,  and where the needs of all children could be addressed.
My mother remained throughout her life committed to equality, excellence, and service within the academic community, and because of her tireless work, the educational world is richer and more open that ever.

My unsung heroine is my own late mother, the late Dr. Effie H. Jones.

Dr. Jones was a school administrator, principal, assistant principal, counselor, teacher, and the organizer of the Office of Minority Affairs for AASA (American Association of School Administrators). She committed to working for the closing of the academic, social, and health gaps between the children who have and the ones who don’t.

She created a space where minority and women educators could be nurtured, supported, challenged,  and where the needs of all children could be addressed.

My mother remained throughout her life committed to equality, excellence, and service within the academic community, and because of her tireless work, the educational world is richer and more open that ever.

My hero is my brother, freedom rider William “Bill” Harbour of Atlanta, Ga.  He was born in the Piedmont, Alabama in 1942 and grew up with White and Colored water fountains, White only food eateries, White and Colored schools.  During his 3rd year at Tenn State University, he got involved with a group of students who wanted to change the way blacks was treated.  He and his college friends got on a greyhound bus headed for Birmingham, Alabama which is now known as the Freedom Riders from Nashville.  The rest is history.

My hero is my brother, freedom rider William “Bill” Harbour of Atlanta, Ga.  He was born in the Piedmont, Alabama in 1942 and grew up with White and Colored water fountains, White only food eateries, White and Colored schools.  During his 3rd year at Tenn State University, he got involved with a group of students who wanted to change the way blacks was treated.  He and his college friends got on a greyhound bus headed for Birmingham, Alabama which is now known as the Freedom Riders from Nashville.  The rest is history.

Lonnie Carmon, Aviation Pioneer

Lonnie Carmon, Aviation Pioneer

Nadonya Muslim is an unsung hero. My mother is an advocate for education and improving the rights of African American children everywhere. My mother has taken in three of her students and raised them on her own as if she birthed them. She has taken her students to protest for Afirmative Action, Brown vs. the board of Education in D.C., and to Jena, Louisiana just to name a few. My mother is well loved by her students and was awarded Steve Harvey’s Hoodie Award for Best High School teacher two consecutive years. She is the type of teacher who as she says raises scholars and leaders. She teaches us by quotes from leaders from the past but most importantly by example.

Nadonya Muslim is an unsung hero. My mother is an advocate for education and improving the rights of African American children everywhere. My mother has taken in three of her students and raised them on her own as if she birthed them. She has taken her students to protest for Afirmative Action, Brown vs. the board of Education in D.C., and to Jena, Louisiana just to name a few. My mother is well loved by her students and was awarded Steve Harvey’s Hoodie Award for Best High School teacher two consecutive years. She is the type of teacher who as she says raises scholars and leaders. She teaches us by quotes from leaders from the past but most importantly by example.

Virgil Ware (center) was shot the same day as the four girls killed in the famous Birmingham church bombing, but few have heard of him.
I plan on reading all of these posts to look for people to add to my art exhibit “Famous Faces and Unsung Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.” This art is from that exhibit; click on the photo above for more info on the exhibit and/or to access links to websites with detailed info on Virgil Ware.

Virgil Ware (center) was shot the same day as the four girls killed in the famous Birmingham church bombing, but few have heard of him.

I plan on reading all of these posts to look for people to add to my art exhibit “Famous Faces and Unsung Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.” This art is from that exhibit; click on the photo above for more info on the exhibit and/or to access links to websites with detailed info on Virgil Ware.

My father is Joe Black (left side of picture with Jackie Robinson), Brooklyn Dodger pitcher and Greyhound Senior Vice President.  All those accolades that he earned during those years are great, but he was my hero because of the love, time and loyalty he gave me until God called him home.

My father is Joe Black (left side of picture with Jackie Robinson), Brooklyn Dodger pitcher and Greyhound Senior Vice President.  All those accolades that he earned during those years are great, but he was my hero because of the love, time and loyalty he gave me until God called him home.

    Ralph H. “Big Ralph” Cothran became the first Black Police Chief in the history of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1989. It is for sure that his theories and ideas about civil rights extend to all elements of society and its people.  The need to evaluate programs, strategies and leadership is an important element of progress. Big Ralph witnessed the conflict of civil rights and crime in his experiences as a police officer.

    Ralph H. “Big Ralph” Cothran became the first Black Police Chief in the history of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1989. It is for sure that his theories and ideas about civil rights extend to all elements of society and its people. The need to evaluate programs, strategies and leadership is an important element of progress. Big Ralph witnessed the conflict of civil rights and crime in his experiences as a police officer.

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