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Benjamin Whitten

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Information about Benjamin Whitten

Profile image of Benjamin Whitten

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive
High School Administrator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Chicken, Pork Chops, Hamburger, Oatmeal
Favorite Time of Year:
Football Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Favorite Quote:
If not when? What now?

Birthplace

Born:
7/25/1923
Birth Location:
Wilmington, Delaware

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive
High School Administrator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Chicken, Pork Chops, Hamburger, Oatmeal
Favorite Time of Year:
Football Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Favorite Quote:
If not when? What now?

Birthplace

Born:
7/25/1923
Birth Location:
Wilmington
See how Benjamin Whitten is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Benjamin Carr Whitten was born on July 25, 1923, in Wilmington, Delaware. Both of his parents were teachers. His father died when he was just six years old, forcing his mother to teach school at night while working as a receptionist for a doctor during the day. In 1939, Whitten earned his diploma at the age of fifteen from Howard High School. While attending Howard he enjoyed playing tennis, roller-skating, reading and listening to the radio.

Whitten earned his bachelor’s of science degree from Pennsylvania State University where he was active in the Industrial Arts Club and became the first African American member of the honor fraternity Iota Lambda Sigma. He was also a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, made the Dean’s list for six semesters and graduated with honors. After graduation he was drafted into the military and served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946. He furthered his education at Penn State, earning his master’s degree in 1948 and his Ed.D in 1960.

In 1948, he joined the staff of the Baltimore City Schools as an industrial arts teacher. He would spend the next thirty years moving up the ranks of the school system serving as a vice principal, principal and assistant superintendent for vocational education. In 1976, he was a candidate for superintendent of Baltimore City Schools. He retired from the school system in 1979.

After his retirement, Whitten served as director of the Minority Contractors Technical and Assistance Program. In this position he operated a program designed to assist minority contractors to enter and succeed in the construction industry. He served in this post until 1983, when he accepted the position of Baltimore City Urban League President, a job he held until 1988.

In 1987, Whitten received the Parren J. Mitchell Unity Award from the Baltimore NAACP. In 1989, the wing of a Baltimore vocational facility, the Westside Skill Center was dedicated in Dr. Whitten’s honor.

Benjamin Whitten passed away on September 21, 2012.

See how Benjamin Whitten is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Benjamin Whitten interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Benjamin Whitten's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Benjamin Whitten remembers his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Benjamin Whitten describes his family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Benjamin Whitten recalls his childhood personality and his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Benjamin Whitten discusses growing up without his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Benjamin Whitten recalls his childhood environs
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Benjamin Whitten remembers his early school years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Benjamin Whitten briefly talks about his childhood church
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Benjamin Whitten remembers his high school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Benjamin Whitten recalls his years in the Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Benjamin Whitten recalls his college years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Benjamin Whitten recounts instances of race discrimination in education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Benjamin Whitten discusses his doctoral pursuits
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Benjamin Whitten discusses his encounter with race discrimination within Baltimore's school system
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Benjamin Whitten ponders a lost opportunity to be superintendent of Baltimore's schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Benjamin Whitten discusses trends in education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Benjamin Whitten discusses his appointments and honors following retirement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Benjamin Whitten details his work with the Baltimore City Public School System in the 1980s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Benjamin Whitten discusses his tenure as president of the Baltimore Urban League
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Benjamin Whitten shares his personal philosophy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Benjamin Whitten recalls suffering a stroke
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Benjamin Whitten describes his daily activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Benjamin Whitten shares advice for prospective educators
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Benjamin Whitten reflects on changes in Baltimore city schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Benjamin Whitten describes how he'd like to be remembered
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Benjamin Whitten expresses his concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Benjamin Whitten considers his legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten and son, Benjamin Whitten, Jr., before church, 1968
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten and wife Lu on a cruise, 1980
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten and wife Lu participate in cruise activities, 1985
  • Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten and wife Lu being greeted by the ship's staff at a cruise event, 1990
  • Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten and wife Lu escort their son Benjamin to a debutante ball, 1985
  • Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten with executives from the Baltimore Urban League, Baltimore, Maryland, 1987
  • Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten's family, including his mother, wife and siblings, 1969
  • Tape: 3 Story: 18 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten and wife Lu, ca. 1995
  • Tape: 3 Story: 19 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten's mother and his siblings, 1929
  • Tape: 3 Story: 20 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten's mother, wife and son, 1967
  • Tape: 3 Story: 21 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten's mother, father, uncle and an unidentified sibling, ca. 1922
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten, vice principal of Carver Vocational Technical High School, Baltimore, Maryland, ca. 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten's father, Tobias Emanuel Whitten, ca. 1920s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten's aunt and uncle and a nephew, early 1930s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten and his brother, ca. 1924
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Photo - Benjamin Whitten's mother, ca. 1915