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Carl Spight

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Information about Carl Spight

Profile image of Carl Spight

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
Physicist
Physics Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Lentils
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cuba
Favorite Quote:
The Future Of The Future Is In The Critical Recovery Of The Present.

Birthplace

Born:
9/8/1944
Birth Location:
Indianapolis, Indiana

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
Physicist
Physics Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Lentils
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cuba
Favorite Quote:
The Future Of The Future Is In The Critical Recovery Of The Present.

Birthplace

Born:
9/8/1944
Birth Location:
Indianapolis
See how Carl Spight is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Academic administrator, physicist, and physics professor Carl Spight was born on September 8, 1944 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Erma Mae White and William Herman Spight. He was inspired to be a nuclear physicist from watching television shows like Watch Mr. Wizard, Flash Gordon, and Captain Video and His Video Rangers. His childhood nickname, Mr. Radio, was earned by fixing his neighbor’s electronics. He attended Frances W. Parker School 56 where he arrived early to read the encyclopedias, achieved top grades, and earned a trip from the Freedoms Foundation to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Despite encountering racism at Arsenal High School, he won the state science fair and graduated in 1962. At his father’s suggestion, he attended Purdue University and received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering with honors in 1966. In 1971, Spight earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in plasma physics from Princeton University in. He thrived in Princeton’s intellectual environment and began his activism, creating the Committee on Black Awareness with other black graduate students.

In 1971, Spight taught at Southern University for one year before joining the staff at Morehouse College in 1972, as a physics professor and department chair, where he worked until 1980. During 1977, he served as a visiting physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1980 to 1983, Spight then worked for AMAF Industries where he became director of research. At Sonicraft, Incorporated in Chicago, Illinois, he was chief of advanced technology programs, director of engineering, and chief scientist from 1986 to 1989. President Thomas Cole recruited Spight to assist with the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University into Clark Atlanta University in 1989, where he became the dean of the college of arts and sciences and executive assistant to the president. During the 1990s, he served as chief scientist and regional manager of information systems for Jackson and Tull, Incorporated. Spight served as manager of academic services for the Office of Information Technology at the City Colleges of Chicago from 1994 through 2000. Spight has taught at and assisted with academic programs at Chicago State University, Olive-Harvey College, Providence St. Mel High School, North Lawndale College Preparatory Center, and Betty Shabazz Charter School. During the 2000s, he worked as a statistical consultant and vice president for Forté Development Corporation in Columbia, Maryland.

Spight has been a community leader and civic activist for many years. In Oak Park, Illinois, Spight co-authored the research study about the performance gap between black and white achievement at Oak Park and River Forest High School. His activism led him to be a featured presenter at the Olive-Harvey Black Studies Conference for over seventeen years. Among many other honors, Spight received the William F. Thornton Award for Professional Achievement from the National Technical Association in 1989 and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Princeton University. Spight is an avid percussionist and student of Africana music. He plays with his brother, Roy, who also makes African drums. He has been married to his wife, Marsha, since 1968 and they have three successful grown children.

Carl Spight was interviewed by The HistoryMaker’s on July 23, 2004.

See how Carl Spight is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carl Spight's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carl Spight shares his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carl Spight talks about his mother's side of the family, part 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carl Spight talks about his mother's side of the family, part 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carl Spight talks about his father's side of the family, part 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carl Spight talks about his father's side of the family, part 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carl Spight talks about his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carl Spight talks about his father's move to Indianapolis
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carl Spight talks about an early memory and his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carl Spight talks about the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up and his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carl Spight talks about his relatives in Indianapolis and his family's church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carl Spight talks about his childhood interests in science
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carl Spight talks about how he got his nickname "Mr. Radio"
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carl Spight talks about his fascination with technology
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carl Spight talks about his elementary school, Francis W Parker School 56
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carl Spight talks about reading encyclopedias and doing well in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carl Spight talks about how he was not aware of the Civil Rights Movement and about his father
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carl Spight talks about attending Arsenal Technical High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carl Spight talks about racism in high school and in Indiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carl Spight talks about his high school social life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carl Spight remembers how his father suggested he apply to Purdue University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carl Spight talks about attending Purdue University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carl Spight explains his choice to not be an activist during his time at Purdue University and working hard to achieve good grades.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carl Spight talks about forging his own path into physics
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carl Spight talks about attending Princeton University for graduate school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carl Spight talks about how Princeton University shaped his world view
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carl Spight talks about teaching at Southern University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carl Spight remembers teaching at Morehouse College and being an activist in Atlanta
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carl Spight recalls his travels to Southern Africa during his time at Princeton University and leaving Morehouse College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carl Spight talks about working at AMAF Industries and Sonicraft, Incorporated
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carl Spight talks about Jackson and Tull's development of hyper-spectral sensing and his patent on an optical robotic vision system
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carl Spight talks about helping consolidate Clark-Atlanta University and being a consultant
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carl Spight talks about his family and his activism in the black community.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carl Spight talks about being a percussionist and being a community leader in Oak Park, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carl Spight talks about New Wave Computer User Group and his hopes for the black community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carl Spight discusses the importance values
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Carl Spight reflects on his life choices and where they have led him
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Carl Spight talks about his legacy as well as his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Carl Spight talks about his children and how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Carl Spight describes his photographs