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CivicMakers have contributed substantially to their communities either by working for local governments, leading nonprofit organizations, or through activism and other forms of civic leadership and engagement. HistoryMakers in this category include civil rights activists, community volunteers, civil service workers, firefighters, social workers, and nonprofit leaders and emloyees, among many others.

Bettye Jo Harris

Program administrator Bettye Jo Harris was born on February 24, 1934 in Arkansas to Cornelia Kilgore. After graduating from Nevada County Training School in 1950, Harris attended Arkansas Baptist College before transferring to Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal (AM&N) College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She went on to receive her M.S. degree in public health from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Harris clerked at the Internal Revenue Service in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before joining the University of Minnesota department of admissions as a clerk. She went on to serve as an administrator for the AM&N College department of agriculture and as a program developer for the University of Hawaii School of Public Health. From 1969 to 1972, Harris and her family lived in Morocco and Tunisia, where Harris’ husband, entomologist Ernest Harris, served as the coordinator of the North Africa Regional Mediterranean Fruit Fly Suppression Program. Harris later joined the Arthritis Foundation Hawaii as a health educator; and, in the 1980s, she served as executive director of the Kalihi-Palama Immigrant Service Center. Harris then became an editor of the Afro Hawaii News, during which she led the campaign to establish the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in Hawai’i. In the 1990s, she served as executive director of the residential substance abuse treatment center Hina Mauka.

An active member of St. Christopher’s Church, Harris served as deputy Diocese of Hawai’i from 1982 to 2006. She served on the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee (JPIC) and finance committee of the Episcopal Church Executive Council. Harris was elected vice president of the Hawaii Diocesan Council in 2000. In 2012, Harris served on the Honolulu African American Film Festival Committee. She also served as the chair of fundraising for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

In 2011, Harris was appointed to the Canon of the Episcopal Church, Dioceses of Hawai’i by Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick. In 2013, she received the Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement from the NAACP of Hawai’i.

Harris married the late Ernest Harris on April 11, 1953. They had three children: Mark, Tanya, and Greg.

Bettye Jo Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.141

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2019

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Jo

Schools

Nevada County Training School

Arkansas Baptist College

AM&N College

University of Hawaii at Manoa

First Name

Bettye

HM ID

HAR56

Favorite Quote

Lord Have Mercy

Speakers Bureau Region State

Hawaii

Birth Date

2/24/1934

Speakers Bureau Region City

Honolulu

Favorite Food

Collard Greens, Ham Hocks, and Corn Bread

Short Description

Program administrator Bettye Jo Harris (1934- ) worked at the University of Minnesota department of admissions, Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College department of agriculture, and the University of Hawaii School of Public Health.

Employment

Spiegal Department Store

Internal Revenue Service

University of Minnesota Admissions

AM&N College Department of Agriculture

Arthritis Foundation Hawaii

Kalihi-Palama Immigrant Service Center

Hina Mauka

Favorite Color

Purple

Arva Rice

Nonprofit executive Arva Rice was born on February 23, 1968 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating from Heritage Christian Schools in 1986, Rice received her B.S. degree in social policy from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 1990, and took post-graduate courses in education at the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, New York.

After graduation, Rice moved to New York City where she received a fellowship from the NYC Urban Fellows Program, and worked in the office of political leader Ruth Messinger. In 1993, Rice was hired as the technical assistance director at the Fund for the City of New York. She then served as program director of economic literary for Girls, Incorporated, where she partnered with American Express that brought about the publication of Money Matters: An Economic Literacy Action Kit for Girls. In 1999, Rice became executive director of Public Allies New York; and, then executive director of Project Enterprise in 2003. During her tenure, the agency doubled its revolving loan fund. In 2009, Rice became president and chief executive officer of the New York Urban League (NYUL), becoming the second woman to hold this position. In this role, Rice forged a partnership with the Mary J. Blige Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) that resulted in establishing the inaugural Girls Empowerment Day and a four-year scholarship for an outstanding college-bound young woman. Under her leadership, the NYUL also allied with Jordan Fundamentals, the nonprofit organization run by Michael Jordan, providing students the opportunity to be trained as Team Jordan athletes through a ten-week sportsmanship program.

In 2010, Rice was appointed commissioner of the New York City Equal Employment Practices; and, in 2018, she was appointed commissioner of the Commission on Gender Equity. In 2018, Rice joined the board of trustees of First Corinthians Baptist Church. She was also a member of the New York Women’s Forum and The Links.

In 2005, Rice was named a Network Journal Forty Under 40 honoree and was a grantee for the Robin Hood Foundation. In 2013, Rice was selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as one of sixteen leaders for its Children and Family Fellows. Two years later, she received the Alumni Merit Award for the School of Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

Rice was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 28, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.024

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/28/2019

Last Name

Rice

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

R.

Occupation
Schools

Engleburg Elementary School

Heritage Christian Schools

Northwestern University

Teachers College, Columbia University

First Name

Arva

Birth City, State, Country

Milwaukee

HM ID

RIC24

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Wisconsin

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

The Only People That Don't Make Mistakes Are People Not Doing Anything

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/23/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Nonprofit executive Arva Rice (1968 - ) served as president and CEO of the New York Urban League.

Employment

New York Urban League

Project Enterprise

Public Allies

Girls Inc.

Fund for the City

The Valley

NYC Urban Fellow

Favorite Color

Red

Mattie McFadden-Lawson

Civic leader Mattie McFadden-Lawson was born on June 1, 1952. She received her B.A. degree from Brooklyn College in 1974 and her M.A. degree from Howard University in 1974. She later obtained her M.P.A. degree in public administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1977.

After serving as a research associate for McKinsey & Company, McFadden-Lawson was hired as a staff member for the United States Senate Budget Committee. In 1980, McFadden-Lawson and her husband, Michael A. Lawson, moved to Los Angeles, California, where she became involved in supporting various community and philanthropic efforts. She founded the MML Design Group in 2001 and oversaw the restoration of an historic Los Angeles mansion, formerly owned by Muhammad Ali.

McFadden-Lawson served on numerous boards including the Music Center/Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Ford Theater Foundation, and the GRAMMY Museum Board. She served as co-vice chair of the 50 X 50 Leadership Circle of the Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center for International Scholars. McFadden-Lawson was a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and a founding member of the Dance Council of the Colburn School. She served as vice chair of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and as director of the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed her to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 2016, McFadden-Lawson served as a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention from California.

In 2011, Mattie McFadden-Lawson was honored with a Drum Major Award at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at Los Angeles’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. She was also presented with the “Service Above Self” award at the first annual Music Box Awards in 2011. In 2013, she received the Music Center Philanthropy Award from Center Dance Arts and The Music Center. The following year, she was the recipient of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award from the Los Angeles Urban League; and, in 2015, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors presented McFadden-Lawson with the Excellence in Leadership Award. In 2016, she received the Leadership and Community Service Award from the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute, and the Women of City Club Award from the City Club of Los Angeles.

McFadden-Lawson and her husband, Michael A. Lawson, have two adult children, Michael Jr. and Jonathan.

Mattie McFadden-Lawson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.015

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/8/2019

Last Name

McFadden-Lawson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Carver High School

Brooklyn College

Howard University

Harvard Kennedy School

First Name

Mattie

Birth City, State, Country

Clarendon

HM ID

MCF02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Migel

Favorite Quote

No One Can Block Your Blessings Because Your Name Is Written On Them

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/25/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Civic leader Mattie McFadden-Lawson (1952 - ) served as founder and president of MML Design Group, co-vice chair of the 50 X 50 Leadership Circle of the Women in Public Service Project–Wilson Center for International Scholars, and on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Employment

The MML Group

Bankers Trust Company

U.S. Senate Budget Committee

U.S. House District Committee

McKinsey & Company, Inc.

Favorite Color

Black

Gayle Holliday

Transportation executive, business consultant, and political activist Gayle Holliday was born on May 18, 1944 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Helen and George Smith. She graduated from Fredrick Douglass High School in 1962 before attending Howard University and ultimately graduating from Oklahoma City University with her B.A. degree in political science in 1968. Holliday later earned her M.P.A. degree from Central Michigan University in 1978 and her Ph.D. in management and applied technology from Webster University in 2004.

From 1969 to 1971, Holliday was the assistant dean of students at Federal City College in Washington D.C. She subsequently became a reporter and writer for Kansas City, Missouri’s CBS affiliate, KCMO-TV. In 1975, Holliday was hired by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority as the personnel and equal employment opportunity manager. She was later promoted to the director of human resources; and, in 1986, she became deputy general manager. She left the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in 1996 upon founding and becoming president and CEO of G&H Consulting, LLC where she monitored minority and women business enterprise compliance on the renovations of Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, the Kansas City Zoo, and a new police crime laboratory. G&H Consulting has also been a major consultant on five disparity studies for women and minorities, including for the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the State of Missouri; the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority; Jackson County, Missouri; and Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools.

Holliday has served on numerous committees throughout her career, including appointments to Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team in 1992; Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II’s task force on race relations in 1996; the Sixth Circuit Judicial Commission of Kansas City, Missouri in 2006; co-chair of Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James’ Charter Commission in 2016; co-chair of Jackson County, Missouri’s Jail Task Force from 2016 to 2018; and Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II’s Black/Brown Coalition in 2017. She was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Links, Inc., and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In 2019, Holliday was named co-president of Freedom, Inc.

Holliday has received many awards, including being named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Black Women in Kansas City, Missouri in 1983; the Thomas G. Neusom Founder's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Growth and Development of Minorities presented by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials in 1989; the 1992 Service Award from the National Conference of Black Mayors; the 2005 Congressional Black Caucus’s Unsung Hero Award; and the 2018 Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award. She was also recognized by the 109th Congress for Outstanding Service in the State of Missouri and working to promote economic and political empowerment for African Americans and other minorities.

Gayle Holliday resides in Kansas City, Missouri, and has two children with her late husband, Harold Holliday, Jr.: Holli and Harold Holliday, III.

Gayle Holliday was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.132

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/6/2019

Last Name

Holliday

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Patricia

Schools

Dunbar Elementary School

F.D. Moon Junior High School

Frederick A. Douglass High School

Howard University

Oklahoma City University

Central Michigan University

Webster University

First Name

Gayle

Birth City, State, Country

Oklahoma City

HM ID

HOL26

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

5/18/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Any American Dish

Short Description

Transportation executive, business consultant, and political activist Gayle Holliday (1944- ) began working for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in 1975 before founding and becoming president and CEO of G&H Consulting, LLC. in 1996, and president of Freedom, Inc. in 2019.

Employment

Federal City College

KCMO-TV

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

G&H Consulting, LLC

Favorite Color

Pink

Chester C. Owens, Jr.

Community activist Chester Owens, Jr. was born on April 9, 1933 in Ashdown Arkansas to Francis and Chester Owens, Sr. The family moved to Kansas City, Kansas in 1946 where Owens graduated from Sumner High School in 1949. He then attended Sumner Junior College until 1951 when he joined the United States Air Force and was deployed to Japan. Owens was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1955, and subsequently completed his B.S. degree in business administration at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, graduating from there in 1958.

In 1959, Owens was hired as an underwriter and salesman at the insurance agency H.W. Sewing & Co. in Kansas City, Kansas. He worked here until 1961 when he joined General Motors. After one year, Owens returned to H.W. Sewing & Co. as an underwriter and salesman. In the early 1960s, he worked with the Northwest District Citizens Committee and the NAACP to desegregate the downtown shopping district. As chairman of the NAACP’s Labor and Industry Committee from 1960 to 1963, Owen’s and his late wife, Lillie Anne, wrote letters to local business owners and organized pickets of stores refusing to hire African Americans. In 1976, Owens bought H.W. Sewing and Co. from the founder, Henry Warren Sewing, and served as president of the agency. In 1983, he was elected to the City Council of Kansas City, Kansas, making him the first African American elected to Kansas City government in the 20th century. He served two terms on the council, during which time he also briefly served as deputy mayor in 1984. Owens retired as president of H.W. Sewing and Co. in 1998.

Owens has also served on numerous boards, including for Douglass State Bank, United Way of Wyandotte County, Kansas, and the Kansas Association of Independent Insurance Agents, and as president of the Northeast Business Association, Struggler’s Hill/Roots Neighborhood Association, Kansas City, Kansas Association of Independent Insurance Agents, Homeowner's Task Force for the State of Kansas, the Economic Opportunity Foundation, and Sumner High School Alumni Association. He is also a member of Sigma Pi Phi and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternities.

Owens is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kansas City, Kansas Leadership Award in 1989, of which he was the first ever recipient; being named amongst the Kansas City Globe’s One Hundred Most Influential Citizens in 1990; the 2012 Outstanding Leadership Award presented by the Kansas House of Representatives; being named in the Kansas City, Kansas USD 500’s 2012 Reasons to Believe; the NAACP Civil Rights Award; and the Friends of Yates’ Black Man of Distinction Award. Owens has also been honored through the naming of the Chester C. Owens Sumner Alumni Room and The Chester Owens Jr. Construction Skills Training Center, which houses a U.S. Department of Labor-run program called YouthBuild, both named in 2011.

Chester Owens, Jr. resides in Kansas City, Kansas and has three daughters and two grandsons.

Chester Owens, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/5/2019

Last Name

Owens

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Lee Herman

Occupation
Schools

Little River County Training School

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science

Kansas City Junior College at Sumner

Pittsburg State University

First Name

Chester

Birth City, State, Country

Ashdown

HM ID

OWE03

Favorite Season

Mother's Day and Father's Day

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I Am Whole, I Am Perfect, I'm Strong, I'm Powerful, I'm Loving, I'm Harmonious, And I'm Happy

Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

4/9/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Community activist Chester Owens, Jr. (1933- ) was chairman of the Kansas City, Kansas NAACP’s Labor and Industry Committee from 1960 to 1963, the first African American elected to Kansas City government in the 20th century in 1983, and owner and president of the insurance company, H.W. Sewing and Co., from 1976 to 1998.

Employment

The Kansas City Star

United States Air Force

Gustin-Bacon Manufacturing Company

H.W. Sewing & Company

General Motors

Favorite Color

Blue

Linda Whitlock

Civic leader and corporate executive Linda Whitlock was born on December 3, 1947 in Richmond, Virginia to Kenneth Edward Whitlock and Sarah Johnson Whitlock. Whitlock attended Virginia Union University’s Lab Nursing School, Mary Scott Elementary School, Chimborazo Elementary School, Randolph Junior High School, and Maggie L. Walker High School. She received her B.A. degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College in 1972. In 1981, Whitlock received her M.A. degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. 

In 1980, Whitlock served as an instructor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as director of the Massachusetts Government Land Bank. Three years later, she was appointed director of the Massachusetts Office of Real Property. In 1984, Whitlock joined Tufts University as an instructor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy. She served as vice president of Harvard Real Estate, Inc. in 1989. In 1990, she was hired by Concord Academy as assistant head for marketing and associate director of admissions. Two years later, she joined Buckingham Browne & Nichols School and became assistant head for enrollment management. From 1999 to 2008, Whitlock served as the Nicholas president and chief executive officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. In 2008, she founded and was principal of The Whitlock Group, through which she served as senior advisor to Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, senior advisor to John Fish, CEO of Suffolk, and strategic advisory board member of AesRx LLC.

She was a board member of numerous companies, including Cambridge Trust Company, and was the first Lead Director in 2011. She also was on the boards of the Red Sox Foundation, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, The Princeton Review, National Association of Corporate Directors New England, Museum of Afro American History, and Brandeis University.  Whitlock was co-chair of Women Corporate Directors Boston, and a member of The Boston Club’s Executive Advisory Council, the Boston Women Leaders Network, and the Boston Library Society. She was appointed to commissions by Democratic and Republican Governors and Mayors, and served as associate finance director for Dukakis for President in 1987, co-chaired Obama Victory Trustees in 2012, and was a leading national fundraiser for Hillary for America in 2016.

In 2009, Whitlock was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. In 2003, she was named one of the Most Powerful Women in Boston by Boston Magazine, and was the Boston Municipal Research Bureau’s Shattuck City Champion. In 2008, she received the National Service to Youth Award from Boys & Girls Clubs of America as well as the Woman of Valor Award from the Anti-Defamation League New England. In 2011, she received the Advancing Women Award from the Boston Business Journal; and, in 2017, she received the Abigail Adams Award from the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. Whitlock received honorary doctorates from Babson College, Suffolk University, and Pine Manor College.

Whitlock and her husband, Marc Cumsky, have two children, Jake and Leah, and seven grandchildren.

Linda Whitlock was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 23, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.090

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/23/2019

Last Name

Whitlock

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Mary Scott Elementary School

Chimborazo Elementary School

Randolph Junior High School

Maggie L. Walker High School

Mount Holyoke College

University of Michigan

First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

WHI27

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard and Italy

Favorite Quote

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

12/3/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newton

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Spinach

Short Description

Civic leader and corporate executive Linda Whitlock (1947- ) served as the Nicholas president and chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston from 1999 to 2008.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Government Land Bank

The Whitlock Group

Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston

Buckingham Browne and Nichols School

Concord Academy

Harvard Real Estate, Inc.

Dukakis For President Campaign

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Tufts University

University of Michigan

Favorite Color

Red

E. Ginger Sullivan

Civic leader E. Ginger Sullivan was born on July 30, 1933 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to Catherine Caesar and James Williamson. Sullivan attended Craneville Elementary School and Pittsfield High School. In 1955, Sullivan received her B.A. degree from Northeastern University. She later received her J.D. degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in the 1970s.

While attending Northeastern University, Sullivan served as a hepatic research technician at Yale School of Medicine. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she worked as a medical assistant. She later joined Massachusetts General Hospital as a cardiovascular researcher. An active member of Christ Church in Boston, Massachusetts, she helped plan the church’s trip to attend the March on Washington in 1963. In 1975, Sullivan’s husband, Dr. Louis Sullivan, was appointed dean of Morehouse College Medical Education Program. During his deanship, Sullivan clerked for a Fulton County Superior Court Judge and founded the Friends of Morehouse School of Medicine. After President George H.W. Bush appointed Dr. Louis Sullivan U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in 1988, Sullivan served as a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute on the early detection and treatment of breast and prostate cancers in 1989. During this time, Sullivan also joined the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships for three years. In 1993, Sullivan and her family returned to Atlanta, where Dr. Louis Sullivan served as president of Morehouse School of Medicine until 2002.

Sullivan served as founder and co-sponsor of The Sullivan 5K Run/Walk Road Race for Health & Fitness on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She has also served on the boards of the High Museum of Art, the Alliance Theatre, True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, Wolf Trap, the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the Arthritis Foundation of Georgia, and was a strong supporter of Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB) and Africare. A member of the Buckhead Cascade Chapter of Links, Inc. and the auxiliaries to the Atlanta Medical Association and the National Medical Association, Sullivan was active in the Atlanta community.

Sullivan and her husband, Dr. Louis Sullivan, have three children: Paul, Shanta, and Halsted.

E. Ginger Sullivan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.087

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/22/2019

Last Name

Sullivan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Craneville Elementary School

Pittsfield High School

Northeastern University

Atlanta Law School

First Name

E. Ginger

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsfield

HM ID

SUL03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard or South Africa

Favorite Quote

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/30/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Bluefish

Short Description

Civic leader E. Ginger Sullivan (1933- ) founded the Friends of Morehouse School of Medicine and served as a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute from 1989 to 1993.

Employment

Yale School of Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital

Superior Court of Fulton County

National Cancer Institute

Favorite Color

Blue

Grover Pettes

Nonprofit president Grover Lee Pettes, Sr. was born on December 10, 1925 in Las Cruces, New Mexico to Robert A. Pettes and Ella C. Pettes. He attended Booker T. Washington School and also worked on his family’s farm which was purchased by his father in 1939. In 1974, Pettes received his G.E.D. from Dona Ana Branch Community College.

In 1949, Pettes joined the Shook Tire Company as a tire recapper. Three years later, he moved to El Centro, California to serve as shop foreman of McNeese & McNeese, a Goodyear distributor.
In 1955, Pettes began working as a repairman for the United States Air Force and the White Sands Proving Ground in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He returned to the car detailing business in 1958 to serve as owner and operator of A-1 Car Wash, Polish, and Paint. In 1960, Pettes was elected president of the Dona Ana County branch of the NAACP, a position that he held for five years. In 1963, Pettes founded the Mesa Development Center, a small water utility on the East Mesa, from property that once served as his family’s farm. From 1964 to 1985, Pettes served as a painter and plumber for the United States Air Force and as a fire alarm systems specialist for the Holloman Air Force Base. Later, Pettes became president of the Community Cemetery’s board of directors, the only burial site for African Americans in Las Cruces. The cemetery was first purchased in 1938 with the help of Pettes’ uncle, and the first person to be buried there in 1940 was Pettes’ grandmother, Annie Pettes Franklin. As president of the Community Cemetery, Pettes led the effort to restore and preserve the cemetery, which had been poorly maintained. In 2016, Pettes sold the Mesa Development Center to the city of Las Cruces.

Pettes served as president of the Booker T. Washington Elementary School Parent Teacher Association. He also served as a deacon and chairman at Bethel Second Baptist Church of Las Cruces. In 1984, Pettes received the Sustained Performance Award from the United States Air Force. In 2019, Pettes and his daughter Marilyn were panelists at the African American Museum and Cultural Center of New Mexico’s exhibition “The Virtue of Ownership,” where they discussed their family’s history in Blackdom, New Mexico, the first all-African American settlement in the state.

Pettes and his wife, Laura Wright Pettes, have five children: Grover Pettes, Jr., Shirley Daniels, Dolores Webb, Steven Pettes, and Marilyn Hill.

Grover L. Pettes, Sr. was interviewed by The History Makers on July 22, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.054

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/22/2019

Last Name

Pettes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Lee

Occupation
Schools

Booker T. Washington

Doña Ana Community College

First Name

Grover

Birth City, State, Country

Las Cruces

HM ID

PET09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Mexico

Favorite Vacation Destination

No Favorite Spot, But Vacationing Between June And July

Favorite Quote

God Is Good, And He's Everything To Me

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Mexico

Birth Date

12/10/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Cruces

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Bacon, Eggs, Rice, and Coffee For Breakfast

Short Description

Nonprofit executive Grover L. Pettes, Sr. (1925- ) served as president of the Community Cemetery in Las Cruces, the only burial site for African Americans in Las Cruces.

Employment

Mesa Development Center, Inc.

U.S. Government Air Force/Holloman Air Force Base

United States Government Civil Service USAF White Sands Droving Grounds

A-1 Car Wash, Polish and Paint

McNeese & McNeese (Goodyear Distributor)

Shook Tire Company Las Cruces

Favorite Color

Blue

Nancy McKeever

Civic leader Nancy McKeever was born on June 8, 1936 in St. Louis, Missouri to John
Clarke and Maddy Edna Richardson Clarke. She migrated to Chicago, Illinois, where she lived with her aunt and uncle and attended Hyde Park High School. After graduating from Loretto Academy in 1954, McKeever received her degree in teaching from Chicago Teachers College in 1958.

After graduating from college, McKeever moved to a military base near Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, Lester McKeever. In 1960, while her husband finished his military service, McKeever returned to Chicago and began her career in education as a third grade teacher at Forestville Elementary School, which later became Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School. She also served as parent coordinator for the PTA and ran the Forestville Special Trips Committee, which took students on trips around the country during school breaks. In 1971, McKeever joined the auxiliary board for Chicago’s ETA Creative Arts Foundation, which provided training and performance opportunities for youth and adults. McKeever eventually became chair of ETA Creative Arts Foundation’s board of directors, where she planned fundraising events that raised several million dollars for an endowment, before leaving the board in 2014. In the early 1970s, McKeever and her husband purchased and managed a high rise building in Hyde Park. In 1976, the couple purchased Oglesby Towers, a 25-story high-rise apartment building in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, which she managed until they sold the building in 2008.

McKeever was a member of the Northeasterners and the Contempos social clubs. She also helped establish the Mother’s Club, a group of African American women who went horseback riding together. In 2007, McKeever received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Chicago State University for outstanding achievement in the Arts. She was recognized for her work with the Big Shoulders Fund and Catholic Charities by the Chicago Archdiocese with the Bishop Quarter award in 2008. McKeever has also served as a member of Woman's Board for Art Institute of Chicago.

McKeever and her husband, Lester McKeever, reside in Chicago, Illinois and have two adult children: Steve and Susan.

Nancy McKeever was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.061

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/9/2019

Last Name

McKeever

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Hyde Park Academy High School

Chicago State University

First Name

Nancy

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

MCK18

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

As You Grow Older, You'll Learn

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/8/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Watermelon

Short Description

Educator Nancy McKeever (1936- ) was a school teacher for Chicago Public Schools before becoming an auxiliary board member of ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago, where she would go on to be named chair of the board of directors.

Employment

Carter G. Woodson Elementary School

Oglesby Towers

Favorite Color

Blue

Mora McLean

Nonprofit executive Mora McLean was born on December 6, 1955 in New York City to Vera and William McLean. She was raised in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands where she graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School in 1973. McLean then graduated from Wesleyan University where she earned her B.A. degree in African studies in 1977 before receiving her J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1980.

From 1980 to 1981, McLean worked as a legal associate for Riker, Danzig, Scherer & Hyland, Attorneys at Law where she focused on commercial litigation. The following year, she became an aide to the New Jersey Assembly Labor Committee, working on legislative research, analysis, and drafting. McLean remained there until 1985 when she was appointed counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives’ commerce subcommittee on commerce, transportation, and tourism. She served in this capacity for five months before becoming an assistant program officer in the human rights and governance division of the Ford Foundation. She was promoted to program officer in 1987; and, in 1990, she became the Foundation’s representative for Nigeria and assistant representative for West Africa. From 1993 to 1995, McLean served as the Foundation’s representative for West Africa with oversight of the Foundation’s offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Dakar, Senegal. For the next year, McLean served as deputy director for all of the Foundation’s Africa and Middle East programs. She left the Ford Foundation upon being named president and CEO of the Africa-America Institute in 1996, which she led until 2012. Rutgers University hired McLean as a visiting scholar at their center for African studies where she worked for two years. In 2015, the school made her the program strategy advisor for their Newark campus’s launch of a global urban studies doctoral program; and, in 2016, she became a Cornwall Center Senior Fellow, adjunct professor, and director of corporate and foundation relations in the office of the chancellor. In 2019, West African Youth Challenges and Opportunity Pathways was published, of which McLean was editor.

McLean has served on numerous boards throughout her career, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Legal Aid Society of Mercer County, New Jersey, the Orphan Society of the Oranges and Maplewood, United States Institute of Peace, and chairing the U.S. Trade Advisory Committee on Africa. She has also received several awards, including the 2002 Distinguished Wesleyan Alumna and being named Wesleyan Trustee Emerita in 2008 and Africa-America Institute President Emerita in 2012.

McLean resides in New Jersey and has one adult child, Atinuke.

Mora McLean was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 23, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.117

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/23/2019

Last Name

McLean

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Lynn

Occupation
Schools

All Saints Cathedral School

Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School

Charlotte Amalie High School

Wesleyan University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Mora

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MCL06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

The Price Of Liberty Is Less Than The Price Of Repression - W.E.B. DuBois

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

12/6/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Plantain

Short Description

Nonprofit executive Mora McLean (1955 - ) was a representative for Nigeria and West Africa at the Ford Foundation before serving as president and CEO of the Africa-America Institute from 1996 to 2012.

Employment

Ford Foundation

Africa-America Institute

New York University

Rutgers University

Rutgers University-Newark

Riker, Danzig, Scherer & Hyland, Attorneys at Law

New Jersey State Office of Legislative Services

U.S. House of Representatives

Favorite Color

Blue