Home / Localpage 5

Local

“I Am…”

By Lou Coleman

Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Madam C. J. Walker, Mum Bett, Shirley Chisholm, Wangari Maathai, Tegla Laroupe, Gertrude Kabatalemwa , Barbara Jordan,  Rosa Parks, Ida B Wells, Marva Collins, Miriam Anderson, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Dorothy Height, Mary Church Terrell, Marian Wright, Dolores Huerta, Daisy Bates, Fannie Lou Hamer, Septima Poinsette Clark, Ella Baker, Diane Nash, Anna Arnold Hedgeman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Odetta, Mahalia Jackson, Angela Davis, Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, Viola Gregg Liuzzo, Anna Berry Smith, Yes…I Am…. Cotton Mather, Frederick Douglas, George Washington Carver, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, Booker T Washington, W.E.B. Dubois, Paul Roberson, James Meredith, Stokely Carmichael, A. Philip Randolph, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Olaudah Equiano, Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Annan, Haile Selassie, Oliver Tambo, Shaka Zulu,  Nnamdi Azikiwe, E.D. Nixon, Cornet West, Benjamin Banneker; Richard Allen, John Lewis, Medgar Evers, Dick Gregory, Morris Dees, Percy Julian, Richard Loving, Mohammed Ali,  Andrew Goodman, James Cheney, Michael Schwemer, Dr. Carter G. Woodsons, Barack Obama, Richard C. Boone, Benjamin Banneker, Granville T. Woods, Louis Latimer, Garret Morgan; Charles Harrison Mason and countless others.

I don’t know from where you were stolen. I don’t know how many of you freed yourselves or died in bondage. Yet I claim you all and I honor you.  The savage ferocity of slavery has torn your names from the memories of your descendants but not your lives, your survival, your strength. Whatever it is that I am and all that I am, I am because you were. I cannot contemplate my future without reflecting on my past, our past.  As I look at the genesis of people of color and note our heroic journey traveled as a people—through enslavement, oppression, rejection and segregation—the greatest constant, on the path to the freedoms enjoyed today, was the presence of God-loving, God-fearing, and God-worshiping men and women. I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. [2 Timothy 1:3]

In your name, in your memory we work and pray and struggle, weeping and rejoicing at what has been and what will be.

Remembering the First African-American Teacher in San Bernardino County: Dorothy Ella Inghram

Dorothy Inghram

Dorothy Inghram

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- In celebration of Black History Month, San Bernardino Valley College remembers Hall of Fame alumna Dorothy Ella Inghram, class of 1932: the first African-American teacher in San Bernardino County, composer of SBVC’s Alma Mater, and one of Southern California’s most iconic educators.

Dorothy was born in 1905 on 6th Street in San Bernardino. Her father, Henry, worked as a custodian in the Opera House on Court Street?—?one of the many places African Americans weren’t allowed to attend.

Dorothy began school at Mt. Vernon Elementary in 1911. She later attended Sturges Junior High School and San Bernardino High School, becoming one of 123 students. Music played an important role in Dorothy’s life. While attending San Bernardino Valley College from 1928 through 1933, Dorothy wrote the music for the hymn that was selected as the college’s Alma Mater.

Dorothy earned an elementary teaching credential in 1939 after student teaching at an East Highlands school, and in 1942, Dorothy was hired to teach second grade at Mill School?—?the first African-American teacher in San Bernardino County.

Three years later, she became a teaching principal?—?splitting her duties between the classroom and administration?—?and became a full-time principal in 1951, a job she thoroughly enjoyed.

Dorothy was promoted to District Superintendent of Mill School District in 1953?—?the first African-American in the state of California to hold that position, and somehow also found time to earn a masters degree in education from the University of Redlands in 1958.

In 1977, one of San Bernardino’s library branches (on the corner of Highland and Western Ave.) was named for her.

At the age of 97, Dorothy received an honorary doctorate degree from Cal State San Bernardino. She authored five books over the course of her lifetime: Dear MegImproving the Services of Substitute TeachersBeyond All This,Incredible You and What’s on Your Mind?

In Beyond All This, Dorothy documents her family’s drive and determination to succeed during a time when blacks were not considered an integral part of the community. She recalls how her parents stressed that their children not carry any bitterness because of the racial tension around them, emphasizing the importance of education and following their own ambitions in order to become successful.

In 1989, Dorothy was inducted into San Bernardino Valley College’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

“San Bernardino Valley College provided the opportunity for me to pursue the professional career which I thoroughly enjoyed for 30 years,” Dorothy said. “For this, I shall always be grateful.”

Dorothy passed away in 2012 at the age of 106.


 

Sources:

Black History Facts: Part I

Garrett Augustus Morgan

Garrett Augustus Morgan

TRAFFIC SIGNAL: Garrett Augustus Morgan (March 4, 1877 – August 27, 1963), was an African-American inventor and businessman. He was the first person to patent a traffic signal. He also developed the gas mask (and many other inventions). Morgan used his gas mask (patent No. 1,090,936, 1914) to rescue miners who were trapped underground in a noxious mine. Soon after, Morgan was asked to produce gas masks for the US Army.

RILLIEUX, NORBERT: Norbert Rillieux (March 17, 1806-October 8, 1894) was an African-American inventor and engineer who invented a device that revolutionized sugar processing. Rillieux’s multiple effect vacuum sugar evaporator (patented in 1864) made the processing of sugar more efficient, faster, and much safer. The resulting sugar was also superior. His apparatus was eventually adopted by sugar processing plants all around the world.

POTATO CHIPS: The potato chip was invented in 1853 by George Crum. Crum was a Native American/African American chef at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA. French fries were popular at the restaurant and one day a diner complained that the fries were too thick. Although Crum made a thinner batch, the customer was still unsatisfied. Crum finally made fries that were too thin to eat with a fork, hoping to annoy the extremely fussy customer. The customer, surprisingly enough, was happy – and potato chips were invented!