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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!

As Heavy Rains Bring Deep Pot Holes, GORequest App Aids the Fight against Them

Harris, a member of the NWPAC, is using the GORequest app to report a pot hole

Harris, a member of the NWPAC, is using the GORequest app to report a pot hole

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- San Bernardino Westside residents are campaigning against pot holes. The membership of San Bernardino’s NWPAC organization is encouraging residents to use their smart phones to report pot holes. There is a smart phone app that allows you to photograph a pot hole and automatically report the location and photo  to the city so that repair of the pot hole can be scheduled. The Government Request App is available for free by requesting the GORequest app access via Google.

Charlene Dixon, president of the NWPAC, is asking Westside residents to help the City identify pot holes by using the telephone reporting system.

 She says, “It is easy, just download this app to your smartphone: GORequest app and 1. Install the app, 2. Open app, 3. Add issue (select potholes), 4. Add a photo from camera, 5. Take the picture of the pothole, 6. Verify that the location is correct, and 7. Submit.”

What happens next? The information is received downtown to the proper department and you are issued a number for that complaint.  You may follow-up and track the response of your submission through this app or via a phone call.

For more information about the NWPAC, call Charlene Dixon, (909) 913-0831.