We are more then sports but sometimes you do have to stop and recognize history in sports. I know my friend Wil Haygood did a much better job talking about him in his book "Tigerland" but I'm going to give it a try for history sake.
William "Ed" Ratleff was born March 29, 1950 in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Ratleff would move to Columbus as a young man and attended East High School where he excelled in sports. Ratleff will forever be known for one of the great young men to usher East High School to victory in 1968 winning the State Championship and 1969 winning the Ohio HS title. It's easy to assume this was a somewhat simple task to do for any high school but this win was also a win for the City of Columbus. This was the first State title given to any high school in Columbus and from reading the newspaper, these men were treated like stars; including Ed. Ed would continue his high school success in basketball as he travels to attend Long Beach State where he was two time first team all American. He would also join the Olympics team in 1972 where he participated in the Munich Games. He would continue his career as a professional basketball player in the NBA for the Houston Rockets.
It appears Ed Ratleff would remain in California for most of his life and currently still lives there. Ratleff coached golf at Fullerton College and now owns a State Farm Insurance Company.
He resided at 1201 Bryden Road and the home is still there.
When you are mad at Republicans, its best to find a silver lining. Please allow me to introduce you to Lt. Governor Jennette Bradley from East HIGH!!
Jennette Bradley was born October 2, 1952 in Columbus, Ohio to a father who retired from the Army. Bradley attended and graduated from East High School as an active student (Go Tigers!!) and ended with a bachelor degrees from Wittenberg College in 1974 in Psychology.
Prior to being elected Lt. Governor, Bradley served eleven years as a City Council Member in Columbus; the first black woman to run for city council on a Republican ticket. Director of Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority. And In addition to serving on City Council, Lt. Governor Jennette Bradley was a Senior Vice President for a Huntington National Bank.
Lt. Governor Jennette Bradley is married to Michael C. Taylor and they reside in Columbus.
I love to study legacy of successful families because success is a mindset that is normally taught.
I can't give this family much justice if I don't talk about the legacy of the family and how they continue to play a role in the City of Columbus to this very day.
Please allow for me to introduce to you Leon A. Ransom Sr who was born August 6, 1899 in Barnesville, Ohio. He would later graduate from Lash High School in 1917 and then soon after from The Ohio State University in 1920. He would also continue taking educational classes at Wilbeforce University while he was in between studying for his law degree. Ransom Sr. would graduate from OSU with a law degree in 1927. He was the first AA to be accepted into the honors society of "Order of the Coif".
In 1923 he married his sweetheart Willa Carter and they appeared to have two children; Mary and Leon Jr. After completion of his law degree, Ransom practiced law in Columbus until 1931. Ransom would leave Columbus to teach law at Howard University in Washington DC. After ten years of teaching, Ransom was appointed to acting Dean of the College until 1947. In 1930 the family resided at 223 18th Street and the house is still there!!
Remember when I mentioned he had a son and his name is Leon Jr.? Well, the legacy keeps growing. I love when that happens.
Guess what Leon did for a living? NOPE he didn't study law.
Leon Ransom Jr was born in 1929 in Ohio. He would later become the first African American Architect in the city of Columbus. Ransom was responsible for creations like The Christopher Inn and St. Anthony Hospital. Ransom Jr. was known for his unique architectural styles of creating functional round buildings. In the 1950s these styles set Columbus apart from other cities and many would travel to see the round building off of I70. Ransom Sr. passed at an early age in 1954 and Ransom Jr. left us in 1971.
Liz Evans was born June 1941 in Augusta, Georgia to Rev. Dr. Robert Sherard and Jeraldine Wallace. She would grow up primarily with her grandparents in Georgia who happen to be of mixed races made up of white and Creek Indian. Her grandfather was a prominent chef who cooked for the political elite.
The Evans family valued education and she was a graduate of "Immaculate Conception Academy". Considering Evans would travel often in between the states of New York, Ohio, Georgia and New Orleans; she met many new acquittances along the way. Once She arrived in Columbus, she would work for Western Electric for three years before beginning her media opportunity for WTBN in 1970. To continue her learning of communications and Public Relations, Evans attended the Jefferson Broadcasting School in New York. Evans would continue to nurture her position as Assistant Public Director for three years until she concluded in the role of Community director and held that role for over thirty years.
One of Evans most successful accomplishments were being a mother and her role as CEO and Visionary of the African American Cancer Support Group Inc. that she established in 1993. She and other leaders from the community were able to service over 2000 people; aging from 7 years old to 80.
Evans was married once and divorced but had three loving children from the union. She is currently enjoying her retired lifestyle but loves spending time with her two grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Evans currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.
Motivational speaker Les Brown was born Leslie Calvin Brown on February 17, 1945, in Miami, Florida. After giving birth to Brown and his twin brother, Wes, on the floor of an abandoned building, Brown’s biological mother gave her sons up for adoption when they were six weeks old to Mrs. Mamie Brown. When he was in fifth grade, Brown was forced back a grade by the school’s principal after being disruptive in class. Brown’s demotion subsequently led him to being placed in special education classes and labeled as mentally retarded. As an adolescent, Brown attended Booker T. Washington High School where he was influenced by a speech and drama instructor who encouraged him to pursue a career in radio broadcasting.
After graduating from high school and briefly working for the Department of Sanitation, Brown worked as an errand boy for a Miami Beach radio station. At the station, Brown observed the disc jockeys with hopes of one day becoming an on-air personality. His break came when one of the disc jockeys became inebriated. Brown stood in for him and then was hired as a disc jockey. In the late 1960s, Brown moved to Columbus, Ohio, to work for WVKO Radio, where he became active in the community. Brown’s political activism in Columbus won him a seat with the 29th House District of the Ohio State Legislature. In his first year, Brown passed more legislature than any other freshman representative in Ohio State legislative history. In his third term, Brown served as chair of the Human Resources Committee.
In 1981, Brown left the Ohio State House of Representatives to care for his ailing mother back in Florida. While in Miami, he continued to focus on social issues by developing a youth center training program. In 1986, Brown entered the public speaking arena on a full time basis and formed Les Brown Enterprises, Inc. In 1989, Brown received the National Speakers Association’s highest award, the Council of Peers Award of Excellence (CPAE). In 1990, Brown recorded the Emmy Award-winning series of speeches entitled You Deserve, which became the lead fundraising program of its kind for pledges to PBS stations nationwide.
As a school board member and five-time political candidate, William Roger “Bill” Moss had established himself as something of an enigmatic black iconoclast. At board meetings he was a bitter opponent of desegregation who had frequently found himself a minority of one on key votes. Politically he was a self-professed Democrat who's become anathema to the local party and preferred to run as an independent. He ran unsuccessfully for both the U.S. House of Representatives (twice) and the Ohio House, losing badly in all three efforts, but playing an important "spoiler" role once. He won election to the Board of Education in 1977 and the Franklin County Democratic Central Committee in 1980.
In his public role, Moss could be alternately harsh and charming, bombastic and persuasive, sullen and effusive. It was impossible to predict from one week to the next how he’d behave, what issue he'll sink his teeth into, what political office he’d decide to run for next. At his best, he was a powerful speaker with excellent recall for facts and figures; there were not many politicians around who could whip Bill Moss in a head-to head debate if Moss had done his homework. And because his school board seat gave him a guaranteed weekly media forum, Moss had become a pivotal figure on the board.
In 2003, Moss was defeated in his final political run, trying for reelection to the Columbus Board of Education. Later in 2004, Moss was an active leader in Ohio challenging the reelection of President George W. Bush. Moss testified in the Ohio House of Representatives Chamber when members of Congress held investigative hearings in December 2004. Later, Moss was one of the organizers and leaders of a bus caravan to the nations capitol to protest and challenge the inauguration of President Bush. Moss spoke before the national press club on this matter. Bill and Ruth Moss also filed lawsuits against President Bush and Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer in an effort to have the election results overturned.
In 2005, Moss did not file to run in a first ever primary for the Columbus Board of Education, challenging the validity of such a primary. Moss then launched a campaign as a write-in candidate for the Board if the Courts were to deny him a spot on the general election ballot. Moss was to be denied this final campaign, as he died on August 2, 2005, one week after suffering a stroke attending a college reunion in Pennsylvania.
The story of Morris Wade and the 4 Pharaohs begins during a unique time in Columbus music history when the east side of the city, known at the time as ‘Bronzeville’, was exploding with musical talent and energy. Bronzeville in many ways was Columbus’s Harlem, an area just east of the downtown core that was the center of the city’s African-American culture, alive with clubs, restaurants, shops, theaters and, most of all, music.
The club scene in Bronzeville during the mid-1950’s to the early 1960’s was teeming with the best jazz, vocal harmony and R&B artists on the planet. Small clubs, ballrooms and concert halls like the Copa, the Cadillac Club, Club Jamaica, Joe’s Hole, Marty Mellman’s Club 502, the Lincoln Ballroom, the Regal, the Macon and the Litchford Cocktail Lounge routinely showcased the best of the best national names in the music industry, as Columbus’s strategic location between New York and Chicago provided the perfect mid-point stop for artists touring the Midwest.
On any given night in the clubs along Mt. Vernon Avenue and Long Street, you might see legendary artists such as Jimmy Smith, Cannonball Adderly, Illinois Jacquet, Earl Bostic, Ray Charles, Huey Smith and The Clowns, Muddy Waters, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Big Joe Turner, Dinah Washington, Chuck Willis, Earl Bostic, Lester Young, Miles Davis, Jimmy Witherspoon, Ahmad Jamal, Dakota Staton, B.B. King, Count Basie or Etta James, just to name a few. The mix of such national as well as local artists in such an intimate setting was a bounty for club patrons and an opportunity for up-and-coming local artists to learn from the greats of the day.
This vibrant scene also proved to be fertile ground for the development of a wealth of local musicians who were to later find national and international acclaim spanning a wide range of styles. The clubs and concert halls in Bronzeville during this era produced an astounding array of local success stories including renowned jazz and R&B artists such as Nancy Wilson, Rusty Bryant, Hank Marr, Don Patterson, Sonny Craver, Roland Kirk, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Raleigh Randolph, Stomp Gordon and Larry Darnell, who were among the many locals who honed their talent on the stages in area clubs. The original group, which formed in Columbus, Ohio, sometime in 1956, consisted of Robert Taylor-1st tenor (later to gain fame as Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers with Motown), Morris Wade-lead, Bernard Wilson-bass, and brother Ronnie Wilson-baritone and lead on the jump sides. The key to the group was Morris Wade. He was the one who helped form the group and the only one to remain with the group through several personnel and name changes until 1968.
Robert Taylor went to East High School in Columbus, while Bernard and Ronnie Wilson went to Central High School. Morris Wade went to both schools. Before the group was actually formed, Morris had his own ham-bone group. He was on Madame Rose Brown’s local television show, WTVN’s “The Rose Brown Show”, in 1954, beating the ham-bone and singing Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy on the same show with his cousins Stomp Gordon and Sonny Craver, and dancer Eddie Jay Colston.
If you don't know about Judge Robert Morton Duncan you don't know much about Columbus Black History.
When I sit down with passionate Cap City Leaders like Ron Ransom, he often times reminds me of the disconnect in our communities and far to often many of our giants are left unnoticed or lack recognition. Ron expressed his frustration with Judge Robert Morton Duncan not being acknowledged on the Long Street Bridge of Fame. I listened and I noted this thought for the future; ALL leaders need recognized in one form or another!!
Hopefully we can begin embracing Judge Robert Duncan successes and acknowledge he did it for the betterment of the black community and for that we all should say thank you Judge Duncan.
Dr. Blake will forever be known for discovering the cure for "Smokey City Pneumonia which was caused by smog in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Lottie Isbell Blake was born in Virginia in 1876 to Thomas and Frances Isbell. The family would move to Columbus when Lottie was three years old. Lottie would graduate from High School and obtained a medical degree in 1902 from American Missionary College in Michigan. She would marry Dr. David Blake in 1907 and they became medical missionaries in Panama and Haiti. Dr. Blake had a medical license in Ohio, Tennesee, Alabama, Panama, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. She was one cold blooded leader!!
Although the Isbell family were one of the Original families to help establish the Union Grove Baptist church, later in life Dr. Blake would join the Seventh Day Adventist movement. Dr. Blakes husband; Dr. David died prematurely and Lottie was left to raise there children in Columbus, Ohio. Blake would continue her practice of medicine while raising her children. She became a devout follower of Ephesus Seventh Day Adventist and have obtained honors on behalf of the church as the first medical physician in the religious movement. In 1933, Dr. Blake was living at 756 Mt. Vernon Ave and in 1930 she lived at 1132 Mt. Vernon Ave and the home is still there!!
William Williams was born in 1944 in Columbus, Ohio. Not much is known about his personal life but having children who worked for the company; William Williams Jr. being one of them.
Williams opened The Marble Gang at 1052 Mt. Vernon Plaza in 1982. Williams graduated from Culinary Institute of America in New York and soon after managed Lazarus Restaurant in downtown Columbus.
Williams learned the trade of the restaurant business and begin his own venture in 1982 on Mt. Vernon Ave. I will never forget the late night ribs and my first experience of having a potato skin....OMG I was hooked for life.
Williams would build a unique style of community, music, and food during at time black Columbus was growing and migrating to the suberbs; The Marble Gang was the staple of why many Columbus blacks returned home and visited with close friends they grew up with.
It wasn't enough for Williams to have a very successful restaurant in the city but his vision exceeded the time and he thought global economics. It was his dream to have everyone in the world eating his food and not just Columbus, Ohio and he sought to build an empire of spice canned goods that would soon become branded as Glory Foods.
Glory Foods begin in 1989 in Columbus, Ohio at 901 Oak St. and remains a vital American business to this very day.
Joseph Sandy Himes Jr. was born in Jefferson City, Missouri on April 5, 1908 to Joseph Sr and Estelle Bomar. The Himes family were a very educated black family. Joseph Sr. was a college professor and Estelle was a school teacher. As a young boy, Himes would injure himself while experimenting with a gunpowder in chemistry class and became blind. He would pursue his education in Cleveland; attending the East High School who had an advanced department for the blind. Himes would later obtain a BA from Oberlin College and his Masters and PhD from Ohio State University in 1938. Himes would begin his career as a Research Director for the Columbus Urban League, under the direction of Nimrod Allen. While he lived in Columbus, it appeared in 1940 he still lived in the home with his mother and they lived at 1148 E. Long St.
Himes would begin teaching college after leaving Columbus and later would become the first black professor to receive tenure at the University of North Carolina in Durham.
Helen Jenkins Davis was born July 28, 1894 in Xenia Ohio to her parents William and Sarah Parham. Her mother Sarah was a Free woman living in Xenia while her father William was a slave from Kentucky. Moving to Columbus when Helen was a little girl, her father would cook for hotels in Columbus and the family would reside in the hotels including Exchange Hotel and The St. Clair. Helen family valued education and she would attend Garfield, East High School graduating in 1914 and proceeding to Columbus Normal School in 1916 to obtain her teachers degree. She wouldn't begin teaching til 1918 because they didn't hire black teachers fulltime with benefits. Helen Jenkins Davis will remain the first black teacher hired for Columbus Public Schools. Her resume would continue to be nurtured in education and she became the first person to witness in the Desegregation of 1976 for CPS. She will remain active for over thirty years serving as a teacher of the black community working at Spring St., Champion Ave and eventually retiring in 1954. Jenkins would marry but she didn't have any children of her own (as far as I can tell). She would live a long vigorous life of 92 years old and died in 1987.
Helens father William was a unique leader and would own his own restaurant on E. Long St. and West of 3rd in Downtown Columbus til he died in 1900.
The Stephens family turned triumph into victory in a time when it seemed damn near impossible.
Robert K. Stephens was born a slave in Tennessee (the slave schedule is below and its assumed Robert is the 15 year old owned by a slave with his same name; possibly his father) in 1845 and married Sarah Smith in Columbus in 1878. They would own there own home in 1900, located at 244 St. Clair Ave (no longer there). Robert and Sarah would give birth to five children and there daughter; Jessie Stephens would later graduate from The Ohio State University in 1905. Jessie would become the first African American women to graduate from the buckeye state college majoring in Modern Language. She would walk miles to OSU from her home on the east side of Columbus. At the time, black students were not allowed to live on campus.
Jessie would later marry Edward Glover and they would have two children; Ellen and Portia. The family resided at 75 Miami Avenue in 1954.
I shared the story about Luella (Lulu) Alexander a while back. Lulu was the owner of a beauty shop that sold Madame CJ Walker hair products and was one of her Representatives. Well, normally greatness doesn't live alone. Her husband Harry B. Alexander was an amazing leader for Columbus as well.
Harry was born in Indiana in 1871 to Irvin and Sarah Turner and would later move to Columbus. He attended Douglass School located on Douglass Street that opened in 1875. He would meet his childhood friend there and they would become lifetime friends. Joseph A. Jeffrey founded the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company also known as the Jeffrey Mining Corporate Center in 1877. Harry would become one of two black men in management working for Jeffrey as his secretary, advisor and confidante. One of his other achievements is becoming secretary to mayor ship of Columbus mayor Robert Jeffrey from 1903-1905.
Harry would marry Lulu in Columbus on April 9, 1902 and would also become the president of the Spring St. YMCA and Columbus Call & Post. The Alexander family would reside at 186 Hamilton Ave. and the home is still there!!
BETTYE ROBINSON was the founder of the first Black Ballet Company and school in Columbus, mentor and teacher of Black Dancers in Columbus from 1960-1990. She nurtured Black students who pursued professional dance careers, founded dance schools and companies; two of her students were chosen to study at the School of American Ballet in the 1970s.
She took her advanced students to study at ballet studios in New York City during the 1960s and 70s.
"Aunt Bettye", as she was called, inspired and influenced a generation of young Black women with her passion for art of the dance. In the 1960’s, before the Title IV sports explosion, area girls received ballet, tap and jazz dance lessons from this entrepreneur. She opened her first dance school in 1946 in Philadelphia, PA. She moved to Youngstown, married Attorney Ross B. Robinson and built a dance studio on the back of their home to accommodate her growing business. Her husband’s job promotion in 1960 brought them to Columbus where she opened a a small home studio in their basement that rapidly grew into a building in downtown Columbus. She created "Les Danseurs Noir”, the first Black ballet dance company in Columbus. She always advised motivated and trained students to open their own businesses or perform in the arts.
During her career she served as a choreographer for the Columbus Victory Matrons Cotillion, the Youngstown Junior League Cinderella Ball, Youngstown Playhouse Green Pastures, Warren Kenley Players, 1973 Miss Black Teenage Pageant, DST Jabberwock Fiesta Internationale, and and served as a judge for the Miss Teenage Cupidette Pageant. She set choreography for musicals at her alma mater, Ohio Dominican College.
She was a member of the N.A.A.C.P, The Columbus Civic Ballet Company, National Association of Dance and Affiliated Artists, Abilities in Motion, Elegant Club of Columbus, Dance Educators of America, Professional Dance Teachers Association, Mahoning County Crippled Children Society, Junior Civic League, St. Augustine Episcopal Church in Youngstown, St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church in Columbus and Christ Episcopal Church in Cleveland.
John S. Bailey was born in Stokes, North Carolina to Edward and Carrie Matthews Bailey. They later moved to Indiana where John met his wife Cora (Dempsey) and they married in 1887. The earliest record of Bailey in Columbus was from the 1920 census and they identified the family living at 215 N. Champion Ave. Bailey would soon become the Pastor of Hawthorne Methodist Episcopal Church in 1918-1920. The Bailey family would proceed with growing a family and gave birth to Leland Bailey in 1903 in Indiana.
katherine Huges Hill was born in 1916 in LaGrange, Georgia and a granddaughter of a slave, "She moved to Columbus at an early age to reside with her aunt and cousin", according to Legacy.com.
Katherine will forever be known for her visionary work at Marzetti Dressings. Hill created the famous known Cold slaw dressing that appears on many of our picnic tables during the summer months
The Marzetti Restaurant became iconic for the city of Columbus, until its closing in 1969. Just like many of the restaurants, Marzetti hired African Americans to work within the company. The company shares the story of Katherine Hill on their website.
Katherine would remain working for the company for close to seventy years. In 1931 Hill lived at 79 Talmadge St. which is no longer there but in 1998-2000 she lived at 1537 Hawthorne Ave.
Naomi James Evans was born in 1899 in Kentucky. Evans would become the first black registered nurse to be employed by the Benjamin Franklin Tuberculosis hospital, where she worked for 30 years as a part time supervisor. She was also the first African American nurse in the Columbus City Schools system, where she was a school health nurse from 1942 until her retirement in 1968.
As a black registered nurse in Columbus, Ohio she waited six years to be employed as a nurse according to the OSU Health Sciences. OSU also expressed her life was active in her community and in her church; the Union Grove Baptist Church, where she was a member for over eighty years. The family lived in the Lane Ave/Kenny Road (Sellsville) area of town. Her home doesn't appear to be there any longer.
Evans is acknowledged as being one of the Ohio Women Hall of Fame.
The black community leaders had to think bigger for the future of the community and James Albert Jackson was one of those leaders.
Please allow for me to explain history. An Empress Theatre was built in downtown Columbus in 1914 at 250 S. High St. but by the following year in 1915; the establishment changed its name to Knickerbocker Theatre.
I read an article from the Cleveland Advocate, Vol. 6 No. 24 Page 1, October 18, 1919. Which read:
“The knickerbocker theater here insist on charging colored people 20 cents for balcony seats. The other portion of the house to which they are admitted, while charging white patrons but 15 cents for balcony seats. Then, to add insult to injury, the management compels colored patrons to enter the balcony via the alley way, while the whites enter from the front lobby.”
Well the story doesn’t end there.....Frfr
On March 4, 1920 James Albert Jackson and partner J. E. Williams was tired of the discrimination from theaters and decided to build a state of the arts new theater at 770 E. Long St for $50,000 for blacks and named it...........drumroll please.............
Today I will share with you some amazing historical figures that impacted our city. These individuals were intentional about change and wouldn’t stop until change happened. It’s starts with one!!
David Jenkins born in Virginia in 1811. He moved to Columbus in 1837. In 1844 He established the Palladium Liberty; A weekly anti slavery newspaper. He was active in the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad. Jenkins died in 1877. Jenkins and his wife became educators and strong leaders for there community, church and future children of Columbus.
David’s wife’s name was Lucy Ann or Lucinda and she was 36 in 1850. They appeared to have a son named Cyrus who was 14 in 1850. In 1897 the couple resides at 1188 Mt. Vernon Avenue.
Centenary Church on Long Street, three stories with a five story steeple, was begun in 1900, the work of the congregation who had put aside their own dreams of its completion on a number of occasions for the greater needs of the community in the early twentieth century. Ministering to the physical needs of those coming to Columbus in the great migration, the congregation continued to worship in the basement with little more then a makeshift roof. Waiting for the day’s of red brick walls and stained glass windows.
The Centenary Church lasted a little more then a century before it was taken down for redevelopment.
Clotilde Dent Bowen, 1923-2011
Though three African-American men graduated shortly after OSU’s College of Medicine was established in 1914 (Clarence Alphonso Lindsay, Rudolph Finley and Charles Robert Lewis, all in 1916) it was roughly 30 years later that the College graduated its first African-American woman.
Dr. Bowen was born March 20, 1923 in Chicago, IL., the second of three children, to the late William Marion and Clotilde (Tynes) Dent. She passed away, March 3, 2011. From the age of three, she was raised on an Army Post in Columbus, Ohio, by her maternal Aunt and Uncle, 1st Lt. Stephen Barrows, (USA), a Buffalo Soldier, and Maude (Tynes) Barrows. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Dr. William Nolan Bowen. Dr. Bowen completed public education in Columbus, and became the first black woman to graduate from The Ohio State University, School of Medicine, from which she has received numerous honors and awards. She commenced medical practice as a Pulmonologist, in her private office in Harlem, New York, during which time she also worked in three major hospitals in New York City. She attained many "firsts" throughout her life, including; first woman doctor in the United States Army, accepting her commission as Captain, in 1956, serving as a pulmonary specialist at Valley Forge, PA. She worked for the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Roseburg, Oregon as an Internist, later pursuing a residency in Psychiatry through the V.A. in Albany, NY. She returned to Oregon, and upon learning of the untimely death of the first young man in the state, to be killed in the Navy following only three weeks of duty during the Vietnam War, she returned to military service as a Psychiatrist. She served at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, Denver, CO., as Director of CHAMPUS, Chief of Psychiatry, and Chief of the Out-Patient Clinic. From 1970-1971, Colonel Bowen was sent to Vietnam as the Neuro-Psychiatric Physician for the entire U.S. Army for which she receive the American Legion of Merit. She became an avid advocate in issues related to drug-alcohol and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She was the first woman commander of any military hospital, upon assignment to Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, IN. Subsequent to retirement from military service in 1996, Dr. Bowen accepted employment with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals, in Chicago, IL., traveling throughout the United States. She later returned to the V.A. as Chief of Psychiatry in Cheyenne, WY. And the V.A. Clinic in Colorado Springs, CO. Subsequent to retirement from the Veterans' Administration,
The group “Three B’s and A Honey” consisted of Yvonne Dubarry, Bill Forrester, Bert Hall and Bobby Smith. They were a vocal instrumental group with Yvonne on the Conga drums and the Three Bs playing guitar, bass and piano. They recorded at least two songs for local company Savoy records at the WCOL studios on January 27, 1949 and released in March 1949. The group originally formed in Baltimore but later moved to Columbus.
Elijah Pierce was born the youngest son of a former slave on a Mississippi farm on March 5, 1892. He began carving at an early age when his father gave him his first pocketknife. By age seven, Elijah Pierce began carving little wooden farm animals. His uncle, Lewis Wallace, inspired and instructed him in the art of carving. His Uncle Lewis taught him how to work with wood, what kind of wood to use, and how to enjoy carving. As a child, Pierce loved to go out into the woods by the creek bank with his dog to fish and to whittle animals or other small figurines from wood scraps he’d find on the forest floor. He enjoyed giving away his carvings to the kids in school and thus he began his lifelong practice of giving away his carved pieces to people who admired his work or to people he felt could benefit from it.
In his early twenties, Pierce married Zetta Palm. They were very happy together. Pierce had work as a barber and they had a little home. At the end of a year, Zetta died shortly after the birth of their son, Willie, ca. 1915. In the late 1910’s and early 1920’s, Pierce lived a hobolike existence hitching rides on boxcars and working as an itinerant laborer for the railroad. He would visit his mother in Baldwyn and she encouraged him to follow his religious calling. In 1920, Pierce received his preacher’s license from his home church of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Baldwyn.
Eventually, Pierce decided to join the migration to the cities in the north. In Danville, Illinois, Pierce met Cornelia Houeston who would become his second wife. Cornelia was from Columbus, Ohio. When Cornelia returned to Columbus in 1923, Pierce missed her greatly and he followed her there. They were married in September 1923.
During his marriage with Cornelia, Pierce found work as a barber and began to carve wood seriously. One year during the late 1920’s, Pierce carved a small elephant for Cornelia’s birthday. She liked it so much that he promised her an entire zoo. He began carving animals in earnest and many were sold or given away. For Pierce, these individual animal carvings each had their own story. They represented the beasts of Genesis or creatures from the folktales of Pierce’s youth.
By the early 1930’s, he began mounting his three-dimensional figures on cardboard or wooden backgrounds. In 1932, Pierce completed the Book of Wood which he considered his best work. The book was originally carved as individual scenes and tells the story of Jesus carved in bas-relief. Cornelia and Elijah held “sacred art demonstrations” to explain the meaning of the Book of Wood. Panels from the Book of Wood are currently on display at the Columbus Museum of Art in the Eye Spy exhibit.
Cornelia Pierce died of cancer in 1948 at the age of sixty-one. In 1951, Pierce became self-employed with the opening his own barbershop at 483 E. Long St. A year later, he married Estelle Greene who was then forty-six. They complemented each other and Pierce’s work as an artist and lay minister continued to grow.
It wasn’t until the early 1970’s that Pierce became known outside the local community. Boris Gruenwald, a sculptor and graduate student at Ohio State University, discovered Elijah Pierce’s work in a Columbus YMCA exhibition. Gruenwald met with Pierce told him that he was going to make sure the world knew of his art. The two would become dear friends and Gruenwald organized several important exhibitions. Within a few years Pierce was known both nationally and internationally in the world of folk art. Pierce was honored to participate in exhibitions at galleries such as the Krannert Art Museum, the Phyllis Kind Gallery of New York, the National Museum of American Art, and the Renwick Gallery. In 1973, Pierce won first prize in the International Meeting of Naive Art in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. In 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a National Heritage Fellowship as one of 15 master traditional artists.
Columbus, Ohio knows his name but may not know who he is and why he is significant to the black community of the city.
John Ogden maybe familiar to us all considering we grew up hearing about the famous theater on Long St. owned by Al Jackson known as the Ogden Theater. I always wondered what was in the name of Ogden but didn't have much resource to learn differently. What I've discovered is after the Civil War in 1865, education for black people continued to be a hot topic of discussion considering the city was growing with more black people and the private funding from the black community continued to fail the child and the community. John Ogden took the pledge for the city of Columbus and became one of the recognized figures along with Sterling Loving; of whom the black school was named after. Ogden would live in Columbus for several years; moving often temporarily but returning as Columbus was where he called home. In 1866 he would help to establish Fisk University and In 1870 he became the principle of Ohio Central Normal School in Worthington.
Although Ogden was of the white race, while he served in the war he was a prisoner of war. While he was on the run, slaves would help him; feed and cloth him, until he was captured again. Ogden appreciated the person of color and vowed to help them become free. He would also become an abolitionist and president of Fisk University.
Keith R Burkes was the First African American to be "Brutus Buckeye" Mascot in 1974 .
Keith Burkes had perhaps one of the most eventful runs as Brutus. He was Brutus from 1973-1977. His start began in January of 1974 when he put on the Brutus uniform and welcomed incoming freshman to campus.
"I didn't know what I was doing, I couldn't handle it and I think I dropped it like seven times. Nobody told me how to balance it. It had these shoulder straps on the inside and handles" he said.
Burkes would lock Brutus up in St. John Arena when he wasn't on duty. One night someone snuck in, pried open the locker and stole his costume. "I had to call campus police and they were on the hunt trying to figure out what happened to Brutus," Burkes said. "It was like my alter ego was gone and I was thinking, 'how am I going to get him back by game time?'"
Brutus was eventually found behind an administrative building after a reward was posted.
But Brutus would be kidnaped again. This time just before the Michigan game. Burkes was staying with a friend in Ann Arbor who, as the story goes, told his friends that Brutus was staying with him. Those friends ended up painting Brutus Maize and Blue. Burkes woke up on game day to find his costume vandalized. "I had to rush to a hardware store to get some paint and try to paint him back," he said. Then, came the Rose Bowl in 1974. The university had no plans to send Brutus to the game, and Burkes figured he would be left back home. His dad worked for an airline and he could get a ticket to the game, but he said he wouldn't have a ticket to get back home. Word spread that Brutus wouldn't be going to the game and suddenly donations began to pour in.
The Lantern did a story about Burkes and took a photo of him thumbing his way on the side of the road with his Brutus head on the ground.
"JC penny offered me money for a ticket, Western Electric offered me a ticket, the Girl Scouts collected money for me and the student body, " he said. Burkes got his ticket but he had no way of getting Brutus on the plane. So he went home thinking he would build a crate to put the mascot in. "He flew out with the band in the crate that I built," he said. He said even during away games the university never provided him a ticket to the game. "I had to find a ticket on my own because I belonged to Block O, not the athletic department," he said. Burkes said that even getting into the games were not easy. The costume was so wide he couldn't get through turnstiles or even down hallways. His career took him to all 88 counties. He was the first to bring Brutus on the ice at an OSU Hockey game.
Eddie Saunders was born April 17, 1909 and lived til he was exactly 90 years old, passing on April 17, 1999. Saunders was born in Covington, KY to Henry W & Edna Daniels. He would move to Columbus in 1937 and worked odd jobs including street entertainment. Saunders enjoyed singing and dancing and wanted to entertain other for a living. He begin singing with a group and this is how his role as DJ began. In 1944 he was on air at WTVN 610am and frequented often until an opportunity was given to him in 1948. In 1948 he started a program "Sermons and Songs" the longest running religious program in the country. James Edward Saunders will become the first African American Broadcaster in Central Ohio.