BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Nov. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* has announced the unveiling of the 2015 edition of the Alabama African American History Calendar. The publication highlights individuals from across the state who have made a lasting impact on communities and individuals in Alabama and around the world.
"This calendar represents for AT&T a chance to show students around our state the trailblazers who have called Alabama home," said Fred McCallum, president, AT&T Alabama. "We hope the calendar serves as inspiration for a future generation of innovators and entrepreneurs who will lead our state to new heights."
Representing communities from across Alabama, the class of 2015 represents a wide variety of fields, including civil rights activists, artists, U.S. Armed Forces, and business leaders.
For more information on this project, please visit http://alafricanamerican.com/.
The 2015 History Calendar's honorees include:
Zora Neale Hurston – She became one of the most successful and acclaimed African American female writers of the 20th century. Over a career that spanned more than 30 years, she published four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, essays, articles, and plays.
Sheyann Webb-Christburg – A native of Selma, Alabama, she has been a voice for justice, equality, and self-achievement through her work as a humanitarian, civil rights activist, mentor, and youth advocate. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. named her the "Smallest Freedom Fighter." She is the co-author of "Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days."
Sylvester Croom, Jr. – He was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. He made history though when he led his football team onto Scott Field welcomed by ringing cowbells and the thundering roar of 50,000 maroon and white Bulldog fans yelling "Go Dogs!" In 2004, Croom accepted the head football coach's position at Mississippi State University becoming the first African American to be named head football coach in the Southeastern Conference.
Dr. Herman Hodge Long – He was a scholar, researcher, college administrator, and author of several pioneering studies dealing with race relations. Research used in Long's book "People vs. Property: Race Restrictive Covenants in Housing," co-authored with Charles S. Johnson in 1947, was a pivotal component in the movement that led to the Supreme Court's decision to outlaw a state's ability to enforce racially-restrictive housing covenants.
Dr. Juanakee Adams – She received an Advanced College Preparatory Diploma from John Carroll High School in Birmingham and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dillard University in New Orleans. She was the youngest person to be granted early admission to Indiana University School of Optometry. After earning her Doctorate of Optometry, Dr. Adams returned to Alabama in 1981 and opened Adams Eye Care, becoming the first African American female optometrist to practice in the state.
John Mitchell, Jr. – In 1971, he became the first African American to play varsity football for the University of Alabama. In his second season, he became the team's first African American co-captain. At age 21, he accepted a coaching position at the University of Alabama and became the first African American assistant coach and the youngest coach ever hired at Alabama.
Onnie Lee Logan – She was an extraordinary woman and midwife, who became a folk hero when her life story was published, "Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's Story," in 1989. Growing up in rural Alabama, she knew at an early age she wanted to be a midwife. For more than 50 years she delivered hundreds of babies in south Alabama. From 1931 to 1984, Logan delivered almost every child born in Prichard, Alabama and the predominantly African American neighborhoods in Mobile, Alabama.
Louis J. Willie, Jr. – He was a successful business executive who helped break the color barrier in business and sports circles. Willie was the first African American to be admitted to several segregated social and civic clubs in Birmingham, Alabama, including the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Downtown Club, The Club, and Shoal Creek Country Club.
Dr. Shelley Stewart – Today he is a successful businessman; however, as a child, his future was anything but bright. Stewart's rise to prominence began as a radio personality in the 1950s and '60s. His radio broadcasts were a conduit for protest organizations during Birmingham's civil rights struggles. His expansion into marketing also began in the 1960s, culminating in his position as the President and CEO of o2ideas, one of the country's longest-running and largest privately held corporate communication companies.
J. Gary Cooper – His remarkable journey of service to our state and country began in 1958, when he was commissioned second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. While serving in Vietnam in 1966, Cooper became the first African American Marine Corps officer to lead an infantry company into combat. After serving as an active duty Marine Corp officer from 1958-1970, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve and in 1971, became the first African American to command a Marine reserve unit. In 1984, he was promoted to brigadier general, becoming the first African American to attain the rank of general from the Marine infantry ranks.
Percy Sledge – Growing up in rural Alabama, Sledge never imagined that a simple melody he constantly hummed would eventually lead to his first single and cement his place in music history. An instant classic considered to be one of the greatest soul ballads ever performed, "When a Man Loves a Woman," made Sledge an international superstar. In 2005, he earned a place in the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.
Fred David Gray – He was a pivotal player in the civil rights movement, with a legal career spanning more than 59 years. One of Gray's most notable cases was Williams v. Wallace, in which the Court ordered the State of Alabama to protect marchers from Selma to Montgomery after protestors were beaten on Bloody Sunday. Other notable cases include City of Montgomery v. Rosa Parks; State of Alabama v. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Malone v. University of Alabama. He served as counsel in the case of Pollard, et al v. United States of America, preserving and protecting the rights of persons involved in the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study in 1972.
Primary partners on the History Calendar project are Fox 6 WBRC, Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama State University, Alabama Learning Exchange, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
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