EXCLUSIVE: 53 years after attending Dr. King's funeral at the behest of Ann Arbor, Michigan officials, meet the Black man who was president of the NAACP Youth Council and whose name never made the newspapers in 1968 (Online Audio Documentary).
Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., attended Dr. Martin L. King Jr.'s funeral when he was 17 as a youthful representative of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Even though Welch was president of the NAACP Youth Council in Ann Arbor and was invited to attend Dr. King's funeral by then-Mayor Wendell Hulcher, his name was not included in newspaper coverage of the Michigan delegation's 1968 trip to Atlanta, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D.
This is Regina L. Burns, reporting for Harvest Reapers Communications.
Imagine it’s April 9, 1968, and you’re in Atlanta, Georgia. You’re attending (video of Dr. King's funeral service) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. You went to the funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church to represent your city’s youth. And by the way, you’re a 17-year-old Black male.
(See video of Mrs. Coretta Scott King as she lies in honor at the Georgia state Capitol).
1--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Me): “I was a senior … Hulcher of Ann Arbor.”
That’s Edward Welch Jr., who holds a doctorate in Mass Communication from Ohio University. He’s an Associate Professor at Grambling State University’s Department of Mass Communication.
Welch stepped into history when he attended Dr. King’s funeral in 1968. This is the first time he has publicly shared his thoughts about this historic event. I interviewed him in 2018 and again in 2021.
2--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (There): “I feel extremely fortunate … I was there.”
The Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council sent Mayor Wendell Hulcher and Welch to Atlanta. They were part of a prestigious delegation from Michigan headed by then-Gov. George Romney, according to an April 9, 1968, Associated Press news story in the Enquirer and News newspaper in Battle Creek, Michigan.
3--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Dropped Off): “Now, I know … way it went.”
Like so many cities, Ann Arbor roared with unrest after the April 4 assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, Tennessee. In fact, the AP story reported violence occurred in several Michigan cities in the hours before King’s funeral.
The AP story also reported Hulcher’s attendance at Dr. King’s funeral generated backlash from Albert Wheeler, Dr.PH., who at the time was president of the Michigan branch of the NAACP. Welch explains what Wheeler found troublesome:
4--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr. Ph.D., (Wheeler): “Did not want … him speaking up.”
Hulcher died in 1999.
Charles Whitman was the NAACP Youth Council’s Education Chair at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He later worked for Ford Motor Company in Livonia, Michigan for 30 years until his retirement. During a May 2021 interview, Whitman recalled Welch’s 1968 trip to attend Dr. King’s funeral.
5--SOUNDBITE Charles Whitman (Supportive): “We were very … the Youth Council.”
6--SOUNDBITE Charles Whitman (Activist): “What are some things … of an activist nature.”
Whitman said President Lyndon Johnson ordered flags at half-staff. However, not everyone followed his command.
7--SOUNDBITE Charles Whitman (Half-staff): “What I recall is … and what not.”
I received this May 18, 2021-email from the Ann Arbor Public Schools in response to my request for comment, “Unfortunately, we do not have a good way to research this information to confirm it in such a short time period.”
Meanwhile, Welch picked up the story with his memories of an unforgettable funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
8--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Wilt Chamberlain): “Do you recall … inside the church.”
(See Alabama Department of Archives & History's photo of Richard Nixon and Wilt Chamberlain in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral procession).
After the funeral on the airplane trip back to Michigan, Welch and Hulcher shared a remarkable discussion.
9--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Politics): “You had mentioned … home from Atlanta.”
Welch graduated from high school in June 1968. He completed college and later earned masters’ degrees from the University of Michigan and Northwestern University. In 1979, he accepted his second general assignment reporter’s job. He moved his family from Buffalo, New York to work for WHBQ-TV in Memphis. Welch said he was later approached by the station’s news management about a promotion to executive producer. In 1982, Welch became the first Black manager in TV news in Memphis, he said. He achieved that milestone when he accepted the executive producer promotion.
I wanted to know if and how attending Dr. King’s funeral prepared him to become a reporter and an executive producer.
10--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Journalist): “I think all this… being a journalist.”
He later transitioned to a new career in academia, which he still finds satisfying. His numerous accomplishments in journalism education include shepherding students’ award-winning entries in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program.
11--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Hearst): “So, what are you … students to compete.”
Starting with the NAACP Youth Council presidency at his high school, Welch has embodied leadership and courage. He attended Dr. King’s funeral alone when he was a teenager.
That accomplishment is too important not to be recorded in the annals of history.
This has been Regina L. Burns reporting for Harvest Reapers Communications, in Dallas.
Copyright © May 19, 2021, Regina L. Burns, Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
More Stories from Regina
Thanks to Texas Highways magazine for publishing my December 2020 story featuring legendary Texas barber, Edmund Morrow. Morrow cut Terrell, Texas-born Jamie Foxx's hair and Jamie's grandfather's hair back in the day; and, he's still at it. I traveled to Terrell June 27, 2020 to interview Morrow about his love of barbering, his family, and much more. Special thanks to Texas Hiighways senior managing editor Matt Joyce for this great assignment.
Read my profile of Edmund Morrow here. Read my other Texas Highways magazine stories here.
I recently listened to Aretha Franklin’s captivating album, “Young, Gifted and Black” while paying tribute to the “Queen of Soul” and her global influence. She paints a beautiful picture of what it means to be black in America.
Yes, it’s often a difficult journey because we face trials and experience pain. However, African-Americans are substantial contributors, innovators and achievers.
This is the first Women’s History Month since the death of Aretha Louise Franklin in her Detroit, Michigan, home Aug. 16, 2018. She died from pancreatic cancer. Born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, she would have turned 77 on March 25.
Her talent knew no limits. She was a pianist, songwriter and singer. Aretha also was an actress, civil rights activist and a loving mother and so much more.
Aretha’s “crown” of musical jewels include:
Aretha’s life and legacy showed me how to fight proudly for what I believe in. This is the year I start creating my delicate, yet fierce marking for the world: I intend to honor my ancestors while creating my own identity, take calculated risks and raise my voice in favor of issues and causes I believe in, just like Aretha did. She was an iconic pioneer whose proud, powerful gospel and soul music influenced generations of performers and fans.In fact, her influence can’t be measured. There’s no doubt about it: She changed the world.
Why do I say all of this? Because I, too, am young, gifted and black.
Regina L. Burns contributed to this blog post.
(c) March 2019. Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
Now that WFAA-TV news anchor John McCaa has signed off for the last time on March 1, 2019, his history-making tenure will be remembered. McCaa told D Magazine’s Tim Rogers that he’s a “pretty emotional guy" and his farewell was indeed, emotional. That's understandable, after all, he worked at WFAA for 35 years, bringing good journalism to North Texas.
I had the privilege of working with McCaa during a series of contract gigs at Channel 8 that involved the assignment desk. The best description of what working on the assignment desk is comes from one of my esteemed Abilene Christian University journalism professors, Dr. Charles Marler—it’s “like an octopus.” For example, the Desk:
• Manages day-to-day and breaking news assignments for TV news crews.
• Navigates Twitter and Facebook for updates.
• Vets information across a host of databases.
• Provides research support by phone.
My most-memorable-McCaa moment was during WFAA’s coverage of the Dallas police ambush in the summer of 2016. This tragic event brought the newsroom to a collective heartfelt loss, for all those who were killed and injured. There were other emotions that elevated us: admiration and respect for the videographers and reporters who were on the scene that fateful day, July 7, 2016. In the midst of handling logistics, gathering details of funeral arrangements and verifying other information for producers, I witnessed McCaa’s calm leadership during our team briefings.
Having worked in journalism for a variety of news organizations such as: KRBC-TV in Abilene, WPTY-TV, WLOK and WGKX radio stations in Memphis, FayObserver.com in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as well as The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi, and Dallas, (not to mention a wealth of freelance gigs), by far the Dallas police ambush story was the toughest to cover.
McCaa brought experience gained from other challenging assignments in his long career to this tragic event in Dallas.
He writes that retiring from television news after more than 42 years is “not easy.” However, he sensed that God “decided it was time” and he’s being obedient.
I am thrilled that my career dovetailed with his and that I gained so much from being in the newsroom during his tenure. His TV news experience, his depth of knowledge and his caring spirit elevated the environment and the newscast. Every time.
Thank you for your service. #ThanksJohn
(c) March 2019 Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
As March gives way to April, I am thrilled to introduce you to eight women from a diverse set of life experiences in the 2018 Annual Women's History Month Salute. They are: Martha Germann; Sharon Matlock; Viola Cole; Rose Braziel, Dorothy Jones; Rachel Shankman; Lillian Barnett and Wendy Calhoun.
I know these women: some are from my native Memphis, others I met in Texas. Some hired me to provide communication services, others cheered me on in some form or fashion. I met Wendy virtually while working with her mother, Marilyn Calhoun, on projects. (Check out Wendy's '90s flashback attire.)
I asked each three questions:
1. Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
2. What contribution are you most proud of?
3. What is the best advice or wisdom you ever received?
You'll note their responses are numbered accordingly. Please take a moment to express your thoughts in the Comments section. I also ask that you share this post with your family, friends, colleagues and others.
Feel free to contact me if your organization needs communication support such as blogs, corporate communication resources or copy editing. Thank you.
Martha Germann: Lewisville, Texas, Founder of Mindful Games Institute
1. As with any celebration, from birthdays and anniversaries to Presidents Day, Women’s History Month is designed to bring a conscious focus on the topic. It is a time to bring back in to the collective conversation all the amazing things that women have contributed and accomplished. Our job is to keep that conversation alive throughout the year by recognizing and celebrating the ongoing contributions and accomplishments women make daily.
2. My mission is to make a difference in the quality of people’s lives and I bring that mindset into everything I do. I am most proud of the journey of self-development that brought me to my Thriving beyond Survival Model because it not only made a difference in my ability to thrive each day, it gave me a way to convey that to others. It is information and strategies that I use in presentations, workshops and my book ("Thriving beyond Survival: How to Know What You Really Want and Have Fun Getting It") so that it can be accessible to more people. We are designed to thrive but have been trained to just survive. The world needs more focus on getting back to thriving and I am proud to have created an option for others to get there.
3. The wisdom that made the most impact on me centers on two things. The first is the conscious practicing of self-love and appreciation, actually practicing the emotion. This has not only grown my compassion for myself, but spread to everyone in my world. The second is always knowing that I have ultimate choice of what I think, feel and believe. I am mindfully aware of what I am choosing and these things shape my experience.
Community engagement: TEDx speaker
What are some of the outcomes achieved from this event?
We have helped finance travel and accommodations for journalism students attending conferences and conventions, career enhancement programs and workshops. When big funders fall through, we were able to use funds raised to help with feeding students, providing transportation or purchasing supplies for the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists Urban Journalism Workshop.
Some of the funds have helped young journalists with training. Tell me about that work.
We have paid registration fees to conventions. Additionally, the proceeds from the event have helped take students to conventions in Seattle, Phoenix, Orlando, D.C., Atlanta, Indianapolis, Houston, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Oklahoma. Jeffries Street Learning Center, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and the African American Museum of Dallas are just a few of the beneficiaries over the years.
Anything else to add?
I love doing this event and I love bringing people together for a good time and a good cause.
Cheryl Smith knows how to organize a longstanding and successful fundraiser that supports her passion for journalism and fun gatherings. The veteran Dallas publisher, journalist and National Association of Black Journalists' board secretary founded the Don't Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon a little more than two decades ago.
The 23rd annual event, slated in Dallas June 17, 2017, promises to supply ample laughter, loads of good-natured, competitive bowling and financial support for various causes.
Smith, who has made her mark across all media platforms, also serves as longtime president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists. Additionally, she led the NABJ Region VII during two terms as director. A tireless advocate for journalism and journalists, she revealed during a Question-and-Answer interview conducted by email, how the Bowl-a-thon got its name, some of the event's beneficiaries and the highest score she's ever bowled.
Where did the name of the event come from?
"Don't Believe the Hype" is a hit song from the popular rap group, Public Enemy. I used the song as the opening for my award-winning talk show on KKDA-AM, "Reporters Roundtable with Cheryl Smith." When I decided to come up with a fundraiser, I bounced around names and a friend suggested I use the song. So, I called Chuck D and told him what I wanted to do and asked his permission. He said, 'Yes!' He actually came for the first event and also for the 10th anniversary.
What was your original vision?
Just to bring together people to have fun and raise money for scholarships.
Have you achieved your original vision?
Yes, people consider the event to be a quality program and while I have raised a significant amount of money over the past 22 years, I would like to raise so much more.
How much money has the event raised since its inception?
We have raised over $300,000.
Why did you decide to use bowling to raise money?
Growing up in New Jersey, we went to the movies, bowled and skated. I felt that bowling was something that people of all ages can do. After a while, I couldn't see myself 85 [and] skating. Maybe there are some, but not me. ...
What's the best game (score) you've bowled?
I was on a bowling team in 8th grade and used to go bowling with my Godmother and her friends. The best game I bowled was about three years ago, and it was like a 230. Everyone was amazed. I was and am still in shock.
To register your team for Saturday's Bowl-a-thon, click here. Team preregistration is highly encouraged to ensure participation.
(c) HarvestReapers.com, June 14, 2017. All Rights Reserved.
Courageous. Caring. Called.
Those words bring to mind Jannette Watts and Marilyn Calhoun, of Dallas, Texas; and, Millicent Hoskin, Paula Casey, Priscilla "Pan" Awsumb, and Dr. Mary Crawford, all from Memphis, Tennessee. Each woman is being celebrated in my 2017 Making History Profiles Q&A, which was changed from the previous name, Women's History Month Salute.
Jannette Watts (in the video) invited me to attend a Career Day event at an elementary school back in 2011. During my presentation, the attentive young students helped me create an audio clip featuring them making bird sounds.
Since then, I have chatted with Watts throughout the years at the church we attend, The Potter's House of Dallas.
And I was honored when she asked me two consecutive years to serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for the Annual Gospel Explosion during Black History Month at Kennedy-Curry Middle School.
Watts is the community liaison for Kennedy-Curry, located in Dallas' Oak Cliff neighborhood. Principal David Welch defines her work: "A community liaison is the bridge between the school and the community... [The person] needs to be well-grounded to know what's in the community and [to work] with parents to help the school," he said during a telephone interview.
In his first year at the school, Welch has turned to Watts repeatedly to support his leadership and each time, she delivered results.
He ticked off a detailed list of Watts' other key accomplishments. All said, her work is driving academic progress and community involvement. And, he praised her hidden talent -- being great with crafts and decorating the school.
"She is a wonderful individual. I wish I could clone her. If I had three or four of her, it would really make my job easier," Welch said.
I first met Millicent Cade Hoskin in the library of Central High School, in my native Memphis, Tennessee, when I was a student there. To this day, I recall the now-retired librarian's commitment to excellence and education.
What is your place in history?
My place in the world is embodied in each of these titles
-- God's child, mother, educator, teacher, mentor/friend, and enabler. At one time in my life, I embraced each of them, usually all of them at the same time. However, each title has to do with service to God and mankind.
My role models, beginning with my Mother, Mrs. Laura Turpin
Cade, have been for the most part, strong African-American
women who faced and overcame the two overwhelming
forces of being both African-American and female:
Sojourner Truth; Diana Ross; Nikki Giovanni; Marva
Collins (imagine my delight in actually attending one
of her workshops!); and yes, even Queen Latifah. Also included are my female teachers, and women at my church who nurtured me and treated me as though I was their own.
What was the focus of your career? Share some of your
milestones and accolades.
I concentrated on reading and writing literacy, to ensure not only that students were able to read and write, but also that they were able to comprehend as well. Today, former students continue to thank me for the positive contributions to their attainment of education and life goals.
I was the first African-American librarian at Central High School. I served 29 years with Memphis City Schools and also worked with other educational organizations. Various groups have honored me and I received grants from the Memphis Rotary Club to provide more resources.
Additionally, I received a special request to write a Litany of Unity for the 30th commemoration of Dr. Martin L. King Jr.'s death. It was shared during the April 3,1998 service at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ.
Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
Women’s History Month will be important as long as women are important. A month is good, but a daily and monthly focus would be awesome. The initiative should be taken to keep women in the forefront of published articles in every venue, especially social media. Our daughters must be constantly
reminded of their Godly inheritance, motivated, and trained to use their inherent strengths to achieve meaningful goals and to live fulfilled lives.
Will you suggest one book that everyone should read?
"Just a Sister Away: A Womanist Vision of Women’s Relationships in the Bible" is one book I would recommend that all read, especially African-American women. According to its author Dr. Renita J. Weems, this book “was written unapologetically with African-American women in mind as a way of reminding us that we are not an afterthought to salvation, that the first step toward satisfying the gnawing hunger within us is to pick up a pencil.” ...
In times when African-American women are still viewed as unequal and even not permitted to preach or be a meaningful part of religious services in certain places, we need an anchor. We need recognition as persons other than slaves forced to come to a foreign land. We need to FULLY realize that our salvation may be ‘”just a sister away." This book gives us that assurance.
As a native Memphian, I have known Paula Casey for a long time. Her amazing work is inspiring.
How can Women's History Month can be elevated so that more people take notice of it?
While it's hard to ascertain an exact number, approximately 8 percent of the statues and monuments in this country are of women. That's too few. I believe more people will start paying attention as the national centennial of the 19th Amendment's ratification in 2020 draws near. People celebrate public art and particularly notice statues and monuments of women since there are so few. Public art also reflects what we think is important as a society.
What is your place in history?
My adult life has been spent trying to get women elected and promoting women's accomplishments, particularly the effort for American women to be included in the U.S. Constitution.
I have studied political and social movements and concluded the woman suffrage movement was the greatest nonviolent revolution in the United States. And, I speak around the country about the woman suffrage movement and voting rights.
How did you stand out in your work or industry?
I started the company in 1989 to produce a video,"Generations: American Women Win the Vote." Later, it became a DVD and is also available in streaming video.
The book, "The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage," was first published in May 1998 before one of the co-authors, Carol Lynn Yellin, died of breast cancer in March 1999. She wanted this history preserved. I got the audiobook completed in 2013 read by Dr. Jan Sherman, the other co-author. The book is available in three e-book formats - Kindle, Apple, and Nook.
Can you suggest one book that everyone should read?
"The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson is absolutely outstanding. I think it should be required reading in all high schools. It is beautifully written and provides context for understanding the overt and covert racism that persists in our country.
See also: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365977400/
Pan Awsumb has been a dear friend for many years. She and husband Carl have demonstrated integrity and determination and are making a difference in the lives of many in Memphis, Tennessee, and beyond.
What is your place in history?
I don't know what my place in history is. I really don't give it much thought. I'm too busy living life fully as a wife, mother of two, grandmother of two, good friend, and involved citizen. I enjoy speaking out about issues of importance to our community and our nation, and being a catalyst, weaving/knitting people of different backgrounds together.
My 13 years at Leadership Memphis, the last seven as executive director, were fulfilling because we ran three programs that changed many peoples' lives - an excellent yearlong in-depth executive program, a one-day intensive for new executives called Inside Memphis that was replicated in other cities across the United States, and a unique leadership training program for residents of the Memphis Housing Authority - while successfully raising an endowment to sustain Leadership Memphis in the future.
How did you stand out in your work or industry?
While heading up Leadership Memphis, I served on the boards of the Tennessee Association of Community Leadership and the National Leadership Association, and received the Chair's Community Circle Award. Furthermore, I was also chosen to receive an award as one of Fifty Women Making a Difference in Memphis.
Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
The term 'Women's History Month, like 'Black
History Month', carries some negative connotation to me. Teaching women's history and black history should be ongoing and woven into all our historical narratives, not relegated to one month a year and then given short shrift the rest of the time. However, it is essential that women be recognized for their accomplishments. In fact, I have supported Women of Achievement in Memphis for many years.
What causes or work are you involved in?
Currently, I serve on the Leadership Council of the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis. We are part of a growing network of citizens who want the whole and accurate truth to be told about the history of Shelby County. We believe that we can heal and grow in understanding when we openly face the history of racial violence in our community. The vision of the Lynching Sites Project is "to open our hearts and our communities to racial healing by shining thelight of truth on lynchings in Shelby County, Tennessee." We join in this work with the national effort of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative that he founded to memorialize known lynchings in our nation from 1877 - 1950.
We are working on a major commemoration of Ell Persons, who was lynched 100 years ago on May 22, 1917, to tell the truth that has been hidden too long. Our service of healing and repentance will be held May 21, 2017 at the site of his horrific lynching, which was attended by between 3,000 and 5,000 people.
Ell Persons' lynching led to the founding of the Memphis Branch of the NAACP in 1917. It was Tennessee's first NAACP branch and two years later, heralded as the South's largest.
(For additional references, please see: the "Memphis Burning" cover feature by Martha Park in the Memphis Flyer, February 4, 2016; "Students Memorialize
a Past Tragedy to Create a More Hopeful Future" on the Facing History and Ourselves website; and, "Putting Lynching on the Map.")
We meet weekly from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Caritas Village, 2509 Harvard Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Visit us on Facebook at lynchingsitesmem.
I am also regularly protesting the absolutely horrible policies of the Trump administration, by email, phone, and in person. I strongly support Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren's approach to governing.
Got any good book suggestions?
My husband Carl and I are currently reading the book "Wonder" with 5th-grade students at Brewster Elementary School. We are encouraging the young people we read with to become discerning thinkers, not rote memorizers and responders.
There is SO much great literature out there - one book couldn't begin to touch what we all might share, except the Bible. I've come back to "The Little Prince" at different times in my life, and enjoy sharing it with our grandchildren. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Marilyn Calhoun is one of the first people I met when I originally arrived in Dallas. We had the pleasure of working together on various projects and I continue to be enlightened by her compassion and lifelong love of learning. She is also a breast cancer survivor. In 2011, I videotaped her story of breast cancer awareness.
What are you are currently involved with?
I am involved with but not limited to: Breast Health & Cancer Research fund drives (www.komen-dallas.org), oral history projects with Remembering Black Dallas (www.rbDallas.com), service projects of Metropolitan Dallas Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Disciples Women's Ministries for the Christian Church (DOC), and south Dallas community service, e.g. K. J. Gilliam Museum (www.kathlynjoygilliammuseum.org), African American Education Archives and History Program @ African American Museum (www.aaeahp.org & Clean South Dallas. I serve as parliamentarian for four community or professional associations to educate the membership on parliamentary procedures, practices and law as an active member of The Sounding Block Unit of the National Association of Parliamentarians (https://goo.gl/pwPfYe).
What is your place in history?
My place in history is being the person I am and fulfilling my life purpose as a master teacher and an educator of personal development, to everyone I meet. I love to encourage others to be their best.
Describe your career and accomplishments.
I retired from Dallas Independent School District after serving 32 years as an elementary science teacher, demonstration teacher, site coordinator/Title 1 Dunbar I Special Projects, K-12 Science curriculum writer, instructional facilitator, assistant principal, principal, and specialist for internal charter schools. I was showcased as a presenter at local, state, and national conferences as an innovator of educational programs.
After retiring, I trained and observed teachers/interns in the Alternative Certification program.
What do you think about the importance of Women's History Month?
Women's History Month is important for HerStory to be told and shared. This would provide role models and levels to aspire for young girls and women. I think the observance of Women's History Month should include public forums such as the one held March 26, 2017 by The North Texas Business and Professional Women League, Inc. (http://www.ntbpwl.org/).
Do you have a book suggestion?
My favorite author is Toni Morrison but the book I think all should read is "The Mis-Education of the Negro" by Carter G. Woodson. This book will help the reader gain insights and concepts of being a free person - first in your mind from your own thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives. Currently, I am reading "Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement" by Civil Rights Congressman John Lewis & Michael D'Orso. It is a survival story about life, experiences, and the thoughts of an American patriot. Encourage youth to read the "March" trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. The book won most of the 2016 book awards.
Dr. Mary F. Crawford was my dentist and I am so thankful I was her patient. She saved my smile. And, she became one of the early clients who hired me for marketing projects in Memphis. Beyond that, when I asked for help with the long distance care of my mother in Memphis, she immediately rearranged her life to support me in Dallas. Not only did she help me locate a new Memphis care facility, but she regularly visited my mother and provided me with telephone updates. Months later, when I called her from the Memphis hospital room where my mother had just died, she came to the hospital, immediately, and provided AMAZING support afterward. Thank you, Mary, for helping me when I needed it most!!!!
What is your place in history?
I decided to move back to the states permanently when my father became sick. I also had a failed marriage with an Italian dentist. So, I was thrilled to learn that once I returned to my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, I was in time to apply for acceptance to UT Dental School (now the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry) in 1980. I applied after completing pre-dental studies and a battery of tests to ascertain that I could perform acceptably in that curriculum.
Coming from a long stint in Italy, 1966-1979, the last five years of which I had worked in Dentistry, I discovered I really enjoyed working in that field of medicine, even though my college degree was a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Printmaking.
I obtained the D.D.S. degree from the UT Center for the Health Sciences in Memphis in 1984 at age 40, almost 41. It was a good thing to have already worked in dentistry before entering dental school because when I graduated, I felt more confident. And that confidence helped me to land an ownership position with Dr. Mary L. Blackwell, one of the first women to graduate from Dental School in 1954 and to successfully practice Dentistry in her own office in Memphis.
I chose to move her practice to the Poplar Plaza Shopping Center in Memphis, setting myself up to build my own practice and to work success-
fully together with Dr. Blackwell. Once she retired, I worked with two other women dentists. The first went on to practice in the dental specialty of endodontics. The second
became my partner and we worked together for 18 years until I retired in September of 2015.
How did you stand out in your work or industry? Did you receive any special recognition?
My first claim to fame has been to practice Dentistry in my own practice for 31 years before successfully retiring. A second is that during those years I maintained a happy relationship with a wonderful husband, Paolo Solferini, and we are both healthy enough to enjoy our retirement years. The third is that I have enjoyed many friendships over my practice years, with fellow dentists, employees, lab technicians, and with patients, many of which I maintain to this day.
Currently, women make up 40 percent of graduating dentists. When I graduated in 1984, we were barely 5 percent. When Dr. Blackwell graduated in 1954, she was the single woman graduate in her class of more than 50 dental students. Additionally, I am very proud of being one of the Women Ground Breakers into the medical professions!
Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
Women's History Month celebrates ALL women who have paved the way out of constrictive roles in our American society and for that reason, it is important to continue its celebration.
What causes or work are you involved in?
Currently, I attend dental society meetings and other occasions to collect continuing education credits should I ever need to reactivate my retired dental license. The main reason I remain involved is to continue some form of cohesion with Dentistry. I have been a member since graduation of the American Dental Association, the Tennessee Dental Association, and the Memphis Dental Society.
A word of appreciation
Many thanks go to Regina Burns, a ground breaker in her own right, with whom I have enjoyed such a long and fruitful friendship over many years. Thank you, Regina, for everything!
Other HarvestReapers.com Blog Posts You May Enjoy:
(c) HarvestReapers.com, March 31, 2017. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.
She previously worked for a variety of news media organizations as an editor and journalist, including The Associated Press in Mississippi and Texas. She was news director at WLOK-AM and WGKX KIX-106 FM in Memphis. Learn more
1964 Nobel Peace Prize
1964 Republican National Convention
1968 King Assassination
1994 940 Volvo
2007 Pulitzer Prize In History
2018 Women's History Month Salute
2019 Women's History Month
4 Ideas To Support 'Motherless' Friends On Mother's Day
5 Things You Can Do NOW To Build Search Engine Optimization
Abilene Christian University
Advanced Placement English
Advice Interactive Group
African American History
African American Museum
African American Women
"At The River I Stand
"attitude Of Gratitude"
Back To School
Bishop T.D. Jakes
Black Hair Styles
Black History Month
Black History Month 2014
Cell Phone Video
Central High School
Circle R Ranch
Civil Rights Movement
Civil Rights Pilgrimage
Connecting On Social Media
Dallas Advertising League
Dallas County Democratic Party
Dallas Interactive Marketing & Internet SEO/SEM Meetup
Dallas Library Branch
Dallas Public Library
Dart Center For Journalism & Trauma
David Alan Grier
David Meerman Scott
"Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy In Mississippi"
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Don't Believe The Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon
Dr. Charlie Marler
Dr. Cheryl Mann Bacon
Dr. Dennis Kimbro
Dr. Kathleen Wickham
Dr. King's Legacy
Dr. Lewis Baldwin
Dr. Martin L. King Jr.
Dr. Mary Crawford
Dr. Michael Williams
Dr. Sam Haynes
Dr. William Dulaney
Education As A Civil Right
Edward Welch Jr.
Ernest J. Gaines
Fannie Lou Hamer
First Responder Support Network
Former Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb
Fourth Of July
Fourth Of July And Social Media
Guinness World Records
Hidden Black History
High School Football
Hyatt Regency Dallas
In Loving Memory Of My Mom
Internet Marketing Agency
"I’ve Been To The Mountaintop"
Jackson State University
" Joan Beifuss
Journalism And Project Management
Kennedy-Curry Middle School
Komen Dallas Race For The Cure®
Learning Spanish Through Music
Library Of Congress
Lincoln Junior High School
Lisa N. Alexander
Lovers Lane United Methodist
Manassas High School
Margaret Walker Alexander
Marian Wright Edelman
Martin L. King Jr.
Mary And Myron Lowery
Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr
M. Elizabeth Cedillo-Pereira
Memphis Businessman Abe Plough
Memphis Sanitation Strike
Men Of Change
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Motherless Mother's Day
Mrs. Dodie Osteen
Mrs. Rowena Whiting
M.T. Reilly Elementary School
NAACP Youth Council
National Association Of Black Journalists
National Civil Rights Museum
Office Collaboration Tools
Olympian Gabby Douglas
Olympus Digital Recorder
Oprah Book Club
Osama Bin Laden
Park Place Volvo
Personal Mission Statement
Positive Mental Framework For Success
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Press Club Of Dallas
Public Relations Writing
Queen Of Soul
Reach For The Stars
Regina L. Burns
Rev. Al Green
Rev. Billy Kyles
Rev. Dr. Thomas Hudspeth
Rev. James Lawson
Rev. Joel Osteen
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Rev. Paula White
Richardson Humane Society
Samsung Telecommunications America
Scott H. Cyton
Sen. Joseph Clark
Sen. Robert Kennedy
Shama Hyder Kabani
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing
Small Business Saturday
Social Media And Spanish
Social Media For Project Managers
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Trends 2013
Social Media Writing
Southern Literary Trail
The Association Of Magazine Media
The Dalai Lama
The Dallas Morning News
The Potter's House
The Press And Civil Rights
The Race Beat
The Zen Of Social Media Marketing
Thou Art Loosed Conference
Turkey And Dressing
Twitter And Spanish
University Of Missouri-Columbia
Video Conversion Software
Viola O'Neil Cole
Women In Technology International
Women's History Month
World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers That Get Millions Of People To Spread Your Ideas And Share Your Stories
Wrapping Black Hair
Writing Your Goals
Yahoo! Eye Tracking Study
Zora Neale Hurston