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McLendon, John (1915-1999)

Protégée of basketball inventor James Naismith, John McLendon was born in Hiawatha, Kansas. At the University of Kansas, McLendon changed the pace of the game from a crawl to a fast-paced, high-action event by implementing the fast break method of basketball. Fast break basketball emphasized teamwork, speed and agility. Although he is credited with improving basketball, McLendon was not permitted to play on Kansas’s varsity team because of his race

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Dudley, Joe Louis (1937- )

Successful entrepreneur, businessman, and founder of Dudley Products, an African American- owned hair care company, Joe Louis Dudley and his wife, Eunice, began their business by mixing shampoo and hair care formula in their kitchen.  His entrepreneurship created a needed product and employed hundreds.  

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Palmer Memorial Institute

Nineteen-year old Charlotte Hawkins Brown, an African American educator, started the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina in 1902 to educate elementary and high school students in rural North Carolina.  Named after Brown’s benefactor and friend, Alice Freedman Palmer, the Institute began in an old blacksmith shed. 

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Penn, John (1741-1788)

Patriot, Continental Congress member, and North Carolina signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Penn and his contributions to the American Revolution and the early days of a fledgling nation have been overlooked.  Penn was one of three North Carolinians who signed the Declaration of Independence, and his efforts on the North Carolina Board of War were instrumental in undermining Cornwallis’s military campaigns in the South.

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Methodist Home for Children

In 1872, the father of the orphanage movement in North Carolina, John Mills, founded the Masonic Orphanage, the state’s first orphanage.  During the years of the “golden age” of the orphanage movement (1870-1920), sixteen orphanages were founded in North Carolina.  Financed through charitable or religious denominations, some orphanages like Methodist Orphanage served the eastern and western regions of the state.

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Central Orphanage of North Carolina

Segregated orphanages in North Carolina necessitated the creation of an orphanage for dependent and neglected African American children. An idea for such an orphanage in Henderson, North Carolina was born, when Rev. Augustus Shepard, father of James Shepard the founder of North Carolina Central University, felt burdened when observing the squalid,living conditions of homeless African American children.

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Secret Basketball Game of 1944

During the Jim Crow era, African American college teams were barred from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). But a brave few found ways around these restrictions. A secret game held in 1944 between a white team from Duke and a black team from NCCU was one of the first integrated sports events in the South.

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North Carolina Teachers Association

Formed by African American educators in 1881, the North Carolina Teachers Association (NCTA) promoted education as an avenue toward racial progress.  Their membership included educators such as James E. Shepard, founder of North Carolina Central University, and Joseph C. Price, founder of Livingstone College.  NCTA boasted an African American membership that included not only educators but also politicians, lawyers and doctors.

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Winona Society

Before the introduction of national welfare in the twentieth century, local charities and mutual aid societies provided financial assistance to the less fortunate and also provided entertainment and social outlets for members. These societies many times worked and cosponsored programs with local churches.  Winona Society was a Charlotte example.

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North Carolina Industrial Association

To showcase African American agricultural and educational achievement, the North Carolina Industrial Association (NCIA) hosted the African American Industrial fair. Developed in 1879 through the efforts of Charles N. Hunter and twenty-two African American businessmen, the North Carolina Industrial Association fostered better race relations among blacks and whites in Raleigh for a week of festivities.