February 5, 2021
Dear PTC Community,
Since 1976, February has been designated Black History Month and it is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the achievements of so many African Americans in our nation’s history.
One of the Core Values of Pittsburgh Technical College is Diversity and Inclusion, and we are taking great strides in developing a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion within our campus, and thereby encouraging our graduates to take this framework with them into the world both personally and professionally.
Each Friday this month I will highlight African Americans who have been influential in various fields. It only seems appropriate to begin with academics. I invite you to learn more about the following five featured individuals as well as so many others who impacted education.
Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915)
Founder of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1881. He was born into slavery but became a teacher after the Civil War. The first African American invited to the White House, he served as an adviser on racial matters to both presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft. Known for “The Atlanta Compromise” and expressing views on segregation that conflicted with those of W.E.B. DuBois, he is considered to be the most influential African American speaker of his time.
“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” Read more quotes from Booker T. Washington
Daniel Hale Williams (1856 – 1931)
Founded the first interracial hospital in the US in 1891, Provident Hospital and Training School, which was also the first to educate black nurses. Known by patients as “Dr. Dan,” he was the first African-American cardiologist and, in 1893, performed the first successful open-heart surgery. He co-founded the National Medical Association for black medical practitioners as the AMA didn’t allow black members. He also served as a clinical professor and was a charter member of the American College of Surgeons. Personnel in the Howard University Hospital ER continue to refer to a “code blue” as a “Dr. Dan.”
Virginia Randolph (ca. 1870 – 1958)
A pioneer and authority in vocational training. The daughter of former slaves, she valued the importance of learning practical skills and became a teacher at age 16. She spent the majority of her career in Henrico County, Virginia where she utilized determination and innovation to improve the lives, homes, and schools of her students, ultimately overseeing 23 rural schools. The Virginia Randolph Training School was the first black high school in the county and eventually included dorms for students who lived too far away to commute. Her school is now known as the Virginia Randolph Education Centers and there is also a museum dedicated to her in Virginia.
“There is no need for a mind if you can’t use your hands.” Read more quotes from Virginia Randolph
Carter G. Woodson (1875 – 1950)
As an educator he served the US government as an education superintendent in the Philippines, was principal of the Armstrong Manual Training School in Washington, D.C., then became a dean at Howard University and the West Virginia Collegiate Institute. He was the second African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard University and is the author of many works including “Journal of Negro History” and “The Mis-Education of the Negro.” He is most known for his efforts in establishing Negro History Week in 1926 which later grew to Black History Month.
“No man knows what he can do until he tries.” Read more quotes from Carter G. Woodson
Inez Beverly Prosser (ca. 1895 – 1934)
The first black woman to receive a Ph.D. Her dissertation in 1933, in the field of psychology, examined the outcomes of black children in segregated and integrated schools. Early in her education her family could only afford to send one child to college and her older brother advocated that it be her. She later helped five of her siblings to graduate from college. Though she lived less than 40 years, she spent the last seven years teaching and assisting many black students in finding ways to finance their higher education.
I encourage you to learn more, share your findings, and have meaningful discussions with your classes, coworkers, family and friends. Join me in showing that the PTC Magic is all-encompassing and not only are we PTC Strong, but together we will be PTC Stronger.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela