TOPS Magazine February 2012

Page 35

Who’s Who Hunter is mentioned on a historic marker in downtown Lexington, along with Obed Cooley, Nathaniel J. Ridley, J.C. Coleman and Joseph Laine. Hunter’s son, Dr. Bush A. Hunter, entered medicine in 1926 and had a 50-year medical practice in Lexington. In 1963 he was the first black physician to become a member of the Lexington Medical Society, then known as the Fayette County Medical Society. Music Rosa Deschamps Henderson was born in Henderson, Ky., in the late 1800s. She performed in musical comedies in the 1920s in New York and London and was one of the first female singers to perform with a big band. Lexingtonian Edgar J. Hayes (1904-1979), a piano player and Rosa Henderson bandleader, had a hit in 1938 with his version of “Stardust.” Also in the 1920s, Jessamine County’s Jim Booker was a fiddler and recording artist. Lionel Hampton was born in Louisville in 1908. A drummer, he is better known for playing the vibraphone and being one of the jazz greats of the 20th century. He was inducted, posthumously, in the 2006 class Lionel Hampton of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year at Renfro Valley.

Education Several Fayette County public schools are named after AfricanAmericans, including Booker T. Washington Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. Academy and Rosa Parks Elementary School. Edythe J. Hayes Middle School opened in the fall of 2004. Hayes was a Lexington elementary school teacher, principal and the first African-American deputy superintendent of the county’s school system. She died in 1999. In 2008 William Wells Brown Elementary School replaced the Johnson and Russell elementary schools. Brown was born in Lexington in 1818. An author and lecturer, his 1853 book Clotel is considered to be the first novel published by a black author. In the fall of 2012, Carter G. Woodson Academy will open at Crawford Middle School, a new program for boys in 6th through 9th grades. Woodson (1875-1950) earned an undergraduate degree in literature at Berea College and a Ph.D. in history at Harvard University in 1912. Woodson was the second African-American to receive a doctoral degree from Harvard; the first was W.E.B. Du Bois in 1895, who co-founded the NAACP. Woodson is known as the father of Black History Month. Paul Laurence Dunbar was a poet and novelist. He was born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio, but his parents were from Kentucky. On North Upper Street, now the site of Dunbar Community Center, the original Paul Laurence Dunbar High School opened in 1923 and closed in 1967. When a new high school was built on Man O’ War in 1990, it was named Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. At the modern school there’s an archive room with memorabilia from the old school. “It’s on display for students and people in the community,” said Steve Duerson, the school’s social worker. Duerson is the faculty adviser of Leaders in the Making, an extracurricular club. Students are working on quite a few projects for Black History Month. A mascot mural is being painted on a wall in the Dunbar Room, featuring the bearcat from the original high school and the bulldog from the current school, with their arms around each other. The Dunbar Alumni Association will be honored at an event on Feb. 29. “The assembly will feature the talents and history of African-Americans,” Duerson said. Alumni members in the audience will be introduced and a documentary will be shown. Students are putting the video together, which features interviews with alumni from the original Dunbar.