Categotry Archives: Education


Ed Earnest


Categories: Education, Law

Edward Earnest believed in giving people second chances. Forty years ago, a prison warden and a mental health specialist gave him one that changed his life.
Earnest began breaking into stores and stealing food when he was only 11. Several years at a reform school didn’t provide the discipline and direction he needed. At 16, Earnest was sentenced to state prison for robbery.
While serving his time at the Draper Correctional Center in Elmore, Ala., warden John Watkins and Dr. John McKee, Alabama’s director of Community Mental Health, decided to rehabilitate him. Earnest earned a GED in prison and vowed to help other troubled youths avoid making the same mistakes he had.
After his release in 1966, Earnest attended the University of Alabama and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work. In 1970, he founded C.I.T.Y., a skills training program in Tuscaloosa, Ala., that helps at-risk youths obtain their GEDs. The mission of C.I.T.Y., which stands for Community Intensive Treatment for Youth, is to prevent troubled teens from participating in criminal activities. Participants are usually referred by juvenile court judges when parenting and regular school programs fail to turn the kids around.
Ten C.I.T.Y. programs currently operate in Alabama, and serve 600 to 700 kids a year. Each center is staffed by teachers and counselors that help the youths develop the social, behavioral, academic, technical and family skills they need to become productive members of society. In 1995, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency recognized C.I.T.Y. as a “promising and effective program.”
Earnest died on Jan. 5 from cancer. He was in his early 60s.


Will Eisner

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Categories: Artists, Education, Military, Writers/Editors

weisner.jpgWilliam Erwin Eisner, an innovative artist and writer who created the popular newspaper comic “The Spirit,” died on Jan. 3 of complications from quadruple bypass heart surgery. He was 87.
Born to Jewish immigrants, the native New Yorker began publishing artwork in his high school newspaper. He made his first professional sale in 1936 to WOW What a Magazine! Although WOW folded after four issues, the job put him in contact with editor/artist Samuel “Jerry” Iger. Together they formed the Eisner-Iger studio, and began creating comic strips for syndication in American newspapers.
Their comic book outfit employed many artists and writers who later became legends in the comic book industry, including Bob Kane (“Batman”), Jack Kirby (“Fantastic Four,” “X-Men”), Lou Fine (“Wilton of the West,” “The Count of Monte Cristo”) and Jack Cole (“Plastic Man”). For six years, Eisner mentored Jules Feiffer, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for editorial cartooning.
Eisner left the outfit in 1939 to work for the Quality Comics Group. A year later, he created ”The Spirit,” a comic strip produced as a newspaper supplement and designed to appeal to older audiences. The main character, Denny Colt, was a coroner until a mad scientist buried him alive. Although Colt didn’t have any superpowers, he escaped from his near-death experience and became a masked detective who solved crimes in the fictional Central City. “The Spirit” also featured a young black boy named Ebony White, one of the first recurring black characters in a mainstream cartoon.
Eisner was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. While the military kept him busy drawing comics about a soldier named Joe Dope (who taught the troops how to maintain their Jeeps and weapons), other artists filled in on “The Spirit.” Eisner returned to the weekly series after the war, and continued writing/illustrating The Spirit’s adventures until 1952. For the next 25 years, he ran the American Visual Corporation, a publisher of educational comics for the military.
Although many considered the “funny books” to be a cheap form of entertainment, Eisner viewed comics as “sequential art.” He revolutionized the industry by emphasizing characters’ emotions and addressing subjects once considered taboo, such as graft, domestic abuse and poverty. Eisner was credited with producing the first modern graphic novel when he published ”A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories” in paperback format in 1978.
Eisner also wrote two influential art books (“Comics and Sequential Art,” “Graphic Storytelling”) and taught cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He received numerous honors during his seven-decade career, including four Best Artist awards from the National Cartoonists Society and the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1987, the comics industry named one of its most prestigious awards in his honor.
“The Spirit,” which has been reprinted several times since its original run, is currently being published in multivolume collections by DC Comics. Eisner’s final graphic novel, “The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” will be released in May.
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Shirley Chisholm


Categories: Education, Extraordinary People, Politicians, Writers/Editors

schisholm.jpgShirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, died on Jan. 1. Cause of death was not released. She was 80.

Born to poor, immigrant parents, Chisholm spent the first half of her childhood living on her grandmother’s farm in Barbados. There she attended a British elementary school and picked up a Caribbean accent. At 11, Chisholm moved back to her parents’ home in Brooklyn and became a star student. She graduated cum laude from Brooklyn College and earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University.

Chisholm taught at a nursery school, ran a day care center and served as an educational consultant with New York City’s Bureau of Child Welfare, then she entered the political arena. In 1964, she campaigned on a Democratic platform and won a seat in the New York General Assembly. Four years later, Chisholm was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first black woman to attain such a position of power.

During her seven terms in Washington, Chisholm championed the rights of minorities, women, the poor and veterans. She added diversity and a spirited voice to the white-male dominated halls of Congress. In her first term, she was assigned to the House Agriculture Committee. Knowing such a position would be useless to her urban constituency, Chisholm defied tradition and requested a reassignment. She was eventually given seats on the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Education and Labor Committee.

Chisholm was frequently criticized for denouncing the Vietnam War and demanding equal rights for all Americans. In 1972, she angered the establishment by seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Chisholm was the first African-American to conduct a large-scale campaign for the presidency within the two-party system.

Running under the slogan “Unbought and Unbossed,” Chisholm sought to draw people into politics who traditionally did not participate in the process. But even her most loyal supporters balked when she visited her rival, former Alabama governor and reformed segregationist George Wallace, in the hospital after an assassin shot him on the campaign trail. Despite their ideological differences, she felt it was the humane thing to do. Wallace appreciated the gesture, and two years later he helped Chisholm get the Congressional support she needed to extend the minimum wage to domestic workers. Although George S. McGovern eventually accepted the party’s nomination, Chisholm received the National Organization for Women’s first presidential endorsement and won a federal court order to participate in the televised debates.

In recent years, Chisholm taught at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., and gave rousing speeches on the lecture circuit. The author of two books (“Unbought and Unbossed,” “The Good Fight”), she was also the subject of a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Upon her retirement from Congress in 1982, Chisholm was asked how she’d like to be remembered. She said: “I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts.”

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David Brudnoy

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Categories: Education, Media, Writers/Editors

dbrudnoy.jpgDavid Barry Brudnoy always believed in maintaining an open and honest relationship with his listeners. For more than three decades, the erudite Boston broadcaster interviewed hundreds of guests and used his talk show on WBZ-AM to civilly discuss books, current events and social issues.

Brudnoy’s candor and intelligence earned him a devoted following. When the station canceled his show in the early 1990s in favor of cheaper, syndicated talk programming, his loyal listeners boycotted the station and its advertisers. Brudnoy was back on the air a few weeks later. “The David Brudnoy Show” eventually became the highest-rated nighttime talk show in town.

The Minneapolis native received a bachelor’s degree in Japanese studies from Yale and a master’s in Far Eastern studies from Harvard. After a short teaching stint at Texas Southern University, a historically African-American school, Brudnoy moved back to Boston where he earned a master’s in the history of American civilization and a doctorate in history from Brandeis University.

In 1971, a friend encouraged Brudnoy to audition for an opening as a commentator at WGBH, Boston’s public television station. He landed the job and became the station’s “token conservative.” Brudnoy worked as a radio talk show host at WHDH and WRKO before he found a permanent home at WBZ. Since 1986, his deep, soothing voice has been heard every weeknight in 38 states and in Canada.

In his spare time, Brudnoy lectured at Boston University and presented opinionated commentaries on Channel 38’s “Nightcast at 10.” A longtime contributor to The National Review, he also wrote articles for The New York Times, TV Guide and the New Republic. Brudnoy penned movie reviews for the Community Newspapers chain, won the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts’ Freedom of Speech Award and co-founded both the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Boston Theatre Critics Circle.

Brudnoy nearly died from a viral infection in 1994. When rumors circulated about his illness, Brudnoy decided to end the speculation with a frank, on-air discussion.

He came out of the closet and revealed to his audience that he’d been diagnosed with AIDS. In 1996, he established The David Brudnoy Fund for AIDS Research at Massachusetts General Hospital to raise resources for unrestricted research into treatments and vaccines for the disease. Brudnoy then chronicled his struggles with HIV and AIDS in his 1997 memoir, “Life Is Not a Rehearsal.”

Last year, Brudnoy announced on air that he was suffering from merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer. Normally, the cancer is treatable, but with a lowered immune system, it spread into his liver and kidneys. On Dec. 8, Brudnoy gave a final interview from his hospital bed. He said good-bye to his radio audience and told them he was ready to die.

Brudnoy died on Dec. 9 of renal failure caused by carcinoma. He was 64.

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Chief Roy Crazy Horse


Categories: Education, Military, Politicians, Religious Leaders, Writers/Editors

crazyhorse.jpgChief Roy Crazy Horse, the leader of the Powhatan Renape Nation, died on Nov. 11. Cause of death was not released. He was 79.

Born in Camden, N.J., Crazy Horse lied about his age in order to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II. After returning from the South Pacific, he graduated from high school and attended Temple University and La Salle College.

Crazy Horse became chief of the Powhatan Renape Nation, an American Indian Nation and non-profit entity, in 1972. As the executive director and spiritual leader of the Powhatan, Crazy Horse defended the rights of American Indians and publicly criticized the mythology surrounding portrayals of Indians in popular media. He wrote several books on the history of native peoples, including “Morrisville: A Hidden Native Community,” “Holocaust of the American Indians,” “A Brief History of the Powhatan Renape Nation” and “North American Genocide.” He taught classes on Indian studies at Rowan University and lectured at several universities.

Crazy Horse established the Rankokus American Indian Reservation on 225 acres in Rancocas State Park in 1982. Since he was able to trace his tribe’s roots back to the people of the Powhatan Confederacy in Virginia, the state of New Jersey agreed to rent the land for 25 years. The reservation hosts a biannual American Indian Arts Festival and remains open to visitors who tour its heritage museum, art gallery and outdoor exhibits.

Crazy Horse was appointed by Gov. Christie Whitman to the Commission on Discrimination in State Employment and Contracting in 2000. He also served as the chairman of the New Jersey Commission on American Indian Affairs.

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