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Courtesy: SWAC.org

SWAC Black History Month Spotlight: The First

Courtesy: SWAC.org
Release: 02/09/2014
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Everyone remembers the first to accomplish feats and pave the road to success. It has become synonymous to spotlighting the African-American trail to forming equality in the United States of America.

In recognition of Black History Month, the Southwestern Athletic Conference highlights graduates from its member universitites that have made a contribution to their area of expertise to help evolve many facets of America - becoming - 'The First' - to do so.

Alabama State
China Jude         
Jude became the first African-American female athletic director at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (2007-11) and Queens College (2011-Present).
Prior to her time at Queens, Jude served as Athletic Director at Cheyney for four years, where she moved the University past a three-year NCAA probationary period, restored the athletics program to a competitive state and strengthened the booster club through successful fundraising.

As a 16-year-old undergraduate at ASU, She earned a scholarship to play on the Lady Hornets Volleyball Team, starting in every match. During her collegiate career, she earned All-Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) honors. After earning her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism in 1994, Jude earned a Master’s degree in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy.

Ralph Simpson        
Sampson was the first African American to earn a PhD (music) from Michigan State University and a former Dean of the School of Music at Tennessee State University.

Alcorn State
Medgar Evers
Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an African-American civil rights activist from Mississippi involved in efforts to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi. After returning from overseas military service in World War II and completing his secondary education, he became active in the civil rights movement. He became a field secretary for the NAACP.

Malcolm Jones    
In 2009, Jones became the first black head coach at McComb High School in Mississippi. He has guided his team to a 14-8 record the last two season.

Grambling State
Doug Williams
Williams is a former NFL quarterback and former head coach of the Grambling State. He is best known for his remarkable performance in Super Bowl XXII. Williams, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, passed for a Super Bowl record 340 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception.

He also became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half. Williams was also the first black starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl, and the only one until Russell Wilson won Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.

Jackson State
Shasta Averyhardt
Averyhardt became the first African-American woman to qualify for the LPGA tour since 2001, and its fourth African-American woman member in the 60-year history of the LPGA. She joins Althea Gibson, Renee Powell and LaRee Sugg as the fourth African-American player, first since Sugg in 2001, as a member of the tour.

She earned her LPGA card with a T-22 finish at LPGA Qualifying School. Shasta will also play on the LPGA Futures Tour after playing 10 events in 2009. She qualified for the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont and competed on Suncoast Tour in ’09. Shasta won at Stoneybrook West. A graduate of Jackson State University (Accounting) in 2008 with nine tournament wins including four consecutive Southwest Athletic Conference individual titles. She won the 2008 Michigan Women’s Amateur Stroke Play and advanced to the round of 32 in 2008 U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship.

Prairie View A&M
J. Don Boney
Boney became the first president of the University of Houston–Downtown in 1975. Before UHDC, Dr. Boney had served as president of the Houston Community College System and Acting General Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. He remained in his position as UHDC president until his untimely death in 1979.

Charlie Brackins
Brackins is noted as one of the first African-American NFL quarterbacks. He was a three year starter for legendary head football coach Billy Nicks and led PVAMU to 33 victories in 37 games in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Brackins was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixteenth round of the 1955 NFL Draft, making him the first HBCU alumnus to play quarterback in the NFL. He played in only one game during the 1955 season, in the closing minutes of a game against the Cleveland Browns on October 23, 1955.

Inez Beverly Prosser
Prosser, teacher and school administrator, is regarded as the first African-American female to receive a Ph.D in psychology. After growing up in Texas, Prosser was educated at PVAMU, the University of Colorado and the University of Cincinnati. She was killed in a car accident a short time after earning her doctorate.

Prosser was one of the key figures in the debate on how to best educate Black students. Arguments made in her dissertation were used in the 1920s and 1930s in the debate about school segregation. Her dissertation "examined personality differences in black children attending either voluntarily segregated or integrated schools and concluded that black children were better served in segregated schools. As a Black female psychologists, Prosser’s voice was crucial during her time and now because the voices and this histories of Black Psychology and Black Psychologist has been absent from the narratives of mainstream American psychology. Although her dissertation research remains unpublished, her work appropriated by other researchers were used in the debated leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court ruling of 1954, which argues that segregated schools were inherently unequal, thereby mandating integration in the nations public schools. Her works on the educational and identity development of Black students were not only influenced by her teaching and administrative experience, but by her only experiences at a "colored" school in Texas.

Dave Webster
Webster was drafted to play football for the Dallas Texans under Pro Football Hall of Fame owner Lamar Hunt and coach Hank Stram. The Dallas Texans later became the Kansas City Chiefs in 1962 when the franchise moved from Texas to Missouri.

Even though he was an All-American quarterback in college, he played defensive back because blacks were not allowed to play the quarterback position in the professional football ranks at that time. He paved the way by overcoming racial injustice and adversity as one of the first blacks to play professional football for the American Football League and he was one of two black players on the Texans/Chiefs (in those days, there was a “two blacks per team” quota in effect). Despite the circumstances, he led the team in interceptions and became an AFL All-Pro defensive back in 1962; same year that the Texans won the AFL National Championship. His career came to an abrupt end when his leg was broken in a pre-season game in 1962-1963.

Irma Muse Dixon
Dixon is the first African-American elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC). Dixon represented the Third District on PSC from 1992 (replacing Louis Lambert) through reelection in 1998 to the term ending in 2004. Dixon previously represented District 95 in the Louisiana House for four years (elected 1988, reelected 1991) immediately prior to being elected to PSC in 1992. Dixon's 12 years of service on PSC brought her a commendation from the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in 2004.

Melvin "Kip" Holden
Holden became the tirst African-American mayor of Baton Rouge, La. Holden's election as the first African-American Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish was fostered through the support of his urban black base but also with substantial support from suburban whites, many being Republicans.

Abe E. Pierce, III
Pierce was the first African American mayor of Monroe, La. (1996-2000).Prior to his mayoral tenure, Pierce served for twenty-six years as a member of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury, the parish governing body. He was the first African American to serve on the police jury and the first to be named president of the police jury. Pierce had been the president of the youth council of the Monroe branch of thre National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and was active in the civil rights movement.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Samuel L. Kountz
Kountz was an African-American kidney transplantation surgeon from Lexa, Arkansas. He was most distinguished for his pioneering work in the field of kidney transplantations, and in research, discoveries, and inventions in Renal Science. In 1961, while working with Dr. Roy Cohn at the Stanford University Medical Center, he performed the first successful Kidney transplant between humans who were not identical twins.

Six years later, he and a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, developed the prototype for the Belzer kidney perfusion machine, a device that can preserve kidneys for up to 50 hours from the time they are taken from a donor's body. It is now standard equipment in hospitals and research laboratories around the world.