February’s Black History Month reminds One Of A Kind of African Americans’ extraordinary achievements we’ve been honored to commemorate in One Of A Kind 3-dimensional art over the years.
Vernon Jordan’s commemorative art, “Seven Days of Justice” stands out. In January 1961, law clerk Vernon Jordan Jr. was part of the legal team who successfully defended the admission of the first black students, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter, to University of Georgia. Amidst demonstrations and threats, Vernon Jordan ultimately escorts the two to register. A new era began. Holmes went on to a career as a physician. Charlayne Hunter-Gault became a nationally prominent journalist. She delivered 1988 University of Georgia’s commencement address, 25 years after her own graduation. Vernon Jordan continued as a leading figure in the Civil Rights Movement, President and CEO of the National Urban League, Executive Director of United Negro College Fund, an American business executive and Chairman of the Clinton Presidential Transition Team.
Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Ursula Burns, Xerox CEO and Chair of Technology CEO Council, Reggie Williams/Cincinnati Bengals, Mary Futrell, President, National Education Association, John Houston, Founder of Houston Associates are among many other one-of-kind stories.
Willie Goode, founder of Goode Companies is a great example. In 1991 he started his business with one truck, which was loaned. On the 25th anniversary, we celebrated the amazing growth and success of Mr. Goode’s companies in 3-dimensional art, presented at a black tie Gaylord National Harbor Hotel gala. Black Enterprise featured Willie Goode in an article entitled, “Turning Trash into Cash—Goode expands horizons with garbage collection enterprise.”
Mays Chemical Company commissioned One Of A Kind on the 25th anniversary to honor their founder William G. Mays. He is considered one of Indiana’s most successful African American businessmen. Mr. Mays’ father was a chemistry professor and William Mays graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s in business administration from Indiana University. His daughter Kristin Mays-Corbitt is now President of this major chemical distributor, which offers each customer individualized services.
A theoretical physicist, Dr. Shirley Jackson had had a distinguished career and leadership positions in academia, government, industry and research. Her Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics is from MIT. Since 1999, Dr. Jackson has led an extraordinary transformation of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute into a world-class technological research university. The number of students applying to join the freshman class has tripled.
And two universally known African American success stories that are ever amazing: