Alabama native, Jesse Lewis Sr. is recognized as a publishing and marketing trailblazer in the South. In the early 50s, Lewis founded the first minority-owned public relations firm in the U.S. His very first client was the Birmingham Coca Cola Bottling Company. With their support, Lewis founded the Birmingham Times in 1964. For most of his career, he focused on marketing to African American consumers, a demographic he says was completely ignored during that time. The 93 year old was recently recognized among Black PR Pioneers at the Museum of Public Relations in New York.
Segregation shut out ballplayers like James “Jake” Sanders from ballparks and the major leagues, but it didn’t quell his passion for the game. He attended the same high school in Fairfield as Willie Mays and went on to star in the Negro League. These days, Sanders travels the country telling the history of the league to school kids so the stories don’t get lost.
Listen to Alabama politicians talk about education and you’ll hear about workforce development. They say schools should focus on math and science to help industry grow. There’s less emphasis on music or literature. That concerns John Parrish Peede. The Mississippi native became chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities earlier this year.
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