- Learning Central
- Mobile Museum
- Hall of Famers
Dorothy Louise Porter Wesley (May 25, 1905 – December 17, 1995) was an African-American librarian, bibliographer and curator, who built the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University into a world-class research collection. She published numerous bibliographies on African-American history.
By her married name of Porter, she was appointed in 1930 as the librarian at Howard University. Over the next 40 years, she was key to building up what is now the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at the university as one of the world’s best collection of library materials for Black/Africana history and culture.
Because of her limited budget, she appealed directly to publishers and book dealers to donate specific books to the library. She developed a worldwide network of contacts that reached from the US to Brazil, Mexico and Europe. Her friends and contacts included Alain Locke, Rayford Logan, Dorothy Peterson, Langston Hughes, and Amy Spingarn. The collection is international, with books and documents in many languages. It includes music and academic studies on linguistics, as well as literature and scholarship by and about Black people in the United States and elsewhere.
In addition, she was instrumental in ensuring scholars, such as Edison Carneiro, and statesmen, such as Kwame Nkrumah and Eric Williams, visited the university to increase students’ interest in their African heritage.
Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh (June 22, 1906 – February 7, 2001) was an American author and aviator. She was the wife of decorated pioneer aviator Charles Lindbergh, with whom she made many exploratory flights.
Following the kidnap and murder of their eldest child, they lived in Europe, where Charles was impressed by Germany’s new air power. When they returned to America, he led the isolationist America First Committee. Anne’s supporting booklet The Wave of the Future declared that fascism was the inevitable way forward; she had also written a letter praising Hitler in unequivocal terms.
Dorothea Lange (born Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn; May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange’s photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of the Great Depression.[1
Paul Adolph Volcker Jr. (/ˈvoʊlkər/; September 5, 1927 – December 8, 2019) was an American economist. He served two terms as the 12th Chair of the Federal Reserveunder U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan from August 1979 to August 1987. He is widely credited with having ended the high levels of inflation seen in the United States during the 1970s and early 1980s. He was the chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board under President Barack Obama from February 2009 until January 2011.
Sara Spencer Washington (June 6, 1889 – March 23, 1953) was the founder of Apex News and Hair Company and was honored at the 1939 New York World’s Fair as one of the “Most Distinguished Businesswomen” for her Apex empire of beauty company, schools, and products. Washington gave back to her community, whether founding a nursing home called Apex Rest in Atlantic City, New Jersey or the Apex Golf Club, one of the first African-American owned golf courses in the nation.
Perched atop a hill on Martin Luther King Blvd in the heart of Newark’s central ward sits a soaring and powerful remnant of Newark’s rich history as an industrial giant, the famed Kruger-Scott Mansion.
The 26-room mansion, built in 1887 by German immigrant turned wealthy beer baron Gottfried Kruger, is one of the remaining symbols of the wealth that once permeated throughout the city.
The mansion, now on the national registry of historic places, was last owned by Louise Scott, a dynamic businesswoman who established a successful chain of beauty salons in Newark, and is believed to have been the city’s first African-American female millionaire. Ms. Scott purchased the home in 1959 and maintained it both as her residence and the location of her Scott College of Beauty Culture until her death.
Scott’s only daughter, Reverend Louise Scott-Rountree, grew up in the house from the time she was born and recalls what life was like in the now vacant mansion.
Madeline McWhinney Dale (March 11, 1922–June 19, 2020) was an American economist and banker. She was the first female officer of the Federal Reserve Bank and the bank’s first female vice-president. She was also the first woman candidate, and first female trustee, for the board of trustees of the Federal Retirement System.
Godmother of punk Patti Smith will team up with her longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye.
Patricia Lee Smith (born December 30, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and poet who became an influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.
Called the “punk poet laureate”, Smith fused rock and poetry in her work. Her most widely known song is “Because the Night“, which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen. It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978 and number five in the U.K. In 2005, Smith was named a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On November 17, 2010, Smith won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. The book fulfilled a promise she had made to her former long-time partner, Robert Mapplethorpe. She placed 47th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Artists published in December 2010 and was also a recipient of the 2011 Polar Music Prize.
As musician, writer, and record producer, Kaye was intimately involved with an array of artists and bands. He was a guitarist for poet/rocker Patti Smith from her band’s inception in 1974, and co-authored Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings. He worked in the studio with such artists as R.E.M., James, Suzanne Vega, Jim Carroll, Soul Asylum, Kristin Hersh, and Allen Ginsberg. His seminal anthology of sixties’ garage-rock, Nuggets, is widely regarded as defining the genre. You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon, an impressionistic study of the romantic singers of the 1930s, was published by Villard/Random House in 2004.
Music has been a constant source of inspiration in Sarah’s life ever since her childhood in Trenton. The seventh of thirteen children born to Elder Abraham Dash and Mother Elizabeth Dash, Sarah sang in the Trenton Church of Christ Choir as a young girl and entertained her classmates with renditions of standards like “With These Hands.” The radio dial introduced her to everything from R&B and rock ‘n’ roll to country and polka, with the voices of Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, and Smokey Robinson shaping some of Sarah’s earliest influences alongside albums by Mahalia Jackson, Nat “King” Cole, Andy Williams, and her brother’s jazz collection.
Doo-wop groups The Capris and The Dells inspired the name of Sarah’s first group, the Del-Capris, which included another Trenton-based singer, Nona Hendryx. When Sarah and Nona teamed with Patricia (Patti) Holte and Cynthia (Cindy) Birdsong of The Ordettes, a new group was born — The Bluebelles. Beginning in 1962, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles were among the most dynamic vocal groups of the 1960s, recording for major labels like Cameo-Parkway and Atlantic, touring the Chitlin’ Circuit, and earning rave reviews for their appearances at the Apollo Theater where they were affectionately nicknamed “The Sweethearts of the Apollo.”
Four years after Cindy Birdsong left the Bluebelles to join Diana Ross & the Supremes, Sarah, Patti, and Nona signed with Warner Bros., unveiling a new name and a new style on Labelle (1971) and Moon Shadow (1972), and recording with acclaimed singer-songwriter Laura Nyro on Gonna Take a Miracle (1971). Working with manager and former Ready Steady Go! producer Vicki Wickham, the trio began writing their own songs and geared their sound towards a progressive fusion of rock and soul. With the release of Pressure Cookin’ (1973) on RCA, Labelle transformed into funk-rock goddesses outfitted in fashion-forward couture. A trio of albums on Epic Records, the gold-selling Nightbirds (1974), Phoenix (1975), and Chameleon (1976), sparked Labelle’s breakthrough to mainstream success. They topped the Hot 100 with “Lady Marmalade,” graced the cover of Rolling Stone, sold out theaters across the country, and made history as the first black group to perform at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.
A former child prodigy, Benson first came to prominence in the 1960s, playing soul jazz with Jack McDuff and others. He then launched a successful solo career, alternating between jazz, pop, R&B singing, and scat singing. His album Breezin’ was certified triple-platinum, hitting no. 1 on the Billboardalbum chart in 1976. His concerts were well attended through the 1980s, and he still has a large following. Benson has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Antonin Gregory Scalia (/ˌæntənɪn skəˈliːə/ (listen); March 11, 1936 – February 13, 2016)[n 1] was an American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. He was described as the intellectual anchor for the originalist and textualist position in the Court’s conservative wing. For catalyzing an originalist and textualist movement in American law, he has been described as one of the most influential jurists of the twentieth century, and one of the most important justices in the Supreme Court’s history. Scalia was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018 by President Donald Trump, and the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University was named in his honor.
Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey. A devout Catholic, he received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. He then obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School and spent six years in a Cleveland law firm before becoming a law professor at the University of Virginia. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, eventually becoming an Assistant Attorney General. He spent most of the Carter years teaching at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the fledgling Federalist Society. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Scalia as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1986, he was appointed to the Supreme Court by Reagan and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, becoming the Court’s first Italian-American justice.
Scalia espoused a conservative jurisprudence and ideology, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation. He peppered his colleagues with “Ninograms” (memos named for his nickname, “Nino”) which sought to persuade them to agree with his point of view. He was a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch. He believed that the Constitution permitted the death penalty and did not guarantee the right to abortion or same-sex marriage. Furthermore, Scalia viewed affirmative action and other policies that afforded special protected status to minority groups as unconstitutional. These positions earned him a reputation as one of the most conservative justices on the Court. He filed separate opinions in many cases, often castigating the Court’s majority using scathing language. Scalia’s most significant opinions include his lone dissent in Morrison v. Olson (arguing against the constitutionality of an Independent-Counsel law), his majority opinion in Crawford v. Washington(defining a criminal defendant’s confrontation right under the 6th Amendment), and his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (holding that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to individual handgun ownership).
Gustave F. Perna (born 1960) is a United States Army four-star general who serves as the chief operating officer of the federal COVID-19 response for vaccine and therapeutics. He previously served as the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed from July 2020 until the operation’s duties and responsibilities were transferred to the White House COVID-19 Response Team in February 2021. As chief operating officer of COVID-19 response, he oversees the logistics in the United States federal government’s distribution of the vaccine to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate confirmed his nomination as chief operating officer on July 2, 2020, and he assumed the office shortly after.
Perna previously served as the 19th commanding general of United States Army Materiel Command from September 30, 2016 to July 2, 2020. He also served for two years as the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, overseeing policies and procedures used by all United States Army logistic personnel throughout the world. Prior to joining the Army staff he served for two years as Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/4, United States Army Materiel Command.
William Paterson (December 24, 1745 – September 9, 1806) was a New Jersey statesman and a signer of the United States Constitution. He was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and the second governor of New Jersey.
Born in County Antrim, Ireland, Paterson moved to the North American British colonies at a young age. After graduating from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and studying law under Richard Stockton, he was admitted to the bar in 1768. He helped write the 1776 Constitution of New Jersey and served as the New Jersey Attorney General from 1776 to 1783. He represented New Jersey at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, where he proposed the New Jersey Plan, which would have provided for equal representation among the states in Congress.
After the ratification of the Constitution, Paterson served in the United States Senate from 1789 to 1790, helping to draft the Judiciary Act of 1789. He resigned from the Senate to take office as Governor of New Jersey. In 1793, he accepted appointment by President George Washington to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He served on the court until his death in 1806.
Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation’s financial system, the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, and the New York Post newspaper. As the first secretary of the treasury, Hamilton was the main author of the economic policies of George Washington‘s administration. He took the lead in the federal government’s funding of the states’ debts, as well as establishing the nation’s first two de facto central banks, the Bank of North America and the First Bank of the United States, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. His vision included a strong central government led by a vigorous executive branch, a strong commercial economy, government-controlled banks, support for manufacturing, and a strong military.
Margaret Bancroft (1854-1912) founded the Haddonfield Bancroft Training School for the multiply disabled.
Founded in 1883 under the original name “The Haddonfield School for the Mentally Deficient and Peculiarly Backward”, Bancroft’s institution hoped to develop innovative ways of teaching developmentally disabled children. Bancroft created a specialized program for the physical, mental, and spiritual growth of each particular student. She valued the importance of proper nutrition, personal hygiene, exercise, daily prayers, sensory and artistic development, and lessons suited to mental age. Students were also treated to different forms of recreation, which included trips to the circus, theaters, museums, and concerts. Renamed in 1904 the institution became known as the Bancroft Training School.
Bancroft also helped organize the women’s club the Haddon Fortnightly in 1894. She hoped that the women’s organization outside the home would promote the educational, literary, and social interests of its members. It is a testament to the longevity of Bancroft’s vision that the club is still active today. The Bancroft Training School now serves as a nonprofit institution with residential and daycare. Relocated to a campus called Owl’s Head, the school is now a year-round evaluation and treatment center.
Monford Merrill “Monte” Irvin (February 25, 1919 – January 11, 2016) was an American left fielder and right fielder in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball(MLB) who played with the Newark Eagles (1938–1942, 1946–1948), New York Giants(1949–1955) and Chicago Cubs (1956). He grew up in New Jersey and was a standout football player at Lincoln University. Irvin left Lincoln to spend several seasons in Negro league baseball. His career was interrupted by military service from 1943 to 1945.
When he joined the New York Giants, Irvin became one of the earliest African-American MLB players. He played in two World Series for the Giants. When future Hall of Famer Willie Mays joined the Giants in 1951, Irvin was asked to mentor him. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. After his playing career, Irvin was a baseball scout and held an administrative role with the MLB commissioner’s office.
Valerie B. Ackerman (born November 7, 1959 in Lakewood Township, New Jersey) is an American sports executive, former lawyer, and former basketball player. She is the current commissioner of the Big East Conference. She is best known for being the first president of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), serving from 1996 to 2005. Ackerman was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.