In honor of Black History Month, which starts today, here is a look at some of the people and places that helped shape Guilford County’s place in history:

A is for ...

Agricultural and Mechanical College (now N.C. A&T), a historically black college and university that opened in 1893.

B is for ...

Dr. Alvin Blount, one of the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit that desegregated Moses Cone and other hospitals. Blount was the first black doctor to operate at Moses Cone. He was still seeing patients shortly before his death Jan. 6.

Benjamin Benson, a slave, who won his freedom in Guilford County Superior Court in 1820.

Bennett College, a private college for black women that opened in Greensboro in 1873.

C is for ...

Jazz saxophone icon John Coltrane, who grew up in High Point. He played with other jazz legends, such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. In 2011, High Point started the annual John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival.

Colored Municipal Park, the original name of High Point’s Washington Terrace Park. The name was changed in the 1950s.

D is for ...

Desegregation. Greensboro became the first city in the Southeast to desegregate its all-white public schools when in 1957 five black children enrolled at Gillespie Park School: Harold Davis, Brenda Florence, Jimmy Florence, Daniel Herring and Elijah Herring Jr. The children endured heckling and screaming from spectators. The next day, Dudley Hight student Josephine Boyd (Bradley) integrated Greensboro Senior High (now Grimsley High) when she transferred. In High Point, school desegregation came in 1959, when Lynn Fountain integrated High Point Central High School and her sister, Brenda, enrolled at what was then Ferndale Junior High.

Dudley Brands hair products, founded in 1967 by Dr. Joe L. Dudley Sr. and Dr. Eunice M. Dudley. Today, Ursula Dudley Oglesby, their oldest daughter, is the president of Dudley Beauty Corp., which distributes products directly to cosmetologists, barbers and beauty schools nationally and internationally.

E is for ...

Edward Edmonds, a Bennett College sociology professor who in the 1950s led delegations of parents to the school board to protest inferior educational facilities. He also demanded the whites-only swimming pool at Lindley Park be opened to blacks.

Edward Greenlee, who in 1938 became the first African-American bus driver for Greensboro’s transit system. The former mechanic served with the city transit system until his retirement in 1992. Elizabeth McKinnon became the first black female bus operator for the city in 1981.

F is for ...

Greensboro lawyer Henry Frye, who in 1968 became the first black person in the 20th century to serve in the N.C. House of Representatives. In 1983, he was sworn in as an associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, becoming the first black justice in the court’s 164-year history. He was appointed the first black chief justice in 1999, but only served until 2000 when he was defeated for a full term by Associate Justice I. Beverly Lake.

G is for ...

Guilford College’s Carnegie Room at the Hege Library. It’s a central research facility for the Underground Railroad and a National Park Service “National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program” passport stamp site.

The Greensboro Six and Gillespie Golf Course. Six African Americans — Dr. George S. Simkins Jr., Leon Wolfe, Joseph Sturdivant, Samuel Murray, Philip Cook and Elijah H. Herring — were arrested Dec. 7, 1955, after playing at Gillespie Park Golf course and charged with trespassing.

H is for ...

“Sweet Lou” Hudson, a four-sport star at Dudley High and one of three basketball recruits to break the color barrier at the University of Minnesota in 1963. He was a six-time NBA All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks.

William Hampton, who in 1951 became the first African American elected to the Greensboro City Council.

I is for ...

Integration, which followed the 1960 sit-ins at Woolworths when four black employees — Geneva Tisdale, Susie Morrison, Anetha Jones and Charles Best — became the first to be served on July 25, 1960, when F.W. Woolworth agreed to integrate its Greensboro store.

International Civil Rights Center & Museum, which opened in 2010 in the former Woolworth store downtown where four N.C. A&T students helped spark the sit-ins movement in the South. In 1993, Melvin “Skip” Alston and Earl Jones founded Sit-in Movement Inc. to renovate and reopen the store as a civil rights museum.

J is for ...

Jesse Jackson, the N.C. A&T student body president who in June 1963 was arrested for “inciting a riot” when hundreds of demonstrators sat down in the street at Jefferson Square (Elm and Market streets) to protest segregated public accommodations. (Jackson went on to become an icon in the civil rights movement.)

K is for ...

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who visited Greensboro on July 11, 1963, to show his support for the civil rights protests begun by N.C. A&T students.

L is for ...

Lawyer Elreta Alexander-Ralston, a Greensboro resident who was the first African American woman to be admitted to the Columbia University School of Law and became the state’s first African American woman judge when she was elected a state District Court judge in 1968.

M is for ...

Ronald McNair, one of N.C. A&T’s most famous alumni, a 1971 graduate who died aboard the space shuttle Challenger when it exploded in 1986. After graduating from A&T, McNair earned his doctorate in physics at MIT. In 1978, he became the nation’s second black astronaut. A&T named its engineering building after McNair, and Guilford County Schools named an elementary school after him.

Clarence McAden, a dry cleaner, who joined the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce in 1948, becoming the first black chamber member in the South. When chamber officials discover he was black, they asked him to surrender his membership. McAden refused. Some 15 years passed before another black member was admitted.

N is for ...

Greensboro native Fred “Curly” Neal, who dribbled his way into history as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters exhibition team for 22 years. He was inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. The Globetrotters retired No. 22 that same year.

O is for ...

Ossie Davis, who was the first black principal of a High Point city-owned public school, a colored probation officer, published the first black community newspaper and was the first supervisor of the Negro Recreation Department in High Point.

Otis Hairston Jr., professional photographer whose subjects included Nelson Mandela, Coretta Scott King and Pope John Paul II. He founded Warnersville Community Coalition.

P is for ...

The Alice Freeman Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia founded in 1902 by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins to educate upper class African Americans. It was the nation’s first college preparatory school for black students. The former campus is part of the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, a state historic site that explores African American history, women’s history, social history, education, and the contributions African Americans have made in North Carolina.

William Penn High, High Point’s black high school until 1968.

Q is for ...

Quakers, who played an active role in freeing slaves through the Underground Railroad, which included a route through Guilford County that began in a cave near a creek on what is now the Guilford College campus.

R is for ...

John Russell, a High Point school administrator who in 1970 became the first black referee to officiate games in the ACC, and later spent 10 years as the president of the ACC Officials Association.

S is for ...

Sit-ins. N.C. A&T students Ezell Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), the late David Richmond, Joseph McNeil and the late Franklin McCain started the Greensboro sit-ins on Feb. 1, 1960. In just two months, the sit-in movement spread to 54 cities in nine states.

Charlie Sifford, who broke the PGA Tour’s color barrier when he became the first black golfer to play a Tour event in the South at the 1961 Greater Greensboro Open at Sedgefield Country Club in Jamestown.

Gloria Randle Scott, former president of Bennett College, who was the first African American woman to serve as the national president of the Girl Scouts in 1975.

T is for ...

The Hayes-Taylor YMCA, which opened in 1939 on East Market Street as the first Y in Greensboro open to nonwhite residents. Caesar Cone II donated $50,000 for the YMCA, named in honor of his butler, Andrew Taylor, and his cook, Sallie Hayes. The YMCA outgrew the original site and in 2015 moved to a new facility next to Barber Park.

David Taylor, who in 1999 became the first black fire chief in High Point.

U is for ...

The first route of the Underground Railroad, a network of trails and hiding places that led fleeing slaves to the North, began in a cave near a creek on what is now the Guilford College campus. A slave from Guilford County, John Dimrey, was the first to follow the Underground Railroad to freedom in 1819.

Harmon A. Unthank, a co-founder of Warnersville, who became director of the People’s Five-Cent Savings Bank in Greensboro in 1886, making him the first black bank director in the South.

V is for ...

Stahle Vincent, a three-sport star at Dudley High who became the first black quarterback in the Southwest Conference in 1969. He now works for Cone Denim.

W is for ...

Warnersville, Greensboro’s first suburb, which was developed near Ashe Street after the Civil War for recently freed, homeless and impoverished former slaves. Ezell Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), a future sit-in participant, grew up in this community.

Alfreda Webb was the first African American woman licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the United States. But she never actually practiced, preferring to teach anatomy and coordinate the animal science program at N.C. A&T. She also was the first black female member of the N.C. House of Representatives.

X is for ...

Malcolm X Liberation University, which moved to Greensboro from Durham in 1970. Activist Howard Fuller created the alternative college committed to Black Power and culture. The school closed in 1973, in part due to funding issues.

Y is for ...

Yvonne Johnson, who in 2007 was elected the first black mayor of Greensboro. Johnson served on the City Council from 1993 to 2009, when she lost to Republican Bill Knight. She returned to the council as an at-large member in 2011.

Z is for ...

Zoe Barbee, who in 1974 became the first black person elected to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. She died in an auto accident soon afterward and was replaced by Bert Hall, a black agricultural extension agent.

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