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Wyatt Frieson, Jr. (1933 - )

by Steven Frieson
Wyatt Frieson Jr. was born in1933 in Clarksburg, West Virginia to parents Wyatt and Lola Frieson. Mr. Frieson's father and uncles were coal-miners, a dangerous and hard-scrabble profession. He described his childhood as "very poor." The family lived in Robey, a mining camp consisting of a couple dozen shacks. One of his chores was to collect water from a community spring for cooking and bathing. He and his cousins would sometimes scavenge coal off the train cars parked on the railroad siding near Robey so that their shacks could have heat. When Wyatt was 10, shortly after his brother was born, his father died from what was commonly known as coal miner's disease, leaving his mother to support the family as a domestic worker. Supported by his uncles and relatives he became the head of the household. Throughout his grade school years he attended Kelly Miller School, where he played football and excelled academically.

When he graduated he knew he wanted to leave West Virginia. He joined the Air Force at 17, where he trained to be a weather observer and was eventually stationed at Hamilton Air Force base near San Francisco, giving him his first taste of California, which he loved.

In 1955, he was discharged from the military. He returned to West Virginia, but not long. In short order he got his drivers license and then drove an old car his Uncle Columbus gave him to California to pursue his lifelong dream to become a lawyer. Upon discovering he could not afford law school, he decided to study business at San Jose State University and when he graduated, he was hired as an accountant. He worked for Robert Lawrence, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, and who would become a life-long family friend. Coincidentally, Mr. Lawrence's wife Ricki worked with a young woman named Lettie Thomas at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California. One day the Lawrences introduced Wyatt to Lettie, and they would eventually marry in 1959.

A natural leader, Frieson became a part of Santa Ana's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and by 1964 he was its Vice President. He spoke publicly about the housing discrimination that Blacks encountered throughout Orange County, despite the welcoming of their labor in industry. In 1965, Frieson was elected President of the Santa Ana chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. As President, Frieson arranged for local employers to attend the Job Opportunities Day on May 20 at Santa Ana Valley High School and had representatives from Autonetics, Bank of America, and Hunt-Wesson Foods. This successful event no doubt inspired Frieson new ways to empower minority communities.

The national focus of the NAACP highlighted the need to Frieson for local engagement, especially in places like Santa Ana where there was a concentrated population of Black people, inspiring Frieson to create Partners for Progress to bridge the community gap.In April 1966, Frieson founded Partners for Progress (PFP) with James Kelly, Thomas Whaling, Elmer Noonan, and Hallison Young, making it a bi-racial group. Its goal, according to Frieson, the goals of the non-profit organization are to initiate and coordinate programs designed to establish amiable race relations in Orange County and to make a concentrated effort to encourage Negroes and other minorities to become part of the mainstream of county's socio-economic structure. Along with the five founding members, PFP appointed different associate members to serve as advisors and extend its network into businesses, financial institutions, minority organizations, religious institutions, local government, and schools. Frieson maintained his fulltime job at Hunt-Wesson Foods and worked part time for two years until the growth of PFP demanded he chose between the two and Frieson quit his full time job to work full time for Partners for Progress.

Partners for Progress opened its doors at 418 S. Bristol Street in Santa Ana. PFP received its first form of support from Donald Strauss who provided some seed money and the free labor of his eldest son Gordon for the summer of 1966. Donald and his wife Dorothy served as White allies throughout Orange County history and were New Deal Democrats who lived in Newport Beach. Their son Gordon was on break from Stanford University and found his work at PFP meaningful and more appropriate than his previous job at Northrup Grumman, which was monotonous and contributed to the defense industry. Gordon was coming to terms with his opposition to the war in Vietnam and found his job at Partners for Progress a better fit even though he was not paid for his labor that summer. Gordon was also self-conscious as a White man representing an organization for minority groups but plugged away all summer at finding connections between local businesses and PFP.

In its first year, PFP introduced eight sets of programs, four designed for adults and four for young people. Partners for Progress sought created a network of program connecting local businesses with adults; the organization sought the encouragement of minority youth into organizations like the Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts of America, and the Junior Achievement youth clubs; and Partners for Progress helped foster programming to prepare minority students for jobs in the business sector. The adult programs had long term goals including teaching citizenship, creating a job center, and family counseling assisting in economics and homemaking. Although inspired by programs from the War on Poverty and at first glance resembling Americanization campaigns of the 1930s, Frieson underscored that Partners for Progress would have no government involvement. PFP encouraged economic incentives and local, small business participation alongside a "change in attitude."

This specific combination of rejecting government support and encouraging self-betterment fit well with Orange County's conservative leaders and also encouraged a sense of agency among its PFP practitioners. Moreover, Frieson had good reason to expect local businesses continued participation in Partners for Progress. Frieson was very successful. Within 1967, the organization placed 41 individuals jobs and nearly tripled its success in 1968 with 113 job placements. In 1968, Partners for Progress was given the prestigious 1967 Disneyland Community Service Award and a generous grant from the Irvine Foundation. In 1968, the NAACP recognized the organization for its excellence in community service and humanitarianism. In that same year Frieson was appointed to the Santa Ana Planning Commission, the first African to occupy that position. By 1970, Frieson integrated a Business Advisory Board.

In the 1990s, Frieson decided to return to his rural beginnings and relocated to Norco, California and where he still resides with his wife Lettie, they have been married over 60 years.

 
 
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Daniel Michael Lynem, Jr. (1947 - )

Daniel Michael Lynem, Jr. was born in 1947 in Santa Ana, California. He grew up with his grandmother and mother in Santa Ana with a strong Christian, social justice background. His mother helped to found the Santa Ana chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and his father attempted to challenge racist teachers and principals on behalf of his son in his early childhood. Education was very important in his household; his grandmother had been a school teacher in Kentucky and Daniel learned the value of an education.

After graduating Santa Ana High School in 1965, Lynem was drafted into the Vietnam War and got married. Two weeks before his date to report for military service, Lynem suffered a heart attack. Instead of serving in the military, he attended college and had two children. In late 1966, his life changed when he was recruited to the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

Lynem made a “full commitment to become a member and leader in the Santa Ana Branch of the organization.” This period in his life provided multiple awakenings on the nature of political infighting, the role of atheism in the Black Panther Party, which ultimately led him to leave it, and the terrible shooting of Officer Nelson Sasscer on June 4, 1969 at the corner of Raitt and Third Streets.

Lynem was falsely accused with this crime although two other party members would later admit he was not there and he’d be released a month later. The experience of Santa Ana Police Officers busting down doors in the community created even more crisis for its Black community and Officer Harlen Lambert mediated the two sides, the police department’s SWAT team and the Black community. Lynem gave himself up to stop the chaos and destruction happening in his community by the police in their hunt for him. One of the people who arrested him was Harlen Lambert. According to The OC Weekly writer Gabriel San Roman, he was cuffed and an officer punched him in the face. After this tragedy, the Black Panther Party in Santa Ana dissolved.

Lynem then worked with the BPP chapter in Los Angeles but quit because of the group’s complete rejection of a belief in a higher power, in line with its communist orientation. The day he quit was fortuitous and he credits divine intervention as the next day December 8, 1969, the Los Angeles SWAT team engaged in a multiple location crackdown on the BPP. In addition to arresting people in the BPP, the SWAT team burned down its headquarters on Central and forced arrestees to strip naked in public.

Lynem’s career is marked by time in prison for drug related offenses and experiences in which he saw the role of racism in prison gangs and in the guards. He put his own life at risk when he stopped a prison riot by advocating for a White prisoner; normally, such behavior would be equated with siding with the other group, but Lynem’s justification for intervening was his religious awakening, which they accepted and thus saved the man’s life. Daniel’s path to becoming a reborn Christian occurred through the mentoring of Santa Ana mayor Loren Griset.

In 1978, Griset arranged for Lynem to become friends with a former enemy - police officer, Bob Stebbins. The two became close friends and even managed to laugh about how Stebbins harassed Lynem in the 1960s. Stebbins tried to suggest that Lynem was a police informant to other people in the BPP, which put Lynem’s life at risk. Bob Stebbins has since died but in a 2009 interview, he remarked: “I knew that God would have me be friends with Michael,” Stebbins says. “It wasn’t something I asked for, but all that hatred passed away. We still talk about how we came together, even for us, it still blows our minds.”

But the friendship wasn’t popular among Santa Ana officers. “I could understand their feelings, but the reality was that we were brothers in Christ,” Stebbins says. “Michael was my friend, and that was the way it was going to be. Some thought I was a traitor. What else could they think? They couldn’t possibly understand.” (The OC Weekly , 9/10/2009)

Naturally, Lynem extended that same sense of Christian forgiveness to Officer Harlen Lambert. It was Lynem who reached out to me and not vice versa to request a meeting with Lambert in 2019. Lambert and his wife were still very angry at the BPP. Daniel requested a meeting with Harlen in order to apologize to him for not understanding who he was in the 1960s. We all met for breakfast at Mimi’s Cafe in Yorba Linda on April 16, 2019. There, I witnessed a lot of healing when Lynem extended gratitude to Lambert. The men shook hands and actually smiled. I consider this moment one of my most important events in my career as I witnessed the healing power of history; the leadership of both men in the same ways they endeavored to lead in the 1960s; and I saw firsthand the benefits of my labor. It is a rare day for historians to actually see such moments; they are often so private that they will rarely be shared publicly.

Daniel Michael Lynem, Jr. had two marriages that ended in divorce and four children. He has twelve grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. He considers himself married to Christ. His ministry focuses on mentoring young men and, of course, reading, studying and teaching the Bible. Lynem is busy ministering across Orange County including the Second Baptist in Yorba Linda, where he led the singles ministry, has taught Sunday school, and led a men’s Bible study; the Kindred Community Church in Anaheim Hills where he led the Young Adults Ministry and took theology courses in leadership training; and finally, he manages the Christian Men's Sober living house and teaches a weekly Bible. There, he is helping to develop a discipleship program, and mentoring seven men.

 

 
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Adleane Hunter (1949 - )

This profile was written with the assistance of Donna Hatchett, who assisted throughout the production of this project.

Named by her father, Adleane Hunter was born Adleane Gardner near the southernmost tip of Florida in 1949. She moved to Santa Ana when she was 12 years old to join a cousin who had migrated to California earlier; her mother and her siblings joined her shortly thereafter. Although her cousin's husband tried to find work in Los Angeles, he was not able to find long-term employment there. Instead, he found a job in Anaheim and rented a room from Miss Kitty Mack who ran a rooming house until his wife and Adleane joined him. From then on, Adleane's life would prove to be a testament to pursuing one's goals while maintaining a sense of integrity and excellence.

In 1970, Adleane experienced troubling police harassment when she was driving with her one-year-old daughter, Chrystal, in Santa Ana. She was pulled over at gunpoint. The officer explained there was a riot taking place five miles away on Broadway, and that he had decided to "check her out." Adleane recalled:

What was startling to me when I rolled my window down was that he had a gun in his hand. And he was checking anyone who was in the vicinity. From that moment on, I did report it. I shared it with the people I worked with, Hunt-Wesson Foods, who did an article on it in the company newsletter. Nothing was ever done that I'm aware of. I was never contacted. There was no follow-up. [She shrugs] That was the end of it.

This terrifying experience no doubt made an impact on her; the fear of being stopped stayed with her and was intensified by the prevalence of racial profiling by different arms of law enforcement. Hunter explained that while she felt very supported in different aspects of her public life in Orange County, especially at Hunt-Wesson Foods, the fact that no one followed up with her was representative of the experience of hundreds of Black people across Orange County. Hunter noted that she felt less likely to be harassed in Orange County as a Black person in comparison to Los Angeles County, where Black discrimination felt more palpable. Moreover, when she lived in San Diego County in the 1990s, Hunter was followed by a police officer for several miles when she was driving home. In this incident, Hunter decided if the officer wanted to pull her over, she would wait until she was in a well-lit area. Fortunately, the officer did not follow her off of the freeway.

In addition to her personal experiences, Hunter was informed about racist and corrupt police behavior from her family's history growing up in the South and from their experience driving across the country. She noted the more dangerous or expensive states were Texas and Arizona; Black drivers knew to keep cash on hand to pay for fines they incurred for driving while Black. California was not supposed to be like those other states in the 1960s, i.e., it was not supposed to be segregated or racist. However, Adleane quickly realized that the different degrees of racism in Orange County were more covert but equally detrimental to her self-worth.

Her family lived near Fifth and Raitt in Santa Ana, a largely Mexican-American community, which was reflected in the diversity of her school, Santa Ana High School. However, most Black families lived south of First Street and attended Valley High School. She was surprised at how advanced her education was in comparison to her California counterparts, but was told to "quit raising her hand so much" in middle school. It was not until she had Miss Darling (later Whitaker) as a teacher that she felt recognized. Adleane described herself as an obedient daughter who worked hard and kept her nose to the grindstone. She had a job after school for WT Grants and avoided extra-curricular activities.

Adleane also recognized Paul Riordan for helping her in high school. He chose her to assist in the school's Regional Occupational Program (ROP) and saw her potential. ROP (now ROCP) was part of the state education and provided opportunities for job training in various fields for high school juniors, seniors, and adults. Mr. Riordan took Adleane with him to interview prospective job sites for students. In the process, he helped her learn business etiquette while she earned ROP credit. A special memory from that time was being taken to eat at a formal restaurant for the first time at the Santa Clara Coco's. She started her corporate career at the age of 20 at Hunt-Wesson Foods in Fullerton and was in charge of personnel and employee training. Years later, she put her husband through Riordan's evaluation when they were first dating, and Jerry Hunter passed with flying colors. A White instructor, Riordan took a personal interest in Black students and continues his mentoring of minority students to today.

Adleane recounted with pain the experiences her daughter endured growing up in the only Black family on the street they lived on in Fullerton. One day her daughter came home crying after finding out "Black children do not play with White children," from the mother of some of her playmates, who were then no longer allowed to associate with her. Those same children had been welcomed into the Hunter household and did not know racism until it was taught to them in that exchange by their parents, who blamed it on the father's "Texas upbringing" while living in the heart of Orange County.

Adleane was inspired to create Essence 7 when her beautiful daughter Chrystal came home from school and expressed a sense of heartbreaking self-hatred about her attractiveness: she wanted to be "beautiful" and have long, blond hair. Adleane formed a small group for mothers and girls in Orange County in a similar situation and created programming that celebrated their Blackness like the Essence Fashion Show and weekend get-togethers with other Black girls. Adleane also took her children to Black-centric events like the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker by Debbie Allen or local speaking events by Dr. Maya Angelou.

After raising her three children, Adleane went back to school and attended CSUF as a Theater Arts major in 1982. While she excelled at the university, she noted the glaring absence of roles for Black actors unless they were as servants. Faculty would not adapt existing plays for Black students even if they were written without any racial designation by the playwright. Later, President Jewell Plummer Cobb, CSUF's first Black president, invited Adleane back to campus as a distinguished alum. It was then she provided valuable feedback on revitalizing her former department so that it was inclusive to all of the school's students. She learned stagecraft and used her skills from corporate America to create a theater organization for Black people in Orange County, which would focus on everything from content matter to opportunities for Black people.

The first iteration of her dream was an organization called the Inter-Cultural Committee for the Performing Arts, which staged Picnic with a diverse cast and crew. This organization was later renamed the Lorraine Hansberry Players and focused on youth. Hunter was inspired by the play Young, Gifted, and Black. Her programs held Saturday workshops to teach them the importance of Black history, literature, and art. In addition to performing for family and friends, the Players also performed for Black History Month in February and found huge fans at the Internal Revenue Service branch in Irvine (they demanded their return each year).

Adleane's work was geared toward self-love, and her programming that placed Black people at the center underscored this idea. The radical act of casting Black actors in a traditionally White Tennessee Williams play exerted Black presence in the public sphere, modeled excellence in performance and stagecraft, and provided pathways for all people but especially Black people in Orange County to learn about the Black experience. Her efforts to promote a healthy sense of self-worth to her children is something contemporary parents can learn from. Finally, as Adleane Hunter's own experience reminds us, art has the ability to transform us and create meaningful and lasting conversations between human beings.

 

 
 
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Brigman Owens (1943 - )

Brig Owens was born in Linden, Texas and moved with his family to Fullerton when he was two years old. His parents Alfred Lee Owens, Sr. and Roxie Lee (Love) Owens lived in the Truslow neighborhood because his aunt Vernita was already living here. Brig is one of thirteen siblings, and each one has histories of achievement. We are indebted to Brig and his sister Shirley Owens-MacClanahan for generously sharing their family’s history with us.

His parents home was a nexus for many people in his neighborhood, not just because it was his home but because his parents manifested joy and service in all they did. His mother ensured he was accepting of the people who were Gay in the neighborhood, reminding her son that, "they are human beings." Former gang member and later gang interventionist Jose M. Lopez remembered that the Owens home was his first stop when he left prison; he knew Roxie Owens would not judge him and feed him a great meal.

Brig confessed that a turning point in his development was his introduction to the Fullerton Boys & Girls Club on Commonwealth (then known as the Boy’s Club). He credits Pete Liapis from that organization into steering him into sports and maintaining a lifelong friendship. And, while the Boys Club helped him, it did not stop him from earning extra income by shining shoes at local bars in the Truslow area, frequented by Braceros. Brig also is proud of his nickname “ladrillo” man which his Spanish speaking friends called him, which translates to “brick” man, and his ability to cook Mexican cuisine.

Brig attended Maple Elementary School, Wilshire Junior High, and Fullerton Union High School and when his sports prowess was recognized, he was mentored by different coaches. He was also widely popular and was elected Homecoming King and his counterpart was White, Miss Charlene Wilson. This “mixing of the races” was unheard in 1961 and reveals how a Black man could be treasured by a traditionally racist society.

Brig Owens is such a super achiever but his experience is not immune from racism and the effects of discrimination on his loved ones. While he was a “golden son” in many places and was accorded the same opportunities as his White counterparts, he saw how his talented brothers suffered in a racist society despite having multiple talents and contributions to the nation. His brother Jewell had been approached by the Rams while he was still in high school. His mother wanted him to finish his degree so he declined. He was drafted into the Korean War and when he returned he could only find work at the Ice House in Fullerton. His brother Al Jr was recruited by the Chicago White Sox out of high school but found that when he trained in the Minor Leagues in Florida, the racism was unendurable; for example, Black players had to stand in the rain to get their paychecks, while White players had their paychecks waiting for them inside to pick up. Junior quit in disgust and never played the sport again.

He attended Fullerton Junior College and is proud of what he learned there under Hal Sherbeck, which led him to become a natural leader on the football field when he entered collegiate sports more formally at the University of Cincinnati in 1963. At FJC, he played quarterback and led the team to win its first Orange Bowl Show in 1961. At Cincinnati, he majored in Biology and Education. He wanted to become a dentist and quickly learned the labs were during his afternoon practices and he had to change his dreams. At Cincinnati, Brig met his future wife Patricia, who was initially unimpressed by the California newcomer who wasn't prepared for the snow and she had been warned to stay away from football players.

Brig Owens was drafted into the NFL and his first season was with the Dallas Cowboys. In Dallas, he found his rights as a human being severely diminished because he was Black. When he discovered a nearby hole in the wall restaurant advertised "No Negroes, Dogs, or Mexicans." He urged his teammates to not eat there and was shortly called before the general manager and admonished for being "political."  He was confused as to what they were referring to and was shocked when he realized what it was. He also found himself demoted in a defensive position when he played for the team-- he'd been a star quarterback. He was relieved in 1966 when he was traded to the Washington, DC Redskins and moved into the newly integrated Prince George's County. There, he and his wife and two daughters found a warm welcome and home. He still resides in Washington, DC.

The Washington Redskins soared in the 1970s and undoubtedly going to the Super Bowl in 1973 one of its pinnacles. Brig had a premonition early in the season that the team was special and began keeping a diary. He later published this journal as the book Over the Hill to the Super Bowl, which became a national best seller. Brig Owens returned to Fullerton to celebrate "Brig Owens Day" on January 20, 1973.

Brig Owen's achievements in sports and his leadership in football have accorded him many honors. He spoke with pride upon receiving the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in January 1990 where President Reagan singled him out for helping first Lady Nancy Reagan with her campaign, "Just Say No." when he was the Assistant Executive Director of the NFL Players Association and in charge of bringing in other sports heads for the program. He met her previously and offered to help her when she asked for assistance spreading the message in sport. The honorees of this prestigious award are selected because of their commitment to their community and country over the past twenty-five years. 

He received a Medal of Honor from Angeles University in the Philippines. In 2008, he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Cincinnati. He also received Hall of Fame Honors from Fullerton High School, Fullerton Community College, and the University of Cincinnati.  He was selected as one of 70 Greatest Players of the Washington Redskins; Brig Owens was nominated to the California┬áJunior College Hall of Fame; and Owens was the First Secretary Treasurer of the American Federation of Professional Athletes, AFL-CIO.

 

 
 
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Mustafa Khan (1950 - )

Mustafa Khan was born Clarence Bracken in 1950 in El Paso, Texas. In 1978, he changed his name to Mustafa Khan after he joined the New Nation of Islam. His mother's name was Mildred Fears and his father was named Sam Bracken. He grew up in Compton, California where he attended elementary school and middle school until he moved to Santa Ana. He spent much of his childhood visiting his mother in Naples, Texas and coming back to California. His maternal grandparents ran a 170 acre farm in Naples and taught him to always give to those who asked; that generosity was the hallmark of a good character.

Khan admits to suffering an unquenchable rage during his early years; no doubt caused by the violence he saw his stepfather inflict on his mother when Mustafa was he was a teenager. His mother sent back Mustafa to California. His mother had been disfigured in the beating and Khan could not reconcile how she was keeping this brute and sending him away. He vowed to save enough money to return and kill his stepfather; fortunately, once he had saved enough to travel to Texas, his stepfather dropped dead the very same day. Yet, he did not have a way to release his anger nor a venue in which to talk about what was happening.

Khan was not versant in gang behavior in Compton and was jumped by a gang in middle school when he gave one of them money after they asked. At the next middle school, he was told he was going to be attacked by a group of boys for receiving a good grade on a math test and not sharing the test (they believed he'd cheated). In a preemptive move, he attacked his would be assailant by hitting him with a desk, and in so doing, he broke the student's back. After this event, Khan and his father moved to Santa Ana.

Khan was off put by the friendliness of Orange County's White students after his experiences in Compton and in Texas, but he adjusted and became a star athlete. This enraged his father, who saw sports as a useless activity. His father left school in the 8th grade to work full time and was resentful. His father kicked him out of the home when Khan was 15 years old. His father told him: "You are never going to amount to anything," which became a refrain that he used as a challenge to survive, succeed, and lead.

Although welcomed or ignored by White students, Khan found that his status as someone from Compton made him a mark among some Black students in Santa Ana, which he immediately stopped in its tracks. As a large person, he was stronger than most adult men. Although Khan did not grow up in a loving home, he was determined to succeed as a young person and that drive kept him working. This did not stop him from engaging in violent responses and criminal behavior. When a storekeeper cheated him out of $10 in change, he ended up beating him up and robbing him. His actions were charged with anger that he could not control and enjoyed releasing. He was arrested.

At the age of 15, he beat up a police officer at the Kmart at McFadden and Bristol. Unbeknownst to him, one of his friends stole a pair of shoes and when they were leaving, a police officer (who did not have the chance to identify himself) tried to stop Mustafa. His response was to grab the man, lift him up bodily, and throw him on the concrete. He was put in Juvenile Hall for this assault. The judge laughed at the officer in court , allowing a 15 year-old to beat him up, but Mustafa was sent to Juvenile Hall for two weeks. When his sentence was up, his father refused to pick him up and told the courts they “could keep him.” It was then that his mother came out from Texas to help him and situate him in a safer place. This was an important gesture. His mother showed Mustafa he mattered and she loved him, although not in traditionally affectionate ways but by rescuing him when he had no one else.

His mother arranged for a close friend to assume legal guardianship of Mustafa and a safe home as she still. But at this point in his lifetime, Khan was not ready to part of a family nor receive love. He remembers hiding his tears at seeing this family express love for each other and that they enjoyed each other's company. He only stayed there a few months and saw no weaknesses in them but as he recalls: "I couldn't understand. How are they able to laugh and talk with each other. Because I never had it." Therapy helped him deal with his anger when he realized he enjoyed hurting people. This type of insight is the type of courage a real leader engages in; rather than succumbing to the sadism that parts of our nation celebrate, Khan challenged those feelings.

Khan was recruited to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and was friends with Harlen Lambert at the same time. He is colleagues to both Daniel and Harlen and provides a beautiful vantage with which to see these men. Harlen immediately disarmed Mustafa by joining a basketball game and playing so well, Khan could not keep up. Speaking of the encounter:

A cop car pulls up, and think it was a plain police car. And he gets out. And right I think I'm in the Black Panther Party, at the time, and he gets out and walks over there.

You know everyone's thinking "He's the pig." And, my intention when he got onto the basketball court, was to hurt him. But the guy was so good. He came out with a jovial smile. You couldn't sense any fear from him. He had no fear. He just came in like he was one of the guys. The guy gets on the basketball court. He's laughing. He's smiling. His whole body seems happy. He was just like a giddy basketball player. It was never personal for him; it was just fun.

Khan credits Lambert with teaching him how to have fun; few would approach Mustafa as he admittedly usually had a scowl on his face. He was unapproachable.

When he had the opportunity to, Mustafa attended college including Santa Ana College, Mt San Antonio College, and Southern California College where he received a scholarship to play basketball. At SCC, he was with Harlen Lambert and the first cohort of Black students at the school.

Khan also credits the Black Panther Tommy Crocket with being an important mentor to him. Crocket introduced the Black Panther Party to Santa Ana, recruited others, and had a good job. His job as a job placement counselor led to his murder allegedly by other BPP members because they did not trust his motivations as he worked within White society. The grief he felt about Crocket's murder and the hypocrisy he saw in Huey Newton's actions motivated Khan to once slap Newton when he worked as a bodyguard to Elijah Muhammad.

Mustafa Khan is proud of his participation in helping the New Nation of Islam when it was first formed in the early 1980s but finds his Muslim faith through reading the Koran and not through any institution. Khan grew uncomfortable with the lack of meritocracy in different parts of Muhammad's ministry and rejected favoritism.

In 1995, Mustafa found himself again homeless and living in Dome Village. There, Ted Hayes introduced him to cricket and Khan was hooked. Seeing this sport as a way for young men to avoid gangs and crimes, Khan re-established himself, found housing and began to support the Compton Cricket Club. He has taught cricket throughout Southern California and played across the world. He is the CEO and President of the Southern California Junior Cricket Club, an amazing success. According to its website:

In 1996, Khan returned to Compton to teach cricket to youth. He originated and helped form the Compton Cricket Club, which consisted of Compton gang members from Centennial High School that went on to travel and play social cricket in England, Australia, and Ireland. At the time, none of these young men had never been out of the U.S. Some had never even traveled on an airplane before. Each member of that team has since gone on to find good jobs, become business owners, homeowners, and build families with wives and children. They are no longer involved in gang activity.

One would think Khan had long earned a respite and peace in his life but the biggest struggle Mustafa Khan has faced is ongoing. His son Demetrius Bracken was murdered in Compton on December 30, 2018 with four witnesses present. Demetrius' girlfriend threatened to kill him throughout that morning, and he was later gunned down by an unknown Black male. Like hundreds of other cases in Compton, Demetrius Bracken's murder remains unsolved and Mustafa has engaged in a letter writing campaign to pressure local law enforcement to allow an investigation into it; beginning with a renewed investigation into the case and the unlocking of Demetrius Bracken's cell phone to access important data.

Anger was his driving factor. Mustafa was always on the defensive and lived with the effects of post traumatic stress. Through sheer determination and many mentors, from Geronimo Pratt to Harlen Lambert, Mustapha Khan survived hell on earth and continues to endure intense struggle and pressure.

 

 
 
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Kathy Ayeh (1951 - )

Kathy Ayeh was born Kathryn Waynell Farquhar in 1951 in Orange County. Her parents Juel and Clarence "Ozzy" Farquhar were among the earliest Black families in Fullerton. Her mother was the first Black school teacher in Fullerton and her father was the first Black mail carrier. She attended Maple Street Elementary School, Wilshire Junior High School, and Fullerton Union High School. By the time she was a sophomore in high school, she knew she wanted to be a dancer and run a dance studio -  two dreams she has fulfilled.

She graduated from FUHS in 1969 and started UC Irvine in the fall in 1969 where she majored in Dance. She graduated from UC Irvine in 1964 with an MFA. She married her husband, who was from Ghana, and moved to Davis where her husband, a plant geneticist, was pursuing his advanced studies.

Kathy’s interest in dance was sparked early and she always wanted to be a ballerina. When her mother took her to Lois Ellis Dance Studio for lessons and was informed her daughter should learn “tap” instead of ballet. Her mom did not trust the teachers at the school after this recommendation and Kathy waited until college to pursue her love. She loved UC Irvine’s dance program which offered Afro Cuban dance, jazz, modern dance, and ballet. When describing why she loved dance Kathy elaborated:

When you're dancing, the African cultures movement is just so joyous. There's so happiness. Well, I look at it this way, when I danced personally, when I was younger I danced just because I had a sense of freedom. I remember going to a service where the people were dancing and they were just so joyous. And you see that in the Black American culture where people have to sing. And the Shakers moved too. There's certain cultures whether they are White or Black where people have to express themselves through movement. They have to move. Dance can take you to a spiritual level. It truly can.

Kathy was always interested in dance and education and managed to partner her interests in various projects and places throughout her life. She went on to earn an MFA at UCI and became a Professor of Theatre Dance and the Artistic Director of the Black Repertoire Dance Troupe at UC Davis. She taught dance in Lansing, Michigan and apprenticed with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She has also been interested in the continent of Africa and lived there for ten years of her life with her husband in Malawi and Ghana, West Africa.

After Africa, she returned to Fullerton and became an artist teacher with the Fullerton School District and the Berkeley School. She returned in 1993. She has been working in the Fullerton Unified School District ever since.

 

 
 
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Earl Pedford (1953 - )

Earl Pedford was born in Salinas, California in 1953 and was named after his father. The family moved to Los Angeles when he was a child and he recalls growing up in Los Angeles until the summer of his junior year in high school when his stepfather and his mother sent him to live with his father in Pomona at the age of 16. While in Los Angeles, he recalls living with his mother and grandmother in central Los Angeles and then later on the West Side.

In Pomona, he was immediately recognized as a leader. He was elected President of the Black Student Union at Pomona High School and was selected to attend a summer leadership program at UCLA for Black youth with leadership potential in 1970. There he learned essential skills that he relied on throughout his life about how to survive as a Black man in the United States including to never be alone in public and know your rights, among other guidelines. In high school, he excelled academically but was blamed for any unrest between Black and White students. Indeed, although he was allowed to graduate, he could not attend his graduation because of his participation in a riot at Pomona High School. No White students were punished for their participation in the multiple riots that occurred on campus in the Spring 1971.

Earl attended CSUF in the Fall of 1971 and he had two physical altercations on his first weekend at the dorms, wherein he was called racial epithets by people who did not anticipate his fighting skills. He was elected President of the Black Student Union and his first battle on campus was to have office space allocated for the group; especially to not have to borrow the offices of the John Birch Society to hold their meetings as they were then required to do. The John Birch Society had a specifically racist and simplistic point of view against the US civil rights movement; equating all activists as being communist and unpatriotic.

Pedford petitioned President Shields and was granted a new space. While in the process of beautifying the office, Black art student Maurice Howard created a “Black is Beautiful” “super graphic” to decorate the wall adjacent to the office. Before it was even finished, someone had scrawled “NIGGER” across it, prompting outrage across the campus but especially in Earl. He authored the poem about this experience and it is included in our timeline. Pedford also was involved in housing stings with White student allies. Black male students were routinely denied housing by local landlords so a student organization learned how to challenge it. In Pedford's case, he looked at a house for rent on Whiting in Fullerton and was told it was no longer available. Later, White students would ask for the rental and if granted it, they would step aside and indicate it was for Earl. At that point, Earl asked the landlord directly if he didn't want to rent to Black people and threaten to make a scene and the landlord would rent to Earl. This happened twice.

Pedford had a difficult time completing his studies at CSUF because of the routine harassment he received by the Fullerton Police Department for literally nothing. He often had trouble attending classes because he was detained by law enforcement. In one case, he came out of his shower to find a police officer sitting on his couch waiting to arrest him; they felt so familiar with him. He went to jail for an event that occurred on campus when he attempted to intimidate an ambivalent Black student into joining the Black Student Union. The student complained to his father, a major university trustee, and when brought be for the judge, Earl was advised that he needed to curb his anger or he would end up in jail. This was a wake-up call for him and he changed the ways he approached future problems.

At the same time that he had his "scared straight" lecture, Earl's friendship with his longtime friend Zoe Reed turned romantic when he realized another man was interested in dating her and he was jealous. She became pregnant with their first child while they were both attending CSUF. They both returned to Pomona to raise a family and in their shared commitment towards parenting a Black child in this society, their love grew. They have been married for over 45 years.

Earl took up karate and earned his black belt. Martial arts training taught him the discipline he needed to curb his anger and the ability control his now lethal skills. He became involved in an African drumming group started by friend from Cal Poly Pomona, coached his children's sports teams, and began a 23 year career rising to the level of shop steward and union representative for the facility's laborers. He engaged in a ten year lawsuit to save his facility from being shut down and the work shipped across the street by the same employers for a lesser wage. He had negotiated a two tiered system to bide the workers over the transition but the court case ended suddenly and left a bitter taste in everyone's mouth. Management won and workers lost.

Pedford's father was killed in an assault shortly after Earl returned to Pomona. As a 20 - year - old, he had a lot on his shoulders but bore it with grace under pressure. He felt that he had to lead a more cautious life now that he had children, but still honed his survival skills in order to protect himself and his family. In addition to being a superb athlete which assisted in dealing with stress and controlling how he processed anger, he has been an advocate for marijuana for over fifty years. He and his wife Zoe have developed Wild Seeds Utility Cream which integrates marijuana and do online reviews for the 3 Bros Santa Cruz Cannabis Grow and Dispensary.

 

 
 
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Dr. Jerome Hunter (1946 - )

This profile was written with the assistance of Donna Hatchett, who assisted throughout the production of this project.

In 1946, Jerome Hunter was born in Alabama and raised in Smithfield in the segregated South, where a strict racial apartheid was in place. He attended Parker High School until he was 17, and then he was recruited to spend his senior year at Santa Barbara High School as a part of that school's attempts to bring diversity to the campus. He considers himself lucky for his parents. Lawrence David Hunter and Theresa Brown Hunter encouraged him to excel in academics. He recalled his father advising him to leave Alabama if he ever wanted to achieve any success saying , "Son, if you want to make something out of yourself, you gotta get out of here. His father noted that the job he had at the steel mill was no longer available to young Black men and that the only reason he got it 30 years prior was that it was considered "Nigger Work" then and no White men would do it.

Hunter came to Santa Barbara with two other Black students and they each lived with local families. He stayed with the minister and his family of the Unitarian Church, the Cranes. The culture shock between Alabama and Santa Barbara in terms of racial attitudes and wealth was huge. Although his father worked seven days a week and got a new car every few years, in retrospect, Hunter described his upbringing as "fortunate," even though they lived in relative poverty compared to the standard of living in Santa Barbara.      

Furthermore, the social taboos in the South were life-threatening, as in the case of Emmett Till, whose mutilated corpse played a huge role in his upbringing about acceptable behavior. Jerry was nine years old when Emmett Till was murdered for speaking to a White woman. While living with the Cranes, someone painted a swastika on the family home, but they removed it quickly so that Hunter did not see it. He attributed the hate message to either Reverend Crane's criticism of the John Birch Society or his own presence in the home. His connection to Reverend Lex Crane remained strong throughout his life; the minister conducted his marriage to Adleane Gardner in 1972 and arranged a small reception for the couple in Santa Barbara. On the way back home to Orange County, the couple stopped at the Holiday Bowl Bowling Alley to eat as they knew it was open 24 hours a day. The couple have three children and have been married nearly 48 years.

Hunter had to unlearn behavior he had learned in Alabama; specifically, his comfort around White people. Hunter found himself the only Black in many of his courses, in part because he was in advanced classes and lived in a White neighborhood with the Cranes. Although there were about 50 other Black students from Santa Barbara attending the high school, Hunter found himself surrounded by White people. He had to learn to eat meals with the Cranes and sit in the front of the car. Indeed, Hunter's experience is representative of what Carter G. Woodson described in the 1933 book The Mis-Education of the Negro, "If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one." Hunter's re-education is a testament to his determination, intellect, and attitude.

Hunter stayed in Southern California with his Aunt Ella in Compton, who later moved to Santa Ana. They lived at 1426 W. 8th Street (now Civic Center Drive) between Bristol and Pacific. As the first Black family in the neighborhood, the neighbors threw rotten fruit on the porch. He worked at Mayfair Market and All State Insurance (both no longer around). He transferred to UC Riverside after earning his A.A. from Santa Ana College in 1967. He next attended UC Riverside and helped establish the Black Student Union and served as its first president. He described being very supported there and remembered the compassionate and thoughtful way the president of the university asked him to co-lead a memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. following his assassination in early April 1968.

Hunter was drafted and served from 1969 to 1971 as a radio teletype operator with an infantry troop near the Laotian border. Hunter believed in military service but was a conscientious objector to the Viet Nam War. He received counseling from the military, and they achieved a compromise to ensure that as a radio teletype operator, he would not kill anyone. Although he achieved this compromise, he inevitably was exposed to secondhand violence. He does not talk about his military experience often.

Founded in 1942, CORO is a neologism for "discovery or exploration" and can be described as a non-partisan, advanced leadership training program. As a CORO Fellow, Hunter worked with Congresswoman Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and the then city councilman, Tom Bradley, on his first mayoral campaign against Sam Yorty. Hunter described the mayor to have a "positive, upbeat attitude." This corresponded with most accounts of Bradley, but it also served as a model of leadership to Hunter.

Dr. Jerome Hunter is currently a Distinguished Lecturer in the College of Education at California State University, Fullerton. He holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education from the University of Southern California; an M.A. in Urban Studies from Occidental College; a B.A. in Political Science from UC Riverside, and an A.A. in Liberal Arts from Santa Ana College. Dr. Hunter launched his community college career in the 1970s as a part-time teacher at Santa Ana College. Over the next 38 years, Dr. Hunter served in a variety of administrative positions including Assistant Dean of Humanities of Santa Ana College, Dean of the Garden Grove Campus, Administrative Dean of Continuing Education at Rancho Santiago Community College District, President of San Diego Miramar College, President of San Diego City College, and Chancellor of the North Orange County Community College District. 

Dr. Hunter was extremely devoted to the students and faculty he served, and he is still praised for his inspirational leadership and commitment to higher education. By all accounts, Dr. Hunter continues to create a legacy of excellence and distinction.


 
 
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Juel Farquhar (1922 - )

Juel Peters came to California from DuQuoin, Illinois in 1939 after she graduated high school. She traveled by train to Fullerton and lived with her grandparents Braxton and Sophia Berkley. Her grandparents were the first Black people in Fullerton and managed a ranch on Orangethorpe in between what is now Euclid and Brookhurst. Friend Brig Owens remembered the ranch as being called “Doogan’s Ranch.” Juel came to California to attend college as it was too expensive in Illinois. She immediately enrolled at Fullerton Junior College where she studied general education and played softball for the college’s team. Her position was shortstop. Later, Juel went to CSU San Jose and CSU Fullerton to earn degrees in teaching and social work. 

Juel met her future husband Ozel in the first grade and after he served in World War II, they were married in Illinois. When they originally met, Clarence Ozel Farquhar, also known as “Ozzie,” came to Juel’s aid on the first day of school. Their teacher berated her for having a “stub” of a pencil to write with; Juel Peters’ family was poor like most of the people in her community. Ozel handed Juel a pencil during the teacher’s bullying in order to stop her from singling out Juel. They were sweethearts from an early age. After their wedding, the couple returned to Fullerton.

They lived in Fullerton in a home behind Juel’s aunt’s house at 113 Truslow Avenue. Juel’s aunt was actress Ruby Berkeley Goodwin, who starred in several films including Wild in the Country with Elvis Presley. Goodwin later became Hattie McDaniel’s secretary. The Farquhars lived there until Goodwin moved to Hollywood. Then, they rented a home on Rosslyn and again on Truslow but encountered discrimination when they attempted to rent and purchase. Indeed, when new housing was built on Truslow Avenue, the Farquhars were told they were intended for Mexicans and not available to Black to purchase. Eventually, they purchased a home in Yorba Linda with the help of White Realtor Mary Meyer.

Ozel faced discrimination looking for work; and he labored at different jobs until he was finally hired as a mail carrier; a job he’d enjoyed while serving in the 375th Tuskegee Air corps. Although he consistently scored the highest for the exam, postal official hired the second and third candidates to avoid hiring him as the government’s rule required they pick from the top three candidates. Finally, a citizen Suzanne Dean intervened and wrote to the Postmaster Congress on his behalf. Clarence Ozel Farquhar was the first Black postal carrier in Fullerton and delivered the mail to several neighborhoods for a quarter of a century. For many people, he was their introduction to Black human beings and served an invaluable role for his community. Prior to serving as a mail carrier, Ozzy worked as a janitor at a bowling alley on Harbor and Commonwealth. His daughters remember fondly riding on the hood of the machine as he waxed its floors, and that he loved to read.

After raising her three children, Juel returned to college to become a teacher. Like her husband, Juel's position as a public school teacher was a model of leadership to her students and her colleagues. She was the first Black teacher in Fullerton and began teaching in the late 1950s at Hermosa Drive elementary school. She worked at several schools - Hermosa, Fern Drive, Rolling Hills, Valencia Park, and after her retirement from teaching, she did childcare at Maple Street Elementary School in the Truslow neighborhood.

 

 
 
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Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins (1950 - )

Aidsand Wright-Riggins, also known as “Rev. Ace” to his friends, was born in 1950 in Riverside, California. At two years old, the family moved to Compton where he was raised. He shined early in school as an athlete and a scholar, as well as in the Baptist Church. His connection to Jesus Christ began early in his life; at 9 years old he was an ordained pastor and preaching the Gospel. He earned the nickname “Ace” when he was the quarterback on his high school’s football team. He has always been interested in the convergence of religion, sociology, and politics.

In 1968, he was a freshman at CSUF. He and other academically advanced students had been recruited from Compton to join the school to help integrate the school as Black role models. At the time, he had already been accepted into Morehouse College but because his father had been diagnosed with a fatal illness and CSUF offered free tuition, Wright-Riggins decided to stay in Southern California to be nearer his father. His father passed away in October of 1968. While dealing with this lifelong loss, Aidsand had to confront racism in Fullerton both on and off campus. His first day in Fullerton, he and another student Mexican American Raul Tapia were denied service at the Denny's Restaurant on State College Boulevard. Raul would go on to become leading lawyer. He was also shot at while driving his VW bug near Angel Stadium.

In 1969 as a student, he confronted the hypocrisy of the growing "Jesus Movement" of Christian nationalism and inadvertently put his life at risk. He thought he would belong in the Baptist Christian group on campus but found himself being pummeled after he made a demonstration using two images of Jesus Christ.

I was a popular Black male on campus, a leader, and who in their estimation just might be an influencer in their ultimate attempts to convert Black students. Our of my deep need for Christian community and distorted desire for authentic racial integration, I began attending Jesus People meetings.

I never felt as though I really belonged. While I was attracted to their views on personal piety, I was frustrated in their total disinterest in what Jesus might have to say  today about issues in the public square. They never spoke about civil rights, they never talked about the budding feminist movement, they never talked about the raging war in Vietnam. And I realized that maybe, just maybe, I was being manipulated. And maybe, just maybe, the Jesus People and myself had different understandings  and relationships with Jesus. So I asked for time with my fellow freaks.

Having recently come across an article in the 1969 issue of Ebony Magazine about the quest for a Black Christ and how that article received such powerful and positive and negative responses from both Black and White readers. I decided I wanted the 50 or so of them and the one of me to explore the implications and impact of a racialized faith formation.

Wright-Riggins went on to display two images of Jesus -- one was the Black Jesus,  aphotograph from a Detroit church from the cover of Ebony, and the other was the traditional White Jesus by Warner Sallman. First, he slowly ripped of the image of Black Jesus. Then, he went to the Sallman and before he could tear a corner off, he was tackled by several husky, White Jesus People. Fortunately, others were able to separate him and safely get him off campus. Aidsand learned a lot from the experience and now is an important voice in the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty for more than 20 years, including a term as its chairman, working with Executive Directors James Dunn and Brent Walker.   

In 1970, Aidsand was the President of the  Black Student Union when Governor Reagan met with student leaders on CSUF's campus. Wright-Riggins asked Reagan a pointed question about housing discrimination, which the governor answered eloquently and actually impressed Aidsand, who was sitting just next to him. However, as he ended, Reagan muttered "nigger" in a tone audible only to Aidsand, which of course incensed him. This event did not make the school paper but Aidsand's recollection is clear.  Knowing  that our elected officials treated the best of our students with derision is not surprising, but more distressing to connect it to real individuals as ethical as Wright-Riggins. At CSUF, he earned a BA in Sociology of Comparative Religions.

Dr. Wright-Riggins earned his D.Min. in Family Systems Theory and Organizational Development from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.  He holds an M.Div. from the Graduate Theological Union/ABSW in Berkeley, Calif.,  and a diploma from the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies. He was further awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from Benedict College and a Doctor of Divinity from Alderson-Broaddus College.

Dr. Wright-Riggins is an ordained American Baptist minister with more than 40 years of community and congregational service as a pastor, professor and denominational executive. He served the American Baptist Home Mission Societies and Judson Press from 1991 to 2015 as Chief Executive Officer.  In this capacity, Dr. Wright-Riggins provided oversight and leadership to 5,800 churches, 1.5 million people, 16 colleges, nine seminaries and a host of neighborhood action centers, retirement homes and skilled nursing facilities. Upon his retirement, he was designated Executive Director Emeritus of ABHMS, the first time the organization had given that designation in its almost 200-year history.

He also served in pastoral ministry in California for almost 20 years. Known as "Rev. Ace," Dr. Wright-Riggins served as pastor of one of the oldest and largest churches in South Central Los Angeles --  the Macedonia Baptist Church from the mid 1980s to 1991. Concurrent with his pastoral ministry, he served as Director of Peace With Justice for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where he bridged civil and human rights concerns between African American and Euro-American communities.    

Aidsand’s achievements are countless and towards the service of others. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins was elected mayor of Collegeville, Pennsylvania on November 7, 2017; he is the first African American and the first Democrat ever elected to this office in the history of this borough in Montgomery County. Frustrated with the division and vitriol he witnessed with the national elections of 2016, Dr. Wright-Riggins became determined to act locally to make a difference in his community to overcome divisions based on race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and political ideology.

He loves historical novels, plays at golf and dabbles in acrylic painting. Mayor Wright-Riggins is married to the Rev. Betty Wright-Riggins, a spiritual director and adjunct professor at Princeton Seminary.  Together, Aidsand and Betty serve as Certified Grief Recovery Specialists and organizational consultants. They have three adult children and are parenting one grandchild.   

 

 
 
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Zoe Pedford (1953)

Zoe Ann Reed was born in 1953 in Los Angeles' General Hospital. She lived on the West Side of Los Angeles until she turned ten, and then her family moved to Pomona, California. Her parents' names were Alphonso Lewis Reed and Merl Justine Reed. Zoe was a super achiever in high school and admittedly the "little darling" of the high school. She was a song leader, a track athlete, and served as a princess on the homecoming court. She found out later in her life that many of the White boys in high school had a crush on her. While living in Los Angeles, she spent summers at the Plunge at Exposition Park, where her future husband Earl was enjoying the pool at the same time.

Zoe describes herself as militant, especially in high school, and this position was forged with the help of her sister and her mother. Her mother suffered no fools, and Earl described how he witnessed Zoe's mother punched a bill collector in the face for adopting a racist tone and set her German shepherd on the man.

As Zoe said: "She did not play."

Zoe brought her steadfastness and strength to approaching Black activism in high school. Zoe participated in ride-a-longs with the only Black police officer in Pomona while in high school and admits to grilling him about police abuse and racism. She recalled him answering with what seemed like platitudes. When she was elected to serve on the homecoming court, she was the first Black student to enjoy this honor and defied Pomona High School tradition by wearing a black dress to the homecoming game and not the obligatory white. She was escorted on the field by Earl Pedford, at the time the President of the school's Black Student Union and her friend. The choice that he be her escort was purely political because he was the leader of the BSU. Earl later would become her husband and they recently celebrated 45 years of marriage.

After high school, Zoe attended California State University Fullerton in the fall of 1971. Unlike her male counterparts, Zoe and other female students who were Black had no issue finding housing in Fullerton. On campus, she was disappointed at not being able to get classes and discovering that the ones that were available to her in Black Studies seemed completely irrelevant like courses in the Swahili language but nothing that appealed to her as a dancer. The program was headed by a faculty member from Africa, who undoubtedly came from a different vantage than that of Americans. Zoe became pregnant with her first child Earl Jr. in 1972, she left school, and placed her college education on hold for the time being.

The conflation of the African experience with that of the African American experience in scholarship was extremely frustrating; and she witnessed favoritism towards Black Africans at the expense of Black Americans when she participated in an African drumming group. Zoe saw firsthand how her now husband Earl was treated when their group toured to fundraise for the Zimbabwe War of Liberation. The group was composed of both African and American performers but groups who sponsored them to perform for them often privileged the African performers in all things--from attention, to food, and to lodging over Earl. Later, when Earl became the lead drummer for the group because of his excellence and skill, many of the African participants would not be led by an American Black and left the ensemble.

Zoe returned to higher education at Mt San Antonio College and studied Criminal Justice. She worked as a corrections officer for several years until she observed the dehumanizing effects that privatization was wreaking on California prisons.

Zoe's face lights up when she discusses her children, who are successful adults with families of their own. With Earl, she taught her children and grandchildren to "not take any shit" and to seek excellence in all things. Zoe and her husband Earl Pedford are longtime marijuana advocates and have developed their own line of products at Wild Seeds Utility Cream.

 

 
 
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Jim DeBose (1950 - 2016)

Born to Johnnie and Erma DeBose on February 18, 1950, Jim lived in South Central Los Angeles with his parents and seven siblings: sisters Shirley Johnson, Charlotte Jacques (predeceased), and Cheryl Goodman DeBose, and brothers John, Larry, Nathan, and Louis DeBose.

Middle school was a formative time for Jim. During those years, he fashioned the goal to become a lawyer, because a teacher, who recognized his artful use of words and appreciated his engaging personality, had told him that if he worked hard, he could become an attorney. He also had the good fortune of meeting and forming a lifelong friendship with Ogie Banks, Bernard Butler, and Ronald Daniels. Upon learning of Jim's death, Ronald wrote, “Jim will always be the biggest and brightest personality I'll ever know. Proud to be his friend. He added so much joy and excitement to my life.”

After graduating from Washington High School (LAUSD), Jim attended CSU Fullerton where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Business. At CSUF, DeBose quickly rose as a leader when he refused to leave a TG&Y store at the corner of State College and Chapman after the manager asked him to leave for what seemed like racial reasons. This was April 16,1968 -- two weeks after the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. He was arrested and CSUF students rallied behind him after he reported the incident to The Daily Titan. A support group was formed for him on campus, he had a dedicated column in The Daily Titan, and students picketed the TG&Y. Although an activist, DeBose's columns revealed a traditional approach to achieving parity - through the courts - and passionately criticized the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. His post-graduate work was completed at the UCLA School of Law, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1974. It was at UCLA that he met and married his wife, Debra Jenkins DeBose, in 1973.

Jim and Debra had two children, Marcus and Jason. Jim was particularly proud of his sons, who shared his love of learning, travel, and thirst for new experiences. Soon after his graduation from law school, Jim joined the law firm of Sanders & Tisdale, Los Angeles. After two years, Jim left that firm to embark upon a six-month trip with his wife, Debra and his son, Marcus (this trip included touring and camping in more than 20 national parks throughout the United States, a 10-day Caribbean cruise, and a four-month tour of Europe). Upon his return, Jim, together with his wife, opened the law firm of DeBose & DeBose with offices in Los Angeles and Pasadena.

One of his proudest achievements as a lawyer was the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Law Center. Through the monetary contributions of friends and his own generous donations of time, talent, and treasure, the Tubman Center was formed to provide free legal services for women and their children who needed court-ordered restraining orders to protect themselves from domestic violence. Over the course of three years, the Tubman Center served hundreds of female clients by completing the court-related paperwork for the restraining orders, preparing them for court, and providing referrals to other organizations that could address their needs for counseling and temporary housing.

Over the course of his career, Jim represented countless and diverse clients, including individuals, corporations, and governmental agencies. In April 1997, he was featured on the cover of California Lawyer magazine for an article titled, "Facing Race, Another Way to Confront Race in Court," which highlighted Jim's brilliance in the litigation of a multimillion-dollar race discrimination and wrongful termination case.

Jim remained in private practice until the diagnosis of dementia brought his career to an unplanned and abrupt halt in 2002. Jim was gracious and strong in his acceptance of his disease. Early on, he attempted volunteer work and writing his memoirs, both of which, were incompatible with his illness; however, he successfully made it his goal to be the best husband possible, to his beloved wife Debra.

 
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Janine Farquhar (1948 - )

Janine Farquhar is the oldest child of Juel and Clarence Ozel Farquhar. She was born in Orange County in 1948. She attended Maple Street Elementary School, Wilshire Junior High School (the best in her estimation), and Fullerton Union High School. She has always led a life of public service and values she learned from her parents and the Methodist Church in which she was raised. She was involved in sports at an early age and different youth groups dedicated to public service.

Janine attended California State University Fullerton and was a Political Science major. Like others of her generation, the 1968 assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in April and Bobby Kennedy in June served as a death knell for her interest in political change. Indeed, those violent murders remain a wound on American society felt by people born long after the 1960s. While Janine's interest in politics died, her interest in serving the public did not. She began working in local libraries;  first at the Fullerton Public Library (now the Fullerton Museum Center) and later in Anaheim working on library programming.

In 1973, she discovered the Anaheim Police Department was hiring and she announced to her siblings that one of them should apply for it because the job came with excellent benefits. Her brother and sister both declined so Janine applied and got the job. She was the first Black police officer for Anaheim Police Department served an important role in the community. She is quick to note that she only worked for the APD briefly, but like Harlen Lambert in Santa Ana, she knew being the first in a traditionally racist organization can be fraught with danger. She credit her sense of humor as the reason why she could work with men, who often used humor to show belonging in a group. Janine showed she could dish it out as much as she was served with silly put downs and reported no problems. She worked there for six years.

Between 1980 and 1988, Janine worked primarily part time jobs in order to be present parent. Janine had a child in her early twenties and chose to remain a single parent. This choice made her focus laser sharp on the needs of her son and admits she could never be a “super cop” because she was always primarily concerned with the health, safety, and happiness of her son.

After her son was 16, she got a job working for the State Fund Insurance, where she worked until she retired in 2011. She is now a grandmother, whose grandson was recruited to play for Sunny Hills High School, keeping the Fullerton family tradition alive and well. She spends her time now between supporting her grandson and taking care of her 99 year old mother Juel Farquhar,  also profiled in this project. We are grateful to both Janine and her sister Kathy Ayeh (also profiled here) in shepherding our interview with her beautiful mother.

 

 
 
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Jim Hatchett (1940 - 2010) & Donna Jane (Vanzant) Hatchett (1945 - )

This profile was written with the gracious assistance of Donna Hatchett - her love affair with Jim Hatchett is the thing dreams are made of and is the best of America.

Donna Hatchett was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1945, and the family moved to Orange County in 1955. She remembers lots of construction and that Disneyland was being built when they moved and is grateful to have grown up in California. They first moved to Santa Ana and when she was in junior high school, they moved to Garden Grove. She graduated from Santiago High School in Garden Grove. When she married Jim Hatchett, the couple initially lived in Santa Ana and later moved to Fullerton. Because the couple was interracial, Donna is White and Jim was Black, they had a difficult time finding housing in Fullerton when they first married. After four years of living in Santa Ana, they were able to purchase a home in Fullerton.

When she moved to Santa Ana at 9 years old, Donna was enthralled by being in an urban neighborhood near the library as the family had lived on a farm in Kansas. She considered the Santa Ana Public Library as her exciting second home. She described her parents, Vestor and Jane Vanzant, as good people and good parents who both grew up in Oklahoma and does not recall them ever making a racist statement her entire life.

James Hatchett was born in Bryant, Texas, in 1940 and the family moved to Oakland, California, when he was a young child. Hatchett was a gifted athlete at Oakland Community College and had a game against the Fullerton Junior College (FJC) team, the Hornets. After seeing him play, Alex Omelev, FJC's basketball coach, who was in the process of moving to Orange County State College (now CSUF), recruited him. Omelev offered him a scholarship to attend Orange County State College once he completed his A.A. at Oakland City College.

Hatchett began CSUF in 1960, and the next year two other Black athletes, Edgar Clark and Leonard Simms, were recruited. Hatchett was among the first visible Black students on campus; as a basketball player, he was very popular. Hatchett was recruited by Sigma Phi Omega, the sole fraternity on campus then. Everyone knew where Hatchett lived in part because he was a star athlete, playing center on the basketball team. One reporter, Willis Arrington of The Valley Times, called Hatchett's December 13, 1960 game:

Jim Hatchett railed Orange County State's basketball forces together last night to pace the visiting Titans to a 68-64 victory over San Fernando Valley State College in a cage thriller played on the Granada Hills High School court. Hatchett stole the show in the game between Valley State's Matadors and Orange County Titans, Hatchett entered the contest after setting out a majority of the game with four goals.

The Titan Times (now Daily Titan) provided a profile of Hatchett in its November 6, 1961 issue. He was described as a social science major who would perform in two campus plays later that month. Jim was originally from Bryant, Texas but has spent most his 21 years in California. Interior design is one of Jim's interests and he enjoys a quiet game of chess as well as a close ballgame. Within a couple of years, Jim would be swept off his feet by a gorgeous local girl.

In 1963, Donna was invited by a friend in a sorority to attend a Sigma Phi Omega fraternity party. Even though she was still in high school, she was persuaded to go because there was a need for women to maintain a 1 to 1 ratio. She laughs when telling this story because that was the night she met her future husband and it was love at first sight. She saw him at the party and noticed him right away because he was tall (6’4”), and she liked tall guys because she was tall (5’10”).

If you saw pictures of him then you know that he was really handsome. And he was smoking a cigarette. And I just thought, “Oh my gosh, he is just so cool.” I was 17, you know. And I thought he was so cool and so good looking. And the fact he was Black did not register with me initially. I was just so, you know.

Jim asked Donna to dance, they had a great time together. When the evening ended and he asked for her phone number, Donna was jolted back to reality and could not tell him her parents would not let her date him because he was Black. Instead, she came up with a ridiculous lie:

I thought, “Oh, my parents are never going to let me go out with him.” So I lied. I made up a stupid lie. I said, “Well, we didn’t have a phone.” And, we laughed about that late because he said, “I knew that wasn’t true.” I said, “I know that was so stupid but it was all I could think of at that time.”

She immediately regretted her answer and within a few days, she drove from Garden Grove to the university and tracked him down through the fraternity house. He lived on what was then known as Pioneer but is now Yorba Linda Boulevard on the second floor of a garage behind the university’s center on speech development. They reconnected and the rest is history. 

Donna and Jim dated behind her parents’ back with the help of Donna’s older brother’s wife, Nadja, until she was 18 years old. When she graduated from high school, she moved in with another brother. She then let her parents know about her relationship. They protested but as a legal adult, they could not stop her from dating him. She wore down their resistance and admits as an eighteen-year-old, she was passionate about her convictions and now understands their opposition was rooted in societal hatred but not personal convictions. With the assistance of a good friend who let them know they were on the verge of losing their daughter, they finally decided to meet him. At that point, the couple had dated for two years.

Vestor and Jane got to know Jim, and Donna admits that they eventually liked him better than they liked her. By the time they got married in 1965, her parents gave their blessing. Once their first daughter was born in 1966, there was no longer any opposition to brook. They were all a family. 

Following graduation, Jim Hatchett became a probation officer; in 1970, The Los Angeles Times profiled the unique and highly successful work his unit engaged in in Santa Ana’s minority neighborhoods, as called for by Margaret Grier. Grier called for a lower case load through “Special Unit 99.” This unit was composed of handpicked county probation officers with five people in total with two men, two women, and one supervisor. In this new endeavor, all five were told to, “Go out and be different.” They did just that not only by contacting their probationers in the designated neighborhoods, but also by being a resource that provided counseling sessions, organized neighborhood group meetings, ran “delinquency prevention programs” in nearby schools, and helped young people find employment. Officers broke up gang tensions to stop fights and then spent time with the young people doing fun, engaging activities, like taking them fishing or on local outings. Moreover, the unit made special overtures to mothers in the neighborhood, making the connection even stronger. After two years, Special Unit 99’s success rate was phenomenal.

In an example of Jim Hatchett’s connection to the community, the article outlined how his attitude and commitment enabled him to stop a gang fight but also go against orders from his supervisors to not engage with his probationers during a time of struggle between two competing gangs. Hatchett is quoted: "I suppose I should have followed orders and stayed away. But I got to thinking what I’d say if one of my kids asked me where I’d been when they really needed me. I couldn’t come up with any answer for that so I went anyway."

The two-year program was highly successful in achieving measurables that mattered to politicians and bean counters: families on welfare reduced by two-thirds because the unit helped them find employment; the recidivism rate for juvenile probation decreased from 75% to 26%; school attendance from at-risk students increased over 50%. In terms of dollars and cents, the newspaper elaborated, “Overall savings in probation costs, including the cost of housing, feeding and clothing prisoners, is $62,256 when compared to a similar number of cases handled by traditional methods. The savings in welfare costs alone is estimated at $75,560.”

Jim and Donna had two daughters. In 2010, Jim died from cancer. A love affair that lasted 45 years cannot be replicated, and Donna threatened to cry a couple of times in our interview.

 

 
 
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Charlene Riggins (1951 - 2018)

On Monday morning, October 29, 2018, Charlene "Stink" Marie Riggins, 66, was called home. Although her illness was totally unexpected, very sudden, aggressive, and quick, Charlene passed on peacefully in her sleep and in her husband's arms.

She leaves to cherish her memory, her devoted husband, Chester Riggins with whom she was married 37 years; four sisters, Valerie, Anne, Lynne (James) and Toni (Baudelio); one brother, John (Janette); seven nephews; four nieces; twenty great-nephews and great-nieces; two dogs; a cat named Spider-Man; and a host of students and good friends. She is preceded in death by her father, John Shahpur Turner, and mother, Ella Catherine Johnson Turner.

Charlene was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on December 19, 1951. In 1953, the family moved to Los Angeles, where, between L.A., and Orange County, she lived most of her life. As a child, she always had lots of energy. And, in addition to her highly inquisitive nature, she was always getting into something she should not have, including her share of trouble. Upon maturing, she directed her efforts and inquiring mind into a love for teaching history.

In 1957, she began her educational journey at St. Leo's Catholic Elementary School, where, as an even younger child, she was baptized in its Church. After graduating Centennial High School in 1970, Charlene ultimately completed her quest by obtaining a master’s degree in history from CSU Fullerton in 2004. Soon afterward, she began her career as a professional teacher.

Before beginning work as a lecturer and oral historian at CSUF and Santiago College, Charlene's 43-year career at CSUF began in 1975 as a graduate unit evaluator in the Admissions and Records Office. While there, she made a promise to her mom and took a bet with a nephew to complete her education (before he did). Not long after lecturing her first class, there was word from many of the students whom she taught and mentored that she was "a natural teacher," one who "really loved her job" and "made history come alive." 

In 2002, she co-chaired the National Genealogical Alliance (an annual conference) with Wendy Elliot, then-chairperson, mentor, and good friend. Later that year, she helped to present the International Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference. In 2013, she was honored by the organization "100 Black Men of Orange County." She was a member of the Placentia Historical Society, Golden Key National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, American History Society, Association of Black Women Historians, Oral History Association, and Southwest Oral History Association (SWOHA), where she served as vice president.

Charlene authored two books, A Different Shade of Orange, which was recognized by the Youth-on-the-Move International Educators Hall of Fame in 2014, and Forgotten Patriots. Included in Forgotten Patriots was her account of a WWII veteran named Charles Rodriguez. So in-depth and captivating was her story of this soldier, that the Library of Congress requested she donate her entire project to LC, where it remains intact today. She was also known for being quite an expert on the Civil War and was in the process of introducing a new film history for the upcoming semester.

When not teaching, Charlene enjoyed spending time with her pets: Sabrina, Motto and Spider-Man. She loved jazz, theatre, making Super Bowl Gumbo, decorating for the holidays, making friends, Dave Koz Jazz Cruises, her ChapStick, Chef’s favorite clam dip, giving gifts at Christmas, being a hostess, and most of all, she loved Tweety Bird!

 
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Harlen Lambert (1936 -

Harlen Lambert was born in Bonita, Louisiana and is one of twelve siblings. His family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas shortly after he was born and he grew up there. He attended Coleman High School. Also known as “Lamb,” because of his gentle disposition, Harlen was also called “Sonny” by his parents for his upbeat personality and quick smile. He showed an entrepreneurial spirit early and worked hard throughout his life. Over summers, he visited his older sister in Chicago and developed a lucrative “snow cone” business.

In 1955, Harlen moved to Chicago to become one of the famed porters on the Santa Fe Railroad. There, while he earned a relatively good income, all Black men who worked were called "George" to make it easier on White customers. They often were entrusted with taking care of the children of White passengers and Lambert saw the juxtaposition between the responsibilities Black porters had, with none of the accompanying respect. And although it was the best job he had up til then, he quit and returned to the South. He attended Savannah State University on a basketball scholarship for one  year between 1958 -1959, when he was drafted into military service.

He was drafted into the Army at 23 years old and had earned a reputation as a star on the Army basketball team, averaging 37.2. He was offered scholarships by different colleges and was scouted by a coach from the University of Southern California. When he arrived in Southern California in 1962, he was required to sit out for one year due to new NCAA rules. He attended Santa Ana College. During that year, the USC scout left the school without informing Lambert. He would later return to college on a basketball scholarship at Southern California College, but his dreams to soar in college athletics was stopped in its tracks.

Between 1962 - 1967, Lambert worked as a part time motorcycle escort for funerals and a friend recommended he apply to become a police officer in Santa Ana. He was the first Black police officer in the City of Santa Ana and worked from 1967 - 1972, when he resigned. In his tenure as a police officer, he was awarded countless awards for bravery including Officer of the Year in 1970. However, the more he shone the more resentment it engendered in his White colleagues. Lambert was not used to having to hide his achievements and every time he received a compliment by an outside group or if he was interviewed in the local paper, Lambert invariably received punishment by his colleagues on the force. Lambert has carefully documented his autobiography in Badge of Color, published in 2019 and documented online on his site www.lambtheauthor.com.

When Lambert left the force, he did not leave the field of law enforcement entirely. He had developed a guard dog service while working on the force and decided to transition this business into a full time profession. Lambert decided to hone his love of dogs and develop a K9 program for law enforcement and has been featured on the History Channel and by Cesar Milan, the “Dog Whisperer” because of his expertise.

Harlen Lambert met his wife Sharron Reade-Lambert when both were working at Hughes Aircraft in Fullerton. They have been married for over 35 years and Sharron’s dedication to preserving Lamb’s history of achievement is a measure of her deep love for him.

In 2019, Dr. Sandra Perez in the Honors Program at CSUF inaugurated an award to honor “Distinguished Leaders,” in our community by singling out Harlen Lambert. Lambert is a member of the Nonfiction Writers Association, Southern California Writers, and the Orange County Branch of the California Writers Club. He is a published poet and his books may be purchased on Amazon.com.

 

 
 
 
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Wyatt Frieson Daniel Michael Lynem, Jr. Adleane Hunter Brigman Owens Mustafa Khan Kathy Ayeh Earl Pedford Dr Jerry Hunter Juel Farquhar Dr Aidsand Wright-Riggins Zoe Reed Pedford Jim DeBose Janine Farquhar Jim Hatchett Charlene Riggins Harlen Lambert