Long Beach Branch NAACP Recognizes 2022 Black History Heros and Sheros

Doris Topsy Elvord (Posthumously)

Doris Topsy-Elvord, née Walker, was born on June 17, 1931, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and moved with her family to Long Beach in 1942. Mrs. Doris Topsy-Elvord was “the first” in many different ways. In 1949, she was the first Black student to graduate from St. Anthony High School; the first Black woman to be elected to the Long Beach City Council; the first Black women Vice-Mayor of Long Beach; and the first Black person to serve on the Harbor Commission. She was a continued supporter of and actively involved in the growth of the Long Beach Community Improvement League (LBCIL), which she always affectionately referred to as “The League.”
“The League” will forever be appreciative and respectful of her contributions to its success the past several decades.
Doris Topsy-Elvord was much ahead of her time; she worked tirelessly, made serving the public her life mission, and made a significant difference in the lives of others by being who she was. She was a pioneer for civil rights, a tireless fighter for her community, an active participant in civic life and a person who believed in service to others.
She was a lady of accomplishments and had received numerous honors, awards, recognition and acclaim. Some achievements include helping found the Atlantic Community Economic Development Corporation, establishing the Long Beach Midnight Basketball League, cofounding the African American Heritage Society with Indira Hale Tucker, leading efforts to designate the home of civil rights icon Ernest McBride as a cultural heritage site and eradicating graffiti in the Sixth District to allow for economic growth.
She was inducted into the St. Anthony Hall of Fame in 1991, which she referred to as one of her life’s proudest moments. The Community Center in Houghton Park was named after her in August 2021.
She will forever be remembered and respected for her numerous accomplishments and her generous contributions to the improvement of the City of Long Beach.

Dr. Ebenezer Bush (Posthumously)

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on March 20, 1920, Dr. Ebenezer Bush attended segregated schools while growing up. Graduating from Shreveport’s Central Colored High School, he was admitted to the Tuskegee Institute as a work student, taking classes at night and working during the day.
After graduating from Tuskegee, Bush taught agriculture at the high school level until the outbreak of World War II. In the Army for three years, Bush served a tour of duty in the Pacific theater. After being discharged, Bush enrolled in Howard University’s School of Dentistry, graduating in 1952. From Howard, Bush moved to Long Beach, California, where he became the first African American to establish a dental practice.
Bush was a member of numerous professional organizations, including a life member of the American Dental Association. He received numerous awards. Family Service of Long Beach presented him with the Family Life Award, he received the key to the city of Long Beach, and he was honored by both Howard University and the Tuskegee Institute as a distinguished alumnus. He was also active with civic organizations, including founding and serving as the first president of the Long Beach Community Credit Union and serving on the board of the Long Beach City College Foundation.
Bush and his wife, Wynona, had two sons, both of whom are doctors.

Rex Richardson

Rex Richardson was elected to the Long Beach City Council in 2014 to represent the neighborhoods of North Long Beach in District 9, and serves as Chair of the Economic Development Committee and the Long Beach Housing Authority.
Councilmember Richardson’s history in Long Beach is grounded in advocating for our most vulnerable residents and empowering communities to have a seat at the table and an opportunity to thrive.
City-wide, Councilmember Richardson has worked to shift the culture of City Hall by embracing a systemic and collaborative approach to solving the city’s challenges. Richardson championed the creation of the Long Beach Office of Equity, to help address the economic and health disparities affecting Long Beach neighborhoods, and spearheaded a number of innovative initiatives that provide more opportunities to close the gap for our vulnerable populations, including the Long Beach My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and the PATH Young Adult Diversion program.
Representing the 9th District, he has led North Long Beach on a “Roadmap to its Renaissance” by placing a focus on economic and community revitalization, with major infrastructure investment, like the new Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, Houghton Park Community Center, new retail development, and the Creative Corridor Mural Arts Project. Most recently, Councilmember Richardson launched #EveryoneIn, an initiative designed to create a local economy that includes and benefits every Long Beach resident.
Rex, his wife Nina, and daughters Alina and Mila are proud residents of the Collins Neighborhood in North Long Beach.

Uduak-Joe Ntuk, LBCC Board President

Long Beach City College Board President Uduak-Joe Ntuk proudly represents Uptown Long Beach on the Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees. Elected in 2018, he is the first African-American male elected to serve on the governing board since the college’s founding in 1927.
Earning his Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts at LBCC, which opened the doors for him to further his education and pursue a career in engineering. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at California State University, Long Beach, and his Master of Science in Engineering at the University of Southern California. Board President Ntuk has worked in both the public and private sectors, including at three Fortune 500 companies.
Committed to educating the next generation of engineers and scientists, Board President Ntuk shares his expertise as a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at California State University, Long Beach. He has always found ways to serve his community through his volunteer involvement as a Science Fair Judge, Middle School Robotics, STEM Education Advocacy, and local PTA Board Member. Ntuk also helped place hundreds of young people into good-paying jobs on the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board Youth Council.
Uduak-Joe Ntuk served two terms as a Personnel Commissioner at the Long Beach Community College District, which administers the Merit System of equal opportunity employment for the district’s classified employees.
He is a former Long Beach NAACP College Intern, Drum Major for Justice Scholarship recipient, Executive Committee Member, and a STEM advisor.

Rick Callender, Esq, NAACP Board of Directors Member & CA/HI State Conference President

NAACP board of directors member, Rick L. Callender, Esq has served on the Resolutions Committee for more than 20 years. He also serves as president of the California/Hawaii NAACP State Conferences, which boasts 74 branches and youth units. From 2000 to 2008, Callender served as president of the San Jose-Silicon Valley NAACP branch.
Rick Callender is the Chief Executive Officer of Valley Water where he oversees an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water; flood protection; and environmental stewardship of waterways for Santa Clara County’s 1.9 million residents.
He has worked for Valley Water since 1996, serving most recently as the Chief of External Affairs. As the CEA, he led Valley Water’s efforts in strategic external communications to the media, community, and the public. Rick also oversaw all government relations efforts on local, regional, state, and federal levels and public policies that directly affect Valley Water.
Prior to joining the district, Callender worked as a Special Assistant to former City of San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer. He also served as a Field Campaign Organizer for the California Democratic Party, Congressional Fellow for the United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Energy, and as a Congressional Fellow to Congressman Ronald V. Dellums.
Growing up in San Jose, Callender earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Technology with an emphasis in electronic and computer technology from California State University, Chico. He completed all coursework for his Master of Arts in Public Administration from San Jose State University, earned his Juris Doctorate from Northwestern California University School of Law, and is a member of the California State Bar. Callender also attended and graduated from eight executive leadership programs at different universities throughout the nation.

Alex Norman

Alex Norman is Professor Emeritus of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, where he was Chairman of Community Organization, Planning and Organization Development. Norman is an international scholar and consultant in Community Economic Development and Community Oriented Policing and is widely published in both national and international journals. He has also worked in diverse ethnic communities as a consultant and facilitator in managing inter-ethnic conflict. His 10-year study of change management in the Los Angeles Police Department resulted in a report that the department used for strategic planning, and he was a team facilitator of Community Policing Seminars at the Pat Brown Institute, located on the campus of Cal State, Los Angeles and sponsored by the Ahmanson Foundation. Norman has worked extensively with the Police Departments in Los Angeles and Long Beach and at the international level as a consultant to the London Metropolitan Police and the Avon/Bristol Constabulary in Bristol, England.
“Our history books are written by the conquerors and the conquerors tell the story from their perspective. So we need to revise the history as it was rather than as the conquerors wanted it to be.”
In addition to being a Professor of Social Welfare, Alex Norman was an Organization Development Consultant and Trainer, specializing in Human Relations and Sensitivity Training, and Managing Inter-ethnic Conflict between Arabs/Jews, Blacks/Koreans, Latinos/Asians and Blacks/Latinos.
Since Alex Norman retired from the University (but not life) in 1991, he balanced a career of an international scholar and independent organization development practitioner. He and his wife, Margie, live in Long Beach where he is engaged in various volunteer activities with private foundations, the Police Department, and community organizations. He is a co-founder of Rethinking Greater Long Beach, a community-based think tank that conducts research in education, public safety, and urban demography. His most recent reports, Ethnic Disparities in Long Beach dealt with income inequality, as does the Long Beach Socio-economic Atlas of Long Beach, which was published last year.
“There are two options in life, you can either succeed or you can give up. There’s nothing in between. When you hit a bump in the road, it’s only a bump in the road. You either go around it, over it, through it, under it but you don’t stop.”
In Norman’s long life and career, he’s received specific awards for his contributions from The Association of Community Organizers (Sylvia Levanthal Award), the L.A. County Human Relations Commission (John Anson Ford Award), the California Social Welfare Archives Hall of Distinction, and the National Association of Social Workers Foundation (Social Worker Pioneer Award).

Dan Witzling

Dan Witzling serves as Senior Executive Director of American Cancer Society in the Los Angeles Area with its mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. Dan continues to work with area leaders including Long Beach Branch NAACP President/Long Beach Cancer League Member Naomi Rainey Pierson along with the Los Angeles Area Board of Directors to advance initiatives emphasizing health equity, disparities, and access to care. He also helped LB Branch NAACP President Rainey to implement Real Men Wear Pink in the LA Central Coast Region. This project is very important because African American women have the highest breast cancer mortality rate of any ethnic group. In 2021, Dan addressed the NAACP California Hawaii leadership as a Convention Speaker, propelling new partnership efforts between NAACP and American Cancer Society such as a Train the Trainer Health Empowerment Series that launched in early 2022. Dan continues to work with leaders at NAACP, Urban League, Amazing Grace Conservatory, and via various health systems to advance health equity via an African American Early Detection ‘Get Screened’ initiative, Latinos Contra El Cancer, Asian American Care initiative, various youth empowerment initiatives, and other community approaches. The strategy is to build a world where everyone, regardless of how much money they make; the color of their skin; their sexual orientation or gender identity; their physical or mental ability; or where they live has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, treat and survive cancer. Dan continues to work with Los Angeles area community and corporate leadership to engage and to empower those hardest to reach and those disproportionately impacted by high mortality rates cancer. He is an MBA graduate of American Jewish University with a Bachelors in International Development from UCLA.

Ernest McBride Sr., founder of Long Beach Branch NAACP

Ernest Samuel McBride Sr. (November 12, 1909 – May 5, 2007) was a prominent African-American civil rights activist, union organizer and life-long Democrat in the city of Long Beach, California from the 1930 to 2007. He was called “Mr. Civil Rights” in Long Beach and became the community problem solver and civil rights champion.
Ernest was born in North Carrollton, Mississippi and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas to attend school. Facing much racial discrimination in Little Rock, Ernest knew it was time to leave that state. In February 1930, after graduating from Scipio Jones High School, he played baseball for the Memphis Red Socks in the Negro League. He couldn’t make a living playing baseball so he moved to Long Beach, California to seek work and a better life. Ernest lived in a segregated boarding house and discovered racism was ramped. At that time, Long Beach was a headquarters for the Klu Klux Klan. Property owners had restrictive covenant clauses in housing and police harassment was prevalent. The only work available to minorities was a janitor or shining shoes. If the police stopped you and you stated you were unemployed, you were arrested for vagrancy. If you couldn’t pay the ten-dollar fine, you had to work it off. Ernest knew this was the same “Jim Crow Laws” that existed in Arkansas and throughout the south. He heard about jobs in the neighboring city of San Pedro and was hired by the San Pedro Cotton Compress Company, loading cotton bales on Japanese Ships. He soon discovered the Company discharged 100 Mexican-American workers (at 50 cents an hour) and replaced them with 80 African-American workers (at 45 cents an hour). Ernest knew this was exploitation and started a drive to organize the workers into a union.
Utilizing his baseball experience, Ernest formed a baseball team in Wilmington and played against teams from the surrounding cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Pedro and Pasadena. They formed a league with 16 Teams. There were Black, Mexican, Japanese and White Teams. Several Mexican and Japanese teams were from San Pedro and this gave Ernest many opportunities to organize the players into a Union to fight for better pay.
In 1932, Ernest hired on as a janitor at Ralph’s Grocery Company in Long Beach. He played on Ralph’s Softball team and organized the workers into the CIO Union and fought for better wages. He later became the CIO Union West Coast Representative. The organizational skills he learned in the union would come in handy later.
Later that year, Ernest met his wife Lillian Marie Veals and they were married in 1934. Lillian’s family moved to Long Beach in 1924. The day they arrived, Lillian’s father was arrested for suspicion of rape. He was detained overnight with five other Black men for a police lineup. The rapist was caught; a white man.
Ernest and Lillian sought a place to live in Long Beach. They found a place, gave a deposit, cleaned it up and prepared to move in. The following morning, the landlord returned their deposit and explained the neighbors did not want Blacks to live in the area. He and Lillian were forced to move to Wilmington (about 10 miles West). Long Beach had restrictive covenant clauses in housing contracts to discourage landlords from renting to minorities.
In 1938, a friend told Ernest and Lillian about a rental house owned by a Black Man in Long Beach and they moved back. Ernest and Lillian were fed up with housing discrimination, inferior jobs, police brutality and vagrancy Laws. Ernest and Lillian decided to organize a local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in Long Beach to fight these problems. They recruited three of their friends and almost single-handedly, encouraged 45 other individuals to join. With the required 50 members, he applied to the NAACP National Office and received their charter in October 1940. Lillian became the Corresponding Secretary and Ernest became the Field Secretary, so he could control the membership list. He wanted to prevent the local police department and business owners from knowing which Blacks in the city were members, in order to protect their jobs. At that time, Blacks only worked as domestic servants, janitors, waitresses and shoe shiners. He kept the membership list a secret and would add CIO Union members to his mailing list when using the postal service, (“he said to confuse the enemy as to total membership”). This brought his membership numbers to multiple hundreds. In 1943, Ernest was given a choice to work at a National Defense job or be drafted in the Military Service. He was hired at the Long Beach Naval Dry-docks. He continued his fight for equal rights.
He organized a letter writing campaign to President Roosevelt to integrate the Electrician’s Union at the Long Beach Naval Dry Docks-1943 (later renamed Long Beach Naval Shipyard). It was successful. As a result, Ernest was fired.
He led negotiations with the City of Long Beach to hire the first minority Police Officer and minorities in other city jobs 1943 – 1948 (not just as janitors or shoe shiners). In 1948, the first Black Police Officer was hired and shortly after, a Mexican Officer was hired, followed by other hiring’s by the city.
He organized a letter writing campaign to State of California Lt. Governor’s Office to outlaw restrictive covenant clauses used against minorities in housing in Long Beach. This opened housing to minorities in Long Beach.
He organized picket line marches to eliminate demeaning black-faced minstrel shows in Long Beach School District-1945 (many times used his own children to march, so it would not jeopardize adults’ jobs) – Shows were eliminated in 1948. During one protest march, a police car pulled up and slammed on his brakes, a Police Officer jumped out with his hand on his gun, and asked Ernest, “what are you boys doing out here?” Ernest’s 7-year son was terrified, thinking his father was going to be shot. Ernest dropped his protest sign and stepped toward the Police Officer. Taken by surprise, the police officer stopped and took a step backwards. Ernest said; “We are protesting our rights as citizens and human beings not to be degraded by these black minstrel shows and we want them stopped”. The officer said; “Well, make sure you don’t block the entrance and pick up any flyers on the ground when you leave.” He got back in his police car and drove off. At that moment, Ernest forever became his son’s hero.
He threatened to picket a local high school to remove a racially insensitive text book. This was successful. Book was removed (1950’s). Book existed when his wife Lillian attended in 1932.
He organized the NAACP Anti-Discrimination Committee and picketed Cole’s Market Chain (the three major stores in Long Beach) to hire minority cashiers. Mr. Cole stated that Blacks were good at mopping floors, but no Black Man would ever touch his money. Ernest agreed but stated that Blacks were good at other jobs if given a chance. Ernest negotiated weekly and picketed for over nine months before Mr. Cole’s hired two Black Cashiers. (Ernest selected one of Cole’s Markets to be boycotted that had a clientele that was 85% Black, which dropped to 10%, according to Cole’s Manager – 1954).
He negotiated with General Telephone Company (Now Verizon) to hire first minority clerk typist (1957). The Company claimed no Blacks could pass their tests. Ernest asked his daughter to accompany one of her friend’s and monitor the test procedure. A General Telephone employee told his daughter if she wanted to observe, she would have to take the test also. His daughter passed the test but her friend did not. Ernest had to convince his daughter to quit a waitress job she was already working and take fifteen cents an hour pay cut to accept a job with General Telephone in order to integrate the company. After the company hired other minorities, six months later his daughter quit and returned to her waitress job for a better pay.
He helped to negotiate with the City of Long Beach to establish a Civilian Police Complaint Commission in (1960’s).
In his 90’s, Ernest still received visits from individuals seeking his advice and expertise involving civil rights and community issues in Long Beach. Whenever negotiations were favorable to him, Ernest would say; “I was tickled pink”. Pink was his favorite color.
Ernest’s family jokingly accused him of being a thorn in the side of the City. But the City of Long Beach began to recognize his accomplishments. During a ceremony, when Ernest was given his first Key to the City (1988), by Mayor Ernie Kell, Ernest asked; “was it the key to the front door or the back door”. The audience roared. Ernest and Mayor Kell met on many occasions after that and always got the biggest laugh out of that statement. He received four keys to the city during his life.
Ernest has received over 53 community service awards from the U.S. Congress, California State Senate and State Assembly, Long Beach City Council and several Community Organizations. He is featured on www.thehistorymakers.com. His favorite award was the California State Senate Citation for saving three children from a fire in May 1967. Working as a handyman on an adjacent apartment building he heard a man and a woman screaming that their apartment was on fire and their three small children were inside. Ernest grabbed a water hose and began squirting water inside. He gave the hose to the father and jumped inside. The smoke was too thick to see, so he called out to the children, a five and four year old and heard them inside a closet. He carried them to the window and handed them to their father. He reentered the room but could not find the third child, a three year old. Because of the heat and thick smoke he prepared to leave out the window when he felt a tug on his leg, it was the three year old huddled beneath the window. Ernest handed her to the father and jumped to safety. At that time the fire department pulled up to the apartment and began extinguishing the flames. He received several citations for his bravery.
The Long Beach City Council designated Ernest and Lillian McBride’s home a City Historical Landmark in 1994 and former Republican Congressman Stephen Horn placed it in the 104th Congressional Record on 20 January 1995 page E147. The Parks and Recreation Department commissioned a mural of Ernest and Lillian. The mural is located under the 6th Street off ramp of the 710 Freeway near Cesar Chavez Park.
The City Council also renamed a local park, Ernest S. McBride Sr. Park, with a McBride Teen Center and McBride Skate Park completed and opened in February 2012.
The Long Beach Unified School District, with Long Beach City Council approval named a new high school, Ernest S. McBride Sr. High School in 2011. The school is located on Los Coyotes Diagonal and Parkcrest Street in Long Beach and is scheduled for completion in 2013.
Before he passed, Ernest recorded many interviews to document his experience and wrote his autobiography; Fighting for the People, available through his family. Ernest was quoted as saying; “There are very few things I’d change if I lived my life over again. I don’t regret one thing. That’s my life. I wouldn’t pay a million dollars to live it again and I wouldn’t take a million dollars not to have lived it.” Ernest S. McBride Sr.
His other notable quotes were: (TheHistoryMakers.Com) “If you use your hands and head you’ll make a living. Life is a wonderful thing when you look at it.”
Newspaper interview when receiving Home Historical Landmark Designation: “I feel people will always go the right direction. It may take time, but in the long run they will do the right thing. Man was put here to glorify the earth. If you can’t do something to help somebody, you haven’t contributed. If I’ve contributed, I feel I’m blessed for doing so.”

Tom Modica

Tom Modica has worked for the City of Long Beach since 2002, when he was hired as a Management Assistant. In his 18 years with the City, Tom has served in a number of roles, including Assistant to the City Manager, Government Affairs Manager, Director of Government Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, Deputy City Manager and Acting Director of Development Services.
He was appointed Assistant City Manager in 2014, where he was responsible for assisting the City Manager in operating the municipal enterprise, including oversight of City departments and leading special projects required to facilitate citywide priorities, programs and initiatives.
During his tenure with the City, Tom has led the organization on issues such as water quality improvements, financial planning and budgeting, the City’s Land Use Element, planning and implementation of the Long Beach Civic Center project, coastal area project development, City innovation efforts, the City’s $150 million infrastructure investment plan, oversight of the $120 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investment plan, and coordination of housing policies including affordable housing, tenant assistance, short term rental, and addressing homelessness.
In September 2019, Tom was appointed Acting City Manager by the City Council. On April 14, 2020, following a national search, Tom was appointed the City’s next City Manager. Tom is focused on using innovation and data to aid the City’s efforts to end homelessness; strategic planning; recruiting and maintaining highly qualified employees by streamlining the City’s hiring process and enhancing employee communication and engagement; and planning for the City’s future, including a commitment to strong fiscal management.
Tom has a master’s degree in Public Administration and lives in Long Beach with his family. He promotes diversity and that is reflected in his management staff. Mr. Modica also advocates inclusion, social, and economic equality for all citizens. He is working with city staff and the community to make Long Beach a city that does not sanction racial hatred and discrimination.

Robin Perry, Esq

Robin D. Perry was born in South Central Los Angeles and raised by a single mother. Perry graduated from the University of California, Davis where he received his BA is Sociology of Law & Society. Perry then attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law where he received his JD degree. While there he won the American Jurisprudence Award in trial advocacy. Following law school, Perry became a Deputy District Attorney where he prosecuted cases ranging from driving under the influence to homicide. Perry then became a litigator with a prominent multinational law firm. Perry founded his law firm Long Beach in 1998. His firm handled numerous high profile civil and criminal matters and litigated cases in Ohio, Texas and Hawaii. Perry has lectured at seminars including the firm sponsored Summer Seminar Series. He has also spoken to low-income students at Long Beach Unified Schools and has served as a mentor for an underprivileged youth. Perry is also a board member for multiple Long Beach based non-profits.

Judge Marcus Tucker (posthumously)

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Marcus O. Tucker, Jr. was born in Santa Monica, California, on November 12, 1934. His father was a physician who migrated from Kansas and his mother a teacher and realtor from Georgia.
Tucker graduated from University High School in Los Angeles in 1952. He briefly attended Fisk University but soon transferred to the University of Southern California. There, Tucker was an honor student and majored in international studies. When he earned his B.A. in 1956 his plan was to attend Law School. His uncle, Chicago lawyer James McClendon, was a role model who became an Illinois state senator. Tucker attended Howard University Law School and served on the editorial staff of the Howard Law School Journal from 1959 to 1960. He matriculated with a distinguished class that also included Vernon Jordan. Tucker earned a J.D. in 1960 and in 1997 earned an MA. in Criminal Justice from Chapman University.
Returning to Santa Monica, Tucker served as the first Santa Monica African American deputy city attorney in the criminal division from 1963 to 1965. He was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Los Angeles Criminal Division from 1965 to 1967. Tucker was the first African American to serve as presiding judge of the Long Beach Municipal Court in 1977 and was a supervising or presiding judge in Los Angeles-area juvenile courts from 1987 to 1994. In 1985, he became judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. As presiding judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Courts, Tucker was in charge of the largest system in the United States. Tucker innovated low-cost drug testing for parents under the court’s jurisdiction, referrals for community resources and a new system for tort lawyers. Tucker initiated Teen Courts with peer juries and closely monitored truancy rates. He also established a playground facility for children awaiting court action.
As a member of the John Mercer Langston Bar Association, Tucker initiated the History of Black Lawyers in Los Angeles project. Among his many honors and affiliations, Tucker was named to the National Bar Association Hall of Fame in 2002. Judge Tucker was a member and supporter of the LB Branch NAACP. He helped to establish their award winning Law Day Program and Project, in conjunction with Keesal Young & Logan
Judge Tucker was married to Indira Hale-Tucker and Angelique Chamberlain is their only child.

Dr. Carl Cohn the first African American Superintendent of Long Beach Unified School District

Carl A. Cohn is Co-Director of the Urban Leadership Program and Clinical Professor in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Cohn’s distinguished career in education has spanned over thirty years. Throughout this time, he has worked in a variety of educational capacities; such as a teacher, counselor, professor, superintendent and Federal Court monitor. Earning his Ed.D in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of California Los Angeles, Dr. Cohn has personified the valuable role of a research practitioner, expanding the field of education in a variety of ways.
Dr. Cohn played a pivotal role during his career in the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD). Focusing on urban affairs and educational policy, he served as an Administrative Coordinator, Director of Attendance, and Superintendent from I 992- 2002. In 2000, Dr. Cohn was America’s longest serving urban superintendent and during this tenure he made the school district a model for high academic standards and accountability. During his tenure as Superintendent, the LBUSD achieved record attendance, the lowest rate of suspension in a decade, decreases in student failure and dropout rates, and an increase in the number of students taking college preparatory classes. Through exemplifying this commitment to leadership and improved student achievement, he won the McGraw Prize in 2002, and the district won the Broad Prize in 2003. In 2002, Dr. Cohn served as Clinical Professor for the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California and went on to become an Independent Court Monitor for the Los Angeles Federal District Court. From 2005-2007, Dr. Cohn served as the Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District and recently served as a Leader in Residence at the College of Education at San Diego State University before joining the Claremont Graduate University faculty.
Further utilizing his expertise, Dr. Cohn has worked as a faculty advisor for both the Broad Superintendents Academy and the Harvard Urban Superintendents Program. Currently, he serves on the boards of the American College Testing, Inc. (ACT), the Freedom Writers Foundation, the Western Governors University and EdSource.
Among his many publications and research projects, Dr. Cohn co-edited the 2004 Teachers College Press publication, Partnering to Lead Educational Renewal: High Quality Teachers, High Quality Schools.

Sharon and David McLucas

David and Sharon McLucas are the owners of Forgotten Images: A Traveling Educational Exhibit and Museum. Their exhibit features thousands of lost and forgotten artifacts that span two centuries of the African American experience in America. After spending nearly 20 years amassing a personal collection of Black History artifacts, the couple has taken their memorabilia on the road with an enormous responsibility; “We are standing on the shoulders
of our ancestors, and we want everyone to see how far we’ve come”
The Forgotten Images Traveling Educational Exhibit and Museum has been featured at schools, churches, and community events throughout Southern California. The Museum is home to
more than 2000 items that span from 1600-2011. There are more than 30 themed areas in the constantly growing Forgotten Images exhibit. A sampling of themes found in the exhibit are
African American artwork, sports memorabilia, military, literature, theater, music, dolls, Cook Chicken Inn era, Civil Rights Era, Ku Klux Klan, and extensive collections of Aunt Jemima memorabilia. The display highlights all phases of African American history, both positive and negative with the aim of instilling a sense of knowledge, awareness, and responsibility in everyone who comes in contact with the exhibit.
Sharon McLucas was born in Bakersfield, and raised in Long Beach, and is the daughter of the late Autrilla and Olen Scott. She has devoted her life to improving the community. Her community experience spans decades and includes coordinating the Long Beach MLK Parade, serving as president of the LB Poly Football Booster Club and NCNW, as well as positions on committees such as NAACP, Leadership Long Beach, LA Black Business Expo, CME Church, and many others. David McLucas is a product of Oxnard, CA and is best known for his athletic prowess on the track and on the basketball court. David continues to hold many track and field and basketball records throughout California. The couple met while they were students at CSULB, David was a basketball star and Sharon was the first African-American cheerleader. Professionally, Sharon retired from the newspaper industry after 35 years. David is retired from Northrop Grumman in Hawthorne, where he worked for over 30 years.
Sharon and David McLucas took their life’s passion of collecting the Forgotten Images of African American history and turned it into a traveling museum. The goal of the museum is to serve as a tool of empowerment regarding African American History. It also educates and serves as a constant reminder of the triumphs and success of African Americans. The Forgotten Images Traveling Museum provides a deeper understanding of the contribution and role of African Americans to American history and culture.

Darick Simpson

Darick J. Simpson is President of the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation. Before joining the Miller Foundation in 2019 Mr. Simpson served as Executive Director of the Long Beach Community Action Partnership (LBCAP) and the Region IX Representative on the National Community Action Partnership Board of Directors. With his leadership LBCAP grew from 24 staff and a $1.3 million budget to over 80 staff and $11 million. During this tenure he also provided leadership in creating the Public Access Digital Network (PADNET.tv) which serves the Long Beach Community. PADENT has now grown its reputation for training community members, local teens and college interns from across the nation in video production. Throughout his career Mr. Simpson has established an excellent reputation as a community leader with diverse experiences that include business development, community development, youth programs and entertainment. His myriad awards and distinguished recognitions for service include prestigious regional and national accomplishments. Mr Simpson is a member and supporter of Long Beach Branch NAACP. In addition to corporate and community achievements, Mr. Simpson is a creative writer with three published books, a Spoken Word CD with Smooth Jazz and a podcast that are available on several international platforms. He was a member of the Recording Academy and a voting member of the Grammy Awards from 2008 – 2014. Mr. Simpson is also a proud Grandfather and alumni of the University of Alabama.

Thad Jackson

Thad Jackson is a Principal emeritus from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). He tirelessly served the children and communities of LAUSD for 37 years. His assignments included 6 schools and 4 cities, Gardena, South Gate, Wilmington, and Los Angeles.
For 25 years Thad served as president of Community Education Development and Referral Services (CEDARS) a non-profit group that provided student scholarships, food pantry, emergency loans, and other community support. He was also a founding member of Drew League Foundation, an outreach group that provides resources and support to people living in the Los Angeles area.
Since his retirement from LAUSD, Thad has embarked on a new career, event photography. Her serves as the primary Photographer for the California Conference for Equality and Justice, the Andy Street Association, and the NAACP of Long Beach. His scope of work also includes photographing movie premiers, air shows, sporting events, and the Long Beach Blues Festival. He continues to support small businesses, non-profit organizations, and community groups by providing excellent photography at a minimal cost. His work has been used for websites, magazine advertisements, newspapers, and books.

Jesse Johnson

Jesse B. Johnson, Jr. is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and spent most of his formative years in Los Angeles, California. He founded the 100 Black Men of Long Beach, Inc. in 2008. He retired from the City of Long Beach as the City’s Diversity and Economic Opportunity Officer after serving 29 years. In this position, he ensured that diverse, local and other business enterprises were given an opportunity to compete successfully in providing goods and serves to the City of Long Beach. He also served as City Purchasing Agent for 10 years, as well as Buyer and Recruitment Officer. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from California State University, Los Angeles with honors and taught business classes as part of the California State University, Long Beach Small Business Certificate Program, and the American Contract Compliance Association Training Institute (Morgan State University).
His professional boards and affiliations include 100 Black Men of Long Beach, Inc. (Founder and President Emeritus); current Vice President of the Long Beach Branch NAACP; member of the Beverly Hills Lions Club, former Long Beach Certified Development Corporation Advisory Board member; former member of the County of Los Angeles Risk Management Committee; founding member of the Long Beach African American Heritage Society; past president of the Black Managers Association, Long Beach Midnight Basketball Program and LALA – Louisiana to Los Angeles Organizing Committee, Inc.; past national board member of Shoes That Fit and ; and past vice-president of the California Association of Public Purchasing Officers (CAPPO), South Bay Area Chapter. He is also a United States Army Vietnam Era veteran. Serving 1971 to 73 as a Personnel Specialist – Specialist 4 th Class and he is a graduate of Leadership Long Beach.
Mr. Johnson has often been recognized for his many professional and civic contributions, to include being listed in Who’s Who in California; recipient of the Historically Underutilized Business Advocate Award;Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition; Small Business Advocate Award; State of California Recognition for community contributions; Man of the New Millennium Award; Aquarium of the Pacific Heritage Award, Long Beach Branch NAACP President’s and Man of Valor awards and the 2016 Congressman George Thomas “Mickey” Leland Brothers Keeper Recognition Award.
He spends his spare time as a Photo Journalist with the Long Beach Times Newspaper and writes and shoot on occasion for the Los Angeles Sentinel and other area newspapers. For fun he travels the world and attends Summer Olympic Games and has done so since 1984.

Tatiana Tate

More than ever, monstrously talented young women are rising through the ranks of jazz
instrumentalists, challenging the male-dominated status quo. Tatiana Tate is at the top of the list of
rising stars. This North Long Beach, California-based Trumpeter and Composer has built a resume that would be the envy of artists three times her age. Tatiana began her musical journey as a drummer at age 5 and later moving to Trumpet at age 8. She was the first African American Female Drum Major of Long Beach Poly High School and is an NAACP Act-So Champion. She was Soloist of the Colburn Conservatory of Music Jazz Workshop Band, Soloist of the Arturo Sandoval All-Star Youth Jazz Band, and Tatiana performed at the first Annual Grammy Museum Gala along with Boys 2 Men, Kelly Roland, Smokey Robinson and Michael Bolton. She has performed at many festivals and concert venues throughout the country, Washington D.C. Women In Jazz Festival, Next Generation Jazz Festival, Gardena Jazz Festival and many many more. Tatiana has shared the stage with David Sanborn, Clora Bryant, Brian Culbertson, Brian Simpson, Jeanette Harris, Chaka Khan, Con Funk Shun, Jazz in Pink, Stanley Clarke, Frankie Beverly, DW3 and Ronnie Laws. Inspired by Jazz artists like Clora Bryant, Freddy Hubbard and Kamasi Washington, Tatiana relishes free improvisation, avant-garde experimentation and a melodic approach to her distinctive tone, mixing spiritual, afro-futurist jazz with hip-hop rhythms and global influences. Tatiana is currently attending California State University Fullerton, majoring in Jazz Studies and Commercial Music Composition, minoring in Japanese. This Award-wining artist is band leader of the Tatiana Tate Quartet, a group of masterfully talented musicians ready to prove Jazz is alive and well with the next generation.

Judge Kelvin D. Filer

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kelvin D. Filer, was “born, raised, and educated in Compton, California!”
Judge Filer insists on emphasizing that he is from Compton because, historically, we tend to hear only negative things about the city. His message is not one of “look at me” – rather to tell the students and young people in Compton that if I made it, so can you!
After graduating from Compton High School in 1973, he went to the University of California at Santa Cruz where he majored in politics, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977 while graduating with “college honors” (the top 30 students at Stevenson College). While at UCSC he was a member of the Black Student Alliance for four years and was a member of the Basketball Club for three years. He subsequently received his Juris Doctorate degree from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall) in 1980.
In 1980, Judge Filer started practicing law as a Deputy State Public Defender for two years. It was during this period that he argued and won a landmark case before the California Supreme Court in 1980. The case was People v. Taylor (1982) 31 Cal.3d 488 – a unanimous decision holding that criminal defendants have a right to wear civilian clothing – “the garb of innocence” during their trials. In 1982, he opened his own private law practice in his hometown of Compton, California, and maintained a general criminal/civil practice with an emphasis on criminal defense work.
In July 1993, he was selected to the judicial bench as a commissioner for the Compton Municipal Court and later served as a Superior Court Commissioner after unification of the courts in 2000.
On August 8, 2002 Governor Gray Davis appointed him as a judge of the Superior Court in Los Angeles. He, of course, asked that his assignment remain in the Compton Courthouse. He currently presides over a long cause felony trial court.
Kelvin has been very active in legal and community activities. He was elected to the board of trustees for the Compton Unified School District in 1981 and served for three terms.
Judge Filer serves as a member of the California Judges Association, a founding Member of the Association of African American California Judicial officers; life member of the NAACP, life member of both the California Association of Black Lawyers and the John M. Langston Bar Association. He served several years as a member of the Board of Directors for the Compton Chamber of Commerce beginning in 1984. In 2007, Judge Filer was the recipient of the UC Santa Cruz “Distinguished Social Services Alumni Award” in recognition for his achievements in community, education and service. Among the many other honors and recognitions he has received, Judge Filer cherishes that in 2016 he was recognized as an “Outstanding Father” by the Long Beach Branch of the NAACP and in 2017, he was the recipient of the “Unsung Hero: Community Judiciary Award” by the City of Compton. In November, 2017, Judge Filer was inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame of the John M. Langston Bar Association.
He works very closely with the youth of the community by participating in the Courthouse Interchange program as a presenter/lecturer at Compton High School. He also serves as a Judge for the Teen Court Program at Jordan High School and Compton High School. In 2010, Judge Filer was honored as an outstanding alumnus and inducted into the “Hall of Fame” for Compton High School.
Judge Filer’s career has always reflected his desire to do the right thing and his view that everyone deserves justice and equality. This ethos was reflected in a high-profile ruling that Judge Filer issued in September 2011 in the case of Obie Anthony. Filer found that Anthony had been wrongfully convicted of murder in 1995, and after holding an evidentiary hearing Judge Filer reversed the conviction! In Filer’s words, “an injustice had been done by this man’s conviction” and he ordered Anthony released from custody. Judge Filer subsequently made a judicial determination that Mr. Anthony was “factually innocent” of all charges. Since Judge Filer’s ruling, the State of California has implemented legislation that increases the penalties for California prosecutors who hide exculpatory material from the defense.
A member of First United Methodist Church, in Compton, Kelvin has two beautiful daughters – Brynne and Kree. He is a die-hard Lakers fan who enjoys music, movies, and playing basketball. He regularly writes poetry and also holds a patent for an invention – “Filers Flavored Filters” – which are specially flavored coffee filters that will produce gourmet/flavored coffee from brewing regular ground coffee. Judge Filer published his first book of poetry in 2010. The title is “Race Ipsa Loquitur – A Poetic Diary of My Journey from Compton to the Los Angeles Superior Court Bench.”