State Rep. Barbara Ward Cooper, left, and Wiley Henry, Jr.

Tribune Staff Report

NASHVILLE, TN — Twenty-two role models across the U.S. and one in Nigeria will be inducted into the 2019 Youth-on-the-Move International Educators’ Hall of Fame in Anaheim, Calif., including three from Memphis. 

State Rep. Barbara Ward Cooper, representing District 86 in the Tennessee House of Representative, is a retired educator, a community relation’s specialist, and a parent coordinator. 

Wiley Henry Jr., a noted artist, award-winning journalist and photographer, is a constituent services representative for Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District Rep. Steve Cohen. He’s also a freelance writer for The Tennessee Tribune.

Hattie B. Tuggle, a retired educator and musician extraordinaire, has impacted the lives of hundreds of students at Hamilton High School, including actor Willard Pugh and Claire Ford, 1977’s Miss Black America.

The International Educators’ Hall of Fame induction and a Youth Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of The Phoenix Club, 1340 South Sanderson Ave., in Anaheim, Calif.

Youth-on-the-Move (YOMI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, multicultural youth education organization founded by Dr. Patricia Adelekan in 1985 in Sacramento, Calif., and incorporated a year later. 

Dr. Adelekan is an international educator, writer, author, and world traveler. 

The International Educators’ Hall of Fame is a special project of the youth organization, which was founded by Dr. Adelekan in Sacramento in 1992 to preserve legacies, honor excellence and unite generations.

As many as 700 role models from 36 countries have been inducted into the International Educators’ Hall of Fame since its inception. Cooper, Henry and Tuggle will share the international spotlight this year with 19 other inductees from a total of 22 cities in the United States and the country of Nigeria.

Rounding out the list of inductees are Derek D. Bardell, Dr. Kevin Grant, Dr. Earl E. Grant, Sandra Lee Herron, the Rev. Dr. Steven W. Long, Victoria Lynn Long, Wanda Watkins McDowell, Adolphus McGee, Rogelio P. Montero, Cathy Moore, Gale Jones Murphy, Marcus Tucker, Tyronne Monroe Turk and Dr. Shirley Weber.

Posthumous inductees include Chief Queenie Ibironke Doherty (1916-1974) from Nigeria; Jacob Justiss Jr. (1919-1978), an Adventist born in Mt. Pleasant, Texas; and Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), father of Black History Month. Inductees receiving the community service award are George J. Bradshaw and Beatrice C. Jones.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime honor that I don’t take lightly,” said Henry. “I’m grateful to receive the nomination and justly overwhelmed to be inducted into the International Educators’ Hall of Fame.”

Henry’s varied accomplishments, community service, and active involvement in the lives of young people and others were factors the committee considered during their rigorous selection process.

Cooper noted how thankful she is that someone considered her contributions worthy enough to be inducted into an educator’s hall of fame. She could hardly express the joy she felt.

“This has been one of the highest honors since I’ve been elected (to the House of Representatives),” she said. “This is tops. Education is my thing and I’m really excited and thrilled.”

Tuggle was just as excited when she received a call that she had been inducted. “I learned about a month ago that I was being selected,” she said. “I’m just happy that I was nominated for the honor.”

Dr. Adelekan said the mission of Youth-on-the-Move and its special project, the International Educators’ Hall of Fame, is to help youth succeed in life with the help of positive community role models.

“We believe in the concept that it takes a village to raise young people,” said Dr. Adelekan, touting the diverse group of role models being inducted in the Hall of Fame this year. The “village’s” perimeter is international, she said, and that role models have been inducted from countries all over the world.

The headquarters is located in Anaheim. “We’ve done the Hall of Fame in Egypt about four times, in Nigeria two times, all over the world,” she said, “including Memphis.” 

The National Civil Rights Museum was the setting for the YOMI Cultural Heritage Hall of Fame on Feb. 21,1998. Earlice Taylor, the coordinator, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997. Twenty-four people were inducted in 1998.

“The International Educators’ Hall of Fame is one of a kind,” said Taylor, a singer, community activist and historic preservationist. “Thanks to the selection committee, the legacies and contributions of this year’s Memphis contingent are now being preserved for posterity.”

It’s a noteworthy accomplishment for Cooper, Henry and Tuggle, said Taylor, adding: “Memphis is better off with the caliber of these hall of famers who continue to invest in the lives of people.”