Michael Morgan Jr. Named Principal Prairie Phoenix Academy in Sun Prairie

The Sun Prairie Area School District Board of Education approved the hiring of Michael Morgan, Jr. as principal of Prairie Phoenix Academy, an alternative programs high school in Sun Prairie.

Morgan, who served as principal of the Milwaukee College Prep School and the YMCA Young Leaders Academy Charter School, is replacing retiring Principal Lisa A. Bollinger.

Moran previously worked as a middle school social studies teacher and he is currently working toward his doctorate at Edgewood College, according to the school district.

Welcome to the Sun Prairie Area School District!

Gov. Evers Appoints Héctor Colón to the UW Board of Regents

Gov. Tony Evers appointed Héctor Colón to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. This appointment is effectively immediately, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Gerald Whitburn on Jan. 23.

“The UW Board of Regents plays a critical role in not only the success of the UW System, but the success of each of our students,” said Gov. Evers in a prepared statement. “I believe Héctor’s experience turning around budgets, advocating on behalf of some of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable residents, and visionary leadership style will serve the Board well.” 

“Throughout my career, I have focused on addressing complex issues impacting people and communities, while improving budgets and organizational efficiency,” Colón said in a press release. “I look forward to bringing that experience to the UW Board of Regents and I want to thank Governor Evers for this appointment.” 

Colón has served as the president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan since 2017. Since his time with LSS, the organization has seen a multi-billion-dollar surpluses after years of budget shortfalls. He also served as the executive director of the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services where he ended a 30-year waitlist for disability services and led countywide initiatives on ending chronic homelessness, reforming juvenile justice, and transforming mental healthcare. In 2019, Colón was named the Nonprofit Executive of the Year by BizTimes Media and Hispanic Man of the Year by UMOS.

Dr. Patricia Era Bath: Scientist, Inventor of the Laserphaco Probe that Removes Cataracts

Dr. Patricia Bath is a pioneer ophthalmologist, inventor, and academic who is known for inventing a tool and procedure for the removal of cataracts using a laser beam called the Laserphaco probe.

The daughter of the first African American motorman to work for the New York City subway system and a domestic worker mother who saved her money for her children’s education, Bath was born in 1942 in Harlem, New York.

Her interest in science became evident at an early age and her mother bought her a chemistry set. Bath describes herself as being a curious child.

In 1983, Bath became the first woman to chair an ophthalmology residency program in the United States. 

It took her several years working long hours in the lab until two or three in the morning to develop her invention. Finally, one long rainy night in 1985, the Laserphaco probe which has increased accuracy of cataracts surgery, a procedure previously performed manually came through.

On Dec. 18, 1986, Bath filed a patent for her groundbreaking discovery becoming the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent.

Statue Of Mary McLeod Bethune To Be Unveiled At U.S. Capitol

Activist and educator Mary McLeod Bethune was instrumental in advancing education at historically Black colleges and universities throughout the country. The South Carolina native —  who was one of the co-founders of Bethune-Cookman University—will be posthumously memorialized with a statue at the U.S. Capitol, Florida Politics reported.

The effort to have a sculpture of Bethune featured on Capitol Hill was led by Florida Congresswoman Val Demings who is a vice presidential hopeful. The addition of the statue is historic as it marks the first time a sculpture of a Black woman will be featured in National Statuary Hall. In 1904, Bethune founded the Daytona Beach Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls. The school eventually was transformed into a college and merged with Cookman Institute—an all-male school—for the creation of Bethune-Cookman College in 1929.

Outside of her work in the realm of education, Bethune was a fierce advocate for racial and gender equality. She launched the National Council of Negro Women as an avenue to create opportunities for Black women and their families. She also led several initiatives surrounding women’s suffrage. Bethune served as vice president of the NAACP until she passed away in 1955.

Penn State to Name Building  for Guy Bluford, first African American in Space

Guion “Guy” Bluford Jr., the first African American astronaut to travel in space, is scheduled to have a building at the university’s Innovation Park campus named for him by Penn State’s board of trustees, according to a report on the PennLive website. 

The building in question houses Penn State’s CIMP-3D lab, which uses powdered metals and 3D printing equipment to develop metal parts for various business applications. The additive manufacturing being developed here is an emerging technology that hold promise in its ability to use far less of very expensive metals to create a given component.

The proposed Guion S. Bluford Building will commemorate the 1964 PSU graduate who, after a distinguished military aviation career, was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1978 and, five years later, became the first African-American in space aboard the Challenger space shuttle. Bluford would go on to fly on four space shuttle missions in all, logging more than 688 hours in space.

Bluford, a Philadelphia native whose parents were a mechanical engineer and a special education teacher, earned a degree in aerospace engineering and an Air Force commission while at State College. He would also marry a woman, Linda, who he met during his freshman year. “So,” as Bluford has stated in prior interviews, “Penn State was a significant institution for me.”

The 1978 astronaut class – which had been the first group since 1969 – broke a number of glass ceilings by including the first women, as well as the first African Americans.

In 1993, Bluford left NASA and retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel, and he began a third career in the private sector, serving most recently as president of Aerospace Technology Group, an engineering consulting firm based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Brothers Founded One of Philadelphia’s First Black-Owned Breweries

Brothers Rich and Mengistu Koilor founded Two Locals Brewing Company with the goal to change the beer landscape in their city.

 “There’s no other brewery that’s Black-owned and operated in the area,” Mengistu Koilor told the Philadelphia Tribune. “We would like to put our own stamp, you know, our culture into the brewery. Plus we haven’t really met anyone that’s born and raised in Philly and running a craft brewery.”

In addition to having difficulty obtaining the necessary startup capital to fund their dream, the founders found themselves the few people of color in these networking groups. 

“Startup costs are extremely high. It’s a space that you don’t really see yourself represented. You see a lot of black sports players and entertainers, so it’s easier to imagine yourself in those spaces. There isn’t a lot of black representation in the craft beer industry,” Mengistu Koilor said. “This is definitely an image thing. You can’t be what you can’t see. We don’t see people that look like us owning and operating breweries. Hopefully, we will help the next generation of beer lovers or young adults that are like, ‘Hey, this looks like something that I could do. I see, you know, these two brothers that are doing it.’”

While the brothers save up for a brick and mortar storefront, the company has made pop-up shops in numerous festivals and events. They currently offer five beers, but plan to expand to 10 or 12 once they secure a permanent location.

“We’ve been beer lovers for a long time. The more that we learned about the industry, the more that we realized that there weren’t a lot of black-owned breweries, let alone black brewers. So we thought, why not try to be the first Black brewery?” said Rich Koilor.

Black Lives Matter Founders Featured on Cover of Time 100 Women of The Year Issue

March 8 is International Women’s Day and to commemorate the occasion, TIME magazine released a special double issue featuring 100 covers of women who defined a century, choosing one woman per year from 1920 through 2019.

The founders of the Black Lives Matter movement are on the list, which include political heavyweights, celebrity notables, dignitaries and trailblazers such as Michelle Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Aretha Franklin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chien-Shiung Wu, Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Marsha P. Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Billie Holliday.

Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi represent the year 2013, for when the hasthtag #BlackLivesMatter went viral following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the heinous killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

The cover art was illustrated by New York-based artist and writer Molly Crabapple, whose art is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art.