Other facts

Pontiac Black History 1820-1969


click here for Pontiac Black History 1969 to Today

1820 - Federal Census of Oakland County listed family of Mr. John Wilson as the first black family in Oakland County.
1825 – Elizabeth Denison Forth, former slave, through the encouragement of her employer Solomon Sibley, purchased land that is now bounded by Grandview on the north ; on the south by University Drive, on the west by Paddock Street and on the east by Montclair. Portions of this property would become the eastern part of Oakhill Cemetery.
1861 – Newman African Methodist Episcopal Church founded as the first
black church.
1870 – Black voting with passage of the 15th Amendment.
1900 – Burton “China” Hughes played on Pontiac High School’s First Championship Football Team; graduated from Pontiac High.
1916 – Joseph Jones opened the first black dry-cleaning establishment in the basement of the Chapman Hotel.
1917 - Nellie Morton was the first black female to graduate from Pontiac High.
1920 - Dr. M.L. Spears came to Pontiac and was the first black physician.
1920 - The Pontiac branch of the NAACP was organized at the Newman A.M.E. Church with Reverend J.A. Charleston as the first black President.
1926 - Attorney Oliver Green served as our first black attorney in Pontiac.
1930 - Allen D. Noble and Edward Slater formed the Southwest Civic Community Center (it became the Urban League in 1949)
1939 - Allen D. Noble became the first black uniformed policeman. (There were two blacks hired before Noble, but they were not uniformed.)
1940 - Dr. Howard McNeill served as the first black City Commissioner.
1943 - Helen Hatchett held a non-medial job at the Riker Building as the first black Stenographer for the Oakland County Tuberculosis Society.
1944 - The Pontiac Challenger was established as the first black newspaper.
1946 - John F. Hatchett became the NAACP Youth Chapter President. He along with James McMillan and Henry Williams were able to open up bowling alleys, skating rinks and restaurants in Pontiac.
1947 - John F. Hatchett appointed as the first black lab assistant in the Chemistry Department at Pontiac High School, and was elected President of the Chemistry-Physics Club.
1947 - Bernice (Carpenter) Ferguson started the first Black Campfire Girls.
1957 – Rosemary Corr became the first black female supervisor at Pontiac General Hospital (currently known as North Oakland Medical Center).
1963 – Eleanor Mickens became the first black female Pontiac Police Officer
1963 – Elaine Eason transferred into the Medical Records Department at Pontiac General Hospital (currently known as North Oakland Medical Center) and became the first black female of that department.
1964 – Hayes Jones won an Olympic Gold Medal in Tokyo for the 110 meter hurdles.
1965 – Harambee was formed to solve local problems in business and housing for blacks.
1966 – Elizabeth Ross became the first black dietitian at Clinton Valley.
1968 – Black Cultural Center was opened on Sanford Street.
1968 – Newman Non-Profit Housing Board of Directors was formed.
1969 – Richard Craig was named the first black Personnel Director of the Pontiac School District.