Posthumous Award Bernard Cohen, 1st President of the Brockton Area Branch NAACP

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1 Award Recipients It is our pleasure to honor the following individuals for their past and present outstanding contribution to the mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in our community. Posthumous Award Bernard Cohen, 1st President of the Brockton Area Branch NAACP Fmr. Judge Bernard Cohen was educated at Brockton High School, Boston University College of Business Administration, Princeton University and Boston University School of Law. He opened his own law office in 1449 in Brockton, starting as a general practitioner. Shortly thereafter he began to concentrate his practice on Worker s Compensation and Personal Injury Law. Bernie was a member of the Massachusetts Bar, Federal Bar and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was a member of the Plymouth County Bar Assoc., the Massachusetts Bar Association, the industrial Accident Board, the Association of Trial Lawyers of American and the Boston Bar Association. His parents, David and Pauline Cohen, were proprietors of a small grocery store at the corner of North Main and Wyman Streets for many years. In June of 1973 Bernie was appointed a Judge by Governor Francis X. Sargent. His community activities include first President of the Brockton Branch pf the NAACP, Chairman of the Brockton Redevelopment Authority, Chairman of the Citizen s Committee of Urban Renewal, Chairman of the Brockton Family Service Association and a member of Stonehill College Century Club.

2 He was elected a delegate to many Massachusetts Democratic State Conventions and to two National Democratic Conventions. Bernie was a veteran of WW II and served overseas in the 104 th Infantry Division in the battles and campaigns of Northern France, the Rhineland and Central Europe. Posthumous Award Vernon Sport, Tuskegee Airman and past president of Brockton Area Branch NAACP Vernon K. Sport was elected President of the Brockton Area NAACP in He later served as President of the New England Area Conference of NAACP branches, and he also served on the NAACP Board of Directors. Vernon was an Affirmative Action Officer for the court system for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was a founding board member of Self Help Inc. in Brockton, the social service organization established in the The War on Poverty to provide job training and placement for a new workforce. He was on the board of the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. He was appointed by the mayor as an official Representative of the City of Brockton to attend the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Vernon K. Sport was born in Lynn, MA on July 15, After graduation from high school he enlisted in the Army Corps in November 0f He was appointed Captain Squad Commander in the Aviation Cadet Corps of Moten Field, Tuskegee, Alabama, later to be known as the Tuskegee Airmen and the Red Tailed Angels. He was most proud of his Congressional Gold Medal awarded by the President in a ceremony at the White House honoring the Tuskegee Airmen. Upon his retirement from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Vernon moved to Conyers, Georgia where he continued his work for justice and equality. He was a member of the Atlanta Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. The mayor of Conyers proclaimed February 15, 2008 as Vernon K. Sport Day. He was also recognized on that day for coverage and valor by the United States Post Office.

3 Vernon was a Suffolk University graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and he received a Master's Degree at Goddard College in Vermont. Vernon had always been a man of great strength with abiding faith. He worked tirelessly to preserve those ideas throughout his life. Youth Award Adrian Niles, NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medalist Born with a knack for creating, Adrian Niles, 18, grew from tinkering with Legos when he was 4. As a freshman, his first invention was a beverage coaster that lit up when an item was placed on top of it. He won first place and $500 for that invention. With a desire to push himself further, he moved on to the Segway, the invention of which, he said, he is most proud. He build from scratch his own version of the Segway, a motor-powered two-wheeler. Adrian s modified Segway, which he calls the Self- Balancing People Mover, shot the recent high school graduate to science-fair stardom. Adrian became a participant in the NAACP ACT-SO Program. ACT-SO stands for Afro- Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) and is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. In May, his project - which includes safety features designed to help the elderly and disabled move around more safely - helped win him a $7,500 Mathworks award and first place at the 2014 Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair. He also won the 2014 American Society of Safety Engineers Award and he took top honors in engineering at the 2013 NAACP ACT-SO. Adrian also won the gold medal at the South Shore Regional Science Fair in March. His invention has garnered numerous awards and recognition from Mayor Bill Carpenter and Brockton City Council to the Statehouse. His success even took him to White House where his most notable audience member yet - was President Barack Obama. From his success at the White House, he received an invitation from Will I Am, who said to him Let s Build Something Big to travel to Los Angeles to work in his studio The

4 Future for ten days this past August. In the studio, Adrian was able to 3DPrint his project. For ten days he was able to design and create whatever he wanted. It was an amazing opportunity to be in a space where he was able to be creative and learn from designers in the Studio. Over 600 youth from around the country participated in the ACT-SO program nationally in Las Vegas this past July and Adrian brought home the gold for his invention. Adrian graduated from Southeast Regional Vocational-Technical High School this past June. He was an honor roll student throughout his entire four years. He is currently a freshman at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. His ultimate dream is to build the fastest moving electric car, and we wish him every success. Award Recipient Robert Jones, Former Superintendent, Brockton Public Schools Robert C. Jones was the first and only African-American to be named as superintendent of Brockton Public Schools. He held that position for three years at the end of a long career with the Brockton school system that began in 1960, when he began teaching at North Junior High. In addition to teaching, Mr. Jones held a number of administrative positions in the school department, including Assistant Principal, Coordinator of Administrative Services, and Administrative Assistant for the entire system. During his tenure as superintendent in Brockton, Mr. Jones put a school improvement plan into effect that solved segregation problems that had plagued officials for a decade. By locating new magnet schools in downtown areas, he helped qualify the city for state funds to build three new schools: the Arnone, the Plouffe, and the Angelo.

5 Robert C. Jones was born in Mt. Vernon, NY, on August 27, 1931, and lived there for two years before moving first to Boston and then, when he was ten years old, to Brockton, where his father worked at Peter s Lunch with Christo Tsaganis. At Brockton High School, Bob was a track star and team captain, setting local and state records in the high jump, long jump, and relay events. After seeing him perform at a New England regional meet, the Tufts College track coach asked Bob to apply to Tufts, where Bob would become class poet and vice president in his senior year. In 1952, Bob and two other talented athletes from a Tufts team that had beaten Harvard and BU at regional meets drove to Los Angeles in a 1940 Dodge convertible to try out for the United States Olympic team. The car broke down on the way back, making it necessary for Bob to hitchhike by himself back to Brockton. Bob s record in the long jump at Tufts lasted for twenty-three years. The hurdles and pitfalls of track and field events were not the only barriers that Mr. Jones had to overcome. When he applied for a teaching job in Brockton, he was told he would first have to earn a master s degree. Bob earned a master s degree at Bridgewater State College in Later he finished the coursework for an EdD at Boston University and was elected to Pi Lambda Theta, the National Honor Society of Educators and Professionals. During the seven years between graduating from Tufts and gliding over the high bar seemingly set just for him by Brockton school officials, Bob worked as a window washer in Boston and as a psychiatric nursing assistant at the Brockton VA Hospital. In 1960, Mr. Jones was the only African-American teaching in the Brockton Public School system. Near the end of his career, Mr. Jones taught for several years as an adjunct instructor in Harvard s Graduate School of Education. His thirty-seven years of labor for the Brockton Public Schools, including years of overseeing the physical plants of the system and being the system s chief administrator, left Brockton schools proudly desegregated without the social problems that plagued countless school systems elsewhere in the United States. To the discerning eye, both the work and the legacy of Robert C. Jones are now and always will be evident throughout the City of Champions.

6 Award Recipient Lucia Shannon, Brockton Public Library Lucia is the Head of Adult Services for the Brockton Public Library. Born March 11, 1951 to Margaret and Charles Shannon, Lucia grew up in Rockland, MA attending public schools and graduated from Rockland High school in Lucia did her undergraduate study at Mt. Holyoke College. and Boston University. She completed a Master degree in Library Science in 1974 from Simmons College Graduate School of Library Science. Lucia began her career at the Brockton Public Library as the first Reader s Advisor. Eight years later in 1982 she became Head of Adult Services. Ms. Shannon married Hugh M. Crane in They had two wonderful children, Roxanne and Daniel, and a son-in-law Ethan Warner. She has been a member of Altrusa International since 1991, a service organization similar to Rotary, serving as secretary, then Vice President, and President. More recently she joined School on Wheels as a tutor to homeless children. In 2006 and 2013 she received outstanding awards from the Brockton Rotary Club. When Lucia first took note of the library collection, she observed that information about artists, authors and members of various ethnic communities were not well represented. She began collecting pamphlets and articles to highlight the activities and achievements of this larger population. She expanded the library collection to include new immigrants and the broadening of literature by and for African Americans for whom the last four decades represent a modern renaissance. Special collections of African American fiction and African American non-fiction were created and enlarged. Brockton needed a stage to present its new rich culture. Kwanza Network held Women s History Programs featuring women of color. National Book Award winner,

7 Edward Ball author of Slaves in the Family spoke to a packed house. Professor Robert Hall led a discussion on African Americans Making a Living in New England. Juneteenth celebrations were held at the library. Indaba Theater of New England performed dramatic presentations. The play Souls of Black Girls came to the library. There were displays of African Wrap dolls and Black Barbies. The library book group headed by Lucia also selects authors from and around the globe. A corner of the library is devoted to the city s Underground Railroad History. Lucia has featured, collaborated and promoted numerous artists of color by sponsoring them in art exhibits at the library gallery. A longtime patron of the library comments that Lucia s staff feels and looks like City of Brockton, present day and future. The staff is White, Black, Cape Verdean, male, female of professional and non-professional status. Lucia is alert and sensitive to change in the City of Brockton. From 1974 to the present Lucia Shannon has been a student of Brockton. Her mentors are many in number and diverse in background. For Lucia they have made everything possible by sharing their knowledge and talent. Lucia recently was a guest on the Brockton Area Branch, Cable Access Television Show NAACP Forum. Today we celebrate Lucia Shannon for all her good work.

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