Harvey B. Gantt, architect and politician, was born January 14, 1943 in Charleston, South Carolina to Christopher and Wilhelmenia Gantt. In 1961, Gantt attended Iowa State University. After one year of study, he returned to South Carolina and soon afterwards sued to enter racially segregated Clemson University. On January 16, 1963, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Clemson to admit Gantt who became its first African American student. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Clemson with honors in 1965. In 1970, Gantt earned a M.A. in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
During the 1970s Gantt worked at various architectural firms in Charlotte, North Carolina where he settled after receiving his degree from MIT. Between 1970 and 1971 he collaborated with civil rights activist Floyd B. McKissick to design Soul City, North Carolina, an experimental interracial community in eastern North Carolina. In 1971 Gantt left the Soul City project, returning to Charlotte to launch an architectural firm with Jeffrey Huberman. Some of the firm’s projects include the construction of the Charlotte Transportation Center, Transamerica Square, and First Ward Recreation Center.
In 1974 Gantt’s political career began with his appointment to the Charlotte City Council to fill the seat vacated by Fred Alexander, the council’s only black member. Gantt served on the Council until 1983. While on the council, he encouraged black voting and reformed the process of electing city council members. In 1983 Gantt was nominated as the Democratic candidate for mayor and elected as Charlotte’s first and, to date, only black mayor. He won the election with 52% of the overall vote and 36% of the white vote and then served a four year term as mayor. Gantt unsuccessfully ran two U.S. Senatorial campaigns against Republican Senator Jesse Helms in 1990 and 1996. In the close and particularly bitter 1990 contest Helms’ campaign used shrewdly crafted TV ads targeting white fears about affirmative action which Gantt’s supporters claimed were racially motivated. Nonetheless Gantt received 47% of the vote in the race against a nationally known incumbent Senator who had held the seat 17 years.
Gantt currently manages a successful architectural firm and remains active in politics. He has served on the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council, the Democratic National Committee, and the National Capital Planning Commission. Gantt has also received awards from the Charlotte branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Leadership Charlotte in 2006. He has also received honorary degrees from Belmont Abbey College, Johnson C. Smith University, and Clemson University.
Harvey Gantt lives with his wife Cindy in Charlotte and they have four children: Sonja, Erika, Angela, and Adam.
LEBRON JAMES SCHOOL CRUSHING EXPECTATIONS … Huge Gains In Test Scores
LeBron James says he’s INCREDIBLY PROUD of stats showing the students at his “I Promise” school in Akron are making tremendous gains in statewide testing … just 1 year after it opened.
There are only 240 students in the inaugural 3rd and 4th grade classes at the Akron school — but numbers obtained by the NY Times show test scores in math and reading were up BIG after the first year.
In reading, the 3rd and 4th graders had initially scored in the lowest percentile — the 1%.
But, after a year, when the students took the district-wide exams, the 3rd graders JUMPED to the 9th percentile and the 4th graders moved to the 16th!
Take a second and reflect on that — those are HUGE gains.
And that’s not all … when it came to math, the 3rd graders jumped from the 1% to the 18th percentile — and 4th graders moved from the 2% to the 30th!!!!
When asked about the incredible improvements, LeBron told the Times, “These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected.”
He added, “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school.”
“People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”
So, what does go on behind their doors?
Besides access to teachers and materials, the school also provides clothing and snacks to families that need it … which is partially funded by LeBron’s foundation.
Keep up the good work!!!
Jaden Smith’s JUST Water company brings mobile water filtration system to Flint
FLINT, Mich. (WXYZ) — Jaden Smith is helping the residents of Flint through a new initiative. The rapper, actor and co-founder of the eco-friendly company JUST Water has partnered with a local Flint church to deploy a mobile water treatment system.
The system is called “The Water Box” and it filters out lead and additional contaminants in water, according to a press release.
Flint’s water crisis began in April 2014 after the city’s water source was switched from the Detroit River to the Flint River, which resulted in city-wide lead contamination of public drinking water. First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Flint has been on the front line of the battle to restore drinkable water in the city. The church has also given out over 5 million bottles of water to local residents.
In 2018, the free bottled water program set up by the state was ended under former Gov. Rick Snyder. However, a recent announcement by newly appointed Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer states that the program will be reinstated . Bottle donations for the city have declined and accessing clean water continues to be an issue, which is why JUST Water stepped in to assist, according to a release.
“This has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences for me personally,” Smith said.
“Working together with people in the community experiencing the problems and design(ing)
something to help them has been a journey I will never forget. We are planning to deploy more water boxes in
Flint and other communities facing similar challenges.”
The Water Box will produce up to 10 gallons of clean drinking water per minute. The water is tested each day with use, as well as every few weeks by an independent and certified laboratory.
Residents will be able to fill any container of their choice with the clean water. The filtration device will be available through the church with set distribution times.
“We are committed to serving the community in which we worship in.” said Ezra Tillman, pastor of First Trinity Baptist church.
Jaden Smith and his partner Drew FitzGerald are the co-founders of JUST goods and of 501CTHREE.org. The Water Box initiative is also in partnership with The Last Kilometer, Rethink H20 with help from Black Millennials For Flint.
Landscaping business owner helps fatherless kids through non-profit in Ennis, Waxahachie
Justin Chappell grew up without a father. Much later in life, he did find his heavenly father and now helps other fatherless children to do the same.
Chappell is an Ennis resident who runs two businesses in Ellis County – Bama Landscaping in Ennis and Chappell’s Copieshop in Waxahachie. Chappell said he works tirelessly throughout the week for both of his businesses, but he runs the two to fund his real passion: Bloodz For Christ, a non-profit he founded in 2009 to support and minister inner-city youth in low-income communities.
He said the goal was to help the next generation through one-on-one mentorships and relationships some of them might not have had at home.
“I donate probably about 85 percent of whatever profit we make to my nonprofit to keep these kids off the streets,” Chappell said. “My business is pretty much the only thing funding my nonprofit.” ″
But years before he even thought of starting BOC, Chappell had a bleak past that was filled with drugs, gangs and jail bars. He said he was able to overcome it with God’s help, and he hopes to help show others how to do the same.
FROM ALABAMA TO TEXAS
Chappell was born Jan. 23, 1984 in Birmingham, AL. Chappell said he didn’t have a father, and he got into it with some of the wrong people, which included a few gangs.
“Alabama is real bad,” Chapell recalled. “My buddy got kidnapped. They killed him. I was honestly scared.”
Chappell got away from Alabama and moved to Corsicana, where he received a scholarship to play basketball at Navarro College. He later transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington before suffering a career-ending injury.
Chappell said he got depressed. So, he attempted to fill the void through unconventional means.
“In Texas, drugs are cheap,” Chappell said. “So I started trafficking, living that lifestyle. Not having any other avenue as a black man, the easiest thing for us to do is to sell drugs. It’s right there. We can all do it, and you got people to train you.”
Chappell said his mother kept discouraging him from drug trafficking and kept pressing him to go to church. He didn’t listen, and he paid the price much later when he was arrested for drug possession.
He said his bail was set at $150,000. His mother didn’t have the money.
“It was my rock-bottom,” he recalled. “I remember praying to God, and it was like ‘God, if you get me out of here, I will go to that church my momma has been telling me about. I promise.’ I just kept begging him.”
That same week, his stepfather won a lawsuit he had been fighting for about a decade. Chappell’s freedom was bought and paid for. He was 22.
Chappell said he messed up big time, but God was watching him and leading him on the right path.
“It was like a reality check,” Chappell said. “I cried, and I thanked him for giving me the opportunity. He could have sent me to prison.”
LIFE OUT FROM BEHIND BARS
Chappell started going to church, just like he promised. He said as he went, his whole outlook on life began to change.
“I started seeing a lot different,” Chappell said. “I changed my whole philosophy. God had a purpose for me, and I had to serve it.”
But life was difficult to adjust to after Chappell left the county jail. He said he was on probation, and people didn’t want to hire him given his criminal record.
He said he couldn’t find a job because of his circumstances.
Around that time, he explained, a close friend had just been released from prison after being locked up for the better part of 10 years.
When they were discussing what they could do, he asked his friend what he was good at. He said, “cutting grass.”
That was when Chappell had the idea of starting a small landscaping company, ultimately deciding to call it “Bama’s Landscaping” after his sweet home Alabama.
“I was doing this broke, making $500 every two weeks, a single father with a one-year-old and a three-year-old,” Chappell said. “It’s sad, but it’s motivation. I was still doing this.”
One thing Chappell realized quickly was how difficult it was for many former prisoners to find employment after release. To help others and his business, he offered jobs to former inmates once they served their sentence.
Chappell has since purchased six trucks and partners with the Ellis and Navarro County probation departments to find new workers.
“I open it up,” he said. “Guys that normally can’t find jobs, I’ll hook them up with a job and give them a truck. Then they’ll pretty much create their own business.”
“The business kind of took off on me,” he chuckled.
BLOODZ OF CHRIST
Whenever he was working, Chappell said he felt like he needed to do more for his community. He said he saw many kids in the same dangerous situations as he once was.
So in 2009, he founded BOC to instill the values in the next generation that he never learned himself. The organization partners up with the Boys and Girls Club in Ennis and supports more than 100 boys from Waxahachie, Ennis, Desoto and Dallas.
“Black males with no father, it’s like a cycle,” he expressed. “And I know the only way to break the cycle because I’m supposed to be a statistic. You mold them. You teach them. You show them how to make it.”
Chappell said he started the program with six kids. Three of them are now preachers. The other three, he said, have all been to prison, but he plans to help them whenever they get out by saving a job for them at Bama’s.
“I go to poverty-stricken areas, and I lay my smack-down,” he stated. “I gather as many kids as I can get, and they just come to me like a magnet. I’m like a celebrity when it comes to kids.”
Chappell said the BOC has several activities that the kids can participate in. He said the kids could be part of a Mime Club and join in dance-offs, can compete in a chess club and make their own music from Chappell’s recording equipment.
Plus, Chappell trains their youth basketball team on Sundays at the Boys and Girls Club in Ennis.
But the extraordinary moments for Chappell involve the BOC’s outreach efforts to the community. He recalled one memory when a woman was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago, and the BOC went to the hospital to pray with her. Two weeks later, she visited one of the BOC’s dance-offs at their church and expressed her gratitude to them, saying that her own grandkids don’t see her as much as the BOC kids did.
She died two weeks later. Chappell said he was grateful that she got to spend some of her final moments with the BOC.
“They get to see this stuff,” Chappell said. “I get to teach them real-life lessons that school is not going to teach you – that not having a man in your life is not going to teach you. To see them to grow up and become ministers to the world. We fund that.”
Recently, Bama’s Landscaping won a customer video contest with Mulligan Funding, a privately owned family business in California that issues loans to small and medium-sized companies. The prize was a 60-second professional video animation produced by Mulligan Funding to be used for promotional purposes at the business’ discretion.
However, instead of the promotion, Chappell asked Mulligan if they would instead donate the money to the BOC. Chappell said Mulligan complied and gave $1,500 to the BOC, which Chappell said would last the non-profit about three months.
Chappell said he’s happy and grateful for the opportunities he’s been given to help guide these kids toward their futures.
“I’m doing something positive and feeling blessed from it,” he expressed. “We’re saving lives, man.”
If you would like to donate or learn more about the BOC, call 214-554-8358 or email email@example.com.
By David Dunn | firstname.lastname@example.org