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Dr. Niyi Coker, Director of African American Studies, EIU, 1997-1999.

John M. Craft, Associate Professor, Physical Education Department, Eastern Illinois University. In this photograph he was preparing for the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics in Germany. John placed 5th in the Triple Jump. He was an undergraduate student at EIU from 1965-1969 and a graduate student from 1970-1974. He has been on the faculty of EIU since 1970.

Mr. Anthony Blackwell, first African American editor of the Eastern News (the student newspaper), 1973.

Dr. Martin Hardeman, Associate Professor of History, EIU.

Dr. Nate Anderson, a graduate of EIU. Appointed to EIU Board of Trustees in 1996, reappointed to a six year term in 1999 and elected chair of the board on April 16, 2001.

Dr. Carol Surles, President, EIU, March 1, 1999 to July 31, 2001.

On January 16, 1990 history was made in Mattoon when Mrs. Elizabeth Nash, an East St. Louis native assumed the position of postmaster of the city. By her appointment she became the first African American and the fist female postmaster in Mattoon. Mrs. Nash who was a 1960 graduate of Lincoln Senior High School in East St. Louis, Illinois went on to earn a bachelor's and master's of business degrees at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. She joined the postal service in 1981 as a management associate and held positions in Chicago, Kansas City, Missouri, Rapid City, South Dakota and Omaha, Nebraska before moving to Mattoon. Prior to Mrs. Nash's historic appointment, another African American, Mr. Ralph E. Smith, Sr. became the first African American mail carrier in Mattoon in 1944. He had previously served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1943. Mr. Smith rose to the rank of postal clerk and retired in 1978. From 1970-1978 he was the in-plant post office representative at R.R. Donnelley & Sons Publishers in Mattoon. As an active member of his community, Mr. Smith was involved with Mattoon City Water Board, the American Cancer Society and Coles County Housing Authority. He died in 1981 at a young age of 56.

Rev. G. Harry Estell, Sr. represented a spirit of industry which existed in the black community. Born in 1890 to George Washington and Mary Jane Estell, Rev. Estell was ordained a minister in 1939 and became pastor of the Second Missionary Baptist Church. He worked as custodian for many businesses in Mattoon. But his major employment was with Craig & Craig Attorneys in Mattoon. A biographical sketch on Rev. Estell had these to say about him:

He carried keys to more than 20 different sets of offices and business establishments. He was an indefatigable worker and a man of the highest honor and integrity. In addition to the traditional things accomplished by a custodian, Rev. Estell did countless other things for Craig & Craig involving services which he did not and was not expected to render in connection with his other places of employment. For example, he was so well acquainted with the law library that it was he who returned the law books to their places after they had been used by attorneys. And eh attended to unpacking incoming texts, court reports, opinions, treatises and all other library materials. And he was so well acquainted with the over-all function of the library that he effectively placed all of these publications in their proper locations for the convenience of the attorneys. Rev. Estell was a man of towering stature. His contributions were great. (74)

For many years Mr. Kenneth "Crackers" Norton Sr. and his wife, Mrs. Ona Louisa Norton were the most recognized black family in Charleston. While Kenneth came from the Norton family of Mattoon, Ona was the daughter of James and Minnie Nash Stoner of Charleston. They married in 1913. At the time Kenneth died in 1973, they were married for sixty years. Mr. Norton shined shoes at different barbershops in Charleston. The most notable being the Model Barber Shop at 414 Sixth Street. Mrs. Norton on the other hand, first worked at her parents' restaurant on the Charleston Square. She later secured employment at such businesses as Edman's Bus Station and Charleston Country Club. Mrs. Norton also operated a beauty salon where she was believed to have given the first permanent wave in Charleston. In the 1950's a former Eastern Illinois University football coach, Ralph Kolh asked the Nortons to help locate accomodation for black athletes who could not find housing on campus. For her community service, in 1967 Mrs. Norton was honored as Citizen of the Year by the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce. The Concerned Citizens of Charleston in 1987 established a scholarship in her name for Eastern's African American students. In 1992 she was indicted to the EIU Athletic Hall of Fame as a Friend of the University and in 1994 was also named an honorary member of the university's Minority Alumni Hall of Fame. The Nortons left their footprints on the sand of time.

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