AT&T Unveils 2019 Edition of The Heritage Calendar

The new 2019 Edition of The Heritage Calendar: Celebrating the North Carolina African-American Experience is now available, AT&T* announced today.

The publication highlights individuals from across the state who have made a lasting impact for African-Americans in North Carolina and across the country.

“The fabric of North Carolina is woven from the experiences, dreams, and accomplishments of many extraordinary people,” said Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina. “We are excited about the opportunity to recognize the men and women featured in the 2019 calendar. It is a privilege to help preserve and share the stories of how these people have made a lasting difference in our state.”

“The fabric of North Carolina is woven from the experiences, dreams, and accomplishments of many extraordinary people.” —Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina

Coming from across North Carolina, the Class of 2019 represents a wide variety of fields, including education, law, politics, media, fire fighting, cabinetry, and community service.

The individuals spotlighted in the 2019 Heritage Calendar are:
  • The late Dorothy Allen-Freeman – Once a struggling single mother living in public housing, she became the first African-American woman to be the executive director of a non-profit agency in North Carolina. She served 30 years as Executive Director of Wake Opportunities, guiding the agency in providing housing and resources for low-income families.
  • Michael Bonner – A 2nd grade teacher in Greenville, he believes in helping his students broaden their perspectives on life to pursue their dreams. A video that went viral led to an appearance on national television and, as a result, his passion for teaching is changing lives nationwide by inspiring educators to use innovative strategies in helping students learn.
  • The late Arabelle Bryant – For nearly three-quarters of a century, the teacher and librarian poured her heart into New Bern, devoting her life to serving her community and helping make life better for its residents.
  • Angela Caraway – A trip to Tokyo inspired the creation of a non-profit community empowerment organization designed to provide life-changing opportunities for the youth of her native Anson County. Today, she is expanding the mission to include program for adults.
  • The late Thomas Day – One of the fathers of North Carolina’s furniture industry, he was the state’s most prominent cabinetmaker and architect before the Civil War, with a national reputation as an innovator and artisan. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the North Carolina Museum of History.
  • Engine 4 – In 1951, the Winston-Salem Fire Department chose eight African-American men from among 125 applicants to serve alongside seven white men on Engine 4, creating North Carolina’s first integrated fire department. The men were Willie “Chick” Carter, Robert Grier, and six who are now deceased: Raphael Black Lester Ervin, John Henry Ford, John Meredith, George Penn, and John Thomas.
  • Dianne English -- The executive director of the non-profit Community Building Initiative, she has been working for two decades to bring to life the values of inclusion and racial equity for the community and institutions in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
  • Howard Lee – Overcoming poverty and the racism of the Jim Crow south, he became one of North Carolina’s most respected political and education leaders. Along the way, in Chapel Hill in 1969, he made history as the first African-American to be elected mayor of a predominantly white Southern city.
  • Al McSurley – For more than 30 years, McSurely has been an uncompromising activist and attorney, using the law and the legal process to defend people of color and to fight for civil rights and racial equality.
  • Orage Quarles III – Nationally recognized in the newspaper industry for his leadership and commitment to strong, fact-based journalism, he was the first African-American publisher and president of The News & Observer in Raleigh.
  • Virginia Tally – For more than 30 years she served as an elementary school teacher in Triangle-area schools, inspiring students and colleagues with her wise words and energetic spirit. Now retired, she is a passionate visionary in the cause of human relations, working to build harmony throughout Raleigh.
  • Ann Woodford – Perhaps best-known as a historian, she has chronicled the rich and diverse history of African- American families and institutions in the seven western North Carolina counties. Yet she is also the founder of a non-profit community development corporation that has been building bridges between races and facilitating entrepreneurial and leadership opportunities for women and youth in far western North Carolina for 20 years.

The College of Arts and Sciences at Western Carolina University, The News & Observer, Capitol Broadcasting Company/WRAL-TV and Sheraton Raleigh Hotel serve as primary supporters on The Heritage Calendar project.

Media resources

Images of the 2019 honorees, in high- and low-resolution formats, as well as the published bios, may be downloaded from

To download an electronic copy of the calendar, click

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