Friday, August 7, 2009

Ferris In The News

Doyle Named to Michigan Restaurant Association Board

The Michigan Restaurant Association announced the election of Julie Doyle of Big Rapids as a member to its board of directors. Doyle is the coordinator of Hospitality programs and an associate professor at Ferris State University, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. “Julie Doyle is knowledgeable and is passionate about educating tomorrow’s leaders in the hospitality industry,” said Rob Gifford, president and chief executive officer of the MRA. “We are pleased she has joined our board of directors.” As an active member with the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association, Hotel Sales Marketing Association International, Kent County Lodging Association, Michigan Council of Hotel and Institutional Educators, and the Michigan Hospitality Educators Alliance Career Fair, Doyle has earned a variety of experience in the hospitality industry.

College of Optometry Dean Search Coming to a Close

Ferris State University could soon have a new dean to go along with a brand new building for its Michigan College of Optometry, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. The search for a new dean, which has been narrowed down to three finalists, could be completed within a week, Ferris Vice President for Academic Affairs Fritz Erickson said. “It’s important that we do a thorough job with the search,” he said. “But with the new academic year starting in a few weeks, we’d like the search to be resolved soon.” Open sessions for the three finalists were held in June, with the campus able to get a closer look at the candidates. The finalists include Michigan College of Optometry professor Mark Swan, MCO professor Michael Cron and external candidate Timothy Wingert. The new dean will be responsible for a student body of more than 140 students and 22 full-time faculty, but also will play a role in overseeing the construction of the new MCO building.

Ferris Announces 2009 Athletics Hall of Fame Class

Ferris State University announced the 2009 class for its Athletics Hall of Fame. The seven-member class includes Monty Brown (football), Andy Roach (hockey), former athletic director Dean Davenport, Deb Bolinger (softball), Tim Herman (basketball), Bill Scheible (football) and Karen (Kramer) Trierweiler (basketball), the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. A 15-member selection committee of faculty, staff, alumni and community members chose the inductees from among 35 nominees. “With this being the 10th anniversary of starting the Hall of Fame, I am continually amazed at the tremendous attributes of the former Bulldogs that are being inducted each year,” said Ferris Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic. “These seven inductees are all folks that any Bulldog supporter would be extremely proud to include as members of the Hall of Fame.” The seven new inductees will join 88 honorees already enshrined during the 10th annual Induction Banquet on Oct. 30 at Ferris’ Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids. Read more at

Ferris Finds a Link between Community and Culture with Host Family Program

Ferris State University Opens its Arms to International Students

BIG RAPIDS – Leaving the world they know, international students take a leap out of their comfort zone to take advantage of educational opportunities at Ferris State University. However, like any new experience, they might not know what to expect upon arriving in Big Rapids.

This is why beginning this fall, Ferris Family Links (Links) will fill in that gap by providing a link between new international students on campus and the Big Rapids community.
An informational orientation session for those interested in becoming a host family to a new international student will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 in FLITE Room 404.

The purpose of a program such as Links is to connect international students with faculty and families in the Big Rapids community. Once entered into the Links program, one international student will be matched up with one host family. Although it is encouraged, host families need not have a traditional family structure, and can even consist of just one member.

For the complete story, check out the Ferris State University News Services Web site:

Bulldog Athletics Announces 2009 Hall of Fame Inductees

Athletes representing five different sports spanning three decades along two former administrators are included in the Ferris State University Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2009, which will be inducted this fall.

Chosen as the Class of 2009 are: Deb Bolinger of Marietta, Ga., softball (1978-82); Monty Brown of Saginaw, football (1989-92); Dean Davenport of Big Rapids, athletics administrator & coach (1970-93); Tim Herman of Ortonville, men's basketball (1976-79); Andy Roach of Mattawan, hockey (1993-97); Karen (Kramer) Trierweiler of Grand Ledge, women's basketball (1983-87); and Bill Scheible of Big Rapids, who played football (1974-76) for Ferris and also served the athletics department in a variety of capacities after his playing career concluded.

A 15-member Selection Committee of faculty, staff, alumni and community members chose the inductees from among 35 nominees.

"With this being the 10th anniversary of starting the Hall of Fame, I am continually amazed at the tremendous attributes of the former Bulldogs that are being inducted each year," said FSU Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic. "These seven inductees are all folks that any Bulldog supporter would be extremely proud to include as members of the Hall of Fame."

The seven new inductees will join 88 honorees already enshrined during the 10th annual Induction Banquet on Oct. 30 at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids. The event opens at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) with a reception in honor of this year's inductees. The dinner runs from 7-8 p.m. (EDT) and the induction program follows until approximately 10 p.m. (EDT).

This year's honorees will also be recognized the following day (Oct. 31) during halftime activities as the Bulldog football team takes on Hillsdale in the 10th annual Hall of Fame Game with kickoff set for 2 p.m. (EDT) at Top Taggart Field.

"The two female former student-athletes (Bolinger and Trierweiler) remain high on the statistical lists of their respective sports even after all these years," Kirinovic said. "Meanwhile, Andy Roach continues to compete at an international level in his sport and has always worn his Bulldog colors with pride. Additionally, the Flint area has been a tremendous source of students and athletes for Ferris for many years and you will not find any greater competitors and representatives than Tim Herman and Monty Brown.

"Finally, in Dean Davenport and Bill Scheible you have two gentlemen who have strongly contributed to Bulldog Athletics for many years in their various roles as a student-athlete, coach, both as administrators for the athletics department, and financial boosters of our efforts," he added.

The Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame, which inducted its Charter Class in 2000, was established to honor those student-athletes and coaches who have distinguished themselves in their sport or honorary members who made truly exceptional contributions to athletics.

For ticket information, please contact Frank Dye at (231) 591-2862 or via email at

Following are thumbnail sketches of each new inductee:

Deb Bolinger (Softball, 1978-82)
One of Ferris State's early softball greats, Bolinger earned first-team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference accolades in 1982. She twice (1981-82) attained team Most Valuable Player Award recognition and was a 1981 Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) All-State selection. The standout catcher from Bentley High School in Burton powered Ferris to three consecutive national tournament appearances, including a berth in the inaugural NCAA-II National Championships under head coach Carol Hutchins in 1982. Bolinger, who served as the squad's co-captain as a senior (1982), ran off a streak of 113 consecutive games as a starting catcher. She guided FSU to its first-ever GLIAC Championship with a 23-11 overall record and a 10-0 league ledger in 1982. Bolinger compiled a team-high .310 batting average along with team bests in hits (39), doubles (4) and runs batted in (18) while sparking FSU to a ninth-place AIAW Division II College World Series finish and a 23-16 overall mark as a junior in 1981 under head coach Monica Folske. The four-year letterwinner had 17 hits and batted in 12 runs during her sophomore campaign (1980) as FSU went 26-8 and placed fifth at the AIAW Division II Championships. She hit .290 with nine hits and seven runs scored as a freshman in 1979 when the Bulldogs tallied a 14-6 record and a runner-up league finish. Bolinger concluded her career with 79 hits, 40 runs batted in and seven triples. Her seven triples currently ranks tied for 11th among the school's all-time performers. She currently lives in Marietta, Ga.

Monty Brown (Football, 1989-92)
Brown, the first Bulldog athlete in school history to be named both a first-team All-American and a first-team Academic All-American, was the leader of a football resurgence at Ferris during the 1990's. The linebacker went on to play for five years in the National Football League and was a member of two different Super Bowl teams before beginning a career in professional wrestling. He placed fifth as a national finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy awarded to the NCAA Division II Player of the Year in 1992 after twice receiving first team all-conference accolades. The three-time first team league all-academic team pick was the conference co-player of the year in 1992 and the school's MVP as a senior. Brown earned consensus first team All-America kudos his final year and was honored as the C.M. Frank National Defensive Player of the Year. He continues to hold the school record for fumble recoveries in his career and ranks second with 584 total tackles along with 12th in sacks (17.5). In addition, his 16 career interceptions is also second in Bulldog history and he led Ferris in tackles three consecutive seasons (1990-92). The Bulldogs posted a 10-3 mark his final campaign and became the first of five consecutive FSU teams to reach the NCAA Division II Playoffs. He played football professionally for five years, competing in Super Bowl XXVIII for the Bills in 1994. Brown also started as an inside linebacker for the New England Patriots in 1996. In professional wrestling, he is best known for his time with both World Wrestling Entertainment's ECW brand, where he wrestled under the ring name Marcus Cor Von and, prior to that, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, where he wrestled under his given name. In both companies he utilized the nickname "The Alpha Male." Brown has also wrestled for a number of independent promotions, including Blood, Sweat and Ears, Juggalo Championship Wrestling and the Universal Wrestling Alliance.

Dean Davenport (Athletics Administrator & Coach, 1970-93)
Davenport served as Ferris State's Athletics Director from 1979 to 1993 when the Bulldogs won the GLIAC President's Cup for all-around excellence 13 consecutive years. A coach and administrator at FSU for 23 years, Davenport's career was highlighted by the growth and success of athletics and the recreation/intramural program at Ferris. The Bulldogs won a total of 73 league championships during his tenure and he was instruemental in the planning of the FSU Sports Complex, the growth of women's intercollegiate athletics, the emergence of Ferris' NCAA Division I men's ice hockey program and the development of the athletics scholarship program. A Central Michigan graduate, Davenport's career in education spanned 36 years. He served as head boys basketball coach at Traverse City High School and was an assistant at both CMU and Cal-State Northridge before becoming AD and head coach at Iowa Wesleyan College. He moved to Ferris in 1970 as an assistant to head coach Jim Wink and was an athletics coordinator along with developing the recreation and leisure curriculum. He also served the university as director of the health, physical education and recreation program from 1977 to 1979 when he was appointed athletics director. Davenport was a leader in the NCAA, serving on the nominating and men's sports committees. In addition, he was on the honors committee, basketball rating and selection committee and the scholarship committee. He also served as president of the CCHA, MIFC and the GLIAC. While at Ferris, Davenport hired a number of present Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame coaches including Dan Ley, Monica Folske, Gary Waters, Kathy DeBoer, Jud Folske, Jim Miller, Ron English, Lewis Garner, Keith Otterbein and Jill Hirschinger. As an assistant basketball coach at Ferris, Davenport helped the Bulldogs post a 167-76 overall mark from 1970-79. He also served as a consultant to the FSU men's basketball program for several years during retirement. The Charlevoix native still resides in Big Rapids along with his wife, Joyce.

Tim Herman (Men's Basketball, 1976-79)
Herman recorded 889 points along with 265 rebounds as a Bulldog men's basketball player from 1976-79. The 1977 NAIA District 23 Honorable Mention pick served as captain of Ferris' 1978-79 squad. He was the first male recipient of the Bulldog of the Year Award when it was introduced following the 1978-79 athletics season. Herman guided the Bulldogs to a 17-9 overall mark and a trip to the NAIA District 23 playoffs his senior campaign. The Flint Powers High School product shot a team-best 77.9% from the charity stripe as a senior. A four-year letterwinner, Herman established a then-school career mark of 425 assists in his playing career. He averaged 11.5 points his final campaign after totaling nearly eight assists per game as a junior. He continues to rank fourth on the program's all-time assists leaders chart while his 186 assists in 1977-78 represents the school's second-best seasonal figure to date. Herman also had a team-high 138 assists in 1976-77. He still holds the individual game mark of 14 assists set in two different games during the 1977-78 season. The Bulldogs earned a conference runner-up finish with a 19-8 overall record in 1976-77. Since earning a bachelor's degree in accountancy from Ferris, Herman has went on to a successful business career. He has served as the CEO of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce and sits on a number of community boards and agencies along with various volunteer work. Herman and his wife, JoAnne, live in Ortonville and have four children.

Andy Roach (Hockey, 1993-97)
A former two-time All-American at Ferris State, Roach compiled 129 career points with 42 goals and 87 assists in 138 games at FSU. Roach, who currently ranks 17th among the Bulldogs' all-time leaders in scoring and 14th in assists, garnered All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First-Team accolades twice (1995-97) while receiving second-team laurels in 1994-95 and league all-rookie plaudits in 1993-94. He was named the CCHA's Best "Offensive" Defenseman in the 1996-97 season after attaining runner-up honors the previous campaign (1995-96). Roach, who was selected FSU's Most Valuable Player in both the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, presently owns the distinction of being the Bulldogs' top goal scorer among the program's all-time defensemen and is second in career points. Roach received second-team All-America honors twice (1995-96 and 1996-97) by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) during his four-year (1993-97) FSU career. Following his Ferris career, Roach has played for several teams during his distinguished professional hockey career including a stint with the NHL's St. Louis Blues in 2005-06. He has also played in the IHL, AHL and overseas, most recently with the Berlin Polar Bears from 2006 to 2009. A two-time (2004-05) World Cup of Hockey participant, Roach was among 39 players to be invited to the 2005 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp designed to assist in the preparation of the United States Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. The 5-11, 181-pound Roach, a native of Mattawan, Mich., totaled three points (all assists) in seven outings at the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Men's World Championships. In the 2004 IIHF World Championships at Prague, Czech Republic, Roach guided the United States Men's National Team to the bronze medal with the game-winning goal in a 1-0 shootout victory against Slovakia. Roach was the lone player on the 2004 U.S.A. roster for the World Cup of Hockey with no NHL playing experience at the time.

Bill Scheible (Football, 1974-76)
A 1976 All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Honorable Mention selection, Scheible paced the Bulldogs in receiving during the ‘76 season with 19 catches for 321 yards (16.9 avg.) and one touchdown. A former defensive back and three-year starter, Scheible led FSU in punt returns with 12 for 170 yards and a 14.2 average, fifth best in NCAA Division III for the 1975 season. For his three-year career, Scheible totaled 22 receptions for 378 yards and a touchdown (17.2 avg.) and posted 265 yards on 29 punt returns (9.1 avg.). As a senior in 1976, he had six punt returns for 31 yards (5.2 avg.). In his junior season (1975), Scheible notched three receptions for 57 yards (19.0 avg.). He garnered a team-leading 11 punt returns for 64 yards (5.8 avg.) during his sophomore campaign in 1974. Scheible, who hails from Emmett, was later employed at Ferris State as an athletics department administrator and alumni relations director. He served FSU as the Ewigleben Ice Arena Manager, Athletics Business Manager and Assistant to the Athletics Director during his tenure. Now a State Farm Insurance agent in Big Rapids, he was named the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year in 1999. Scheible has earned his firm's Legion of Honor and Bronze Tablet for sales excellence. Very active as a community leader and volunteer, the longtime supporter of Bulldog Athletics has served as president of the FSU Gridiron Club and Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce along with being involved with the Big Rapids Jaycees, Big Rapids Little League, Mecosta County United Way and St. Paul's Campus Parish. Scheible and his family have also made numerous financial contributions to the university to help support athletics over the years. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children, Nick and Lindsey, and reside in Big Rapids. His son played collegiate hockey for the Bulldogs and was a member of the school's 2002-03 CCHA Championship Team.

Karen (Kramer) Trierweiler (Women's Basketball, 1983-87)
A first-team 1985-86 All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) selection, Trierweiler tallied 1,467 points in 103 career contests (14.2 ppg) during her Bulldog women's basketball playing career. The squad's co-captain as a senior, Trierweiler presently ranks as both the school's third-leading all-time rebounder (762 boards) and fifth-highest scorer. The Portland native concluded her career as one of the school's premier players. She currently ranks fourth in career field goals (585) and made free throws (289) and among the top 15 leaders in free throw percentage (.763; 289-379) at Ferris State. As a senior (1986-87), the 5-9 Kramer recorded the school's eighth-best individual season on record with 491 points in 26 games while posting the fourth-best single-season scoring average (18.9 ppg) in school history. The standout forward added 196 rebounds in addition to being named the squad's Most Valuable Player. A first-team 1985-86 GLIAC All-Academic and honorable mention 1984-85 GLIAC All-Academic pick, Trierweiler presently ranks among the school's top single-season performers in points, rebounds, field goals and free throws. Trierweiler also led the Bulldogs in scoring as a junior (1985-86) as she tallied 409 points in 25 outings (16.4 ppg). A four-year letterwinnner, the Portland St. Patrick High School graduate averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds per game as a prep senior when she led St. Patrick's to a 26-2 mark and a trip to the Class D state finals. She and her husband, Tony, a former FSU baseball MVP, reside in Grand Ledge with their children.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ferris In The News

Management Department Provides Scholarship Funds for Students

Faculty and staff in the Management department at Ferris State University have pledged more than $14,000 in scholarships for Business Administration students in the College of Business. Funds for the Management Department Scholarship were donated by faculty, staff and administration, along with gifts from Management department emeriti, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. The scholarship will award between $500 and $1,000 to two to four students each year. The number of students receiving this scholarship, along with the monetary amount of the award, will increase as the scholarship fund grows each year. “This philanthropic spirit has generated a high-level of satisfaction not only for students, but also our department,” said Management department Head David Steenstra, who helped spearhead this initiative. “The wisdom behind the saying ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ has become manifested in this act of caring and kindness. It’s a lot of fun for all of us in the Management department.” Read more at

Ferris Faculty, Students Help Create Historical Record for Idlewild

What better way to learn about the history of Idlewild than to hear the stories of people who lived in the Lake County community while it was still in its heyday. This summer, several Ferris State University faculty and students have partnered with Camp Idlewild, a monthlong day camp to educate campers on how to conduct an oral history project in Idlewild, reports the Lake County Star. “I am excited about the oral history project at Camp Idlewild since it is helping to preserve the rich history of this community,” said Gary Huey, Ferris Humanities professor and project coordinator. “The campers and the college students who are helping them are learning a great deal about African American history in this part of Michigan.” Ferris student Samantha Steele said hearing the stories is her favorite part of the project. “Each person has a different perspective and experience here,” she said. Ferris associate Humanities professor Cami Sanderson added, “Oral history is the type of communication that helps you learn what people find important in their lives or in their past.”

Ferris Football Picked Seventh in GLIAC Poll

According to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football coaches, Ferris State University’s football team is entering the season in the middle of the pack in a very competitive Division II conference, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. Holding its annual media day Aug. 3, the GLIAC Coaches Poll noted Grand Valley as the pre-season favorite. Coach Jeff Pierce, who is entering his 15th season as head coach,, said he’s looking forward to the opportunity the upcoming season will provide his team to showcase their accomplishments during the past year. “I am really excited about the year of maturity we have on our offense,” Pierce said, adding returning players include quarterbacks Tom Schneider and Kyle Parrish. “Watching Tom and Kyle come out of the spring practice season, it’s like a whole different level than last year. That’s critical.” The Bulldogs open their season against Tiffin Aug. 29. Read more at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ferris In The News

Ferris Public Safety Donates Leftover Bikes to Underprivileged Children

There is an old saying that goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Each year, as students return home for the summer, dozens of bicycles are abandoned around Ferris State University’s campus. In past years, leftover bicycles were sold at auction. In more recent years, Ferris has decided these bicycles can serve a greater good for underprivileged local kids. So, this year, the Department of Public Safety donated approximately 60 bicycles to Muskegon River Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters and local foster care facilities in a gesture that will bring smiles to the faces of dozens of area youth, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. “We’re really the conduit that helps get these bikes to people who would love to have them,” said Marty Bledsoe, director of Ferris’ Department of Public Safety. “We’d love to have owners of these bikes take possession of them, but we recognize that’s not always the case with these bikes. We decided that we could donate these bikes, they could be fixed up and then go to people in need.”

Internship Gives Students Opportunity to Educate Pere Marquette River Visitors

If you have been on the Pere Marquette River recently, you may have noticed two uniformed Forest Service volunteers kayaking there, reports the Lake County Star. The Pere Marquette Watershed Council has partnered with the United States Forest Service on a “River Watch” program. The program involves two college interns, studying Criminal Justice, who volunteer their weekends to help educate users about regulations and etiquette on the Pere Marquette River. “As law enforcement interns, our strict goal is to patrol the Pere Marquette River and help maintain its facilities,” said intern Jordan Straley, a Ferris State University College of Professional and Technological Studies student in Flint. The students have been interning with the USFS since May in order to monitor behavior on the river, as well as for visitor contact and education on Saturdays and Sundays when the river is busiest.

Hockey Alumni, City Police and Firefighters Raise Money for Hockey Fund

Kenzie Homer has many fond memories of Big Rapids and Ferris State University. But, what stands out most isn’t the hockey games he played as a Bulldog in the late 1990s or the classes he took, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. What stands out in his mind is babysitting Kevin Courtney Jr. So, when the softball game benefiting the Little Kevin Hockey Fund was organized shortly after Kevin Jr.’s death in 2002, Homer knew where he’d be spending the first weekend of August. “I know every year that I am going to be in Big Rapids the first weekend of August playing in this great game for a great person,” Homer said. The annual game pits former Ferris hockey players against local police and firefighters to raise money for the Little Kevin Hockey Fund, which provides opportunities for disadvantaged youth to play hockey. This year, Kevin Courtney Sr. said more than $1,000 was raised to benefit the fund, with nearly 30 former Ferris hockey players returning for the game. “This has been tremendous for youth hockey in this area,” said Tim Blashill, organizer of the Learn to Skate program at the ice arena in Ferris’ Ewigleben Sports Complex.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ferris Public Safety Donates Leftover Bikes to Underprivileged Children

Ferris DPS makes a nice gesture for local kids

BIG RAPIDS – There is an old saying that goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Each year, as Ferris State University students return home for the summer, dozens of bicycles are abandoned around the Big Rapids campus. In past years, leftover bicycles were sold at auction. In more recent years, Ferris has decided these bicycles can serve a greater good for underprivileged local kids. So, this year, the Department of Public Safety donated approximately 60 bicycles to Muskegon River Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters and local foster care facilities in a gesture that will bring smiles to the faces of dozens of area youth.

“We’re really the conduit that helps get these bikes to people who would love to have them,” said Marty Bledsoe, director of Ferris’ Department of Public Safety. “We’d love to have owners of these bikes take possession of them, but we recognize that’s not always the case with these bikes. We decided that we could donate these bikes, they could be fixed up and then go to people in need.

“Donating these bicycles is something we felt would be more heartfelt than simply auctioning them off,” Bledsoe added.

On July 23, DPS opened its storage area to donate the recovered bicycles that ultimately will go to local kids after repairs thanks to the efforts of local organizations.

“A lot of these kids live below the poverty level and for them to be able to receive a bike is an awesome feeling,” said Aloma Jean Grein, executive director of Muskegon River Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization based in Big Rapids and serving an area that includes Mecosta and Osceola counties.

For the complete story, visit:

The Life And Deeds Of The Relatively Unknown Madam C.J. Walker Revealed

Walker is addressed in the Jim Crow Museum Question of the Month

BIG RAPIDS - The relatively unknown history of Madam C.J. Walker is the subject of the Jim Crow Museum Question of the Month for August 2009.

Walker is a historical figure of significance who rarely is mentioned with the subject of black history. If you did not know much about Walker, prior to reading the answer to this Question of the Month, don't feel too bad: you probably are not alone in that regard.

In response to th
Madam Walkere Question of the Month, readers get a detailed glimpse of the life and deeds of Madam C.J. Walker.

Here is the question
followed by a part of the answer:

My history teacher told me that I could not write a paper on Madam C. J. Walker because she had not heard of her. She said I should write a paper on one of the people on the approved list. I believe I should be able to write about any famous African American.

-- F.C.. - Big Rapids, Michigan

A: Many Americans, including some teachers, are not familiar with the life and work of Madam C. J. Walker, the former cotton picker and washerwoman who amassed riches and fame in the early 1900s as a hair care entrepreneur. Although there is some debate about her net worth at the time of her death, she is often held up as this country’s first self-made African American female millionaire. She was also a noted philanthropist and civil rights activist. It is disappointing that your teacher does not recognize the historical significance of Madam Walker’s achievements.

For the full response to the question about the life and works of Madam C.J. Walker, visit:

For more on the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, visit the official Web site at