Sullivan, Otha Richard 1941-
SULLIVAN, Otha Richard 1941-
PERSONAL: Born December 28, 1941, in Hattiesburg, MS; son of Benjamin Franklin (in business) and Iola Estella (a homemaker; maiden name, Booth) Sullivan. Education: University of Kansas, B.S., 1965; Wayne State University, M.S., 1969, Ed.D., 1973.
ADDRESSES: Home—2112 East Dr., Jackson, MS 39204. Office—Alcorn State University, 1000 Alcorn State University Dr., Alcorn State, MS 39096. Agent— Clausen, Mays & Tahan, 249 West 34th St., New York, NY 10001.
CAREER: Classroom teacher at public schools in Detroit, MI, 1965-69; high school counselor in Highland Park, MI, 1969-70; University of Detroit, Detroit, MI, administrator and director of special education for public schools of Highland Park, 1970-73; Howard University, Washington, DC, associate professor, 1977-79; ombudsman for public schools, Washington, DC, 1979-83; District of Columbia Department of Corrections, Washington, administrator, 1983-87; Highland Park Community College, Highland Park, MI, executive vice president, 1990-91; Alcorn State University, Lorman, MS, associate professor, 1987-90; Detroit Public Schools, counselor, 1990-2000; Alcorn State University, Alcorn State, MD, professor and director of ACHIEVE Mississippi, 2000—.
MEMBER: Council for Exceptional Children, Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Kappa Alpha Psi.
AWARDS, HONORS: Booker T. Washington Educator's Achievement Award, 1998.
African American Inventors and Discoverers, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1997.
African American Women Scientists and Inventors, John Wiley (New York, NY), 2001.
African American Millionaires and Inventors, John Wiley (New York, NY), in press.
Contributor to magazines and newspapers, including Freedomways Journal, Black Collegian, Dollars and Sense, Journal of the International Association of Pupil Personnel Workers, Natchez Democrat, and About Time Journal.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A book on affirmations; a book chronicling the life of a young man growing up in Mississippi, completion expected in 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Otha Richard Sullivan once told CA: "My primary motivation for writing is to inform. As a teacher, I recognize that students are more involved in the educational process when they can look at individuals and their struggles and identify how these people were able to overcome adversities. Students are able to develop skills to overcome formidable challenges, and this helps them to approach and overcome other obstacles. Starting out as a teacher of social science, I immediately realized that many youths do not know their history. This lack of knowledge often leads to difficulties and wasted time before the young people come to an epiphany about how they will plan and direct their lives.
"My work is greatly influenced by my heroes, my mother and father, who taught me that education is the key that opens doors to opportunities. As a student in elementary school, I was influenced by my teachers, who introduced me to the brilliance and achievements of black Americans who were systematically missing from the pages of history, the textbooks we used, and the audiovisual materials. My favorite teacher, Mrs. M. W. Chambers, infused black history in her classes on a daily basis, and this served to motivate students to greater achievement. Consequently, I developed a mission to write books and articles on the achievements of black Americans.
"The seeds for African American Inventors and Discoverers were sown at a middle school in Detroit, where I taught science. One day I asked students to name two black inventors. Most of them were stumped, unable to name two. I realized then that I had a responsibility to teach them about the myriad contributions of black Americans. At the same time, I began to unearth research completed some years ago at the Howard University library. I made a vow that, at the end of the year, students would identify, discuss, share, and apply the ingredients of success of many black Americans.