Tribute to Sallie B. Howard.

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A TRIBUTE TO SALLIE BALDWIN HOWARD

HON. G.K. BUTTERFIELD

of North Carolina

in the House of Representatives

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mr. BUTTERFIELD. Madam Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to pay tribute to Mrs. Sallie Baldwin Howard, a native and resident of Wilson, North Carolina. For many years, Mrs. Howard dedicated her life to educating and serving the people of Northeastern North Carolina. She was recently honored as the Wilson Human Relations Commission 2007 Paul Lee Stevens Humanitarian for outstanding service to her community.

Madam Speaker, Mrs. Howard, who is affectionately known as “Bibi,” dedicated much of her life as a teacher in the New York City Public School System during her early years, but for the past 15 years she has donated all of her time and energy to rallying youth in Wilson, challenging them to be exemplary citizens and great achievers.

Madam Speaker, high praise is due to Mrs. Howard for her success in overcoming the racial and gender prejudices of her time. Mrs. Bibi Howard was born in Wilson, North Carolina, to Narcissus and Marcellus Sims on March 23, 1916. She overcame countless challenges growing up in the Jim Crow South as the daughter of sharecroppers. Nevertheless, she was driven and focused and graduated as valedictorian from Charles H. Darden High School in 1938. Mrs. Howard attended Hunter College in New York City where she earned both her bachelor and masters degree in education.

She taught for nearly 30 years as a first grade teacher in New York. While there, she worked in the New York City American Negro Theater, which helped start the careers of Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Esther Rolle. There she honed her acting, directing and writing talent, finding a voice through her art. Her Off Broadway play The Passing of a Dinosaur is still performed today in local schools.

Upon her retirement, Mrs. Howard returned to Wilson to lead the Christian Education Department of the St. John AME Zion Church. Her enthusiasm for education and the church inspired many of the youth of the community. Along with many other projects, Mrs. Howard founded the Youth Enrichment Program with Dr. JoAnne Woodard in 1989, and focused the program on lasting scholarship, a commitment to the cultural heritage of African Americans, and promoting the arts. Bibi Howard’s tireless work to enrich the community inspired Dr. JoAnne Howard to create the one of the first public charter schools in the state, and the only public charter school in Wilson, the Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts & Education. The school, along with the Youth Enrichment Program, has been an invaluable asset to our community.

Madam Speaker, in honor and recognition of Mrs. Sallie Baldwin Howard’s diligent service as an educator and leader, I ask my colleagues to join me in paying tribute to this great woman.

110th Congress, 1st Session, Volume 153, Number 161; 101st birthday photograph courtesy of Wilson Daily Times, 23 March 2017.

 

2 comments

  1. Hello Lisa, thank you for posting this tribute to Mrs. Sallie B. Howard. I wasn’t previously aware of her work with the NYC American Negro Theater. I’m so glad to have learned of this information. My grandmother, Julia Simms Epps, was one of her father’s younger sisters. I also enjoyed your black history program in Wilson last month. Thank you for all the work you have done and continue to do. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and look forward to all the historical information you post…thanks again!

    Like

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