Earning her Bachelor's degree in Education from West Liberty State College and a Master's degree from the University of Dayton, Wellsville native Tina Smith has taught at the Garfield Elementary School for 33 years and is an intervention specialist.
When asked about the impact of increased knowledge concerning Black History in our area and her pursuit of a teaching career, Tina responded, "I chose to pursue a teaching career because I enjoy working with children. It helped being raised in a community where Blacks and Whites lived side-by-side, playing together, and going to school together. My co-workers and I have mutual respect for each other. I am reminded every day when I feel my students' love and respect that color doesn't really matter."
Tina, the daughter of Robert and Gloria Pullie, is very active in her home church, First Baptist Church of Wellsville, where she serves as director of Christian Education, Deaconness Ministry leader, and is a member of the mass choir and the adult choir, as well as a Sunday School teacher. She's also taught youth classes at the EOBA District Congress of Christian Education in Youngstown.
Her community activities include being a member of the Board of Trustees of the Wellsville Carnegie Library, president of the Beta Beta Chapter of the Alpha Delta Kappa teaching sorority, and a member of the Wellsville Hall of Fame.
Her awards include the Alpha Delta Kappa Excellence in Education award, and the 2006 YWCA Education Leadership Woman of Achievement.
She and her husband, Jamey, are the proud parents of one daughter and have one granddaughter.
February marks the beginning of Black History Month, an event that is celebrated annually and founded in 1926 by African-American historian Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week.
Woodson founded it initially to honor the lives of two influential men, Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. But many American history books mentioned very few African-Americans in their pages. Nameless slaves and servants who rose up to overcome barriers and obstacles went unnoticed. Woodson wanted to change that and established what has now become Black History Month to honor famous African-Americans, such as Harriett Tubman, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.
According to an article for Black History Month published by the Evening Review in 1996, documented history of African-Americans in the Tri-State Area show us about those who came before, such as the late Caesar A. Peters, who served as the first Black city councilman in East Liverpool; Edward E. Stewart, who became the first Black man to be elected to the Midland School Board; and David Jakes of Midland, who became the first Black policeman.
Former resident, Hayes Taylor, a 1974 East Liverpool High School graduate, became the city's first Black attorney and law director; Essie Awkward, Theresa Herring and Kathie Harris formed the first Black Girl Scout Troop 22 in the area, while the reorganization of the troop was led by Dorothy Peters, Bea Henderson and Bernice Allen.
But there are those men and women from our area and in our day who have also put their ideas and pursuits into action in making our communities better. Their actions may not be as widely known as Rosa Parks, Harriett Tubman, or Martin Luther King Jr., but are just as significant nonetheless as they have made their contributions through their work in a variety of ways.
This is the first of a series in which The Review will spotlight these men and women during February celebration of Black History Month.