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Our History

East St Louis NAACP

The NAACP was organized in East St. Louis in 1924! Check out more of the NAACP East St. Louis branch history on our website.

Dr. Harry Edwards

Remember the infamous 1968 Olympics image of two Black US men atop the victory platform with heads bowed each raising a black-glove, fisted hand? Their silent act of defiance, conducted while the US national anthem played, boldly signified solidarity with the Civil Rights Movement to the entire world. This monumental act was organized by East St. Louis native and East St. Louis Senior High School graduate Dr. Harry Edwards. We thank Dr. Edwards, athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and all those who champion justice and equity. Learn more about Dr. Harry Edwards (including the repercussions he faced due to his leadership role in the Olympic Movement for Human Rights) in the collection of Legendary East St. Louisans by Reginald Petty and Tiffany Lee.

Vivian D. Adams

The namesake of Vivian D. Adams Early Childhood Center, Vivian D. Adams is the twin sister of Dr. Lillian A. Parks, retired educator and the first African American female Superintendent of Schools in District 189. The late Vivian D. Adams, along with the late Homer G. Randolph, were co-founders of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program Observance Celebration in East St. Louis, Illinois, which began in 1969 and is still observed today!"  Dr. Parks, now 91 years of age, still resides in East St. Louis and is very active in the community, having recently been the chairperson of the 55th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration that was held on Monday, January 15, 2024, at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in East St. Louis, Illinois, caring on the legacy of her beloved twin.

Douglas Clark, Sr.

Douglas Clark, Sr. was a star athlete in high school and served as the Baseball Coach and Assistant Football Coach at Lincoln Senior High School? Mr. Clark also loved driving and travel and with his wife, Lovie Mae, daughter Gloria, and family friends Ruby Jones and Onie Mae Scott, traveled to several Midwest cities during summer breaks.

Dr. Henri H. Weathers, Jr.

Dr. Henri H. Weathers Jr. was a prominent African American physician and surgeon serving the East St. Louis community. He also was an early advocate for equality in the field of medicine, became a member of the St. Clair Medical Society, the American College of Surgeons and the International College of Surgeons. The Orr Weathers public housing complex was named in his honor as a testament to his numerous community contributions and was erected at the former site of his private medical practice.

Gordon Bush

Gordon Bush attended the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC in 2017. He also was instrumental in bringing the Casino Queen to East St. Louis. The Gordon Bush School was named in his honor and has served as an elementary campus and now as an alternative education center.