Leon Sullivan
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
Leon Sullivan
Leon Howard Sullivan was a Baptist minister, a civil rights leader and social activist focusing on the creation of job training opportunities for African-Americans, a longtime General Motors Board Member, and an anti-Apartheid activist. Sullivan died on April 24, 2001, of leukemia at a Scottsdale, Arizona hospital. He was 78.
Biography
Leon Sullivan's personal information overview.
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Steve Mariotti: The Reverend Leon Sullivan: A Man Who Changed American Business
Huffington Post - over 3 years
In 1978, at an automotive conference in Detroit at the Renaissance Center, I looked for and found the Reverend Leon Sullivan, the African-American preacher from Philadelphia who had been on the board of directors of General Motors for eight years. I told him: "I'm the Ford Motor Company financial analyst for both South Africa and Ford Aerospace, and I need your help." The background to my request was the racist apartheid government of South Africa, which was still in power at the time. A particularly outrageous incident one year before had been the beating to death by the South African police of Steve Biko, a black activist. The rest of the world was outraged. Steve Biko, South African anti-apartheid leader In 1974, Sullivan was one of GM board members who visited South Africa on company business. At the airport, on their back out of the country, Sullivan was stopped and strip-searched--because he was black -- while the white members of the group were allowed to pa ...
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Huffington Post article
Things to do Sunday, April 22, 2012
The Charleston Gazette - almost 5 years
Music CASAVANT ORGAN DEDICATION RECITAL with JOSEPH MARCHIO: 4 p.m. Free. First Presbyterian Church, 16 Leon Sullivan Way. Call 304-925-5592. DAVID HAGERTY with NAHRI AHN: 3 p.m. Tickets $10. Hagerty was the organist for the Castro T...
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The Charleston Gazette article
Ngorongoro Crater: A Godsent asset to Tanzanians - East African Business Week
Google News - over 5 years
... Queen of Denmark Magrethe II, former American Human Right Activist the Rev Jesse Jackson, Hollywood film star Chris Tucker, John Wayne, Prince William, and the entire delegation attending the 2008 Leon Sullivan Summit which took place in Arusha
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Google News article
OIC celebrates 40 years of service - Springfield News Sun
Google News - over 5 years
Leon Sullivan. They are shown in this photo. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO By Tom Stafford, Staff Writer 10:41 PM Thursday, August 25, 2011 SPRINGFIELD — In September 1972, the fiscal manager of the national Opportunities Industrialization Center dispatched
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Google News article
GM gets inspired, leads donations to King memorial - The Detroit News
Google News - over 5 years
Leon Sullivan, who joined GM's board in 1971. United Auto Workers President Bob King praised GM's donation and the memorial "as a testament to the social responsibility of General Motors." He noted that UAW President Walter Reuther spoke with King at
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Google News article
Kenny Gamble at 68: Still with a full agenda | Philadelphia Inquirer | 2011-08-15 - Philadelphia Inquirer
Google News - over 5 years
You have to sit down and talk to these kids, and ask them, do you know about Marcus Garvey, George Washington Carver, WEB DuBois, Leon Sullivan - half these kids don't even know who Martin Luther King Jr. was. So you have to know your own history,
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Google News article
Bamenda :Le dernier voyage de Victor Anomah Ngu - Nouvelle Expression
Google News - over 5 years
... jusqu'à sa toute dernière distinction, le ''Leon Sullivan Achievement Award'' qui lui a été remise en octobre 2003 à Washington DC, devant un aréopage de diplomates, de membres du Congrès américain et de figures du monde scientifique
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Google News article
Birdie Varnell Holloman, 83, church secretary under Rev. Sullivan ... - Philadelphia Daily News
Google News - over 5 years
Leon Sullivan must have discovered when he met Birdie Varnell Holloman. Varnell, as she was known to family and friends, dedicated herself to Sullivan's church, Zion Baptist, in North Philadelphia, starting with the Sunday school and church choir at an
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Google News article
Grow too much produce? Donate it - Charleston Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Drop produce donations anytime at 505 Leon Sullivan Drive Call 304-340-3581. Sojourner's Shelter accepts produce at 1418 Washington St. E., where they serve 60 to 75 people three meals daily. Produce can be dropped off at Sojourner's anytime
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Google News article
NTelos considering SC site for regional offices [Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.] - TMC Net
Google News - over 5 years
The company inherited offices on Leon Sullivan Way and at the foot of the Yeager Airport hill when it bought FiberNet. Contact writer George Hohmann at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836. ___ To see more of the Charleston Daily Mail,
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Google News article
Black self-employment agenda is long overdue - The News Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Leon Sullivan, was intentional about helping "the least of these" get qualified for work. So is Herman Taylor, OIC's current chairman. But Taylor is frank about 2011's employment realities and the best chances for survival
Article Link:
Google News article
Sullivan Principles are still relevant today - Independent Online
Google News - over 5 years
I am reminded here about a set of principles, introduced in 1977 by Dr Leon Sullivan. Sullivan joined the board of directors at General Motors in 1971 and he used his influence on that board to challenge. He showed courageous leadership
Article Link:
Google News article
Charleston General Hospital; City Streets Back Open After Major Gas Leak - WSAZ-TV
Google News - over 5 years
Dangerous fumes filled the air as emergency crews wasted no time shutting down the intersections as Leon Sullivan Way and Washington Street, Brooks Street and Washington Street and Morris Street and Washington Street for two hours
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Google News article
Things to do today: Friday, June 17, 2011 - Charleston Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Bruno's, 222 Leon Sullivan Way. Call 304-720-7295. THE REGULAR JOES and BILLY WYMER: 7 to 10 pm Admission $5. Elk River Community Center, 902 Main St., Elkview. Call 304-965-3722. THE CASWELL SISTERS and THE CONTRARIANS: 7:30 pm Adults $20,
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Google News article
Cold Case: State Police Still Seek Missing Elkview Man - State Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Investigators found Shaffer's credit card had been used at a bar on Leon Sullivan Way that has since closed. His backpack and cell phone were found a few blocks away from that bar at Charleston Area Medical Center. Shaffer seemed to have disappeared
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Google News article
POLICE: Man tried to steal tractor-trailer cab in downtown Charleston - Daily Mail - Charleston
Google News - over 5 years
The cab was not attached to a trailer at the time but the doors were unlocked and the keys were in the ignition when Jonathan Andrew Neal, 20, of Leon Sullivan Way climbed inside, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court
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Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Leon Sullivan
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2001
    Age 78
    Sullivan died on April 24, 2001, of leukemia at a Scottsdale, Arizona, hospital.
    More Details Hide Details He was 78. Born to Charles and Helen Sullivan in Charleston, West Virginia. He was raised in a small house in a dirt alley called Washington Court in one of Charleston's poorest sections. His parents divorced when he was three years old and he grew up an only child. Sullivan has often re-told the event which set a course for the remainder of his life. At the age of twelve, he tried to purchase a Coca-Cola in a drugstore on Capitol Street. The proprietor refused to sell him the drink, saying: "Stand on your feet, boy. You can't sit here." This incident inspired Sullivan's lifetime pursuit of fighting racial prejudice. Sullivan also attributed much of his early influence to his grandmother:
  • 1999
    Age 76
    In 1999, the Global Sullivan Principles were issued at the United Nations.
    More Details Hide Details This expanded code calls for multinational companies to take an active role in the advancement of human rights and social justice. Then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan had this to say about Sullivan's contributions: Sullivan organized the first Summit in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire in 1991 as a result of a number of requests and conversations he had with African leaders seeking an honest dialog among and between leaders of African countries and government officials and leaders from developed countries. Since then, the biennial Leon H. Sullivan Summit has brought together the world's political and business leaders, delegates representing national and international civil and multinational organizations, and members of academic institutions in order to focus attention and resources on Africa's economic and social development. Their mission was inspired by Rev. Leon H. Sullivan’s belief that the development of Africa is a matter of global partnerships. It was particularly important to Rev. Sullivan that Africa's Diaspora and Friends of Africa are active participants in Africa’s development.
  • 1997
    Age 74
    To further expand human rights and economic development to all communities, Sullivan created the Global Sullivan Principles of Social Responsibility in 1997.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1988
    Age 65
    In 1988, Sullivan retired from Zion Baptist Church.
    More Details Hide Details Sullivan was determined to provide a model of self-help and empowerment to the people of Africa. He began using his talent for bringing world leaders together to find solutions to international issues through the establishment of the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH) in order to establish and maintain programs and activities in the areas of agriculture, business and economic development, democracy and governance, education and health. These programs would in turn help governments in sub-Saharan Africa reduce poverty and unemployment and build civil societies.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1977
    Age 54
    In 1977, Sullivan developed a code of conduct for companies operating in South Africa called the Sullivan Principles, as an alternative to complete disinvestment.
    More Details Hide Details As part of the Board of Directors at General Motors Sullivan lobbied GM and other large corporations to voluntarily withdrawal from doing business in South Africa while the system of apartheid was still in effect.
  • FORTIES
  • 1971
    Age 48
    In 1971, Sullivan joined the General Motors Board of Directors and became the first African-American on the board of a major corporation.
    More Details Hide Details He went on to serve on General Motors' board for over 20 years.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1962
    Age 39
    Inspired by a well-known parable from the Bible, Sullivan decided to use the church as a vehicle for organizing the black community to consolidate its resources and build a community-owned economic base. In 1962, during one of his Sunday sermons, he introduced his congregation to his vision of self-help through community investment. "One day I preached a sermon at Zion about Jesus feeding the five thousand with a few loaves and a few fish", he recalls. "Everybody put in their little bit and you had enough to feed everybody, and a whole lot left over.
    More Details Hide Details So I said, that is what I am going to do with the church and the community. I said, I am going to ask 50 people to put $10 down for 36 months of loaves and fishes and see if we could accumulate resources enough to build something that we would own ourselves." Although Rev. Sullivan had expected about 50 families to sign up for the 10-36 Plan, the response was overwhelming. Over 200 joined the plan that Sunday morning. His idea of bringing people together to invest in a community-owned enterprise had caught fire. The concept of the 10-36 Plan was to create two separate legal entities. For the first 16 months of the subscription period, investors would contribute to the Zion Non-Profit Charitable Trust (ZNPCT), a Community Development Corporation (CDC) that would support education, scholarships for youth, health services and other programs aimed at social uplift. For the remaining 20 months of the subscription period, investors would make payments to a for-profit corporation, Progress Investment Associates (PIA), which would undertake income-generating projects. At the end of 36 months, subscribers would receive one share of common voting stock and would be entitled to participate in yearly shareholders meetings. As William Downes, the treasurer of the 10-36 Plan and the executive director of ZNPCT explains, the idea of the voting system was to encourage community involvement in the plan.
    By 1962, the effectiveness of Sullivan's boycotts came to the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the SCLC who persuaded Sullivan to share information with them on his success.
    More Details Hide Details The exchange led to SCLC's economic arm, Operation Breadbasket, in 1967, headed by Jesse Jackson. Sullivan's work was built on the principle of "self-help", which provides people with the tools to help themselves overcome barriers of poverty and oppression. African Americans had been excluded from the types of training which led to better paying jobs. Sullivan realized that simply making jobs available was not enough. He said, In 1964, Sullivan founded Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America in an abandoned jail house in North Philadelphia. The program took individuals with little hope and few prospects and offered them job training and instruction in life skills and then helped place them into jobs. The movement quickly spread around the nation. With sixty affiliated programs in thirty states and the District of Columbia, OIC has grown into a movement, which has served over two million disadvantaged and under-skilled people. This approach also led to the formation of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OICI) in 1969.
  • 1958
    Age 35
    Sullivan believed jobs were the key to improving African-American lives and starting in 1958 he asked that Philadelphia's largest companies interview young blacks.
    More Details Hide Details Only two companies responded positively so Sullivan, through his affiliation with other ministers, organized a boycott of various businesses which he referred to as "Selective Patronage". The slogan was "Don't buy where you don't work" and the boycott was extremely effective since blacks constituted about 20% of Philadelphia's population. Sullivan estimated the boycott produced thousands of jobs for African Americans in a period of four years. The New York Times featured the program with a front-page story, and later, Fortune magazine brought the program to greater public attention on a national scale.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1950
    Age 27
    Known there as "the Lion of Zion" he served from 1950 to 1988, eventually increasing its membership from 600 to 6,000 - making it one of the largest congregations in America.
    More Details Hide Details Sullivan took his first active role in the civil rights movement by helping to organize a march on Washington, D.C., in the early 1940s.
  • 1945
    Age 22
    In 1945 Sullivan and Grace moved to South Orange, New Jersey, where Sullivan became pastor at First Baptist Church.
    More Details Hide Details Five years later, Leon and Grace moved to Philadelphia, where Leon took on the role of pastor of Zion Baptist Church, located today at 3600 North Broad Street in the City of Philadelphia.
  • 1943
    Age 20
    In 1943, during a visit to West Virginia, noted black minister Adam Clayton Powell convinced Sullivan to move to New York City where he attended the Union Theological Seminary (1943–45) and later Columbia University (Master's in Religion 1947).
    More Details Hide Details He also served as Powell's assistant minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church. During this period, Sullivan met his wife Grace, a woman whom he referred to as "Amazing Grace." The couple would eventually have three children, Hope, Julie and Howard. One of Sullivan’s greater achievements during his time in New York was the recruitment of "a hundred colored men for the police force" in Harlem with Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s support and encouragement.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1939
    Age 16
    As a teen-ager, Sullivan—who as an adult stood 6 ft 5 in tall—attended Charleston's Garnet High School for blacks and received a basketball and football scholarship to West Virginia State College in 1939 where he was a member of Tau Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
    More Details Hide Details A foot injury ended his athletic career and forced Sullivan to pay for college by working in a steel mill. Sullivan became a Baptist minister in West Virginia at the age of 18.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1922
    Born
    Born on October 16, 1922.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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