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AT&T Unveils 2017 Edition of The NC Heritage Calendar

The publication highlights individuals from across the state who have made a lasting impact in North Carolina and across the country.

“Today’s North Carolina is a product of the lives and accomplishments of many extraordinary individuals,” said Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina. “Some of the honorees in this year’s calendar could be considered unsung heroes, while others are more well-known. But all have made a difference for our state and we are privileged to help tell and preserve their stories for future generations.”

As with previous editions, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) convened a team of educators to prepare lesson plans based upon the lives of the honorees. This material will be available online as a resource for teachers across the state.

“As students look at the accomplishments of the calendar honorees, teachers are able to put those accomplishments in the context of history and highlight the diversity which contributes so much to our state’s character and heritage,” said June Atkinson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Each year I am proud of the creativity and professionalism of the North Carolina teachers who wrote the curriculum materials, and energized by their passion for students and learning.”

Coming from across North Carolina, the Class of 2017 represents a wide variety of fields, including education, architecture, youth programs, philanthropy, local government, athletics, media, and community service.

The individuals spotlighted in the 2017 Heritage Calendar are:

  • Dell Curry – The first player selected by the new Charlotte Hornets in the 1988 expansion draft, he became one of the franchise’s most popular players and created the Dell Curry Foundation, which helped give young people guidance and life skills they needed for future success.
  • Joe Dudley, Sr. and Eunice Dudley – Determined entrepreneurs, they created their own line of beauty products and grew their company into one of the most well-known in the industry.
  • The late Anne Cannon Forsyth – Born into a life of privilege, she became a champion for traditionally under-represented people, with an intense focus on desegregation of public schools and equal educational opportunity for all.
  • Philip G. Freelon – One of America’s pre-eminent architects, and an alumnus of NC State University, he led the design team for the new Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
  • Paul R. Jervay, Jr. – As a third-generation journalist, he ensured that his family newspaper, The Carolinian, provided an outlet for voices within its community, while also being a voice for the benefit of the community.
  • The Rev. Richard Jones – A minister and agricultural educator, he founded a community center whose programs teach skills and life lessons for young people, while helping provide fresh, healthy produce for the rural community.
  • Hattie “Chatty Hatty” Leeper – The first female African-American radio broadcaster in Charlotte, her vivacious on-air personality made her a community favorite and an industry leader.
  • The late Clarence Lightner – A Raleigh businessman, he was the first African American elected mayor of a major Southern city, with a lifelong commitment to education and public service.
  • The late Victoria Casey McDonald – A teacher and historian, she was a pioneer in incorporating multi-cultural education into her public school classroom while conducting groundbreaking research on African Americans in western North Carolina.
  • Christopher Suggs – At age 14, he founded a non-profit dedicated to empowering Kinston’s young people through service, leadership and civic engagement, while stressing the importance of staying in school.
  • Millie Dunn Veasey – Whether serving overseas in the U.S. Army in World War II, leading the NAACP’s Wake County chapter, or assisting neighbors complete tax forms, she has been making a difference for others for nearly a century.
  • Richard “Stick” and Teresa Williams – The first couple to each serve as chair of the Board of Trustees at a University of North Carolina institution, they have a passionate commitment to higher education and to community service.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Carolina University, PNC Bank, The News & Observer, Capitol Broadcasting Company/WRAL-TV and Sheraton Raleigh Hotel serve as primary supporters on The Heritage Calendar project.

Media resources
Images of the 2016 honorees, in high- and low-resolution formats, as well as the published bios, may be downloaded from

To download an electronic copy of the calendar, click here

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