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Black Facts for January 22nd

Arts Facts

1993 - O’Leary, Hazel Rollins Reid (1937- )

The first and only woman to hold the position of U.S. Secretary of Energy, Hazel Rollins Reid was born May 17, 1937 in Newport News, Virginia.  During this time of public school segregation, Reid’s parents, hoping for better schooling opportunities, sent their daughter to live with an aunt in New Jersey. There Reid attended a school for artistically gifted students.

Reid entered Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1955 and graduated with honors four years later. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society at Fisk.  Seven years later she received a law degree from Rutgers University and soon became an attorney in the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office.

By the early 1970s Reid moved to Washington, D.C., where she became a partner at Coopers and Lybrand, an accounting firm. Soon she joined the Gerald Ford Administration as general counsel to the Community Services Administration which administered most of the federal government’s anti-poverty programs.  President Ford later appointed Reid director of the Federal Energy Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs. In this position she became well known as a representative of the concerns of consumers who challenged the power and influence of the major energy producers.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Reid to head the Department of Energy’s Economic Regulatory Administration. Her agency included more than 2,000 employees who enforced price controls on numerous forms of energy. At this time she successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Fuel Use Act, which decreased the demand for natural gas and developed conservation programs that assisted low-income residents.

While working for the Carter Administration, Reid met her future husband, John F. O’Leary, who was at the time the nation’s deputy energy secretary. The two married in 1980 and together left the department to establish and manage their own energy-consulting firm, O’Leary Associates.

In 1989, following the death of her husband, Hazel O’Leary went to work for Northern

Charlotte girl's speech on race gets standing ovation

Business Facts

1996 - Efua Sutherland

Efua Sutherland , (born June 27, 1924, Cape Coast, Gold Coast [now in Ghana]—died January 22, 1996), Ghanaian playwright, poet, teacher, and children’s author, who founded the Drama Studio in Accra (now the Writers’ Workshop in the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon).

After completing her studies at the Teacher Training College in Ghana, Sutherland went to England to do further work at Homerton College, Cambridge, and at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Upon her return to Accra, she helped to establish the literary magazine Okyeame, founded the Experimental Theatre, which became the Ghana Drama Studio, and directed the University of Ghana’s traveling theatre group. The Drama Studio produced a number of her plays, including the well-known Foriwa (1962), a play which stresses the alliance of new ways and old traditions, and Edufa (1967), based on Alcestis by Euripides. The Marriage of Anansewa: A Storytelling Drama appeared in 1975.

Sutherland established the Drama Studio as a workshop for writers who wrote for children. The studio soon became a training ground for Ghanaian playwrights. Sutherland herself wrote several works for children, including two animated rhythm plays, Vulture! Vulture! and Tahinta (both 1968), and two pictorial essays, Playtime in Africa (1960) and The Roadmakers (1961).

Many of Sutherland’s works were broadcast in Ghana on a popular radio program, “The Singing Net,” and most of her unpublished plays were performed by drama groups in Ghana. Many of her short stories can be described as rhythmic prose poems; one of her later plays, Nyamekye, a version of Alice in Wonderland, shows the influence of the folk opera tradition. Sutherland’s book of fairy tales and folklore of Ghana, The Voice in the Forest, was published in 1983.