USC’s Black Alumni Association to Honor 1912 US Olympian and USC Alumnus Howard P. Drew: “Record Breaker, Rule Maker” in 10th Annual Black History Exhibition.

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University of Southern California’s Black Alumni Association, in partnership with USC’s Athletic Department, will host an exhibition honoring Howard P. Drew. Drew was a member of the 1912 US Olympic track team, and was a USC track and field star from 1914 until his graduation in 1916. Starting February 27, 2005, the exhibition will be housed in USC’s historic Heritage Hall.

The University of Southern California’s Black Alumni Association (BAA) is extremely proud to announce that this year’s season-long exhibition will feature Howard P. Drew (1890-1957), an athlete, scholar, journalist, humanitarian, and true Trojan legend who attended USC from 1914 until his graduation in 1916.

In addition to his accomplishments as an athlete, which include participating in the 1912 Olympic Games held in Stockholm, Sweden, and being titled the Fastest Man in the World, 1914, 1915, and 1916, Howard Drew was also a gifted scholar, earning straight A’s during his USC career. He was the first Black man to write for the university’s newspaper, then titled the Daily Southern Californian, as well as being the first Black man inducted into the Skull and Daggers. Drew enlisted and became a sergeant in the Supply Company, 809th Pioneer Infantry Regiment, and the Eighty-Eight Division of the U.S. Army during World War One. While there he ran and coached the Army track teams in Nice, France. After the war, Drew finished Law School at Drake University; he passed the Connecticut State Bar exam in 1920. Drew became an assistant clerk and a judge in the city of Hartford, CT and was elected to Justice of the Peace several times during the 1940’s. All of these positions were firsts for a Black man in the state of Connecticut.

The exhibit, which is sponsored by USC Athletics, will open on February 27, 2006, and will run until April 3, 2006. It is free to the public and will be housed in Heritage Hall on the University Park Campus. Heritage Hall is the celebratory home of USC’s glorious athletic heritage, and displays the university’s various NCAA championship trophies, Heisman awards, and winner’s jerseys. On display for this exhibition will be more than 100 items of memorabilia, including original championship medals from Drew’s highly-accomplished track and field career, certificates earned, and rare photos of Drew and his fellow track team members.

As an ongoing effort, the USC Libraries/ISD and the BAA hosts the “Trojans of Ebony Hue” Black History Exhibition on related subject areas that feature USC Black Alumni. In 2004, the 9th Annual Exhibition was entitled “Williams, the Conqueror…The Legacy of Architect Paul Revere Williams.” Williams designed the personal homes of several celebrities, as well as nearly 3,000 other major commercial and residential buildings during his professional career which spanned almost sixty years. The 2003 Exhibition featured the Honorable Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, alumna and Supervisor of the Los Angeles County Second District. Cultural artist and alumna Varnette P. Honeywood served as the focus for the 8th Annual Black History Exhibition, and 2001 saw the “Decades of Diversity” exhibition which featured “role models for every generation.”

The key objective of this event is to promote the historical value and contributions of USC Black Alumni to both USC and the community at large, communicating the powerful legacy of achievement and advancement that USC offers. More than simply another cog in the wheel of “Black History Month,” the Trojans of Ebony Hue exhibition typically runs for three months (February, March and April) and focuses on the life and work of an outstanding USC African-American alumnus.

The USC BAA was founded in 1976 by the late Rev. Thomas Kilgore, Jr., a civil rights activist and advisor to three USC Presidents, the USC Black Alumni Association has successfully reached out to African American students to provide financial aid and mentoring support for twenty-six years. To date, the organization has awarded more than $1,000,000 in scholarships to more than 1400 continuing and transfer students attending the University. On a mission to make the USC Trojan experience available to all people of Black descent, the USC BAA provides a comprehensive offering of educational, cultural, and professional services to its members, students, faculty/staff and the community-at-large.

In order to perpetuate the legacy of financial assistance to deserving students, we always welcome and accept financial gifts throughout the entire year. In addition, we also continuously seek historical information about USC Black Alumni. If you would like to learn more information on how to give in the capacity of a one time gift, planned giving, or endowment, or have information about alumni, especially early alumni, or any memorabilia you would like to contribute, please contact the Office of Black Alumni Programs at (213) 740-8342 or visit http://alumni.usc.edu/baa.

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