In Memoriam

Woodford Roy Porter Sr. (1919-2006)

Woodford Roy Porter Sr., the grandson of slaves and former chair of the board of trustees at the University of Louisville, died late last month. He was 87 years old.

When Porter graduated from Louisville’s Central High School in 1936, he was not eligible for admission to the University of Louisville because of the color of his skin. Instead he enrolled at the University of Indiana. However, before completing his studies, his father died and he was obliged to return to Louisville to run the family’s funeral home business.

Throughout his career Porter was involved in educational and civic groups. He was the first African American to serve on the Louisville Board of Education. Later Porter was named to the board of trustees of the University of Louisville and served a term as board chairman. He sat on the board for a quarter-century. For his longstanding service to the university, in 1984 the trustees created a scholarship program in his name.

Edward Harned Hale (1923-2006)

Edward H. Hale, physician, educator, medical association executive, and photographer, died in his sleep late last month at a hospital in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. He was 82 years old.

Dr. Hale was the son of William Jasper Hale, the founder and president of what is now Tennessee State University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville. Edward Hale graduated from Tennessee State and went on to Meharry Medical School, finishing third in his class in 1945. Hale completed his internship at Harlem Hospital and his residency at Howard University Hospital. He later earned a master’s degree in physiology at the University of Illinois.

After serving as a physician in the Korean War, Hale accepted a position as chief of internal medicine at the Veterans Administration hospital in Pittsburgh. He also opened a private practice in the city, lectured, and founded the Gateway Medical Society, an association of black physicians. Dr. Hale retired in 1996.

Leonard H. Robinson Jr. (1943-2006)

Leonard H. Robinson Jr., professor, diplomat, and advocate for African development, has died from complications of a kidney infection at the Washington Hospital Center in the nation’s capital. He was 63 years old.

Robinson was a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and did graduate study at the State University of New York at Binghamton, American University, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

At age 23 Robinson was named associate director of the Peace Corps for India. He developed an interest in African development while working in Kenya and Ghana for Planned Parenthood.

Returning to the United States, Robinson was named deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa in the Reagan administration. He was later appointed to head the African Development Foundation, an organization established by Congress to aid community development projects and entrepreneurial ventures in Africa.

In 2001 Robinson founded the Africa Society, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating Americans about the African continent. The society put together a multidisciplinary package of education materials that was distributed to schools across the United States.

Robinson taught Africana studies at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and in 2004 was named Diplomat Scholar in Residence at the University of Virginia. He also served on the board of trustees of the University of the District of Columbia.

A memorial service will be held this coming Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the National Cathedral in Washington. Former Atlanta mayor and ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young is scheduled to deliver the eulogy.