She Built a Theater, a Community, Devoted to The Celebration of Blackness

“Black Art is a healing art, and It has the ability to heal the world.” – Dr. Barbara Ann Teer


She was an actor, a dancer, a producer, a writer, a director, a cultural ambassador, and an iconic visionary who saw beyond her station as a young Black girl born in the segregated, Blacks only, south-end section of E. St. Louis.  Even at a young age, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer showed promise.  She graduated high-school early, and went on to major in Dance at the University of Illinois, where she graduated magna cum laude. She would go on to study Dance in Berlin and Paris, and toured with the revolutionary modern dancer, Martha Graham.

After her studies, she moved to New York to further her career.  There she starred in numerous shows both on Broadway and Off-Broadway.  She was dance captain in the Tony Award nominated, Kwamina; and won a Drama Desk Award for her role in Home Movies. Her acting earned her many accolades, and despite her great success, she decided to leave ‘mainstream theater’ due to its lack of diverse roles for African-Americans.

In 1968, Dr. Teer wrote in a New York Times article, “We must begin building cultural centers where we can enjoy being free, open and Black.  Where we can find out how talented we really are, where we can be what we were born to be and not what we were brainwashed to be, where we can ‘blow our minds’ with Blackness.” That same year, she founded the revolutionary National Black Theatre in Harlem, an institution devoted to the support and promotion of Black Art, Black Artists, and the Black Community. Her theater was an influential institution during the Black Arts Movement, often referred to as the artistic branch of the Civil Right Movement. Those in the Black Arts Movement through artistic expression: poetry, dance, theatre, etc. fought against injustices by celebrating the multifaceted nature of Black Culture and History.   Though the Black Arts Movement began in New York, its influence would spread nationwide. Dr. Eugene Redmond, also of E. St. Louis, is a noted leader of the Black Arts Movement in the Midwest.  The National Black Theatre was a success, touring in Haiti, South Africa, Trinidad, Bermuda, Guyana and throughout the United States.

dr teer from website picDr. Teer sought to uplift not only the image of the African-American, but also the Harlem Community.  She succeeded in both. Because of her success, she has been awarded several honorary Doctorate degrees.  The National Black Theatre is currently in its 47th season, and thriving under the tutelage of Dr. Teer’s daughter Sade Lythcott.  If you visit New York try to visit the theater started by one of your Legendary Locals, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer.  For more on the theater, visit

Legendary East Saint Louisans by Reginald Petty and Tiffany Lee. Available on at

Sam “The Jet” Jethroe: ‘Could Outrun the Word of God’

Sam Jethroe was nicknamed the Jet because he could run so fast that one of his teammates declared that he could “outrun the word of God.” At Lincoln Senior High, he played football, basketball, baseball and even boxed. His favorite game though was baseball. After graduation, he played for the East Saint Louis Giants, then the East Saint Louis Colts, a semi-pro team from which many people were drafted into the Major Leagues.

As a Negro League player, he proved that he was unstoppable. One opponent noticed that Jethroe had a tell; when he was going to steal bases, he would pull up his pants leg. Even with this knowledge, the opponent could not stop him because he was just that fast. The baseball great even beat Olympic Gold Medalist sprinter, Barney Ewell, in a foot race. But to be a great baseball player you needed more than speed. In 1944 and 1945, the switch-hitter led the league in both batting, and stolen bases with batting averages at .353 and .393 and stolen bases with 18 and 21 respectively. While in the league, Jethroe led his team, The Cleveland Buckeyes, to the Negro American League pennant with a 4-0 sweep of the Homestead Grays.

Years before Jackie Robinson would become the first African American in the major leagues, Jethroe, Robinson, and Marvin Williams, all tried out for the Boston Red Sox, but neither were chosen for the team, despite their prowess as players.

In 1950, Jethroe was the first African-American signed to the Boston Braves, and only the sixth African American in the league. That year, he puts his jets on once again and led the league in stolen bases (35) and a batting average of .273. He claimed Rookie of the Year Honors, and to this day, still remains the record holder for the oldest Rookie of the Year in the League.

Sam “The Jet” Jethroe, your Legendary Local. See Legendary East Saint Louisans by Reginald Petty and Tiffany Lee at




Dr. Larry Gladney’s Accomplishments are ‘Out of this World’

Dr. Larry Gladney

Dr. Larry Gladney, Physicist, Professor, and author or coauthor of over 600 published scholarly works on Physics, is an East Saint Louis Legendary Local.  Gladney says in an interview on the that most of the science that he had encountered, Chemistry and Biology, was not the kind of science that he found interesting. His calling came when he was just 13 after discovering a book on Physics in his Clark Jr. High School’s library.  Though still young and just learning about the field, he knew he was hooked.

By high school he “had already been set on the path to become a physicist.” So after graduating third in his class at East Saint Louis High School, he went on to study Physics at Northwestern, and later received his Master’s and Ph.D. from Stanford University. His expertise lies in the areas of Particle Physics and Cosmology, and their relation to how the Universe began.

Currently, Dr. Gladney teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has served as the Physics Department Chair and the Associate Dean for Natural Sciences.  He has made immeasurable contributions to the field of Physics due to the wealth of information included in his published works alone; however, he continues his research activities and was the co-leader for the Supernova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP) simulation team, which is a proposed space observatory designed to measure the expansion of the Universe and to determine the nature of the mysterious Dark Energy that is accelerating this expansion. SNAP is a joint venture between NASA and the United States Department of Energy.

Dr. Gladney, Physicist, Scholar, and a Legendary East St. Louisans. See Legendary East Saint Louisans by Reginald Petty and Tiffany Lee at

Reginald Petty: Curator of E. St. Louis Legends, and a Legend Himself

petty 1

Upon reviewing his personal motto, “In order to know where you are going, you have to know where you come from,” one can begin to understand why Mr. Reginald Petty has amassed such an extensive   collection of E. St. Louis History.  Going through his files, one can only begin to understand why he is the authority on all things E. St. Louis. He has accumulated a treasure trove of information about the city, that is unrivaled even by local libraries. In fact, he rescued historical information about the city from the abandoned library on Martin Luther King Drive.  You want information about the 1917 Riots, Mr. Petty has it. You want information about the founding of the city, the first Mayor, or the first African American-Mayor, Mr. Petty has it.  You want to know who were some of the greatest scholars, artists and athletes from the great city of E. St. Louis, and Mr. Petty can recite those to you with no use of notes, but if you need the documentation, he has it.

Mr. Reginald Petty, is a native of E. St. Louis, and a current resident; but before he came home, he blazed roads in Civil Rights, Education, and International Relations.  He took on the banner of social injustices while still in college. While attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, he became aware that African-Americans couldn’t adopt, his reporting on this issue was forwarded to Congress and led to the changing of legislation.  After earning his Master’s in Education and Sociology, his urge to play a greater role in the Civil Rights Movement led him to Mississippi, where he became a member of The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), one of the most instrumental organizations in The Civil Rights Movement. As a SNCC member, Mr. Petty fought against government sanctioned discrimination which sought to disenfranchise African-Americans.

After his work in Mississippi, he was hand-picked to establish the first Job Corps in the United States. His input and guidance on the educational program at Job Corp was the blueprint for Job Corps educational practices. He served as Executive Director of the National Advisory Council on Vocational/Technical Education, a 21-member council appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, which systematized information on the method each State used to manage their vocational and technical educational programs in the United States.  His career at Job Corps led him across the world where he served as the Director of Peace Corps in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Swaziland and the Seychelles.

Due to his work in Africa, he became a highly sought after consultant to African Countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, and Mali to help in establishing administrative systems, educational research, and developing plans for funding of educational, agricultural, and economic development.

Mr. Petty and wife, esteemed artist Edna Patterson-Petty, currently live in E. St. Louis.  He says of E. St. Louis, “In spite of the difficulties that the city has had to overcome.  It continues to be a place from which great people in every field have called home;” and for him, “it always has been, and always will be home.”

Mr. Reginald Petty, Civil Rights Activist, Former Director of Job Corps, Consultant to African Nations, E. St. Louis Historiographer, and your Legendary East St. Louisans. See more in Legendary East St. Louisans by Reginald Petty and Tiffany Lee on

“If It Wasn’t for Women” Like Artist Edna Patterson-Petty, Where Would We Be?

Edna patterson-PettyHer quilts tell a story that weaves through the fabric of experiences of all mankind.  Her artistry speaks of our history, our triumphs and our weaknesses.  For this reason, Edna Pattinson-Petty’s work is extolled not only in her hometown or even America, but by people in foreign lands, such as Beijing, China; Senegal, Africa; Ottawa, Canada; and Islamabad, Pakistan, who identify with her work which exemplifies ‘the human condition.’ Whether it is her latest quilt, created to educate on the deadly 1917 Riots of E. St. Louis, which symbolizes the cruelties of mankind; or her quilt, “If it Wasn’t for the Women,” which was constructed to represent the strength of all women, there is a visceral connection to her art that supersedes religious, ethnic and racial boundaries.  Her works speak a universal language that isn’t muddied by words. She says of her gift, “I know that my creative ability is of divine inspiration, because I dream art, I feel art, I get excited when I am around art, and through my creations I reveal my internal world.”

If It wasn't for women
If it Wasn’t for Women

Though she is known for her quilts, one of which, “Road to Redemption”, was exhibited in Washington D.C. for the celebration of President Obama’s Inauguration, her artistry extends beyond fabric work.  She has works displayed throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area.  She created mosaic tiled benches in Jones Park in E. St. Louis.  When the Southern Illinois University, E. St. Louis (SIU-ESL) campus was built, she was commissioned to create the beautifully sculptured turtles which adorn the campus.  “A Whimsical View” can be seen at Lambert-St. Louis International at Gate A8.  To create this piece, which she describes as “a deconstructed quilt,” Mrs. Patterson-Petty was chosen as one of only nine artists to travel to Munich, Germany to study with the esteemed Franz Mayer & Co., known internationally for their glass artwork.

glass mural at airport
A Whimsical View

She has received many awards, such as The Grand Center Visionary Award, Community Art in Education Award, the NAACP Arts Award, a Community Arts Award, and many more.  In 2010, she was honored by her alma mater, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with the SIUE Wall of Fame Alumni Award.


A life-long resident of E. St. Louis and a graduate of SIUE with an M.F.A. in Textile Art and an M.A. in Art Therapy, Mrs. Patterson-Petty says that she has always wanted to be an artist.  She says of art, “To me, art is being able to take things that others throw away or discard and turn it into some things of beauty or some things of interest — just being able to take a mundane situation or a mundane thing and turn it into something viable and just give things life.” To fellow E. St. Louisans, she would advise, “Know Your History”; and rightly so as it is filled with Legends such as Edna Patterson-Petty, your Local Legend.

Find more see Legendary East Saint Louisans by Reginald Petty and Tiffany Lee on      

Official Release: Legendary East St. Louisans



Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series features 1917 Riot Survivors, Educators, Artists and More – Over 100 plus years of African American History.

 Native East St. Louisans, Reginald Petty and Tiffany (Grimmett) Lee to launch the first full-length book in 25 years which focuses on the accomplishments of East St. Louis African Americans, Saturday, August 20th at 1 p.m.

EAST ST. LOUIS, IL: August 11, 2016 – Come celebrate East St. Louis History, and those who have contributed to its legacy by joining authors Reginald Petty and Tiffany Lee for the official book release and signing of Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series on August 20th, 2016, at 1 p.m. at the East St. Louis Public Library (5300 State St., East St. Louis, IL, 62203).

Legendary East St. Louisans covers well-known East St. Louisans such as; Miles Davis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Reginald Hudlin.  Additionally, readers are introduced to lesser-known pillars of the early African American community such as Carrie K. (Johnson) Bowles, one of the first African American women to join The League of Women Voters of St. Louis, and to fight alongside famed suffragist Edna Gellhorn; and Dr. Henri Weathers who fought to allow African American doctors to practice at local hospitals.  He was also one of the first African American doctors hired by St. Louis University Medical School.

From John Robinson’s fight for African American schools in the late 1800’s to President Obama’s recent historical appointment of Staci Yandle, over 100 years of East St. Louis African American History is covered in Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series. Eugene B. Redmond, Poet Laureate of East St. Louis, Illinois and Emeritus Professor English, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville says of the work, “This book is as regal as it is revealing and compelling. Artisans, athletes, educators, entertainers, scientists, veterans of wars and the Race Riot of 1917 join political leaders and poets in this dream- and performance-storied portraiture of African American East St. Louis.” Moreover, according to Joseph A. Brown, SJ; Ph. D. Professor, Author and Priest, “[Reginald Petty’s] gifts of “taking care” and “care-taking” are magnificently on display in this collection of the great forces of nature who have helped the world realize just how powerful the people of East St. Louis have been and continue to be.”

Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series will be available for sale at the event for $15.  Attendees can receive a 1.00 off of the purchase of the book, when they donate a book in good condition to the library.  Legendary East St. Louisans is also available on


About the author: Reginald Petty is a native East St. Louisan, retired U.S. Government administrator, activist, and historiographer for the city of East Saint Louis, Il.

Tiffany (Grimmett) Lee is a native East St. Louisan, a Saint Louis Community College Communications Professor, writer, and founder of TiffanyRose Publishing.

About TiffanyRose Publishing: TiffanyRose Publishing is a boutique start-up publisher.  Publishing quality written, digital, and visual works.


Press Contact:

Contact: Tiffany Lee

Company’s Name: TiffanyRose Publishing

Book’s Name: Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series (ISBN-13: 978-1533512772)

Email Address:

Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series

book picture for websitePublishing this has truly been a labor of love.  In order to publish this book, 100+ resources were compiled. Hundreds of hours were spent writing – highlighting the stories of a group of people who persevered.  Some of these short bios cover people who helped after the 1917 race riots and others were active participants in the civil rights movement.  These bios are of successful people who were nurtured in the city of East St. Louis. In this city that has been written off by many, were nurtured some of the greatest artist, scholars and athletes in history: Miles Davis, Harry Edwards, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Reginald and Warrington Hudlin to name a few.

Their stories need to be told because these people weren’t born exceptional or great. By many perceptions they were born ‘less advantaged.’ Yet, they created their own form of greatness. They figured out what they wanted to do, and they went about doing it. They worked hard, and found some doors closed to them, but they persevered. They excelled in spite of or maybe because of the trials they were faced with; and that’s what makes them and their lives great and their stories inspirational. They inspire us to want to be great. Reading their stories makes the reader feel as if he can reach through an ethereal film and grab hold to the magic that resonates in all of their experiences. Their stories transcend a town, or even a race, and exemplify the greatness that lies dormant in all of us. It speaks to us, “Find your greatness.”

So please get your copy of the first book published under the TiffanyRose Publishing  House – Legendary East St. Louisans: An African American Series. It is available on Amazon.