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

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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

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.