BLACK EXCELLENCE: Juanita-Michelle on Audrey Norman-Turner

I can recall riding down Salem Avenue one afternoon listening to WCSU Radio. The announcer was paying tribute to the late Audrey Norman-Turner. I nearly wrecked my car. I knew that Mrs. Turner was having health challenges, but I had no idea she was gone. My heart was absolutely broken by this news.

Mrs. Turner’s smile brightened a room. She was love. She represented so much of what I wanted to be in my own life. She cared about the community.

Mrs. Turner was a Central State University graduate and administrator for many years. I met Mrs. Turner during her tenure as the Director of Central State West, which was housed in the former Roosevelt High School. I adored her! I respected her! I truly admired her!

Audrey Norman Turner worked tirelessly to fill classes at CSU West. She ensured that books were available for students at the West Campus so they would not have to travel to Wilberforce to purchase. This was long before Amazon deliveries were an option. She tried to eliminate barriers that would prevent students from being successful in their college classes. I was one of those students.

I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Turner in the office at CSU-West. It was her ‘you can do it spirit’ that helped me persevere through my personal challenges and would be a reason behind me eventually earning my first degree, and the continuation of me pursuing two additional graduate degrees.

Mrs. Turner created opportunities for students. I recall her requesting that I speak at a convocation on the West Campus. I was taken aback; no one ever asked me to address a crowd before. I asked her, “do you think I can do that?”

“Juanit-O,” she said. “You can do whatever you want to do.” And I believed her.

I often think of her when I think of something that would be great for our Dayton community. I think of her when I am in the class room. I want my students to be empowered as she empowered me. I want new entrepreneurs to believe in their dreams, because she was willing to listen to my dreams and encourage me.

Juanita-Michelle is a mathematics professor at Clark State College; owner of Third Perk Coffeehouses.

Black Excellence in the Miami Valley

Jessie Gooding

To conclude Black History Month, we reached out for examples of Black excellence in the Miami Valley as told by members of our communities. Hear from contributors tell the stories of these individuals and organizations, past and present, that exemplify some of the best qualities our region has to offer.

» Marsha Bonhart on Jessie Gooding

» Felicia Chappelle on the H.U.M.A.N. Project

» Rodney Veal on Countess Winfrey

» Shon Curtis on Nozipo Glenn

» Te’Jal Cartwright on Black men healing

» Ryan C. Ivory on Commissioner Dean Lovelace

» Juanita-Michelle on Audrey Norman-Turner

» Dorian Hunter on Sheila Lash Rice

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