JUNE 21 WALK THE WALK STREET FESTIVAL - 2019 DAYTON REGION’S WALK OF FAME
The Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame’s new inductees will be introduced at the Walk the Walk
celebration in the Wright Dunbar Historic Business District on June 21, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. Walk the Walk is a free street festival to celebrate the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame from 6-9 p.m. West Third Street will be closed from Shannon to Broadway Street during that time. There will be food trucks, live entertainment by Eddie Brookshire and the Sinclair Jazz Combo, music from WDAO Radio, a children and family fun area at the NPS Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center, and an opportunity to be among the first to experience the Walk of Fame digitally.
Pelican Technologies, Inc. created the Sparrow program, which utilizes QR codes to add an interactive component to the Walk of Fame. Scan the code with your phone and learn more information about the inductees. There will be a contest for those who want to experience and interact with the new program, great prizes for all who participate. Top prizes include a private ride for two people in a biplane at the WACO Air Museum in Troy, VIP Suite Box Tickets to see Herbie Hancock or Air Supply at The Rose Music Center in Huber Heights.
Take advantage of the opportunity to honor your favorite Walk of Fame member during the June 21st event. For just $150 you can recognize an enshrined Walk of Fame member with a QR Code sponsorship for the evening.
Wright Dunbar, Inc. sponsors the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame, and the memorial stones are on West Third Street in the Wright Dunbar Historic Business District between Broadway and Shannon and along Williams Street. Over 170 outstanding individuals and groups have been memorialized for their significant contributions to the Miami Valley, the country and the world.
The 2019 honorees are:
Jessie Gooding (1926-)
One of the Dayton region’s foremost civil rights leaders, Jessie Gooding was born and raised in Minden, La. After serving in the segregated U. S. Army, he studied at Wilberforce University and became a chemist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Witnessing and experiencing discrimination in the workplace, Gooding established equal employment opportunity and sensitivity training, which became mandatory in the Air Force in the 1960s. He also advocated for the Air Force to recruit top science and engineering students from historically black colleges and universities. Gooding is the longest serving president of the Dayton chapter of the NAACP (1982-2002.) Under his leadership the Dayton NAACP increased voter registration and pressed for reforms to end discrimination in education, employment, housing and law enforcement. He is co-author with Rosalind Vera Osinubi of Freedom and Justice for All: My Life and Dayton Civil Rights History.
John Gower (1953-)
John Gower is a life-long Dayton resident who has devoted his career as an urban planner to preserving Dayton’s history and making it a great place to live. His advocacy for Dayton began as a student at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, when he volunteered weekends in Dayton to board up abandoned homes in his Dayton View neighborhood. He has worked as Dayton’s downtown planner, director of community development, urban design coordinator, and most recently as reimaging strategist. The Living City Project he led has been called a catalyst for revitalizing downtown housing. He led architectural preservation efforts that resulted in the city’s Historic District Zoning and Landmarks Commission. His preservation advocacy continues even in retirement. He has been a leading advocate for restoring the downtown Dayton Arcade.
Betsy and Lee Whitney (1930-, 1930-2018)
Betsy and Lee Whitney have been exemplary leaders in arts, social services, history and business organizations. Born in Yellow Springs, Betsy Baldwin met Leon “Lee” Whitney in college at Ohio Wesleyan. They married in 1953. Lee joined his father-in-law’s insurance company, which grew to become Baldwin and Whitney with Lee Whitney as president. The Whitneys have been generous with their talents and resources. A past president and board chair of the YWCA, Betsy served on boards and/or fundraising committees for the Dayton Art Institute, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Visual Arts Center, Human Race Theater Company, Victoria Theatre Association, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Dayton History, Leadership Dayton, Dayton Foundation and Wright-Dunbar Inc. Lee served as president of Dayton Children’s, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Downtown Dayton Partnership and the YMCA, and as a board member of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, United Theological Seminary, and Westminster Church. Through his countless volunteer hours at Carillon Historical Park, he saw the need for a picnic shelter for schoolchildren. The Whitney Pavilion there now proudly serves visitors of all ages. Both Whitneys served on additional nonprofit boards and committees too numerous to list here.
Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (1968- )
Nationally and internationally acclaimed local group on the dance stage and in film, DCDC has been a recognized cultural amenity in the Dayton arts scene for over 50 years. Few individuals or arts organizations in the region have represented Dayton on a larger scale. DCDC represents the Dayton region around the world. In this decade it has toured in Chili, China, Russia and Kazakhstan. PBS featured DCDC in the 2007 documentary “Dance in America: Dancing in the Light.” The film documentary “Sparkle,” which featured DCDC dancer Sheri “Sparkle Williams,” was selected to screen at Silverdocs, America’s largest and most prestigious documentary film festival in 2012. The 2016 Bessie for Outstanding Revival was presented to Rainbow ‘Round my Shoulder performed by DCDC at the David H. Koch Theater in New York. DCDC was founded by Jeraldyne Blunden (1940-1999,) who was inducted in the Walk of Fame as an individual in 1999.
The honorees will be celebrated at a luncheon on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at the Sinclair College Conference Center. Tickets for the luncheon are available on the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame website