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Thu, 12.06.1923

Morrison Warren, Educator born

Dr. Morrison Warren

*Morrison Warren was born on this date in 1923. He was a Black educator, activist, and administrator.

From Marlin, Texas, Morrison Fulbright Warren was raised in the neighborhood of 12th Street and Abbot in Phoenix, AZ.  He was valedictorian of the 1941 graduating class of Phoenix Union Colored High School, which had 17 students.

After that, he enrolled at Phoenix College and enlisted in the Air Force for military service in Germany in WW II. His experience witnessing the carnage of the Nazi Death Camps made a life-turning impression on him for the rest of his life.  He promised himself that if we were to make it home, he would spend the rest of his life building bridges between people.

Upon returning to America, Warren became the second Black Letterman at Arizona State University (ASU), where he graduated in 1948 with a degree in elementary education. While in college, he continued to encounter experiences that would require bridge-building.  As a football player at ASU, the day before a game with the University of Texas-El Paso, the Texas school requested that the Black players from ASU not be allowed to play because they could not guarantee their safety from potential fan unrest in El Paso.

Warren began teaching as an educator at Dunbar Elementary in Phoenix, AZ. He also became principal and soon earned his M.A. in School-Community Relations. From there, he became principal at Booker T. Washington, installing a vigorous program, “Foundation of Understanding,” that emphasized the role of parents in the educational process.  In 1959, he completed his Doctorate program in Education Administration and Supervision.

Morrison Warren served on many committees, including Head Start and the Arizona Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. In 1966, he was appointed to the Phoenix City Council and two years later accepted a faculty position at Arizona State University. There, he was director of the IDB Payne Laboratory School of the University, a school dedicated to exploring and using Culture in Education. A Fiesta Bowl Board President in 1981, Warren has been characterized as a “bridge-builder” and one who lived by the principles instilled in him at an early age by his parents: the absolute importance of education, hard work, excellence, fair play, contribution, dreams, persistence, humility, and love of God.

His many accomplishments throughout his service include being Professor Emeritus in the College of Education at ASU, the first Black Phoenix City Councilman, and Vice Mayor of the City of Phoenix. They exemplify his hard-won personal success and his commitment to humankind. Dr. Morrison F. Warren died on April 9, 2002. His name has created a scholarship at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

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