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Thu, 12.06.1923

Morrison Warren built bridges through education

Dr. Morrison Warren

*Morrison Warren was born on this date in 1923. He was an African American 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 then enlisted in the Air Force for military service in Germany in WW II. His experience of witnessing the carnage of the Nazi Death Camps made a life turning impression on him for the rest of his life. It was a promise he made to himself that if 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 was also a professional football player with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

As an educator, Warren began teaching 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 such as Head Start and the Arizona Advisory Committee to 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 that was dedicated to the exploration and use of 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 lifetime of service include Professor Emeritus in the College of Education at ASU, the first African American 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. A scholarship in his name has been created at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Reference: Arizzona State University

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