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  Name:   Dr. Melvin Douglass
Month: September 2010
Schools: Columbia MA '78, PhD '81
Organization: Minority Educators' Network Leadership Development Program for Public Service
Title: President

In the June 30th, 2009 issue of the Daily Challenge, Dr. Douglass was described as "one of America's most profound, insightful, engaging, sensitive and accomplished instructional leaders on the scene today." He has been a regular contributor for the daily newspaper, writing columns on topics such as the "Curriculum of the Oppressed," "An Imposed Culture of Humiliation," "Urban Education in Crisis," and "Is the Single-Sex School Model Effective?"

Dr. Melvin I. Douglass has expertise in K-12 education, urban education, organizational administration and supervision, curriculum and instruction, United States History and African American Life and development.

Dr. Douglass is founder and president of the Minority Educators' Network Leadership Development Program for Public Service, an educational administrator in the South Huntington Union Free School District and an adjunct assistant professor of education at New York Institute of Technology School of Graduate Education. At the graduate school, his professional activity includes serving on the advisory committee for the Doctor of Education Degree in School Leadership and Instructional Technology. He also served as a principal facilitator at Harvard Graduate School of Education, an adjunct assistant professor of education at Brooklyn College Graduate School of Education, an adjunct professor of sociology and African American studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, an adjunct professor of sociology and history at the College of New Rochelle, an adjunct professor of social science at Metropolitan College of New York Audrey Cohen School of Human Services and an instructor of education at Long Island Institute of Professional and Graduate Studies.

His professional and public service has been varied and extensive. Dr. Melvin Douglass is a member of Community Board Unit 12, City of New York, Borough of Queens. He was nominated by Councilman Leroy Comrie, Majority Whip of the City Council and head of the Queens Council Delegation, and appointed by the Honorable Helen Marshall, President of the Borough of Queens. As a Community Board Unit 12 member, Dr. Douglass addresses matters pertaining to land use, zoning, city budget, municipal service delivery and other concerns relating to the community's welfare.

In addition to the aforementioned, Dr. Douglass currently holds positions on the following boards: the Gerald W. Deas, M.D., Professorship in Preventive Medicine at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center; Afrikan Poetry Theatre; Nu Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Early Childhood Learning Center; and Long Island Child and Family Development Services, Inc. The latter is a non-profit organization that operates 19 Long Island Head Start sites throughout Suffolk County with an annual budget of 17 million dollars. Furthermore, he is the Public Policy Advisor to New York State Assemblyman William Scarborough, chairman of the Committee on Children and Families and serves as a member of the Historical Manuscript Peer Review Committee for the Journal of the National Medical Association. Last, but not least, he is co-founder of the Professor Hobart S. Jarrett Lecture, which is sponsored by Alpha Sigma Boule and the Arthur A. Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture.

For many years, Dr. Douglass has devoted much of his voluntary efforts to grassroots development in New York State. He is a former member of the Area Policy Board in Queens, the Advisory Board of Public School 40, the Advisory Board of the New York Urban League (Queens Branch), and the Community Advisory Board of the City of New York Department of Corrections Queens House of Detention for Men. Dr. Douglass also served on the following board of directors: C.W. Post College Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa Professional Fraternity; the Queens Council on the Arts; the New York State Conference of the National Association for the Advanced of Colored People; the St. Albans Chamber of Chamber of Commerce; the Long Island Tuskegee Alumni Association; the United Black Men of Queens County; and the USO of Metropolitan New York. As a member of the board of directors of the USO, Dr. Douglass along with colleague, David A. Bythewood, spearheaded a campaign to recognize the many contributions of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (posthumously). The event took place in 2006. It marked the first time the USO of Metropolitan New York held a special event honoring their distinguished service to this nation. Dr. Douglass also served as educational liaison to former United States Congressman, Alton R. Waldon, Jr., who was the first African American elected to the House of Representatives in the history of Queens County. On the national level, he has been a member of renown Principals' Center National Advisory Board at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

This civic-minded person is also a scholar. In 2005, Dr. Douglass' study on the Famous Black Men of Harvard: An Investigation of Their Origins and Achievements, 1869-1926 was selected for presentation at a symposium held at the University of Oxford in England. As a social historian in the field of African American life and history, he has written numerous articles, which were published in Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Journal of the National Medical Association, the Boule Journal, The Prince Hall Sentinel, The Crisis Magazine, and The Phylaxis Magazine. Dr. Douglass has authored an Afro-American history text entitled Black Winners: A History of Spingarn Medalists, 1915-1983. This book was placed on the New York City Board of Education's approved book list. Currently, he is working on two manuscripts: All This, and Heaven Too! and Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock: A Memoir. Dr. Douglass composed two songs that celebrate African American luminaries: "Carter G. Woodson" and "Thanks, Dr. King, Thanks, Mrs. King". With regard to the tribute to Carter G. Woodson, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of the most powerful academic voices in America, proclaimed "It's wonderful! I hope to hear loud and proud voices singing it during Black History Month".

Dr. Douglass' collegiate career echoes a similar commitment to excellence. He received a full track scholarship to college because Dr. Douglass had earned the titles of New York City Public School Athletic League and Eastern States Champion. While on scholarship, he lettered in track and field at Vincennes University and Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). Dr. Douglass was a contributing member of the team that won the Indiana Little State Championships (outdoors) in 1969 and 1970. He was also a member of the foursome that won the Alabama State Southwestern Athletic Conference Outdoor 440 Relay Championship in 1971.

Dr. Douglass has a broad range of educational experiences. He earned his associate's degree from Vincennes University in 1970; his bachelor's degree from Tuskegee University in 1973; his master's degree from Morgan State University in 1975, and another master's degree from New York University in 1977. Dr. Douglass also received a master's degree from Columbia University in 1978 and a doctorate degree from the same institution in 1981. His dissertation was entitled The Black Family as a Matrix of Achievement: The Historical Case of Dr. William Montague Cobb. While attending Columbia University on a full academic scholarship, he was elected to the prestigious Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and, later, Golden Key International Honour Society. In addition, his outstanding academic performance qualified him for membership into Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. Dr. Douglass' postdoctoral work earned him certificates in Urban School Leadership and Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2003 and 2007 respectively. In addition, Dr. Douglass was awarded two highly coveted fellowships. One from The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which provided him the unique opportunity to study at Clare College, Cambridge University, England, in 2007 and another from the Goethe-Institut, Germany, which enabled him to study the German education system abroad in 2008. He was also selected as a Japan Fulbright Memorial Scholar in 2008, which allowed him to be a member of a distinguished delegation studying Japanese culture and educational institutions. Finally, Dr. Douglass received a research study grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on "The Role of Slavery in the Rise of New England Commerce, Industry and Culture to 1860." This purposeful research and study was accomplished with the cooperation of Brown University and the Rhode Island Historical Society in 2009. Referring to his scholarship, Dr. William Montague Cobb, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the College of Medicine of Howard University, once said, "Dr. Douglass' academic accomplishments bring to mind the schoolmaster in Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village",

And still they gazed, and

still the wonder grew

that one small head could

carry all he knew.

Due to his outstanding social and educational contributions, Dr. Douglass has received numerous awards. They include citations from Congressman Steve Israel, Legislator Allan Binder, former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, former Mayor Edward I. Koch, former Governor Mario Cuomo, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, New York State Senator Carl L. Marcellino, New York State Assemblyman James Conte, Town of Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone, the New York City Council, the New York State Senate, the New York State Assembly, the Town Board of the Town of Huntington, Islip Town Board, the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission and the Principals' Center at Harvard. In addition, he was presented the Omega Man of the Year Award, One Hundred Black Men of Long Island Man of the Year Award, the N.Y.C. Transit Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. Dedicated Service Award, the Vincennes University Alumni Citation Award, State University of New York at Farmingdale Distinguished Service Award, Eastern Shore Chapter of the Links Service Award, Journal of the National Medical Association Excellence Award, Henry M. Minton Fellow Award, the N.A.A.C.P. Black History Makers Award and the Jefferson Award, which was sponsored by the American Institute for Public Service and WNYW-Fox Television.

Dr. Douglass is listed in Outstanding Young Men of American (1983), Who's Who in the East (22nd and 23rd editions), Who's Who in America (46th, 57th, 60th, 61st, and 62nd editions), Who's Who in Education (3rd , 4th, 6th, and 8th editions), Who's Who Among Black Americans (5th and 6th editions), Who's Who Among America's Teachers (7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th editions), Who's Who in the World (22nd, 23rd, 24th editions) and Black American Colleges and Universities (1994 Ed.). This volume lists him as one of Tuskegee University's 'Notable Alumni'. The other distinguished alumni include Supreme Court Justice, Robert Benham; former President of Albany State, Billy C. Black; former President of Howard University, James Edward Cheek; Alabama Music Hall of Fame Musician, William L. Dawson; Novelist, Ralph Waldo Emerson; former President of Stockton State, Vera King Farris; First black four-star general in the Armed Forces, Daniel 'Chappie' James; former President of Glassboro State College, Herman Delano James; Grammy Award winner, Lionel Richie; Television producer, Keenan Ivory Wayans; and Founder of Voorhees College, Elizabeth E. Wright.

Dr. Douglass' professional affiliations include: The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the New York Council for History Education, and the National Society for the Study of Education.

His propensity for leadership is also evident in the organizations to which he belongs. Dr. Douglass is a member of Lebanon Lodge No. 54 of Free and Accepted Masons, Royal Eagle Chapter No. 27 Holy Royal Arch Masons, Mystic Tie Council No. 8 Royal and Select Masters, Gethsemane Commandery No.3 Knights Templar and the Long Island Consistory No. 61 Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Masons. He was coronated an honorary 33rd degree, which is the ('last and highest') degree given for exceptional service to Freemasonry by the Scottish Rite. In 2008, Dr. Douglass was elected secretary of the General Conference of Grand Chapters Holy Royal Arch Masons Eastern Alliance, appointed to the Committee on Masonic Education of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York and selected for the editorial staff of The Prince Hall Sentinel. His editorial responsibilities include writing feature articles on prominent individuals of Prince Hall Freemasonry in New York State. As a result of his service that year, the Most Worshipful Grand Master Bernard L. Holley issued a patent conferring upon him the distinctive title of 'Worshipful Brother'. He is also a member of Abu-Bekr No. 91, which is associated with the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. In additon, Dr. Douglass is an active member of the Phylaxis Society, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Boul'), Phi Delta Kappa Professional Fraternity, One Hundred Black Men of Long Island, Brooklyn Guardsmen, Comus Club of Brooklyn, Reveille Club of New York, Lions Club International, Village Club of Sands Point, Sag Harbor Golf Club and the Princeton Club of New York.

Dr. Douglass is an avid collector of antiques, vintage books and African and African American art. Included in his collection are rare works of art by Jacob Lawrence, William Tolliver, James Denmark and Thomas Blackshear. Some of the art work and collectibles are housed in the historical landmark section of Brooklyn, New York, Sag Harbor, Long Island and Midlothian, Virginia where he resides.

Dr. Douglass began the M.I. Douglass Property Management Company, which manages his income properties in Queens, New York and Hertford, North Carolina. He is also founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Douglass Group, a private family investment company that holds and manages family assets including art, real estate, and investment portfolios.

Finally, Dr. Douglass is an ordained Baptist minister. He strongly embraces the Black Churches' long tradition of liberation theology and racial reconciliation that was notably embodied in the movement led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His Christian ministry, which focuses on assisting underprivileged children and young adults, has prompted him to go about the process of establishing the Fund-A-Vision Foundation. The foundation's mission is designed to help young people actualize goals that were once unimaginable. He also founded the Interdenominational Business Roundtable. The roundtable is an invitation only organization composed of outstanding academic, business and community leaders from diverse religious backgrounds. It unites influential people for the purpose of addressing economic development issues, stimulating entrepreneurship, advocating for consumers, and networking. Partly due to his varied theological interests, Dr. Douglass has been granted membership into the prestigious American Academy of Religion. He is frequently called upon to address civic, ecumenical, educational, fraternal and professional organizations.

His goal in life is embodied in an African proverb "Care more than others think is wise, rise more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical and expect more than others think is possible."



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