Russell Goings
This modern-day renaissance man played professional football, started the first black-owned firm to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and is credited as the "godfather" of Essence for helping to assemble the players and acquire the funding to begin the magazine. Russell Goings is also founder and was the first chairman of the Studio Museum of Harlem. Goings, who was a dear friend to famed artist and author Romare Beardon, owns the largest collection of Bearden's works. But Goings' latest contribution to history, might be his greatest—"The Children of the Children Keep Coming." This epic poem draws from the African griot songs and traces the history of blacks from the Middle Passages through slavery through Jim Crow through the Civil Rights Movement. It is to the African American experience what the Iliad and the Odyssey are to the Romans and Greeks. In addition to his writings, Goings spends his life working with schools to help educate children. He works with the Jesuits and started a philosophy and ascetics club at St. Aloysius Middle School for Girls in New York and has loaned a significant body of art by Bearden and Jacob Lawrence to the school. He also started a production company to make classroom-ready videos about black artists.