The third class of the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame will feature an astronaut, a business and community leader, a civil rights activist, a solar power pioneer and seven houses of worship more than 200 years old.
City Councilman Dennis O’Brien (R-at large) made the official announcement during an April 26 news conference at Holy Family University.
The 2012 inductees will be:
• Frank Shuman (1862-1918), an inventor and solar power pioneer.
• The Rev. Leon Sullivan (1922-2001), a civil rights leader and anti-apartheid activist.
• Ed Kelly, a business and community leader.
• Chris Ferguson, an astronaut.
• Unity Monthly Meeting Frankford (founded 1682), Byberry Monthly Meeting (1683), Pennepack Baptist Church in Bustleton (1688), Trinity Church Oxford in Lawndale (circa 1698), Presbyterian Church of Frankford (1722), All Saints Episcopal Church, Torresdale (1772) and Campbell AME Church in Frankford (1807).
“It’s a wonderful list, isn’t it,” said Sister Francesca Onley, president of Holy Family and chairwoman of the selection committee. “And we have more in the making.”
The inductees will be honored during a ceremony at Holy Family’s Education and Technology Center on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m.
A steering committee raises money and plans the event.
As part of the Hall of Fame project, local high school students will be invited to create a video essay. The subject and prizes are to be determined.
The Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Mayfair Community Development Corporation in partnership with Holy Family, Councilman O’Brien, the Historical Society of Frankford and the Northeast Times.
The public submitted names to an eight-person selection committee for consideration.
The first group of inductees consisted of Tom Gola, Joan Krajewski, Aid For Friends, Harry Silcox, Thomas Holme, Henry and Mary Disston and St. Katharine Drexel.
The second group featured Benjamin Rush, Robert Purvis, George “Butch” Ballard, Sister Mary Scullion and Special People In Northeast Inc.
“It’s a mix of people who are nationally and internationally known and people who are more community based,” said project director Jack McCarthy. “It’s a rich, diverse group.”
Shuman, a Brooklyn native who moved to Philadelphia in the 1890s to work for the Tacony Iron Works, invented safety glass and a process for making wire glass. He received a patent in 1910 for a “sun machine,” which used solar heat to run an internal combustion engine.
Sullivan, who was born in West Virginia and studied in New York, became pastor of Zion Baptist Church in 1950 and served until 1988. He and his wife Grace were among the original residents of the Greenbelt Knoll development in Holmesburg. He founded the Opportunities Industrialization Centers and sat on the board of directors for General Motors. His “Sullivan Principles” helped hasten the end of apartheid in South Africa. President George H.W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Kelly is a World War II veteran who owned a successful automobile repair business in Burholme. He served as president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce from 1971-82. He and others founded the Pennypack Park Music Festival in the 1970s. After a 10-year hiatus, the free concerts resumed in 2001, with Kelly’s help. The stage is named in his honor. He and Jane, his wife of more than 60 years, live in Rhawnhurst.
Ferguson, a 1979 Archbishop Ryan High School graduate, is a retired astronaut and U.S. Navy captain. He was pilot of the 2006 Atlantis space shuttle flight and commander of the 2008 Endeavour flight and the July 2011 Atlantis flight, which represented the end of NASA’s space shuttle program. He retired from NASA last December and now works for Boeing. He lives in Houston with his wife Sandra and three children.
For more information, visit www.frankfordhistoricalsociety.org and click the “Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame” icon. ••EndFragment