The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 05, 2018 10:58 am

Hana Stith, longtime educator, historian, dies at 90

Named JG's Citizen of the Year in 2006


Hana Stith, among the first black teachers hired by Fort Wayne Community Schools and perhaps the premier historian of the city's black community as a founder of the African/African-American Historical Museum, has died. 

She turned 90 on Aug. 25. Stith died early this morning in Columbus, Ohio, where her daughter, Robin Stith, a civil rights attorney, resides, said the Rev. Ken Christmon, pastor of Turner Chapel AME Church, Fort Wayne. 

"She was a civil rights icon," Christmon said of Hana Stith, a long-time church leader. 

Stith became a member of the NAACP before graduating from high school in 1946. She was the first woman appointed to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, serving 12 years under four different mayors. She also served on the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission. 

Stith became a teacher in 1960, teaching in inner city schools and becoming a Title 1 instructor working with students who needed additional attention in reading and math. She retired in 1996. 

After retiring, she founded the African/African American Historical Society in 1998 and the museum a year later. It officially opened in 2000. 

At Turner Chapel, she organized its first vacation Bible school and was director of the Commission on Christian Education and a Sunday School teacher. 

Funeral arrangements are pending, Christmon said.

For more about this, visit later today or see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette.

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