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In Memoriam: Frances Wilson Canty

by Bob Linnenberg ’63

Withrow lost a loyal alumna on November 21, 2022, when Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame honoree Frances Lee Wilson Canty, a member of the Withrow class of 1957, passed away. While a student at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University in Nashville, Frances took part in lunch counter and movie house sit-ins protesting the segregation imposed by governments in the southern United States.

She became active in the civil rights movement and took part in voter registration drives. In May 1961 a bus carrying Freedom Riders was attacked in Anniston, Alabama, by a mob led by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The bus was firebombed. On Mother’s Day a second bus containing Freedom Riders was attacked in Birmingham, Alabama. Because of this and the earlier assault, Frances and nine other students left Nashville for Jackson, Mississippi, to continue the struggle. Frances had become a Freedom Rider herself.

The Freedom Riders were primarily student activists, both white and Black, who rode buses to protest segregation on interstate buses and bus stations in the south. Freedom Rides were initially organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) because the segregation of interstate transportation facilities had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, but was not being enforced in the southern states.

In Mississippi, Frances and the other Freedom Riders were soon arrested and jailed for 60 days for attempting to integrate the “Whites Only” bus station waiting room. Due to overcrowding in the Jackson jail, they were transferred to the notorious Parchman Penitentiary where the Freedom Riders were housed on Death Row.

After her release on bail, she returned to Nashville where she found that because of her involvement in the civil rights movement, she had been expelled from Tennessee A & I, a predominately Black institution. Frances then returned to Cincinnati, married, and raised five children while having a long career at the Internal Revenue Service.

 In 2011 Frances was honored with an honorary degree from Tennessee State University, the successor to Tennessee A & I. In 2014 she was inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

Also in 2011, President Barak Obama issued a proclamation honoring the 50th anniversary of the non-violent integration efforts of the Freedom Riders. Frances was able to meet the president and soon after was invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show where the Freedom Riders were honored for their part in the civil rights movement. There is now a Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama.

Withrow is justly proud of Frances Wilson Canty and honored by her role in making our nation a better place.

Ike Misali ’50 Scholarship Fund

In the spring of 1950, Principal A. O. Mathias (left) stopped the son of Greek immigrants in the halls of Withrow High School and asked what he planned to do after graduation. “I don’t know” was the reply.

Akila J. “Ike” Misali’s whose parents ran a small dry-cleaning store downtown. He wanted to attend college but didn’t have the money. In early August that year, with his future still in limbo, Misali unexpectedly received a letter from Raymond Walters, then presi­dent of The University of Cincinnati.

Walters invited Misali to attend UC on a full-tuition scholarship be­cause of his record and Mathias’ recommendation.

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Dr. John C. Bryant, Withrow Alumnus, Teacher and Coach Remembered.

Dr. John Calvin Bryant was an influential voice on diversity, equity, inclusion and education and passed away on January 30, 2022. John was born on March 1, 1936 in Sylacauga, AL to Edgar and Jessie Lee (Massengale) Bryant. John, a 1954 alumnus of Withrow High School, served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1957 and played on volleyball and basketball teams. After the Army, he went to the University of Cincinnati (UC). John was a member of the UC basketball team that placed third in the 1959 and 1960 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournaments. He graduated from UC with his bachelor’s in education in 1960, his master’s in education in 1967 and his doctorate in education in 1971.

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2021-2022 Withrow Athletic Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony

On January 21, 2022, an induction ceremony for the 2021 and 2022 classes of the Withrow Athletic Hall of Fame took place in the Withrow gym. Last year’s 2021 induction ceremony was cancelled due to Covid. To view the members of the Withrow Athletic Hall of Fame, click HERE. Note that  biographies of members can be viewed by clicking on their names.

Photos of the induction ceremony may be viewed by clicking HERE. The basketball game for that night was cancelled due to Covid problems on the opposing team.

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2022 Class of the Withrow Athletic Hall of Fame

Mark you calendars for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday evening, January 21, 2022, at half time of the Withrow–Shroder varsity boys’ basketball game, which starts at 7:30 PM. The following outstanding athletes will join an exclusive group of 55 prior inductees:

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