Hilbert D. Stanley

Educator who taught in city schools and at Morgan State University had served as the mayor's education liaison

February 20, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Hilbert D. Stanley, a prominent African-American educator and civil rights activist who had taught in city public schools and at Morgan State University and later was executive director of the National Black Catholic Congress, died Feb. 12 of complications from dementia at the Charlestown retirement community.

He was 78.

"Dr. Stanley spoke out first and foremost for the students of Baltimore City to ensure that they would receive a quality education and have equal opportunities and do what was required of them," said Earl S. Richardson, president of Morgan State University since 1985.

"He also made sure that the city and state did what it was obligated to do, because without educational, social and economic mobility, those students would be lost," Dr. Richardson said.

Born in Cambridge and raised in Easton, Dr. Stanley was a 1948 graduate of Robert Moton High School.

After graduating from Moton, Dr. Stanley wanted to attend college but was unsure that he'd be able to continue his education.

"I wasn't able to afford the cost of college but with a gift from my mother and grandfather, I was able to go to Morgan State University where I earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1952," Dr. Stanley wrote in a biographical profile.

He later earned a master's degree in science from Morgan in 1970 and a doctorate in administration and supervision in 1978 from Wayne State University in Detroit.

He served in the Army, where he attained the rank of major, and began teaching science in city public schools in 1964.

He was assistant principal at Forest Park High School in 1973, when he was appointed principal of Edmondson High School. From 1979 to 1981, he was principal of Lake Clifton Senior High School.

In 1981, Dr. Stanley was appointed director of the Mayor's Office of Human Development, and a year later was named education liaison officer by then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer, who explained to The Sun at the time that the job was a reflection of "the high priority we're giving to education."

As City Hall liaison, it was Dr. Stanley's responsibility to help city government support school staffs and allow them more time to teach.

"I see it as a tremendous opportunity for the school system," Dr. Stanley told The Sun in an interview at the time. "Many times, principals spend their time dealing with supplies and truancy and other problems instead of strictly educational matters."

Two years later, the job was quietly abolished on the recommendation of the school board.

"The mayor gets blamed for a lot of what goes on in education, but his powers are limited by the city charter. He and Alice Pinderhughes [then superintendent of city schools] get along pretty well. I think she's a better liaison," Dr. Stanley told The Sun at the time his job was eliminated.

He then went to Southwestern High School, where he was principal from 1984 until 1990, when he retired.

Dr. Stanley then became a part-time science instructor at Morgan.

In other work at Morgan, he served as president and was later treasurer of its national alumni association and helped get Alumni House on Morgan's East Cold Spring Lane campus renovated to house its operations. He also expanded the alumni newsletter and developed an investment portfolio for the organization.

Dr. Stanley, who for years had lived on George Street in the city's Seton Hill neighborhood, also served as chairman of the Morgan State University Foundation.

"Dr. Stanley was a remarkable man. He was very supportive of the alumni association, Morgan State University, and had been Alumnus of the Year in 2001," said Joyce A. Brown, director of Morgan's alumni relations.

"His contribution to the association was totally remarkable. He was committed, dedicated and extremely dependable. We are going to miss him terribly," Mrs. Brown said.

Dr. Stanley was director of development for the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and later developed an interest in the spiritual, religious and cultural concerns of African-American Roman Catholics.

From 1991 to 2002, he was executive director of the National Black Catholic Congress, which had been founded in 1854 by Daniel and Elizabeth Rudd and works in concert with national Roman Catholic organizations.

For Dr. Stanley's role in the creation of the Our Mother of Africa Chapel at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, Pope John Paul II appointed him a Knight of St. Gregory the Great.

In 2000, when Pope John Paul II canonized St. Josephine Bakhita, an African-American woman who was a member of the Daughters of Charity, Dr. Stanley organized a pilgrimage to the Vatican service for the saint who died in 1947 and was known as "Mother Moretta."

His wife of many years, the former Constance Bowser, died in 1969.

Dr. Stanley was a communicant of St. Bernardine Roman Catholic Church, 3800 Edmondson Ave., where a memorial Mass will be offered at 7 p.m. Friday.

Surviving are a son, Guy D. Stanley Sr. of Detroit; a daughter, Denise R. Stanley of Edmondson Village; a sister, Jewell C. Duggins of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

An earlier version of this obituary gave incorrect information about Dr. Stanley's memorial Mass. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

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