Good Timing x 2

Two Good News Stories in One : Good Timing

1 )

Ragan Henry (1934-2008)- Black radio pioneer and art promoter helped blacks and others in radio and art but might never have happened if Henry were born a year earlier.

1952 was the first year Harvard took in Black -then Known as Negros- students. Ragan Henry was one of 13 admitted, accordimg to my reliable uncle, Richard Marchick. No affirmative action HERE; he was admitted purely on scohlarship.


Dr Richard Marchick , here celebrating 60 years with wife Gloria. None of it would have probably happened if he were born only a year earlier.

My uncle, Dr. Richard Marchick  , who just celebrated his 90th, remembers Harvard classmate Ragan as a hardworking student ,who also had a second obstacle-to battle his own Dad to make Harvard really happen because the family needed Ragan to work to bring in money. Ragan agreed to take on a job at night just to honor his dad’s wishes and still get Into Harvard.

With his Harvard education behind him, Ragan A. Henry initially amassed 26 radio stations on the East Coast, starting in the 1970s when it wasn’t easy for black people to own any at all. Later 26 stations became 60, nationwide. But with smarts, wits and a dream, he was one of the few.. It wasn’t easy, born the son of share croppers making $10 a week in Kentucky, 1934

Art of black artist Moe Brooker from the Ragun Henry collection

Henry was the first African American to own a network-affiliated TV station and helped paved the way for media moguls who are household names today. He also massage a collection of black reduced art helping to promote black artists of the day, among ofhers. But very few people know or remember his name, for his rise as a broadcast entrepreneur came before the internet and Facebook and Twitter. You wont even find a listing on wikipedia. (From,a%20dream%2C%20he%20was%20one%20of%20the%20few.)

Andrew Turner, four figures, oil on canvas.

2 ) Speaking of my Uncle Richard Marchick,

At lunch over a reuben sandwich at Orinda Europa hofbrau the other day , he told me ‘the rest of the story’ as Paul Harvey might say. My Uncle relates that he only got into Harvar d,  himself , because it was the first year Harvard started accepting Jews. He had been turned down by Stanford while  non-Jewish friends with lower scores were accepted.

But then, like with Henry having a second obstacle, Marchick during a routine physical exam, despite having no symptoms was diagnosed with a detached retina that made Harvard reverse its decision to accept him. There were only three retinal specialists at the time and the one on the East coast told Marchick he would go blind as there was yet no reliable  treatment for reattaching the retina . Lazer was still a half century away and even cryo was not yet available. Only Electric cauterization and

Photo coagulation were possibilities and only recently available.  Luckily, the retina specialist on the west coast told Marchick he could do the surgery but Marchick would have to be layed up for months, the first two weeks with sandbags , and wear pinhole glasses.

Marchick gratefully accepted his only real chance to avoid blindness. After a successful surgery, the doctor wrote Harvard a letter assuring it that Marxhick would not go blind- and he still got into  Harvard that year.

Had Marchick been born only a year earlier he would have likey gone blind AND not been accepted to Harvard or become the reknown California physician and Henry would not have beem atmitted to Harvard NOR LIKELY GONE ON TO PURCHASE AND OPERATE 60 BLACK BROADCAST CHANNELS!. That’s called GOOD TIMING and GOOD NEWS!

On a personal note I well remember ‘Uncle Dick’ as a fledgling salesman for Merk(?) , living with our family in Oakland after Harvard,and. driving a cool 57 Chevy while wearing pinhole glasses – a temporary aftermath of his eye surgery (and not in that order). We hung out at the 19c hamburger place and listened to Harry Belafonte tunes together. NOT BAD MEMORIES for a kid! …and what a great thing to still be able to hang out together some 60 years later.😃

One reply on “Good Timing x 2”

How many people are better off today because of these two well-educated gentlemen? There should be no barriers for the thirst for knowledge and aptitude! Let it always be so….

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