Phoenix and Arizona took shape by the determination and ideas of many brave and visionary Black people. Their willingness to face relentless adversity and transform it into motivation is inspirational. We honor their dedication to building a fair and equitable state where fundamental human rights are respected and honored. We are grateful for these leaders’ tenacity and their work that paved the way for the next generation of young people who continue fighting for equity today.
Councilman Calvin C. Goode
Phoenix lost Calvin C. Goode in December 2020 at 93, but his legacy will continue for generations.
Goode was the longest-serving City Council member in city history and served on the Phoenix Union High school board for 30 years. Upon his death, his colleagues at the city remembered him as a gentle, principled man, dedicated and engaged in his district, whose sheer determination was at the core of his success.
Among his long list of accomplishments, he advocated for preservation and affordable housing while also establishing redevelopment projects in his district and promoting the Head Start program. He developed the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, once home to the city’s first Black high school Carver High School, his alma mater.
His wife, Georgie Mae Goode, was also an influential activist and educator in Phoenix. She served on the Phoenix Union High School District and Phoenix Elementary School District boards and authored four books on poetry, family, and education.
In honor of his service to the city, a Phoenix named a municipal building in Goode’s honor. The building is inscribed with a fitting tribute to Councilman Goode: “Guided by a deeply held belief in God and the equality of all people, his lifetime exemplified a powerful commitment to improving the quality of life in Phoenix, especially for young people.”
Each year, the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award is presented during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration for individuals who have promoted social and economic justice, defending civil rights and enhancing all people’s dignity.
Rev. Dr. George Brooks, Sr.
Rev. Dr. George Brooks, Sr. was another fundamental advocate for south Phoenix. Born in South Carolina, Rev. Dr. Brooks was the founding pastor of the first African American Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, Southminster Presbyterian Church, and led the church for 42 years.
After enlisting in the Navy during WWII and receiving his Master’s of Divinity in 1951, Rev. Dr. Brooks brought his passion to Phoenix, where he dedicated his life to dismantling segregation and pervasive discrimination present in the city. His influence went well beyond the walls of his church. In the 60s and 70s, he headed the Maricopa County NAACP, and in the 90s, he served a term in the state legislature. He was a longtime member of the Roosevelt Elementary School District, and he was an essential part of the efforts to bring the first Meals on Wheels and Head Start programs to Phoenix.
“I have learned that the key to changing conditions . . . lies in the ability to gain the understanding and support of others; that the goal-oriented person is driven by means and consequences. Inherent in leadership is style, pace-setting, and strategic planning so that the well-being of all might be realized.”
Rev. Dr. Brooks’ son, Dr. George Brooks, Jr., is continuing his father’s legacy in South Phoenix by expanding local food access through aquaponics.