Granville Coggs, MD
Doctor | Class of 2001
Granville Coggs was a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps and was one of the Original Tuskegee Airmen. He later attended Harvard Medical School and became the first African American to serve as staff physician at the Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco, California. Granville Coleridge Coggs was born on July 30, 1925, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Dr. Tandy Washington Coggs and Nannie Hinkle Coggs. The family later moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. His father was an educator who served as the president of Arkansas Baptist College from 1937 to 1955.
Coggs attended Dunbar High School and graduated in 1942. He took classes at Arkansas Baptist College but had transferred to Howard University by the fall of 1943 before he enlisted in the U.S. Army and volunteered for the Black Army Air Corps. After he had trained at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and at Tyndall Field in Florida, he served in the United States Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946 as an aerial gunner, aerial bombardier, multi-engine pilot, and B-25 pilot trainee who was scheduled for the 477th Bombardment group but never made it to combat, in that the war ended in 1945 before he finished training.
Coggs earned his commission as lieutenant, second-class, in January 1945. He was commissioned on October 16, 1945, as a second lieutenant bombardier pilot, having received his bombardier training at Midland Army Airfield in Midland, Texas, and was a weather observer at Tuskegee Institute until the fall of 1946, when he was discharged.
He left Tuskegee Institute to attend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He graduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in science. He subsequently applied to Harvard Medical School and was the only African American in his freshman class there. The G.I. bill from his military service granted him $500 toward the cost of Harvard Medical School, and the school provided him a scholarship for $330, the remainder of his tuition. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in June 1953 with a medical degree. Coggs was also suitemates for a time with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Boston, Massachusetts, area.
Coggs met Maud Currie in college. They married on August 20, 1946, in Arkansas. They had a son, Granville Currie Coggs, and two daughters, Anita and Carolyn Coggs.
Coggs became a physician; and in 1959, he became the first black staff physician at the Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. In 1972, he became the first African American to lead the Ultrasound Radiology Division at the University of California at San Francisco.
Coggs also achieved renown as a runner. He began running in his early seventies after being diagnosed with narcolepsy. His wife, having been a track star in her youth, coached him. A friend recommended that he train for the National Senior Games. In 1999, he won eighteen gold medals in the 1500 meter at the national competition. He began to focus more on the 400-meter and continued to run both events at state senior races. He won gold in the 400-meter dash in the Senior Olympics on March 22, 2009, in San Antonio, Texas.
Dr. Coggs retired in San Antonio as a radiologist and breast cancer specialist. He died on May 7, 2019.
Henri Linton (1944)
Henri Linton has been recognized as one of the most talented artists working in the state of Arkansas. He has also served as chairman of the art department at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).
Henri Linton was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1944. After discovering his artistic talents early, he soon began to paint and visit museums. To buy art supplies, he took odd jobs such as painting signs and shining shoes. After he entered a national art contest as a teenager, he won a four-year scholarship to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Linton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Boston University and a master’s degree in art from the University of Cincinnati Graduate School of Fine Arts.
In 1969, John Howard, chairman of Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal (AM&N) College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff—UAPB) art department, offered Linton a position on the faculty. With Howard as his mentor, Linton began a career teaching aspiring artists. When Howard retired as chairman in 1980, Linton took the position.
Linton has also thrived as an artist. With scores of renderings, his work is noted for its examination of Arkansas Delta aerial landscapes. His paintings received critical praise from solo shows at the Arkansas Arts Center in 1996 and 2000. He was the first regional artist to exhibit at the Strauss Gallery after the expansion of the Arkansas Arts Center in 2000. His work is displayed throughout the state, including in public collections at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and the Arkansas Arts Center. He has highlighted some of his works in a book he co-authored, The Art of Henri Linton: Sequences in Time and Space (2003). Linton’s passion for African-American history and culture manifests itself in his work. He has organized and coordinated photographic exhibitions such as And So Shall She Reap: The Seeds of Beulah Flowers, the story of Maya Angelou’s mentor and the mother of a family of influential professionals; Honoring Our Roots: The Lives and Times of Isaac Scott Hathaway and John M. Howard; and Those Who Dare to Dream: The Works of Arkansas Photographer Geleve Grice.
Linton also developed UAPB’s University Museum and Cultural Center. He gathered historical photographs, papers, annuals, books, newspaper clippings, tokens, mementos, and a variety of other artifacts and organized, designed, and helped construct all the displays at the museum, which houses Keepers of the Spirit: The L. A. Davis, Sr., Historical Collection, which documents the history of UAPB.
Linton is married to Dr. Hazel Linton, a member of the School of Education at UAPB.