November 2014

Harold and Lucille Webb

Tuskegee Airman and Educator

Harold and Lucille Webb have dedicated their lives to serving North Carolina, and the United States, in fields as diverse as education, public health, civil rights and the military.

A native of Greensboro, Harold Webb enlisted in the Army in 1943, serving as a pilot with WWII’s legendary Tuskeegee Airmen, the first African-American unit to fly and maintain American combat aircraft. The unit received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 for its military achievements and paving the way for full integration of the Armed Forces.

Returning home after the war, Harold enrolled at N.C. A&T University. He graduated with a biology degree in 1948 and began a career in public education, first as a teacher and later as a principal and deputy superintendent. He led the North Carolina Title I Program, a federal effort to bridge the opportunity gap by serving low-income, minority students. He subsequently was the first African-American to serve as personnel director for North Carolina state government.

Harold was active in politics and served on the Wake County Board of Commissioners for seven years, including serving as Chairman from 2008-09.He stepped down in 2010 after suffering a stroke. As a commissioner, he emphasized voter registration and education, and increased funding for community organizations in Southeast Raleigh.

Lucille Webb was born in Richmond, Va., and moved to North Carolina to attend NC A&T, where she met Harold. After earning her degree in applied sociology in 1948, she decided to stay to work mainly in the fields of education and public health.      Beginning as an eighth-grade social studies and language arts teacher in Hillsboro, she spent most of her career in the Wake County school system, eventually serving as curriculum director and a personnel administrator.

In 1980, Lucille helped found Strengthening the Black Family, a Raleigh-based non-profit focused on improving the quality of life in uplifting the Wake County minority community.  She continues to serve as the president of its board of directors, and to actively support projects such as the Healthy Families Initiative.

Through the years, Lucille’s influence and energy as a community health advocate have touched a variety of organizations, including Teens Against AIDS, Girl Scouts, the Raleigh Human Relations Council, and Project DIRECT, a diabetes research development project funded by the Centers for Disease Control.

The Webbs were inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2011.

Through their 50 years of marriage, the Webbs have continually sought to increase citizen participation in community life, particularly in the area of serving others. They remain committed to answering Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to find the potential in each person and to help them realize their dreams.