Dr. Tandy Washington Coggs, Sr.

FEBRUARY 17, 1887 JULY 10, 1992

Tandy Washington Coggs, Sr. was born on February 17, 1887 to former slave parents, Eliza Williams and Tandy Calvin Coggs in Catcher, Arkansas.  He was the nineteenth of twenty-one children.

He attended elementary school in Crawford County, Arkansas.  He raised farm animals to help finance his matriculation at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He attended High School and College at Arkansas Baptist College, and graduated from Arkansas Baptist College in 1910 as the Valedictorian of his class.

He attended Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia for two years, and received a certificate in carpentry from Hampton Institute in 1912.  At Hampton Institute he was indoctrinated with the philosophy of skilled craftsmanship and service to the community in similar fashion as Booker T. Washington who had also attended Hampton Institute.

His years of gainful employment follow:

From 1912 to 1915, he served as Dean of Men at Arkansas Baptist College.

From 1916 to 1923, he served as Professor of Trades and Industry at Branch Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  He was the first Black to hold this position.  During World War I, in 1917-18, he was deferred from military service in order to train Black Army soldiers in the building and construction trades at the College, now known as University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

He later attended Arkansas State College, now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education in 1931.

From 1923 to 1937, he was the first Superintendent of the Negro Boys Industrial Schools located in Pine Bluff and Wrightsville, Arkansas.  Prior to 1923, black youths who were convicted of crimes were sent to the Adult Black Penitentiary to serve their sentences.  Black male orphans were also sent to the Adult Black Penitentiary for maintenance.

Dr. Coggs was affiliated with many organizations and frequently served as an officer. He belonged to the Arkansas Teacher’s Association for many years and served as their President from 1938 to 1940, and as Treasurer from 1940 to 1956.  He was a member of the NAACP and was an ardent supporter of Attorneys Thurgood Marshall and Wiley Branton during the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas in the fifties  and early sixties.

Dr. Coggs was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Agriculture, Mechanical and Normal College, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in 1957.

Dr. Coggs married Nannie Hinkle in 1914.  In November 1964, Dr. Coggs’ children sponsored the celebration of their parents’ 50 years of marriage.  This 50th wedding anniversary celebration was held in the Razorback Ballroom of the Marion Hotel in Little Rock.  This was the first time that the Marion Hotel had catered a celebration for black guests.  All five of Dr. Coggs’ children were present on this occasion.  All five children had attained Masters Degrees or higher.  Louis Hinkle Coggs, M.D. was a Family Practice physician in Chicago, Illinois.  The Reverend Tandy Washington Coggs, Jr. was pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois.  Ms. Nanette Coggs was a Special Education teacher in Chicago, Illinois.  Ms. Eloise Coggs was a Psychiatric Social Worker in Los Angeles, California. Granville C. Coggs, M.D. was a physician, Radiologist, Partner of the Permanente Medical Group in San Francisco, California.

Mrs. Nannie Coggs died in January of 1965, and in 1966 Dr. Coggs moved to Los Angeles, California.  He served for the remainder of his life as an associate minister at Progressive Baptist Church in Los Angeles, where his son, Tandy W. Coggs, Jr., was pastor.

In 1984, Arkansas Baptist College celebrated its Centennial year.  Dr. Coggs was invited to be a guest speaker at this celebration as the oldest former president of Arkansas Baptist College.  During this celebration, he was awarded the Keys to the City of Little Rock, Arkansas,  bestowed by the mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dr. Coggs died July 10, 1992 at age 105, in Los Angeles, California.  He is survived by his children and six grandchildren.