Most Interesting and Influencial 2006: Shirley Pitts

Shirley Pitts
Founder of
The Black Tour Group

     Mrs. Shirley Pitts was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She moved to Michigan after graduation from Ohio State University. She began teaching at a middle school in Detroit in 1969. She married Hudson Andre Pitts the same year and eight years later, they moved to Jackson, Michigan. Mrs. Pitts began teaching English, Latin, and history at Jackson High School. The Pitts family moved to Jackson to attend the Church of God on South St. They had previously been commuting to the church from Detroit.
     In 1994, Mrs. Pitts started what is now the Black History Tour Group. The Tour Group is a diversity teaching program that goes all over, teaching and educating about the black culture. The students in the Tour Group have traveled to the White House, the Michigan Senate, the Governor’s Mansion, and the Presidential Inauguration. The Tour Group does programs involving skits, poetry, dramatic readings, singing, and cultural history. The Tour Group targets areas where there is little or no diversity. The response to the message of the Tour Group is quite awesome. The Tour Group brought in Dr. Maya Angelou for its tenth anniversary celebration in 2004. The Black History Tour Group is the only group in the state of Michigan and its accomplishments have made Jackson Public Schools, Jackson, and the state of Michigan quite proud.
    Mrs. Pitts is quite active in her church. She is the choir director, Bible class teacher, and pianist. She travels to church fellowship and camp meetings around the country and even out of the country. Serving God and working with young people and music are her passions. She and husband Hudson have four children and six grandchildren. Their oldest daughter, Charing, is teaching in Lansing, Mich; daughter Tommy is a producer for Channel 10; daughter Tat will be receiving her college degree this spring; son, Hudson is a beginning freshman at Jackson Community College.
    Mrs. Pitts retired early from Jackson Public Schools in 1999, but she remains very active with her duties as the founder and director of the Black History Tour Group.