Arthur Divers, a 43-year Detroit school teacher and counselor remains passionately committed to helping his neighbors and city.
Dr. Arthur Divers, retired educator, was determined to better his life through education — earning three master’s degrees and a doctorate along the way — and empowered countless Detroit youths to do the same. “If you can get an education, you can get a house and improve your status in life — economically, as well as socially.”
His academic record, along with a recommendation from the Dunbar principal, earned Divers admission to Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College. Once there, Divers excelled, so much so that even people outside of Arkansas began to learn about him after he was listed in the 1953 “American College Student Leaders” publication.
Upon graduating with honors from Arkansas AM&N with a degree in history and political science, Divers was accepted into the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. However, during his first year, Divers realized that rigorous coursework combined with the many hours he needed to work to support himself was keeping him from doing what he had always strived to do —– his best.
Divers did not return for a second year of law school, instead finding his footing through a sales position with the Charles Chester Shoe Manufacturing Co. But everything changed with the 1958 recession that suddenly put more than 250,000 Detroiters — mostly autoworkers and those who were supported by their incomes — out of work.
People didn’t have the money they normally had (during the recession) so they slowed down on buying shoes —work shoes, dress shoes, all that kind of stuff, haircuts, too,” Divers recalled.
With his transcript in hand, Divers headed to Wayne State University’s College of Education office, where a path was laid out that would enable him to become a certified teacher in Detroit. In 1959, after working as a substitute teacher, Divers received his appointment from the Detroit Board of Education to join the staff at Foch Intermediate School as a social studies teacher.
During his 43 years as a teacher and later a counselor for Detroit’s public schools, he continued his own educational journey, which included earning two master’s degrees and a doctorate degree from the University of Michigan. He also revealed that he earned a third master’s degree — this one from the state of Michigan in social work — for the accumulation of field work he performed through the years. The added credentials contributed to him becoming the first Black person to serve as a counselor at Osborn High School, where he would later retire in 2001.
But there was a moment early in Divers’ career as an educator that speaks to anyone who visits the home he shares with his adoring wife of 62 years, Bernice. This moment is captured by a framed page from the March 21, 1964, edition of the Michigan Chronicle. On it, an announcement was made to the community that courses in “History and Heritage of the Negro” were going to be taught during night school sessions at select Detroit high schools. Divers was instrumental in making Black studies more accessible to Detroit students
In retirement, Divers has continued to work passionately with his community in support of a variety of causes and organizations, including his beloved Winship Community Association, which he has been the president of since 2003.
The AM&N/UAPB Alumni Association salute Dr. Divers!
Detroit Free Press