Recognizing the Life of
John Y. Odom, Ph.D.

Dr. John Y. Odom proud husband of Annie, and father of Nikki, was an author, singer, and actor, earned a B.A. degree at Lane College, an HBCU and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with emphasis on Human Relations.  He served in the following professional roles: teacher of English, Affirmative Action Officer, Director of Human Relations, middle school principal, academic specialist for UW-Madison and instructor in the graduate schools of Edgewood College and Cardinal Stritch University. 


Whereas, Dr. Odom was instrumental in the establishment of: The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute - a teaching center to promote economic independence among black youth, he also authored “Saving Black America: Economic Civil Rights,” which identified causes of black economic oppression and offered challenging solutions.  He served on the boards of the following organizations in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin: Dane County Big Brothers and Sisters; Community Centers; Urban League; Greater Madison Convention and Visitors’ Bureau; Edgewood High School and Schools of Hope. Dr. Odom was a member of the Midwest Achievement Gap Research Alliance for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.


Whereas, Dr. Odom was selected to appear in “Who’s Who in African America” and “Who’s Who in America” in the Marquis, Strathmore, and Empire editions. Recognized by the community he served, he was the recipient of: the Martin Luther King Humanitarian of the Year Award, the 2002 James C. Wright Human Rights Award, and the Lane College Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement. He was named by Madison Magazine as one of Madison’s Seven Most Influential Citizens.


Whereas, the community expressed sorrow and grief upon hearing of Dr. Odom’s passing, some members offered their thoughts and reflections including “Dr. John Odom was an advocate’s advocate. Whether you were a civil rights advocate or a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness Dr. Odom was open and available to provide exceptional counsel.”….Kirbie Mack; He was not just an Alpha in the community.  I’m reminded of his statement at an annual United Way meeting describing the impact of the achievement gap on African American students and the need for culturally sensitive teachers.” ….Rev. Gregory Armstrong; “He taught me so many things, especially how to get things done that would uplift or benefit our community. A true friend is never really gone. Their spirit lives on in our memories.”....Wanda Sloan


Whereas, Dr. Odom was a life member of the NAACP, past president of the Madison Branch from 1991-1993, and past Chair of the Education Committee for the Wisconsin State NAACP, he remained an avid supporter of the NAACP’s fight for justice and equality.  


Be it therefore resolved that the Dane County Branch will submit the Deceased Members form with his name in honor our fallen soldiers at the Annual Memorial Program during the 2021 Annual Convention.   It is established practice to provide a list of fallen soldiers and recognize them during the next annual convention.