Ebony magazine has named Otha Thornton, the first black male president of the National PTA, to the Power 100 list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans.” Mr. Thornton’s journey is incredible and inspiring. Born in Elberton, GA, Thornton was the product of a broken home. His father left his children and wife leaving them in poverty. However, a mother’s love and faith brought Thornton to Morehouse College in 1985.
While earning his BA in Urban Studies, he also earned a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the US Army. Thornton rose through the ranks as a bright military officer, earning among many honors the Bronze Star. It was while a young officer that his commander tasked him with building membership in the local PTA after a disappointing meeting. It was from these humble beginnings that Thornton rose to become the first Black President of the National Parents Teacher Association (NPTA). This powerful advocacy group affects the lives of children throughout America.
This prestigious honor underscores President Thornton’s leadership and the difference he and National PTA are making in the lives of our country’s youth through the promotion of educational success, health and well-being, and strong family and community involvement,” said Eric Hargis, executive director of National PTA.
Thornton has focused the first year of his administration to growing the number of fathers active in the PTA. Drawing upon his experience growing up without his father in life was impactful and allows him a unique perspective on the power of active fatherhood. He will be featured in December/January edition of Ebony, which will be in available in November. He will also be among the honorees at the Ebony Power 100 Gala on November 4, 2013 at the Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. Among the attendees will be Oprah Winfrey, John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman and fellow Morehouse Man, Samuel L. Jackson.