Today we salute a man known to many as the father of "2G communications".  Jesse Russell.  Never heard of him?  Do you have a cell phone?



Few people know that it was Mr. Russell's patent that made the "mobile" digital cell phone possible! He continues today as a thought leader in the area of wireless communications.

Jesse Eugene Russell was born April 26, 1948 in Hickville, Tennessee into a large family of 8 brothers and 2 sisters.  His early childhood was spent in poor inner-city neighborhoods.  During his early years, he focused on athletics and not academics.   A key turning point in Russell’s life was the opportunity to attend a summer educational program at Fisk University.  While at Fisk, his his academic and intellectual pursuits really took off.   He continued his education at Tennessee State University where he focused on electrical engineering and earned a  Bachelor of Science Degree (BSEE) in Electrical Engineering.  As a top honor student Russell became the first African American to be hired directly from a Historically Black Colleges and Universities by AT&T Bell laboratories, where he subsequently became the first African-American in the United States to be selected as the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer of the Year in 1980.  Russell continued his academic pursuits and obtained his Master of Electrical Engineering from Stanford.

Russell’s innovations in wireless communication systems, has fundamentally changed the wireless communication industry.  Known for his patented invention of the digital cellular base station, that enabled new digital services for cellular mobile users, Russell continues to innovate in the emerging next generation broadband wireless communication technologies, products, networks, and services as well as “Mobile Cloud Computing” which are shaping the forefront of the 4G Communication Industry.


February 16, 1857
Frederick Douglass elected President of Freedman Bank and Trust.
February 16, 1923

On this day Bessie Smith makes her first recording, "Down Hearted Blues," which sells 800,000 copies for Columbia Records.

February 16, 1951

New York City Council passed bill prohibiting racial discrimination in city-assisted housing developments.

February 16, 1957
Actor Levar Burton was born in Landsthul, Germany. Burton won fame for his acting in the television movie "roots," which was based on the novel by Alex Haley. He became known once more in the 1980s and 1990s for his recurring role in the "Star Trek: Next Generation" series and movies.

February 16, 1970Joe Frazier knocked out Jimmy Ellis in the second round of their New York fight and became the world heavyweight boxing champion.

Also, in 1971 Aretha Franklin recorded "Spanish Harlem", In 1990 Ike Turner was sentenced to 4 years on cocaine charges and on this day in 1999 Ol' Dirty Bastard was arrested in Hollywood for allegedly wearing body armor, a forbidden garment because of his previous arrests.  He was initially pulled over by the way, for driving eratically.