In this extensive profile, the Peoria Journal Star‘s Bill Conver noted Harper’s extraordinary success with the Carver Center – more than quadrupling its enrollments, from 300 to 1,300, from 1944 to 1954.

Harper’s career was “forged in adversity and muscled with practice in overcoming obstacles,” Conver underlined. The son of sharecroppers, he had worked as a teacher, coach, and editor of the Federal Writer’s Project before taking on the directorship of Carver.

Harper stressed the importance of opening lines of work to young blacks, “especially high school and college graduates”: “Any improvement in this way would help immeasurably in raising the morale of the youngsters and give them incentive for continuing efforts at gaining more and more education.”