Charles Eugene Beatty Sr. was born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1909. After the death of his parents, Eugene came to Michigan after to live with his sister and graduated from Detroit Northeastern High School. There he became a star track and field athlete. Winning many records and among the fastest men of his generation, Beatty competed in the try-outs fro the 1932 Olympics but was rejected in a contested decision.
After graduating from Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in 1932, Beatty became a teacher, of Ypsilanti’s Harriet Street School. When Beatty became principal of the school in 1940, he was the only Black public school principal in Michigan. Known as Gene to friends and “Chief” among the neighborhood, Beatty quickly became a leading figure in Ypsilanti’s African-American community and the city as a whole.
Beatty was inducted to the Eastern Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976 and the Michigan Education Hall of Fame, in 1985 and the Eastern Michigan University College of Education Hall of Fame in 2011. Ypsilanti Community School’s Beatty Early Learning Center is named after him. Charles Eugene Beatty, Sr. passed away on February 26, 1998.