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Iola McGowan

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Information about Iola McGowan

Profile image of Iola McGowan

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
City Government Appointee
Political Party Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Spaghetti
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Do what you can and do it well.

Birthplace

Born:
9/8/1936
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
City Government Appointee
Political Party Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Spaghetti
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Do what you can and do it well.

Birthplace

Born:
9/8/1936
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Iola McGowan is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Iola McGowan, former vice chairman of the Illinois State Democratic Party and Chicago Park District Commissioner, was born Iola Stewart on September 8, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois. Proud of her West Side roots, McGowan graduated from Farragut High School in 1954. In the years following graduation, McGowan started a family and began to spearhead neighborhood efforts in her area. Inspired by another black woman, the late head of Midwest Community Council, Nancy Jefferson, McGowan became more involved in public life. Although a conscientious wife and mother, a determined McGowan did not let family life stop her from pursuing her education. She earned her B.A. degree in inner city studies from Northeastern Illinois University in 1980.

McGowan started at the precinct level of local government ascending up the ranks of the Democratic Party to become the director of Consumer Services for the City of Chicago under Mayor Jane Byrne. McGowan served in that capacity for a six-year term, managing a budget of $900,000. As director of Consumer Services, she headed the Model Cities Community Services program and successfully funded proposals totaling approximately $1 million. In addition, she developed an innovative classroom coloring-book aimed at teaching children how to buy food. The Federal Food Program adopted McGowan's book. McGowan served as commissioner and vice president of the Chicago Park District and vice chairman of the Illinois State Democratic Party.

She is a member of the National Organization of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, the Chicago Council on Fine Arts City Arts Panel and Community Development Program for the Austin Area and the Chicago Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. McGowan is still a valued consultant and activist in the Austin community.

Iola McGowan passed away on May 25, 2012.

See how Iola McGowan is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Iola McGowan interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Iola McGowan's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Iola McGowan discusses her family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Iola McGowan discusses changes in her family life
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Iola McGowan describes her childhood environs on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Iola McGowan remembers family members
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Iola McGowan recalls her school years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Iola McGowan describes the social life at her schools
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Iola McGowan describes her early career goals
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Iola McGowan shares episodes from her school life and career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Iola McGowan recalls her early involvement in civic organizing, part I
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Iola McGowan recalls her early involvement in civic organizing, part II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Iola McGowan discusses her experiences at Northeastern Illinois University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Iola McGowan describes how she became involved in politics
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Iola McGowan recalls her activities after the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Iola McGowan recounts her experiences with the Chicago Park District, part I
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Iola McGowan recounts her experiences with the Chicago Park District, part II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Iola McGowan shares thoughts on Chicago, Illinois's 1983 mayoral election
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Iola McGowan shares observations of tension in the black community in 1983
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Iola McGowan discusses her 1983 campaign for Alderwoman and her relationship with Danny Davis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Iola McGowan discusses issues on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Iola McGowan describes her position on the State Central Committee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Iola McGowan considers future plans
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Iola McGowan talks about her concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Iola McGowan considers her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Iola McGowan discusses her parents' feelings on her political career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Iola McGowan discusses how she'd like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Iola McGowan discusses her heart transplant
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Photo - Iola McGowan Gay Teens photo, 1950-1954
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Photo - Iola McGowan with her sisters and mother, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Photo - Iola McGowan with her sixth grade Thomas Jefferson Elementary School class, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1948
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Photo - Iola McGowan and U.S. Congresswoman Cardiss Collins, ca. 1987-1988
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Photo - Iola McGowan with Chicago Park District Superintendent Ed Kelly, ca. 1980
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Photo - Iola McGowan's mother Ernestine Martin at beauty school graduation, ca. late 1950s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Photo - Iola McGowan with attendees at a consumer sales event, not dated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Photo - Iola McGowan with Bill Lee, Ed Kelly, Richard Elrod and Sydney Marovitz, not dated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Photo - Iola McGowan with Judge Eugene Pincham and two unidentified men, n.d
  • Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Photo - Iola McGowan and Lenore Cartwright, not dated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Photo - Iola McGowan and Niles Sherman, not dated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 17 - Photo - Iola Mcgowan with Marge and Neil Hartigan, not dated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 18 - Photo - Iola McGowan in her home, not dated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 19 - Photo - Iola McGowan featured in the '29th Ward News', ca. 1980-1984
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Photo - Iola McGowan with Fred Kitch, Walter Simmons and Clarence Thomas, not dated
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Photo - Iola McGowan with her husband and daughters, Hawaii, not dated
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Photo - Iola McGowan with U.S. Presidential candidate William Clinton, 1992
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Iola McGowan with her husband, daughters and son, ca. late 1970s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Iola McGowan with her father, St. Louis, Missouri, ca. late 1970s