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Kathleen E. Bethel

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Information about Kathleen E. Bethel

Profile image of Kathleen E. Bethel

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
African American Studies Librarian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Crab (Chesapeake Bay)
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
Just Because You're Paranoid, Does Not Mean They're Not Out To Get You.

Birthplace

Born:
8/4/1953
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
African American Studies Librarian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Crab (Chesapeake Bay)
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
Just Because You're Paranoid, Does Not Mean They're Not Out To Get You.

Birthplace

Born:
8/4/1953
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Kathleen E. Bethel is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

African American studies librarian Kathleen Evonne Bethel has dedicated her career to developing a broad collection of African American resource materials at Northwestern University. A fourth generation Washingtonian, Bethel was born in the Washington, D.C., area on August 4, 1953, to Helen and Frederick Bethel. From a very early age, she knew that she wished to do “cultural work” for the African American community. After graduating from high school, Bethel received a scholarship from the National Bridge Association to attend Elmhurst College in Illinois. She received her B.A. degree in 1975 and began working for the Newberry Library in Chicago as a receptionist that same year. Bethel worked in this position for two years.

In 1977, Bethel earned her M.A. degree in library science from Rosary College, now Dominican University. She then received a position as branch librarian for the Maywood Public Library in Maywood, Illinois. The next year, Bethel took a position at Johnson Publishing Company, home to Ebony and Jet magazines, working as an assistant librarian for four years. In 1982, Bethel was hired to serve as Northwestern University’s African American Studies librarian. In this capacity, she is responsible for acquisition, maintenance and cataloguing of source materials on African American life and history for the university library system. Seven years later, Bethel earned her second M.A. degree, this time from Northwestern University.

Bethel has not limited her service in African American Studies to Northwestern University. In 1996, she received a Fulbright Library Fellowship to provide expertise and assistance to colleagues at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and in 1999, she became a library fellow for the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities in order to study African American museums. In 2001, Bethel traveled to Paris to participate in an international colloquium on African diasporas. She served on the Board of Trustees for the DuSable Museum of African American History from 1993 to 2007. She is also a member of the NAACP and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). She has served as a juror for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award (BCALA) committee and is an official bibliographer for the Toni Morrison Society. Bethel publishes thematically based summer African American fiction and non-fiction reading lists annually and has also compiled bibliographies on W.E.B. DuBois, personal finance management for black women, and African American theatrical dramas.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kathleen E. Bethel's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kathleen E. Bethel lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her maternal great-grandfather, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her maternal great-grandfather, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her maternal grandmother's family, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her maternal grandmother's family, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her maternal grandmother's family, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her maternal family's social activities in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her mother's childhood in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her mother's education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her father's childhood in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her father's U.S. Army service
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her parents' courtship
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her parents and how she takes after her mother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kathleen E. Bethel remembers her elementary schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her fourth grade teacher
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her early knowledge of African American history
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her family's relationship with George Washington Carver
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kathleen E. Bethel remembers figures from St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls learning African American history in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes segregation in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her early activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes the music of her childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her childhood friends
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her parents' social club memberships
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kathleen E. Bethel remembers Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School in Washington, D.C., pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls Rabaut Junior High School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kathleen E. Bethel remembers Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kathleen E. Bethel remembers Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School in Washington, D.C., pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes the Black Arts Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls how she became interested in librarianship
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her early understanding of black history
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her transition to natural hair
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls deciding to attend Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her arrival at Elmhurst College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her studies at Elmhurst College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her experiences in Chicago, Illinois during college
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kathleen E. Bethel remembers her decision to attend library school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kathleen E. Bethel remembers her professors at Elmhurst College
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls attending Rosary College in River Forest, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her jobs while attending Rosary College
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her courses at Rosary College
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her research on the racial history of libraries
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes working at Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Kathleen E. Bethel remembers visitors at Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls unemployment during the Reagan recession
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls being hired at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes African American studies at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes the African American studies resources at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls visiting Khartoum, Sudan, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls visiting Khartoum, Sudan, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Kathleen E. Bethel recalls her travels to Kenya
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Kathleen E. Bethel reflects upon her career at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her summer reading lists
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Kathleen E. Bethel shares her advice to aspiring librarians
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her plans for the future
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Kathleen E. Bethel reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Kathleen E. Bethel reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Kathleen E. Bethel talks about her family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her contributions to South Africa
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Kathleen E. Bethel talks about her work with libraries internationally
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Kathleen E. Bethel describes her organizational activities
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Kathleen E. Bethel reflects upon the importance of oral history
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Kathleen E. Bethel describe show she would like to be remembered