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Rachel Noel

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Information about Rachel Noel

Profile image of Rachel Noel

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Education Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Mashed Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Virginia Mountains
Favorite Quote:
Heavenly Days.

Birthplace

Born:
1/15/1918
Birth Location:
Hampton, Virginia

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Education Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Mashed Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Virginia Mountains
Favorite Quote:
Heavenly Days.

Birthplace

Born:
1/15/1918
Birth Location:
Hampton
See how Rachel Noel is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Educator Rachel Louise Bassette Noel was born on January 15, 1918, in Hampton, Virginia. Both of her parents were college graduates and her father, Andrew William Ernest Bassette, Jr., was a lawyer. They believed in the importance of a higher education and stressed to her the significance of going to college. Noel earned her B.A. degree from Hampton Institute, later named Hampton University, and she received her M.A. degree in sociology from Fisk University.

Noel married Edmond F. Noel, a physician, in 1942 and the couple moved to Denver, Colorado. In 1965, she became the first African American to be elected to the Denver Board of Education. Having won this seat made her the first African American woman to hold public office in the State of Colorado. In 1968, Noel presented the Board of Education with the “Noel Resolution,” which required that the school district provide equal educational opportunities for every child in Denver. It also called for the superintendent to devise a plan that integrated the school system. After the resolution’s proposal was presented, she received numerous life-threatening phone calls; however, the resolution passed in February, 1970.

Appointed by former Governor Richard Lamm in 1976, Noel became the first African American to serve on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. In 1978, she won statewide election to a six-year term on the board and served a one-year term as chairperson of the board. She has been a professor at Metropolitan State College, as well as chairperson of the school’s African American Studies Department. She also served as a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for the Health Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Denver campuses and the Commissioner for the Denver Housing Authority.

Noel received numerous honors and awards including an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from the University of Denver; named one of Colorado’s Top 100 Citizens of the Century; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award; and the naming in her honor of a public middle school in Denver, Rachel B. Noel Middle School. In 1981, the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Professorship was created in her honor at Metropolitan State College. In 2004, the University of Colorado awarded her an Honorary Degree in Humane Letters. Noel passed away on February 4, 2008 at the age of ninety.

Rachel Noel was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 22, 2006.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rachel Noel's interview, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rachel Noel lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Rachel Noel's interview, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rachel Noel describes her mother's background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rachel Noel talks about her maternal great-grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rachel Noel describes Wytheville, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rachel Noel describes her mother's background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rachel Noel describes how her parents met in Wytheville, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rachel Noel describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rachel Noel describes her parents' choice to stay in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rachel Noel describes her sisters
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rachel Noel describes her paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Rachel Noel describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Rachel Noel describes her early childhood education in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Rachel Noel describes her family's attitude towards passing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rachel Noel describes others' perceptions of her skin tone
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rachel Noel recalls attending the Whittier School in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rachel Noel describes Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rachel Noel describes her neighborhood in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rachel Noel describes her family's religious background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rachel Noel describes her time at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rachel Noel recalls Dr. Charles S. Johnson's support at Fisk University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rachel Noel describes her husband, Edmond F. Noel
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rachel Noel recalls her work and activities in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rachel Noel recalls living with Charles S. Johnson's family at Fisk University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Rachel Noel recalls moving with her husband to Denver, Colorado
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rachel Noel describes her work with the Girl Scouts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rachel Noel talks about her children, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rachel Noel recalls Metropolitan State College of Denver and Shorter Community A.M.E. Church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rachel Noel talks about Justina Ford
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rachel Noel remembers her campaign for the Denver Board of Education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rachel Noel recalls her board motion to integrate the Denver Public Schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rachel Noel reflects upon her contributions to the Denver Board of Education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rachel Noel describes support she received from African American ministers in Denver, Colorado
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rachel Noel recalls her sense of safety while serving on the Denver Board of Education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Rachel Noel recalls her being appointed to the University of Colorado Board of Regents
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Rachel Noel recalls teaching black studies at Metropolitan State College of Denver
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Rachel Noel describes her parents' involvement in voter registration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rachel Noel reflects upon her social activism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rachel Noel reflects upon segregation in Denver Public Schools, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rachel Noel talks about her children, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rachel Noel describes her social contributions to Denver, Colorado
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rachel Noel reflects upon the impact of her parents' social activism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rachel Noel reflects upon segregation in Denver Public Schools, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rachel Noel describes her hopes for Denver's African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rachel Noel describes the support of her husband, Edmond F. Noel
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rachel Noel reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rachel Noel describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Rachel Noel describes the importance of community support
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Rachel Noel reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Rachel Noel describes the leadership of Denver's Rachel B. Noel Middle School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Rachel Noel talks about Kevin Patterson's work on the Denver Board of Education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Rachel Noel shares a message for future generations of children
  • Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Rachel Noel narrates her photographs