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Rena Bancroft

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Information about Rena Bancroft

Profile image of Rena Bancroft

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
College President

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Strawberries
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
South Africa
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/14/1931
Birth Location:
Clinton, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
College President

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Strawberries
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
South Africa
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/14/1931
Birth Location:
Clinton
See how Rena Bancroft is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Rena Ercelle Merritt Bancroft was born on September 14, 1931 in Clinton, North Carolina to Sadie B. Herring and William Edward Merritt. Her maternal grandfather was named George Washington Herring. When slavery ended, he founded the Sampson County Normal and Industrial School, one of the first college preparatory high schools for African Americans. Bancroft grew up in Clinton, North Carolina. In 1948, Bancroft took the College Entrance Examination Board test, earning the highest score in the State of North Carolina. As a result of her score, Bancroft earned a Pepsi-Cola scholarship, which funded her undergraduate studies. After attending Howard University for two years, she transferred to Syracuse University, from where she earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in home economics and education.

In 1952, Bancroft began her teaching career in Watertown, New York. She taught morning and evening classes in home economics. Bancroft stayed in Watertown for two years, then she moved in with her aunt, Rena Hawkins, and taught in Syracuse, New York. In 1956, Bancroft decided to move to the West Coast, where she joined the Oakland Public School System. She taught at Havenscourt Junior High School for four years followed by Montera Middle School, where she stayed for another three years. In the evenings and during the summer, Bancroft taught sewing at Oakland High School. For the McCall Pattern Company, Bancroft conducted sewing and other home economic demonstrations at schools in San Francisco and San Jose. Bancroft went on to become the first African American female principal for the San Mateo Union High School District. In 1986, Bancroft became president of the San Francisco Community College Centers. Also that year, she earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of California – Berkeley. Bancroft remained president of the centers until 1991, when she began directing the centers' evening division and adult program. When she retired, Bancroft worked as a consultant for the State of California, evaluating school programs.

Bancroft was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 7, 2006.

See how Rena Bancroft is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rena Bancroft's interview, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Rena Bancroft's interview, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft talks about her maternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft talks about her mother's romantic relationships
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft talks about her ancestry in North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft recalls her relationship with Burl Toler, Sr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft remembers Melvia Woolfolk Toler's illness
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft remembers her sister's work as a children's librarian
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft talks about her affinity for pigs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft recalls her early family life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft remembers singing with her family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft describes her community in Clinton, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft recalls her early education in Clinton, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rena Bancroft remembers serving as a high school principal
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft remembers her sister's education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft recalls transferring to Garland High School in Garland, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft remembers earning a full scholarship from Pepsi-Cola
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft remembers her mentor, Paul F. Lawrence
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft remembers her high school principal, W.M. McLean
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft talks about her childhood friend, Cassandra McLean Clay
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft describes her family's religious background
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft remembers her relationship with her parents
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft recalls her mother's second marriage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft remembers Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft remembers moving to Syracuse, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft recalls living with Rena Hawkins in Syracuse, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft remembers her early teaching career in Upstate New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft remembers her career in the Oakland Unified School District
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft remembers her brief marriage to Richard Bancroft
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft recalls her work with the McCall Corporation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rena Bancroft recalls her early career in the San Mateo Union High School District
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rena Bancroft recalls teaching at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft remembers meeting with a spiritualist in Vallejo, California, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft remembers meeting with a spiritualist in Vallejo, California, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft recalls her challenges as a school administrator
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft talks about attending church services in San Francisco, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft recalls applying for the presidency of the San Francisco Community College Centers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft describes her presidency of the San Francisco Community College Centers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft recalls the San Francisco Community College Centers' courses
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft reflects upon her life, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft reflects upon her life, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft describes her house in North Carolina
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft reflects upon her values
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft describes her organizational activities
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft remembers being late to a meeting in Portland, Oregon
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft narrates her photographs