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Sylvia Cooke Martin

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Information about Sylvia Cooke Martin

Profile image of Sylvia Cooke Martin

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Historian
Library Administrator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Greek Isles
Favorite Quote:
The Elevator To Success Does Not Run. Take The Stairs.

Birthplace

Born:
5/2/1938
Birth Location:
Baltimore, Maryland

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Historian
Library Administrator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Greek Isles
Favorite Quote:
The Elevator To Success Does Not Run. Take The Stairs.

Birthplace

Born:
5/2/1938
Birth Location:
Baltimore
See how Sylvia Cooke Martin is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Historian and genealogist Clara Sylvia Cooke Martin was born on May 2, 1938 in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a pharmaceutical technician. At the age of sixteen, her father died and her mother took a job as an elevator operator to help care for Martin and her siblings. In 1955, Martin earned her high school diploma from Frederick Douglas High School, where she was active with the student council, honor society and school paper. From 1955 until 1957, Martin attended the University of Maryland where she was among the first group of African American students permitted to live in the campus dormitories.

Between 1963 and 1966, Martin worked for the Social Security Administration, starting as a file clerk and quickly moving her way through the ranks. Her initiative and hard work was recognized by personnel, earning her a position as a health insurance intern for Medicare in 1966. Martin was one of ten interns selected nationwide from a pool of more than 700 applicants. While an intern, she served on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Conference on Medicare and Medicaid.

Returning to the Social Security Administration, Martin then worked as a manpower development specialist from 1967 until 1968, performing recruitment, staffing and counseling duties for prospective job seekers. From 1968 until 1970, she worked as a management intern for the department designing and implementing procedures for Social Security Upward Mobility programs. In 1970, Martin was promoted to senior career development specialist, a position she held until 1978. During this time, she also returned to school, completing her studies at Maryland and earning her B.S. degree in 1972 in economics. In 1978, Martin received her master’s degree in policy science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. From 1975 until 1979, she served on the faculty at Antioch College. In 1978, Martin was hired as the chief of staff training and development for the Library of Congress, where she developed and designed educational programs for approximately 5000 employees. She remained in that post until 1993. From 1994 until 1999, Martin worked as the McNair Scholars Program Coordinator at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. From 1997 until 2002 she was project manager and later CEO of the Ellicott City Colored School Restoration Project, the first school for blacks in Maryland built with state and county funds.

Martin has been the recipient of numerous awards for her civic and civil rights contributions. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, NAACP and the Oral History Association. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, writing poetry and designing wedding paraphernalia.

See how Sylvia Cooke Martin is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sylvia Cooke Martin's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her mother's childhood in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her father, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her father, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her family ancestry
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin shares legends about her family ancestry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sylvia Cooke Martin recalls stories of her father's family in Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her paternal grandparents, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her paternal grandparents, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin remembers wash day at her paternal grandmother's house
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her three siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes living in the McCulloh Homes public housing in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes living in the McCulloh Homes public housing in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin remembers her teachers at Highland Garnet Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her personality as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her childhood dreams and aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experience at Booker T. Washington Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin recalls her recognition of class differences between herself and her peers in junior high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her dreams of becoming a journalist
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experience at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin remembers receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experiences of racial discrimination at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experience of sexual harassment at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her first pregnancy in 1958 and her bachelor's degree in economics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her early years at the Social Security Administration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes working as a management intern for the Social Security Administration's Medicare program
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the political climate of Baltimore, Maryland during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the challenge of balancing her work, her studies, and her family in the 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about developing an interest in personnel management
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin reflects upon the significance of earning her bachelor's degree in 1972
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about buying a home and her graduate studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the beginning of her tenure at the Library of Congress in 1978
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experience at the Library of Congress
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes what she learned working at the Library of Congress
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin explains the origin of her interest in genealogy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin considers the availability and accessibility of African American history
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks describes working with the McNair Scholars Program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about politics in the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the Ellicott City Colored School restoration project, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the Ellicott City Colored School restoration project, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin considers the importance of history
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about the values she inherited from her parents
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Sylvia Cooke Martin considers her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her regrets
  • Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her children and motherhood
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin narrates her photographs