The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Gene Harris

School superintendent Gene T. Harris was born in Columbus, Ohio on April 4, 1953 to Thelma Hunt and William Thomas, Sr. Harris graduated from Linden McKinley High School in Columbus, Ohio in 1971. After attending one year at Ohio State University, Harris transferred to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana and obtained her B.A. degree in English in 1975. She then returned to Ohio State University and graduated with her M.A. degree in educational administration in 1979. Harris was then hired as an English teacher for the Columbus City Schools. In 1980, she was appointed assistant principal. Six years later, Harris was named principal in the Columbus City Schools district. She was appointed supervisor of principals for the Columbus City Schools before being hired as an assistant superintendent of curriculum. Two years later, Harris enrolled in Ohio University’s doctoral program, where she obtained her Ph.D. degree in education in 1999. Harris then became the 19th superintendent of the Columbus City Schools (CCS) in 2001, Ohio’s largest district, serving more than 51,000 students in 118 schools, and over 7,700 employees.

Under her tenure as superintendent, U.S. News and World Report ranked 12 of the district’s high schools among the nation’s best in their 2010 America’s Best High Schools report; one high school receiving the “silver” award designation and 11 others receiving a “Bronze” designation.

Harris has earned numerous accolades throughout her career. The Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) named her its 2012 Ohio Superintendent of the Year. She was the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree in community leadership from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. Harris has been twice awarded the Ingram Award for outstanding leadership as a principal, and in 1991, she was named a YWCA Woman of Achievement. Additionally, Harris received the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity African American Role Model Award and the Who’s Who in Black Columbus Master Achiever in Education Award. Other notable honors Harris has received include: the Columbus Metropolitan Area Community Action Organization (CMACAO) Community Impact Award, the Cavaliers Club Award for Outstanding Accomplishments, and the National Council of 100 Black Women-Columbus Chapter Personal Achievement and Devoted Service Award. She is also the recipient of the University Council for Educational Administration Excellence in Educational Leadership Award. Harris has received the Martin Luther King, Jr., Dreamer Award in 2004, the Champion of Children, the Children’s Hunger Alliance Educator of the Year and the Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs Stellar Performer awards in 2005. Two years later, Harris was honored with the Donald and Gail Anderson Award from the Ohio State University College of Education and Ecology in 2007.

Harris is married to Stanley Eugene Harris and lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Gene T. Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 5, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.081

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/5/2012

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

T.

Schools

Ohio University

The Ohio State University

University of Notre Dame

Linden-McKinley STEM Academy

Linmoor Middle School

Garfield Elementary School

First Name

Gene

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

HAR34

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

4/4/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

School superintendent Gene Harris (1953 - ) oversaw the Columbus City Schools from 2001 to 2013.

Employment

Columbus City Schools

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7409,133:9227,261:10035,270:11348,295:11954,302:18317,407:22054,448:23872,469:24882,480:27407,508:27811,513:29629,537:30134,543:38790,605:39573,616:41139,645:41487,650:43227,679:43575,684:44532,748:45750,767:47142,802:47577,808:48447,820:48795,825:49143,830:49665,837:50709,851:51057,856:52014,869:52449,875:53319,888:54537,902:55233,929:56538,964:56973,970:58017,988:59496,1022:59931,1028:70390,1126:70734,1131:75550,1186:76238,1195:79162,1240:80108,1255:81398,1271:81742,1276:82258,1301:82774,1313:83462,1323:87160,1380:87676,1387:95048,1437:95432,1442:97064,1469:101768,1566:112722,1718:121018,1804:121492,1811:122203,1821:122677,1828:123467,1840:123862,1846:124257,1853:130182,1951:135712,2048:146982,2156:147785,2169:148734,2184:149245,2192:150267,2215:150778,2224:161180,2263:165180,2418:165580,2428:170140,2516:172860,2568:177340,2675:177660,2680:177980,2685:179100,2730:181660,2764:182300,2773:183020,2780:185580,2821:185900,2826:186380,2836:186700,2841:187100,2848:187500,2854:188140,2863:196042,2898:196474,2905:198922,2951:199498,2964:200074,2976:204322,3069:204826,3078:205546,3091:206338,3105:206698,3120:207058,3126:207346,3132:207634,3138:207922,3144:208210,3149:210586,3196:211162,3207:211522,3213:216562,3320:216850,3325:217642,3338:218146,3347:225540,3364:225820,3369:226240,3376:227850,3407:228270,3415:228690,3423:229320,3436:230020,3449:231840,3489:233170,3517:233660,3526:238420,3623:241290,3671:241570,3676:241990,3686:243110,3707:243530,3715:243810,3720:244090,3725:244370,3730:244790,3737:252189,3792:252700,3800:255547,3856:256840,3861$405,0:2700,124:7610,197:9250,243:10234,252:11792,282:13514,312:14006,326:18434,416:18762,421:21796,484:22370,493:22698,498:23436,509:24092,518:26716,565:27372,575:29094,606:29504,616:36898,634:37546,645:41938,756:42442,764:42946,772:43450,783:43738,789:44026,794:45610,819:45898,824:46258,830:46906,841:47266,847:47842,862:50866,903:54250,975:54898,985:55258,991:55978,1003:57562,1033:57850,1038:70858,1351:71390,1366:71694,1371:71998,1376:72986,1390:74126,1408:75038,1421:75798,1436:76254,1444:76558,1449:76862,1454:77622,1481:78838,1571:80054,1600:80662,1618:80966,1623:81726,1634:82942,1652:83322,1658:83854,1666:84690,1680:85222,1690:97675,1848:98070,1854:99413,1873:100756,1896:101072,1901:101546,1908:102968,1929:103442,1938:104943,1960:105970,1975:109209,2036:109525,2041:109999,2048:111026,2065:111500,2074:111816,2079:113633,2110:114265,2125:114581,2130:115055,2137:118926,2198:119321,2204:119795,2211:120111,2216:125052,2235:125570,2243:126532,2262:126828,2267:128456,2311:128900,2318:129344,2326:129862,2334:132526,2384:132970,2391:133562,2404:134080,2412:135560,2447:136670,2497:137410,2507:137928,2516:141956,2526:143773,2557:144326,2566:147249,2634:147565,2639:149619,2671:150093,2678:153569,2747:153885,2752:168252,3005:168936,3017:169240,3022:171216,3050:171748,3059:176232,3181:176688,3188:177068,3194:181939,3208:184346,3249:184678,3254:185010,3259:186172,3293:186836,3304:187168,3309:187500,3314:188413,3334:189077,3345:190820,3369:191235,3375:194396,3387:197535,3443:198630,3461:199871,3504:200382,3513:206879,3609:207609,3620:209069,3637:209507,3645:210018,3654:212573,3697:213084,3704:214471,3731:214763,3736:215420,3748:221160,3757:221907,3766:222322,3772:224812,3804:225808,3816:227302,3840:227634,3845:228962,3864:231618,3909:232697,3921:233029,3926:233776,3938:234108,3943:234938,3956:235602,3965:235934,3970:236349,3979:236764,3985:238092,4012:240084,4046:241827,4081:246810,4091
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gene Harris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gene Harris lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gene Harris describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gene Harris talks about her maternal family's move to Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gene Harris talks about her mother's upbringing and employment

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gene Harris describes her father's upbringing and employment

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gene Harris talks about her parents' values

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gene Harris describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gene Harris lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gene Harris describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gene Harris describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gene Harris describes the places she lived in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gene Harris describes her community in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gene Harris describes the sounds of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gene Harris recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gene Harris talks about de facto segregation in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gene Harris remembers Garfield Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gene Harris describes her experiences during junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gene Harris remembers her high school librarian

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gene Harris recalls the racial tension at Linden-McKinley High School in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gene Harris recalls the racial tension at Linden-McKinley High School in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gene Harris remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gene Harris recalls her time at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gene Harris recalls transferring to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gene Harris describes her experiences at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gene Harris talks about her teaching career in the Columbus Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gene Harris remembers the desegregation of the Columbus Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gene Harris describes her graduate studies in education

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gene Harris recalls her assistant principalship of Central High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gene Harris talks about the federal government's role in education

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gene Harris describes her experiences as a high school principal, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gene Harris describes her experiences as a high school principal, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gene Harris talks about the importance of educational stability

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gene Harris recalls her work as supervisor of principals for the Columbus Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gene Harris talks about charter schools

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gene Harris describes her Ph.D. dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gene Harris talks about the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Gene Harris talks about the limitations of standardized testing

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gene Harris talks about income inequality in the public schools

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gene Harris talks about funding for education in the State of Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gene Harris describes the superintendent selection process in the Columbus Public Schools

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gene Harris describes her career as superintendent of the Columbus City Schools

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gene Harris recalls President Barack Obama's visit to Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gene Harris describes her trip to Ghana with students from the Columbus Africentric Early College

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gene Harris talks about the success of the Columbus City Schools

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gene Harris describes her initiatives in the Columbus City Schools

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gene Harris talks about Back to School With The HistoryMakers

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Gene Harris describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gene Harris reflects upon her career and legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gene Harris talks about the use of technology in the Columbus City Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gene Harris describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gene Harris describes the Capital Improvements program

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gene Harris talks about arts education in the Columbus City Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gene Harris describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Gene Harris describes her experiences as a high school principal, pt. 1
Gene Harris describes her initiatives in the Columbus City Schools
Transcript
Nineteen eighty-six [1986], after six years as assistant principal, you were promoted to principal.$$I was.$$Now, and did it come on time, or do you think it was late, or what do you, what do you think?$$Oh, I, I think it was right on time. And in fact, I was promoted right in the middle of a school year. And it gave me the opportunity to see the school in motion as the principal. I, I was thirty-two years old, 1986, soon to be thirty-three years old. And so a relatively young woman promoted to the high school principalship, I think that the organization may have seen themselves taking a risk, because at that time I was the youngest high school principal in Columbus City Schools [Columbus Public Schools; Columbus City Schools], and a female, and one of only, at that time, I think two or three females who were high school principals at that time. So, I don't think it was late at all. Some may think that it was early. I didn't think that it was early because I, I felt prepared for it, and it, it was a great opportunity.$$Okay. What school were you the principal?$$So initially, I was principal at Briggs High School [Columbus, Ohio] from 1986 to 1987, really just eighteen months. And then the central administration asked me to go back to Mifflin High School [Columbus, Ohio], where I had served as assistant principal, and serve as principal. And, and I served there until 1991, when the superintendent then at that time asked me to supervise schools. So, I'd still be there being a principal if he (laughter) hadn't asked me to supervise schools probably.$$Okay, all right. So, well, what was it like being a principal (unclear) in these schools?$$I had a lot of energies, and, and that's what it took to, to be a principal. It, it was, it was, it was, it was the job that, before this one, that I enjoyed the most, again, because I got to help establish policy. I wasn't far away from the students, which is one of the reasons I went into the business. So I got to continue to work with students and parents, but I also had one foot in the policy arena, you know, in talking with the superintendent and others. And, and I also had the opportunity to develop teachers. And, and so that was very satisfying to me.$$Okay. Did you have like a philosophy in terms of how you approached, you know, dealing with parents and that sort of thing at the schools?$$And, and it's the philosophy that I, I have today, and it's the same approach that I use with parents and, and students as, as well as other com- and teachers and other community members. It, it's a philosophy of inclusivity. You know, I want to hear what you have to say. I want to hear your opinions. I want to work with you. I'm not here to dictate. Look, I have no problems making decisions at all. But I do want to hear your ideas. I know that I don't have the only idea, so that's one. But the second thing is, is all children, all of, all of the time. In my mind, there wasn't a, a special set of kids that got all the good stuff, and these are the kids that are going to college, and these are the kids--. And I think it's, it's, it's, it's probably largely because of my background. As much as we could expose all of the students to, and as hard as we can push them all to do their best, I want them to get as much education as they can possibly stand. High school graduation was a minimum. And then we need to look forward past that to what we need to do next; how we need to prepare you so that you can take the next level of learning, whether that's gonna be a four-year baccalaureate de, degree, a two year technical degree, or you know, a certificate of some kind at a technical school, we need to make sure that you're prepared. So those are my two philosophies: I want to include folks in the decision making, and it's all kids all the time.$What are some of the new initiatives that you're launching here at Columbus City Schools?$$Some, some of the things that we have done and, and then some of the things that we're, we're doing going forward, we were one of the first schools--we were the first high school--we had the first high school in Franklin County [Ohio] that had a, launched an International Baccalaureate program. That's Columbus Alternative High School [Columbus, Ohio]. And I think we have graduated either three or four classes of students with this IB diploma, which gives our students access to universities globally. And so there are some universities across the globe who would be interested--not just in the United States, but across the globe--interested in our students because they've taken this very, very rigorous curriculum. We have other schools at lower levels who are interested in pursuing the IB curriculum also, International Baccalaureate curriculum. We had partnerships with virtually every college and university in this region and some outside of the region, including--well, the ones in the region would include Ohio State [The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio], Columbus State [Columbus State Community College, Columbus, Ohio], Capital [Capital University, Columbus, Ohio], Ohio Dominican [Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, Ohio]; all of those. But we also have relationships with colleges and universities outside of the region, like Ohio University [Athens, Ohio], Miami [Miami University, Oxford, Ohio], Ashland [Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio]. And what this allows us to do is give our students some additional opportunities for early college learning. We have, for example, partnership with DeVry [DeVry University, Ohio] where we have students who, at the end of their tenth grade, if they qualify, they can actually take their last remaining two years of, of colle- of high school education on DeVry's campus. Simultaneously, their fulfilling the requirements for an associate's degree while finishing their high school diploma. So, in June, we have about twenty-five students who will get their high school diploma and an associate's degree from DeVry. And so we, we think that's very powerful. We have several other partnerships like that, where our students are spending their senior year on college campuses, and they're earning, they're amassing a year's worth of, of college credit in our senior and sophomore program [Seniors to Sophomores]. And, and we are extremely proud of that. We have a middle school redesign, where we have redesigned our middle schools so that our, our students can be more successful. And we have a very strong focus on reading and math literacy across the curriculum in Columbus City Schools.$$Yeah, that's a question I--the science, you know, the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] (unclear)--$$Thank you. STEM, STEM is extremely important to us. We have a STEM, an entire STEM feeder, as we call it, elementary, middle, and high schools in a feeder pattern that are working on STEM. The Linden-McKinley feeder [Linden-McKinley STEM Academy, Columbus, Ohio] is a STEM feeder, and they're making great progress. We also are starting a STEM feeder with the West High School [Columbus, Ohio]--schools, that, that feed into West. And then our goal is to have one STEM feeder in every region. We also have STEM clubs. And one of the strongest ones we have is Northland High School [Columbus, Ohio]. In fact, we have the largest pre-collegiate STEM program. We believe--we've been told by the, by NSBE, the National Society of Black Engineers, that we have the largest pre-collegiate STEM program in the United States. And so, Northland High School, for example, just won three national recognitions at a STEM competition that we are very--every year they bring us back national recognitions. And this is an after school STEM club that is, is very large. They probably have fifty to sixty kids that are part of this club. And these students compete nationally, and, and they do very, very well.

Mattelia B. Grays

The 18th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority Incorporated (1970-1974), Mattelia Bennett Grays was born in Houston, Texas to the Reverend and Mrs. A.B. Bennett. Bennett graduated as salutatorian from Booker T. Washington High School in 1948 and went on to attend Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she was initiated into the AKA Sorority in the Beta Upsilon Chapter. She received her B.A. degree from Dillard University in 1952 and was married to Horace Grays the same year. The couple has one daughter, Karen, and a grandson, Kristopher John Howard.

Grays went on to receive her M.A. degree with honors in special education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and later received her Doctorate in educational administration from Pacific University in Sacramento, California in 1985. Grays returned to Houston to teach in the Houston Public Schools, where she also worked as a consultant for the Continuous Progress Learning Corporation and principal of Rogers Educational Enrichment Center. Grays served as principal of Rogers Educational Enrichment Center from 1970 to 1987. Under her leadership, the center served as a teacher training center and was named “One of Six Super Schools” by Texas Monthly magazine. After several years in Houston Public Schools, she began working summers with the University of Houston as a supervisor of laboratory experiences for teachers of culturally deprived children. She became District Three Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District in 1987. Grays transferred her AKA Sorority membership to the Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter in Houston and served as Chapter President and Regional Director of the Sorority’s South Central Region. She was the youngest person ever elected National President of the Sorority in 1968 and was installed at the Sorority’s biennial national convention in 1970.

As National President, Grays emphasized member involvement and was adamant about every member embracing her financial responsibility to the Sorority. She headed the Sorority’s effort to purchase the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and presented a check for $20,000 to Coretta Scott King. Her focus as Sorority President included Negro heritage brochures, chapter programs designed for the specific community that the chapter served, educational grants, Job Corps and leadership training.

Grays retired from the Houston Independent School District and continues to reside in Houston, Texas. She has been honored by several organizations including the AKA Sorority. AKA Sorority’s South Central Region has a scholarship fund named in her honor, and she is an Outstanding Alumna of the Booker T. Washington High School in Houston.

Grays was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 11, 2008 as part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Centennial Boule 2008 celebration. Segments of these interviews were used in a DVD entitled A.K.A. Sorority: Legacy of Leadership.

Accession Number

A2008.044

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/11/2008

Last Name

Grays

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Dillard University

University of Michigan

First Name

Mattelia

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

GRA08

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

Sponsor

Alpha Kappa Alpha

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cities

Favorite Quote

Live Every Day As If It Were Your Last Because Tomorrow Is Not Promised To You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

7/26/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Association chief executive and school superintendent Mattelia B. Grays (1931 - ) was the eighteenth international president of AKA Sorority, Inc., serving from 1970 to 1974. She was also the youngest person ever elected National President of the Sorority in 1968. Grays also served as Deputy Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.

Employment

Houston Independent School District

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Turquoise

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mattelia B. Grays' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her election as the vice president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her roles in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her leadership style, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about her mentors

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her initiatives for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about the regional directors of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her leadership style, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about maintaining the legacy of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays remembers the mentorship of Larzette Hale-Wilson

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls opening the AKA boule banquet to men

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her tenure as the supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls leading the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to purchase the King family home

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her friendship with Esther Payne

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about her motivations as a leader

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her achievements at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her hopes for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls her pinning as supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her legacy at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her legacy at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mattelia B. Grays describes how she would like to be remembered within the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her commitment to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about the future of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon the importance of sisterhood

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about the requirements of members in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon the value of sisterhood for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls her mother's role as a caregiver

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mattelia B. Grays remembers her father's hardworking nature

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about her father's personality

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mattelia B. Grays describes how her parents met

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls her mother's occupation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mattelia B. Grays narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Faye Beverly Bryant

21st International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc., Faye Beverly Bryant (1982-1986) was born on March 15, 1937, in Houston, Texas. Under Bryant’s leadership, the theme of the AKA Sorority became P.O.W.E.R. During her tenure, Bryant also created the Alpha Kappa Alpha Connection, completed construction on the Sorority’s national headquarters and initiated the African Village Development Program in collaboration with Africare.

Bryant was initiated into the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at Howard University in 1955. After graduating from Howard University with her B.A. degree, Bryant returned to Houston and transferred her affiliation to the Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter of Houston in 1957. She went on to earn her M.A. degree in counseling and guidance from the University of Houston. In Houston, Bryant was instrumental in establishing the Epsilon Lambda Chapter at the University of Houston and worked as a teacher in the Houston Independent School District where the 18th International President of AKA Sorority, Ms. Mattelia B. Grays, served as Deputy Superintendent. After teaching at Booker T. Washington High School and serving as a counselor at Bellaire High School, Bryant worked as the Director of Magnet Schools for the Houston Independent School District. She was later hired as the Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and the Deputy Superintendent for School Administration. She also served as Interim Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.

In 1982, Bryant succeeded Barbara K. Phillips as International President of the AKA Sorority and Programs of service, Organizational impact, Women in global issues and Economic development and Renewal (P.O.W.E.R.) became the agenda for the Sorority. Bryant’s administration also sought to improve the communication with individual members by approving cluster meetings where AKA Sorority members from various chapters could convene. In addition, Bryant initiated a governmental relations team to represent the Sorority at various government affairs. Bryant added the Alpha Kappa Alpha Connection to the Sorority’s list of programs and registered new voters for the 1984 U.S. Presidential election. During her tenure, Bryant met with the Council of Presidents of the eight predominantly black Greek organizations and launched a drive to leverage the collective power of Greek organizations.

In 1998, Bryant became the first African American to serve as Deputy Superintendent for School Administration in the Houston Independent School District. In 2002, Bryant retired from the school board as Executive Deputy Superintendent after forty-two years of service.

Accession Number

A2008.043

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/11/2008 |and| 2/5/2013

Last Name

Bryant

Maker Category
Middle Name

Beverly

Schools

Blanche Kelso Bruce Elementary School

E.O. Smith Middle School

Phillis Wheatley High School

University of Houston

Howard University

First Name

Faye

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

BRY01

Favorite Season

Winter

Sponsor

Alpha Kappa Alpha

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises, The Bahamas

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

3/15/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Association chief executive and school superintendent Faye Beverly Bryant (1937 - ) was the twenty-first International President of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and served between 1982 and 1986. She also was the first African American to serve as Assistant Superintendent for Enrichment Programs in the Houston Independent School District.

Employment

Blue Triangle Branch, YWCA

Houston Independent School District

Booker T. Washington High School

Bellaire High School

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:432,6:1008,15:1368,21:3888,64:4248,70:4608,76:7560,133:8350,144:17484,252:17828,257:18430,266:19032,274:19720,283:21294,292:25618,347:41360,480:45995,526:46520,535:46895,542:49070,586:49445,593:50345,607:50645,612:55094,659:55941,671:57173,693:61260,740:63920,774:65630,797:67150,815:67815,827:74285,890:74680,895:75391,908:75707,913:77208,936:77524,941:85120,1026:85440,1031:89698,1071:90514,1084:91058,1093:94094,1122:94489,1128:96227,1162:96859,1171:97412,1184:98834,1215:101174,1231:101470,1236:102136,1252:103246,1276:103542,1281:104208,1292:104874,1302:107290,1323:109290,1369:109770,1376:110570,1393:110890,1398:112724,1408:117060,1451:117432,1457:117804,1462:118920,1480:119664,1490:123254,1520:124734,1549:125252,1557:126658,1585:130502,1614:131242,1625:133832,1680:135534,1698:136200,1709:139336,1726:139708,1734:140204,1744:140700,1753:140948,1760:143056,1821:144640,1839$0,0:258,5:1118,18:1462,23:5412,71:5700,76:6348,89:6780,96:8652,129:13258,177:13916,185:14762,197:15326,204:17864,237:18240,242:29880,338:30624,343:38442,389:38818,394:39382,401:42030,415:42510,420:46763,464:47312,474:49142,513:55986,594:56672,602:57946,617:58338,622:59906,645:65030,684:67820,725:68720,740:69350,748:69800,754:70520,763:71330,775:74506,793:75038,801:80704,928:81028,933:82162,958:82567,964:83377,977:87377,1018:87959,1025:94324,1070:96704,1116:97180,1128:97996,1144:98404,1151:99016,1173:99492,1181:99832,1187:100104,1192:105889,1248:112120,1299:113378,1331:113822,1338:114932,1359:115450,1367:117890,1375:118450,1384:121410,1435:123570,1489:124130,1500:139484,1689:139874,1695:140186,1700:149106,1809:149574,1818:150120,1827:150588,1835:150900,1840:153396,1886:153786,1892:155112,1914:158070,1923:159226,1948:159974,1961:162490,2011:162966,2019:163238,2024:171952,2098:173118,2133:173542,2138:183650,2277
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Faye Beverly Bryant's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Faye Beverly Bryant lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about her election as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her inspiration to run as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls the inspiration behind her initiatives at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her vision to ensure the longevity of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about her tenure as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Faye Beverly Bryant reflects upon her leadership style

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her responsibility as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers former supreme basileus Marjorie Holloman Parker

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls the lessons she learned as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers the challenges she faced as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about impeding false information within Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Faye Beverly Bryant reflects upon her success as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Faye Beverly Bryant reflects upon her tenure as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers her greatest moments as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Faye Beverly Bryant reflects upon her legacy as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes how she would like to be remembered as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes the legacy of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Faye Beverly Bryant shares her hopes for the future of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes the greatest challenge for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes elements of a perfect sisterhood

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Faye Beverly Bryant shares her vision for the future of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her mother's family background

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers her maternal grandmother

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her mother's personality

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her father's family background

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her family life

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers the Fifth Ward neighborhood in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers her father, Willie Bryant

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls joining the Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her educational background

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her experiences at Blanche Kelso Bruce Elementary School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers her extracurricular activities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls attending E.O. Smith Middle School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about her childhood aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls attending Phillis Wheatley High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her high school rivalry with Jack Yates Senior High School

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about her religious upbringing

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her high school influences

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers her college aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her social activities in high school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Faye Beverly Bryant's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers her train ride to Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her first impressions of Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers her professors at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her classmates at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, 1954

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.'s service projects

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her extracurricular activities at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers Lucy Diggs Slowe

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about her summer activities during college

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls the political climate in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her political influences at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers her college graduation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her experiences working for the Blue Triangle Branch, YWCA in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes the highlights of her tenure at the Blue Triangle Branch, YWCA

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls teaching at Booker T. Washington High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes the high schools in the Houston Independent School District

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her curriculum at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her role as a counselor at Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her challenges as a counselor at Bellaire High School

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her initiatives as a counselor at Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers Superintendent Billy Reagan

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her appointment as director of the magnet school program for the Houston Independent School District

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about the magnet school program

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her work with the U.S. Department of Justice

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about African American representation on the school board

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her position with the Houston Independent School District department of human services

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her role of deputy superintendent of instruction

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Faye Beverly Bryant remembers notable Texas politicians

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about the Houston Independent School District

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls her role as deputy superintendent of administration

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about her POWER program at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.'s political involvement

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Faye Beverly Bryant recalls creating a government relations team for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her role as executive deputy superintendent of Houston Independent School District

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Faye Beverly Bryant talks about her challenges as executive deputy superintendent

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Faye Beverly Bryant reflects upon her career

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Faye Beverly Bryant reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Faye Beverly Bryant reflects upon her family

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Faye Beverly Bryant describes how she would like to remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$7

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Faye Beverly Bryant describes her vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Faye Beverly Bryant talks about the magnet school program
Transcript
Well, speaking about leadership, what was your vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority [Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.]?$$Oh, I had, serving as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha was very, very important to me. And I see Alpha Kappa Alpha with now more than two hundred thousand women as really POWER. And that was my program emphasis. Now, that acronym stood for programs of service. That's the P, organizational impact and collaboration, women involved in global issues, economic development, and renewal. I see any time you have a membership of two hundred thousand, you can make a difference in many different areas. And if you come together and collaborate with others, you have even a bigger impact. And so, we did a lot of collaboration during my tenure as national president, as well as trying to create that power, saying to sorors, you can run for office and your, your city council, and your county government, and your state government, and you can do that. We were able, you know, time has a lot to do with everything. During my tenure, it was a presidential election year and so, we did a lot of voter registration. We put one hundred thousand folks on the registration rolls during that time. It was a time that we had the first woman running for vice president, Geraldine Ferraro. We had the first black Miss America. I mean, there were things happening during that time, and that became a part of our thrust. We were very, very active with other groups in pushing our agenda. We got a chance to go to Kenya to the women's conference there and make a presentation with the Kenyan university women. And so, we were not only involved at home, but with women issues across the country. It was really, really an exciting time. When people see me coming now, they say, "There's that power lady," (laughter).$Now, what was the idea behind the magnet schools anyway?$$Our theme at that time was the finest education that money can't buy. That was the theme. That's how we sold it. We believe that if you create programs of interest to students that they will achieve. And so, we had themes at K through twelve [kindergarten to twelfth grade]. Fine arts, we had math and science. We had in the high school level, we had kids learn how to fly planes with air knot--I've forgotten that title of that school, but anyway, they learned how to fly a plane.$$Aviation?$$Aviation. We had chemical science, science program in one high school 'cause it's all industry in this area. And we had the support of our industries in this area. They helped to support those programs that we put together. We had foreign language programs. We had--Yates [Jack Yates Senior High School; Jack Yates High School, Houston, Texas] had a communications high school. They still--and these programs are still going, so, and we must have done a pretty good job. We--and so, thematic--if a kid is interested in music, he's going to do well in reading and everything else 'cause he's coming to school excited about what he's doing. We had horticulture for the little kids in elementary. We had--I'm trying, I'm going through them. As a part of that magnet school program, we set up a camping program where we took a predominantly white campus, a predominantly black, and a predominantly Hispanic, and they went to camp for a week. We own this property--well, a family owns this property up in the Huntsville area, called Camp Olympia [Trinity, Texas]--best experience those kids had. Then we had, we taught them while they were there, the outdoors, science, and, you know, and they still go there. It's a wonderful pro- but all of that, we tried to make it very exciting. We had to decide--where do you put these programs, so we chose campuses where it wouldn't be too difficult to transport kids. You had to do all of that as you created this program. And it's still real--the magnet schools, they line up to get in them right now. And so, as I look back with my involvement in the Hou--that's probably my legacy to the district [Houston Independent School District], the magnet school program.

Eva Evans

The 24th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc. (1994 – 1998) and educational administrator, Eva Lois Evans was born in Memphis, Tennessee but lived most of her life in Detroit, Michigan. Under Evans’ leadership, the theme of Alpha Kappa Alpha became “Building the Future: The Alpha Kappa Alpha Strategy: Making the Net Work.”

Reared in Detroit, Michigan, Evans attended the city’s public elementary and high schools and went on to earn her B.S. degree from Wayne State University. She later attended Michigan State University where she received her M.A. degree and her Ph.D. While at Wayne State, Evans was initiated into the Xi Chapter of the AKA Sorority. For a period, she was affiliated with the Detroit Chapters and transferred her membership to the Delta Tau Omega Chapter after returning to Lansing.

With her career in education, Evans served as a classroom teacher, building administrator, Division Director, Assistant Superintendent and then the number two position of Deputy Superintendent of Lansing Public Schools when she retired.

Evans has served the AKA Sorority in a variety of key roles. At the local level, she served as graduate advisor, auditor and chapter Basileus. In addition, she served as Regional Director of the Great Lakes Region and at the national level, she was the National Program Chairman. She was also a frequent workshop presenter at Boulés and the Leadership Fellows Program. Evans worked with the Sorority’s 20th International President, Dr. Barbara K. Phillips, and helped to shape the national foci of her administration.

Evans was elected First-Vice President in 1990 in Richmond, Virginia. She was installed as the 24th International President in 1994 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The theme of Evans’ administration was “Building the Future: The Alpha Kappa Alpha Strategy: Making the Net Work.” She networked with major entities in the United States to make this a reality including, Elizabeth Dole of the American Red Cross and the Pillsbury Corporation for a partnership in mathematics and science (PIMS) which became her administration’s signature program. She also began the Public Policy Forums in Washington, D.C.

At the 1996 Boulé, the Sorority made a $50,000 contribution to the NAACP, a $75,000 contribution to UNCF, and in 1998, the Sorority made additional contributions to the NAACP and UNCF of $50,000 and $25,000 respectively.

In her home community of Lansing, Michigan, Evans has served as many “firsts.” The first female Deputy Superintendent of Lansing Schools; Campaign Chairman and Chairman of the Tri-County United Way; Vice Chairman of the Lansing Board of Water and Light; Chairman of the Lansing Community College Foundation; Sparrow Hospital Women’s Board of Managers and Trustee of the Michigan State University Board of the College of Education. Evans was appointed by the state governor to serve on the Michigan Council for the Humanities and was Chairman of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Evans has received countless honors in her hometown including the YWCA’s Diana Award for Excellence in Education; the NAACP’s Educator of the Year; Lansing Chamber of Commerce’s Althena Award; Crystal Apple Award for Education from Michigan State University and the Applause Award from the Lansing Center for the Arts. She also has served as the Grand Marshall of the African American Parade and Family Picnic in Lansing which began in 1999. In 2006, Evans was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

Evans was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 28, 2008 as part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Centennial Boulé 2008 celebration. Segments of these interviews were used in a DVD entitled A.K.A. Sorority: A Legacy of Supreme Service.

Accession Number

A2008.036

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/28/2008

Last Name

Evans

Maker Category
Schools

Cass Technical High School

Northern High School

Wayne State University

Michigan State University

First Name

Eva

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

EVA04

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Alpha Kappa Alpha

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

1/14/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Lansing

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Clams

Short Description

Association chief executive and school superintendent Eva Evans (1935 - ) was the 24th international president of the AKA Sorority. She was also a retired education administrator who was the Lansing Public Schools Deputy Superintendent for Instruction in Lansing, Michigan.

Employment

Joyce Elementary School

Lansing Public Schools

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Light Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:246,18:1886,40:2624,53:3034,59:3362,64:4182,73:5002,85:5412,91:5822,97:9922,139:16988,203:19138,253:25332,301:25636,306:26624,321:27232,330:28220,345:30120,369:31716,391:33008,415:33388,421:34148,434:42750,545:43356,552:46083,586:52345,653:58110,687:61690,729:66793,816:67279,824:67603,829:69304,852:70276,871:70600,876:71167,887:71572,893:73273,933:73678,939:74407,949:74893,956:79014,970:79434,976:82122,1011:82962,1022:83298,1027:83718,1033:86154,1063:88086,1100:88842,1110:93512,1128:94372,1139:95146,1151:96264,1168:100134,1233:100736,1241:108954,1308:109566,1319:111606,1356:112082,1364:112830,1380:113850,1399:115142,1422:115414,1427:115686,1432:117250,1466:117590,1472:128531,1677:129827,1700:130232,1706:139384,1798:139880,1808:141820,1816:142634,1831:143078,1838:143596,1847:150790,1935:151030,1940:151990,1962:152230,1967:159214,2015:159865,2025:160423,2032:165592,2066:166240,2076:167779,2104:168265,2111:168670,2118:169723,2134:170371,2143:172396,2176:172801,2182:176122,2224:176689,2238:185275,2252:187525,2289:190235,2303:190487,2312:190928,2321:191684,2335:192062,2342:194408,2360:196462,2390:198121,2420:199464,2442:199859,2448:203177,2491:203730,2500:211248,2547:212886,2570:214212,2595:215304,2618:227320,2713:230928,2816:235396,2843:236132,2854:237328,2873:237880,2880:238892,2893:239628,2904:240548,2915:241192,2923:241560,2928:247607,2972:249245,2990:249882,2999:252703,3040:253249,3048:262746,3158:263186,3164:263714,3170:264242,3178:266970,3223:267322,3228:267938,3237:268290,3242:269522,3262:271018,3281:271898,3294:276794,3302:277577,3312:277925,3318:278447,3326:280448,3352:280883,3358:281318,3364:282188,3379:287707,3524:291794,3627:292129,3633:294180,3640$0,0:4888,99:5316,104:15294,187:16218,192:18932,214:19751,223:29125,362:29720,371:31505,408:32100,417:32610,424:33375,437:33715,442:34225,450:35245,472:41424,510:42162,520:42900,542:46344,604:61240,761:61800,778:62360,786:64458,802:65420,816:66012,824:66382,830:68010,859:68750,871:69268,879:70156,894:71044,909:71340,914:71858,922:72598,933:73042,941:73412,947:74448,971:74966,979:77630,1043:84120,1088:86600,1104:87368,1114:87752,1119:91030,1139:92086,1149:92614,1154:94990,1198:96178,1208:102179,1247:102644,1253:103109,1259:103853,1269:107785,1300:109113,1329:109694,1338:113595,1419:114674,1438:120902,1467:121310,1472:121718,1477:122942,1492:123452,1498:125288,1579:131372,1663:131842,1669:133910,1701:134380,1707:134756,1712:136260,1760:151821,1877:152514,1889:152976,1896:153438,1903:154285,1910:154593,1928:155286,1939:156056,1951:156518,1958:157519,1973:158751,1990:160291,2018:162293,2045:163294,2059:163679,2065:170958,2119:172250,2138:172554,2143:174530,2188:174834,2193:175442,2204:176582,2224:177038,2231:190268,2413:194610,2452
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eva Evans' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eva Evans lists her favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eva Evans describes becoming Supreme Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eva Evans describes her vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eva Evans explains how she implemented her vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eva Evans describes her leadership style

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eva Evans shares lessons she learned about leadership as Supreme Basileus in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eva Evans describes her greatest achievements and moments as Supreme Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eva Evans reflects upon her legacy as national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eva Evans reflects upon the history and the future of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eva Evans describes her mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eva Evans talks about her maternal ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eva Evans talks about the educational achievements of her maternal family

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eva Evans describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eva Evans describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eva Evans describes how her parents met and moved to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eva Evans describes her parents' personalities and who she resembles

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eva Evans recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eva Evans describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eva Evans remembers her childhood dance lessons

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eva Evans talks about her love for radio and movies growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eva Evans talks about her church and schools she attended in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eva Evans remembers her love of studying and teaching English

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eva Evans recalls her mentors in school

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eva Evans remembers famous peers from Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eva Evans describes her interests and activities at Northern High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eva Evans talks about attending Eastern Michigan College in Ypsilanti, Michigan and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eva Evans describes her experiences as a student teacher in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eva Evans talks about meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eva Evans talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eva Evans talks about her activism in the NAACP

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eva Evans talks about the NAACP desegregation suit against Lansing, Michigan schools

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eva Evans talks about the impact of desegregation on public education in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eva Evans talks about her dissertation on teacher expectations

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eva Evans talks about her research on teacher expectations and its impact on students

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eva Evans talks about the work of Alex Kotlowitz

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eva Evans remembers Magic Johnson

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eva Evans remembers her time as deputy superintendent for support services and deputy superintendent for instruction in Lansing, Michigan schools

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eva Evans talks about being the first vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eva Evans recounts her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority presidential inauguration

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eva Evans talks about preparation to becoming 23rd Supreme Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eva Evans talks about starting a public policy forum for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eva Evans remembers the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority convention in Baltimore, Maryland in 1996

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eva Evans explains Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Take Five voter registration program

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eva Evans explains how she averted a crisis with the Cleveland Jobs Corps

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eva Evans reflects upon her achievements and her life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eva Evans describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eva Evans talks about her matured perspective on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's relationship to other African American sororities

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eva Evans reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eva Evans talks about her community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eva Evans shares her hopes for an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority senior residence

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Eva Evans describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Eva Evans narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Eva Evans reflects upon her legacy as national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Eva Evans talks about starting a public policy forum for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
All right. This, this following set of questions is about your legacy. Compare the Alpha Kappa Alpha [Sorority, Inc.] you inherited from your predecessor to the one you left for your successor.$$Well, when I left--when I got to alpha ka--came into my presidency of Alpha Kappa Alpha [AKA], it was a good time to be the national president. My predecessor had built a headquarters, not the whole headquarters, the third floor of the headquarters and had gotten it paid for. Now, of course, there were repercussions from that but I was able to recoup some of the lost membership and I think move on from there. Alpha Kappa Alpha is an humungous sized organization, so it doesn't shift easily. Programs that [HistoryMaker] Dr. Mary Shy Scott in Atlanta [Georgia] put together, some people are still doing those as well as some people are still doing science and math. Some people are still working on the [American] Red Cross, so every president leaves something. I think that I left, though, the notion of partnering with other organizations to leverage our influence. When I was president, we partnered with Pillsbury to underwrite some of our programs and the quid pro quo of that was the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha who were science majors and math majors and et cetera, it helped Pillsbury with its program to diversify its workforce. So, we had science people and math people who went to work for Pillsbury and they were grateful and we were grateful for their underwriting our program, so, the notion of partnershipping. I partnershipped with Elizabeth Dole, as I told you, and I worked with HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] and so on to get this building built in North Carolina. I think I left that idea, leverage. I left the idea I think, too, that programs should be global, that all of us should turn our attention to whatever it is the sorority is trying to accomplish.$$Okay. Now, which of your contributions had the most impact?$$Who knows (laughter)? I don't know, I started a public policy forum in Washington [D.C.] because I felt that a group like ours should have a presence in the nation's capital. That's continued and I think that was impactful for Washington to know about a group like ours. I think the understanding that we were bright and we were the best and brightest the nation could produce bar race or anything else, and we could use that for something, that if we decided--I think that I was forever articulating, we're the best and brightest and we can do whatever we choose. I think it resonated and whether it set or not, I think we, we know that better.$$Okay. All right. Now, what accomplishments of your administration do you want to be remembered for?$$I'd like to be remembered for the, the Ivy Acres [Winston-Salem, North Carolina], our center for the aging. I'd like to be remembered for the public policy. I'd like to be remembered because even though I didn't have girls, I was convinced that our sorority would be better off if our daughters had an equal shot at membership, so I campaigned for four years along with everybody else and me, but I had a focus on it, that we would leave legacy, that our daughters could be AKAs, as long as they held the same standards, the same academic averages, they had the same as everybody else, that we couldn't keep them out of Alpha Kappa Alpha. And my story I used to tell was, hey, if you went to Harvard [University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] or Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut] or the University of Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan], you got extra points for being a legacy. We should give extra points.$Yeah, [HistoryMaker] Eddie Williams, yeah.$$Eddie Williams. I--when I was president, I told you I felt that we needed a presence in Washington, D.C. We're smart enough. And of--we had five members of the [U.S.] House of Representatives who were AKAs [Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.], so I figured, hey, let's use that to our advantage and we can help them, they can help us. So, we would have what was called a public policy forum each year in Washington when I was president, and one--we would focus on different things. And we would have the senators and the--well, the only--well, we had black people that--in the main, but I'm--I--if I'm not mistaking, I believe Mr. [Orrin] Hatch came over once because one of our themes was--you see, the president picks the [U.S.] Supreme Court and I was interested in Supreme Court justices that year and I was interested, equally interested, in people who got into federal judgeships down at these levels, 'cause I was in federal court two times on school deseg [desegregation]. One judge was wonderful, one was not, so I understood that process. I had wanted to work with Eddie Williams because I felt that we in the United States, we could have benefited from Alpha Kappa Alpha's presence in a Black Think Tank like that. He and--I, I ran out of time. I couldn't do all the things I wanted to do. I got to meet him one time and didn't get, get a chance before my time was up to, to finish all my stuff. We had very good friends in the White House [Washington, D.C.] thanks to [HistoryMaker] Ofield [Dukes], [HistoryMaker] Alexis Herman. We had Bob Johnson [HistoryMaker Ben Johnson], wonderful man in the White House. Oh, my. His office was right next door to [First Lady] Hillary [Rodham] Clinton's office and right around the corner from himself. But, he would arrange the speakers. He would help us get them for many of the public policy forums that we had. And because so many of the female members of the legislature were African Americans, I had an opportunity to address the Congressional Black Caucus at their--they met once a month, and I came to Washington once to meet with them. And guess who was waiting in the hall when I was waiting to get in? George Stephanopoulos. And I remember thinking, boy, go and shine your shoes (laughter). But, I did ask the [Congressional] Black Caucus to come to Baltimore [Maryland]. And do you know they came? We, we got a bus for them--

Floretta Dukes McKenzie

Floretta McKenzie has a distinguished record of more than forty years of service to education as both a school administrator and educational consultant. Born in Lakeland, Florida, on August 19, 1935, she went on to earn her B.A. degree from D.C. Teachers College in 1956 and her M.Ed. degree from Howard University in 1957 before beginning her career as a teacher in Maryland. McKenzie later rose through the Washington, D.C., school system and became deputy superintendent in 1973. In 1974, she returned to Maryland and was hired as area assistant superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools. McKenzie worked for the U.S. Department of Education as a deputy assistant secretary in the Office of School Improvement, managing fifteen federal education discretionary programs and initiatives. She also served as the U.S. delegate to the UNESCO General Conference in Yugoslavia.

In 1981, McKenzie returned to D.C. Public Schools as the superintendent of schools and chief state school officer. In this capacity, she oversaw the country's twenty-first-largest school system, managing 89,000 students, 13,000 employees and a $400 million budget. Under her leadership, the district established several public and private partnerships to improve instructional programs and district management. McKenzie also oversaw the implementation of the Five-Year Computer Literacy Plan, one of the country's first long-range programs for integrating technology into the public school curriculum.

McKenzie left her position in 1988 to form her own company, The McKenzie Group, an educational consulting firm. She served as its first president until 1997, when she became the company's chairperson. The McKenzie Group specializes in educational management and planning.

McKenzie served on several boards of directors, including the National Geographic Society, Marriott International, the White House Historical Association, Howard University and the Johns Hopkins Leadership Development Program. She also lectured in the American University's Graduate School of Education.

Floretta McKenzie passed away on March 23, 2015 at the age of 79.

Accession Number

A2003.253

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/12/2003

Last Name

McKenzie

Maker Category
Middle Name

Dukes

Organizations
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

University of the District of Columbia

Howard University

First Name

Floretta

Birth City, State, Country

Lakeland

HM ID

MCK04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Solomons Island, Maryland

Favorite Quote

I'm Doing The Best I Can.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/19/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

3/23/2015

Short Description

School superintendent and education consultant Floretta Dukes McKenzie (1935 - 2015 ) oversaw Public Schools of the District of Columbia from 1981 to 1988 before founding The McKenzie Group, an educational consulting firm.

Employment

District of Columbia Public Schools

Montgomery County Public Schools

United States Department of Education

McKenzie Group

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7196,136:15918,261:16630,271:21310,286:21630,291:22590,307:24190,337:27230,387:28430,418:35335,473:35860,482:36985,503:37285,508:37960,520:38410,527:41560,574:42235,584:45978,604:55022,745:55706,755:68937,872:74772,910:75546,921:76750,938:78470,961:80104,980:82670,993:96062,1187:101946,1248:106576,1306:108016,1328:109600,1361:110248,1379:110680,1386:112768,1418:113200,1425:123881,1498:124379,1505:124877,1513:125707,1527:130272,1613:150210,1833:152010,1864:152460,1871:153210,1886:158954,1936:159486,1944:163818,2014:164122,2019:167466,2061:169062,2067:173929,2103:174370,2112:175693,2134:175945,2139:180630,2203:189677,2316:193582,2378:194008,2385:196351,2436:198623,2461:199333,2472:205012,2542:205328,2547:207224,2585:207935,2596:208488,2604:209673,2629:239390,2953:239901,2961:269986,3240:276528,3298:277649,3337:283158,3414:284890,3445$0,0:2646,38:4318,70:6166,103:7310,126:7838,133:10038,170:18090,230:19062,242:21168,274:24894,336:27891,377:28620,388:32674,407:37750,484:38972,509:39818,519:40288,525:42826,561:50446,631:50730,636:51227,644:53144,673:54848,706:66412,810:82210,959:85728,979:86096,984:86648,991:97540,1131:100465,1182:101050,1195:117085,1341:117835,1353:118360,1361:126032,1451:135730,1560:141765,1666:142360,1674:147624,1709:158082,1853:168186,1952:172320,2028:172866,2036:183049,2131:185257,2166:186775,2198:187051,2203:187327,2208:187879,2218:193452,2264:206250,2381:213740,2454
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Floretta Dukes McKenzie's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie names her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her mother's family background and how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her maternal grandfather's value for education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about her family's relationship with Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Lakeland, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about her paternal grandparents' medical practice

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her experience at Washington Park Elementary School

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about her childhood interests in geography and social science

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about playing trombone in the Washington Park High School marching band

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about her childhood involvement in the church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her father's relationship with Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes moving from Lakeland, Florida to Washington D.C. in her senior year of high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes the sociopolitical climate of America in 1952 Washington D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her decision to attend the District of Columbia Teachers College

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes earning a graduate fellowship at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her graduate school experience at Howard University, in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie lists notable professors at Howard University in 1956

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about visiting the Howard Theatre in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about Howard University's role in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about teaching in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes the issues she observed as a teacher and administrator in the Washington, D.C. public school system

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about civil rights activity in 1963 Washington D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about Washington, D.C.'s role in civil rights organizing during the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her career in public school administration, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her career in public school administration, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about leaving the public school system to start an education consulting firm

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie considers what changes could help improve urban school districts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie remembers lessons as an administrator in an urban school district

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Floretta Dukes McKenzie describes her career in public school administration, pt. 1
Floretta Dukes McKenzie talks about leaving the public school system to start an education consulting firm
Transcript
Well tell, tell me about your career as a school administrator. Now you, you went back to school at a certain point.$$Well--$$Well you started administrating before you--$$Yeah, yeah I was teaching and heard about TRIO Program looking for a director and I was already a counselor at a high school, getting kids into college and getting financial aid, so I did that for a while. Then I decided that maybe after about three years of that, my place--I could better serve by being in school systems, so I came back to the school system, applied for a job as a, an exec in the secondary school office. Had never been a principal, but got the job supervising principals. Stayed in that for maybe a year, turned over to superintendent, I became an Executive Assistant to the new superintendent who was Hugh Scott from Detroit [Michigan]. And Hugh had a, a kind of--it was a rocky time with the board and, and he decided to make me a deputy superintendent. I was about thirty-three then. And I accepted. Then Hugh decided that he was tired of the battles with the board and accepted a position at Hunter College [New York City, New York], and recommended me to be acting superintendent, about thirty-three, thirty-four. And I accepted and I was a ninety day wonder. I managed the school district, opened schools and all. And they were doing a superintendent search. And [HM] Marion Barry had--was president of the school board. So Marion said, "Flo, why don't you compete for superintendent? You're doing a good job." I said you guys will eat me up and spit me out in the little time. I said I don't have enough experience, you know, I didn't have enough grounding. I didn't think I was ready, so I refused to be considered. And then Barbara Sizemore was selected, and I became her deputy superintendent because I knew the system and generally could get things done. And one thing, an op--I was an operations type. You know getting things done, getting books and you know people, and so I still didn't feel that I had enough experience to be at the level that I'd managed to, to get to. So folks in Montgomery County had been talking to me about coming over there. And so they were--every position they would have, they'd call and say you interested in this? And finally they offered me a, a regional superintendent's job, assistant superintendent. So I took my career from a deputy superintendent, number two, to about number three job over in Montgomery County [Maryland] 'cause I did hear that one of the board members had said that you--that we wouldn't have these positions, African Americans, if we weren't working in a blue, a black system. So I said I don't believe that's true; I think I'm pretty good. And if I'm--you know I've got to go and test it. And if I'm not good, you know, I'm just not good. But I need to go and find out if I am. So I accepted the job in Montgomery County. And served very successfully running schools there. So much so until it was a superintendent of Philly [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]--his name--Hornbeck, invited me to the state to be the number three person at the Maryland State Department of Ed. [education]. So I did that. But then I looked outside and I said I have no constituency at the state, and you use to knowing who you work for and the folks, if they didn't like what you're doing, they let you know. But I didn't have a, you know it didn't have that kind of thing.$So the system was doing well. People said well why are you going? I said some of the problems that I thought I'd solved are coming back. And I think you need somebody fresh to try to make a go at it. And then a major law firm here had an educational litigation section, said, "Flo if you want to run your own consulting firm, we'll back you with it and you can support our efforts in litigation." So I said hey, 'bout time I try running something, a business on my own because I always thought--you know educators think that they can only teach or only do education type stuff. But I think skills are transferrable. And I'd been working with the private sector on a couple of corporate boards, so I said I'll try that. And so I decided in '88 [1988] that I would set up the consulting firm and the law firm supported, funded, you know funded it. And I of course had part ownership. And so we were doing good. But the American Bar Association [ABA] said law firms, you guys cannot have consulting firms, it's not ethical. And they had made me a partner in the law firm. And so they said you gotta, you know, get rid of this consulting firm. So I said well fine. So we worked out a separation agreement that really worked in my favor. And that I was in their very plush quarters, so I moved down here and we've been here and I think we do quality work. We do a lot of what we want to do in education. Sometimes we don't make any money because we take some of those projects that--where they think you're, you know, you do charity work, but hey that's, that's the way we are. So while we've--don't make a lot of money, we've managed to stay open for sixteen years and it's still very exciting work. It's very different. No project is the same; we work for EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, helping them with curriculum on--for skin cancer. We work with organ donors to try to get people who treat--teach driver's ed., to get kids to sign or people to sign their organs over. We work for the National Science Foundation in trying to improve achievement in math and science. So it's just a wide range of things. One time we were training superintendents, trying to make sure that women and minorities got more leadership. So it's been quite a, a, an opportunity for a little girl from Florida started out very, very poor. I'm not affluent now, but to really get some wonderful experiences and work with some exciting people.

Richard E. Stephenson, Jr.

Richard Earl Stephenson was born in Nashville, Tennessee on June 4, 1929. Following the divorce of his parents, his mother, Odessa returned to school. While there, she met the man who became Stephenson's stepfather, and both of them stressed the importance of education. When World War II broke out, Stephenson's stepfather George was drafted into the Army and Stephenson became the man of the house, working hard and continuing his schooling. A skilled pianist, Stephenson earned a piano fellowship to Fisk University and he also played in a jazz ensemble. Transferring to Tennessee A & I State College, Stephenson earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1950. He later returned to school to earn an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1967 and an Ed.D. in administration and supervision from Nova University in Florida in 1976.

After earning his B.S., Stephenson joined the Army, where he served from 1951 to 1954 as an artillery and guided missile officer. Following his discharge, he relocated to Chicago, where he first worked as a research associate at the University of Illinois Medical School before going into education in 1959 as a teacher. From there, he began his ascent through the administrative levels, serving as first an assistant principal at Forrestville Elementary in 1962 and retiring in 1993 as the Interim General Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. During his years of involvement with the Chicago public schools, Stephenson also served as vice-president of the Illinois High School Association and vice-president of the Chicago Area Boy Scouts.

Today Stephenson is still active with Chicago public schools, lending his support as chairman of the selection committee that chooses outstanding principals and administrators. He has also been involved with charter schools that oversee "at risk" youth. In 2002, he was honored by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education as an outstanding alumnus of Tennessee State University. Stephenson is married to retired teacher Ruby Jordan Stephenson. They have four children.

Stephenson passed away on November 12, 2018.

Accession Number

A2003.258

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/30/2002

Last Name

Stephenson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Schools

Washington Junior High School

University of Chicago

Tennessee State University

Nova Southeastern University

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

St. Vincent de Paul School

First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

STE02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

I Can't Stop You From Coming Over Here, But I Will Sure Delay Your Departure.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/4/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Potatoes, Salad

Death Date

11/12/2018

Short Description

School superintendent Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. (1929 - 2018) was the former interim general superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. Stephenson has also served as the vice-president of the Chicago area Boy Scouts.

Employment

University of Illinois Medical Center

Chicago Public Schools

Favorite Color

Dark Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:8282,151:20937,257:35029,446:48400,546:51385,574:51775,581:53335,642:53725,649:54115,656:54765,669:55285,679:60370,734:67075,767:67645,774:73890,832:74310,837:83050,1051:91893,1111:98068,1187:103280,1206:103670,1214:103995,1220:117710,1349:130434,1412:131556,1426:132168,1434:135772,1453:143000,1510:145447,1535:146926,1555:149640,1571:154440,1596:156240,1636:169389,1802:169707,1809:173804,1840:174260,1847:174640,1853:175248,1862:175628,1868:176084,1875:178380,1881:179052,1890:180972,1924:184724,1980:186472,2017:186928,2024:193086,2077:211849,2255:219271,2354:219733,2362:220041,2367:220503,2375:225400,2424$0,0:31175,474:31563,489:56546,819:57534,835:58218,862:60820,876:62260,900:62620,905:64330,929:64960,937:73635,1100:73960,1106:74350,1113:75585,1143:80567,1205:82460,1214:87728,1251:88421,1265:96930,1403:97158,1408:97671,1420:97899,1425:102490,1508:103174,1521:106490,1582:107890,1612:108170,1617:111600,1708:112580,1731:112930,1737:120361,1787:129690,1878
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard E. Stephenson, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about a paternal uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his relationship with his father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his relationship with his father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his mother and she and his stepfather's college educations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls playing pranks on his mother and stepfather as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his strabismus and playing football in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his talent for playing piano and a few of his favorite piano players

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about the challenge of attending a Catholic school as a member of a Methodist household

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls a harsh punishment he received from a nun at St. Vincent de Paul School in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how teachers at Pearl High School instilled a sense of competition within him

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about playing high school basketball in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about working in high school to support his family

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his decision to attend Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his experience at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University in the late 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his relationship with Dr. Clyde Dillard at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his extracurricular activities at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls enrolling in Officers Candidate School and his first duty assignment at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls dealing with racial discrimination in the U.S. Army in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls the circumstances surrounding his college commencement address

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his experience in Officer Candidate School in the early 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. remembers a time when a fellow officer defended him at Officer Candidate School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his first job after retiring from the U.S. Army and how he met his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls pranks he played as a research assistant at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains his decision to quit his research assistant position at University of Illinois College of Medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his early teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about changes to Chicago, Illinois' 47th Street

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became assistant principal of Forrestville Upper Grade Center in Chicago, Illinois in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls an encounter between a student and a police officer at Forrestville Upper Grade Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about a family he tutored in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1971, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1971, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares a story demonstrating his creative approach to problem-solving

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1971, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains his decision to accept the position of principal at Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes how he cultivated a relationship with Lovell Roebuck, a shop teacher at Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes how he cultivated a relationship with Lovell Roebuck, a shop teacher at Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls an interaction with Dunbar High School music teacher Willie Naylor

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about individuals he met at Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois during his tenure as principal

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about moving into an Eastern European neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about the demographics of Chicago, Illinois' Chatham neighborhood in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about Chicago School Superintendent Benjamin Willis and "Willis Wagons"

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes the qualities of a successful school administrator

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about instituting better accounting procedures as principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains the respective roles of school administrators and central staff in the Chicago Public School system

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about the allocation of federal education funds

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares stories from his tenure as Chicago school district superintendent, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares stories from his tenure as Chicago School District Superintendent, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls once intervening in principal selection at a local school council meeting as Chicago school district superintendent

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares his views on school reform

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became interim superintendent of Chicago Public Schools in 1993

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. assesses the contemporary state of teacher salaries in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. lists education nonprofits to which he contributes

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about the contemporary state of the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares his views on charter schools and public school vouchers

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. considers what he would have done differently

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$7

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1971, pt. 1
Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls once intervening in principal selection at a local school council meeting as Chicago school district superintendent
Transcript
How did you become principal at Forestville [Upper Grade School, Chicago, Illinois]? Well, I could see--almost see how you got--$$Yeah, the--I had to deal with these rebellious teachers, and when they saw--when the community and the kids saw that I could, they wanted me. And of course, the district superintendent wanted me because he sent me there, so when I became the acting principal there and then, of course, when I took the principal's exam and passed it, I--they assigned me there--$$Okay.$$--and shortly after that, but every--almost everywhere I've gone in the school system [Chicago Public Schools, CPS], and 'course, maybe the school system itself was a series of crises 'cause it's--it seems to be in a crisis all the time. But my experiences in the school system have been--has been a series of crises. I left--I went into Forestville as a--you know, as a result of a crisis. I left Forestville and went to Dunbar [High School, later, Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School, Chicago, Illinois] as a result of a crisis.$$Now, what was the crisis at Dunbar?$$The principal of Dunbar was promoted, and the assistant principal was made the acting principal for two years. He assumed that he would pass the principal's exam. They had to take an exam. At the end of the two years, he took the exam and did not pass it for the fifth time. He then got the teacher's--well, he, he upset the teachers, got them to petition, to get a lawyer, and insist that no principal be sent there, that instead, asked--demanded that he be made the director of the school, and had the kids telling Mrs. [Wendell E.] Green who, at that time, was a black board member, they would walk out if he were not made the principal. And he told the guy who was supposed to be assigned there for the summer school session who was his buddy, who played poker with him every Friday night that the shop teachers would burn down the school (laughter) if he came there. Dunbar was a tough school, and they knew it was a tough school because, as an example, at the strike just preceding this, there was an assistant principal who went into the school with the principal. The teachers not only--and I guess these was shop teachers--they're the tough ones--they not only went to his home and painted his garage and slashed his tires and all that kind of stuff, but when he came back to school, they put a bloody hog's head on his desk.$So, on the following Friday, I was there at the [teachers] meeting. He introduced me as Mr. Stephenson [HM Richard E. Stephenson, Jr.], and of course, I started to explain the [principal selection] process, and about--as soon as I started to explain, he interrupted me. He said, "Mr. Stephenson, so-and-so-and-so-and-so-and-so." And I noticed that the black teachers looked at each other and punched each other, and I thought, Oh, yeah, that's right, this guy refused to call [William] Bill Finch, Dr. Finch. And so, I said, "Okay." So I addressed this guy as Charlie [ph.]. "Oh, Charlie--listen, Charlie, you so-and-so-and-so-and-so." He was--and he is Dr. Charles--I've forgotten his last name. Oh, man, that killed him. The teachers just--you could see 'em, you know, light up, and we, you know, I did this several times. Well, there was no more of that. At any rate, I told them. The next night was the--the next Tuesday night was the council meeting. I've never seen a council meeting like that. I went in--$$It's a local school council meeting [for Chicago Public Schools, CPS].$$Local school council meeting for principal selection. I went in--dead silence, and a auditorium full of people. Nobody talkin' to anybody. And when they wouldn't talk to--you know, they weren't--even the council members weren't talkin'. So I got up and I explained to the council, and to the people that this is the most important thing that a council, council could do, select their principal that, you know, if you don't do it, I have to do it, and after all, you're gonna be with this person for the next four years, and you don't want me to select who you're gonna be sleeping with for the next four years. Well, that got their attention. They voted him out ten-nothing. As I left, couple of--one of the council--well, I'd better not tell that. That's kind of bawdy.

Barbara A. Sizemore

Dedicated educator and educational theorist Barbara Sizemore applies the expertise she acquired at premiere institutions to work on behalf of disadvantaged students. Sizemore was born on December 17, 1927, in Chicago. Upon completing a B.A. in classical languages at Northwestern University, she began teaching in the Chicago public school system. Sizemore returned to Northwestern and received an M.A. in elementary education in 1954. Twenty-five years later, she graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in educational administration.

In 1963, Sizemore was among the first African American women to serve as principal of a Chicago school. Six years after switching from elementary to high school administration, she was the first African American woman elected superintendent of a major city's school system in 1972. For two years Sizemore served as the top official of the District of Columbia's public schools. She then accepted a position at the University of Pittsburgh, which she retained until 1992. At Pitt, Sizemore studied schools located in low-income, high-crime areas whose students were predominately African American. She incorporated her findings into an innovative educational strategy called School Achievement Structure (SAS), which she championed as dean of DePaul University's School of Education from 1992 to 1998. Schools that followed her routines had tremendous success raising their students' test scores, increasing these individuals' chances for success in system that often works against them.

A former member of the board of directors of The Journal of Negro Education, Sizemore continues to participate in the dialogue of how to empower students as a prolific writer and member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. She has received numerous awards and honors recognizing her contribution to educational theory. Sizemore's children, Kymara Chase and Furman G. Sizemore, are also professors.

Accession Number

A2003.070

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/9/2003

Last Name

Sizemore

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ann

Organizations
Schools

Sarah Scott Middle Sch

Evanston Township High School

Terre Haute South Vigo High Sch

Northwestern University

University of Chicago

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

SIZ01

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/17/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ribs

Death Date

7/24/2004

Short Description

Academic administrator, school superintendent, and education professor Barbara A. Sizemore (1927 - 2004 ) is an educational theorist and the first African American woman to become a school principal in Chicago.

Employment

Chicago Public Schools

District of Columbia Public Schools

University of Pittsburgh

DePaul University School of Education

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Sizemore's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Sizemore talks about her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Sizemore talks about the curious circumstances around her father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Sizemore talks about her maternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Sizemore talks about her maternal grandparents, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Sizemore lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Sizemore talks about her childhood in the Laffoon household

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Sizemore talks about the special attention she received from her grade school teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Sizemore recalls intense racial discrimination in Evanston, Illinois schools

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Sizemore describes her experiences obtaining a scholarship to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Sizemore talks about the racist environment she experienced at Northwestern University as an undergraduate student

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Sizemore talks about how Ella Mae Cunningham taught her how to teach at John D. Shoop Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Sizemore describes learning to teach reading

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Sizemore describes how she met her husband, Furman Sizemore

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Sizemore describes being falsely accused by her school principal for teaching communism

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Sizemore talks about the debasement of black people in the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Sizemore describes how Thelma E. Gray taught her about being a principal at Gillespie Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Sizemore describes working with low-performing students and becoming a school principal

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Sizemore talks about working on the first non-graded elementary school system in Chicago with assistant principal Clara Holton

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Sizemore describes key lessons she learned from Anderson Thompson at Forrestville High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Sizemore talks about how Anderson Thompson rid Forrestville High School of gangs

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Sizemore recalls her political struggles and her dreams for King High School, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Sizemore recalls her political struggles and her dreams for King High School, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Sizemore describes tensions with Anna Kolheim and James Moffat

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Sizemore talks about her resignation from Chicago Public Schools in 1972

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Sizemore describes her experience as the Superintendent of D.C. Public Schools, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Sizemore describes her experience as the Superintendent of D.C. Public Schools, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Sizemore explains why she transitioned into the university setting

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Sizemore talks about the unchanging state of black education in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Sizemore talks about white supremacy in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Sizemore talks about her daughter and her son

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Barbara Sizemore talks about her work as the Dean of the School of Education at DePaul University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Barbara Sizemore talks about Mayor M. Daley's control over Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Sizemore talks about how she will be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Sizemore talks about her book "Walking in Circles"

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Sizemore reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Sizemore talks about running for city council in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Sizemore talks about feeling betrayed when she was fired in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Sizemore reflects upon her career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Barbara Sizemore narrates her photographs

Kathleen Crosby

Educator Kathleen "Kat" Crosby was born on March 9, 1925, in Winnsboro, South Carolina, to Beatrice Tucker and W.A. Ross. She graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a B.A. in 1946 and later earned her M.A. from Bank Street College in New York City in 1970.

Crosby began teaching in 1946 in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System. Aside from twenty years of experience as a classroom teacher, she served as an in-service specialist for early childhood education from 1967 to 1970. Crosby worked at length with Head Start programs and has offered her services as an education consultant at the university level. From 1970 to 1976, Crosby was principal of Billingsville Elementary School. There, she was hailed for her successful leadership in dealing with school desegregation and busing issues. A 1976 CBS television documentary highlighted her outstanding leadership of Billingsville Elementary School. In 1976, Crosby became an area assistant superintendent to the district, which comprised twenty-five schools. She retired as superintendent in 1986 after a successful forty-year career.

In 1970, Crosby was appointed to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Charter Commission. An outspoken voice on desegregation, Crosby was named WBT Radio's Woman of the Year 1976. In 1977, she was appointed to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. Crosby has served as vice president of the United Community Service Board and on the Community Relations Committee, the University of North Carolina's Board of Trustees, the Drug Education Board, WBT Radio's Black Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees for Johnson C. Smith University. In 1974, she was awarded the B'nai B'rith Women's Human Relations Award, and in 1975 she was inducted into the NAACP's Hall of Fame.

Her husband of fifty-one years, Joseph Crosby, died in June 2001. They have two children, Joseph Crosby, Jr. and Kathy Wells.

Kathleen Crosby passed away on November 13, 2012.

Accession Number

A2002.216

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/4/2002

Last Name

Crosby

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Johnson C. Smith University

Fairfield County Training School

Voorhees College

Bank Street College

First Name

Kathleen

Birth City, State, Country

Winnsboro

HM ID

CRO04

Favorite Season

Christmas, Thanksgiving

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

3/9/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charlotte

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pole Beans, White Potatoes

Death Date

11/13/2012

Short Description

Elementary school teacher and school superintendent Kathleen Crosby (1925 - 2012 ) was an active desegregation advocate and the former superintendent of the Charlotte/Mecklenberg School District in North Carolina.

Employment

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System

Billingsville Elementary School

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:570,8:920,14:2040,38:2320,43:5260,133:7080,155:11070,224:12820,250:17460,274:29406,465:36590,569:38750,612:53040,822:58726,854:59392,868:59836,876:60354,890:62056,930:70834,1050:107630,1616:121046,1815:171730,2516:173010,2540:173330,2550:175490,2586:179790,2624:182885,2648:183405,2657:190119,2768:196429,2907:200867,2956:206725,3029:216720,3148$0,0:1960,18:2376,23:5408,60:5954,68:7358,108:8684,277:33114,625:35736,673:38530,696:39030,702:48550,851:49018,858:53074,965:65774,1146:67310,1180:67822,1190:71822,1243:72416,1281:83160,1425:88926,1494:99012,1647:99961,1664:119495,1992:119920,1999:124255,2119:134991,2241:137598,2300:138230,2364:156014,2639:156448,2674:156944,2685:161416,2737:165430,2792:188971,3047:204550,3272
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kathleen Crosby's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kathleen Crosby lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kathleen Crosby describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kathleen Crosby describes her family life as a young girl

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kathleen Crosby attempts to trace her family's origins

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kathleen Crosby describes her parents, who were both teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her favorite childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kathleen Crosby describes her childhood neighborhood in Winnsboro, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her family's love of poetry and Paul Laurence Dunbar, her favorite poet

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kathleen Crosby talks about the decline of poetry in today's schools

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her performance in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kathleen Crosby remembers Ms. Cutsy, a role model

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kathleen Crosby remembers a mean teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her church's music traditions

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kathleen Crosby talks about Fairfield County Training School in Winnsboro, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her brothers W.A. and Paul Ross

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kathleen Crosby performs "Sadie at the Movie"

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her high school experience and her parents' value for education

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kathleen Crosby describes race relations in Winnsboro, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her college years at Voorhees Junior College and Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kathleen Crosby talks about her courtship with her husband, Joseph C. Crosby, Sr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kathleen Crosby talks about an ex-boyfriend who committed suicide

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kathleen Crosby talks about the beginning of her teaching career

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kathleen Crosby talks about Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kathleen Crosby talks about the integration of Billingsville Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kathleen Crosby describes her becoming the principal of Billingsville Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kathleen Crosby describes an incident as area superintendent in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kathleen Crosby describes an incident as area superintendent in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kathleen Crosby remembers being interviewed by CBS' Charles Collingwood for a "60 Minutes" segment on integration in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kathleen Crosby talks about Ku Klux Klan activities in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kathleen Crosby describes being targeted by the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kathleen Crosby talks about being area superintendent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kathleen Crosby describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kathleen Crosby reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kathleen Crosby identifies problems in the school system

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kathleen Crosby reflects on her parents' pride in and support of her

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kathleen Crosby talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kathleen Crosby narrates her photographs, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kathleen Crosby narrates her photographs, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kathleen Crosby narrates her photographs, pt.3

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$9

DATitle
Kathleen Crosby remembers Ms. Cutsy, a role model
Kathleen Crosby describes an incident as area superintendent in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, pt.2
Transcript
Tell us about school. Like, who were your teachers and who were the mentors in the community? Did you have some role models in the community, other than your parents, that you looked up to that, that you--$$We--$$--in the church, or--$$Now listen, there was a woman in my church named Ms. Cutsy Smith [ph.].$$How do you spell that?$$I don't know. We just called her Ms. Cutsy. I--$$Cutsy?$$Uh-huh, Cutsy. I think it's C-U-T-S-Y. I don't know where she got--I never heard of that name, Ms. Cutsy Smith. Now you know I was telling you about the blind lady that we used to take care of. But Ms. Cutsy was a strong black woman, who, if she could have gone to college, she probably would've been the president of the world. And she had a daughter named Edna. And she, she, she was kind of country, and you know, laid back. And Ms., Ms. Cutsy was a member of our church, First Baptist Church. We, we were two doors from the church. And Ms. Cutsy would sit on the front seat, the pew, the, the--see, it's, it's two rows--I mean two aisles like that, and then pews over there, and pews over there. She would sit on the front seat on the left, and her husband would sit on the right of the front pew. And they, they sit up--she sat up, and, and, and the minister we had, he was not one of those--when they say seeing that colored preacher clearing his throat and bowing his head, you know that's in Paul Laurence Dunbar too, but this man's very intelligent, Reverend Beatty [ph.]. He was my minister, and his wife was a seamstress, and she just stayed at home and had, she had three smart kids. And they did music. They could sing, and they could play and all. And now my sister could sing pretty well and, and play too. All of us had to learn how to play the piano, play something. But anyway, Reverend Beatty was not like those priests who usually said (imitates), you know. Unh-uh, he was very intelligent. And he says, "And the Lord said, 'Let there be light.'" She said, "Hm, sure, God is light, hm. When God say for it to be light, it's gone be light." And I would be back there cracking up. Mother's [Beatrice Ross] punching, "Kathleen," (laughter) she said. And one Sunday he said, "Now you all need to stay together. If you're married, you don't need to divorce; just stay together." He say, "Hm, what you say, hun?" She say, "Hm, think I'm gone turn back now? Hell, no, hm," (laughter). She'd do all that in church. Ms. Cutsy, I just loved her to death. And then she, she--I never will forget one day she came from church, and I, I was back home. My mother was not well then. See, I was much older then, and my children were already born. And I had taken my children down to see about my mother over the--on the weekend sometimes from Charlotte [North Carolina] to, down there. And the children were playing. And both of my kids are fair complected. Both of 'em got that colors from, from them--my mother and Joe's mother. Both of 'em got fair complexion. She said, "Now whose chaps is these right here?" I said, "They're mine." "They mighty yellow," (laughter). She, Ms. Cutsy was a killer (laughter).$But anyway, when, when they had the hearing, all these rich parents came, 'cause it was about thirty of 'em came in and sat down. They just stormed the place and sat down. I was sitting up there by myself. And when the custo- see, she'd told the custodians to come up there because they were gonna be trying to get my job. And see, he didn't know what was going on, "Yes ma'am, yes ma'am." He walks up there, "Mrs., Mrs. Crosby, I didn't know they was trying to get after you. I'm a sit with you." I said, "You don't need to sit with me, baby. If you want to, you can." I just sat on up there just as happy. And so when the board took, took the--they listened to what was going on, two white women who were on the board voted for her to keep her job. Those white men, who knew I was doing my job--I had the sweetest man who, who got on the school board named Walter McKeithen [ph.]. He's a, he's a lawyer. He was in my PTA [Parent Teacher Association] when I was the principal of Billingsville. And Ashley Mc- Hogwood [Ashley Hogwood] was on the board too. Shucks, they was up--I knew they were in my corner 'cause they knew how I good I was to their kids and the, black and white kids. Honey, all those guys, every--and Dicky Spangler [Clemmie Spangler, Jr.], you know Dicky Spangler? Oh, he's a--child, millionaire. He built so many houses, and he's a millionaire. He was on the board too. Honey, those people got out, he said, "Mrs. Crosby is doing her job." And so, it came out that--I, I didn't want them to fire her, but she wasn't gone work for me, not in that school. So they demoted her and put her in an elementary school in a poor neighborhood. So she didn't have to pick out the rich and the poor. All of them were poor. And so, but she didn't (unclear) with me 'cause she knew she was wrong. And so, oh, it was all in the paper, child. Oh, they loved to put everything in the paper. I just sat up there. When I went out, those women, they stormed me when I started out the door. She said (gesture), "You bring Ms. Davis back to us." I said, "Just get back." I was just like this, Red Sea. I said, "Step back, miss." (Laughter), "That's all I'm gonna say, step back." And they started standing back, and I just walked through that sea of meanness. And when I got out to the elevator, two little blonde girls sitting there, "Mrs. Crosby, you are doing your job. And I told my mother she didn't have any business up here" 'cause she didn't have any business doing that to those children. Kids know everything. I got on my elevator, and got in my car, and came on home. That was the end of that. And when I see her now, she speaks and everything, but she's not in this, in this system. She's not, she's not anywhere now. But anyway, it was hard, but I enjoyed it. And Jay Robinson was my superintendent, and he always treated me right. And doctor--another superintendent came in. He was nice too. I didn't have any trouble getting along with folk, but I didn't take no stuff. Just give 'em that eye (laughter). You saw my boy, my boy in there talking about putting my picture up in your kitchen, David (laughter). Dave is a mess. But I--all of 'em, I, I didn't fall out with any of 'em. I just had to do my job.

Sylvester Small

Dr. Sylvester Small, Superintendent of the Akron, Ohio Public Schools, was born on February 26, 1947 in Akron, Ohio, the third of six brothers. Both of his parents migrated from segregated Clarksdale, Mississippi to Akron. They instilled in him the value of every life experience as an educational experience. Graduating from Hower Vocational High School in 1965, Small worked a variety of jobs to raise money to attend college and stay out of the Vietnam War. Inspired by the dedicated teachers he encountered as a student, Small intended to become a schoolteacher. In 1966 he enrolled in the University of Akron and by 1971 he was teaching in the Akron Public Schools. Sylvester Small continued his postgraduate education at the University of Akron, earning his Masters in 1976 and his Ed. D. in 1984.

For the past 32 years, Sylvester Small has served as a substitute teacher, teacher, board administrator, assistant principal and principal at both the elementary and secondary levels. He also took on the roles of urban demonstration project teacher, social studies curriculum specialist, coordinator of student services, and assistant superintendent of for curriculum and instruction. When Akron sought a new Superintendent of Schools in 2001 Small, with the support of the community was elevated to the role of Superintendent of the Akron Public Schools.

Superintendent Small, assisted by 4,000 administrators, teachers, counselors, librarians, and other personnel, was accountable for the administration and distribution of $334,814,771 during 2001/2002. His vision for the Akron Public Schools is a world - class, student - focused, community - based learning system. On October 15, 2001 Small guided the city and school board to the table to sign a Contract With The Community, pledging to accomplish a broad range of goals.

An active participant in community and professional organizations, Small is a member of the NAACP, Leadership Akron, the Coming Together Project, the Akron Alliance of Black School Educators and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He is the recipient of many awards including the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award for Distinguished Service in Education and the Outstanding Professional Person of the Year Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club. Small retired from his superintendent position on July 31, 2007. A lifelong resident of Akron, Dr. Sylvester Small lives there with his wife, Elaine.

Accession Number

A2002.134

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/1/2002

Last Name

Small

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Hower Vocational High School

University of Akron

Thornton Junior High School

First Name

Sylvester

Birth City, State, Country

Akron

HM ID

SMA01

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

2/26/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens

Short Description

School superintendent Sylvester Small (1947 - ) worked in the Akron, Ohio, school system for over thirty years while also staying very involved in the community. Small was the winner of the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award for Distinguished Service in Education.

Employment

Akron Public Schools

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4405,38:12262,210:17766,250:21735,317:24975,407:41580,705:42260,716:45184,784:48448,870:52288,903:53454,915:54620,930:55680,941:59450,977:66397,1067:67167,1078:68014,1101:69631,1208:70170,1217:77177,1330:81951,1435:82259,1440:92011,1574:96628,1694:97195,1704:97924,1715:98653,1725:99301,1734:111828,1905:112144,1911:113013,1916:113329,1936:117753,2044:123538,2101:130864,2240:131308,2335:132048,2342:137215,2465:138673,2511:149760,2594:163110,2789:180874,3024:188250,3123:188810,3162:192380,3231:195250,3291:197490,3352:197980,3361:205366,3456:215294,3634:216662,3651:217742,3682:218102,3734:226790,3861$0,0:6770,165:10342,245:13256,280:14102,291:14948,301:20212,391:24724,459:31036,469:31492,477:32024,485:37116,610:39548,654:42968,717:43500,725:53402,848:53906,856:54266,863:54626,869:56642,918:60126,934:61205,957:63446,1013:67264,1074:68177,1096:79544,1288:90180,1404:108854,1797:109202,1806:110942,1836:111551,1872:112073,2076:145858,2492:147766,2527:148296,2533:148932,2540:155478,2642:156204,2655:157172,2664:157920,2684
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sylvester Small's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sylvester Small lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sylvester Small describes his parents' background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sylvester Small describes his and his father's experiences in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sylvester Small talks about his family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sylvester Small talks about his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sylvester Small describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sylvester Small talks about his education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sylvester Small describes two teachers who influenced him

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sylvester Small talks about his childhood interests

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sylvester Small talks about his experience at Hower Vocational High School

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sylvester Small talks about his decision to attend college

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Sylvester Small describes his extracurricular interests at Hower Vocational High School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sylvester Small describes enrolling at the University of Akron in order to avoid the draft

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sylvester Small describes his experience working full time while attending the University of Akron, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sylvester Small describe his experience working at a country western bar in Akron, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sylvester Small describes his experience at the University of Akron, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sylvester Small describes his experience student teaching

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sylvester Small describes his experiences as a substitute teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sylvester Small shares his thoughts on disciplining students

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sylvester Small describes his experience as a teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sylvester Small lists the positions he has held in Akron Public Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sylvester Small talks about becoming the principal at Buchtel High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sylvester Small describes becoming the first black superintendent of Akron Public Schools, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sylvester Small describes becoming the first black superintendent of Akron Public Schools, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sylvester Small talks about his superintendence of the Akron Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sylvester Small describes the challenges facing African American students at school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sylvester Small reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sylvester Small talks about his family

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sylvester Small talks about his plans for the future

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Sylvester Small describes his experiences as a substitute teacher
Sylvester Small talks about his superintendence of the Akron Public Schools
Transcript
And, so that's the kind of experience that you know--when I was determined I was going to be a teacher, and when I got out, the system said, "Well we don't have any openings in your area." And they did hire a white female to teach social studies at that same building I was at, and the principal was--I mean, he was upset about it. And--so, and Goodyear [Tire and Rubber Company] offered me a job at that time, a job at a supervisor in a factory. And I said, "No. I know what I'm gonna do, I gonna work with kids, I'm gonna dedicate my life to serving children." And I said, "I'm not gonna take this job." So I signed up to be a substitute teacher; and my first year in the system, in 1970, I was a substitute teacher in the system. So don't let anybody tell anybody you can't start at the bottom and go to the top 'cause here I stand at the top of the system as superintendent. And started out thirty some years ago as a substitute teacher. And so I substituted; and first month, not a call; second month, not a call; third month, not a call. So I go to a basketball game and the principal from the building said, "Where have you been?" 'Cause he used to go to basketball games. He said, "Where have you been?" I said, "Well I've been at home waiting for a call to substitute." And he said, "Well, we had all these people coming at our building that handle the kids, can't handle the class." So he told--he said, "Well come down and see me Monday." Well it was a teacher that actually did that. So I went down to the building and basically there was a guy that was in very--crude kind of guy, he called--he came and said, "What're doing?" and I said--so he called while I was there, he called the personnel director downtown on the phone and he literally cussed him out; and then he cussed me out said, "Now get your so-and-so downtown," and, you know. Next thing--the next day I got a call, from that day on I got a calls; and the thing about it I would never turn down an assignment. I would go and substitute place where people refused to go; and so after about a few months of that, they said, "You do so well and work so well with kids and people and, and get along, we're gonna offer you a job, but you have to go back to school and get certified in elementary." And I was a secondary certified person--high school certified. So I said, this is a test; they want me to say no I'm not gonna do it. So I said, "No problem." They told me that in April, by September I was certified. That summer I went back, took those hours, took something like eighteen hours, got certified. They put me in junior high school--never stepped foot into an elementary school until I went back to elementary school in 1990 as a principal there. But I never taught in elementary school.$$They told you had to be certified for elementary and--$$(Nods head) Um-hm. That's where they were going to be put me.$$--they never (unclear)?$$Never placed me there.$$That's interesting, you know.$$But I loved--substituting taught me a lot. How to work with all kinds of kids, how to make sure that--how to make sure that you're in charge; that the kids not in charge, that there aren't any bad kids--there are some kids that are misdirected, and that you had to be in charge that the kids cannot be in charge. That you have to been disciplined, and that you cannot fear kids. You've got to let them know that, "Hey, certain things don't go here." And everywhere I've gone, people will tell you there's been discipline wherever I go. And there's been love, love and discipline. Kids kinda feel I care about them. And there's a special relation between me and the kids. I've never had a problem getting along with kids. And I have a lot of patience with kids, sometimes I don't have enough patience with adults, 'cause I think adults should know better.$What are the biggest problems confronted in Akron's [Ohio] school system right now--that you're working on, trying to (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well it's the academic achievement, it's closing the achievement gap between African Americans and non-minorities; it's resources, financial resources. We're an urban district and we're having a decline in enrollments, decline in resources, the problems that you have with students, retaining good people, a lack of African Americans in the profession. A lot of them are my age and older, and they're retiring and there're not people to take their place. It's a myriad--and it's a political system, a very political atmosphere with community schools and charter schools. So I, going in I shared my philosophy with everybody. My philosophy is that my goal is to turn the Akron Public Schools into a world class, student focused, community based learning system. 'Cause education is more than just the school system. It's the whole community; that everybody has to participate in education; that the kids are important, we have to focus on them and their needs. So my goal is to do that. And I have to make a lot of ugly decisions that gonna affect a lot of people, but I have to put the kids first; I've always put them first.$$Give me an example of an ugly decision you might have made?$$Well I just moved sixteen principals and about fourteen assistant principals; and what I'm saying to people is that I made a commitment to make a difference and in order to make a difference, I need everybody at the top of their game. And we're gonna move you, and aligned you where you gonna do a good job, but if you don't do a good job, then it's plan of assistance, then it's time for you to go someplace else. I've signed a contract with the community saying I'm gonna do certain things, if I don't do these things, you know, you need to get rid of me. I told the community: "Hold me accountable, I'm not afraid of the challenge." If I don't do what I promised them what I'm gonna do, and we've got a contract that I signed, the president of the board of education signed, the mayor signed and president of city council, that's saying I'm gonna do these things, and if I don't do them, you can get rid of me. 'Cause my father [Walter Small] told me: "You gotta be committed to make a difference. Don't' be afraid to make the commitment."$$I think there're over sixty schools in the (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Sixty school (unclear), right; and about thirty thousand students.$$Okay, all right. The population of Akron [Ohio] is roughly?$$Probably about 220, thirty [230] thousand people.$$Okay, okay.

Ruth Love

Eminent educator Ruth Love was born on April 22, 1939 in Lawton, Oklahoma. As a child, Love's favorite game was playing school. One does not have to delve deeply into Love's family tree to uncover the roots of her passion for education. Her grandfather Andrew A. Williams, a former slave, founded Lawton's first school for African Americans. Williams' achievements instilled in Love a passion for reading, which she parlayed into a lifelong educational career. Love received her B.A. in Education in 1954 from San Jose University. She went on to receive her M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from San Francisco State University in 1961. In 1971, Love was awarded her Ph.D. in Human Behavior and Psychology from the United States International University, San Diego.

Love began her career in education as a teacher in the Oakland Public Schools. In conjunction with her duties, Love immersed herself in numerous educational projects taking her across the globe to Ghana and England as a Fulbright Exchange Educator. Love assisted in drafting important education legislation, specifically the National Reading Act. She accepted an appointment as Director of the National Right to Read Program. After four years with the program, she took a position as the Superintendent of Schools in the Oakland Unified School District. During her seven-year tenure as Superintendent, she made an indelible mark on the Oakland School system. Two of Love's programs "Scholars and Artists" and "Face the Students" brought such African Americans of achievement as Alex Haley, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and Coretta Scott King to motivate and inform students. Love was then the first woman recruited to head up Chicago's Public School system.

Love is the founder and president of RBL Enterprises, LTD., an educational consulting company. She has also authored several articles and books including Hello World (1975) and continues to teach courses in Education Administration at San Francisco State University as well as speaking and lecturing to educational leaders around the world. Her audiences are global, but her professional interests remain local. She continues to strive for the reform and improvement of education in urban American schools.

Accession Number

A2002.103

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/3/2002

Last Name

Love

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Organizations
Schools

Bakersfield High School

San Jose State University

Lincoln Elementary School

First Name

Ruth

Birth City, State, Country

Lawton

HM ID

LOV02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

You Can Do Anything You Put Your Mind To.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/22/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Education advisor and school superintendent Ruth Love (1939 - ) served as the director of the National Right to Read Program, creating reading and literacy programs for children and adults. She then went on to serve as superintendent in the Oakland and Chicago public schools systems.

Employment

Oakland Public Schools

RBL Enterprises

Chicago Public Schools

Favorite Color

Black, White

Timing Pairs
0,0:2170,55:8410,175:15718,256:18040,286:19315,304:19655,309:23820,375:31110,442:35800,493:65358,891:67998,933:87490,1161:87766,1166:88180,1173:90112,1200:92596,1239:95356,1295:96943,1323:98392,1351:100600,1394:101359,1409:109788,1515:110092,1520:110472,1526:114424,1601:115868,1624:135519,1895:139074,1968:139390,1973:139706,1978:140338,1988:151071,2104:153420,2152:153906,2162:165210,2306:165560,2312:185544,2468:194056,2573:194388,2578:194969,2587:196380,2607:196712,2612:197542,2625:198870,2644:204929,2738:205510,2747:223122,3006:223434,3011:230795,3077:231170,3083:236610,3128:236970,3133:240390,3204:241290,3217:241650,3222:242190,3229:251810,3357:252082,3362:252966,3383:253510,3393:260470,3442:264934,3501:265399,3528:267073,3575:284490,3809:284794,3814:288420,3826$0,0:4202,35:4570,40:4938,45:9540,107:19798,293:20188,299:26280,357:28986,415:29910,434:30240,440:31692,483:32220,493:34728,567:35058,573:35388,579:35982,592:36246,597:36510,602:43458,666:44959,697:46223,719:46539,724:58264,918:59148,938:63719,995:64383,1005:64964,1015:65379,1021:66209,1034:73015,1241:76169,1286:88364,1446:102430,1665:112710,1872:113014,1877:116738,1964:117422,1975:117878,1991:119398,2019:120082,2034:120614,2042:121146,2050:121602,2057:124566,2131:125098,2139:130055,2198:130524,2206:136018,2295:136554,2305:140574,2397:142852,2442:143254,2449:147908,2467:150014,2517:163965,2801:168722,2921:169006,2926:169361,2932:171880,2938:172176,2943:172916,2966:176098,3055:176394,3060:176764,3066:178870,3077
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ruth Love's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ruth Love lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ruth Love talks about her mother, Burnett Love

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ruth Love describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ruth Love talks about her Native American heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ruth Love talks about her father, Alvin Love

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ruth Love talks about how her parents met and then settled in California

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ruth Love describes her memories of moving to Bakersfield, California as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ruth Love talks about her four siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ruth Love describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ruth Love describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ruth Love describes her mother's impact on her educational path in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ruth Love describes her family life as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ruth Love describes childhood road trips with her family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ruth Love talks about Miss Fray, an influential teacher at Lincoln Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ruth Love describes her love of reading

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ruth Love recalls how her father fought racial discrimination in Bakersfield, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ruth Love describes her mother's influence on her reading

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ruth Love describes her mother's perspective on slavery

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ruth Love talks about attending an integrated church in Bakersfield, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ruth Love talks about her experience at Bakersfield High School in Bakersfield, California

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ruth Love talks about the role the YMCA played in her life

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ruth Love talks about the Church of God

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ruth Love talks about how she enrolled at San Jose State University in San Jose, California

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Ruth Love describes her experience at San Jose State University in San Jose, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ruth Love describe skipping two grades in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ruth Love talks about her awareness of The Civil Rights Movement and the work of A. Philip Randolph

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ruth Love talks about how her upbringing prepared her for Chicago politics

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ruth Love talks about Brown v. Board of Education and her admiration of Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ruth Love talks about her experience as a Fulbright Scholar in England

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ruth Love talks about the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ruth Love talks about her experience with racial discrimination abroad

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ruth Love talks about her desire to go to Africa as a young teacher and her experience in Africa as an adult

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ruth Love talks about her trip around the world

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ruth Love describes her appointment as Bureau Chief for Program Development in Compensatory Education for the State of California in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ruth Love talks about working with Wilson Riles at the California State Department of Education

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ruth Love talks about addressing educational inequity in the State of California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ruth Love talks about innovative teaching developments like small group instruction, community after-school programs, and inservice teacher training

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ruth Love describes California's role as an educational innovator for the nation in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ruth Love talks about how she became an advocate for teacher reform

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ruth Love describes being recruited as the superintendent of Oakland, California's Unified School District

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ruth Love talks about the impact of her experience in the U.S. Department of Education on her superintendency in Oakland, California

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ruth Love describes how she engaged local schools in reform by inviting guest speakers like Alex Haley, Coretta Scott King, James Baldwin, and Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ruth Love talks about the impact of Marcus Foster's assassination on the city of Oakland, California

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ruth Love talks about her move to Chicago Public Schools as superintendent

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ruth Love describes HistoryMaker Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.'s opposition to her appointment as general superintendent of Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Ruth Love talks about the state of the Chicago Public School system upon her arrival

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Ruth Love talks about Chicago politicians during her superintendency like Mayors Jane Margaret Byrne and Harold Washington, and Edward Vrdolyak

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ruth Love talks about navigating Chicago politics

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ruth Love describes her experience of discrimination in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ruth Love talks about systematic problems in urban schools

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ruth Love talks about ongoing disparity in schools

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ruth Love talks about her company, RBL Enterprises, LTD.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ruth Love criticizes charter school vouchers

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ruth Love discusses education reform in public schools, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ruth Love discusses education reform in public schools, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ruth Love describes her proudest accomplishment in education

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ruth Love reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Ruth Love talks about what she hopes to accomplish

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Ruth Love describes her mother's support

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Ruth Love describes her mother's family background
Ruth Love describes how she engaged local schools in reform by inviting guest speakers like Alex Haley, Coretta Scott King, James Baldwin, and Rosalynn Carter
Transcript
Did she [Burnett Love] share with you, or did you know much about her family and the background or the history of the family?$$Well, it's interesting. I knew up to the point that the ancestors became white, and then she didn't want to share anymore about that. You know it was really something she was very embarrassed about. But I knew her father, you know, I knew a lot about him. And I knew her mother, less about her mother's family, because you can't go very far without running into slavery and all that that meant to her. But her father [Andrew A. Williams] was born in slavery. That's how--was born in 18, was it 50 something. Anyway, the story goes that he ran away. He was a boy and his mother was enslaved and he was helping his mom carry water, she had--she had a pail in each hand and one on the head. And so he decided to help her cause she was struggling. And it was discovered and he was chastised and told, tomorrow you'll have a job to do. And in his little child's mind, I guess he was supposed to be nine or ten years old, that's the story. He said if I have a job that means I'm a slave, so he ran away at that early age and had some really horrible experiences. But ultimately, found his way to Oklahoma, this was in Mississippi. Found his way to Oklahoma and worked at all kind of jobs, first for food and then for education and what have you, and helped to start Langston University [Langston, Oklahoma]. So it's a very, very rich background from his standpoint. He went back some years later and--to get his mom and she still thought she was enslaved, this was after the Emancipation Proclamation [1863]. So he brought her to live with him, but she couldn't quite adjust to up north, if you can think of Oklahoma as being up north. But I know a lot about--about that side of the family, but I don't know nearly as much about my maternal grandmother. I knew her brother. I don't know very much else about them.$$And when you said that there was this (unclear)$$Yes, well, she came to live with me. She passed away five years ago, but she lived with me for ten years, so I got--I was able to get into some of that. In fact, I recorded her, I taped her. I've been looking for the tapes, upstairs someplace. But she--she said that, and these are stories, so you don't know the complete validity of them, that her grandmother, her maternal grandmother, was the daughter of the slave owner, and I don't know whether there was ever a marriage to anybody else, but she had a number of children, including my grandmother. And mother said that she always disliked the fact that she was actually raped and impregnated. And so she--she didn't--she didn't want to talk very much about it, but she did tell her children about it in her later years. Now, my grandmother told my mother in her later years, and my mother told me in her later years. It was very interesting how it was passed down. She didn't go into a great deal of detail. She did have a photograph of this woman though, of which she gave to me. All of my childhood I had never seen that photograph. I mean, it is amazing that this was sort of kept. And it came out at a family reunion when I was trying to do some family research. And I had quite a lot on my dad's side, and I said, well, now let's get into these Williamses and this side, and she went back and looked up a trunk and found all these things that she shared with me. That her grandmother knew she was a slave, even though she could pass, she refused to pass. She absolutely refused. She refused to pass. And I guess she got an education by his sending her away to school someplace and for that period of time, I think, she did pass, but not--it wasn't something that she did on a daily basis, that was not her lifestyle, which was very interesting.$I found that we had to get them to feel good about their city [Oakland, California] and themselves. So we started to bring in people, this was all part of a grand plan, who would say, Oakland is important, you all are important. The first person I brought in was Alex Haley and this was two weeks after Roots had been televised. And I tell you he lit up that district like nothing else. And the students had to read about him and write something before they could see him. They could not just go to an assembly. I said, oh, no, no, no, you have to--you have to study about this man and what he's done. And we had district-wide competition and we wrote a book about him that we presented in poetry, narrative and what have you. It was just wonderful. He stayed two and a half days. He was our scholar-in-residence. And the students got to meet him, I took him to the airport, you know. It was really a good program and then we followed that with Coretta [Scott] King came. So we had every six weeks, we would have another person come, and it did, it lifted their spirits. They said all these people are coming to Oakland to see us. Dr. King's wife is coming, oh, really. They were just so thrilled, you know. We'd have--we'd have them speak at the auditorium then go to schools, speak at schools and then we had something, "Face the Students", where the students interviewed them and it was broadcast live over our closed-circuit television. So they had a chance to really--everybody got a chance to see them, you know, eventually. And who else, we had James Baldwin, we had Secretary of State who was a Latino man, we had Rosalynn Carter and she just wowed them and then invited me to bring our choir to the White House, which I did. Eighty percent of them were on welfare and we went to the White House to sing. Oh, it was just wonderful. So it got some people feeling good and then teachers said, you know, these kids read more about these people you bring here they ever read in these books we have. So they started feeling better about it. And I--I just--what I'm trying to say is you have to take some unusual steps when you have an unusual situation. That was a very unusual situation. Had I just gone on and said okay, we're just gonna reform. Reform, well you gotta get people to want to reform. So by this time now they're getting enthusiastic about it, let's change our curriculum, let's do this, and so that's when we got a big grant and we gave release time to people and they developed it, and it's theirs, it's not mine. I'm not imposing it on them. I said but you gotta have standards. By the third grade every child has to read. If not, there's an intervention right away. You don't let them to go to fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade. So we set some broad standards and then they could fill in. And it really worked very well they reached the national norm on the test after what, four years. They reached a national norm, but it was hard work. You give your whole life to it, you know, you give your whole life to it.