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

city

Joyce Ladner

Sociologist Joyce Ladner was born in Battles, Mississippi, on October 12, 1943. She attended Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi, where she earned her B.A. in sociology in 1964 and went on to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, to earn a Ph.D. in 1968.

At school, she also became involved in the civil rights movement. After earning her Ph.D., Ladner went on to teach at colleges in Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Connecticut; and Tanzania. Ladner published her first book in 1971, Tomorrow's Tomorrow: The Black Woman, a study of poor black adolescent girls from St. Louis. In 1973, Ladner joined the faculty of Hunter College at the City University of New York.

Leaving Hunter College for Howard University in Washington, D.C., Ladner served as vice president for academic affairs from 1990 to 1994 and as interim president of Howard University from 1994 to 1995. In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the District of Columbia Financial Control Board, where she oversees the finances and budgetary restructuring of the public school system. She is also a senior fellow in the Governmental Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank and research organization. She has spoken nationwide about the importance of improving education for public school students. She has appeared on nationally syndicated radio and television programs as well.

Ladner is active in a number of civic and professional organizations. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, The American Sociological Association, the Washington Urban League, the Washington Women's Forum and the Coalition of 100 Black Women. In 1997, she was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian for her work in education.

Selected Bibliography

Ladner, Joyce. Tomorrow's Tomorrow: The Black Woman. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1971.
---. Mixed Families: Adopting Across Racial Boundaries. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1977.
---. The Ties that Bind: Timeless Values for African American Families. New York: Wiley, 1999.
---. The New Urban Leaders. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2001.

Accession Number

A2003.128

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/9/2003 |and| 6/11/2003

Last Name

Ladner

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Earl Travillion High School

Jackson State University

Tougaloo College

Washington University in St Louis

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

Battles

HM ID

LAD02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Child, You Will Not Believe It!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

10/12/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Sarasota

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peanut Butter

Short Description

Sociologist and academic administrator Joyce Ladner (1943 - ) is the former vice president of academic affairs and interim president of Howard University, and a senior fellow for the Brookings Institute in Governmental Affairs. She has served on the District of Columbia Financial Control Board, overseeing budgetary restructuring of the public school system.

Employment

Hunter College

Howard University

District of Columbia Financial Control Board

Brookings Institution

Experiment in Higher Education

Institute of the Black World

Favorite Color

Fuschia

Timing Pairs
0,0:2320,30:3920,51:12566,164:18706,239:27210,353:39290,465:39582,473:39874,478:40166,508:51965,640:52440,646:72386,948:91230,1179:111054,1389:122918,1577:133204,1667:154387,1893:180982,2228:185770,2341:205990,2699:211940,2770:212360,2777:235214,3008:235510,3013:246076,3137:251181,3182:261919,3404:262235,3409:275332,3618:283131,3727:290227,3792:302844,3917:316634,4095:339985,4312:344100,4408$0,0:6699,103:7221,111:44100,475:46732,502:54619,606:56759,629:72950,825:82960,940:83248,945:83680,952:104301,1212:113090,1313:119840,1478:120140,1500:137357,1728:166876,2174:173420,2240:173870,2250:206170,2629
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joyce Ladner's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes her maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes her maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes researching her paternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes researching her paternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner talks about her maternal great-grandmother's Native American heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner talks about her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner talks about her maternal great-grandfather's double life and her white relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joyce Ladner describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner describes her paternal family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner describes her relationship with her stepbrother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes her parents' bad marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes the relocation of her paternal family to Chicago, Illinois and California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes growing up in Hattiesburg and Palmer's Crossing, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner talks about her next door neighbors in Palmer's Crossing, Mississippi, the "Goat Sisters"

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner describes growing up with her sister, HistoryMaker Dorie Ladner

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner describes how her mother enrolled her in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner talks about going through school with her sister, HistoryMaker Dorie Ladner

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes her favorite subjects in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes the teacher who influenced her as an elementary school student

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner talks about the teachers that influenced her as a high school student

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes how teachers interacted with students during her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner describes her extracurricular activities as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner talks about one of her former classmates, Hattie Mae Nailer

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner describes her experiences attending Earl Travillion High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner talks about developing her leadership skills as a student at Earl Travillion High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner describes the dedication of the teachers at Earl Travillion High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes inheriting her mother's disciplinary style

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes the role of the Baptist church during her youth

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner talks about her Great Aunt Icie

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner remembers the first time she wore high heels

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner describes her social life as a youth

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner describes the racism in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner describes the racism in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Joyce Ladner describes her revenge for being racially mistreated while working as a domestic

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner describes how blacks eavesdropped on whites in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner describes the Palmer's Crossing community in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner talks about the brothel her neighbor ran in the Palmer's Crossing neighborhood of Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes how her sister fought back when a grocery store clerk tried to molest her in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes being expelled from Jackson State University in 1960

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes her experiences attending Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner describes being mentored by sociologist Dr. Ernst Borinski

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner describes how her sister, HistoryMaker Dorie Ladner, became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner describes how a family friend exposed her and her sister to the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Joyce Ladner talks about the racism of the media in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Joyce Ladner talks about the Forrest County Chapter of the NAACP and Clyde Kennard

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner talks about Clyde Kennard

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner talks about Vernon Dahmer and the Forrest County Chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner remembers the death of Medgar Evers

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes how her high school teacher spoke out against the Forrest County Chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes organizing a prayer vigil in support of a sit-in as a student at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes organizing a prayer vigil in support of a sit-in as a student at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner describes the demonstration that led to her expulsion from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner describes transferring from Jackson State University to Tougaloo College

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner describes a negative interaction she had with the Dean of Students at Jackson State University

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Joyce Ladner describes fundraising for the March on Washington and her sister's relationship with Bob Dylan

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner describes fundraising for the March on Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner describes the changes that were made to HistoryMaker John Lewis' speech during the March on Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes the March on Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes how some members of SNCC compromised the organization's non-violent tactics

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes becoming engaged in 1963, and ending her relationship with her fiance

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes reconnecting with her ex-fiance, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner describes reconnecting with her ex-fiance, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner talks about the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner describes how her perception of the Civil Rights Movement changed after the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner talks about the concerns SNCC workers from Mississippi had about the Mississippi Freedom Summer

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner describes murders that took place before and during the Mississippi Freedom Summer

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes the cultural dissonance between black and white Civil Rights workers

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes attending the 1964 Democratic National Convention as a member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes attending the 1964 Democratic National Convention as a member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes attending the 1964 Democratic National Convention as a member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, pt. 3

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of Joyce Ladner's interview

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner describes working for HistoryMaker Dr. Alvin Poussaint in 1966

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes how she balanced her activism and her academic research

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes researching for her first book "Tomorrow's Tomorrow"

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes her first book, "Tomorrow's Tomorrow"

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes the motivation behind her second book, "The Death of White Sociology"

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner talks about the founding of the Association of Black Sociologists in 1970

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner describes her first job in East St. Louis, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner describes the Institute of the Black World

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Joyce Ladner talks about being mentored by sociologist Lee Rainwater

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Joyce Ladner describes her experiences working at the Institute of the Black World

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner describes studying in Africa in 1971

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner describes being hired at Howard University and getting married to HistoryMaker Walter Carrington

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes writing her third book, "Mixed Families: Adopting across Racial Lines," pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes writing her third book, "Mixed Families Adopting across Racial Lines," pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes her experiences teaching at Hunter College and City University of New York in New York City, New York

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes living in Senegal after her husband was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal in 1980, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner describes living in Senegal after her husband was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal in 1980, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner talks about getting divorced and raising her son

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner describes her experiences serving as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Howard University, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner describes her experiences serving as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Howard University, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner describes how the student and faculty senates at Howard University challenged her as Vice President of Academic Affairs

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner describes how the Howard University faculty senate sabotaged her candidacy for President of Hunter College

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner describes the work culture of Howard University, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner describes the work culture of Howard University, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner describes the work culture at the Brookings Institution

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner describes her experiences serving on the District of Columbia Financial Control Board

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Joyce Ladner describes why she wrote "The Ties That Bind"

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Joyce Ladner shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner reflects upon her legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner talks about her parenting book, "Launching Our Black Children for Success: A Guide for Parents of Kids from Three to Eighteen"

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Joyce Ladner talks about her struggle with fibromyalgia

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Joyce Ladner reflects upon her legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Joyce Ladner talks about her aspiration to become a painter and battling fibromyalgia

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Joyce Ladner talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Joyce Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Joyce Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Joyce Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$2

DATape

6$9

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Joyce Ladner describes the demonstration that led to her expulsion from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi
Joyce Ladner describes researching for her first book "Tomorrow's Tomorrow"
Transcript
So, but we were angry, so the next morning--I mean that night I mean the guys sent, sent a message to someone over to the dorm to give us a message. And we did it back and forth, you know, on the telephone, that we were gonna all meet at breakfast. Wear black or white. And that next morning at 7:00 when the dining room opened, thousands--hundreds, just a whole lot of students were there, and they all wore black or white if they'd gotten the message. And we said we were also boycotting class, and we were going to go to the gym. We didn't know what we were gonna do. I mean it was playing, playing out in real time, you know. So after breakfast, we went to the gym to have a program. And I remember going around to the classrooms, 'cause--to see if there were any students still in the class, and knocking on the door, telling the professor we wanna speak to the student. And we tell him y'all gotta come out of here. You can't be in class today, and we got them out. And everybody came out. It was, it was really--the movement [Civil Rights Movement] was successful, in part, because people were, were ready. No, nobody knew that the, that--they were ready for mass activity. I mean you didn't know it until--because there had been no mass activity in Mississippi. It was the only state that didn't have a sit-in, a lunch counter sit-in. Alabama didn't either I don't think. But, but Mississippi didn't have it. So, the--then we, we decided to march down to the arraignment of the students. And we got several blocks, and we we're at the corner of Rose Street and Pearl, West Pearl, one--we met a roadblock, and the police were there with the dogs again. And they--I heard these sounds, and I said oh, Lord, they're killing us 'cause they were like gun, gunshots. As it turned out it was teargas, and we scattered. My sister got a teargas pellet that hit her in her back, and then her hair came out. She has scars on her back now for it. And I went, I ran down the street, and I knocked on this door, and I knocked on it. It was, it was like a screen door, and I could hear this radio had some gospel music on in the background. And I was saying help, help! You know, and there was a hole in the screen. I put my hand in to open it, and I went inside. I saw this black woman who was coming toward me, and I told her what they were doing. And she said well, you sit down here. They're not gonna bother you. They're not coming in my house. And she had the radio on, and they were--she changed the station and heard what, what they were talking about, the demonstration. And, and as she ironed, she said low down dirty shame, low down dirty white folks. And she just kept ironing, and I was sitting there watching her while she kept saying that. I was just thinking--trying to kill these young children, you know. And I'm always intrigued by how people say things, you know, but she was just ironing and ironing and was like deep, you know, coming from someplace deep, deep inside her. And we'd--I'd been there, and then another girl had, another girl and I had run down--we said let's go here to this house together. And then about an hour later there was a knock on the door, and--the back door, and there as another girl back there. She had hidden by, behind the refrigerator on the porch (laughter), and the lady told her to come on in too. So we stayed in that house. Everybody--we were the last ones to get back to the campus. (Laughter) Dorie said we've been looking for y'all. Where have you been? I said we were at this lady's house. We thought they--cops were still arresting--she said no. We thought y'all had been kidnapped--oh, no, no, no. Anyway, they closed the college the next day. Spring break came two weeks early, and it expelled the student council president, Walter Washington--he's in Chicago as a lawyer--at that time. And when we came back after the spring break everything was quiet. And then the dean of students called us in, Dorie and me in, and told us he knew that we had been going to Medgar Evers' office and that we had organized a lot of this mess on the campus. And he went on and on and told us that we were expelled. We could not come back next year. And I was-- said I don't wanna come back here anyway. I hate this school. And then Dor--Dorie said, and we're going to Tougaloo [College, Tougaloo, Mississippi].$But I, I took my first job. You know, but getting back to the dissertation, I am pleased to say that, that my signature of all my work is my first book, "Tomorrow's Tomorrow." It is a classic in the field, and it has, it's, it was re-released a second time by the University of Nebraska Press, but now it is no longer in print. And it--the first two books I did, you know, were probably the best work I've done. Oh, the third book was, was very good too, very good solid scholarship. But I did my best work when I was in my twenties.$$What was the gist of "Tomorrow's Tomorrow?"$$That--I examined the impact of, of race and social class on the development of, of, of black adolescents. And so I did ethnographic research, which meant that I spent-- you know, four years is a long time to, to, to stay with one group of people. But I got to know them and all of their activities, and you know, even to the point of one time dressing, like having them dress me and, and passing me off as one of their, their friends. And what they really did was to set me up (laughter) big time.$$What'd they set you up for?$$Well, they proved to me that even--that I wasn't, you know an adolescent, and I couldn't be hip like them. They took me to this dance, and they started out by panhandling to get our--I told 'em I wanted to--I say you have a car so we ride in your car. And I said no, I've got to experience everything. I want to see how you get there. So we walked down this main street, Franklin Street in St. Louis [Missouri], and they started panhandling and you know, try and get a ride rather--and a man stopped and picked up and dropped us off at, you know, at the place where the dance was. Then we got there and the girls started--told me that we have to beg for money from other people so we could get in. And they got their money very quickly. One of 'em (unclear)--said how much do you have? I said I don't have any. They said ah, you don't even know anything. So then we got inside, and they--so they panhandled for me, and then we got inside and the sent a little guy who probably came up to my shoulders over to dance with me. And he was bumping and grinding, and I looked around and--at them, and they were sitting along the wall just laughing at me. So anyway, that, that's an interest--a funny story because it showed me--it gave me a bit--a, quite a lot of humility. And I was close to their age, so I think one of the reasons the book was so popular and made such an impact is because it, it--I put a lot of myself in it. And I was one of the first scholars to begin a piece of scholarship with I.