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Lyn Hughes

Nonprofit executive Lyn Hughes was born on March 1, 1945 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Otis and Alberta Cooper. She graduated from Spertus College in Chicago, Illinois before receiving her Ph.D. degree in education with a minor in museum studies from Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Illinois.

Hughes was a professional entertainer, singing in a girl’s group beginning in high school. She left the music business and began working in real estate and cultural economic development in Chicago. Hughes did this so more than a decade before founding the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum in 1995. The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum is the first Black labor history museum in the United States focused on the story of the Pullman Porters, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters labor union, and its founder A. Philip Randolph. Since then, she served as a subject matter specialist on the Pullman Porters, and has been a consultant on numerous documentary films on the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, including the 2003 Showtime docudrama 10,000 Black Men Named George. Her work with the museum has been featured on ABC's Good Morning America, and in publications like USA Today, Essence, AARP, and the Chicago Tribune. She authored the book, An Anthology of Respect: The Pullman Porters National Historic Registry Of African American Railroad Employees in 2007, and created the companion national traveling exhibition, "From Servitude to Civil Rights.” In 2010, Hughes was elected museum president emeritus, and subsequently served as a consultant for Cultural Edutainment, LLC. In 2012, Hughes was the founding director of the Center For Black Labor Research, in Chicago; and, in 2016, she became the creator and host of Live From Pullman National Monument, a talk radio show focused on cultural economic development tourism.

Hughes received the Living Legacy Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), a Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars 2006 honor, the 2007 Distinguished Service Award from the Amistad Research Center, is listed in the Who's Who Registry Among Executive and Professional Women 2008, and received The Purpose Prize from Encore.org in 2013.

Lyn Hughes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 11, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.052

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/11/2019

Last Name

Hughes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Chicago State University

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Northern Illinois University

First Name

Lyn

Birth City, State, Country

Cincinnati

HM ID

HUG08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii and Bermuda

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/1/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Crab Legs

Short Description

Nonprofit executive Lyn Hughes (1945 - ) founded the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum in 1995, and is the author of An Anthology of Respect: The Pullman Porters National Historic Registry Of African American Railroad Employees.

Employment

National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum

Cultural Edutainment LLC

Center for Black Labor Research

Live From Pullman National Monument

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Herman "Skip" Mason

Reverend and historian Herman ‘Skip’ Mason was born on July 14, 1962 in Atlanta, Georgia to Herman ‘Pop’ Mason and Deloris Hughes. At the age of fourteen, Mason read Alex Haley’s Roots and was inspired to research and document the history of African American people. In 1980, Mason graduated from Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia and enrolled at Morris Brown College in Atlanta. In 1982, Mason realized his life-long goal by being initiated into the Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated on the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. That same year, he became president of the chapter and during his tenure the fraternity was named Georgia College Chapter of the Year. After graduating college in 1984 with his B.A. degree in communications and history, Mason joined the Eta Lambda chapter and became the chapter’s historian in 1985. In 1989, Mason received his M.S. degree in library and information science with a concentration in African American history from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta and was awarded his certification in archival studies from the Archives Institute of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Mason later studied at the Phillips School of Theology in Atlanta.

Mason began his career by working at the Herndon Home Museum in Atlanta during his junior year of college as a historian where he interpreted the history of the Herndon Family and the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. In 1986, he worked for the U.S. Department of Interior interpreting the historical significance of the Martin Luther King family with the King Center Library and Archives. From 1987 to 1992, Mason worked for the Atlanta Fulton Public Library as the black studies librarian and archivist for the Special Collections Department. His work with the library involved developing strategies for identification and procurement of archival collections on African Americans in Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the Southeast region. During this period, Mason became the first national archivist for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and helped to facilitate the transfer of its archives to the Moorland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. In 1992, Mason founded Digging It Up, a full scale African American research and consulting firm which he later renamed Skip Mason’s Archives in 1998. Mason also became the pastor of Greater Hopewell Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta and later, pastor of St. James C.M.E. Church in Washington, Georgia. In 2006, Mason curated House of Alpha, an exhibition which displayed the records of Alpha Phi Alpha, Incorporated, local chapters and the personal collection of fraternity members for the fraternity’s centenary in Washington, D.C. In 2008, Mason was named Alpha Phi Alpha, Incorporated’s thirty-third general president. Mason served as Morehouse College’s archivist and interim director of Student Affairs.

Mason has authored several books including, Going Against the Wind: A History of African Americans in Atlanta, Black Atlanta in the Roaring Twenties, African-American Life in Jacksonville, Florida, The History of Black Entertainment in Atlanta, and African-American Life in DeKalb County, 1823-1970 (Images of America: Georgia).

Herman ‘Skip’ Mason was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 06/20/2011.

Accession Number

A2011.037

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/20/2011

Last Name

Mason

Maker Category
Middle Name

"Skip"

Occupation
Schools

Berean Christian Junior Academy

E. C. Clement Elementary School

G.A. Towns Elementary School

Ben Hill UMC Christian Academy

Daniel McLaughlin Therrell High School

Morris Brown College

Clark Atlanta University

First Name

Herman

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

MAS06

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/14/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Archivist Herman "Skip" Mason (1962 - ) served as the 33rd general president of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the college archivist at Morris Brown College and Morehouse College.

Employment

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

Morris Brown College

Morehouse College

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herman "Skip" Mason's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the discovery of his ancestors' burial grounds

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls the discovery of his maternal great-grandfather's original name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the origin of his name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his maternal grandmother's employers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls the birth of his son

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls joining his stepfather's household

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his love of collecting

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the sights of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his relationship with his stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his childhood pastimes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his elementary education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his mother's role in school desegregation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers his first white teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the impact of 'Roots'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls the start of his genealogical research

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls his decision to attend Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls joining the staff of the Herndon Home Museum in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers working at the Herndon Home Museum in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls his early genealogical research resources

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers his introduction to archival work

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls working for the Atlanta Fulton Public Library System

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers teaching history at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls developing the markers for the black historic districts of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls joining the staff of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls the loss of Morris Brown College's accreditation

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls becoming the Morehouse College archivist

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the history of the Atlanta University Center Consortium

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his work as the Morehouse College archivist

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his early publications

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls his first historical exhibition

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers curating 'The House of Alpha' exhibition

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his collection of artifacts from Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls campaigning for the national presidency of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers his election as the national president of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the power of social media

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his plans for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the importance of black historical archives

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason shares the results of his historical research

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the results of his genealogical research

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers his experiences of unemployment

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the discovery of his ancestors' burial grounds
Herman "Skip" Mason recalls becoming the Morehouse College archivist
Transcript
A few years ago we did the African ancestry DNA and I, I swabbed and, of course, it was purported to trace the DNA of my maternal line, my mother's mother's mother's and so forth. That's Amy's [Emmie London] line, and the results came back that we had a match from the, the Bamileke tribe in Cameroon, and so we unveiled that at a family reunion about three or four years ago in Macon [Georgia]. We were actually on the side of the plantation [McArthur Plantation], we found the descendants of the family that owned my family, the McArthurs, and we went to that site and it was just, it was so spiritual, walking down that long winding driveway to the spot that we had chosen. There was an old Confederate flag in the yard from the owner who currently owns the property now, but he was just so embracing and inviting. He said, "Y'all come on and make yourselves at home," and I couldn't help but to look at that Confederate flag and he also had a little, a little black figurine, a little jockey out in the yard as well. Just the ironies of the time, but about one hundred and fifty members of the family gathered on that site and it was just spiritual. The graves of the slave owning family were somewhere behind us. And I proclaimed on that day, that somewhere on this land are the remains of some of our ancestors. We didn't it, didn't know where it was, but we just assumed because most plantations or communities had an area where they would allow slaves to be buried. Well, let's fast forward, we get a call from the Georgia Department of Transportation. They're expanding the roadway, which was near the old side of the plantation, and a man who owned property that's part of this mansion, said, "Well, you may want to check, I believe, I heard that there was an old cemetery somewhere over there," and so DOT went out. There was really no evidence of any, any graves, but they went out and they began to do some, some scanning of the soil and so forth, and they uncovered what appeared to have been shallows of what were possibly graves, and they began to remove the layers of soil, and pretty much confirmed that there're probably bodies buried here, and then they called me out and a few family members out the day they brought the cadaver dogs out. And the cadaver dogs were let loose and each time the cadaver dog smelled human remains, they would sit right on top. Well a hundred and ten graves were uncovered, and two years ago we took the family reunion back so they could actually see the excavation, so family members were walking on this old cemetery and they could look down and see the skeleton remains because they were very slowly doing an archaeological dig and study of it. It was just the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my entire life, you know, and to have the little kids to witness and to be a part of this, and so the decision was made that the remains would be removed. Now I didn't contest it or fight it, one, because the DOT and this company called New South Associates [New South Associates, Inc., Stone Mountain, Georgia] who specialized in archaeological studies and digs said they wanted to study, you know, the remains, and study that area and they found, they found, jewelry, coffin nails, and so we documented it. I took a camera crew down as well, but it was just amazing. Now we're going through the DNA process. So what they're doing, they're taking samples of DNA from many members of our family and some of the people who lived in the community to see if any of them matched with the, the remains that they uncovered. But I would have never thought in a thousand years that I would have located the possible cemetery that may contain some of the remains, of some of the unmarked remains of my relatives. According to their research, the last grave was about, placed there may be around 1910. So after that you have years of growth, dirt, growth, grass, under bush, that had totally covered, there were no markers, no headstones, but I just simply said that because I kind of called it out at that reunion and said, "Somewhere over there's a cemetery," but had no idea, so, and this means a great deal to me, you know, I think I learned very early on that I wanted to be a historian, and you know, I wanted to learn more about my family. I think I shared with you earlier, Alex Haley's 'Roots' ['Roots: The Saga of an American Family'] just was a life changing moment for me at the age of, age of fourteen. All of that has led to Amy, who was our oldest known documented ancestor, documented in the wills of the slave owner and with the amount five hundred dollars, that's how much she was valued at the time that she was being given to one of the sons of the slave owner.$In August of oct- August of 2003, I faxed my resume over to Walter Massey [HistoryMaker Walter E. Massey] because I read an article in the paper that they had the Maynard Jackson papers, and I just sent a note, I said, "Well, if you need any assistance with that collection, I'd be interested." The next day I got a call from the provost. He said, "Well we have a position that we been trying to fill for two years, the director of the Learning Resource Center [Frederick Douglass Learning Resource Center]. It required one to have a degree in library science." And I said, "Well I have a degree in library science." He said, "Well why don't you come over to the school?" We went over to the school, he walked me through and he said, "We'd love to have you, are you interested?" And I wanted to say, "Am I interested?" I say, "I been unemployed for five months, you know, yes, I'm interested," and so I was hired to come to Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] to direct the Learning Resource Center and then he also included in my contract that I would be appointed the college archivist. But Morehouse didn't have an archive. They didn't have an archive. Dean Carter [HistoryMaker Lawrence Carter] had a collection of material, but they did not have a formal archive because they shared with the Woodruff Library [Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta, Georgia] and he said, "We need our own archives here at Morehouse." And I was kind of shocked, I said a school like Morehouse, the Morehouse, Martin Luther King's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] school, educating black men for a hundred thirty-five, forty years does not have its own archives, and they didn't. There were boxes of papers, Benjamin Mays papers scattered all over the campus in this orchestra pit, in the gymnasium, in the back rooms, hallways, everywhere, Morehouse papers were scattered all over, and so part of my job was to begin to collect, to bring in, to gather all of the historic material that had been displaced everywhere. Walter Massey, no, Hugh Gloster, who was the previous president. His robe was over in an empty building that had been a laundromat, his robe sitting over there. Walter Massey's first robe was over there. See what would happen, you know, they would, the campus operations folks would take boxes and they just put 'em anywhere, cause they didn't, they didn't know where these things were supposed to go, so fast forward, now today we have our own facility. We got a grant from the save the treasures [Save America's Treasures] and IMLS [Institute of Museum and Library Services] early to do an inventory and then to begin the processing of the Benjamin Mays papers, and so that--$$And when did you get that grant?$$The IMLS grant we received in 2004.$$Okay, so a year after you came.$$Yeah, a year after I came and we did our preliminary inventory of archival material there, with that grant and then to save the treasures grant we got two years ago, which has allowed me to hire two archivists, processing archivists, to begin to process the voluminous collection of papers of Dr. Benjamin Mays as president of Morehouse College.

Thomas Battle

Librarian, artist, curator, and historian Thomas Cornell Battle was born on March 19, 1946, at Howard University’s Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., to Thomas Oscar Battle and Lenore Thomas Battle. Battle attended Colonel Charles Young Elementary School, Bishop Henry McNeil Turner Elementary School, River Terrace Elementary School and Carter G. Woodson Junior High School. Battle graduated from William McKinley High School in 1964 while working at Mt. Pleasant Public Library. At Howard University, Battle was mentored by Loraine Williams and Rayford W. Logan and was influenced by Stokeley Carmichael, James Nabrit, Leon Damas, and Nathan Hare, among others. Battle was awarded his B.A. degree in history in 1968; he earned his M.L.S. degree from the University of Maryland College of Information Studies in 1971, and his Ph.D. degree in American studies from George Washington University in 1983. Battle’s dissertation was a bibliographical study of slavery in the District of Columbia.

In 1972, advised by Oswald Person, Battle applied for and was hired as a reference librarian by Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, then under distinguished director, Dorothy Porter. During this period, Battle was granted a fellowship through the Black Caucus of the American Library Association to study in Sierra Leone for a year. Michael Winston was director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection as Battle became founding curator of the manuscript division in 1974; later, Battle became university archivist. In 1986, Battle was named director of Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, the largest black owned archive of black history and culture in the world.

Committed to illuminating the lives of pioneer bibliophiles like Arthur Schomburg, Alexander Cromwell, and Jesse Moorland, Battle, with Paul Coates and Eleanor Des Virney Sinnette, authored Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History in 1983. The realization of Howard’s unique place in world history prompted the book, Howard in Retrospect: Images of the Capstone co-authored with Clifford L. Muse, Jr. in 1995. Battle co-edited with Donna M. Wells on the 2007 work, Legacy: Treasures of Black History, which features more than 150 historic items including documents, letters, images, artifacts and articles by twelve scholars including: Joseph E. Harris, Greg Carr, James Turner and Deborah Willis.

Battle taught history at Howard University, the University of Maryland, and Amherst College. In 2006, the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (CLIS) presented Battle with the James Partridge Award.

Accession Number

A2007.058

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/9/2007

Last Name

Battle

Maker Category
Schools

McKinley Technology High School

Charles E. Young Elementary School

Carter G. Woodson Junior High School

River Terrace Elementary School

Bishop Henry McNeil Turner Elementary School

University of Maryland

George Washington University

Howard University

First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BAT07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

I Am Unbought And Unbossed.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/19/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab ( Maryland Blue)

Short Description

Archivist, cultural heritage chief executive, and historian Thomas Battle (1946 - ) was the director of Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, the largest black owned archive of black history and culture in the world.

Employment

District of Columbia Public Library

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:201,2:8710,205:11390,255:19090,328:24018,431:24338,437:24786,445:26386,473:27922,504:29074,535:29394,541:30098,557:31570,586:32978,615:33682,629:34578,640:40860,686:45900,793:46680,809:49200,867:49440,872:55674,934:55922,939:56542,953:57162,962:57596,975:57906,981:58588,991:59270,1005:60448,1027:69686,1230:78158,1344:79280,1363:80534,1384:80864,1390:83108,1434:91990,1525:93124,1538:99487,1664:100117,1676:100369,1681:108832,1805:109747,1826:110052,1832:112797,1915:113834,1941:116396,2003:116762,2010:117067,2020:118226,2046:118531,2052:119690,2087:123190,2096$0,0:623,43:6470,102:10383,198:10747,203:11475,213:12294,224:17746,275:19402,293:21490,330:26424,375:26892,382:28062,412:28842,423:29466,434:30012,442:40308,624:45378,714:45846,721:54968,805:68212,959:69751,980:70075,985:73315,1045:75178,1073:75664,1081:76798,1097:84658,1175:87694,1228:88591,1243:90661,1290:91627,1308:91972,1320:92317,1326:93007,1341:93352,1347:93628,1352:94456,1367:95560,1390:99079,1463:99562,1473:99907,1478:100804,1493:101425,1506:101908,1515:110456,1585:110840,1592:111288,1601:111864,1612:112376,1622:114808,1680:116408,1725:117048,1733:117368,1739:122570,1787:124090,1818:125530,1842:127050,1863:128250,1930:128730,1938:129450,1950:130090,1959:130970,1971:131610,1982:132170,1990:133130,2004:137556,2030:137966,2036:139032,2051:139770,2062:140098,2067:140672,2076:141246,2084:143460,2119:146986,2173:147396,2180:148544,2196:149528,2211:149938,2217:152234,2261:158728,2347:159094,2354:162978,2397:163283,2403:163893,2425:167553,2493:167797,2498:168224,2506:168895,2522:169139,2527:170481,2552:170725,2557:171701,2581:172555,2594:173104,2604:173348,2609:173653,2615:174263,2628:175239,2648:179150,2658:180650,2693:182210,2727:183110,2744:184070,2765:184610,2775:184910,2785:186830,2828:187190,2836:187430,2841:187910,2850:191870,2945:195832,2959:197608,2994:199606,3038:204460,3101
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas Battle's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his father's upbringing and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes his early life experiences

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

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas Battles recalls his early education and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle remembers his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle recalls his early interest in African American history

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thomas Battle describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Thomas Battle remembers segregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Thomas Battle recalls his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Thomas Battle describes his experiences at Howard University

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Thomas Battle lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Thomas Battle recall graduating from Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle talks about the problems in the public schools of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes the student tracking system in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle describes the student tracking system in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle recalls working at the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes the history of Federal City College in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls the influential figures at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle remembers graduating from Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle describes his position at the Federal City College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle recalls enrolling at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle remembers the Black Power movement at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle recalls the academic environment at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about his approach to learning

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle remembers the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls the student protests at the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his African American identity

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about President Richard Nixon's administration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle remembers graduating from the University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle recalls joining the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle remembers Dorothy Porter Wesley

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle describes the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center's collection

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle recalls the patrons of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls serving as an exchange librarian

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle recalls arriving in Sierra Leone

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about the national library in Sierra Leone

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle describes Sierra Leone's national library collection

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle recalls meeting Sierra Leonean librarians

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle talks about the access to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about theft from libraries

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes the history of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle recalls returning from Sierra Leone

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle remembers Michael R. Winston

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes his roles at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle remembers the faculty of Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle recalls his decision to attend George Washington University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about the history of African Americans in Washington D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle recalls publishing his dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about the acquisition of materials by the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle talks about private collectors

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle talks about the collections of historically black institutions

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle describes Mayme Clayton's collection

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about his speaking engagements

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle describes his book, 'Black Bibliophiles and Collectors'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle describes the collectors of black artifacts

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle talks about African American historical collections

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about the misallocation of African American collections

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his book, 'Legacy: Treasures of Black History'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle describes his challenges at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes his favorite artifacts at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle describes his involvement in professional organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about the Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Thomas Battle recalls the student protests at the University of Maryland
Thomas Battle describes his favorite artifacts at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
Transcript
I also remember at the University of Maryland [College Park, Maryland], the--I think it was the invasion of Cambodia. And--or Route 1 [U.S. Route 1], which runs through the campus was closed down and the university was closed down and there was a lot of activity going on and lots of student, and not necessarily violence, but things going on. And there were two things of interest. One, the individual I referred to was with a black student union, in being asked about these activities, made it very clear of the disappointment of black students in the university being closed down because of the impact it was having on our ability to become educated. And I thought that was very telling since there had not been this great desire for us to be there anyway. That black students and the black cause was something that was featured as an important issue. And I also remember it was one of the few times that white students felt that they would be safer by walking with black students, because as it turned out no one was bothering the black students on campus, although, white students were having their own problems among each other. And I clearly remember white classmates, and certainly some of the white women I was in class with, saying, "Do you mind if I walk with you to the parking lot," or "Do you mind if we do this." And the reason was because they felt much safer being with us as their black classmates and other black students, than they felt being out on the campus and subject to being abused, if you will, by the police forces that had been brought on the campus to quell the student disturbances that were going on. And, in essence, the feeling was that black students are not responsible for and involved in this. So the black students are immune from this because there's no reason to bother the black students. It's the white students who were starting all of the trouble. And I've always found that, that's probably one of the few times that white people felt that the safest place for them to be was to be with black people who could provide for their security.$What do you think, of all the holdings you have here, what would you consider to be the most valuable piece that you (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) You know, I am frequently asked what, what's the most valuable, what's the most impressive. I, I--my, my answer sometimes is like, "Well, it's like the blind man and the elephant; depends on where you touch it." There is no single item. There's an item in the collection that has a certain appeal to me, it's a, it's an image, a rare image called 'The Hunted Slaves' [Richard Ansdell]. This is a, a, a print based upon a, a painting that is in a museum in England and it took its inspiration from a Wadsworth--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, 'The Slave in the Dismal Swamp,' which is actually reproduced on, on this engraving. But what appeals to me about the engraving is that--and, as I say, it's the, the--this inspiration to 'Slave in the Dismal Swamp,' is you see these vicious dogs that are in the process of attacking this black man and this black woman. But what you do not see is this fear and this docility that is often projected about the enslaving experience, but what you see is this black man there with this, this hatchet or axe in his hand protecting and preserving not only his freedom, but that of his woman and by extension for me, that of the black family. And I think that whether or not that was the, the true intent of the, of the artist, that's sort of the inspiration that I draw from it. That this was not a situation in which we just accepted our fate, but that shows that these were and we were at people that was willing to stand and fight for our rights and, and for the preservation of our lives; that for me, is a, is a very powerful piece. Every member of our staff has his or her own favorite piece. For me, it is the, the collection, this is the comprehensiveness of what is here [Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Washington, D.C.] that is important. That you have in one place, the largest collection of materials documenting the black experience. A library of more than two hundred thousand volumes, all of it on the black experience from Africa throughout the Americas; north, central, south, Europe and all other aspects of the black diaspora. It is that, that wealth of material that I think is overwhelming and helps us to put to lie black people have no history; here is the documentation right here. If I offer you another ques- example, I could say we have a Babylonian clay tablet from several centuries B.C., that might be the rarest, the most valuable, but there are others. And something that might appear to be insignificant could really be something that is vitally valuable because it might have a, a bit of information that expresses or exposes something about our history that is otherwise unknown. It may have no real monetary value, but the informational value should--could be key. So depending upon how one interprets value and how meaningful things are to one as an individual, probably gets you to answer the question, we have a million items, we have a million favorites.

Vera Thelma Shorter

Auditor, community activist, and writer, Vera T. Shorter, was born on December 22, 1922, in Huntington, New York. Raised in Huntington on the Long Island section of New York, Shorter and her family moved to nearby Northport when she entered high school in 1936. After graduating from Northport High School in 1940, Shorter studied bookkeeping at Eastman Business School in New York City. After several years as a secretary and bookkeeper, Shorter earned a certificate in accounting from Pace College in Brooklyn, New York. During her early career as an accountant, Shorter was an active member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and an activist with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Shorter was also a contributing writer to Black Odyssey, a travel and leisure magazine, and Our World, writing feature articles in the Fairs and Food section.

Between 1965 and 1973, Shorter served as the supervisor of tax auditors at the Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Manhattan. During her last three years at the IRS (1973-1976), Shorter was the equal employment opportunity officer; she was the first African American to attain these positions with the IRS in New York.

In 1976, Shorter moved to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts when her husband, Rufus B. Shorter (1920-1980), was appointed superintendent of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools. After the move to Martha’s Vineyard, Shorter became an influential and respected civic and community leader, becoming involved in virtually every aspect of the black community and in a range of educational and civic activities in the larger community. For ten years, Shorter coordinated a celebrity tennis tournament to raise money for the Nathan Mayhew Seminars, an adult education institution. Shorter served on the executive committee of the Martha’s Vineyard branch of the NAACP, and as a member of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee to the Vineyard schools. Shorter also served as the president of the Lagoon Pond Association and was a charter member of the Island’s branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. For many years Shorter also assisted the elderly in preparing their income tax returns.

Accession Number

A2005.151

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/24/2005

Last Name

Shorter

Maker Category
Middle Name

Thelma

Occupation
Schools

Northport High School

Queens College, City University of New York

Eastman Business College

Pace University

First Name

Vera

Birth City, State, Country

Huntington

HM ID

SHO01

Favorite Season

Aqua

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Give Yourself Some Time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

12/22/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Community activist Vera Thelma Shorter (1922 - ) was the first African American to serve as the supervisor of tax auditors and the equal employment opportunity officer for the IRS in New York. In addition to her work with the IRS, Shorter was an active member of Martha's Vineyard's black community.

Employment

Kanak Company

Dr. James Lee

New Jersey Contracting Company

Internal Revenue Service

Independent Consultant

Favorite Color

Spring Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:24732,349:25044,354:25746,364:26136,370:27072,386:27462,392:32220,479:32688,486:33936,496:35184,516:36198,532:36510,537:37212,547:40956,616:41346,622:51280,720:51760,729:55920,802:58720,845:77016,1044:77800,1058:78360,1064:86147,1129:87044,1140:91943,1216:96497,1319:96773,1324:101290,1345:103744,1374:104360,1385:106208,1406:106593,1412:107440,1428:113138,1559:114678,1572:128890,1705:129270,1710:129650,1715:133576,1730:134233,1743:134525,1748:135182,1757:136569,1778:137080,1786:144088,1964:152246,2063:155510,2133:155782,2138:156326,2147:157754,2182:158638,2192:159386,2205:160066,2225:163370,2247:164000,2258:164350,2264:164840,2272:168060,2377:168970,2394:172120,2455:184660,2633:187810,2694:195235,2863:200873,2881:201530,2891:202698,2909:205472,2948:205983,2960:212210,3016$0,0:3096,119:3456,125:6912,204:7704,216:9504,263:11808,308:18430,350:19210,364:21485,392:21875,399:22785,418:23175,427:23435,432:24215,444:24475,449:26360,482:26620,487:26880,492:27205,499:27465,504:28050,514:37668,640:42567,749:43119,763:43533,775:44361,786:45051,799:45534,808:48156,865:48639,873:53296,892:61760,1016:62588,1032:63048,1038:64888,1064:66452,1081:71772,1097:78480,1224:81366,1265:81756,1271:82380,1279:96633,1449:97830,1463:98460,1477:98901,1486:100539,1522:103122,1575:103500,1582:103752,1587:105201,1618:106083,1633:116085,1737:117360,1746:117700,1751:118125,1756:126280,1847:131310,1908
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vera Thelma Shorter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vera Thelma Shorter lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls her mother's service with the Rockefeller family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls her father's jobs and sightseeing trips

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her siblings' lives and professions

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her relationship with her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her maternal grandparents' family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her paternal family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes growing up in Huntington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes the sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her family's holiday traditions

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her school experiences in Huntington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her experience at Northport High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls her family attending church

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls her aspirations in high school and college plans

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her high school's racial makeup and her babysitting job

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls working as an au pair in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vera Thelma Shorter remembers attending Eastman Business College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls forming a citywide youth committee in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes how she met her husband, Rufus Shorter

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls her career immediately after she was married

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her husband's career as an educator, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her husband's career as an educator, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls her career progression at the Internal Revenue Service

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her experience as an equal opportunity officer at the IRS

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls challenging situations at the IRS

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her community activism while working at the IRS

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her writings for the IRS and for periodicals

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her younger daughter, Beth Shorter-Bagot

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her older daughter, Lynn Shorter

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls moving to Martha's Vineyard in 1976

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her involvement in the Martha's Vineyard chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her fundraising for the Nathan Mayhew Seminars

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her volunteer work for the Nathan Mayhew Seminars

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her involvement in the Lagoon Pond Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes the impact of her husband's death

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls her husband's professional achievements on Martha's Vineyard

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vera Thelma Shorter learns about The HistoryMakers' digital archive

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vera Thelma Shorter recalls her modeling agency in New York and tax practice in Martha's Vineyard

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vera Thelma Shorter reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her grandson, Gabriel Bagot

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vera Thelma Shorter gives advice to young people interested in community activism

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Vera Thelma Shorter describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Vera Thelma Shorter narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Vera Thelma Shorter describes how she met her husband, Rufus Shorter
Vera Thelma Shorter describes her involvement in the Martha's Vineyard chapter of the NAACP
Transcript
You were married in 1943.$$Yes.$$So when and how did you meet Rufus Shorter?$$(Laughter) Well I was out on a date with a fellow named Fitz and I loved music and dancing as you know. So we went to a place--I don't know if it was called--I think it was Lucky Millinder's club [Lucky's Rendezvous] in Harlem [New York, New York] somewhere and all the jazz musicians would come there from their various gigs and play. So you really--for a couple of drinks or what have you, you're really getting a concert. And he was there with this very beautiful girl, Leticia Bates [ph.]. I even remember what she wore, she had a white dress with a red cummerbund and here's this handsome fellow and I said to Fitz, "What a beautiful couple," because I always--if I see something and it's beautiful I can't help but resonate to it. He said, "Yeah he goes to college with me, he's a graduate or something, and we had been at the same college. All the girls are crazy about him and he just tosses them over one after the other, you know, he didn't care." I said, "Well I think he's beautiful." And I was just saying all this--so. Rufus came over to us with the girl, with Leticia, and greeted Fitz and stood there waiting to be introduced, so we got introduced. So Fitz and I got up to dance, so Rufus came and cut in, he had the girl with him and he just pushed her over to Fitz. As soon as we started dancing--the first topic we talked about and I'll never forget it, it was Spinoza [Baruch Spinoza], the philosopher and I don't know why but it came out and then the next one was about a farm boy, a book, another book, and it was a slow dance so naturally we had a chance to talk. So he said something. Then he came back again and Fitz said, "Don't take that man seriously because he doesn't take any girl seriously." I said, "Okay I'm not--I just think he's pretty." I thought he was pretty, and I danced with him again and that's when he said, "Where do you live?" I said, "966 St. Marks [Avenue, Brooklyn, New York], if you ever want to see me." That's it. And he came by, so that was it.$$And what was he doing at that time?$$He had just finished college, and he couldn't get a job which was happening to most of these young people, and so he was working at Grand Central Station [Grand Central Terminal, New York, New York] as a red cap or whatever they called them. I think they changed the name after a while. He was waiting around to take tests for something, you know, you need to--but he was really a nice guy.$$So you were married in 1943, your courtship then was short (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Short, very short and everybody was saying, "Oh, oh, oh, you're so young, don't do this, you're making a big mistake." Even though my mother [Susan Hendrickson Groves] adored Rufus and my father [Claude Groves] did too. He met everybody and I met his people. He had a wonderful mother and a very bright sister but none of them--nobody felt it was right. But we did, so we went on and got married.$$Okay.$So then, and then I saw the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] so I said, "Ah, ah, I'm going back to (unclear)--I'm starting back again." So I joined them and I had a nice interesting time with them and I just stayed quiet for the next few years. I worked with the NAACP, I didn't go on any--oh yeah I worked on one situation and that was because it was the actors people, the acting people. They came to me, they really did; and I don't know how they knew that I knew something about finance because they came and asked me would I be on their finance committee, and I didn't want to be on any board so I said yes. So I was on a committee and not a board but after I worked with them maybe through that year they said I had to come on the board. So that was the only two things I worked on and I was perfectly content and I was playing tennis, and taking walks, and enjoying myself. And he was (makes sounds).$$Well you have been a very important in the NAACP. Would you say a little bit more about your activities with this chapter over the years, were you president of the branch at any time, or?$$No, no I never really want to be pres- I don't like president--being a president. I think I could have, I really do, because those jobs go wanting, I mean people don't want those jobs (laughter). So it's no big deal, but I didn't want to be president. What I always was interested in was and is affirmative action. So I always worked from the background with that. It was not a designated committee way back there then, but we did things like talking to the merchants about hiring African Americans in their stores and they--we did it quietly, and they did. They cooperated, so those are the things I like that aspect of it. I don't care for the--all the bureaucracy stuff of it, you know, forty-five copies of this and that, but if you have a job, I will do it.

Elizabeth B. Rawlins

Elizabeth B. Rawlins, dean and professor emeritus at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, was recognized for her effective and tireless dedication to numerous educational and community organizations in Boston, across private and public higher education in Massachusetts, over a fifty-year period. Born on November 25, 1927, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Rawlins attended the local public schools and graduated from Cambridge High and Latin School in 1944.

After high school, Rawlins attended Salem State Teachers College, where she earned her B.S. degree in education in 1950; from there she became an elementary school teacher in urban and suburban public schools, and in private schools in Massachusetts. From 1953 to 1954, Rawlins taught at Narimasu Elementary School in Tokyo, Japan. After earning her master’s degree in urban education from Simmons College in 1967, Rawlins left elementary school teaching and began working as a lecturer at Simmons, where she was an associate professor by 1976. From 1979 to 1992, Rawlins served as the associate dean of the Human Services Program; she became a professor of education in 1991, the same year that she received her Ed.D. degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

For ten years, Rawlins served as chairperson of the Salem State College board of trustees; she also served as a board member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and a member of the Simmons College Corporation. Rawlins also served as president of the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health; between 1982 and 1988, she served on the Education Commission of the States.

During her long career at Simmons, Rawlins often addressed racially sensitive issues; the establishment of the Elizabeth B. Rawlins Scholarship Fund at Simmons, and the Salem State College Rawlins Oratorical Contest are testaments to her leadership and contributions to higher education in Massachusetts, and the respect she earned in the process.

After her retirement in 1992, Rawlins served on the advisory council to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, and as the vice president of the Martha’s Vineyard branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Accession Number

A2005.146

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/22/2005

Last Name

Rawlins

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Schools

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Martin Luther King Jr. School

Salem State University

University of Massachusetts Amherst

First Name

Elizabeth

Birth City, State, Country

Cambridge

HM ID

RAW02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

11/25/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Academic administrator, education professor, and elementary school teacher Elizabeth B. Rawlins (1927 - ) served as the associate dean of the Human Services Program and a professor of education at Simmons College.

Employment

Raytheon

Buckingham School

Simmons College

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
303,0:2121,26:2525,31:6670,147:9394,164:9961,172:10609,182:11014,189:13444,226:13849,232:18857,292:19302,298:22417,365:23574,406:23930,411:28647,495:29092,501:32029,536:35920,543:37180,575:42080,678:42640,689:44040,719:48114,825:49542,846:54050,887:54530,895:55490,902:55970,909:56610,919:57090,926:59670,934:60186,941:61648,963:62164,970:62680,977:63110,983:64486,1010:65518,1030:65948,1036:69434,1058:69770,1063:72962,1112:78236,1156:88870,1270:90520,1294:92245,1321:99910,1393:105171,1464:106194,1481:106845,1490:107217,1495:107682,1501:112454,1544:113310,1555:113845,1561:120005,1664:121997,1698:125275,1713:125905,1721:133941,1803:134487,1810:135033,1817:146788,1976:147292,1985:147652,1992:148156,2000:150470,2013:151631,2025:153490,2031:156064,2055:156449,2061:159290,2077:159770,2086:160670,2107:161510,2124:164000,2138:169630,2201$0,0:880,13:2376,32:4136,56:5016,67:9856,133:14256,226:14872,237:22380,265:26890,299:27210,304:27610,310:28650,325:28970,330:29450,337:29770,342:30890,361:31290,368:31930,380:32570,389:35930,449:37930,485:38730,490:39370,495:39850,502:41530,568:47290,688:48250,708:48970,718:53632,733:57434,759:58730,779:59621,793:63185,873:64157,903:67154,957:67802,966:68126,971:68774,981:70232,1012:74760,1029:75210,1035:77820,1084:79170,1107:80610,1126:81510,1139:85650,1194:88620,1227:89160,1234:89610,1241:89970,1246:93120,1320:105772,1416:107030,1436:107844,1456:109990,1505:110804,1521:111470,1535:117030,1570:119920,1613:122912,1628:126481,1691:128970,1709:129266,1714:130746,1739:131856,1756:134780,1768:135220,1774:135924,1783:136364,1789:146960,1925:148347,1952:148858,1960:149515,1975:151048,2002:151778,2015:154041,2063:154479,2070:158202,2151:161730,2161
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Elizabeth B. Rawlins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her maternal grandmother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls being raised by her grandmother in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her community in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins details her maternal ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her relationship with her younger brother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her time at Cambridge's Houghton School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls being dissuaded from a teaching career

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her educational experience in Cambridge

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her time at Cambridge High and Latin School, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her time at Cambridge High and Latin School, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls working for Raytheon in Watertown, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her first year at Salem Teachers College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her financial challenges as a college student

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her early teaching career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls teaching at Cambridge's Buckingham School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes applying to teach in Japan

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her relationship with her husband, Keith W. Rawlins, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her teaching experience in Tokyo, Japan

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes the teaching careers of Boston-area African Americans

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her children

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins talks about her children and grandchildren

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls becoming a lecturer at Boston's Simmons College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls her teaching experience at Simmons College, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls her teaching experience at Simmons College, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls becoming associate dean at Simmons College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her role as associate dean at Simmons College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls Salem State College establishing a graduate social work program

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes serving on the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes serving on the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes chairing Salem State College's board of trustees

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes Simmons College's involvement in school desegregation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins remembers students from her tenure at Simmons College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes leading black alumni symposia at Simmons College, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes leading black alumni symposia at Simmons College, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins reflects upon sharing her story

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins describes organizations she belongs to on Martha's Vineyard

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Elizabeth B. Rawlins narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls being dissuaded from a teaching career
Elizabeth B. Rawlins recalls her teaching experience at Simmons College, pt. 1
Transcript
When I got ready to go to high school [Cambridge High and Latin School; Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and choose my program, I chose college because I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I--I didn't think about what it cost or how I was gonna pay for it. I didn't think about that, I just knew that's what I wanted to do. My [maternal] grandmother [Grace Hawkins Williams], by this time, was about eighty-two or three years old, you know. And she'd had a couple of heart attacks, but she was really a very strong woman. She didn't pay a lot of attention to what the doctor said, so she was up on her feet sooner than she should have been. And so when I got ready to go, the eighth grade teacher [at Houghton School; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, Cambridge, Massachusetts] I had, who was also the principal's assistant, looked at what I'd chosen and told me that I really needed to choose another course because they were not really hiring black teachers, she said colored teachers then and I would want to get a job. I will never ever forget it. And when I talked with my grandmother about it, she said you know, "I just can't fight, I can't go up tho- I can't climb those stairs. Maybe if you take," what did she tell me, "take something with typing," this is the secretary, "so you'll be able to get this job if you're not able to teach." And I was distressed, but I did it. That's the way kids did then, you know. My minister who had heard me talk about wanting to teach since I've been that high during the first term said to me, "How you doing," you know, and that sort of thing. And I said, "Well, I'm not in the program I want," and told him the story. And he wrote a letter to the dean of--of students and the next day I was in what they called the normal course because this--we were on the fringes then in the '40s [1940s] of normal school and college. So that the on--thing that I missed taking was Latin. Everything else was like a college course. And that was my first racial experience. The first time I ran into somebody saying I couldn't do something on the basis of race that I recognized anyway. It turned out okay because I did it.$How was that transition for you leaving the teaching in elementary school and becoming a instructor--teacher at a place like Simmons College [Boston, Massachusetts]? How was that--how did that transition feel?$$It was scary, really. I remember it as--Erma Brooks asked me, you know, she--she said what we're asking here is what you've been doing for, at that point, thirteen or fourteen years. I had taught several of the grades. I had run some workshops. I, you know, I had done like with Circle Associates [Circle Inc., Boston, Massachusetts] and all of that. Said that's what we need, that's what the students are asking for that kind of experience. So, you know, te--teach the course in Nature of Classroom Teaching. And frankly I thought well it would be convenient because of my daughter [Pattie Rawlins] and her age and so forth. So I approached one of the faculty in the ed [education] department and said to her, "Lydia [ph.], I don't see anywhere that teachers, professors have been taught to teach and so how about some hints for me." She said, "You're right, we haven't been taught to teach, but--so you have all the skills and knowledge and pedagogy and so forth, and we just have the information and we should make a good team." So I taught thinking the way I did teaching elementary and junior high kids, that you gotta have a plan. You have to know what you're gonna teach. You gotta do something to engage them. And that was always the way. And--and that you have to think about the whole person. So I approached it in that way. And as long as I was doing the urban teacher prep program, I was really fine. But then, when these black students who began to come and saw that they were not in the material anywhere, wanted somebody to teach thinking about that and approached me. (Laughter) I thought I was--might be getting a little above my head, but what I did was to ask them to help me plan what it was they were talking about. That's because that's not been my experience. What you wa- I know what it is you want, but it hasn't been my experience so I need you to be engaged in this, and they were, they were wonderful.

Thelma Groomes

Thelma Lucille Jarmon Vass Groomes was born January 3, 1911, in Kinston, North Carolina. An only child, her father worked as a truck driver and a preacher while her mother was a seamstress and beautician. Groomes grew up in Washington, D.C., graduating from high school in 1928 and going on to attend Howard University, where she earned a B.A. in education in 1932. She would later return to school at the University of the District of Columbia to further her education in the 1960s.

After graduating from Howard, Groomes took a job with the U.S. Department of Commerce, tabulating figures for the next three years. In 1935, she left for the U.S. Department of Labor to work as a statistical clerk, and she would remain there until 1959. That year, she went to work at Hine Junior High School teaching English, reading and social studies. She also taught government and sociology at Roosevelt High School as part of its adult education program. While at Hine, Groomes was an outgoing teacher engaged in her students' progress. She was the sponsor of the United Nations Contest and trip to the United Nations in New York, the sponsor of the Junior Red Cross Society and sponsor of the Charm and Culture Club. She also served as a representative of the school to the city of Washington, D.C., and the National Education Association. Groomes retired in 1972, but spent the next year working as a consultant to Alton Elementary School in the Parent-Partnership Traineeship Program.

Over the years, Groomes has been involved in a wide number of organizations. She has served as the vice president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in the Capital chapter, served on the Women's Committee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is a charter member and vice president of the D.C. Friends of Liberia. She also currently serves as the president of the Howard University Women's Club, a role that she also filled from 1954 to 1956. She is also a lifelong member of the National Education Association and the NAACP. Groomes has been named the Woman of the Year by Afro-American, has been inducted into the Washington Urban League Hall of Fame, and was named One of Washington's Best Dressed Women by the Omega Wives. Groomes has traveled the world and sponsored three overseas orphans. She has two children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Groomes passed away on August 8, 2011 at the age of 100.

Accession Number

A2003.159

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/17/2003

Last Name

Groomes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widowed

Schools

University of the District of Columbia

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Wilson J.o. Es

Howard University

First Name

Thelma

Birth City, State, Country

Kinston

HM ID

GRO02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Canada

Favorite Quote

Give To The World The Best That You Have And The Best Will Come Back To You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/3/1911

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken, Spinach

Death Date

8/30/2011

Short Description

Middle school teacher Thelma Groomes (1911 - 2011 ) served as the president of the Howard University Women's Board.

Employment

United States Department of Commerce

United States Department of Labor

Hine Junior High School

Roosevelt High School

Alton Elementary School

Favorite Color

Sky Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thelma Groomes's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thelma Groomes lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thema Groomes describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thelma groomes describes her mother's personality and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thelma Groomes describes her mother's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thelma Groomes describes her father's personality and family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thelma Groomes briefly talks about being her parents' marriage and being an only child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thelma Groomes describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thelma Groomes describes her childhood neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thelma Groomes talks about her father's truck driving accident

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thelma Groomes describes her childhood personality and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thelma Groomes describes her grandfather's encounter with a bear and researching her family history with HistoryMaker Gen. Julius Becton, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thelma Groomes remembers her uncle, Elias Becton, a U.S. military veteran of World War I

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thelma Groomes talks about her various nicknames

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thelma Groomes describes her favorite elementary and high school subjects and teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thelma Groomes describes her experience at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thelma Groomes describes her experience as an undergraduate student at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thelma Groomes remembers Howard University faculty like William Leo Hansberry and E. Franklin Frazier

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thelma Groomes talks about her involvement in the Howard University Women's Club

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thelma Groomes talks about Mary Church Terrell and Judge Mary Ann Gooden Terrell's non-profit organization for girls, High Tea Society, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thelma Groomes describes her involvement with Howard University's Friends of the Chapel

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thelma Groomes lists notable faculty and alumni of Howard University in Washington D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thelma Groomes describes working in the U.S. government as an undergraduate student and teaching junior high school in 1959

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thelma Groomes describes her experience in the U.S. Department of Labor and her husband's work as a union organizer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thelma Groomes describes challenges her husband faced as a union organizer

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thelma Groomes describes her experience teaching at Hines Junior High School in Washington D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thelma Groomes describes her tenure as president of the non-profit organization, Friends of Liberia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thelma Groomes talks about Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson's legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thelma Groomes talks about her tenure as president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thelma Groomes talks about Paul Laurence Dunbar High School's African American history curriculum

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thelma Groomes talks about her affiliation with various civic organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thelma Groomes remembers the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 and the March on Washington in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thelma Groomes remembers meeting Fannie Lou Hamer in 1964

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thelma Groomes remembers the Poor People's Campaign in 1968 and being awarded Woman of the Year

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thelma Groomes talks about her parents' involvement with the Universal Negro Improvement Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thelma Groomes talks about her retirement from the District of Columbia public school system in 1972

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thelma Groomes describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thelma Groomes considers her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thelma Groomes talks about the significance of oral history

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thelma Groomes talks about her parent's perception of her work

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thelma Groomes narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thelma Groomes narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Thelma Groomes talks about Mary Church Terrell and Judge Mary Ann Gooden Terrell's non-profit organization for girls, High Tea Society, Inc.
Thelma Groomes describes her experience teaching at Hines Junior High School in Washington D.C.
Transcript
Mary Church Terrell, can you--$$Oh, yeah.$$What was she like, what was she like?$$Well, she was a no-nonsense person and very outgoing. And I, I learned a good bit about her when in late years when she started this protesting, you know, the discrimination here in Washington [D.C.] because they would meet every Saturday. My husband, Ogden Groomes, was a union man and, of course, he was at all of these things. He was right there. And they would march from maybe restaurants or wherever, and go in to be served and all that sort of thing. And they would meet at the church down there, I think, at Grant Circle a lot of times. But anyway, she was as, as hearty and as agile as most of them. She was with them. And she was sincere, a very sincere person. And I don't know, at her age, you just couldn't, you couldn't believe this, that she had the energy that she has, oh, yes. She was, she was a marvel. And when we gave her that citation, Howard Women's Club [Howard University Women's Club], and I presented it to her--I have a picture of it that I'm going to give them. And I, I was endeared to her. Mary Terrell, you know, and recently, I haven't asked her, but I've had, had occasion to talk with Judge Mary [Ann Gooden] Terrell. They call her Terrell (pronounced with stress on second syllable), and most people call Mary Church Terrell, Terrell (pronounced with stress on first syllable). And I don't know whether down the line, they are related or not. But she is a judge here at the, in the court system, and she has started a, an organization to work with--she calls it the High Tea Society [High Tea Society Inc.]. And they work with inner city girls, showing them that there's no alternative to the kind of thing that they're confronted with in communities. So I joined that in past year 2002, I think, and they have taken over the area and the home that the Baker's Dozen years ago. Those were a group of social workers here in Washington [D.C.] who had this home over on 4th Street, and they are occupying that to work with these girls as one of the, the activity houses.$$The Baker's Dozen?$$Huh? Baker's Dozen, yes. Most of those girls were social workers and they banded together and they worked for many, many years with inner city young women.$Tell me about school when you, were, were you excited to be able to start a career as a school teacher?$$Was I excited?$$Yeah.$$Oh, yeah, oh (laughter). Oh, when I, when I resigned from [the U.S. Department of] Labor and went--well, that summer, I got my mother [Cora Becton Jarmon] in my car and I drove around this horrible Hine [Hines Junior High School in Washington D.C.]. And when we (laughter), when we got around there to the front door, we saw all these young fellows. I guess about five or six of them in the vestibule of the school over there at 7th and Southeast [Washington, D.C.], shooting crap (laughter). And momma said, "Whoo, are you crazy, where are you going to teach?" I said, "Oh, yeah, they're, they're not school students, they're not students." I said, "They're just in front of the building doing what they're accustomed to doing." But I was really excited when I went in. I wasn't as confident and sure of myself at the beginning because I inherited a person that teaches program who had just left, whose position I had, you know, been put into. And he was a teacher of, of a business, and I wasn't a teacher of business, so I had to keep ahead of that. Well, that didn't happen, but maybe a year or so, one year, and I fulfilled that as best as I could, and I wasn't a bad teacher. And I, I was, being an older person, not just a young person put into that teaching position, I didn't have problems as some of the teachers had with discipline because, see, I was an older person. I'd been in government, and here I'd come as an older person into the classroom, and they respected that. And in many instances when they would bring students from Caesar Knowles [ph.] who problems students and put in my room, I didn't have any problem with them. And it ended up that I got a lot of them that I didn't, I shouldn't have had. I had too many of them, but it worked out well, for me and for them because I, I, I had the maturity to deal with them and let them know that life was much more than they were seeing right there at that time. And they could, they could make an impression and, and be fulfilled in whatever they chose to work at and, and actually be committed and, and dedicated to their, you know, their studies and that sort of thing.$$Okay. Now, now when did you, were you able to teach social studies and--$$Oh, yes, then I got my, my own program, English and social studies. Then later on, I enjoyed it because, and it was exciting, because I not only worked with them in the classroom, but I sponsored the Red Cross [The American Red Cross] group, the Charmette [ph.] Club. I had extra, I just took on extra stuff and worked with the students and they appreciated that and I see a lot of them now. They see me and know who I am, but they have to tell me, "Oh, I was in your class" and such and such thing. And even when I went down to jury duty, there were one or two down there--said, "Didn't you teach at Hine?" I said, "Yeah." She said, "I was in your class," and she had her little youngster along with her. And that, that's a rewarding kind of thing when you meet these students and they remember, you know, you and your relationship with them in the classroom. That's a rewarding thing about it all.