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Robert C. Hayden

Robert C. Hayden, Jr. is a historian, author, and educator, who has contributed to African American historiography for thirty-five years. He is the author, co-author, and editor of nineteen books and special publications in the field. Alongside his historical research, writing and teaching, he served for thirty-two years in numerous educational positions – as an ethnic studies curriculum developer and as a project administrator in urban school projects across the country. He is the founder and president of RCH Associates that provides African American history services and resources to educators and a range of public and private institutions, organizations and community groups.

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts on August 21, 1937, Hayden graduated from New Bedford High School in 1955. He attended Boston University, receiving his B.A. degree in 1959 and his master’s degree in 1961. He completed two post-graduate fellowships --one at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and another in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) between 1976 and 1977. Between 1994 and 1995, he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.

Between 1961 and 1965, Hayden worked as a middle school teacher. In 1966, Hayden became an editor with Xerox Education Division, serving in that capacity for three years. From 1970 to 1973, he was the executive director of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity in Boston. In 1974, he moved to the Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts where he directed ethnic heritage studies projects for urban school districts. In 1980, he became the director of MIT’s Secondary Technical Education Project. From 1982 to 1987, he served as an assistant superintendent in the Boston Public School System. Before retiring in 1992, Hayden served for five years as the executive director of the Massachusetts Pre-engineering Program.

Hayden is known for his three pioneering works in the 1970s on the history of African Americans in science, technology and medicine. From 1974 to 1983, he wrote a weekly column, “Boston’s Black History”, for the Bay State Banner newspaper in Boston. He was a contributing writer for the Dictionary of American Negro Biography (1982) the Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (1995), and American National Biography (1999).

Notable too, are his African Americans in Boston: More Than 350 Years (1991), and his African Americans and Cape Verdean Americans in New Bedford: A History of Community and Achievement (1993). In 2003, his first definitive biography was published – Mr. Harlem Hospital: Dr. Louis T. Wright. His most recent book is African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard: A History of People, Places and Events (2005).

Hayden has been a Lecturer in the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts at Boston since 1992. From 1978 to 2001, he was a Senior Lecturer at Northeastern University and held the same position at Lesley University from 1992 to 2005.

Residing on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, he served on the Oak Bluffs Historical Commission from 1998 to 2000. He is the national secretary of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and the founding president of the Martha’s Vineyard Brach of the ASALH.

Accession Number

A2004.130

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2004

Last Name

Hayden

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

C.

Occupation
Schools

New Bedford High School

Thomas R Rodman

Boston University

Boston University School of Education

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

New Bedford

HM ID

HAY06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Take One Day At A Time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

8/21/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken Livers

Short Description

Historian Robert C. Hayden (1937 - ) is the former project director for the Educational Development Center, and served as the executive assistant to the superintendent of Boston Public Schools. Hayden has also lectured at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and was appointed as a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.

Employment

RCH Associates

Harvard University Graduate School of Education

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture

Xerox Corporation

Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity

Education Development Center

Boston Public Schools

Massachusetts Pre-Engineering Program

Bay State Banner Newspaper

Dictionary of American Negro Biography

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History

American National Biography

University of Massachusetts, Boston

Northeastern University

Lesley University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert C. Hayden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert C. Hayden lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his maternal grandfather's employment as a Pullman porter

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert C. Hayden describes his mother's activities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his mother's educational opportunities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert C. Hayden recalls traveling with his family outside of New Bedford, Massachusetts for the first time

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his father's retirement from the United States Postal Service

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert C. Hayden shares his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert C. Hayden describes growing up in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert C. Hayden describes the sights, sound and smells of growing up in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert C. Hayden remembers his experience at Thomas R. Rodman Elementary School in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his academic interests during his time at New Bedford High School in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his activities at New Bedford High School in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his interest in sports while growing up and the impact of the Brooklyn Dodgers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his family's religious involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert C. Hayden talks about the process for his acceptance to Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert C. Hayden shares his recollections of Howard Thurman's tenure as dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert C. Hayden recalls Greek life at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his courses at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his employment at Lahey Clinic following his graduation from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert C. Hayden remembers his student teaching experience in Newton Public Schools in Newton, Massachusetts in the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his mentor at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his experiences teaching science at John Wingate Weeks Junior High School in Newton, Massachusetts in the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his opportunity to study at Harvard University for the National Science Foundation's Academic Year Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert C. Hayden remembers his involvement as an educator during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert C. Hayden talks about working as a science editor for the Xerox Corporation education division

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his experiences writing and testing curricular material while science editor for Xerox Corporation's education division

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Robert C. Hayden talks about publishing three books on African Americans in science and technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert C. Hayden explains how his scientific background informed his process writing books about African American scientists

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert C. Hayden talks about researching the life and career of Dr. Charles Henry Turner, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert C. Hayden talks about researching the life and career of Dr. Charles Henry Turner, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert C. Hayden describes how he came to work for the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his responsibilities as director of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his membership in the Association for the Study of African American Life & History, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his membership in the Association for the Study of African American Life & History, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert C. Hayden talks about writing a weekly science column for the Bay State Banner

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his career as a college lecturer in Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Robert C. Hayden describes his year as scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his research experiences in New York, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his research experiences in New York, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert C. Hayden talks about finding a place to live in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his relationship with Dr. John Henrik Clarke, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his relationship with Dr. John Henrik Clarke, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert C. Hayden describes how he came to work for the Community Fellows Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert C. Hayden describes his responsibilities for the Community Fellows Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert C. Hayden talks about becoming deputy superintendent of Boston Public Schools

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his employment with Boston Public Schools in the 1980s and 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his books based on locations in Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his research for his recent books

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his book 'William E. B. Du Bois, Family and Friendship: Another Side of the Man' co-written with Katherine Bell Banks, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his book 'William E. B. Du Bois, Family and Friendship: Another Side of the Man' co-written with Katherine Bell Banks, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his research on William Monroe Trotter

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert C. Hayden talks about the circumstances surrounding William Monroe Trotter's death

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert C. Hayden talks about the development of his book, 'African Americans in Boston: More Than 350 Years'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert C. Hayden talks about writing 'Singing for All People: Roland Hayes, a Biography'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert C. Hayden talks about the presidential history of the Boston, Massachusetts branch of the NAACP

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his involvement with the Boston, Massachusetts branch of the NAACP

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert C. Hayden talks about the history of racial segregation and civil rights movements in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert C. Hayden reflects upon his career in education administration and African American studies curricula development

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert C. Hayden reflects upon his family history

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Robert C. Hayden describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Robert C. Hayden reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his children's educational and career achievements and opportunities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert C. Hayden reflects upon the importance of having a well-rounded education and taking chances

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his life on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert C. Hayden talks about being confused with Robert Hayden, the poet

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert C. Hayden talks about his relationship with Robert Hayden, the poet

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert C. Hayden describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Robert C. Hayden narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

11$5

DATitle
Robert C. Hayden talks about publishing three books on African Americans in science and technology
Robert C. Hayden talks about his responsibilities as director of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity in Boston, Massachusetts
Transcript
Do you still have this interest in African American history during this period of time, and how is that--where is that at this point?$$Well, I had applied for a doctoral degree program at Boston University [Boston, Massachusetts] when I was living in Connecticut. I was accepted into an Ed.D. program. And I was going to use all the materials that I had collected on blacks in science, math and technology and so on for my thesis. But I could see that the professor that I had at the time as my mentor, was going to take that stuff. And often professors will encumber and, you know, massage and take over what their students had worked on. And I was a little leery of, you know, how he was going to take my material. Nobody else had done this kind of research. A couple other guys had begun to do some work in blacks in science. One of the persons I worked with at Xerox [Corporation] education division, Ray Brockell [ph.], Raymond Brockell, had left Xerox and went to Addison-Wesley to develop a new trade book division. He came back one day looking for editors who wanted to get books published. And I told him that I had all this material on blacks in science and technology and so on. He said, "That's something we'd be"--now, this is late 1960s. Right? I had already come back to Boston [Massachusetts]. And he said, "Write me a proposal. Send me a table of contents." So I put together a table of contents of twenty-five African Americans in science, technology and medicine; and I wrote a sample chapter, and I sent it in. And, of course, in those days, black stuff was in vogue. Black studies materials were needed, particularly in the science area.$$Yeah. It was starting to blossom, you know, right.$$Yeah. And so Ray Brockell comes back to me. He'd taken it back to his staff, editorial board. He comes back, he says, "We've decided you have three books. We'd like you to do a book on blacks in science," which I have right here. Then he says, "The second book will be blacks in technology in the field of invention." And then he said, "We'll do a third book, blacks in medicine." Well, to make a long story short, Larry [Crowe], my first hardback came out in 1970 by Addison-Wesley, 'Seven Black American Scientists' [Robert C. Hayden] the book that you see here on the table. Two years later, 1972, my second hardback came out, 'Eight Black American Inventors' [Robert C. Hayden]. And then four years later, there was a little delay, my third hardback and my third book, 'Nine Black American Doctors' [Robert C. Hayden]. So in the course of six years, I had three books out. That put me out there in science education as a historian of blacks in science. Now there were two other guys who had come out with books, both white researchers, white authors had come out with books. So I was on the forefront. One of the pioneers to have stuff first published in hardback. And, of course, the school districts across the country and libraries bought my books.$When I left [Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), Boston, Massachusetts] in 1973, I had 1800 students riding seventy-seven buses every day to thirty-two suburban school districts. I was working ten days a week, six weeks a month. I mean, it was like running the school system. It was bigger than running a school system. I had to work from all the way from the bus drivers and the bus companies, who were on parent groups, to the state legislature, to the Boston [Massachusetts] school system; and I had to work with all of the suburban school districts, twenty-eight of them, where we had anywhere from nine to twelve to twenty to maybe thirty-six black students in these various school districts going back and forth every day. It was--and it was--the program was based in the community. It was started by black parents. In the very year that I left Boston to go to Connecticut to work with Xerox [Corporation], black parents said, "We've had enough of the Boston [Public] Schools [BPS]. We're going to find relief." Legislation got passed. [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] had helped Massachusetts' legislature [Massachusetts General Court] to pass the racial imbalance law [Racial Imbalance Act of 1966] in Massachusetts on his second march through Boston in 1965 that I participated in. And out of that racial imbalance law came an amendment that made it possible for black students to go to schools outside their district. It was their choice. It was a voluntary program. It was voluntary on the part of the suburban district to accept black students from the City of Boston. So I directed that program. I had a staff of eight or nine people. We had parent meetings every night. I mean, I had to raise money. I had to work for the State Department of Education [Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education]. It was a tremendous job.