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June M. Perry

June Martin Perry was born on June 10, 1947, and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. She received her B.A. degree from North Carolina Central University. Perry attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received her M.S. degree in social work in 1971. She has also completed her course work for a Ph.D. in urban studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Perry and fellow social worker Geri McFadden started New Concept Development Center, Inc., in 1975 to address what they saw as a lack of local social services, specifically those for African Americans. New Concept is a non-profit social services agency that targets African Americans. Services include family counseling, housing, and employment assistance, as well as case management for HIV patients. In the 1980s, New Concept expanded into a greater set of social services by starting a mentoring program for girls at the Hillside Housing Project, providing a Youth Motivation Seminar for Role Models and Youth, and developing its first youth-managed and operated business through its youth entrepreneurship program. In 1986, New Concept authored a Blue Ribbon report on Teen Pregnancy Prevention for the City of Milwaukee. New Concept developed the first Prenatal Care Program which soon became the model for Title XIX benefits. In the 1990s, New Concept Development Center again expanded its services by opening Milwaukee’s first Father’s Resource Center and developing a First-time Juvenile Offenders Program which became a model for Milwaukee County. What began as a two-woman operation has grown into a 50-employee business serving more than 7,000 families a year operating a budget of $2.5 million. After retiring from New Concept Development Center in 2006, Perry created Access 2 Success, an organization which acts as a technical assistance intermediary between business, government and non-profits to expand the capacity for non-profit sustainability and strategic planning.

Perry is the recipient of many awards including the Sacajawea Trailblazer Award, the Woman of Influence Award, Mentor of the Year, the Black Women’s Network Lifetime Leader Award, the Kraft Foods - Essence Award, the Black Administrators in Child Welfare Long Term Leaders Award, and the Community Service Award from SET Ministries. Perry’s current volunteer involvement includes being a founding member of the African American Women’s Fund, membership on the board of directors of the Aurora Health Care Metro Region, and the oversight and advisory committee for the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership for the University of Wisconsin School of Public Health. Perry is also an independent travel agent for Keystone Travel. She has recently traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, France, Italy, and Mexico.

Perry has two adult children and enjoys spending time with her life partner, Bill Stevens.

Accession Number

A2008.133

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/17/2008

Last Name

Perry

Maker Category
Middle Name

Martin

Schools

W A Perry Middle

C. A. Johnson High School

Carver-Lyon Elem

North Carolina Central University

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

First Name

June

Birth City, State, Country

Columbia

HM ID

PER05

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

John and Irma Daniels and the Fellowship Open

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

If It Is Going To Be, It Is Up To Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

6/10/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Grits

Short Description

Social worker and nonprofit executive June M. Perry (1947 - ) started New Concept Development Center, Inc., a non-profit social services agency that targets African Americans, in 1975. In 2006 Perry created Access 2 Success to expand the capacity for non-profit sustainability and strategic planning.

Employment

Wisconsin Department of Public Welfare

New Concept Self Development Center

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of June M. Perry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of June M. Perry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - June M. Perry describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - June M. Perry describes her maternal grandfather's career as an electrician

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - June M. Perry talks about her family's roots in Africa

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - June M. Perry describes her paternal ancestry in Jenkinsville, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - June M. Perry describes her mother's upbringing in South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - June M. Perry describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - June M. Perry describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - June M. Perry describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - June M. Perry describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - June M. Perry describes the role of religion in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - June M. Perry describes her community in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - June M. Perry describes her grade school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - June M. Perry recalls experiencing racial discrimination in the late 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - June M. Perry remembers C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - June M. Perry recalls her brother's sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - June M. Perry remembers North Carolina College at Durham

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - June M. Perry recalls meeting Howard Fuller in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - June M. Perry recalls her decision to study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - June M. Perry remembers moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - June M. Perry describes her community organizing work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - June M. Perry describes the Organization of Organizations' role in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - June M. Perry recalls her community at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - June M. Perry recalls her work at the Wisconsin Department of Public Welfare

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - June M. Perry describes racial segregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - June M. Perry describes her work as a child abuse investigator in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - June M. Perry recalls the psychological toll of child abuse casework

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - June M. Perry recalls founding the New Concept Self Development Center

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - June M. Perry describes her parental counseling services

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - June M. Perry describes the problems in the Milwaukee Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - June M. Perry describes the Each One Reach One mentoring program

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - June M. Perry describes her work with teenage parents

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - June M. Perry describes her preparations for retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - June M. Perry describes the programs at the New Concept Self Development Center

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - June M. Perry describes her work to decrease childhood incarceration

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - June M. Perry reflects upon her career at the New Concept Self Development Center

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - June M. Perry reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - June M. Perry describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - June M. Perry reflects upon her family life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - June M. Perry describes her plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - June M. Perry narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
June M. Perry recalls experiencing racial discrimination in the late 1950s
June M. Perry describes her work as a child abuse investigator in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Transcript
Now, the country was really getting into the Civil Rights Movement in the late '50s [1950s], you know (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$$--Little Rock [Arkansas], and you had, you know, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and--$$Yes.$$And so were things starting to heat up in--$$Yeah.$$--South Carolina?$$I remember when we went to the movies, we, you know, had to sit upstairs and I remember, you know, the news talking about segregation and the--kind of an escalation of the fear--well not fear, but just conversation about you shouldn't drive alone at night because, you know, the Ku Klux Klan [KKK] is around and we'll never see you again, just those kind of things being a part of the conversations that were prevalent in the community in the school. Yeah, so I remember the difference and more attention to the things that we had lived with, like the black and white water fountains and the different bus station and train waiting rooms and all of the things that were segregated. I remember that.$$When you first encountered--can you remember when you first encountered that kind of thing or took notice of it?$$As a little girl, I remember my [maternal] grandmother [Rosena Martin] taking me to ride the bus and the fact that we had to sit in the back. And I would ask her, "Why do we have to go to the back," and she would say, "That's just the way it is." Yeah, and like I said, being with my [maternal] grandfather, and knowing that he had to collect money from white people and sometimes they wouldn't pay him, and also recognizing the difference of he always called them mister and they always called him Uncle Willie [Will Martin]. So, you know, I always--you knew those things happened and also my family would travel, drive, when my father [Mark Martin, Sr.] was alive. I remember we drove to Canada, to Quebec, and we would stay in people's homes that they knew because we couldn't stay in hotels and stop on the side of the road and, you know, have a picnic because we couldn't go in hotels or--you know, in restaurants. So, I--yeah, I remember those things.$$Once you got to Quebec, was it still segregated?$$No. I remember staying in the hotel in Quebec and I think that's, you know, probably why we wanted to go there because it was a different country with different rules, but I remember that.$$It's interesting in those days, a lot of places in the North, black people couldn't stay in hotels either, yeah, I know so--$$Yeah, that's true.$$Yeah.$$The North was just as segregated. It just wasn't talked about as much, you know, but it was. It was--Baltimore [Maryland] was awful, you know, and where--the Mason-Dixon Line, it was supposedly after you crossed that, everything was okay, but I don't think so. And I had my grandmother's sisters, several of them went to New Jersey to work in very wealthy homes, so they worked for people who had a lot of money, for white people, and they lived in a neighborhood in New Jersey, I think it was Newark [New Jersey] then, that was not a bad neighborhood. People had very nice homes and--excuse me--all the people who lived there worked, but it was a--certainly a distinction between what white people and what black people and how they lived.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$So--usually the pattern is South Carolina goes to New York, and--$$D.C. [Washington, D.C.]$$D.C., too (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous0 Uh-huh.$$Okay.$$Yeah, a lot in D.C. I have one aunt in D.C., one in New Jersey.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$So you were organizing on the North Side of Milwaukee [Wisconsin], the black (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$$--part of town?$$Yeah, uh-huh.$$All right.$$Yeah.$$So, were you still investigating cases of child abuse?$$That was when I got out of graduate school [University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin].$$Okay.$$That was my first job, was investigating child abuse, yeah, and mostly in the central city and the North Side. But, again, that was a very rude awakening to me of poverty, very different than in the South, I think. The things that I saw, I had never seen before.$$Like what, for instance?$$The level of poverty, how people lived, homes where there was no food, where, you know, people were living in actual squalor and kids were neglected, didn't have food to eat, you know. I--there are poor people in the South, but I never saw that level of poverty and mistreatment of children before, so that was a rude awakening to me of kind of a difference. And I was thinking, some friends and I were talking about growing up. In the South, everybody lived in a house and had a yard--a yard. People didn't live in high-rise apartments or--the projects were one level, you know, maybe three or four units joined together. But, I think the difference was people were more independent but connected. There were neighborhoods where, like I said, my family--people--no child would go without food because people were around you that knew if you were poor, you lost your job, they were going to help you. So, I had never seen the kind of poverty and mistreatment of children before I came here. That was new. And that was really kind of the motivation for starting the agency [New Concept Self Development Center, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin].$$Now, what was your analysis of I guess the child abuse problem?$$Yeah, it was before crack cocaine, so it was some drugs, but not real prevalent. It was poverty and it was frustration, not having--people were most often referred for child neglect, children who came to school with, you know, very dirty clothes or who--the abuse was I would say maybe 20 percent of the time, but neglect because of poverty was more prevalent.