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Hana Stith

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Information about Hana Stith

Profile image of Hana Stith

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken, Cabbage, Greens, Cornbread
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Arizona, Colorado
Favorite Quote:
I Shall Pass This Way But Once. If You Know Your Roots, It Holds You Steadfast Like A Tree.

Birthplace

Born:
8/25/1928
Birth Location:
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken, Cabbage, Greens, Cornbread
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Arizona, Colorado
Favorite Quote:
I Shall Pass This Way But Once. If You Know Your Roots, It Holds You Steadfast Like A Tree.

Birthplace

Born:
8/25/1928
Birth Location:
Fort Wayne
See how Hana Stith is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Hana Stith was born on August 25, 1928 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She spent 36 years teaching there, mostly in inner city schools where she felt her skills were most needed. She earned respect for her teaching skills and her compassion for children.

Stith joined the junior branch of the NAACP before graduating from Central High School in 1946. She received a scholarship from the Fourth District Lay Organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and used it to attend religiously affiliated Wilberforce College in Wilberforce, Ohio, the first institution of higher education owned and operated by African Americans. A dispute between church and state caused Wilberforce to temporarily lose its accreditation and Stith finished her education at St. Francis College. She earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees there and was certified by Purdue University in guidance and counseling.

When Stith became a teacher in 1960, she was one of the first African Americans hired in the Fort Wayne Community Schools. She spent 22 years as a classroom teacher and then became a Title I teacher, instructing students who needed individual attention in reading and math. She retired from teaching in 1996 and became a docent for the Lincoln Museum as well as a board member of the local NAACP chapter. She co-founded the African/African American Historical Society in 1998. In 1999, she found a home for the African/African American Historical Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After the museum opened on February 1, 2000, it soon became recognized as the premier museum of African American history in Indiana. She serves as president of the society and curator of the museum.

Stith has taken an active role in the affairs of her community. She was an original member of the Fair Housing Group and an early member of the Panel of American Women. As the first female appointed to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, she served twelve years under four mayors and set a record for serving longer than anyone else. She also was appointed to the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission, serving four years, and the Fort Wayne Board of Safety, serving six years. As a member of the Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church, she was the director of the Commission on Christian Education. She taught Sunday school for 17 years and organized the church's first vacation Bible school.

Stith passed away on September 5, 2018.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hana Stith's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hana Stith lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hana Stith describes her parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hana Stith describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hana Stith describes her childhood experience
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hana Stith describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hana Stith describes her secondary school experience in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hana Stith describes the black community in Fort Wayne, Indiana during her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hana Stith talks about her elementary school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hana Stith describes her experience at Central High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hana Stith describes the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hana Stith talks about earning a scholarship to attend Wilberforce University in Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hana Stith talks about her experience at Central High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hana Stith talks about her experience at Central High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hana Stith talks about her experience at Wilberforce University in Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Hana Stith describes her experience living in Harlem, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Hana Stith talks about people she met at Wilberforce University and in Harlem, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Hana Stith talks about earning her bachelor's and master's degrees at Saint Francis College in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hana Stith describes her experience as the first black teacher at McCulloch Elementary School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hana Stith talks about her community engagement at McCulloch Elementary School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hana Stith describes the integration of schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hana Stith describes her career as a teacher in Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hana Stith describes the formation of the African American Historical Society in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hana Stith describes the founding of the African/African American Historical Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hana Stith recounts the history of the African/African-American Historical Museum's building
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hana Stith describes the success of the African/African American Historical Museum
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Hana Stith talks about the diaries of Fort Wayne entrepreneur William Warfield
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Hana Stith talks about the African/African-American Historical Museum's exhibits for local and current events
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hana Stith lists some of the people profiled in the African/African-American Historical Museum, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hana Stith lists some of the people profiled in the African/African-American Historical Museum, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hana Stith describes the history of segregation in Indiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hana Stith talks about the history of African Americans arriving in Indiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hana Stith talks about her plans for the future of the African/African-American History Museum
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hana Stith talks about the Indiana Freedom Trails organization and her museum's Underground Railroad display
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hana Stith reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Hana Stith talks about the importance of black parents bringing their children to the museum
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Hana Stith talks about how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hana Stith narrates her photographs