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Audrey M. Edmonson

Audrey M. Edmonson was born on January 27, 1953 in Miami, Florida. She graduated from Miami Jackson Senior High School in Miami, Florida in 1971. Edmonson earned her A.A. degree in psychology from Miami Dade College in 1991, and her B.A. degree in psychology from Florida International University in 1994. Edmonson received her dual M.S. degree in marriage family therapy and mental health counseling from Barry University in 1997.

In 1997, she was elected as a councilperson to the Village of El Portal City Council in Florida. In 1999, she was elected mayor of the Village of El Portal, Florida and became the city’s second African American mayor. During the same year, Edmonson began working as a trust specialist in the Miami Dade Public School system. Edmonson was re-elected three successive terms and became the municipality's first mayor to be elected by residents rather than by the members of the Village Council. Under her leadership, the Village hired its first Village Manager. In 2005, when she was elected as commissioner for the 3rd District on the Miami-Dade County Commission. She was re-elected three more times and in 2010 and 2016, she was elected to serve as vice chair. In 2018, Edmonson was elected to serve as president of the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Edmonson was chairwoman of the Housing and Social Services Committee and the Building Safer Neighborhoods Sub-Committee. She also served as vice chairwoman of the Transportation and Public Works Committee and the Chairman’s Policy Council, and as a member of the Youth Crime Task Force. She served as the vice chairwoman of the Miami Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) Board of Directors. Edmonson was appointed to the Miami-Dade County HIV/AIDS “Getting to Zero” Task Force and served as Chairwoman of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) I-395 Signature Bridge-Aesthetic Steering Committee. She also serves on the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust and the Public Health Trust nominating councils, the Public Health Trust/Miami-Dade Annual Operating Agreement Committee, the Jackson Health System Obligation Bond Citizens’ Advisory Committee and the County Advisory Task Force for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program Planning and Implementation Project which is referred locally as Project PEACE: People Engaged and Advocating for Community Empowerment. Vice Chairwoman Edmonson serves as the Vice Chair of the International Trade Consortium Board.

In addition to her work as a city commissioner, Edmonson was also involved in many different community organizations. She was a member of the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. and the Links, Incorporated. She also helped create the Miami Children’s Initiative in 2006, where she served as a board member. Edmonson served as a board member for the Frost Science Museum, the JMH Citizen’s Advisory Board, and the JMH Nominating Committee. Edmonson was recognized for her community work by South Florida Magazine, which named her one of “South Florida’s 50 Most Powerful Black Professionals.”

Edmonson has two children, Dr. Ebony Nicole Dunn and Louis Ivory Edmonson and three grandchildren.

Audrey M. Edmonson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.035

Sex

Female

Interview Date

03/10/2017

Last Name

Edmonson

Maker Category
Schools

Barry University

Florida International University

Miami Dade College

Miami Jackson Senior High School

Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle School

Lenora Braynon Smith Elementary School

Liberty City Elementary School

First Name

Audrey

Birth City, State, Country

Miami

HM ID

EDM05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

It's Not That You Can't Do Something It's How You Can Get It Done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

1/27/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Snapper

Short Description

Mayor and city commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson (1953 - ) was mayor of the Village of El Portal for six years before serving the Miami Dade Board of Commissioners for twelve years.

Employment

Miami Dade County

Village of El Portal

Miami Dade Schools

AT Services

Eastern Airlines

New Horizons Community Mental Health Center

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:213,78:3834,137:5893,177:6532,187:6887,193:8520,214:8804,219:11980,292:12960,311:13240,316:22200,545:22550,551:27380,704:27940,725:34594,763:41907,923:42404,931:42901,940:56535,1078:57185,1090:58875,1138:64255,1199:64571,1204:65519,1216:65835,1221:66151,1226:69390,1293:73020,1316:73790,1336:77500,1451:77850,1458:78550,1471:78900,1477:80930,1530:82330,1555:83240,1575:83730,1585:84360,1597:95884,1773:96814,1804:108220,1980:113588,2058:117290,2083:118010,2093:125627,2156:125972,2162:127697,2206:128456,2218:129422,2242:129767,2248:147170,2512:148445,2537:149270,2549:150995,2582:151445,2589:159592,2697:165678,2780:166119,2802:166623,2812:168450,2854:171298,2880:174906,2993:177012,3033:177498,3045:178794,3102:186964,3218:188070,3238:188939,3257:189334,3263:189966,3273:198764,3380:199172,3404:205677,3477:206293,3487:206832,3496:215970,3670$0,0:354,9:3599,122:4012,131:6077,183:7729,231:15356,344:16940,356:21358,374:23900,418:34860,601:35400,617:36930,645:37830,657:61458,987:64000,1033:64492,1044:67362,1142:70314,1205:75207,1236:75697,1249:76481,1310:81646,1404:90260,1639:95930,1690:97217,1704:99114,1718:101264,1800:101866,1808:102210,1813:102554,1818:108700,1904:121224,2060:123130,2082:124714,2134:125434,2146:128130,2171:137160,2280:137560,2286:146073,2383:146637,2388:150383,2456:152624,2491:153205,2500:159362,2584:159906,2594:166636,2655:167329,2666:169947,2720:177836,2796:178358,2808:180024,2819:180429,2826:197924,3056:206456,3234:207932,3262:208260,3270:210064,3316:226352,3717:241868,3893:243779,3926:245144,3949:247237,3989:253236,4087:255920,4106:256946,4147:269308,4332:269805,4341:278434,4565:283494,4617:284954,4679:289188,4751:290648,4775:298774,5018:318766,5230:320616,5273:332300,5457
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Audrey M. Edmonson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Audrey M. Edmonson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about her mother's family in Nassau, Bahamas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about her mother's marriages

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Audrey M. Edmonson remembers her early neighborhood of Liberty City in Miami, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about attending church and completing chores on the weekends

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Audrey M. Edmonson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Audrey M. Edmonson remembers transferring between elementary schools in Miami, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Audrey M. Edmonson recalls moving from Liberty City to a majority white neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Audrey M. Edmonson remembers attending Allapattah Junior High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Audrey M. Edmonson recalls staging a sit-in to integrate her high school cheerleading team

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes her high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Audrey M. Edmonson recalls becoming one of the first African American flight attendants at Eastern Air Lines

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes the process to become a flight attendant

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Audrey M. Edmonson recalls her experiences with racism as a flight attendant, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Audrey M. Edmonson recalls her experiences with racism as a flight attendant, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about her career at Eastern Air Lines

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about the social dynamics of being a flight attendant

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Audrey M. Edmonson remembers meeting her former husband, Louis Edmonson

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes her children

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about the changes in reglations for a flight attendant at Eastern Air Lines

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Audrey M. Edmonson recalls starting her cleaning company, AT Services

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about adopting her second child, Louis Ivory Edmonson

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes her college education

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Audrey M. Edmonson talks about her first involvement in political campaigns

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Audrey M. Edmonson describes her work with the New Horizons Community Mental Health Center in Miami, Florida

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Audrey M. Edmonson recalls staging a sit-in to integrate her high school cheerleading team
Audrey M. Edmonson describes the process to become a flight attendant
Transcript
So, you say it was because of Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] that they weren't allowed to do these things?$$No. It was because of Dr. King that we finally did something about this at Miami Edison High School [Miami Edison Senior High School, Miami, Florida]. We--$$This is after you moved to that school?$$Yeah. Only--I was at Edison for a year.$$Okay.$$Ninth grade.$$Okay.$$I'm in ninth grade now.$$Okay. Got it.$$So, I'm growing up a little bit.$$That's fine.$$(Laughter) So, what we did--$$And, this is the predominately white school--$$Yes.$$--where they're not allowing the girls to--$$Correct.$$--to participate.$$The boys were allowed to play in the sports.$$Okay.$$The girls were allowed to play sports. But, they did not choose any blacks who were--and we had a lot that went out for the cheerleaders and the, the Raiderettes, which are the swingettes or whatever you call them. And, it was another group of girls. So, we, we had to meet, they--how, I don't know how we pulled this off, you know, we were kids. We, it was secretly going out, a meeting was gonna be, and they gave us the address. And, I remember the, the girl's last name was White [ph.]. And, we went over to her home that night, and the word was, "Don't come unless you bring your parents with you." And, I was afraid but I knew I wanted to go to this meeting. So, I finally approached my mom [Florence Smith Downs] and I said, "Mom, they gonna have a meeting at a house tonight" (laughter). I say, "And, they say we can't come unless we bring our parents." And, she asked me, what was it about? And, I told her, you know, that--they didn't put any young ladies on the cheerleader squad, they didn't put any--and she says, "And, you're gonna meet over there about that?" She said, "That can be trouble." And, I said, "I know, but I wanna go. And, I can't go unless you go." She said no more. We got in the car later on that evening and we drove over there and I was shocked. She gave me my permission to do a sit-in. And, we did a sit-in the next day and it took the school by surprise. And, the media was there. So, they placed one, one young lady. They didn't have another, no type of competitive thing. They placed one young lady on the cheerleaders, one on the Raiderettes and one on the, the other group.$$So it worked.$$It worked. And, we sat there on the floor quietly. And, I remember (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) For how long?$$--the, the young lady's father was a doctor, and he's the one that really facilitated everything. And, he told us, no matter what, just sit there, don't open our mouths, and do not use any profane language, don't talk back, just sit there. And, that what we did.$$Do you remember how long you sat there?$$We had to have sat there for at least two hours because I think the superintendent, everybody came at--to the school. So, it was a big thing. It was in the news.$$They couldn't believe you were doing that.$$They couldn't believe we did that.$$Even though these things were happening across the country--$$And, we sat there and we blocked the office door, right in the hallway.$$And, how many of you were there?$$It had to be a good--because, now when we were at the house, it was only about thirty or forty of us. But, somehow when we did the sit-in, it had to have been a good fifty, sixty, I mean, it was triple the amount of us that were at the house.$$And, was everybody black?$$Um-hm, all black. I think the word got around. And, if you were black you came, and you sat.$$Were you afraid?$$No. I enjoyed it. You know, I was young. You know, nothing could happen to me. I was invincible.$Was that part of the interview process [for Eastern Air Lines], just your comfort on a plane?$$That could've been because that was discussed. They gave me a test. I took the test. That was, you know, the test I took, I couldn't believe the test, you know, it was, "Would you rather be a bishop or, or a cardinal?" And, you know, I remember things like that on this test that I took. And, I just took the test and then my last interview was before a panel and as they--at the end one of them said, "Audrey [HistoryMaker Audrey M. Edmonson], we think we're gonna take you on." And, back then, the things they did they wouldn't dare to now. Because the first interview I had to walk from one side of the room to the other side. So, they could see me walk. And, they asked me to stoop down. But, I did remember from home ec [home economics], you never bend (laughter). So, I did do it at the knees (laughter). So, I did remember some things.$$So, so it was, because, I mean, the original stewardesses as we, you know, see in movies and everything are (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Skinny.$$--skinny, fashionable--$$They weighed us every time we came in.$$Right. They did?$$Yeah. They had the scale right to the door.$$And, what did you have to (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And, if you were on probation, you got weighed every trip.$$Why would you be on probation?$$Because you had a six months probationary period when you first started out.$$And, what did you have to weigh (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) They could just let you go for no reason.$$What was the weight requirement?$$When I started, I was 5'7". I had to keep my weight under 126. I could not go over 126 pounds.$$And, were you, was that easy or difficult for you (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) It was difficult. Because when they hired me I was 132 pounds. And, she asked me if I thought I could lose the weight by that very last interview. I wanted that job. I even--I used to even bite my nails. I stopped biting my nails. I lost the weight, and I was about 124 at that last interview.$$Just in the process of the interview. And, this is across what period of time?$$About a three month period.$$So, they needed, you needed to get to the 126 in order for them to hire you?$$Um-hm. I guess they wanted to see how motivated I was. Or, how much motivation I had. And, I had it.$$And, at this time it didn't, it didn't bother you that there were these kinds of requirements?$$No. Well, I didn't know any better. I even had to dye my hair because on my first interview, I think it was my first and second interview, I wore an Afro wig. So, at that time, and you'll see that (laughter), when you look at my pictures, at one point in time I was blonde (laughter). My hair was blonde underneath. So, they had no idea. So, when I came to, I think the second interview, I told her, I says, "Now, my hair is kind of blonde-ish." And, she was surprised 'cause she thought the wig was my hair. She says, "Well, what do you mean, blonde-ish?" And, I kind of did that little number to her. And, she says, "Well, are you willing to dye it black?" (Laughter) And I said, I said, "Yes, I'll dye it." I wanted this job. And, she says, "Now, what if we don't hire you? What if they decide they're not gonna hire you in the next interview?" I says, "Well, that's okay, I'll just dye it back blonde," (laughter). And, she gave a little chuckle and--$$So, for the third interview, you'd lost the weight, dyed you hair (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Third interview, lost the weight, stopped biting my nails, and dyed my hair.$$And, how were you wearing it? 'Cause now, you're not having on an Afro wig, what style are you wearing it?$$Shorter Afro.$$Okay. So, it was--so, they didn't mind the Afro?$$No. They did mind the Afros. Let me tell you what they did. As a matter of fact, in the class that I was in there were, we had three blacks. One was really not in the class, she was in the class ahead of us but she got sick so she finished out in our class. But, there were, we had two blacks in my class that went through. And, they brought us from all over the country. Both of us had Afros. For some reason they kind of liked her Afro. They didn't like mine. So, at the end of the class when they see that they're actually going to graduate you, they sent all of us to the, the beauty parlor. So, I'm sitting up there, I'm telling the girl how I want my hair. She says, "But, that's not what it says on the paper." And, this is, we were the first class that they actually sent to a black salon. They had been sending (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, you're at a black salon, okay.$$--the black girls to the white salons. We were the first. They sent us to Supreme Wig and Beauty Supply [sic. Supreme Wig and Beauty Salon, Miami, Florida]. And, the girl stands there, and she's looking at it (laughter), she says, "Well, this is not what I'm supposed to do." I said, "What do you mean, this is not what you're supposed to be?" She says, "I'm supposed to relax your hair and cut it into a bob." And, that's what she did. She put a relaxer on my head.$$Had you ever had a relaxer?$$Yeah, I did have a relaxer back when I was in high school. I took up cosmetology. So, I played around--that's how I got the blonde hair, just playing around with my hair.$$So, again, you wanted the job. So, you're like--$$Yeah.$$I'll do it.$$I did it.

Michelle Boone

City administrator Michelle T. Boone was born in Chicago, Illinois. She later moved with her family to Gary, Indiana where she was raised and attended school. Boone graduated from high school in Gary and then enrolled in Indiana University at Bloomington and went on to receive her B.A. degree in telecommunications in 1983. Later, in 1998, she earned her M.P.A. degree in nonprofit management from the Indiana University at Bloomington.

Boone began her professional career in 1983 as a television engineer working for Chicago network affiliates such as WMAQ-TV, WLS-TV, and WBBM-TV. During her tenure at WLS-TV, Boone worked with the team that launched The Oprah Winfrey Show (formerly AM-Chicago). Boone continued to work as a freelance television engineer. In 1990, she was brought on as the Midwest Regional Promotions Manager with Virgin Records after several other stints in the record industry with Capitol Records, CEMA Distribution, and Orpheus Records. While there, she was responsible for promoting popular R&B recording artists, including Paula Abdul, Lenny Kravitz, After 7 (Virgin Records), M.C. Hammer, Freddie Jackson, Dianne Reeves and many others.

In 1994, Boone served as a volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Chad, Africa where she worked to install pumps and wells in small villages throughout the Southern region of the country. In 1998, after completing her M.P.A. degree, Boone joined the City of Chicago’s youth job training program, Gallery 37, and was ultimately promoted as director of the program. In 2003, she became the senior program officer of Arts and Culture at The Joyce Foundation and was responsible for managing an annual $2 million arts portfolio for arts and culture initiatives. She also managed the innovative Joyce Awards program that supports the development of minority artists. In addition to her duties at The Joyce Foundation, she also served as an adjunct professor at De Paul University in 2007. In 2011, Boone was appointed Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Boone has served on the national boards of Grantmakers in the Arts and Americans for Arts. She was appointed as a member of the board of directors of the Arts Alliance Illinois, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the South Chicago Arts Center, and NeighborSpace. In addition, Boone served as a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the Ramuson Foundation, and the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Program in Ohio. In 2010, she was awarded the Actors Equity Association Spirit Award; and, in 2011, she received the August Wilson Award from the Goodman Theatre.

Michelle T. Boone was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.219

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2013

Last Name

Boone

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

T.

Occupation
Schools

Indiana University

First Name

Michelle

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BOO03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Marrakesh, Morroco

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/17/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

City commissioner Michelle Boone (1961 - ) was the former senior program officer of Arts and Culture for The Joyce Foundation, and served as Commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Employment

WBBM TV

WLS TV

Virgin Records

Peace Corps

Gallery 37

Joyce Foundation

DePaul University

City of Chicago

WMAQ TV

Favorite Color

Black

Eugene H. Dibble, III

Eugene Heriot Dibble, III, was born on July 22, 1929, at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama where he was one of four children born to Dr. Eugene Heriot Dibble, Jr., a physician at A. Andrew Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee. Dibble graduated from the Monson Academy preparatory school in Massachusetts and then received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the Tuskegee Institute in 1952. During his undergraduate career, Dibble also worked in the chemistry laboratory at John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital under the tutelage of famed immunologist Dr. Reuben Kahn at the University of Michigan. Following college graduation, Dibble was called to active duty in the United States Air Force and served as a munitions and demolition officer. He was discharged at the rank of second lieutenant. Following his tenure in the U.S. Air Force, Dibble attended the New York Institute of Finance and completed the broker’s trainee program in 1954. Only a year later, Dibble passed the examination to become a registered stock broker on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dibble worked as a stockbroker for the investment firm of Strauss, Blosser and MacDowell from 1956 until 1962. Dibble was one of only three African American stockbrokers working in Chicago investment firms. In 1965, Dibble and Rufus Cook began the Astro Investment Company. The goal of this business was to expand African American influence within the economy through direct investment. Muhammad Ali was one of his clients. In 1966, Dibble ran as the Republican candidate for Water Commissioner for the City of Chicago and was elected to a six-year term. He also served as trustee and chairman of the Metropolitan Sanitary District’s Committee on Maintenance and Operation in 1972. Following his tenure in this position, he owned numerous businesses including Jackson Parks Storage, Piggley Wrigley Bar-B-Q, New Racks Garage and Olly Trolly. In addition to these business endeavors, Dibble also volunteered for the Salvation Army Canteen Program.

Dibble received numerous civic awards, including Honorary Sheriff of Maywood and the Danny Davis Congressional Roll of Honor. He married Jeanette Campbell on August 6, 1955. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Yale University School of Nursing. The couple has five children: Rochon, Chyla, Eugene, Andrew and Hillary.

Dibble passed away on June 6, 2014, at the age of 84.

Dibble was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.085

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/14/2008 |and| 7/18/2008

Last Name

Dibble

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

H.

Organizations
Schools

Lincoln University

Wilbraham & Monson Academy

Tuskegee University

First Name

Eugene

Birth City, State, Country

Tuskegee

HM ID

DIB01

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Aetna

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Get Along.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/22/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bacon

Death Date

6/6/2014

Short Description

Investment banker and city commissioner Eugene H. Dibble, III (1929 - 2014 ) founded the Astro Investment Company in Chicago in 1965. From 1966 to 1972, he served as Chicago's Water Commissioner. He also owned numerous businesses.

Employment

U.S. Air Force

Hornblower & Weeks

Wayne Hummer & Co.

E.H.D. & Sons, Inc.

Straus, Blosser & McDowell

Metropolitan Sanitary District of Chicago

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:924,16:17286,171:38138,531:52518,783:65500,887:67072,950:80614,1141:107961,1540:129128,1991:170660,2374:184160,2507$0,0:87620,937:105170,1166:168560,1896
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eugene H. Dibble, III's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers his uncle, Robert Rochon Taylor

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his family's experiences of segregation

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers his paternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls his mother's role at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls his family's movie theater in Camden, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls the annual clinic of the John A. Andrew Clinical Society

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his father's medical career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers meeting African American physicians at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes patients at the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Medical Center

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers his childhood horse

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers George Washington Carver, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers George Washington Carver, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls the presidents of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers his father's community service

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes Monson Academy in Monson, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls his experiences at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his return to Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers the Tuskegee Advanced Flying School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls Eleanor Roosevelt's visits to Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers Tuskegee Airman Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls joining the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers graduating from Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his experiences in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers General Curtis LeMay

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls being hired at Wayne Hummer and Co. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his early experience with investments

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls his early businesses in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his connection to Muhammad Ali

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers meeting Muhammad Ali for the first time

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his friendship with Muhammad Ali

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes the black business network in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls helping Muhammad Ali and Elijah Muhammad acquire their homes

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about the founding of Seaway Bank and Trust Company in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his disinterest in board service

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about his highest grossing financial deal

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Eugene H. Dibble, III shares his advice for aspiring investors, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about investment opportunities, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Eugene H. Dibble, III reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers Chicago Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls running for Cook County public office

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls the Blackstone Rangers' attempt to rob his garage

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers the 1967 blizzard in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls becoming commissioner of the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III reflects upon his life and legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about smoking a cigar with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Eugene H. Dibble, III's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his early career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls his brokerage work for Elijah Muhammad

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls founding his own firm, E.H.D. and Sons, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble, III lists the firms where he worked in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes the office of E.H.D. & Sons, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls representing Elijah Muhammad

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls his brokerage work for John H. Johnson

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about his children

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his children's upbringing

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about his children's education

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his car collection

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers his carry out restaurant in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about his father's involvement in the Tuskegee syphilis experiment

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble remembers the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls the doctors involved in the Tuskegee syphilis experiment

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about investing in his children's education

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Eugene H. Dibble, III shares his advice for aspiring investors, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about investment opportunities, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Eugene H. Dibble, III explains how he identifies potential investments

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his conversations with Chicagoans

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about successful African American businesswomen

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Eugene H. Dibble, III talks about networking in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Eugene H. Dibble, III describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Eugene H. Dibble, III narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Eugene H. Dibble, III remembers meeting Muhammad Ali for the first time
Eugene H. Dibble, III recalls his brokerage work for Elijah Muhammad
Transcript
Tell us how you first met Muhammad Ali.$$I first met Muhammad Ali at our garage. He came in there and filled up his car and didn't have no money to pay for the gas.$$Now this is 69th [Street] and--$$Stony Island [Avenue].$$Stony Island, okay.$$The garage is right there on the curb, next to the funeral home.$$Now, Ali lived, didn't he live in South Shore [Chicago, Illinois] then, near the lake [Lake Michigan]--$$Yeah.$$--around 67th [Street] and the lake?$$He lived over in that high rise.$$Oh, yeah, yeah, okay. So he wasn't that far away.$$No.$$Okay, so, well tell us what happened. He came in the garage to get his car fixed?$$He came in and got his gas and then wanted to drive off and didn't have the money, and I put my dog on him and scared him to death. (Laughter) He left the car. Who was that? Vaughn [Vaughn Chandler (ph.)] took the, Vaughn took the dog and kept him from biting him. Vaughn's the fellow that's worked for me for about thirty-five years. He grabbed the dog and kept him from biting Ali.$$So did he, what kind of car was he driving? A big Cadillac or something?$$Cadillac.$$Cadillac, okay. Now did you realize that was Muhammad Ali at the time?$$I didn't know who he was, no.$$You just knew he didn't pay?$$I knew he didn't pay, and that was a mistake making him 'cause he sure came back after that and then, during his impoverished years (laughter).$$So what happened when you discovered, how did you discover it was him? Did you go out and, after they pulled the dog off?$$Huh?$$I mean, after they called the dog back, then you discovered it was Muhammad Ali?$$Somebody else knew who it was and then told me who it was.$$So what did you do at that point?$$One of my employees knew who he was. I didn't bother him, we became friends and he hung out at the garage every day from then on. I inherited a lot of him.$$You say, a lot of him, who else came by the garage?$$We had four or five of 'em that'd come by, didn't have any money and was down on their--$$(JEANETTE CAMPBELL DIBBLE): Was it--Mahalia Jackson's husband [Sigmond Galloway].$$Mahalia--$$(JEANETTE CAMPBELL DIBBLE): Morris Tynes [Morris H. Tynes].$$Morris Tynes. Oh, and the list goes--$$So these are famous African Americans in the neighborhood, or they have some kind of fame for one reason or another, and Muhammad Ali is the most famous African American in the world in those days, he's coming by, hanging out at the garage.$$That's right. That's the only way he ate, coming by and getting me.$Now at one point you were also a financial advisor to Elijah Muhammad?$$That's correct.$$How did that relationship develop?$$Well, Elijah Muhammad called me and invited me over to his home one day, and we sat down and talked for quite a length of time, and he had a lot of things that he wanted to do and I agreed that I would help him. One of the first things he wanted to do was to buy an airplane, and he hadn't been successful in buying airplanes, so I had some friends down in Nashville, Tennessee that had some planes, and I went down to Nashville and talked with them and was able to get a plane for him. It was a plane that was set up for private individuals. It was really a corporate jet, and I was able to get that for him and he bought it. I think he paid about $7.5 million for it. I know he did. That's what he paid for it. But he wanted to use it as he traveled around the country and for his associates to use and have an opportunity to be up to date in having a facility where they could go back and forth across the country.$$Did you help him get financing for that purchase?$$He didn't need financing; he financed it himself.$$Now you were also involved in the purchase of the mosque on Stony Island Avenue [Mosque Maryam, Chicago, Illinois]?$$That's correct.$$What was your involvement in that?$$Well, I arranged for the financing for it, and I arranged for him the purchase of it.$$(JEANETTE CAMPBELL DIBBLE): Did you select the site?$$The fight?$$(JEANETTE CAMPBELL DIBBLE): The site?$$Yes, the site was the property on Stony Island.$$So you arranged the purchase of that property?$$Yes. I had a garage on Stony Island also, and it was a very large garage, and he came to me knowing that I had this facility and told me that he was looking for a facility on Stony Island, and I located it for him and arranged for the financing of it and for the acquisition of it.

Thelma Gibson

Thelma Vernell Anderson Gibson was born on December 17, 1926 in Coconut Grove, Florida. She was the sixth of fourteen children born to Sweetlon Counts Albury Anderson and Thomas Theodore Anderson. At that time, Coconut Grove was divided into “Colored Town” and “White Town”. Gibson lived in “Colored Town,” and her parents’ house on Charles Street had no electricity or running water. Gibson graduated in February of 1944 from George Washington Carver High School.

Gibson attended Saint Agnes School of Nursing at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina. In August of 1947, she became a registered nurse specializing in operating techniques. Gibson worked in the “Colored Wards” of Jackson Memorial Hospital. Before continuing her education under the tutelage of Dr. Mary Carnegie at Florida A&M University and between 1954 and 1955, Gibson attended Washington, D.C.’s Catholic University. In 1956, she attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied cancer and communicable diseases. Gibson attended the University of Miami from 1957 to 1958 and earned her B.S. degree in nursing education in 1959, after one year of study at the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York.

Gibson has worked in a variety of health organizations including the E.J. Hall Clinic in Miami, Florida; the Gallinger Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.; the Dade County Health Department; and the Riverside Hospital for Teenaged Drug Addicts. She also served as Nursing Supervisor and Part-time Social Worker for Mount Sinai Hospital from 1967 until 1980. In August, 1997, Gibson was appointed Miami’s interim City Commissioner. In 1984, she founded the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Dade County.

Gibson has received many honors and awards, including a membership as Founder of the Jewish Home for the Aged, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award, the Jewish Home and Hospital Women’s Auxiliary Sacred Heart Award, and the Jackson Memorial Hospital Image Committee Award, among others. She is also President of the Theodore Roosevelt Gibson Memorial Fund, Inc.; a Trustee at the University of Miami; a Life Member of the NAACP; and she serves on the board for the Coconut Grove Cares Mental Health Association. She sponsored the Gibson Health Initiative, which provides testing and assistance for HIV/AIDS. In the fall of 2000, she published her autobiography, Forbearance, Thelma Vernell Anderson Gibson, the Life of a Coconut Grove Native. She also helped form the Theodore and Thelma School of the Performing Arts in Coconut Grove, named after herself and her late husband, the late Reverend Canon Theodore Roosevelt Gibson.

Accession Number

A2006.019

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/16/2006

Last Name

Gibson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Vernell

Schools

George Washington Carver High School

St. Augustine's University

Coconut Grove Elementary School

First Name

Thelma

Birth City, State, Country

Coconut Grove

HM ID

GIB05

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

How About That.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

12/17/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cocunut Grove

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peas (Pigeon), Rice, Fish, Salad

Death Date

5/2/2011

Short Description

City commissioner and nurse Thelma Gibson (1926 - 2011 ) worked in the city government of Miami, Florida.

Favorite Color

Orange, Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thelma Gibson describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thelma Gibson describes how her family prioritized education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thelma Gibson describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thelma Gibson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thelma Gibson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thelma Gibson describes her family's community in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thelma Gibson describes her parents' marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thelma Gibson recalls her relationship with her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thelma Gibson describes her schools in Coconut Grove, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thelma Gibson describes community institutions in Coconut Grove, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thelma Gibson recalls growing up during the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thelma Gibson recalls joining the Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thelma Gibson describes the start of her nursing career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thelma Gibson recalls moving to Richmond Heights, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thelma Gibson describes going back to school for nursing

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thelma Gibson recalls her career after her marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thelma Gibson talks about volunteering after her husband's death

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thelma Gibson describes her community development work in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thelma Gibson describes her history with the University of Miami

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thelma Gibson describes charity projects that bear her name

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thelma Gibson talks about awards she has won in her community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thelma Gibson describes her hopes for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thelma Gibson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thelma Gibson narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Thelma Gibson recalls growing up during the Great Depression
Thelma Gibson recalls joining the Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II
Transcript
We just left off, describing life in Coconut Grove [Miami, Florida]. Now you were born right before the Depression [Great Depression] and you came of age right before and during World War II [WWII]. What are some of things that you remember about those two pivotal times?$$I could remember during the '30s [1930s], early '30s [1930s], during the Depression, that people had to go to welfare. And Mr. Jackson, we had a man by the name of Melvin Jackson, who was a social worker for this area. And he ran cleaners right on the corner of Douglas [Road]--on the corner of Hibiscus [Street] and Grand [Avenue]. And his wife did the sewing and repairs in there, and he did the welfare. So, those people who had to go for flour and rice and that sort of thing, he sort of decided who. And he was the person who would decide who would get the things that government was giving out. And I could remember us going to get rice and flour, and then there was a meat market. And we had a man name Thomas Horse [ph.] and Mr. Horse would always save the bones from the meat after he cut it up. And said, "This was for Ms. Anderson [Sweetlon Albury Anderson], come here child, get these bones to take home to your mama to make some soup." And so people looked out for you. Everybody knew who needed what, and they sort of helped. And so I could remember wearing clothes that were made out of flour sacks. They would get the gingham and make little skirts and stuff for you out of the material that came with the flour sacks. So it was a time that I remember that people went for. And we were a part of that group who had to get some of the things from the Jacksons, the sugar and the rice and the flour. And mama knew how to make bread and papa [Thomas Anderson] always made johnny cake. So we survived through the whole area of--and never, never had a day that we were hungry. People always looked out for you. And my grandparents would, my aunts and my uncles would look out. I had aunts who had favorite children, my aunt, one aunt had let my brother Percy [Percy Anderson] and she looked out for him and did almost everything for him. I had an aunt who loved my brother Billy [William Anderson] and she did everything for Billy. And bought his clothes, and I had an aunt who would bring us school clothes and the things that we needed. We were able to get, because we had all these relatives all around. And while we were--there were a lot of us, mama was the only one, and I guess from her family, who had all these children, papa was the only one from his family. My papa had one sister, his oldest sister had one girl. His second sister had three children, two boys and a girl. And his third sister had a boy and a girl. And they were the only family members I had one cousin living from my paternal--papa's side of the family. Whereas, mama had, he had eleven of us, and between all of them they just had six.$$Right.$$So it was like everybody having--my Uncle John [ph.] who had no children, would always bring bread, and oh we had my cinnamon buns and stuff that he'd bring from the bakery. Holsum Bakery [South Miami, Florida] over town where he worked. And it always nice to see him coming, 'cause you knew he was coming with all these goodies and stuff. And then mama's family always looked out for us, and so we were well taken care. I had, I worked for Ms. Sawyer [ph.], on Saturdays I scrubbed her kitchen and got twenty-five cents. And that twenty-five cents paid for my ten cents to go to the movies, and five cents for popcorn and then you went to the Dew Drop Inn [Miami, Florida] and got a five cents ice cream cone. So they were the days that you had little but everything cost little, so we managed to survive. And then I had a nickel for Sunday school for the next day. So, and we went to Sunday school, went to church in the morning at eleven o'clock. Went home, had dinner, you were back at Sunday school at three o'clock. You went to Young People's Service League at six o'clock and then back at church at seven thirty. So it was your day, your Sundays were taken up with church. Now when my late husband [Theodore Roosevelt Gibson] came to Christ Church [Christ Episcopal Church, Miami, Florida], and he wasn't my husband at the time, when he came here. But he started saying that church was more than just a Sunday thing. So he started having Young People's Service League on Mondays. So the kids would go, would not have to go to Sunday school on Sunday and then Young People's Service League and then back to church. They were able to go to Sunday school and then the next day at six o'clock on Monday, you went to Young People's Service League. And so things started being spread out over the whole week rather than everything being on Sundays. But by then I was away in nursing school, when he came to Christ Church.$That was the Depression [Great Depression], what about, what effect did World War II [WWII] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) When the war, when I, I never shall forget, I could hear the news that December 7th of 1941, when they said the World War, that Pearl Harbor [Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii] had struck and the war was on. And things began to move around here, and people started going to the [U.S.] Army. But it wasn't until 1944 that I really felt what it all meant, because my brother and one of my classmates, Thomas [Thomas E. Anderson] and my classmate Earl Counts [ph.] were called, and they had to go. And they were just boys of 19 and 20, 18 and 19, and it began to hit home that this was real, this thing called war. And, fortunately though, because of the war, they started the [U.S.] Cadet Nurse Corps, and I was able to get my nursing, I went into the Cadet Nurse Corps. When I went, not knowing anything about it, when I got to St. Agnes [St. Agnes Hospital, Raleigh, North Carolina], mama [Sweetlon Albury Anderson] and papa [Thomas Anderson] had borrowed three hundred dollars for me to get on the train to go Raleigh [North Carolina] to go to nursing school.$$Three hundred dollars.$$So, they borrowed three hundred dollars. They bought my train ticket, and they pinned the rest of the money in my bosom, so that I could pay my tuition and everything. When I got to Raleigh, there was a nurse there that was from Coconut Grove [Miami, Florida] who was the assistant director nurse, Myrtle Albury, she was Myrtle Roberts at the time. And she said, "You know, they have the Cadet Nurse Corps and we could sign you up to be a Cadet Nurse, you won't have to pay any money. And they give fifteen dollars a month for the first two years. And then when you get to be a senior you get thirty dollars a month." Well that was a lot of money in those days. And so there was no phone for me to call mama to tell her this, so I wrote her and told her that I was going to be joining the Nurse Cadet Corps. Well, she wrote me back and told me, no I wasn't. Because she didn't want me in the Army, my brother was in the Army. She didn't want me in the Army, she did not understand that this was not the Army. The Nurse Cadet Corps, all you want to do was promise that you would work at least two years after you finished your nursing school. You would work for two years and that would pay back Uncle Sam. So, and then when I told her I was going to send her some money back, it made a difference. And I wrote and said, "Mama, I join this, they give you a uniform, you get an overcoat and all this stuff, wool stuff. And you don't have to pay any money, so I'm going to send you two hundred dollars back." So Myrtle got the money order for me to send her the money back, and I joined the Cadet Corps. And then the first time I came home in this uniform--and you'll see it in my book of pictures, of me in my cadet uniform--they were all so proud, even though she thought I was still in the Army because it was a uniform. And I said, "No, all I gotta do is, to be sure that I work two years after I finish." So the Army Nurse Cadet Corps came about in I guess in 1942 and it ended in '48 [1948] or '49 [1949]. But it was an opportunity, there was a shortage of nursing at that time, and because of the war, the government put up the money to train. And at that time it was called nurses' training, now it's nurses' education. But then we called it training, because we went to school but then we actually trained in the hospital where you took care of patients from the time you got there, pretty much.

The Honorable Judith C. Rice

Former City Treasurer for the City of Chicago, Judith Carol Rice was born on July 30, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. The granddaughter of sharecroppers and daughter of Thelma Dean Martin and Fred Rice, Chicago’s first African American Police Superintendent, Rice attended Avalon Park Elementary School and Mercy High School. While attending high school, Rice was a member of the drama club and performed in the lead role for her high school’s production of Hello Dolly. Rice graduated from high school in 1975, and attended Northern Illinois University from 1975 to 1976. In 1977, Rice began attending Loyola University and graduated cum laude with her B.A. degree in communications in 1981.

In 1982, Rice was hired to work in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Rice rose from a Victim/Witness Assistant to Assistant to the Illinois State’s Attorney. While working in the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office, in 1984, Rice decided to further her education by attending John Marshall Law School. In 1988, Rice earned her J.D. degree and was admitted to the Illinois Bar. In 1989, Rice began her career with the City of Chicago serving as Assistant Corporation Counsel. Rice went on to become the city’s managing Deputy Director and then Director of the Department of Revenue from 1993 to 1995. It was in these positions that Rice was instrumental in the complete overhaul of Chicago’s parking ticket collection system. Also in1995, Rice worked as a staff member for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Between 1996 and 2000, Rice became the first woman commissioner of two of the biggest infrastructure agencies in City of Chicago government; from 1996 to 1999, she served as Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Water, and from 1999 to 2000, she served as head of the Chicago Department of Transportation. In November of 2000, Rice was appointed by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley as City Treasurer. As City Treasurer, Rice was responsible for all cash and investments for the City of Chicago.

Accession Number

A2005.165

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/18/2005

Last Name

Rice

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Organizations
Schools

Mercy High School

Avalon Park Elementary School

Loyola University Chicago

John Marshall Law School

First Name

Judith

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

RIC10

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Barbara Burrell

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/30/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

City treasurer, city government appointee, and city commissioner The Honorable Judith C. Rice (1957 - ) was the first woman to serve as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Water and head of the Chicago Department of Transportation. Rice also served as City Treasurer for the City of Chicago under the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Employment

City of Chicago Office of the Treasurer

Cook County State's Attorney's Office

City of Chicago Department of Transportation

City of Chicago Department of Revenue

City of Chicago Department of Water Management

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1125,53:6516,150:10866,229:14085,260:14955,273:15651,282:18000,313:23430,335:27190,397:27510,402:29110,429:29430,434:33110,493:33590,501:34630,519:35750,544:36230,551:38150,608:38630,615:38950,626:40230,651:41750,672:42550,685:51360,739:55460,821:55788,826:57428,859:59314,891:59806,898:60380,907:60708,912:61282,924:61692,930:64972,990:71664,1065:71988,1070:72636,1079:73365,1090:74499,1110:74823,1115:75552,1126:75876,1131:76929,1157:78063,1181:78549,1188:82032,1248:83166,1268:92589,1369:93051,1397:94745,1443:95053,1448:97902,1512:98364,1520:101840,1526:106922,1619:107769,1636:109386,1669:110618,1690:111157,1699:113005,1734:113775,1750:114083,1755:123591,1859:124504,1873:125168,1886:126247,1901:126662,1907:127077,1922:128488,1945:129069,1960:131061,2009:135626,2087:136207,2102:136539,2107:141468,2118:141924,2125:144432,2185:145116,2197:145876,2221:148688,2278:149296,2287:149752,2295:151196,2318:154240,2323:155228,2340:156064,2364:156976,2383:157280,2388:161308,2480:162372,2499:162676,2504:166671,2531:166979,2536:167441,2544:168596,2556:173250,2596:173810,2606:176610,2665:176930,2670:177570,2679:179570,2716:182640,2729:183084,2741:183676,2751:185082,2790:193668,2905:196086,2957:197334,2978:199830,3015:201780,3048:215970,3238$0,0:3268,66:4386,78:6622,139:18920,347:26312,392:27740,414:28412,423:28748,428:35552,528:37064,547:37652,555:40088,590:41264,655:45380,718:46556,736:54482,802:58266,861:58954,870:60588,905:61276,917:64974,971:65404,977:67296,1013:75294,1144:75724,1150:82160,1183:86156,1276:87266,1294:89934,1305:90304,1315:90674,1321:91044,1327:91562,1335:92154,1341:92450,1346:94448,1382:110430,1546:114842,1601:117800,1622:118136,1627:118640,1634:119144,1642:119816,1652:120152,1657:121160,1671:121496,1676:121832,1681:123008,1695:124100,1710:126200,1741:126788,1750:131917,1788:132415,1795:133494,1816:134573,1833:137395,1871:140338,1911:140905,1922:141220,1928:142921,1968:144180,1973
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of the Honorable Judith C. Rice's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her maternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her maternal grandparents, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice shares her father's perspective on education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her father's career in the Chicago Police Department

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice reflects upon her father's career in the Chicago Police Department

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes Chicago's Avalon Park community

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her family's relationship to church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her early home life

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice remembers her educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her time at Mercy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice explains how she entered Chicago's Loyola University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes majoring in corporate communications

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her work for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her time at Chicago's John Marshall Law School, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her time at Chicago's John Marshall Law School, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice remembers passing the Illinois State Bar

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her work for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in 1988

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice talks about the U.S. criminal justice system

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice reflects upon the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her career trajectory in the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her work as Chicago's revenue director

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice talks about Chicago's parking regulations

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her work as Chicago's water commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes the benefits of law school

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice recalls becoming Chicago's treasurer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her role as Chicago's treasurer

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes Our Money Matters financial literacy programs

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice reflects upon her work as Chicago's treasurer

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice talks about running for political office and her investment philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her parents' support

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

10$1

DATitle
The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her father's career in the Chicago Police Department
The Honorable Judith C. Rice describes her work as Chicago's water commissioner
Transcript
Your father [HistoryMaker Fred Rice, Jr.] became the first black superintendent of police for the City of Chicago [Illinois], right? Can you tell us about and how it affected, I guess the rest of the family, you know?$$Sure. I think the road that he took to achieve that position really affected us most of all because, when I was a small child, my father did a lot of different jobs. He was a taxi driver. He worked for the post office for a while. And he didn't seem to really have his foot in anything. And he applied to the [Chicago] Police Department and to the [Chicago] Fire Department. And he always says that, that in his mind whoever called him first was where he was going. And he felt that he could push into either of those departments. The police department called him up first and he went through that process. But at the time he was hired on the police department, blacks were not just part of the whole department, city-wide. He had to go into the park district police [Chicago Park District Police Department]. And so he went into the park district police and worked there in the park system and then somewhere, I think in the early '60s [1960s], the police department expanded and allowed African Americans to come a part of the general force. And he was a patrolman for a while. All through my childhood he was a patrolman and then my mother [Thelma Martin Rice] said, "You know you've been a patrolman for a long time, and you're not going anywhere in this department, and you need to start taking the tests to get some rank." And he kind of you know poo-poo her, I don't need to do that, that's one thing. So it was my mother that really got on him to take the tests. And he took the sergeant's exam and scored very high and became a sergeant and then he went on to take the lieutenant's and captain's. And I think his first kind of break in the department was being named district commander. And he was named district commander, I think of both the Fillmore [Police] District and Englewood Police District. And Englewood, that's when he really started to get into things and become part of the higher echelon of the department. So the night that he was named. And I think the other opportunity--opportune thing was Harold Washington becoming mayor. Because Harold had the same background as my father. As a matter of fact, they knew of each other all their lives. Harold was a bit older than my father. But they came from the same place and knew the same people. And so I think it came down to three final contenders, and he hung out there a few days, not knowing what the result would be. But I remember being at home watching television and the night that he was named and he knew but he would not tell any of us (laughter) until it was official. And just the excitement of all of us that were there. And I think a couple of his sisters and brothers where over. And it just--just felt such a since of pride in him and his accomplishments and kind of the road that he had taken to get to that position.$$Okay. So this was in 1984, '83 [1983] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah it would have been '83 [1983]--I think '83, '84, somewhere in there. Because he retired in '87 [1987].$Now you were commissioner of water from '96 [1996] 'til 2000, now what does a commissioner of water do in the City of Chicago [Illinois]?$$Well, the city has the function of providing fresh drinking water to the city, so all the water's taken out of Lake Michigan and purified, so the commissioner's got to make sure that all the com- staff is in place to do that. All the infrastructure is happening, all of the projects that surround providing fresh drinking water are done. So, we're more--I think I (unclear) as more of a planning phase and project manager and implementation in that department [Chicago Department of Water Management]. One of the things we did was we privatized the whole engineering division because they were coming out with only a couple of projects a year, and so we got a private company in to help us to really spit out different projects that we had to get done to get the whole water system modernized. And we moved up to replacing like fifty miles of water mains in the City of Chicago. Tried to keep the infrastructure tight, keep it current. And it was--it was an awesome job. I mean I attended a lot of water management programs all over the country. And got us involved with different water management groups that tried to bring new technology to the city. And there are still plans sitting there that probably will be implemented in the future, that we participated in bringing to the table.$$Okay, so really what you have developed, I guess, is a reputation for being--manage well--$$Yes, I think if anything that is the way I look at it. And even being treasurer I look at, what things need to happen in this department to make sure that we are a protecting the revenue in terms of getting it into the right banks and being--maximizing the city's revenue. How are we going to get the biggest return for the monies that we have. And how are we going to have the systems in place that are going to be able to help us do that?

Reverend Constance Jackson

Ordained minister and former City Commissioner for District One of Texas City, Texas Constance Jenell Jackson was born on September 9, 1960 in Wharton, Texas. Jackson comes from a family filled with ministers. Her paternal great-great grandfather, maternal great grandfather, grandfather, and uncle were all ministers. She is one of five children by the late Lewis B. Jackson, Sr., an educator and football coach, and Sweetie Beatrice Crawford Jackson, a retired mental health administrator. Jackson grew up in Pledger, Texas and attended Newgulf Elementary School, Iago Junior High, and graduated from Boling High School in 1979. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a B.A. degree in government.

During Jackson’s first semester at the University of Texas at Austin, she majored in pharmacy, but in her second semester, she changed her major to government when she discovered that Barbara Jordan was teaching at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She would subsequently secure an internship at the LBJ School, where she would be mentored by the late congresswoman. During Jackson’s childhood, Barbara Jordan’s uncle served as pastor of her church. After college and with her government degree, Jackson became involved in politics. In 1983, Jackson served as Texas Democratic Party’s assistant primary director and also served as fund-raising executive for Texas Commissioner Garry Mauro. In 1984, Jackson became Capitol Administrator to Texas State Senator Chet Brooks at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. In 1990, Jackson was promoted to District Administrator by Brooks to oversee his Harris and Galveston County district offices. Jackson worked for Senator Brooks for ten years in these capacities. In 1992, Jackson won a citywide election and became City Commissioner for District One of Texas City, Texas, making her the first African American woman ever elected to a city council position in the entire history of Galveston County.

In addition to her work as city commissioner of District One, Jackson served on the board of the Galveston County American Red Cross and started and supervised the Legislative Internship Program under the auspices of State Senator Chet Brooks.

In 1995, Jackson was involved in a nearly fatal car accident that changed the course of her life. In 1996, she was called to the ministry and in 2001 began her seminary matriculation at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

She served five terms as city commissioner and, in 2002, she retired from this position and became a full-time minister.

Accession Number

A2005.147

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/23/2005 |and| 8/3/2005

Last Name

Jackson

Marital Status

Single

Organizations
Schools

Boling High School

Newgulf Elementary School

Iago Junior High School

University of Texas at Austin

First Name

Constance

Birth City, State, Country

Wharton

HM ID

JAC13

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lucerne, Switzerland

Favorite Quote

Don't Follow My Footsteps. Make Your Own Tracks.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

9/9/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

City commissioner and minister Reverend Constance Jackson (1960 - ) was a city legislator for District One of Texas City, TX

Employment

Gary Mauro's Texas Land Commissioner Campaign

Texas City, City Council

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:816,18:2037,47:5034,87:7235,99:7530,105:7884,112:8238,120:8592,130:13548,262:13843,268:14433,281:20466,367:24266,440:25558,465:25862,470:26470,480:31258,588:37718,804:41746,857:49720,952:50052,957:50799,968:52625,1007:57522,1061:57854,1095:58186,1101:58518,1106:58850,1111:61672,1166:62087,1172:63498,1193:63913,1198:64826,1216:66154,1236:66901,1246:69889,1303:70221,1310:82060,1446:82380,1451:84536,1476:84921,1482:88155,1545:88463,1550:90465,1590:91235,1601:93391,1647:93853,1655:94700,1668:95932,1686:97318,1705:98088,1716:101050,1730:103156,1784:103468,1789:106666,1851:118140,2014:118700,2022:120700,2065:121180,2072:124300,2139:125020,2157:125340,2162:130151,2198:130685,2205:133355,2254:134334,2275:134868,2293:135224,2298:142830,2365$0,0:672,33:1920,49:2400,55:3168,64:16004,316:16409,322:18839,359:24292,410:26915,462:34040,613:34565,634:41390,794:45590,888:46565,998:58218,1113:60570,1170:61074,1177:62586,1209:63846,1232:64686,1248:85990,1620:86270,1625:93780,1701:99480,1851:99784,1857:100468,1869:114870,2096:116580,2123:119280,2160:139600,2498:140020,2510:140692,2519:141112,2525:143296,2564:148220,2598
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Constance Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her mother's life in Cuero, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson recounts how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls how music influenced her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the African American community of Pledger, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls lessons from her family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes pastimes from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls Newgulf Elementary School in Newgulf, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes Iago Junior High School in Iago, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls Boling High School in Boling, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes high school football in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls her baptism

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about her childhood church

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls admiring Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls a lesson from Barbara Jordan, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls a lesson from Barbara Jordan, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about moral leadership in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes Barbara Jordan's personality

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the expectations for female public figures

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes Garry Mauro's campaign for Texas land commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls being hired by Texas State Senator Chet Brooks, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls being hired by Texas State Senator Chet Brooks, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls campaigning for Chet Brooks in 1990, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls campaigning for Chet Brooks in 1990, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson remembers Wayne Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls opening a district office in Texas City, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her move to Texas City, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her decision to run for office

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes running for Texas City commissioner

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls her work as Texas City commissioner

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes challenges she faced as Texas City commissioner

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls founding the Carver Park Juneteenth celebration

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls how the Carver Park Juneteenth celebration grew

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes remodeling Carver Park's softball fields

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson explains why she retired from her commissionership

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson remembers being called to ministry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the importance of seminary education

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about practicing Christianity today

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Constance Jackson's interview, session two

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her first year in seminary

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about seminary education

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about black theology

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls teachers who influenced her at the Interdenominational Theological Center

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about the challenges of preaching

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon changes in African Americans' faith

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes challenges she encounters in her church

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon the black presence in the Bible, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon the black presence in the Bible, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about black spirituality beyond Christianity

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the influence of African culture on Christianity, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the influence of African culture on Christianity, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson explains the importance of practice over symbolism in religion

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her current work

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the role of women in the African American church

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about her mission trip to Lesotho, Africa

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon her life

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about her family

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the importance of role models

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about megachurches

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Reverend Constance Jackson narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Reverend Constance Jackson recalls lessons from her family
Reverend Constance Jackson describes her decision to run for office
Transcript
And my [paternal] grandfather [Ira P. Jackson] always told us that we, we possessed so much and he would always tell us that. He says, "If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have more than you can use, you have more than you can eat, you have more money than you can spend, that overage doesn't belong to you. So, you need to find out who that overage belongs to, and spend the rest of your life finding out who that overage belongs to." And so, we were Parks and Recreation in Pledger [Texas]. When folks wanted to play football, you know, a weekend game of football or baseball, we'd cut out one of the fields. We were the employment office.$$So, your family was (laughter) Parks and Recreation?$$Yeah, sure, we were--I mean, you know, we were the employment office. If you wanted a summer job, you'd haul hay, you'd herd the cows, you know, horses, groom horses, you know, for my dad [Lewis B. Jackson, Sr.] and granddad. So, we were brought up that we were supposed to make ways for people. And so all of us--it doesn't surprise me now that all of us are in professions that, that help people, you know. We're, we're school teachers, we're nurse practitioners, we're city council folks who champion the cause, causes of people who can't, who have no voice. So, that, that was just a part of, of who we were. My mom [Sweetie Crawford Jackson], I can remember, you know, just talking about growing up in this dichotomy, with having a really not many black friends and kids who treat you very, very poorly, my mom would make these wonderful dresses. My mom was an incredible seamstress and could sew anything. She could look at something on television or see something in, in a department store, and go home, and cut out a pattern, and make it. And so, we were always dressed to the nines. She made all of our clothes and what have you, but she would sew for the neighborhood kids. And we knew these folks didn't like us, but she says--but they don't know any better, baby. So, just always, that's how we were, we were brought up. I didn't like it. I can promise you that because it just seemed, it seemed unfair. But as I grew older, I realized that a lot of the issues that my peers had came from their parents, and I think a lot of their issues came from, came from poverty.$$Sort of a vicious cycle of all of this.$$Yeah, yeah.$And it's going, you know, it was going well--the whole district office piece and, and what have you. I was getting settled into it. And then, one day, you know, about five guys from this labor union, you know, these same people that had fought me--well, not fought me, but fought my boss [Senator Chet Brooks] two years earlier, you know, in this campaign, said, "We'd like for you to run for office, and we think you could win." And I just thought they were crazy 'cause I had sworn to myself that I would never run for office 'cause I saw what officeholders went through. And I certainly never wanted to be that beholden to the people. So, I said, "You know, I'll work for an officeholder, but I don't want to be one." They kept talking to me, kept talking to me, and I talked with the senator. He said, "Oh, yeah, it'll be fun." Of course, Wayne [Wayne Johnson] was out of his mind, you know, by saying--he says, "Do you know the hell we can raise, you know?" And I went, "Wayne--," he says, "Oh, yeah, you'll going to have to raise some hell if you get on council." He said, "You're going to be the only woman, too." I went, "Wayne, I'm not interested in making history. I'm not interested in raising hell," right? Well, following deadline day, 1992, in April, I called my mom [Sweetie Jackson Crawford]. I believe my mom has breakfast with God every morning. This is how spiritual I believe my mom is. And I believe, you know, Mom, you know, Mom can, you know, go up to Heaven, or God can come down to earth and talk to my mom, and she has an instant answer, instant answer. So, I call her, it was that morning. I said, "Mom," I said, "you know, I, you know, I've told you some people have approached me, you know, about running for office." And she says, "Yeah, baby, I know." I said, "Well, mom, I need you to pray and, you know, talk to the Lord," I said, "'cause I need an answer." I said, "I really don't know what to do. I really don't want to do this, but if you tell me that the Lord says yes, then I'll go down there and file." It's about 4:40 p.m. on filing deadline day--the last day that you can file for a place on the ballot. And I call my mom. I went, "Mom, have you been praying? Did you talk to the Lord?" And she said, "Well, yeah, baby." I said, "Well, what did He say?" She said, "I told Him to talk to you" (laughter). Y- I, I was so frustrated, and I still can't tell you. I don't know if it was a lapse of sanity or, or what it was, but I still don't remember going down to city hall, and filling out the papers. All I know is that I did.

The Honorable Bobbie Steele

Cook County Commissioner Bobbie L. Steele was born October 18, 1937, in Cleveland, Mississippi, to Mary and Abraham Rodgers. Steele has served as a commissioner since 1986, making her the longest serving African American woman in the history of Cook County government.

The oldest of seven siblings, Steele left her hometown after graduating from high school in 1954. She attended Alabama A&M University in Huntsville before moving to Chicago. Marrying Robert P. Steele in 1956, Bobbie Steele completed a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1966, attending night classes at the Chicago Teachers College (now Chicago State University). She immediately went to work in the Chicago Public Schools. Returning to studies of her own, Steele earned an M.A. degree from Roosevelt University in 1982.

With significant community and political organizing experience under her belt, Steele sought election to the Cook County Board of Commissioners with the support of Mayor Harold Washington. In 1986, Steele won in a landslide and has worked since that time to ensure minority and female participation in county contract bids. Steele also co-sponsored Cook County's human rights and ethics ordinances and is the first and only African American woman to serve as chairperson of the Finance Committee of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Steele has served nationally in leadership positions, chairing the National Association of Counties’ Deferred Compensation Advisory Committee and serving as president of the National Association of Black County Officials. Locally, she has served on the Women's Committee of Chicago, the Chicago Women's Center, Operation Brotherhood, the Aids Foundation of Chicago and numerous other organizations. Steele and her husband have seven adult children and twelve grandchildren.

On July 19, 2006, Steele was named the interim president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, replacing John Stroger who had to resign because of poor health. In December of 2006, Steele retired as interim president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Steele was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 1, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.109

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/1/2002

Last Name

Steele

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Colored Consolidated High School

Alabama A&M University

Chicago State University

Roosevelt University

First Name

Bobbie

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

STE03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Savannah, Georgia

Favorite Quote

You Become What You Think About.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/18/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pears

Short Description

City commissioner The Honorable Bobbie Steele (1937 - ) was the longest serving African American female county commissioner in Cook County history. In this role, she worked to ensure minority and female participation in all county contract bids.

Employment

Cook County Board of Commissioners

Chicago Public Schools

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2108,77:14274,229:15223,246:16099,259:28677,408:77940,1058:78340,1064:91482,1284:100214,1351:100988,1361:101848,1374:102450,1382:110312,1465:112032,1489:115290,1527:131114,1721:133270,1731:134485,1756:137563,1857:140803,1913:150840,2052:153521,2123:168312,2329:190866,2644:191474,2653:194890,2680$0,0:2401,25:9648,160:9956,181:29153,348:30518,364:32520,395:33066,403:33430,408:35614,436:36160,443:37434,470:40164,513:46094,548:46598,556:47030,563:47390,631:47822,638:55507,729:55879,748:63400,826:64312,838:64996,863:76940,1026:79280,1060:82340,1071:86012,1165:86624,1176:86896,1181:88596,1224:89412,1237:90024,1252:101730,1391:102038,1396:103732,1423:104887,1448:108028,1479:109096,1502:109808,1511:110164,1557:116297,1631:116589,1636:118122,1668:120020,1712:120312,1717:120604,1722:132678,1865:136568,1880:137448,1893:150804,2072:152566,2084:152881,2090:156780,2138:157488,2145:161759,2190:162074,2196:173350,2391:174142,2404:174406,2409:179996,2468:190307,2554:191144,2565:193004,2597:199785,2679:200310,2687:200760,2694:202456,2707:205780,2733:206900,2758:207300,2764:207620,2769:213220,2852:221310,2973
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bobbie Steele's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bobbie Steele lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bobbie Steele describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bobbie Steele describes her parents' family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bobbie Steele talks about her father being raised by a white family in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bobbie Steele talks about her father being a teacher in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bobbie Steele describes her mother's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bobbie Steele describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bobbie Steele compares the night sky in the city and the country

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bobbie Steele describes her childhood interests

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bobbie Steele describes the foods she ate as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Bobbie Steele describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Bobbie Steele talks about the books and magazines her family read

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Bobbie Steele talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Bobbie Steele describes her experiences in school

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Bobbie Steele describes her career aspirations as a young adult

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bobbie Steele talks about the teachers that influenced her, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bobbie Steele talks about the teachers that influenced her, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bobbie Steele describes Cleveland Colored Consolidated High School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bobbie Steele talks about her father's occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bobbie Steele describes her decision to attend Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bobbie Steele describes her decision to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bobbie Steele describes her involvement at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bobbie Steele describes the science professor who influenced her at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bobbie Steele talks about professors that inspired her at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bobbie Steele talks about why she left college and settled in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bobbie Steele talks about attending Chicago Teacher's College

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Bobbie Steele describes how a professor at Chicago Teacher's College challenged her to build her confidence

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Bobbie Steele describes how a professor at Chicago Teacher's College shaped her teaching skills

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Bobbie Steele talks about the early years of her marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Bobbie Steele describes her perception of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Bobbie Steele talks about her parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bobbie Steele talks about why her mother carried a gun

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bobbie Steele talks about accommodationist attitudes in Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bobbie Steele compares discrimination in Mississippi and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bobbie Steele comments on how integration impacted the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bobbie Steele talks about the black community's need to care for itself

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bobbie Steele comments on black-on-black crime

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bobbie Steele talks about her teaching career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bobbie Steele describes being drawn to community organizing

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bobbie Steele describes her civic and political involvement from the 1950s to the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bobbie Steele remembers Mayor Harold Washington's mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Bobbie Steele describes what launched her county government career in Cook County, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Bobbie Steele describes her relationship with Alderman William "Bill" Henry

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Bobbie Steele describes what motivated her to run for public office

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bobbie Steele describes how she learned about county government

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bobbie Steele remembers being elected Cook Count Commissioner in 1986

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bobbie Steele describes her goals as Cook County Commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bobbie Steele describes her role in amending the Cook County Purchasing Ordinance in 1988

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bobbie Steele talks about the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bobbie Steele describes her accomplishments as a Cook County Commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bobbie Steele talks about the issues, programs, and services she is currently focused on

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bobbie Steele talks about her future plans

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bobbie Steele talks about her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Bobbie Steele talks about the challenges and triumphs of being a county government official

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Bobbie Steele narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bobbie Steele narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

9$6

DATitle
Bobbie Steele describes her civic and political involvement from the 1950s to the 1980s
Bobbie Steele describes her accomplishments as a Cook County Commissioner
Transcript
So you felt that this subverted the voting process--(simultaneous)--$$It did indeed. So I started going to community meetings. And Bale (ph.) Whaley (ph.), who was a community leader out in the Lawndale area, invited me to the Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission to be coordinator of all the block clubs there. And I agreed to do that, during which time, Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission was looking for an executive director. And we brought in--they brought in Danny Davis [Congressman Danny K. Davis, HM]. I could not take this fellow with this bushy hair and this dashiki. And he was just like--I don't know. It was something about him I just didn't like. And so Ms. Whaley said, well, we, we, we think he's a nice guy. But when Danny began to talk, and I realized he was just, he was full of knowledge and, and, and totally committed. I had another res--I had different respect for him. So that's the way I first met Danny Davis. And I believe the Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission did hire him, and he worked there for a short time. Then I went on to work for the City of Chicago a short time under the War on Poverty program. That's what we called it then. It was created by the Economic Act of 1964. And I worked in that program for a short time. And so, someone needs to go out into the community and help people to learn how to connect with their resources, so I organized my block club. And I stayed president of the block club for about 20 some odd years or more. Then after I started teaching, I got involved with the Chicago Teacher's Union, so I was a union delegate for eight years. So I heard all the grievances and dealt with the principal of the school. So then after I'd really got involved with community work, I guess it was during Art Turner's [Illinois State Representative Arthur Turner, HM] election, maybe Danny Davis's or Art. I can't remember which one--think Danny first, 'cause he ran for Alderman of the 29th Ward. I volunteered to work in that election. Then I volunteered to work in Earlean Collins' [Illinois State Senator Eearlean Collins, HM] election when she ran for Senate, and then Art Turner's campaign, and, and David Rhodes when he was Alderman of the 24th Ward, and they threw him out--they tried to throw him out. I worked for him. I was always with the underdog, the voiceless, the faceless. And the Democratic Party was my enemy at the time. I didn't want any parts of the Democratic machine. But--and, and that's how it pretty evolved, you know. And during when Harold Washington [Mayor Harold Washington] ran for mayor of the city, I ran as his endorsed candidate in the 24th Ward.$We've reopened Provident Hospital [Provident Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois] and has the third busiest emergency room in the city. I'll say it was last year--maybe the year before--we had 54,000 visits to our emergency room. So that's working pretty good. We've encouraged presidents that we've worked with to hire more women and in decision-making positions. And I'm very proud that we have women throughout our county system that are at the top of the hierarchy in their departments. So that's working very well. We've tried to educate people about county government. I think people now are more familiar with county government than they have ever been. It's no longer a subdued unit of government. It's a unit of government that people know about now. They, in the old days, knew of county government only in the light of county jail and county hospital. But now they know that we collect property tax dollars, 'cause we've gone out into the community and said to senior citizens, you're entitled to certain breaks and breaks in your taxes, and this is what they are, and you should apply for 'em. So we've had the assessor, the board of review, to come with us to town hall meetings and fill out applications right there on site. We reduced some of our senior citizens' taxes last year to zero. And then there are some who get senior freeze. So there are just many programs that can help out seniors. There are many programs that can--on property taxes. There are many programs that can help save property. A lot of people have lost their homes because they didn't know what to do. So we've held town hall meetings and tried to help educate them about how to save their home. Your home doesn't need to go on the scavenger sale list or on the annual sale list. Here's some things you can do. So we've done that. We've tried to educate people about how to take care of yourselves better. You know, we live in a HMO [Health Maintenance Organization] society. You know, supposed to be health maintenance organizations where you have a doctor that takes care of your--primary doctor takes care of your health records. But many times it takes you two or three weeks to get to the specialist you need because the gatekeeper doctor has to approve where you go to get your next treatment. And so we've tried to bring information to the community and to our constituents that will help them to live a healthy lifestyle. I do a lot of work with asthma. There are 17 million people in this country with asthma, and 5,000 children a year die from asthma. It's not curable, but some of those deaths are preventable through education. We tried to educate people about weight control, you know, taking care of yourself better, doing more exercise, eating better. So, in addition to introducing people to the services of county government, we've tried to do other kinds of programs to help to improve the quality of life for our constituents.

Clarence Love

Clarence Love was born in Florida on March 20, 1929. His father, Ben, worked as a farmer in the Florida groves, and his mother, Alberta, worked as a domestic to support their large family of six children. The outbreak of World War II compelled Love to drop out of school and search for work to help support his family. During the next four years, he took a series of odd jobs and sent his paychecks home to his parents. Following the end of the war, he returned to school, at the age of sixteen, continuing where he left off in the seventh grade.

Following graduation, Love married and settled in Bradenton, Florida. In Bradenton, he continued to work a series of odd jobs from cleaning buildings to delivering papers. In 1960, he began collecting rent for a local property owner who rented nearly eighty apartment units throughout the city. He continued to serve as rent collector until 1973, when he purchased the apartments.

Love ran successfully for city commissioner, winning the election by eighteen votes. As city commissioner, he was responsible for a number of Section VIII programs and community redevelopment initiatives. Love was also instrumental in getting sidewalks and streetlights installed in some of the city's poorest communities. Love, now retired, has turned his property management business over to his son.

Accession Number

A2002.060

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/23/2002

Last Name

Love

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Clarence

Birth City, State, Country

Palmetto

HM ID

LOV01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

There's No Such Thing As You Can't Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

3/20/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tallahassee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

City commissioner Clarence Love (1929 - ) served one term as the Bradenton, Florida city commissioner and was responsible for a number of Section VIII programs and community redevelopment initiatives. Love was also instrumental in getting sidewalks and streetlights installed in some of the city's poorest communities.

Employment

City of Bradenton, Florida

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:3470,77:13900,292:19410,385:20081,402:20508,410:24350,456:25576,464:36334,667:36819,673:49059,851:60688,1056:61056,1061:61424,1066:71564,1227:79474,1346:103710,1671:108295,1751:108960,1759:111120,1783:116172,1861:120859,1976:156468,2535:161360,2587$0,0:1395,26:19116,332:22830,399:35210,675:43580,761:51852,956:55772,989:60812,1113:63752,1294:78840,1497:90274,1658:90550,1663:99800,1991:161084,2724:171670,2878
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clarence Love's Interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clarence Love lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clarence Love lists his parents and siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clarence Love describes his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clarence Love describes his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clarence Love describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clarence Love recalls stories of violence against blacks in Baker County, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clarence Love describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clarence Love describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Clarence Love talks about his mother's farm

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Clarence Love shares how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Clarence Love describes his household growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Clarence Love describes his personality as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Clarence Love describes how his parents influenced his parenting style

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Clarence Love describes his neighborhood in Palmetto, Florida in the 1930s

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Clarence Love describes attending Washington Park Elementary in Palmetto, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Clarence Love talks about his teachers in Palmetto, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Clarence Love describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clarence Love talks about the black community in Palmetto, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clarence Love remembers his adolescence

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clarence Love talks about working while attending school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clarence Love recalls his plans after high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clarence Love describes how he changed his manner of speaking

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clarence Love talks about personal responsibility

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clarence Love talks about his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clarence Love talks about buying an apartment building in Bradenton, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clarence Love explains land contracts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Clarence Love discusses being a black businessman

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clarence Love recalls his election to become the first black city commissioner in Bradenton, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clarence Love describes his accomplishments as city commissioner

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clarence Love discusses the role of race in his political career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clarence Love remembers his activities during and after his political term

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clarence Love recalls the challenges of being a property manager

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clarence Love recalls the evening he was robbed and shot

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clarence Love recounts how his shooter was apprehended

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clarence Love describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clarence Love shares his advice to black business owners

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clarence Love reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Clarence Love talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Clarence Love narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

7$9

DATitle
Clarence Love recalls stories of violence against blacks in Baker County, Georgia
Clarence Love explains land contracts
Transcript
But there were other stories that are more tragic. When they were living in Georgia, they worked for a man whose--I right call, his name was Mr. Halex (ph.). And this was Baker County, Georgia--that the reason they came down here (sic), because all people sharecrop. I thought it was just Blacks, but all poor folks sharecrop. This concerns me more than what happened else (sic). That he'd worked several years tryin' to pay off the debt, and so, one year he decide he would go up and try to settle up his debt. He told the son who was overseer at the time, Mr. Halex's son, that "I'm here to settle up." So when they look at the book, Mr. Halex has all these extra charges. He said, "Mr. Halex, I paid you these." Mr. Halex cursed him out, told him, "You didn't do that." So the father intervened. And said, "Yes son, Ben paid you that, I remember." He cursed his father out, and told Ben, "If you spute (ph.) my word, I will take my (unclear) and burst your brains out." That put the fear of God in him. Later on he sneaked out of Georgia, like many others did, and came down to (unclear), Florida. And later on he was able to go back up and sneak the family out. That's how we got into Florida. Eventually, before my time, we moved to Terrasse (ph.) Island. That's were I was born and the rest of the children were born. My mother told me some stories too. Again, about sharecropping. There was a man who had gone to the bi... boss man to (unclear) about his debt. And he asked him to, "Let's settle up today. My, my family's in bad shape and needs some money." So the guy says, "You know, you didn't quite make it this year, but next year I'm sure you're going to make it." He said, "You have been telling me that for the last 10 years. We are going to settle up today." So the guy tells him, says, "No, no, Boy, you better watch your mouth. You're going to get yourself in trouble." He said, "I'm already in trouble." He said, "If you don't shut up and leave me alone", the boss man tell him, "I'm going to hurt you or something." The guy takes his gun and kills the guy. He walks out through the woods, never heard from him anymore. But, the nightriders came, she said, and they killed people--blacks--and killed them and they kill them. Actually, they took the kids--babies, by their heels and just bust their brains up against the wall--until the federal troops came in and restored order. That I heard it--she told that many, many times.$$And what--where was this in Georgia?$$Baker County, Georgia. The "master's Georgia" is in Baker County.$Now talk....I'm sorry. I don't mean to interrupt--but could you explain the whole thing of land contracts? Because that's a whole concept--that's the only way that--did you go in--that's the only way that black people really could get things, right?$$That's pretty well, that somebody trusts you. Cause the bank would not let me have, would not gonna let me have any money. As a matter of fact, after we had--originally, we didn't even touch it. We didn't count the bank at all--wasn't able--we didn't go in there at all. He just said, "Make the--here are the books--you make the payments to me." Which was an excellent deal. If I had managed it right, we would have been paid these things a long time ago. Lacking in experience, you're running it for somebody else. It's not the same thing as running it for yourself. You don't understand you gotta escrow money for insurance. You don't understand you gotta make repairs. A lot of things you just don't understand. So I got behind, and they only allowed me two weeks. So they, they, they were attempting to foreclose. I guess I never figured out people in the first place. So they were attempting to foreclose. Then I went and tried to get some money from the SBA [The US Small Business Association]. They laughed at me. I went to some other people, they laughed. I had some big-shots friends to getting. They laughed. My brothers laughed, because they didn't have no confidence in it. So I went to the bank and asked the bank could I refinance my house to get some money to buy the apartments. The guy said, "You can refinance the house, but the money you get, you going to put it back into the apartments. You can't get it out." Went to Tampa, a, a guy who (unclear). He became--he was a little bank in Tampa, called a community savings, I think it was. He said, "Yes, we will do it, Mr. Love. Just get your house refinanced, or reappraised." And they let me have--I think it was $12,800.00, something like that. So, I took the $12,000.00 and saved some more money and paid him the money down on the place. So I started that. Then later on, after I had--when the folks had to get the money out--and they got the money to finance then. So, I went to the bank--about $300--to get $300--about $200,000.00 at that time. I had paid it down. The bank said, "No, no, no, no. We can't do that. We can't do that kinda stuff." So I went to Mr. Singer and told him what they said. So he picks up the telephone. He said, "Banker, this is, this is Joel. He said, you know Clarence?" "Oh, yeah, he's a good fella." He said, "He needs $300 thousand. He said, "Its ok, tell him to come on and get it. We'll let him have it." It was on his word, they let me have it. And after that, I kinda took over and kinda (unclear). I got into some straights from now and then, but I managed after that.

The Honorable Earlean Collins

Earlean Collins was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, and was one of fourteen children. Collins moved to Chicago, Illinois, as a teenager and graduated from Wendell Phillips High School. She later attended the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus.

Collins’ introduction to Illinois politics came through her marriage to Otis Collins, who served for eight years in the Illinois House of Representatives. However, Collins and her husband separated and by 1975 she was living in Oak Park, Illinois, and working for the Department of Children and Family Services. She was encouraged at that time to run for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly. Collins became the first African American female to be elected to the Illinois Senate in 1976.

In the Senate, Collins served on the Committees on Insurance, Appropriations, Pensions & Licensed Activities and Elementary & Secondary Education. In addition, she chaired both the Transportation and the Developmentally Disabled Homeless Committees and was Vice-Chairperson of the Labor and Commerce Committee. She was the first African American female in a leadership position in the State Senate, serving as Democratic Leader of the Executive Committee. Among the pieces of legislation introduced by Collins was a proposal directing the Illinois police to draw up guidelines for high-speed pursuits. She also sponsored a bill to require handgun buyers to complete an eight-hour firearm safety course.

In 1994, Collins ran for the position of State Comptroller of Illinois. She received the nomination of her party, but was ultimately defeated. Five years later, she resigned from the Senate after two decades to run for Commissioner of the Cook County Board, where she currently serves. Remarried, Collins is the mother of one son. She has been honored by the Chicago Urban League, receiving their “Beautiful People Award.”

Accession Number

A2000.047

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/15/2000

Last Name

Collins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Henry Weathers Elementary School

Sharkey County High School

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Chicago State University

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Springfield

First Name

Earlean

Birth City, State, Country

Rolling Fork

HM ID

PITS005

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/4/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Vegetables

Short Description

City commissioner and county commissioner The Honorable Earlean Collins (1937 - ) was introduced to politics by her former husband Otis Collins. In 1976, Collins became the first African American female to be elected to the Illinois Senate. After twenty years in the Illinois State Senate, Collins was elected to be the Commissioner of the Cook County Board.

Employment

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

Illinois General Assembly

Cook County Board of Commissioners

Favorite Color

Black, Blue, Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:24243,240:24519,245:25209,260:25554,266:25899,272:32468,337:33092,349:35276,382:36446,398:37226,416:44246,524:50680,578:51205,586:63062,744:65910,768:66210,773:71385,856:77954,897:80706,955:86634,1040:87318,1051:90282,1133:90586,1142:90966,1148:91574,1157:93094,1189:93854,1204:106280,1371$0,0:11016,265:91790,1224
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Earlean Collins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Earlean Collins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Earlean Collins talks about her parents, Charlie and Cary Branch

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Earlean Collins shares her memories of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Earlean Collins talks about her father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Earlean Collins talks about her special relationship with her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Earlean Collins describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Earlean Collins talks about her father and her experiences with racism

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Earlean Collins recalls her school years and her history of public speaking

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Earlean Collins reflects upon the influence of her favorite teachers, her mother, and black history

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Earlean Collins talks about how her family's move to Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Earlean Collins describes her run for the Illinois General Assembly in 1975

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Earlean Collins talks about her first campaign in 1975 for the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Earlean Collins describes her ex-husband Otis Collins and his experience in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Earlean Collins details her college education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Earlean Collins recalls her work with seniors, students, and teenage mothers as an Illinois State Senator

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Earlean Collins talks about national unity and progress

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Earlean Collins talks about breaking barriers in the Illinois State Senate

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Earlean Collins describes her work as Cook County Commissioner

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Earlean Collins talks about running for Cook County Commissioner

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Earlean Collins describes her personal sacrifices as a politician

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Earlean Collins reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Earlean Collins talks about campaigning without major funds

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Earlean Collins lists her hobbies

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Earlean Collins talks about The HistoryMakers

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Earlean Collins talks about breaking barriers in the Illinois State Senate
Earlean Collins details her college education
Transcript
Your years in the, in the senate [Illinois State Senate]--what do you think is your most important achievement?$$God, I had a lot of them. Well, there--there were (laughs) a lot of them. I'm trying to reserve those for the book. But the fact that I was the first black female ever to serve in the history of the Illinois Senate, I, I think was a major breakthrough. And then the second fact was that was the most chauvinistic place--and again I want to reserve a lot for my book on that. It was not only chauvinistic in terms of relationship between men and women, it was a private club, practically made up of all lawyers. Mostly lawyers made up the Senate and rich folk made up the Senate--businesspeople, but mostly lawyers. And I was able to--and there's no such thing as you were in a leadership role or chaired a major committee or anything of that nature. When I went there my first year, I was appointed chair of the Black Caucus. And, of course, when we organized--and that, all that goes in my book, to the book--but I, I became the first female to serve, to preside in the Senate [Assistant Minority Leader]. And that had never happened before, black or white. So not only was I the first African American female to serve there, I was the first female all around to serve in in a leadership capacity where I presided over the [Illinois State] Senate.$I went to teachers college [Chicago Teachers College, now Chicago State University, Chicago, Illinois] and--two years--and then I went to University of Illinois [University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus]. And I finished there and then I started taking some graduate courses, University of Illinois. I never did get my master's degree. And at the time I went, you know, went down state and I started in Sangamon State [now University of Illinois at Springfield, Springfield, Illinois]. And it was just really too much. I, I couldn't--I couldn't handle being a legislator and, you know, going back to, to grad school at the time. So I, I didn't. And the separation from my husband [Otis Collins] and I--that, that posed some problems too. But I, I guess my, my--I always wanted to be a lawyer. And I haven't never really achieved that goal and sometimes I even think about it now. All my colleagues used to tease me about practicing law without a license on the floor because I could always cite constitutional law. I would always get them, you know, on different things when, when I felt that they were doing something wrong. But that probably was my biggest ambition: to be--to be a--to be a lawyer. Yeah.