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Madeline Stratton Morris

African American history was absent from the curriculum in Chicago’s public schools until Madeline R. Stratton Morris added it in 1941. She was born in Chicago on August 14, 1906, the oldest of six children, and spent her career making a mark on Chicago’s educational system.

Stratton Morris received her certificate in elementary school teaching from Chicago Teachers College and began teaching at Emerson School in 1933. She earned her B.S. degree in education from Northwestern University in 1941 and five years later received her M.S. degree from the same school. Stratton Morris also did post-graduate work at the University of Chicago from 1942 to 1946.

While working as a social studies teacher, Stratton Morris tackled several special assignments pertaining to curriculum, youth development and human relations. From 1958 to 1960, she served on the Human Relations Committee of the Chicago Board of Education. After leaving the public school system in 1968, Stratton Morris worked with several universities, teaching African American history at Mayfair College, supervising practice teachers at Chicago State University, and developing social studies curricula at Governors State University.

In addition to her dedication to education, Stratton Morris was active with several civic groups. She served as president of the Chicago chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, worked on the Mayor’s Commission on Human Relations and attended the 1980 Democratic National Convention as a delegate. The National Negro Museum and Historical Foundation, the National Council of Negro Women and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority have all honored her for her service to education and community. Stratton Morris has also published three books on African American history, as well as several magazine articles.

Travel has been a lifelong passion of Stratton Morris. She island-hopped in the Caribbean, took a world tour of seventeen countries while on sabbatical in 1967, visited Mexico and traveled to the Soviet Union. Stratton Morris married twice. She was married to Samuel B. Stratton for twenty-six years until his death in 1972, and was married two and a half years to Walter Morris before he died in 1983.

Stratton Morris passed away on December 26, 2007 at the age of 101.

Accession Number

A2003.209

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/28/2003

Last Name

Morris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

R.

Organizations
Schools

Englewood High School

Chicago State University

First Name

Madeline

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

STR03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Knowledge Will Forever Govern Ignorance. If You Wish To Be In Power, You Must Have Knowledge.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/14/1906

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables, Chicken

Death Date

12/26/2007

Short Description

Curriculum specialist and elementary school teacher Madeline Stratton Morris (1906 - 2007 ) was a lifelong educator responsible for the introduction of African American history in Chicago public schools.

Employment

Chicago Board of Education

Mayfair College

Chicago State University

Governors State University

Emerson Elementary School

Favorite Color

All Colors

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Madeline Stratton Morris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Madeline Stratton Morris lists her favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Madeline Stratton Morris lists her favorites, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes her earliest childhood memories, including her father's work for the Butler Bros. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Madeline Stratton Morris recalls the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Madeline Stratton Morris recalls the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes the house in which she grew up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about growing up in Chicago, Illinois, including her personality and neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about Berean Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, and her family's familiarity with music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about Farren School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about her favorite teachers at Farren School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Madeline Stratton Morris reflects on the Chicago race riot of 1919, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Madeline Stratton Morris reflects on the Chicago race riot of 1919, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about her experiences of racial discrimination at Englewood High School in the 1910s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about her trajectory to attend Chicago Teachers College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about her experiences at Chicago Teachers College in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Madeline Stratton Morris recalls a Christmastime memory

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about her teaching career following her experience at Chicago Teachers College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about her role in Illinois school's implementation of black history curricula, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about her role in Illinois school's implementation of black history curricula, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about the importance for children to learn about black history and to read works by black authors

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Madeline Stratton Morris recalls her familiarity with Carter G. Wilson and Walter Francis White

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about her friendships with Edith S. Sampson and HistoryMaker John Hope Franklin

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes her relationship to Mary Jane McLeod Bethune

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about the State of Illinois' legislation for black history curricula

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes her relationship to HistoryMaker Dr. Margaret Burroughs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Madeline Stratton Morris recalls an experience with a USSR Army officer while visiting Moscow in 1975

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Madeline Stratton Morris talks about the purpose underlining her two books

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Madeline Stratton Morris describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Madeline Stratton Morris reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Madeline Stratton Morris shares her thoughts about the interview

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Madeline Stratton Morris reflects upon her experiences as an educator

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Madeline Stratton Morris narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Madeline Stratton Morris narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
Madeline Stratton Morris reflects on the Chicago race riot of 1919, pt. 1
Madeline Stratton Morris describes her relationship to Mary Jane McLeod Bethune
Transcript
Chicago [Illinois] riot--race riot of 1919.$$I tell you, we had 5440 Dearborn [Street, Chicago, Illinois], we had a living room, and off the living room was a bedroom, off from the dining room was a bedroom and off from the kitchen was a bedroom, so we had three bedrooms. And my father [John Robinson] sat in the front window, and he would communicate with other fathers in their windows during the riot at night. And pa was very disgusted with the man who lived on the first floor because he left the city or left wherever he was--he wasn't downstairs, and pa was then having to sort of supervise whatever was going to happen or happened on the first floor and the second floor, but my father and the other men in their windows would call and say, "Bob, are you there?" And pa would respond, and someone else would call and pa would respond and they would talk with each from window to window, but this man who lived on the first floor disappeared and pa never liked him thereafter, you know, because that left pa to supervise. He couldn't imagine a man leaving, you know, and all of that, but, yes, I remember that riot, and my father had to come home from Butler Bros. in a police wagon. They had brought him to 55th Street, and then he could walk around the block to home, you see, but that was a scary period, very scary.$$Yeah that's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) you know, because there was shooting. We would hear the shooting, and the fellows would get up on--what do you call that thing--the viaduct, you know, and dare white fellows, the Irish fellows, to come through. They were going to come over and clean us out, you know, that sort of thing. And Raymond [ph.]--his name was Raymond, I can't remember Raymond's last name, but anyhow, Raymond came running down the street hollering, "I'm shot, I shot," and Raymond was a light-skinned colored fellow, and his mother came out, you know, and he had been shot, so that was Raymond's experience, you know, so we knew one boy in the community who had been shot during the riot. But I'm not-- her name isn't Irene--her name is--I can't think of her name right now, but her brothers got up on that viaduct and dared the white boys to come through, and that broke up that running after the Negro, and I wish I could think of her name, but I can't think of her name and the boy's names, Duke--Dukes--the Duke [ph.] boys, that was their name. Those Duke boys really stopped those Irish kids from getting up on the viaduct and shooting at black boys.$You knew Mary [Jane] McLeod Bethune very well?$$Yes.$$Tell us something about her and don't assume we know who she is, just tell us as if we never met her before. Who is she and--$$Mrs. Bethune had a niece who lived on the third floor of the building in which I lived, 5703 Michigan [Avenue, Chicago, Illinois], and when she would go upstairs to see her niece, she would ring my bell, and she would come in and talk with me. And I used to tell her about some of the discouragement I had, you know, and things like that, and she said, "Don't be discouraged. Just go right on doing what you're doing." That, "You know, [Christopher] Columbus didn't discover this world alone when he came here. So just keep on doing what you're doing." So that's--she was just a very--she always encouraged me to do more and don't be afraid what people might say, you know, or but she was a very wonderful person. I admired her. I wanted to be like her, like Mrs. Bethune, and I remember I said to some people who asked, whom did I want to be like, and I said, "Mrs. Bethune," and they said, "That old black woman?" And I said, "Yes. When we go to Washington, D.C. or when we go to these big meetings, she's there and everybody knows her. And she and Mrs. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, are always together." I said, "Of course." I said, "Color has nothing to do with it. I'm very proud of her." And they wanted me to think about going down there to teach, but I didn't. I don't know what happened, but I didn't get involved because I was teaching here, and I knew what I had here, but I didn't know about down there. That's all I can say about her at this moment.