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Valarie Justiss Vance

Valarie Justiss Vance was born in Mt. Pleasant, Texas in 1913, but at a young age moved with her family to Toledo, Ohio. After graduating from Waite High School in 1931, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she attended Howard University, earning her A.B. in 1935. Returning to Toledo after her graduation, Vance earned an M.A. in 1936 from the University of Toledo. She later attended the University of Chicago, and went on to earn the Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1949. For her doctoral dissertation, Vance focused on the unmarried father, and she was the first person in America to write extensively on the subject. She also spent time studying at the University of Vienna in Austria where she studied the German language.

After earning her M.A., Vance relocated to Jackson, Tennessee, where she was hired as a professor of English at Lane College. In 1938, she moved to Chicago to take a position with the Chicago Welfare Administration as the senior social worker. Vance spent the years between 1940 and 1960 working with the Public Schools of the District of Columbia as a research assistant in social work. Also during the 1940s, Vance was a broadcaster on the program Americans All in Washington, D.C. Vance became the director of social work at the Massachusetts Association for the Adult Blind in 1960, where she remained until being hired by the City of Los Angeles in 1963. While working for the City of Los Angeles, Vance wrote the social work provisions that were included in the War on Poverty. During that time, Vance was also served as a mentor at Loma Linda University. In 1970, Vance became an assistant professor at the University of California, and in 1973 she became a psychological consultant for the Head Start program. At that same time, she went to work for the California Department of Mental Health as a psychiatric social worker. Vance left the Department of Mental Health in 1984, and in 1999 she retired from Head Start.

In addition to her extensive working career, Vance spent large amounts of time active with various organizations across the country. For more than thirty years, she was a consultant and grant writer for the Council of Affiliated Negro Organizations (CANO). She also served on the board of directors of Loma Linda University, and remained involved with the school by serving on the advisory committee to the board of directors for social work. She was featured in Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, the University of Toledo Alumnus and The World’s Who’s Who of Women.

Vance was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 22, 2004. Vance passed away on June 18, 2015.

Accession Number

A2004.046

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/22/2004

Last Name

Vance

Maker Category
Middle Name

Justiss

Organizations
Schools

Waite High School

Howard University

First Name

Valarie

Birth City, State, Country

Mt. Pleasant

HM ID

VAN03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

God Willing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/7/1913

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Watermelon

Death Date

6/18/2015

Short Description

Social work researcher and psychological consultant Valarie Justiss Vance (1913 - 2015 ) served as the director of social work at the Massachusetts Association for the Adult Blind, after which she began working for the City of Los Angeles, where she wrote the social work provisions that were included in the War on Poverty. She later became an assistant professor at the University of California, and a psychological consultant for the Head Start program.

Employment

Lane College

Chicago Welfare Administration

District of Columbia Public Schools

Massachusetts Association for the Adult Blind

City of Los Angeles

Loma Linda University

University of California

Head Start Program

California Department of Mental Health

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Valarie Justiss Vance's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Valarie Justiss Vance lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the differences between her mother's and father's families

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her mother and father's meetings in Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls oppressive race relations in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her experiences in Lima, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her family's house in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her brother's childhood illness and her maternal grandfather's death

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Toledo, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Toledo, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls her father's impressions of the local Baptist minister

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Valarie Justiss Vance shares memories of growing up in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the importance of education in her family, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the importance of education in her family, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her favorite childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the importance of education in her family, pt. 3

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Valarie Justiss Vance lists the educational institutions she attended in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes Mordecai Wyatt Johnson and the social demographics of Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Valarie Justiss Vance lists notable personalities of Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her professors at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls developing her interest in social work, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls developing her interest in social work, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls developing her interest in social work, pt. 3

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes Seventh Day Adventism

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Valarie Justiss Vance remembers working for the Toledo Press in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the work of Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott and Sophonisba Breckinridge, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the work of Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott and Sophonisba Breckinridge, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls applying to work in the Washington, D.C. public school system, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls applying to work in the Washington, D.C. public school system, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her experiences living in Washington, D.C. in the 1940s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes Washington, D.C.'s African American high society

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes attending The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in the mid-1940s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes working for the Massachusetts Association of the Adult Blind

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls her move from Massachusetts to California

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls her familiarity with HistoryMaker Edward Brooke

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes Robert C. Weaver, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes living in southern California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes social issues in the United States, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes social issues in the United States, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Valarie Justiss Vance reflects upon being a social worker in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Valarie Justiss Vance reflects upon social issues in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Valarie Justiss Vance reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes 'Americans All,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the beginnings of her and Tomlinson Todd's radio program, 'Americans All,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes the beginnings of her and Tomlinson Todd's radio program, 'Americans All,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes 'Americans All,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Valarie Justiss Vance describes her relationship with Tomlinson Todd

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls Tomlinson Todd's involvement in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co., Inc., 1953, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Valarie Justiss Vance recalls Tomlinson Todd's involvement in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co., Inc., 1953, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Valarie Justiss Vance narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Valarie Justiss Vance narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Valarie Justiss Vance narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
Valarie Justiss Vance describes her professors at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Valarie Justiss Vance recalls developing her interest in social work, pt. 1
Transcript
Who were the professors that influenced you [at Howard University, Washington, D.C.]?$$Lucy Diggs Slowe, a dear woman, Kelly Miller. Now Kelly Miller made an observation; he was professor of sociology. And he was very wrong, though. Kelly Miller said that as much as he hated to think it, but if black people were to earn money and get ahead in the world, they'd choose one of two fields: entertainment or sports. He said that's a way of life for us. And when you see what has happened, and that was--And I graduated from Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] in 1931, and he had been preaching that doctrine long before that. And then of course, there was Ralph [J.] Bunche. Dr. Bunche's mother was dying of tuberculosis when they came from Detroit [Michigan] through Toledo [Ohio]. And her condition worsened, so that they just stopped right in Toledo. It was incompatible with her going forward in an open quote "buggy" car. The interesting fact here is that when her life was so tenuous, he was put into school for whatever period they would be here. And when she died and was buried here, well, he continued on to the coast. After he became, he was never the full Secretary of State; he was assistant Secretary of State. He came to Toledo and stopped off at Gunckel School [Toledo, Ohio], which he attended for a year while his mother was ill. And he's walking down the hall, and the principal, "Young man, you must stop at the office. And what is your name?" He said, "I'm Ralph Bunche." "The Ralph Bunche?" He said, "Well, I am Ralph Bunche." And he said, "And I was just coming here to look at our class picture. I was in the class of so and so." "Yes, of course." All these pictures were spread out there in the hallway. He got up there and they went through all the pictures, and his year was not there. She said, "Every picture's here." Then finally she called the janitor. He said, "There's one old beat up picture down here." Well, that turned out to be the one of Ralph Bunche. (Laughter) Of course, that became the centerpiece of all pictures, you know, because she scattered all these other pictures--"Ralph Bunche attended school here." (Laughter) The message was clear to the students--attend this school, and you could possibly be another Ralph Bunche (laughter).$What made you want to pursue a career as a social worker?$$Its potential for good. My father [Jacob Justiss], who was a great reader, had introduced us to Jane Addams, who was at the Hull House at 7th [Avenue] and Halsted [Street] in Chicago [Illinois], and he was very fond of the work that she had done. That was the heyday of settlements. We don't have too much settlements now; we don't think about settlements. But, and even when she came through Toledo [Ohio] to speak, we were down there to hear her. And then when I was at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.], she was one of the Sunday speakers. I was just fascinated by what happened at settlement houses, and its potential for change. I wanted to live in a settlement house myself, but my sister and I had to settle for my being on the board of a settlement house and being in charge of the nursery school division rather than actually living there, and enjoying the fellowship of the noon meals and all the other things that one thinks about at settlement houses. And I had been in the YWCA [YWCA USA] when they first started studying club structure at Navarre School. And in the seventh grade, beginning in the seventh grade, you could be a member of any club you wished, and we wanted to be members of the YWCA [YWCA USA]. And when we looked at some of the things that happened at YWCAs, I just decided that social workers were people who staffed YWCAs. I decided then and there that I wanted to be a social worker. So I volunteered as a director of women's--girls' activities, not women's--girls' activities (unclear) when I was at Howard for the entire four years I was there.