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Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy

Dance group manager Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy was born in 1932 in Union, North Carolina to Viola Williams and Albus Rhodes. Kennedy relocated with her mother and stepfather to Youngstown, Ohio when she was four years old. She was raised in a large family that included eight siblings. Kennedy attended East High School in Youngstown and graduated around 1950.

Following high school, Kennedy moved to New York City to live with her sister Florez. For a time, she worked in a bar, sending her tips to her father in Ohio, who was ill. This bar was frequented by former dancers from the Apollo Theater, many of whom Kennedy befriended. These dancers included Edna “Yak” Taylor, who often told Kennedy fascinating stories about the history and the times of the Apollo dancers.

During the 1970s, Kennedy became interested in doing a benefit for a senior citizens' center and recruited ex-chorus girls to put on a show. Using her connections from her time working with former dancers, Kennedy helped to create a group known as the Swinging Seniors. Kennedy’s nieces comprise the R&B group Sister Sledge, and in 1984 she worked for them briefly as a road manager while they toured Europe. Upon her return, dancer Bertye Lou Wood and Kennedy reunited some of their former dancing friends, Marion Coles, Cleo Hayes, Fay Ray and Elaine Ellis. Kennedy began managing the new dance ensemble. They rehearsed in the building that housed the former Cotton Club, renamed the Latin Quarter, and had their first performance in 1986. This group became known as the Silver Belles, and the group of African American senior dancers have been performing together ever since, appearing on Dan Rather’s 48 Hours and becoming the first group of its kind to perform in Atlantic City. In 2006, the Silver Belles were featured in the documentary Been Rich All My Life produced by filmmaker Heather Lyn MacDonald.

Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 20, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.267

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/20/2007

Last Name

Rhodes-Kennedy

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

East High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Geraldine "Gerri"

Birth City, State, Country

Union

HM ID

RHO01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Dance group manager Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy ( - ) was the manager of the Silver Belles dance troupe.

Employment

Sister Sledge (Musical group)

Silver Belles (Dance group)

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:9580,234:14170,325:14710,333:27515,435:28150,441:30550,495:37536,571:37906,577:38276,584:43480,615:56490,748:56890,754:58330,795:60250,855:60650,941:63610,1058:78310,1185:78626,1190:89770,1339:118738,1676:119148,1682:121854,1733:122920,1752:123248,1757:123904,1769:124642,1780:124970,1849:137220,1964:151964,2150:162754,2318:163210,2323:166174,2370:178572,2562:196026,2911:209754,3048:210440,3059:228878,3347:230642,3376:231230,3384:233110,3394$0,0:1760,19:2420,156:4400,172:44678,608:45176,615:45840,630:46255,636:47168,715:47998,791:48745,824:82751,1217:92588,1351:93050,1362:108625,1575:113654,1650:114510,1678:126494,1922:126922,1927:128099,1943:149008,2208:174676,2446:179555,2543:201225,2828:201509,2844:202290,2860:204420,2902:206053,2931:228599,3182:246020,3356
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about her mother, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about her stepfather's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy remembers her childhood in Youngstown, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Youngstown, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy recalls living with her sister in Harlem in New York, New York after graduating from high school in 1956

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy remembers working at the Apollo Theater box office

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about chorus girls' life in 1950s New York, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy recalls racial discrimination that her fellow dancers experienced during United Service Organization tours

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about fellow Silver Belles' careers after show business

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about establishing a legacy for show dancers

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy remembers creating the Silver Belles

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy contrasts today's performers with those of the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy contrasts clothing styles of the late 1950s and 1960s with contemporary dress codes

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy tells stories about the Silver Belles

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy explains the importance of activity for seniors

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy describes the Silver Belles' shows

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy explains the impact of seniors dancing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about the documentary of the Silver Belles, 'Been Rich All My Life,' pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy describes the new generation of Silver Belles

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about the documentary of the Silver Belles, 'Been Rich All My Life,' pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATitle
Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy talks about chorus girls' life in 1950s New York, New York
Geraldine Rhodes Kennedy remembers creating the Silver Belles
Transcript
And prior to this period, there had been chorus girls?$$Oh, yeah.$$And how, how did they perform? What was their routine like?$$Well, they did--oh, the chorus girls? Like--$$I don't necessarily mean their dances. But you're saying that there were no longer chorus girls. So, I was wondering what the lifestyle was like.$$They no longer performed at the Apollo Theater [New York, New York]. They had a strike I think in 1936. And after that--$$And what did they strike for?$$Wages, I guess wages and days off. Because the chorus girls back in that day, they worked seven days a week, and I think five and six shows a day. And they also did rehearsal, twice at night time--in the morning, whenever they could rehearse.$$Wow.$$But they worked seven days a week. And when they did have the strike, they got one day off. And I think they were paid, I think they got a ten dollar raise or something like that.$$Well, what--$$But prior to that, they had no days off.$$They were working every day?$$Every day.$$And were people falling out and fainting from that type of schedule? Or--$$No, they'd never fall out. They were a hardy stock, you know, they were tremendous. In fact, I have some of the chorus girls now. They're now in their eighties and nineties, you know. But, no, they didn't pass out from it.$$And where did you come into contact with chorus girls in Harlem [New York, New York]?$$Well, when I had a--I got a job at the--God--the Palm Cafe [New York, New York], and I met [Edna] 'Yak' Taylor. Yak Taylor was a dancer. She had been a dancer and a chorus girl. And she used to sit to talk to me and tell me all about, you know, the chorus girls and the shows that they did and the places they went. And I got interested. And I also realized at that time, once they retired, you never heard anything else about them. And if they died, they really didn't hear anything about them, you know. So that's--I started watching and listening and thinking how important it was for them to get some sort of recognition. But it took me a long, long time to be able to do what I wanted to do.$$Could you share with us a little bit, or some of the stories that Yak Taylor told you about being a chorus girl? Do you remember any of what she said?$$Oh, she was a tremendous dancer. She was--they used to talk about standing in the wings and stealing dance steps. The costumes--it was just, she just talked about everything, you know.$$And can you name some of the other venues where chorus girls would perform in Harlem, or in the New York area?$$Well, they performed at--Cleo [Hayes] performed at the Cotton Club [New York, New York], which was on Lenox Avenue, not here. And then they had Connie's Inn [New York, New York]. They had Smalls [Jazz Club, New York, New York].$$Where's Connie's Inn?$$Well, that--$$Well, where was it? I apologize.$$I don't remember. I don't know exactly where that was, you know.$$Okay. So, you said Smalls, Connie's--$$Connie's Inn, the Lafayette Theatre [New York, New York], the Cotton Club. Those were some of the venues, yeah.$$And was that a good living for them? Was it something that they really enjoyed?$$Well, it was a living, you know; it was a living.$$And were most of them trained dancers or--$$I don't think so. I know Bertye Lou [Wood] said she wasn't a trained dancer. Cleo wasn't a trained dancer, but some of them were.$How, then, did you come up with the idea of the Silver Belles?$$Well, I went to--I had to go to Europe as a road manager for my nieces. So, I went on tour with them. And when I came back, you know, I wanted to do, I wanted to keep doing what I was doing. And so one of my friends, Bertye Lou Wood, I was talking to her about it. And she got the, she got the ladies for me. And we had a meeting and then we got together and got the Silver Belles.$$And, the members of the Silver Belles, they had danced together before?$$Yeah, they were all friends, but years ago. Well, they hadn't danced together for almost forty or fifty years since they had danced anywhere, you know. But--$$And did you need to convince anyone to come aboard?$$Not really, because they really wanted to do it. I think it was in their blood, and they really wanted to do it. Bertye Lou said that she wasn't going to--she would join, but she wasn't going to dance. But she was the first one up on stage. So, yes.$$And what kind of music did the, do the Silver Belles choose to dance to?$$The big band sound. Count Basie music, Duke Ellington music, you know, the big band sound.$$And is that music usually live or--$$No, we had--it was always live. Yeah, when we did the first show down at the Latin Quarter [New York, New York], we had Grover Mitchell's big band. We also did a show with The Cadillacs on the bill, okay. So, we did Atlantic City [New Jersey], and Sister Sledge was headlining and we did a show with them.$$And Sister Sledge--I was going to actually ask you some additional questions about that. Is that group related to you?$$It was my nieces, my sister's [Florez K. Sledge] children.$$And so when you went on that European tour, you were--$$Working for the--$$--the European manager for Sister Sledge?$$Yes.$$And then later you combined the Silver Belles and the Sister Sledge performance?$$No, we didn't. No, when I came back, I did not want to be a road manager anymore, okay. I'd lost my identity, so I wanted to be my own thing; I wanted to do my own thing. So when I came back, I got the Silver Belles together, and I started doing shows with them. And we did Carnegie Hall [New York, New York] with Cab Calloway. We did Lena Horne's eightieth birthday. We did Dan Rather's '48 Hours with Dan Rather.' We did quite a few things, yeah.$$What about the program that you did with President [William Jefferson "Bill"] Clinton?$$Well, that was Equity Cares [Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS], yeah.$$And--$$And Clinton was there.$$What is Equity Cares?$$Equity Cares is for AIDS [autoimmune deficiency syndrome]. They were doing a show, a thing for AIDS.$$(OFF CAMERA DISCUSSION)$$So in all of these instances, you are raising money?$$Well, see, the purpose of the Silver Belles is to raise funds. They don't work that often, but they want to do something, especially for kids, okay. So that was the purpose of them coming out of retirement and having fun, and being able to, you know, raise funds for different things.$$Now, you mentioned several names. But can you give us perhaps a list of the Silver Belles?$$Okay. Bertye Lou Wood, [HistoryMaker] Elaine Ellis, Cleo Hayes, Harriet Browne, Hazel Walker Rogers, Ruby Riley, [HistoryMaker] Fay Ray. These were all of--we only have four left, but these were all of the ladies that we had.

Doris Humphries

Dancer Doris Humphries was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 10, 1924. While still a child, Humphries would mimic the dancers that she saw in the movies, and to reproduce the tapping sound of the tap dancers, she attached bottle caps to the soles of her shoes. At the age of eleven, Humphries began taking lessons from legendary choreographer Sadie Bruce; at fourteen, she took up rhythm skating with a group called The Musketeers. While attending Englewood High School in Chicago, Humphries met up with her dancing partner, Junior; the two would go on to be known as Dinky and Junior.

Following their graduation from high school, the Junior and Humphries auditioned for Berle Adams of the prestigious William Morris Agency; he quickly signed them, and they began touring the United States dancing with bandleader Louis Jordan. As they toured, the duo performed with Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstein, and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1945, Humphries met Sergeant Hedrick Humphries, and the two were married the following year. Humphries went into retirement to raise her family, but after the birth of her third child, she returned to dancing, focusing on Latin dance. Continuing her training, Humphries enrolled in Jimmy Payne’s Afro-Cuban dance class, where she met her next dance partner; the two created a duo known as Tony and Tanya Belle, with which they gained fame for their innovative coupling of Latin and soul.

In 1986, Humphries was awarded a grant from the City of Chicago to create an outreach program; her group, The Closet Performers, was an immediate success, with students in her classes ranging from age three to ninety-two. In 2004, Humphries again contributed to the dance education of Chicago residents by opening the Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Fourteenth Annual Dance Festival with an appearance as a panelist for a discussion on African American Women in Tap. In addition to her work with the City of Chicago, Humphries continued teaching ballroom, Latin, and tap dancing, at the South Shore Cultural Center for over ten years, as well as classes at Oak View Park Center and Moraine Valley College.

Accession Number

A2004.114

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/30/2004

Last Name

Humphries

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Englewood High School

Austin O. Sexton Elementary School

Brown W. Elementary School

Corpus Christi Elementary School

Lucy L. Flower Technical High School

First Name

Doris

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HUM01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/10/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Dancer, dance group manager, and dance instructor Doris Humphries (1924 - ) toured with music legends such as Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstein, and Dizzy Gillespie. Later, in a duo known as Tony and Tanya Belle, she became well known for her innovative coupling of Latin and soul. Humphries worked with the City of Chicago to create outreach programs with her group, The Closet Performers. Humphries also taught courses at Chicago-area colleges and cultural centers.

Employment

South Shore Cultural Center

Oak View Park Center

Moraine Valley College

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:264,5:7040,112:12144,191:12936,202:13816,214:30710,399:32712,440:40406,507:40987,518:41568,535:42979,560:44390,585:46280,591:49960,649:84952,1015:88936,1082:89517,1090:92090,1138:92671,1147:93169,1155:113094,1408:116353,1417:117001,1427:118297,1457:121132,1488:122590,1520:124696,1549:125020,1554:125506,1563:125992,1570:136030,1682:138830,1696:139098,1701:139567,1710:149930,1888:150350,1896:150910,1912:169320,2211:170524,2228:173534,2274:184680,2386:202132,2694:202420,2699:206092,2785:216848,2867:220544,2945:225590,2985$0,0:3640,62:26480,301:27110,311:27530,318:29000,353:36616,486:38078,515:38766,524:49990,652:50755,657:51605,670:52625,688:53305,699:53730,705:54920,721:56195,738:65938,821:66482,832:69678,906:74574,991:88511,1097:89078,1105:102325,1321:121434,1622:128244,1731:128818,1747:129228,1753:142708,1899:142980,1904:145904,1992:146176,1997:156720,2091:157110,2097:158358,2117:159996,2140:164460,2191:164956,2196:174908,2226:175500,2236:185454,2319:189909,2381:203310,2558:204428,2584:223962,2832:224294,2837:230914,2918:236396,2946:242395,3022:248960,3079:253590,3100:259330,3157:263272,3192:266511,3256:276465,3421:276860,3427:281332,3441:282025,3451:282718,3461:284010,3476
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Doris Humphries' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Doris Humphries lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Doris Humphries describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Doris Humphries talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Doris Humphries describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Doris Humphries describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Doris Humphries describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Doris Humphries talks about moving frequently while growing up in Chicago, Illinois during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Doris Humphries describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Doris Humphries describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Doris Humphries describes Chicago, Illinois' South and West Sides and the living conditions there during the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Doris Humphries talks about her younger sister who died of pneumonia when they were children

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Doris Humphries recalls her favorite elementary school teacher and her experience in high school in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Doris Humphries recalls meeting her first dance partner at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Doris Humphries describes the type of dance routines she and her first partner choreographed

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Doris Humphries talks about skating with the Musketeers as a high school student in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Doris Humphries lists African American performers and other tap dancers that inspired her

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Doris Humphries remembers her first out-of-town performance at Club Plantation in St. Louis, Missouri in 1944

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Doris Humphries remembers performing with Dizzy Gillespie and talks about the name changes of her duo, the Manhattan Debs

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Doris Humphries remembers facing discrimination on the bus and at a Catholic church while performing in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Doris Humphries recalls staying in private homes while traveling for performances

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Doris Humphries talks about performing 'Caldonia' with Louis Jordan in California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Doris Humphries reflects upon the limitations placed on African American performers during the 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Doris Humphries remembers performing at the Apollo Theater in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Doris Humphries talks about meeting the Nicholas Brothers and Noble Sissle and being in the movie 'Swing Parade of 1946'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Doris Humphries talks about filming the movie 'Swing Parade of 1946' with Louis Jordan and The Three Stooges, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Doris Humphries reflects upon leaving show business around 1946 to focus on marriage and family

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Doris Humphries remembers African American performers Flash McDonald, Peg Leg Bates and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Doris Humphries talks about Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan and reflects upon her sheltered experience in show business

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Doris Humphries talks about filming the movie 'Swing Parade of 1946' with Louis Jordan and The Three Stooges, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Doris Humphries recalls organizing community theater workshops and working with the Better Boys Foundation in Chicago, Illinois during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Doris Humphries recalls dancing with Tony Cortez as part of the duo Tony and Tanya Belle

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Doris Humphries talks about teaching dance through a community fine arts program operated out of Little Flower Parish in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Doris Humphries lists the types of dance she teaches and reflects upon her career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Doris Humphries reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Doris Humphries describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Doris Humphries reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Doris Humphries lists her children and talks about her daughter's career

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Doris Humphries describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Doris Humphries narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATitle
Doris Humphries remembers performing at the Apollo Theater in New York, New York
Doris Humphries recalls organizing community theater workshops and working with the Better Boys Foundation in Chicago, Illinois during the 1960s
Transcript
Now, what was your act like? (unclear) Go through-- just kind of walk me through the act. Did you all sing as well as dance?$$My partner [Ann Henry] did, that reminds me when we really got started we went to New York [New York]. Now that Apollo Theater [New York, New York] is another theater to talk about. We were told how they are in New York, how the Apollo Theater that, that--if you could make it at the Apollo Theater, you could make it anywhere. Then they also told us that like the first show opens on a Friday, a lot of kids would take off from school to see that first show, that first show meant a lot. They had us kind of nervous about it so my partner would sing and then we would go into the act--into the tap. When we first appeared in New York at the Apollo Theater, she wanted to sing and nothing came out, she could not sing, she froze. I'm trying to say well forget it, let's dance and I'm trying to make motions to tell her let's go on and dance and I fell (laughter). We finished the number, we got booed, they threw things at us, and we went off the floor. This is where Louie [Louis Thomas Jordan] first came in, took us over as an uncle, he really looked out for us. We went off that floor just crying, crying up a storm and Louie kind of took us over and had us to try and finish out the thing, I don't think--yeah we did finish it out. But we never were supposed to go back and then from that point on when we started doing shows all around and New York and that, now we're really becoming okay. We're booked back into the Apollo Theater so we thought oh my goodness here we go again. But this time we really got it together. So we did our number and we tore down the house. On our way up to our dressing room, we had a flight of stairs to go up to our dressing room and we reached our dressing room they were calling for us, "To come back, get back on stage they were still applauding." We had to go back on stage and they applauded us and when we got off, we said, "We made it, we made it (laughter) at the Apollo Theater," that's how tough that Apollo Theater was.$$That's sounds pretty rough. Did they have the [Howard] Sandman [Sims] then?$$The Sandman was the audience and yes they did have their amateur hour, the amateur time when we were there and he used to come with a hook and hook them off. So that same kind of crowd that was your audience for legitimate theater.$$What a bad experience well at least it's got a good ending.$$It had a good ending.$$So they actually threw things on stage at you?$$Oh yeah they threw stuff at you.$$They hadn't got pass the stage of throwing vegetables and that sort of thing?$$They probably made them stop that, you know after awhile but they sure did. The stage was like here and they were like this and boy you could see their eyes and their expressions. Now that's our first theater that we were ever booked into so you can imagine how nervous we were after hearing all that other stuff.$Let's talk about your teaching. You said you got involved in community activities with your kids and teaching dance and that sort of thing. Tell us about some of those activities.$$I've done a lot of projects for various communities. Communities like the, called the street projects. A lot of the community things that I've done--oh the Better Boys Foundation [BBF Family Services, Chicago, Illinois] was one. But a lot of the community work that I did was work that I just pulled together and worked with the children myself. I had a--in my block where my kids lived, I pulled the kids together and they did a little show and then it turned out that there was an organization that wanted the block clubs to put on their talents of their block and the winner would win a prize and I gathered the kids together, put them in my mom's [Bertha Robinson Blanks] basement, got their little show together. They did the show, they won and then they appeared--how wonderful for them to appear downtown at the McCormick Place [Chicago, Illinois]. Then I also started the theater workshop--community theater workshop at my church [St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower) Parish, Chicago, Illinois] which they allowed me to become housed there. I got a grant from the arts, Chicago Arts and started a little theater there. From there the kids did various shows. I was able to let them do their shows at Dunbar [Vocational Career Academy High School, Chicago, Illinois]--at the high schools so they had a big stage to work on and from the kids on the West Side [Chicago, Illinois] when I worked with the Better Boys Foundation, a lot of those kids--it's such a difference from the South Side [Chicago, Illinois] and the West Side. A lot of those kids hadn't even gone downtown--hadn't even been downtown which was surprising. So when I did work with these kids and did the show, I took them from there and they did a show at the old Sherman [House] Hotel [Chicago, Illinois] which is torn down now. But they did a show at the Sherman Hotel and they were really excited about that.$$About when were you doing some of these things? When were you at the Better Boys Foundation?$$That must have been in the '60s [1960s] because I also worked at the Chicago Park District teaching millinery.$$Making hats?$$Making hats and letting my ladies do their shows and they won prizes there. So I was kind of successful in all those little things that I did. But the Better Boys must have been around in the '60s [1960s].$$Was this before they had the theater built? They had a little theater named LaMont Zeno [Community] Theater [Chicago, Illinois] and it was in the '70s [1970s] I guess, that was probably the '70s [1970s].$$Yeah this was way before that 'cause all they had was this little two story building and at first it was just like the Better Boys who had the gym right down on the first floor and then they decided they would have the programs for the girls as well. It was [HistoryMaker] Warner Saunders that started getting this going and so I was with the ladies' group called--it was with Warner Saunders, this ladies that was the auxiliary part of Warner Saunders' clubs. I stayed and decided to work with them and do the shows and teach them how to dance and from there it just took off and that's how I got the kids to do the shows downtown, I took them from there over to the South Side and they did shows there so they were busy traveling back and forth.