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The Honorable Lorraine Miller

Former clerk of the United States House of Representatives Lorraine C. Miller was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Lena Marie and Johnnie C. Miller. Miller was heavily involved in the Baptist Church as a child, and both of her parents believed ardently in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In the early 1970s, Miller enrolled at Jarvis Christian College outside of Dallas, but she quickly changed career paths and began attending the University of North Texas. She then graduated from North Texas in 1975 with her B.A. degree in political science.

Upon graduation, Miller worked as a high school government teacher in Fort Worth. She then decided to pursue a political career and worked as an intern for the Maryland Legislature in Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s. Soon after moving to Washington, she enrolled in classes at American University and started working for United States Congressman Jim Wright. Miller would go on to work for Wright for eleven years, including serving as his executive assistant when he was speaker of the house from 1987 to 1989. Then, she worked for House Speaker Tom Foley and U.S. Congressman John Lewis in the early 1990s. Miller would later attend Georgetown University and graduate with her executive M.B.A degree.

In the mid-1990s, Miller served two years in the White House as the deputy assistant to President William J. Clinton. She then served as the director of government relations for the Federal Trade Commission from 1995 to 1999. In 1999, Miller became chief of the Consumer Information Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission. Then, in 2001, she served as senior advisor to House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi until 2007, when Pelosi named Miller the new clerk of the House of Representatives. Miller would become the first African American to both hold that seat and to serve as an officer of the U.S. House of Representatives. She held the seat until 2011.

In 2004, Miller was elected president of the Washington, D.C. branch of the NAACP. Then, in 2008, she was elected to the NAACP National Board of Directors.

Lorraine C. Miller was intervied by The HistoryMakers on July 27, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.215

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/27/2013

Last Name

Miller

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

C.

Schools

Como Montessori

University of North Texas

Harvard University

Georgetown University

Como Elementary School

Jarvis Christian College

American University

First Name

Lorraine

Birth City, State, Country

Fort Worth

HM ID

MIL10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

To God Be The Glory Great Things He Has Done

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/6/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cake (Chocolate)

Short Description

Federal government appointee The Honorable Lorraine Miller (1948 - ) served over thirty years in the United States government and was the first African American to hold the seat of clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Employment

Keller Williams Preferred Properties

United States House of Representatives

Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

American Federation of Teachers

Office of the Vice President of the United States

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Federal Trade Commission

White House

Democratic Steering and Policy Committee - U.S. House of Representatives

Fort Worth Independent School District

Favorite Color

Emerald Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Lorraine Miller's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her mother's profession

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her grandfather's work

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about her father's service in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her uncle's decision to move to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about her father's business relationship with U.S. Representative Jim Wright

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about her father's service in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers the Como neighborhood of Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers her early exposure to music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about Juneteenth

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her parents' involvement in the NAACP

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about voter intimidation in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls the shift to single member districts in the Fort Worth City Council

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her early academic interests

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about her sister's musical talent

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers her involvement in the community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her civil rights activities in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers her influential teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls her early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her decision to attend the Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers the Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls her decision to study political science

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls transferring to North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls transferring to North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about the teaching philosophy at historically black colleges

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls the influence of the Black Power movement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about the black politicians from Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers moving to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers the Watergate scandal

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls joining U.S. Representative Jim Wright's staff

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls working on Jim Wright's reelection campaign in 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about the lack of funding for black voter mobilization

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls her work in the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers the ethics investigation against Jim Wright

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her strategy for political success

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes the demographics of Jim Wright's staff

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remember U.S. Representative Jim Wright's resignation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers working for U.S. Representative Tom Foley

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers meeting Nelson Mandela

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls studying at Georgetown University and Harvard University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about her graduate education

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about the rise of Newt Gingrich

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers the Republican Revolution of 1994

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers her relationship with Republicans in the U.S. Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her challenges at the Federal Trade Commission

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about partisan turnover in the House of Representatives

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her responsibilities on the Federal Trade Commission

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes how she came to work for the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls the controversy over unregulated billing by telecommunications companies

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers directing the White House Community Empowerment board

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes the effects of No Child Left Behind on the American Federation of Teachers

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about the inefficiencies of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller talks about the attempts to privatize the education system

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Lorraine Miller remembers the presidential election scandal of 2000

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
The Honorable Lorraine Miller describes her civil rights activities in Fort Worth, Texas
The Honorable Lorraine Miller recalls the controversy over unregulated billing by telecommunications companies
Transcript
Now I didn't ask you about the March on Washington. Now that was the August before JFK [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] was assassinated (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, yeah.$$Did you know anyone from Fort Worth [Texas] that went to the march?$$ There were, I had a couple of friends. I wanted to go and my mother [Lena Jones Miller] wouldn't let me go. But, I, I really, really wanted to come and she said, "Oh no, you're not going anywhere." We had a march downtown Fort Worth [Texas], the day of, and I begged my mom to let me go down there and she said, "Okay, you can go, but you and your sister [Maurietta Miller] can go, but you come right back home. I don't want you loitering and don't do anything. If somebody says something to you, you know, just don't, don't engage them." And then I had during the march, I had a guy that spat on me, and I remembered my mom's stern words, "Don't engage them. If somebody does anything to you, you know, turn the other cheek, don't get involved because I don't want you hurt." And I came home, I was madder than a wet hen and I told her I said, "You should have let me do something. I could have slapped him, I could have hit him." And she says, "No, and then you would have probably encountered him in a way that he could have hurt you." You don't know what, he could have had a knife or gun or whatever, so the better part of valor was to remain calm. She said, "That's why I didn't want you to go down there in the first place," so, anyway.$$I'm glad I asked that question. So did you get involved in NAACP Youth [NAACP Youth Council]?$$ Yes, we were. My father [Johnnie Miller], when my sister and I were way little, we had youth membership, and we went to the meetings. We had a very active NAACP [Fort Worth Tarrant County Branch NAACP, Fort Worth, Texas] at that time, very active. They were doing a lot of things and there were a lot of these critical meetings. I can just remember as a child the (unclear), we got to go to the NAACP meeting, only we just not gone tell anybody. And it was a critical time. You could feel it, you could sense it.$$Okay, okay. So, I guess the NAACP Youth was doing a lot of things in those days, I mean, really active.$$ Yes, yes. We're trying to, we're trying to revive it now. And it's coming back.$$Okay.$$It's coming back.$$Yeah, they had a different character from the regular NAACP.$$Yeah.$$It was more activist oriented.$(Simultaneous) All kinds of things, and we went through them thoroughly. I brought all of the telecommunications companies and their consumer affairs folks in; and I had our folks to really go through a phone bill, just get a typical phone bill and go through it. "Do you understand every charge to say, 'Why is it there,' just from our perspective," and then we brought the folks in and had them to do it, the same kind of analysis and you saw the discrepancies and I said, "Well why are you charging this person twenty-six cents for this particular fee for something and then charging thirty-one cents for the same thing?" "Oh, well this is to offset." You know they had all kinds, oh yeah, it was, they were skimming millions of dollars off the American consumer and that was one part of it, and then for people who were handicapped and had some kind of disability, oh my god, they were just being literally raped by the telecommunications companies because they put all kinds of fees on 'em and they knew if you were hard of hearing or blind, you're not examining your bill. And they would just arbitrarily attach fees that you would have no idea why and even if you used the product they were trying to sell--if you didn't they still charged you for it. So it was, it was a scam that we went to war with them on, and so I had all these backlog of complaints, while you're still trying to deal with the everyday complaints that consumers were having with the telecommunications (unclear), and then you had Reverend Jackson [HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson] and Reverend Sharpton [HistoryMaker Reverend Al Sharpton] who were saying, as we were, radio licenses and they were discriminating against African Americans (unclear). All of that was going on at the same time, so it was juggling a lot of balls in the air and trying to get them, trying to get them resolved. We did a fairly good job doing it but, and then you got the eight hundred pound gorilla of the [U.S.] Congress that was just breathing down your neck trying to, you know, every time we turned I had to spend more time preparing the chairman [William E. Kennard] for testifying on the Hill [Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.] which was so time consuming, but that was, that's the nature of the beast. And you just had to do it. So it was a l- it was, it was, it was tough.

Harriett G. Jenkins

Harriet Elizabeth Jenkins was born on July 26, 1926 in Forth Worth, Texas. She and her sister were raised by an aunt and uncle after the death of both her parents before she was ten years old. At he age of fourteen, in 1941, she graduated from I.M. Terrill High School and received a full scholarship to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

She attended Fisk from 1941 until 1945, where she earned her bachelor's of arts degree in mathematics. In 1945, she left Nashville and joined her sister in California, where she worked in a clerical position at Pacific Overseas Air Service Command until 1948.

There, Jenkins worked as a writer for Golden State Insurance Company and an Identification clerk for the Oakland Police Department from 1948 until 1954. Leaving there, she began her teaching career in the Berkeley, California school system. She quickly rose through the ranks, serving as the city's first Black female vice-principal. In 1957, she earned her master's degree in education from the University of California at Berkeley. She went on to become a school principal, director of elementary education and assistant superintendent of schools. In 1974, Jenkins left Berkeley and moved to Washington, D.C. to be with her husband.

From 1974 until 1992, Jenkins worked as the assistant administrator for equal opportunity programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). During her nearly twenty-year tenure at NASA, she was responsible for implementing several programs that assisted minorities and women, including recruiting some of the agency's first African American astronauts. Her efforts extended beyond the astronaut program and included providing more opportunities for minorities in NASA's procurement contracts and research efforts. Under her leadership, university research centers were started and supported in Historically Black Colleges. In 1984, she earned her law degree from Georgetown University.

From 1992 until 1996, she worked with the U.S. Congress and served as the director at the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices in the U.S. Senate. Her duties included ensuring the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 were administered for all Senate employees and the Capitol Police. Jenkins also assisted Senate staffs in implementation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Jenkins retired from the federal government in 1996. In 2000, NASA established a fellowship program in her name, awarding doctoral fellowships to qualifying minority students. She was the recipient of numerous awards and honors including placing her retirement in the Congressional Record.

Jenkins passed away on December 21, 2016.

Accession Number

A2004.126

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/12/2004

Last Name

Jenkins

Maker Category
Middle Name

G.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

I. M. Terrell High School

Fisk University

Georgetown University

First Name

Harriett

Birth City, State, Country

Fort Worth

HM ID

JEN03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mazatlan, Mexico

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/26/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salad (Caesar)

Death Date

12/21/2016

Short Description

Research manager Harriett G. Jenkins (1926 - 2016 ) served as the assistant administrator for equal opportunity programs at NASA, where she was responsible for implementing programs that assisted minorities, including recruiting some of the agency's first black astronauts. She was also appointed as the director of the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices in the U.S. Senate.

Employment

Pacific Overseas Air Tactical Command

Golden State Insurance Company

Oakland Police Department

Berkeley Unified School District

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices

Favorite Color

Teal

Timing Pairs
228,0:608,6:1064,13:1368,18:2052,28:2432,34:3192,46:3648,53:4104,60:4636,68:6080,88:8132,129:8436,134:9424,150:9728,155:10032,160:12540,193:12844,198:13148,203:13604,210:18620,307:19380,320:25128,335:25740,346:26352,356:26624,361:26896,370:28460,402:29208,416:29888,441:30160,446:30636,461:31044,469:31316,474:31656,483:32608,492:33016,499:33288,504:35736,607:36348,618:37232,635:37912,646:38592,657:39068,668:39544,676:40496,692:40768,697:42332,726:42808,734:43420,744:52320,830:54350,885:54630,890:56870,938:57150,947:57710,955:58130,962:59600,983:59950,989:60230,994:60510,999:60790,1004:62260,1051:64920,1131:65200,1136:65480,1141:66810,1166:74162,1218:74673,1226:75038,1233:76206,1257:76936,1268:77666,1283:78323,1294:79710,1318:80002,1323:80513,1332:81024,1341:83579,1400:83871,1405:85404,1410:93945,1563:101135,1632:101738,1643:102810,1657:104753,1705:105222,1713:107902,1759:109644,1805:109979,1812:110582,1822:111386,1837:111654,1842:113932,1883:114200,1888:115607,1922:116076,1930:117282,1951:117550,1956:118220,1969:118890,1979:121101,2019:126960,2049:127450,2057:127870,2065:129060,2084:129550,2089:130880,2107:131650,2119:132140,2127:132700,2137:133820,2156:134380,2166:134940,2176:135220,2181:135780,2190:136690,2213:137810,2239:138650,2255:138930,2260:139560,2275:140400,2291:141450,2309:141870,2318:143060,2335:143760,2347:144460,2360:146280,2390:147050,2407:147610,2421:155790,2477$0,0:1002,12:5666,149:11210,271:22914,446:27960,476:31228,558:33508,607:33964,614:35104,638:36700,664:38676,694:39360,704:42172,753:42932,764:47443,783:47767,788:48172,794:49468,811:50035,819:50764,831:51736,845:52708,890:53032,895:53356,900:59350,977:60079,987:61132,1004:62671,1056:63238,1064:64210,1077:67531,1113:67936,1119:74070,1138:75134,1155:79542,1239:81062,1279:81746,1291:83190,1319:84634,1339:84938,1344:86686,1365:87066,1371:89574,1398:89878,1403:90182,1408:90486,1419:100650,1502:102546,1520:103794,1538:104418,1546:105042,1554:108058,1590:109722,1609:116605,1645:118638,1661:119601,1667:120029,1672:123132,1723:126770,1813:134130,1872:134430,1878:136290,1918:137250,1936:137550,1942:138210,1954:143360,1995:144335,2004:144710,2015:145385,2031:145985,2040:147035,2056:147410,2062:149900,2081:152555,2107:153424,2124:153740,2129:155162,2155:157137,2187:157611,2195:159428,2219:161008,2248:163931,2295:169680,2345:170055,2351:171255,2374:171555,2379:172980,2392:173505,2400:173805,2405:174555,2416:175005,2423:178305,2489:180930,2536:185280,2625:190755,2711:191430,2723:197950,2735:198910,2758:204094,2851:205886,2891:206462,2902:207038,2913:207294,2918:207614,2924:208638,2954:209214,2965:209534,2971:210110,2982:211134,2998:211966,3013:212606,3025:217100,3042:218066,3059:219308,3083:219722,3090:220136,3097:221270,3104
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harriett G. Jenkins's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harriett G. Jenkins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about being raised by her maternal uncle and aunt

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes her older siblings and her family ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes her earliest memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harriett G. Jenkins shares significant memories from her childhood in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about her childhood neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes her experiences in public school in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about graduating from I.M. Terrell High School in Fort Worth, Texas at age fourteen

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes her experiences at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes her academic pursuits at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harriett G. Jenkins recalls her first jobs in California after graduating from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes living in California in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about opportunities for African Americans in California during the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about her early career in education at Berkeley Unified School District in Berkeley, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes her experiences as principal of Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about supervising special education programs as principal of Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes the desegregation of Berkeley Unified School District in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harriett G. Jenkins reflects on the impact of desegregating Berkeley Unified School District

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about her decision to leave Berkeley, California in 1973

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes the events that led her to be hired by NASA

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about efforts to hire more women, minorities and individuals with disabilities at NASA

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about NASA bringing African Americans into its astronaut corps

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes how efforts to increase diversity evolved while she was employed at NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about developing programs to hire more minorities at NASA in research and development

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes the fellowship program that NASA developed in her honor

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about heading the Office of Fair Employment Practices at the U.S. Senate

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes her involvement with the Montgomery County Commission on Human Rights

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about her thoughts on affirmative action and diversity in American society

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harriett G. Jenkins reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harriett G. Jenkins describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Harriett G. Jenkins reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Harriett G. Jenkins talks about why she believes history is important

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harriett G. Jenkins narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harriett G. Jenkins narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harriett G. Jenkins narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Harriett G. Jenkins talks about supervising special education programs as principal of Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley
Harriett G. Jenkins describes the events that led her to be hired by NASA
Transcript
There always been questions about whether you should have a special education class for kids who are either mentally retarded or have limitations, or have some sort of physical disabilities so that they cannot learn the way other youngsters can learn. And so they, the issues get to be should they be in a class all by themselves, or should you integrate them into the regular class and then have the ability to be able to pull them out of that class when you need to work with the specific skills they need. And so at Emerson [Elementary School, Berkeley, California] and I'm sure that was true at other schools as well, we had the youngsters integrated into their regular classrooms, but they also had a room that was the special education room. And Phil Hatlen worked with them and there might have been a youngster who was limited by sight, might have been blind, or might have been crippled, or might have been autistic, or might have had limited mental capacity. But, Phil could work with them individually and he could pull them from their classes, as they needed to be pulled during the classroom day. The rest of the time they were learning how to get along with other children. And I remember one time walking into a classroom and the blind youngsters knew their way around the building, so they would come down the hallway, sometimes touching it to get to their classroom and they'd walk into class, and as they would walk into class sometimes they would bump into the seat of a student. I remember one day a student is writing his paper and he just takes his hand and just shares, and shoves the kid a little bit around his chair to help guide him so he can get to his seat in the room without stopping a beat of what he's doing on, at his desk and doing his work, and I thought it was just a wonderful picture of how well integrated and how accepting the regular kids were of those youngsters with the special needs.$$Now, was the same thing taking place for black students in special education?$$I assume so, yes. I assume so, because once we decided to go with that model and to even distinguish between those who were trainable and those who could get full academic load and work, but you just needed to make other variations. At that time we didn't have all of the technology we now have, so that you can use readers for instance, or large print. They were using braille, braille books for the most part for the blind students that we had at Emerson.$So were you thinking you would still pursue education when you came to Washington, D.C. (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Absolutely, and submitted my application to Prince George's County [Maryland] and Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County [Maryland]--$$This was in the early '70s [1970s]?$$This was in 1973 to be exact, Montgomery County. I got no takers and I, everybody had told me when I had left Berkeley [California], "You won't have any trouble, you'll be snapped up right away. You'll get a job, don't worry, don't worry." Well anyway, I was not offered a job, but I had applied for those three places including the county in which I now reside, and I remember having talked to the assistant superintendent, Dr. [J. Edward] Andrews, here in Montgomery County. And I was also being interviewed by a federal agency, the Commission on Education [U.S. Department of Education] and they were considering me for the director of the Teacher Corps Program and the--one of their top persons, who had helped us in the Berkeley [Unified School District] schools actually was managing a program for the aged and adult education. He was outstanding. He lost his federal funding and so, although I had had an interview where they told me they wanted me and when they invited me back to the second interview, it was to tell me regretfully that they had to put this other person in the position and that they were very, very sorry. So after I finished that interview, I went to Bill's [ph.] office and said to him, "You took my job. You have to help me find a job." And he good heartedly said, "Okay." And that day home in his ride group, he told his friend about this person whose job he had taken (laughter) and I was called by a Dr. Dudley McConnell of NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], interviewed, and he told the administrator of NASA that he would like to hire me as his deputy assistant administrator for equal opportunity programs. I got a call on February 14th from Dr. James [C.] Fletcher of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration who offered me the job, and I said yes. I had been looking for three or four months and had even served in a kind of consultancy way with an educational company that was working in the Washington, D.C. schools on the Right to Read Project. And so I told him, yes, I would take the job. And the very next day Dr. Andrews from Montgomery County called and offered me the assistant superintendency (laughter) in Montgomery County. That's how close I came to getting a job or staying in education.$$But was the NASA job a little bit more appealing because it was not in that traditional educational realm?$$In all honesty I can't say that was my rationale. That was the job I was offered and I was looking for a job and had been so close and hadn't gotten the other. So I took the job at NASA. I figured it was related to what I had been doing because we certainly had been working in civil rights and integration and integration of systems and organizations in Berkeley and had actually done it in the public school system.

Robert Stanton

Robert George Stanton was born on September 22, 1940 in Forth Worth, Texas. His mother was a short order cook and his father was a hay contractor. He grew up in Mosier Valley, one of the oldest African American communities in Texas, settled by free slaves. He graduated from I.M. Terrell High School in Forth Worth in 1959.

He earned his bachelor's of science degree from Huston-Tillotson College in Austin in 1963. The summer of his junior year in college he began his career with the National Park Service. Borrowing $250, he bought a train ticket to Wyoming and a park ranger's uniform and worked as a seasonal ranger at Grand Teton National Park. Stanton, along with several other African Americans, was recruited by then Interior Secretary, Stewart Udall who traveled to predominately Black college campuses recruiting students.

In 1963, Stanton began his graduate studies at Boston University and went back to Huston-Tillotson to work as the director of public relations and alumni affairs from 1964 until 1966. That year, he took a full time job with the Park Service as a personnel management and public information specialist in the Washington, D.C. headquarters office. In 1969, he became a management assistant and in 1970, he was appointed superintendent of Virgin Islands National Park in St. Thomas. In 1974, Stanton became deputy regional director of the Southeast Region of the National Park Service in Atlanta and in 1976 he returned to Washington, D.C. as assistant director of park operations. In 1978, Stanton was named deputy regional director of the National Capital Region, where he remained until 1986. In 1987, he returned to headquarters as associate director for operations, and in 1988, he became the first African American to serve as director of the National Park Service. Stanton's nomination for the post by former President Clinton was the first that had to be approved by the U.S. Senate…he was confirmed unanimously. He retired from that position in 2003.

Stanton currently works as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M teaching courses on conservation. He has also taught at Yale University and been the recipient of numerous awards for his civic work and environmental stewardship.

Accession Number

A2004.110

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/27/2004

8/11/2004

Last Name

Stanton

Maker Category
Middle Name

G.

Schools

I. M. Terrell High School

Mosier Valley School

Huston-Tillotson University

Boston University

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Fort Worth

HM ID

STA04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

National Parks

Favorite Quote

Mankind Differ As The Waves But Are As One As The Sea

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/22/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak, Potatoes

Short Description

Federal government official Robert Stanton (1940 - ) is the first African American to serve as director of the National Park Service.

Employment

Grand Teton National Park

Huston-Tillotson College

National Park Service

Virgin Islands National Park

Texas A&M University

Yale University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Stanton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Stanton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Stanton describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Stanton describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Stanton talks about his Mosier Valley ancestry and his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Stanton describes his earliest childhood memory and names his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Stanton talks about the Mosier Valley community in Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Stanton remembers efforts to improve African American children's schooling in Mosier Valley, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Stanton describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert Stanton describes his experience at Mosier Valley Elementary School in Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert Stanton talks about early adolescence and his brother's death in the Korean War

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Robert Stanton talks about his adolescent influences and busing to I.M. Terrell High School in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Robert Stanton describes his high school experience in Fort Worth, Texas and his aspirations as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Stanton remembers Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Stanton remembers being recruited to work for the U.S. Department of the Interior in the summer of 1962

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Stanton remembers working in Grand Teton National Park during the summer of 1962

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Stanton talks about working for Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas and returning to the National Park Service

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Stanton talks about the beginning of his career at the National Park Service and meeting his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Stanton talks about working as superintendent of the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Stanton talks about his work as deputy regional director of the Southeast Region and assistant director of the National Park Service

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Stanton recalls his tenure as deputy regional director of the National Capital Region of the National Park Service

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Stanton talks about climbing the National Park Service hierarchy to serve as the director

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Stanton remembers the director of National Park Service nomination process

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Stanton describes his accomplishments as director of the National Park Service

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Stanton describes congressional oversight hearings he experienced as director of the National Park Service

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Stanton reflects upon African American's interaction with the National Park Service

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Stanton talks about challenges facing the National Park Service

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Stanton talks about what he would like to have done as director of the National Park Service

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Stanton talks about the National Park Service's role in preserving African American history

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Stanton talks about his favorite national parks and the parks he has yet to visit

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Stanton recalls teaching at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and bringing students to the World Park Congress

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Stanton talks about his current consultation and board work

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Stanton reflects upon how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Stanton reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Stanton reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Stanton narrates his photograph, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Stanton narrates his photographs, pt.2

DASession

2$2

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Robert Stanton talks about the beginning of his career at the National Park Service and meeting his wife
Robert Stanton describes his accomplishments as director of the National Park Service
Transcript
What were you doing for the [National] Park Service [NPS] in 1966?$$My first appointment was in personnel management and public information.$$And you held that position until 1969?$$Until 1969 and then I was reassigned to, to the National Capital Region [NCR] in a park position as a management assistant.$$Um-hm.$$And I served in that position until 1970. Our director of the park service at that time did something similar to, to what [Secretary of the Interior] Stewart Udall did, he looked at the faces of all of his superintendents from South Pacific to Maine, from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands, and did not see one black face among the hundreds of superintendents. And he too said, "This is a new day," and he and my regional director at that time and--he conferred with the regional director and also with his deputy director and said that we were going to make an appointment and I have the distinction of being, and I say this with all humility, of being the first African American to be appointed by the park service as a park superintendent. The thing that's so interesting is that two individuals who made a--who played a very prominent role in that appointment, were two gentlemen who was at Grand Teton National Park [Wyoming] in '62 [1962], the original director, Russell Dickenson, when I was appointed superintendent, was my first chief ranger. And the gentleman who was the number two for the whole of the park service working with Director [George B.] Hartzog [Jr.], was [Harthon L.] Spud Bill who was the superintendent at Grand Teton, so they had a lot of influence on me. But I might mention the other thing about the Teton experience. As I mentioned earlier, Secretary Udall directed his staff to recruit among a fairly large number of historically black colleges and universities [HBCU], and one of the colleges they attended was Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. And I don't know how many students were selected but one I know that was selected from there, William D. Kennard [ph.] another good Omega [Psi Phi Fraternity] man I might add, also worked in Grand Teton '62 [1962] and '63 [1963]. And when I came to the Washington [D.C.] area in 1966 for my permanent job, William was a bachelor, and I was a bachelor then, and so we were about to go out on the town here in Washington and he said, "Hey [HistoryMaker] Bob [Robert Stanton], there's this young lady that just finished from Livingstone, she's now working at HUD, [U.S. Department of] Housing and Urban Development, and I've been dating a girl from Livingstone," he said, "why don't we just double date?" I said, "Sounds great to me William," you know. You probably getting two or three dates this week, you know.$$(Laughter) That would be the first of many--$$Yeah, right.$$--this week, right?$$Yeah. So the next thing I know, William was my best man; his brother was in the ministry and his brother was administering the wedding. But Teton has had a lasting experience on me but probably the best because I married Janet Moffatte [Stanton] of South Carolina and the best thing that ever happened to me, yeah, yeah, yeah.$$That's great.$$Thirty-eight years of marriage, yeah.$Tell us a little bit about some of your accomplishments as director [of the National Park Service (NPS)]?$$Well, again, a director, any, any, any accomplishment as a superintendent, management assistant, regional director, or associate director, or director, is in direct proportion to the support that you get from your staff and their motivation and their interest, and I had the best group of federal employees in the National Park Service whom I worked with daily and I think we accomplished a great deal. We accomplished a great deal on several fronts. One is in working directly with [U.S.] Congress to get new authorizations that allow for more revenues to be available to the park service to, to meet some of those needs and congress authorized new legislative authorities for the park service to have more resources at its disposal, and I was very pleased with some of those legislative accomplishments. Also further to congress, congress during my tenure as director approved nine new parks, extended the boundary of I think twenty-something parks. And two parks that came into the system while I was director speak specifically to events associated with African Americans. Little Rock Central High School [National Historic Site, Little Rock, Arkansas], which is very close to me because the nine students who integrated Little Rock Central High School [Little Rock, Arkansas] in 1957 were my peers, and that now is a national historic site. And the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site [Tuskegee, Alabama] to commemorate the bravery of those fighters notwithstanding that the [U.S.] Army or the [U.S.] military was segregated but yet they still fought valiantly in World War II [WWII]. But I also I was very proud that congress passed legislation authorizing the [National] Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and it was my great joy--$$Hmm.$$--to be invited by President [William Jefferson "Bill] Clinton to join along with a number of other distinguished citizens including Rodney [E.] Slater who was secretary of transportation at that time, Congressman Carl Stokes [sic. Ambassador Carl Stokes], (unclear) and others to witness him personally signing the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. And but also on the operational side, I think we improved the quality of interpretation, the visitor experiences when one goes to the park. One of the passions I have is to increase the involvement of young people in a program we inaugurated we call the Public Lands Corps that provided for the expanded involvement of young people. We expanded the Parks Classroom Program. We improved the safety of our employees in the work place. I was very concerned about the number of lost time injuries of our employees suffering back strains or automobile accidents and what have you, so substantially improved that. And certainly the construction of new facilities and the upgrading and maintenance of facilities. Major conservation projects included the restoration of the Everglades National Parks [sic. Everglades National Park, Florida], an agreement to remove some dams out of Olympic National Park in Washington State, alternate transportation systems at the Zion National Park in Utah, also at Acadia [National Park] in Maine. So I think a number of major improvements were made over my roughly four years as the director of the park service. Could have been more had I stayed in longer but that was not to be (laughter).$$And not your choice, not your decision.$$That's right. That's right.