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Mary Hatwood Futrell

Mary Alice Franklin Hatwood Futrell was born on May 24, 1940, in Altavista, Virginia; her mother was a domestic and factory worker and her father worked in construction. Futrell was raised in a single parent household and did not develop a relationship with her father until she was an adult. In 1958, Futrell earned her high school diploma from Dunbar High School in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she was a cheerleader, and a member of student government, Future Business Leaders of America and the National Honor Society.

In 1962, Futrell received her degree in business education from Virginia State University where she was a cheerleader and pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. From 1962 until 1964, Futrell worked as a teacher at the segregated Parker Gray High School in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1965, Futrell helped integrate the teaching staff at George Washington High School, where she taught business until 1980; while there, she earned her master’s degree in secondary education from George Washington University in 1968.

In 1983, Futrell became the president of the National Education Association, becoming the fourth minority to serve in the position; she remained there until 1989. During her three terms as NEA president, Futrell helped the organization achieve leadership status in the areas of civil and human rights, especially women’s rights. As a result of her tireless efforts, the NEA created the Mary Futrell Award to honor individuals whose activities in women’s rights have made a significant impact on education and on the achievement of equal opportunities for women and girls.

In 1992, Futrell joined the faculty at George Washington University, while earning her Ph.D. in education policy studies; in 1995, she was promoted to dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Futrell also served as the director of the George Washington Institute for Curriculum Standards and Technology.

Futrell served as the president of the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession; The Virginia Education Association; Education International; and ERAmerica. Futrell published articles in a number of scholarly journals, such as Education Record, Foreign Language Annals and Education Administration Quarterly. For her work in education policy and reform, Futrell has been awarded numerous honors and awards, including more than twenty honorary degrees.

Accession Number

A2004.189

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/30/2004

Last Name

Futrell

Maker Category
Middle Name

Hatwood

Organizations
Schools

Dunbar High School

Virginia State University

George Washington University

Robert S. Payne Elementary School

First Name

Mary

Birth City, State, Country

Altavista

HM ID

FUT01

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

If I Am Not For Myself, Then Who Will Be For Me? But If I’m Only For Myself, Then What Am I? And If Not Now, When?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/24/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Catfish, Coleslaw, Salad, Vanilla Ice Cream, Coca-Cola

Short Description

Academic administrator and education chief executive Mary Hatwood Futrell (1940 - ) served three terms as president of the National Education Association before joining the faculty at George Washington University. Futrell was later promoted to dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Employment

Parker Gray High School - Alexandria, Virginia

George Washington High School

National Education Association

George Washington University

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111457">Tape: 1 Slating of Mary Hatwood Futrell's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111458">Tape: 1 Mary Hatwood Futrell lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111459">Tape: 1 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her mother's childhood and youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111460">Tape: 1 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her mother, Josephine Calloway Austin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111461">Tape: 1 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her biological father and her two stepfathers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111462">Tape: 1 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her relationship with her biological father, Chester Minnis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111463">Tape: 1 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her great-grandparents and how she takes after her great-grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111464">Tape: 1 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her maternal family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111465">Tape: 1 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111466">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her memories of childhood on Spruce Street in Lynchburg, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111467">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about why her mother held her to higher standards than her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111468">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes why her mother taught her to work at an early age</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111469">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111470">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes growing up in the town of Lynchburg, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111471">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Lynchburg, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111472">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her experience at Payne Elementary School in Lynchburg, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111473">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her junior high school years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111474">Tape: 2 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her experience at Dunbar High School in Lynchburg, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111475">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell remembers the funds that enabled her to enroll at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111476">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell remembers her advisor's challenge to take her studies seriously at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111477">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell remembers being poor in college and her resolve to focus on her education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111478">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her religious upbringing and childhood Christmases</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111479">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her early teaching career and the riots following desegregation at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111480">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about school desegregation in Alexandria, Virginia in the mid-1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111481">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her reception by white teachers at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia after the school was desegregated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111482">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell remembers her reputation as a teacher at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111483">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes commuting during her graduate school years at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111484">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes the 1968 civil unrest in Washington, D.C. after the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111485">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes the changes at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/111486">Tape: 3 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about the effects of desegregation on African American educators</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110619">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes cultural changes affecting the education of children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110620">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her tenure as President of the National Education Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110621">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about becoming dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110622">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her accomplishments at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and the school's history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110623">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell provides her personal assessment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110624">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about transformations needed in the teaching profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110625">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell reflects upon the formative experiences in her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110626">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about the importance of history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110627">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell shares her advice for aspiring educators</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110628">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about what she hopes to accomplish and what she regrets</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110629">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110630">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/110631">Tape: 4 Mary Hatwood Futrell talks about her family</a>

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Mary Hatwood Futrell describes her reception by white teachers at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia after the school was desegregated
Mary Hatwood Futrell remembers being poor in college and her resolve to focus on her education
Transcript
How were you received by white students and white parents, as an African American teacher?$$Um, (laughter), you really want to go through all of this? Okay. Um, I didn't have a lot of contact with the white parents. The classes were pretty mixed, and I didn't have a lot of trouble with the students. But I had teachers who wouldn't speak to me, they wouldn't talk to me.$$White colleagues?$$Right, they wouldn't talk to me. And I remember saying to the assistant principal one time, she said, "How are you doing?" I said, "I'm doing fine." She said, "Any problems?" I said, "Well, some of the teachers and some of the people won't speak to me." And so she said, "Well, things will change." You know, this is like early in my first year. And a few months later she saw me again, and she was asking me, and I said, "Well, things are somewhat better, but there are still people who won't speak to me." And she looked at me and she said, "Well, this is a democracy, and they don't have to talk to you." And I said, "Okay, you're absolutely right." I said, "But I'm not going to give up, you know. I'm going to keep working until we get this right." I had people who challenged whether or not I was qualified to teach. And they would say things to me like, "Well, we assume that you know how to teach." And I remember I said to my department chair one time, I said, "Well, I believe we were certified by the same department in the State of Virginia. And so, if they certified you to teach and they certified me to teach, that means that both of us can teach the same subject." See, I told you I was a smart-mouth. The--eventually, you know, the teachers came around. I was the first black person to be president of the local association and, you know, so that shows you how things changed. Now, we went through a lot of sensitivity training in the system, but the sensitivity training did not occur until after all the violence occurred. And, because the teachers never received it, and that was one of the things we talked about. They had sensitivity training for the children because of the violence before they had sensitivity training for the teachers. But one of the things that brought us together as a team, black and white, was the violence in the school. We came together to protect the students and to try to save the school. And I can remember blacks and whites coming together and planning and organizing--how are we going to monitor the halls? How are we going to protect the cafeteria? How are we going to make sure kids are safe? And, and, it was interesting, because what was tearing the students apart was bringing us together. But no, I--$$As faculty and as a staff?$$Right, right. And, and, and, eventually, you know, things calmed down.$But--$$Can you tell us a little bit about when you got to Virginia State [University, Petersburg, Virginia], did it matter that you were poor? Did you feel like you were fitting in okay?$$Yeah.$$What were the--$$Well, it wasn't--well, you know, I guess my focus was on getting an education. And I knew I didn't have things like the other kids had. But let me give you an example. I had a coat that was so raggedy, I was holding it together with safety pins. And I remember we went to somebody's house and we hung our coats up. And when we got ready to get them and leave, they were giving the coats out, and I didn't want to acknowledge my coat. And finally somebody said, "Well, whose old raggedy coat is this?" And I had to acknowledge that it was mine. And I remember I walked home, and I cried all the way home. When I say home, I meant to the dorm. And, and, I was so hurt. And I also remember going to my home, and I saw three coats. I said, oh, my mother [Josephine Calloway Austin] bought me a new coat. But the coats weren't for me. The coats were for Mariann [Biscoff]. And I remember how crushed I was. And I said, "Why three coats?" And I don't think she meant to hurt me, but she wasn't thinking. The coats were for Mariann, and I'm thinking here I am wearing this coat and it's so raggedy. I've got the lining and everything and the hem all pinned up, and I'd sewn it up as much as I could. And again, it was going back to--her way of trying to make a difference with Mariann was to give her things, and to do things. She thought I was okay. And, and, and, it wasn't until we had this conversation that I told you about, that she realized, you know, how observant I was and how hurt I was. And, and, and, I remember the other girls, and how nice they were and, you know, their hair looked so nice, and their shoes and things. And, and, I think I had like one, maybe two pairs of shoes. I think I had a pair of flats and a pair of heels I could wear if I went to church or somewhere, and my homemade hand-me-downs, you know, and stuff like that. But I, I, and then there were other kids that were like that, too, you know. And I said my focus is on, my focus has to be on getting an education. You know, you've got a chance; don't blow it. And they were shipping kids out. I mean, Virginia State didn't mess around. You know, you flunked out, you were gone. And you could come back, but you didn't stay, you know. And I remember my professors talking to me, and my professors telling me, "It's not what you wear that's important, it's what you do." And, and, and, I had this teacher named Miss Munden, Ella Munden [ph.]. Miss Ella Munden was always lecturing to us about the importance of getting a good education, and the importance of reaching back and helping people in the community. "And you've got a chance that a lot of other kids don't have." She was always--and, you know, it's interesting how that stuff sticks. And so, you know, I was into a lot of stuff in college. But I did okay. I graduated and came up here [Washington, D.C.].