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Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad was born on April 27, 1972 in Chicago, Illinois to Ozier Muhammad and Kimberly Muhammad-Earl. He completed his B.A. degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and his Ph.D. degree in history at Rutgers University in 2004.

Initially intending to work in finance, Muhammad worked at Deloitte-Touche for almost two years before beginning his Ph.D. work in history. Following his graduation from Rutgers University in 2004, Muhammad worked as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice for two years. He then joined the faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington as an associate professor of history, where he taught for five years, focusing his teaching and research on the ideas of black criminality following the American Civil War. In 2011, Muhammad was selected as the next director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. While there, Muhammad sought to expand the center’s outreach and funding, focusing particularly on programming to attract younger audiences. In late 2015, Muhammad announced he was leaving the Schomburg Center to join the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy School as professor of history, race, and public policy. He was also hired as the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Muhammad released The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America in 2010, which was awarded the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize from the American Studies Association in 2011. Since its publication, he is a frequent contributor on the topic, including an interview with Bill Moyers in 2012 and 2016. Muhammad also delivered lectures at the City University of New York, Rutgers University, Indiana University, and many others. Muhammad’s commentary on the racial past of the United States and contemporary policing and criminality was published in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio and others. While under his direction in 2015, the Schomburg Center won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Muhammad and his wife, Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, have three children: Gibran Mikkel, Jordan Grace, and Justice Marie.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 1, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.011

Sex

Male

Interview Date

09/01/2016

Last Name

Muhammad

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Gibran

Schools

University of Pennsylvania

Kenwood Academy

Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences

Arthur J. Dixon Elementary School

Morgan Park High School

First Name

Khalil

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MUH02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

4/27/1972

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

South Orange

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tacos

Short Description

Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad (1972 - ) was the director emeritus of Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America.

Employment

Deloitte-Touche

Vera Institute of Justice

Indiana University

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Harvard Kennedy School

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Khalil Gibran Muhammad's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his white maternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his mother's racial identity

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his father's relationship to the Nation of Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the schism in the Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his father's frustration with the Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his family's legacy

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his relationship with his father's family, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his relationship with his father's family, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his church memberships

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers Arthur Dixon Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his early academic success

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers working at Hyde Park Computers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his interest in computers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls meeting Robert Earl Jones

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers the music of his teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the violence in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the origin of his name

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers Ralph A. Austen

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his early interest in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about growing up during an era of increased opportunity for African Americans

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his father's community engagement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his decision to attend the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his experiences at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the alumni of the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about moving to the East Coast

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls the water buffalo incident at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his protest against a racist student journalist, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his protest against a racist student journalist, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his protest against a racist student journalist, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his experiences during college

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls the arbitration of his assault by a campus security officer

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his position at Deloitte and Touche

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his decision to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls preparing for his doctoral studies in history

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the topic of his dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers conducting the research for his dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers joining the faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his community in Bloomington, Indiana, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his community in Bloomington, Indiana, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls how he came to direct the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his experiences as an instructor

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers his fellowship at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about studying criminal justice in the early 20th century

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls studying racial discrimination in the criminal justice system

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the early responses to 'The Condemnation of Blackness'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his appointment to Harvard's Kennedy School

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his interview at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his interview at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his start as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his generation of African American leaders

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his tenure at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers his first year as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his management style

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls the renovation of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the leadership of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about expanding the audience of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls hosting an event with Chimamanda Adichie and Zadie Smith

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his influence as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the legacy of Jean Blackwell Hutson and Howard Dodson

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his decision to leave the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his decision to leave the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his decision to leave the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 3

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad reflects upon his tenure at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his professorship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his goals as a scholar

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his hopes for the African American community

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$7

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his father's career
Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his tenure at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Transcript
Tell me about your father. Okay, give his name and a birthdate and what you know about his background (unclear)?$$Sure, so his name is [HistoryMaker] Ozier Muhammad, O-Z-I-E-R. He was born October 8, 1950 and grew up in Chicago [Illinois]. His mother [Eleanor Paschal Muhammad] was from Georgia and his father [Nathanial Muhammad] was born I believe in Michigan, but also might have come from Georgia, but he definitely grew up in, in Detroit [Michigan] where the Nation of Islam was first founded. My grandfather is about ninety, so he's still with us and my father grew up to a gigantic family with--he was one of ten and he was the second oldest son and I'm not sure if he is the third or second child, but he was very much a part of the Nation of Islam. It was his formative experience. He went to the University of Islam [Muhammad University of Islam, Chicago, Illinois] to be educated, talks about having taken some classes from his Uncle Wallace [Wallace Muhammad] who became Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, a very prominent member of a, sort of newly growing Sunni Islamic community that he lead after the Nation of Islam changed power from Elijah Muhammad to Louis Farrakhan [HistoryMaker Minister Louis Farrakhan], but I think the thing that makes my dad's story particular is of all of his siblings, he found his calling pretty early in life and as a late teenager started working as an assistant to a studio photographer on the South Side [Chicago, Illinois] not too far from the home base of the Nation, basically a mile east of where they lived in Chatham [Chicago, Illinois]. He grew up, my father grew up on 82nd [Street] and St. Lawrence [Avenue] and this studio was like on 83rd [Street] and Dorchester [Avenue] or Blackstone [Avenue]. So, once he started working in that space he decided that he wanted to be a photographer. He went to college and I think maybe one or two of his siblings eventually went to college, but my father went at the age when people eventually go to college at least as one imagines, so maybe nineteen he went to Columbia College [Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois], studied journalism and photography and graduated, started working at Ebony and Jet magazine and launched his career with people like Vandell Cobb and Bill Rhoden [William C. Rhoden] who just retired from The New York Times, also [HistoryMaker] Lerone Bennett was there. I mean it was a powerhouse as you well know back in 1974 when he joined. I have distinct memories of going to work with him and just meeting Mr. Bennett who handed me a copy of 'Before the Mayflower' ['Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America,' Lerone Bennett, Jr.] with a signed signature. My father was probably a little more of hippie than my mom [Kimberly Muhammad-Earl], sort of more counter-culturalist. Thinking about his background as a child of the Nation and then thinking about a changing world, I think he had a much greater racial consciousness than my mom and very-well read, very actively engaged in current events. Eventually, as he moved from Ebony, Jet to The Charlotte Observer to Newsday on Long Island [New York], began to travel the world, so in terms of my sense of my father by the time I was ten years old, he was incredibly focused on everything happening in the world, in the Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] years, anti-apartheid struggles, he eventually covered the famine in Ethiopia in 1985 for which he won a Pulitzer [Pulitzer Prize]. He took me to museums all of the time. He challenged me to think about the big picture all of the time. He exposed me to everyday events by taking me along with him to cover, particularly by the time he got to New York [New York], everything from sporting events to Ed Koch mayoral press conferences. So, I definitely attribute my father's own sense of wanting to be a journalist and to be engaged and active and learned, and not in the way that--my mother was an educator, she was certainly learned, but this was a different kind of interest and engagement with the picture that my dad passed on to me, and he's that way to this day. He reads voraciously, blogs, continues to cover things. He went to the Republication National Convention in Cleveland [Ohio], not as a paid employee, but as a curious person to cover it in case something happened. Of course, there weren't protests there and certainly talked about why that is, but that's, that's the dad that I remember, very fond of him, like my mother, but he, you know he pushed me more than my mom to find a, a significant purpose in life. I'll give you a good example. When I decided to leave public accounting to go to graduate school [Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey], my mother said, "Well, why do you want to be a teacher, you're not gonna make any money. You know that's a terrible idea, I was a teacher," you know. In her mind, she thought I could be much more as measured by a career as a business person, and what that might mean in terms of my financial future. My father said, "That's wonderful," you know, "How can I help?" So, you have a sense of the differences.$That's the public face, what about behind?$$Behind, wow (laughter). So, all right I mean so, so the good part that helped a lot was that I was appointed in, let's just say the beginning of November, I didn't arrive until the end of July. So, there was a long transition period between the news of my coming and my actual arrival and, in the meantime, because I was an academic and essentially had you know some flexibility, I mean in some ways I neglected my students my last semester at Indiana [Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana], but between November and July I was coming to New York City [New York, New York] two times a month, sometimes more for various reasons. Some for specific meetings that were set up by Howard [HistoryMaker Howard Dodson] and the library more generally to understand processes. Some to meet people like Al Sharpton [HistoryMaker Reverend Al Sharpton], it just depended on whatever it was. Some--I was elected to Crain's Forty under 40 business magazine which was the library's doing. They nominated me and I was selected and so I had to come just for a photo shoot. Same thing happened with The Network Journal, African American business journal, Forty under 40, so I had to come in for that. So, for one reason or another I was coming in and I was spending time with Howard getting to know the staff and getting to know the colleagues at 42nd Street. So, I had a lot of experience coming in the door just from that exposure, and it definitely made me feel more confident, but there's nothing like showing up in a place like that the first day. Howard's, gone, you've got an assistant who's looking at you like you know, "What do you want me to do?" (Laughter) Phones ringing, there's mail that's already shown up months before I actually arrived, she hands me an envelope full of invoices that needed to be signed and dated so they could be processed, because Howard had been gone for a couple of weeks or a week or he hadn't--you know there was just stuff to do and people needed to move on with their work and they needed my input and I must say that one of the first things I said I'm gonna change here is I said, "I'm not signing every invoice, every single day that comes into this building." Howard had a different management style, it was more top down, and as a consequence of that he was approving everything, and I said, "I don't wanna have to approve everything. If you bought the paper you can approve it or your manager can approve it. Don't send me this stuff," and eventually that's how it worked and so early on that was my lesson, and the other thing I'd say in terms of the Harlem [New York, New York] community, it was very obvious to me that people needed to get to know me. That they had a great sense of propriety over the institution [Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York]. They cared deeply about the institution and they did not know me. They were willing to give me a wide berth because of my family heritage. I think the fact that I had written a book ['The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America,' Khalil Gibran Muhammad] that was so explicitly about racism and wasn't some soft weird, squishy academic take on things that they wouldn't know what my politics were. That helped. Some word of mouth helped because people had seen me at Hue-Man [Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe, New York, New York] and/or heard me on the radio [WBAI Radio, New York, New York] and they came into embrace me, but mostly the onus was on me to prove myself worthy of the job and that's been--that meant spending a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy, visible, on the street, in the lobby, taking meetings with whomever asked for one.

Charles D. Churchwell

Library administrator and library science professor Charles Darrett Churchwell was born on November 7, 1926 in Dunnellon, Florida to Leeannah DeLaughter Churchwell and John Dozier Churchwell. After graduating from high school, Churchwell joined the United States Army, serving for two years in the U.S. and Philippine Islands. He obtained the rank of Sergeant 4th Grade while acting as his company's clerk. After returning from the armed forces in 1948, Churchwell attended Morehouse College and four years later, he received his B.S. degree in mathematics. Upon graduating, he became a reference assistant at the library of Alabama State College. In 1953, Churchwell graduated from Atlanta University with his M.L.S. degree with a focus on college and university library administration.

Churchwell became an instructor with Prairie View A&M College in Prairie View, Texas in 1954 where he met and married Yvonne Ransom. Two years later, he and Yvonne moved to New York City, New York so he could work as a reference librarian for the New York Public Library (NYPL). After only two years, Churchwell left New York for Illinois to study for his Ph.D. degree in library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, becoming a librarian with the school in 1964. After publishing his thesis, entitled Education for Librarianship in the United States: Some Factors which Influenced its Development between 1919 and 1939, Churchwell received his Ph.D. in 1966, the first African American male to earn a Ph.D. degree from the university. The next year, Churchwell became the associate director of the libraries at the University of Houston, becoming the first African American to work for the university during a time of intense segregation. Churchwell became heavily involved with the Black Student Union during this time, working as a liaison during a controversial campus visit by Black Panther Bobby Seale.

In 1970, Churchwell became a professor of library science and director of libraries for Miami University in Ohio, where he redesigned and renovated the library. He moved to Brown University in 1974, working as the university librarian while publishing his book Shaping of American Library Education with the American Library Association (ALA). In 1978, Churchwell began working for Washington University in St. Louis as dean of library services and created a unique endowment to fund the library’s technological services. After nearly a decade in St. Louis, Churchwell became a tenured professor with Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He spent the 1990s as dean of the School of Library and Information Studies for Clark Atlanta University, before retiring in 1999.

Churchwell passed away on September 19, 2018.

Charles D. Churchwell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 16, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.291

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/16/2007

Last Name

Churchwell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Schools

Dunnellon School

Morehouse College

Clark Atlanta University

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Dunnellon

HM ID

CHU02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

That's Murphy's Law.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

11/7/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Louis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Death Date

9/19/2018

Short Description

Library administrator and library science professor Charles D. Churchwell (1926 - 2018) served as the dean at the School of Library and Information Studies for Clark Atlanta University during the 1990s, was a tenured professor at Wayne State University, served as university librarian for Brown University for four years, and was the first African American faculty member at the University of Houston.

Employment

Clark Atlanta University

Wayne State University

Washington University

Brown University

Miami University

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
231,0:616,6:1078,14:4096,56:4956,67:5816,136:6418,146:15528,216:16266,228:16676,234:27048,295:27560,300:28584,311:30675,332:31478,345:31989,357:33992,370:35028,395:35768,406:37174,432:37914,443:42356,495:43280,511:47195,554:58191,731:62212,751:66160,811:70454,868:71042,877:88214,1301:91323,1337:92227,1346:92679,1364:93696,1374:97901,1419:98469,1429:103800,1494:106851,1509:114744,1646:126990,1726:128830,1756:129630,1767:134204,1786:135322,1801:135666,1806:136096,1812:139634,1844:140194,1850:154526,1996:164630,2089:167650,2141:168105,2149:177000,2222:184806,2322:189742,2371:197714,2467:198534,2478:212737,2627:213304,2635:217204,2647:217584,2653:224177,2715:225918,2725:226578,2738:226974,2746:229580,2779$0,0:763,8:4687,157:9358,185:9846,190:10822,199:16025,246:17075,257:21454,295:22770,313:24086,329:28216,364:28684,372:29386,383:30010,392:30634,402:33220,407:35101,437:37748,468:39790,479:40420,488:42310,493:48360,578:49405,616:49625,621:49845,626:52006,653:52657,664:53680,678:55075,697:55819,706:58760,719:59243,730:59726,741:61037,770:61589,781:63590,818:68170,843:68890,857:69466,865:71600,885:72664,900:80134,980:80692,992:81374,1004:81870,1014:82118,1022:82428,1028:85907,1040:87750,1069:88817,1081:94588,1162:95893,1234:110079,1386:114296,1421:116082,1453:121480,1488:121820,1493:122670,1505:123520,1518:124030,1525:126820,1534:133314,1593:134380,1623:136676,1635:151132,1754:151502,1760:152464,1775:161498,1876:164770,1884:165225,1893:165485,1898:165875,1906:178398,1986:178710,1991:182810,2040:184770,2055:189268,2106:192516,2161:193412,2170:197648,2182:207490,2227:212638,2273:219264,2344:222500,2375:227855,2429:229740,2468:230390,2481:230780,2489:231040,2494:232920,2508
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles D. Churchwell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers his mother's house

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his father's birthplace and relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his father's occupation and illness

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his homes in Dunellon, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers the Dunnellon School in Dunnellon, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell describes the Second Bethel Baptist Church in Dunnellon, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls the academics at the Dunnellon School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers preparing for college at the Dunnellon School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell reflects upon his experiences in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his deployment to the Philippines

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles D. Churchwell describes segregation in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his academic difficulties at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers Benjamin Mays' emphasis on education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers Benjamin Mays' opposition to segregation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his peers at Morehouse College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his peers at Morehouse College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls studying math at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls the mentorship of Virginia Lacy Jones

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls working at the New York Public Library

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers the birth of his first daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls earning a Ph.D. degree at the University of Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls joining the University of Houston in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell describes the advice of Dean Robert M. Downs

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls directing the library at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers his transition to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his daughters' education

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his son-in-law

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls leaving the Brown University library

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls transitioning to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his library directorship at Washington University in St. Louis

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers helping his employees attend library school

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls leaving Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls transitioning to Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell describes the digital library endowment at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers teaching at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his career at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his career at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell describes the Trevor Arnett Library in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

6$1

DATitle
Charles D. Churchwell remembers helping his employees attend library school
Charles D. Churchwell describes the digital library endowment at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
Transcript
There were no professional librarians on--black, on the Washington University [Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri] staff, no professional librarians. And by sheer accident one day, I discovered there was a young black man in the copy room. His name is Rudolph Clay, and I went back to my office and asked the secretary to give me his folder. She gave me his folder and I discovered that he was a graduate of Washington University, but the only job he could find was that clerical job in that copy room, and I called him up to the office and asked him had he ever thought about becoming a librarian. He said, "Yes, sir, but I can't afford it." And he said, "My mother is, my mother is ill and I'm her sole support, so I can't afford it." And I told him, I say, "But if you could get a scholarship, would you go?" And he said, "Yes, sir." I knew the dean of library schools at several schools, University of Illinois [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois], University of North Carolina [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina], and the University of Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan], and I called Russ Bidlack [Russell E. Bidlack] at Michigan and I told him--this was during the era when they were trying to diversify staffs in early--and just couldn't find (air quotes) qualified candidates. I told Russ, I say, "I've got a young man here who I think would make an excellent librarian, but he can't afford to--the tuition at Michigan, can't afford to come." And he said, said, "Church [HistoryMaker Charles D. Churchwell], if you recommend him, I'll find the money." And he did. And so I recommended, so Rudolph went, and today he's now head of reference at Washington University. And I discovered the same thing existed for a young lady--black young lady who was in the art library as a clerk, and she was a single mother and I talked with her. She would like to be a librarian but she couldn't afford it because she had a daughter. Now, Rudolph is now at Michigan, going on through his program. So I called Russ again, I said, "I've got another case, but I think she'll make a good librarian." I said, "But she has a daughter." He said, "Well, we'll see what we can do." He found one for Cheryl--that was her name, Cheryl Holland, found her in the married student housing, found a (unclear), and we sent her to Michigan. Today, she's a reference librarian at Washington University. Those are the things I'm most proud about, as I look back over my career. Other things I've done--excellent things, like improving the library system, are quite significant. One of 'em is quite unique, but I--when I think about the people I was able to help, that's the most satisfying.$Tell us about the endowment at Washington University [Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah. Every university has had problems with advanced technology because of the cost. When I was at Washington University and we had to automate the library, I made a recommendation, which the chancellor accepted, was that we should not automate unless we have money to continue the cost of operation. Otherwise, I said, automating would be like telephone service--you just get the instrument. The telephone company will give you that instrument, because that's gonna what they make their money off; they make their money off the service, same with computer technology. They don't make their money off the hardware; they make their money off the upkeep and a continued upgrading, so you got to have a way to keep it going. So I made a recommendation that, "Don't automate unless you have a way to continue to pay for it." And my staff and I recommended about how much it would take, and I went to my supervisor and he recommended that I go to the vice chancellor for finance and make the proposal to him, and I told him. He say, "Well, Charles [HistoryMaker Charles D. Churchwell], what you need to do is go to Bill Danforth [William H. Danforth] and convince him that you need an endowment, and of that annual interest, you use only half of it annually to pay for the operation annually, and let the other half plow back in so that it will continue to maintain its buying power." Made that recommendation, so before I left, we set up a $4 million endowment--automation endowment. Today, that endowment brings in more money than my successor [Shirley K. Baker] is able to spend, so she has doled out money throughout the campus where there's a need, because it's in the 20s now--millions. It's the only university in the country that has that kind of money for automation, and they have, according to the chancellor, they have the best automated library in America, because it has the money to do it because of that endowment that I recommended. And it's, it's--you go over there now and look at what the students have in the cafeteria. Oh, a student can go in and, and computers are available for them; laptops are available for them to do whatever they want to do because of the money they get from that endowment. Well, the non-human thing--that's the other thing I'm proud of, but the--I'm proudest of the people I was able to help along the way.

Effie Lee Morris

Public children’s library administrator Effie Lee Morris was born on April 20, 1921, in Richmond, Virginia, to Erma Lee Caskie Morris and William Hamilton Morris. Morris is the eldest of two daughters. She grew up in Richmond until the age of eight when her family moved to Cleveland, Ohio for her father’s job as head chef with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company. Morris can trace her family history back to slavery and owns the slave papers of her paternal great grandmother. Morris loved to read at an early age and grew up trading books with her friends and family members. She attended Robert Fulton Elementary School and John Adams High School in Cleveland. Morris was her high school class's co-valedictorian with three other students. Morris earned her B.A. and M.L.S. degrees at Case Western University.

Morris began her career as a public librarian at the Cleveland Public Library in 1946. There, she specialized in working with children and children’s literature. Morris moved to New York in 1955 after working for the Philadelphia Public Library in order to work for the American Library Association. That same year, she went on to work for the New York Library for the Blind and served as the first female chairperson of the Library of Congress. Morris also served as president of the National Braille Association for two terms. In 1963, Morris moved to San Francisco, California and became the first Coordinator of Children’s Services at the San Francisco Public Library. In 1964, Morris established the Children’s Historical and Research Collection at the Children’s Center of the San Francisco Library. In 1968, she founded the San Francisco Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association, and in 1971, Morris became the first African American president of the Public Library Association. She officially left her position as Coordinator of Children’s Services of the San Francisco Library in 1977, and in 1981, the children’s literature collection that she started was officially named the Effie Lee Morris Historical and Research Collection.

Morris continues to be an advocate for children and children’s literature. Morris and the San Francisco Public Library hold an annual lecture series that features a children’s literature author and illustrator. Some of the lecturers have included children’s book authors Nikki Grimes, Milly Lee, Pamela Munoz and Tomie dePaola. Morris has received several awards for her work and contributions to children’s literature, including the Silver Spur Award for enhancing the quality of life and economic vitality of San Francisco; the Women’s National Book Association’s Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the World of Books; and the Grolier Foundation Award.

Accession Number

A2005.242

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/11/2005 |and| 10/13/2005

Last Name

Morris

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lee

Schools

John Adams High School

Robert Fulton Elementary School

University of Chicago

Case Western Reserve University

First Name

Effie

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

MOR09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

It Is Only With The Heart That One Sees Rightly; What Is Essential Is Invisible To The Eye.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/20/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Death Date

11/16/2009

Short Description

Library administrator Effie Lee Morris (1921 - 2009 ) founded the Children’s Historical and Research Collection, now known as the Effie Lee Morris Historical and Research Collection, at the Children’s Center of the San Francisco Public Library. She was the first female chairperson of the Library of Congress and the first African American president of the Public Library Association.

Employment

Cleveland Public Library

New York Public Library

Library of Congress, Division for the Blind

San Francisco Public Library

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1078,30:1540,38:2233,48:3311,66:3619,71:4158,80:6160,118:7007,135:7315,140:7931,150:9163,173:9471,178:9779,183:11473,204:11781,209:12936,238:13552,249:17248,329:17556,334:25360,516:26937,535:31253,599:31585,604:35604,622:40092,656:50032,722:50908,737:55142,796:56675,826:57259,835:58719,861:64422,895:66003,933:66933,945:67398,951:76840,1060:77449,1068:79711,1088:93160,1242:95860,1273:96220,1278:97750,1306:101710,1352:102340,1368:102790,1374:103600,1387:104860,1418:111115,1466:111391,1471:113254,1501:113530,1506:115117,1535:115669,1544:115945,1549:117808,1579:118498,1591:132318,1798:133542,1812:134256,1820:137418,1853:137826,1858:141403,1884:141687,1889:142823,1907:144669,1936:149142,2010:149568,2018:149994,2026:150633,2037:153331,2090:154964,2117:166486,2218:167388,2233:168782,2278:170422,2304:171816,2355:175670,2406:186872,2508:187511,2518:187795,2523:191984,2629:192410,2636:194398,2677:195108,2688:217356,2888:218920,3005:221028,3047:223544,3103:224088,3118:234558,3364:235594,3380:236112,3388:237518,3411:239664,3438:240404,3446:245214,3526:245510,3531:247212,3567:260138,3694:263618,3760:287525,4068:288530,4091:288999,4100:290406,4135:293086,4210:297173,4285:297441,4290:297776,4296:298781,4319:299116,4325:304852,4345:305554,4355:305944,4362:313198,4478:315616,4519:316396,4531:325290,4663$0,0:1950,35:4875,98:26081,478:27395,512:28198,525:30169,586:47660,788:48892,809:50355,831:51972,920:52280,925:55437,979:56207,990:56746,998:74990,1265:76235,1283:78310,1310:78891,1318:83732,1332:84102,1338:84842,1353:85360,1361:85656,1366:87654,1400:88542,1413:89578,1431:90096,1440:90614,1447:91206,1456:93278,1484:97940,1569:98236,1574:99272,1596:99790,1605:100308,1613:101936,1630:102454,1638:103564,1658:104082,1666:110150,1690:111270,1708:113510,1748:114150,1758:132547,1995:133198,2004:146775,2178:149730,2188:151755,2226:152880,2243:153180,2248:153630,2255:155580,2299:155955,2305:156255,2310:157380,2334:160980,2406:164355,2455:164880,2464:165630,2476:165930,2481:176420,2606:180845,2705:181820,2722:182195,2728:183695,2749:183995,2754:184970,2771:185945,2789:187745,2812:188195,2820:189170,2833:189470,2838:194380,2850
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Effie Lee Morris's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Effie Lee Morris lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Effie Lee Morris describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Effie Lee Morris describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Effie Lee Morris talks about her father's brothers

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Effie Lee Morris describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Effie Lee Morris talks about her generation

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Effie Lee Morris shares her family's artifacts

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Effie Lee Morris describes her sister's family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Effie Lee Morris describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Effie Lee Morris describes her early family life in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Effie Lee Morris describes her neighbors in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Effie Lee Morris remembers Maggie Lena Walker and visiting Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Effie Lee Morris describes her childhood community in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Effie Lee Morris remembers visiting Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Effie Lee Morris remembers Richmond's Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Effie Lee Morris describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Effie Lee Morris recalls moving from Richmond, Virginia to Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Effie Lee Morris describes her educational experiences in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Effie Lee Morris describes her educational experiences in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Effie Lee Morris describes the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Effie Lee Morris remembers John Adams High School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Effie Lee Morris describes her activities at John Adams High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Effie Lee Morris recalls the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Effie Lee Morris recalls being unfairly banned from a pool in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Effie Lee Morris recalls being unfairly banned from a pool in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Effie Lee Morris remembers her high school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Effie Lee Morris describes notable personalities from Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Effie Lee Morris describes notable personalities from Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Effie Lee Morris describes her freshman year at the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Effie Lee Morris describes her experiences at the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Effie Lee Morris recalls studying at Cleveland's Flora Stone Mather College for Women

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Effie Lee Morris talks about her interest in children's literature

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Effie Lee Morris describes her work at the Cleveland Public Library

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Effie Lee Morris recalls her experiences as a teacher at Atlanta University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Effie Lee Morris describes her transition to New York Public Library

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Effie Lee Morris recalls her work at New York City's Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Effie Lee Morris remembers Helen Keller

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Effie Lee Morris describes her work for the Library of Congress and the National Braille Association

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Effie Lee Morris recalls Cardinal Francis Spellman's support of her pioneering work with blind children

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Effie Lee Morris describes the challenges she faced as a librarian

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Effie Lee Morris recalls her move to San Francisco, California

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Effie Lee Morris recalls Negro History Month at the San Francisco Public Library

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Effie Lee Morris explains why owls are significant to her

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Effie Lee Morris describes her work at the San Francisco Public Library

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Effie Lee Morris describes the Effie Lee Morris Historical and Research Collection of Children's Literature

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Effie Lee Morris recalls leaving the San Francisco Public Library

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Effie Lee Morris describes her involvement with the Ohio Library Association

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Effie Lee Morris talks about New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Effie Lee Morris describes the Women's National Book Association Award

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Effie Lee Morris talks about her M.A. thesis and the Coretta Scott King Award

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Effie Lee Morris describes the Women's National Book Association and Grolier Foundation Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Effie Lee Morris recalls her community involvement in San Francisco

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Effie Lee Morris talks about her awards

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Effie Lee Morris remembers her appearance on 'What's My Line'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Effie Lee Morris describes her husband, Leonard Jones

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Effie Lee Morris describes her husband's career and legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Effie Lee Morris talks about her favorite books and authors

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Effie Lee Morris reflects upon the significance of hip-hop

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Effie Lee Morris reflects upon the impact of technology for children's libraries

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Effie Lee Morris describes her international travels

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Effie Lee Morris talks about her future plans

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Effie Lee Morris describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

4$7

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Effie Lee Morris recalls her work at New York City's Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Effie Lee Morris reflects upon the significance of hip-hop
Transcript
In Cleveland [Ohio], you have quite a community orientation. You work with the community, and you know where all the schools are, you know where the children hang out, you know what organizations are in your community. Well they didn't quite have that kind of orientation in New York [New York], because you had so many people just came to the library. So, to go to the Library for the Blind [Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, New York, New York] meant to build the whole population, to build it. There were children, now it was very interesting. Up, beginning in the 1940s, there was just a sudden rush of blind babies and blind premature babies and finally it was discovered that these new incubators which were in all the special hospitals, the [U.S.] military hospitals, these were the children who were being blinded. Kids who were--poor kids who were put between hot water bottles in (laughter) the dresser drawer were doing fine, but it so happened that these new incubators had a greater quantity of oxygen, which was fed to these children to keep them alive, but damaged the optic nerve. So we called these babies retrolental fibroplasia, RLF babies, and they were all over. So the, but at that time they had been going to schools for the blind and as they began to be five years old, their parents, and many of them were middle class children, their parents didn't want them to go, they wanted them mainstreamed, and that started the mainstreaming of children with disabilities into the regular schools and classrooms, and I had a lot there in New York. I had those wonderful volunteers, Ruth Turkeltaub [ph.]. The sisterhoods in the Jewish faith [National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods] are the ones who are supportive of working with the blind, and so the group from Great Neck [New York] was very supportive of one little boy, his mother was a member of the group and this little boy said one day that he wanted to be able to look up things for himself. He wanted an encyclopedia. He had to do a report and so his mother's friends, who had all learned to braille books to be supportive, wrote Marshall Field to ask for, no, they wrote the World Book [Scott Fetzer Company] to ask for permission to braille the World Book [World Book Encyclopedia], and Marshall Field heard about it and underwrote the commercial production at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville [Kentucky]. And so all of that generated from this one little boy who wanted, and now Bruce Bresnow [ph.] lived out here. I knew children all over the United States 'cause I was the only person with children's background in literature so they wrote to me from everywhere and even Red Wing, Miss--Minnesota [Red Wing, Minnesota]. There was a blind child there and that blind child wrote to the New York Public Library [New York, New York], and so I was helping him and interestingly in Michigan, the librarian for the blind at that time didn't want to be bothered with children at all and so I got all the Michigan children, came to me and this was crossing all kinds of lines and, of course, I had to discuss it with Library of Congress [Washington, D.C.], which the division for the blind [Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.] was responsible for talking books and so forth, so that the federal, it was a federal district that I lived, that I was in, and I had to serve my district, but I was also serving this--children all over the country because they could say I need a book on whatever and I knew how to find and send you. So it grew. They were getting, because they were mainstreamed, you see, they were in the regular schools. Now Mrs. Edith Thompson [ph.] was a wonderful volunteer and Mrs. Thompson made picture books for the blind. She did 'Little Blue and Little Yellow' [sic.] is one of the books and, of course, and then she cut the circles out of felt and, you know, she could apply them. So, oh, I had all kinds of children who wanted to stand in front of the class and give a book report like their friends did. Well, they could with the 'Little Blue and Little Yellow' because they could show pictures. They couldn't see them. They could feel them and we had a great time. She did many wonderful books, which I hope the New York Public Library still has. They were one of a kind, and there were many experiences, as I said. The children who were, played the children in Perkins [Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, Massachusetts] in Helen Keller on Broadway, 'The Miracle Worker' [William Gibson].$--You said you don't read a lot of current authors, but I know you're really interested in what's happening in the world. You're into hip-hop now.$$Oh, yes. (Laughter) I'm going to learn hip-hop. I'm going to learn with Tupac [Tupac Shakur] and I have met Wu-Tang [Wu-Tang Clan].$$That's right, it's over on the other side.$$Oh, Wu-Tang, I went to hear him speak, and I am very much impressed by Wu-Tang and Jamake Steptoe [sic. John Steptoe], who's a children's author, oh, comes to the farm for the various meetings and things we've had there at Children's--I haven't talked about that, the Children's Defense Fund, and he always brings along this tape recorder and music and he tells me what to listen to. I have not yet learned it, but I'm trying, and then at this last wonderful meeting at the farm, which was the Proctor Institute [Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry], now the farm is Alex Haley's farm in Clinton, Tennessee, it belongs to the Children's Defense Fund and Marian, every year, [HistoryMaker] Marian Wright Edelman, has the Proctor Institute, named for Samuel Proctor, who was president of Virginia Union [Virginia Union University], I believe, in Richmond, Virginia, and it, this is in his memory. So this Proctor Institute invites people from the community, various ministers and other people who are working with children, are being advocates for children for time at the farm, which is just a glorious experience. People stay in some of the cottages on the farm and they stay mostly in motels around. Also at the same time are the students from the Freedom Schools, for the Freedom Schools. These are college students who go out and teach the Freedom Schools in the summertime and there are about two hundred of them and they stay in the University of Tennessee [Knoxville, Tennessee] dormitories. And so it was Sam Moss, oldest Moss, the third [sic. HistoryMaker Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.], whose sermon this year included literature from the Greeks through hip-hop. I am so impressed, I am so impressed and I bought the tapes and can't tell where I have got one. I know I've lent one to someone, she's got to send that tape back but I just, it was wonderful and it's not that, I know people think hip-hop is evil and it might be but I don't know because I haven't had a chance to understand it and learn about it and I want to learn about it before I say, no I don't believe in hip-hop, but it's the language of this generation and if you're going to stay current, I used to say to the children's librarians, now look at it like this, you're right in the middle, you've got one foot in the past, one foot in the future and so somehow you're standing up, but don't forget you're always five years, there's a generation in the life of a child and we have to think always five years ahead.

Sylvia Cooke Martin

Historian and genealogist Clara Sylvia Cooke Martin was born on May 2, 1938 in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a pharmaceutical technician. At the age of sixteen, her father died and her mother took a job as an elevator operator to help care for Martin and her siblings. In 1955, Martin earned her high school diploma from Frederick Douglas High School, where she was active with the student council, honor society and school paper. From 1955 until 1957, Martin attended the University of Maryland where she was among the first group of African American students permitted to live in the campus dormitories.

Between 1963 and 1966, Martin worked for the Social Security Administration, starting as a file clerk and quickly moving her way through the ranks. Her initiative and hard work was recognized by personnel, earning her a position as a health insurance intern for Medicare in 1966. Martin was one of ten interns selected nationwide from a pool of more than 700 applicants. While an intern, she served on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Conference on Medicare and Medicaid.

Returning to the Social Security Administration, Martin then worked as a manpower development specialist from 1967 until 1968, performing recruitment, staffing and counseling duties for prospective job seekers. From 1968 until 1970, she worked as a management intern for the department designing and implementing procedures for Social Security Upward Mobility programs. In 1970, Martin was promoted to senior career development specialist, a position she held until 1978. During this time, she also returned to school, completing her studies at Maryland and earning her B.S. degree in 1972 in economics. In 1978, Martin received her master’s degree in policy science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. From 1975 until 1979, she served on the faculty at Antioch College. In 1978, Martin was hired as the chief of staff training and development for the Library of Congress, where she developed and designed educational programs for approximately 5000 employees. She remained in that post until 1993. From 1994 until 1999, Martin worked as the McNair Scholars Program Coordinator at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. From 1997 until 2002 she was project manager and later CEO of the Ellicott City Colored School Restoration Project, the first school for blacks in Maryland built with state and county funds.

Martin has been the recipient of numerous awards for her civic and civil rights contributions. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, NAACP and the Oral History Association. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, writing poetry and designing wedding paraphernalia.

Accession Number

A2004.210

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/18/2004

Last Name

Martin

Maker Category
Middle Name

Cooke

Organizations
Schools

University of Maryland

Frederick Douglass High School

Henry Highland Garnet Elementary School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Sylvia

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

MAR08

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Adults, Seniors, Teens (15-18)

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $100-1000, depending on audience

Preferred Audience: Adults, Seniors, Teens (15-18)
Genealogy, African American History, Motivational, Black Women at work, Career Development

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Greek Isles

Favorite Quote

The Elevator To Success Does Not Run. Take The Stairs.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

5/2/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Historian and library administrator Sylvia Cooke Martin (1938 - ) was appointed as the Chief of Staff Training and Development by the Library of Congress, thereafter serving as the McNair Scholars Program coordinator at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Martin is also the past project manager and CEO of the Ellicott City Colored School Restoration Project.

Employment

Social Security Administration

Antioch College

Library of Congress

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Ellicott City Colored School Restoration Project

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sylvia Cooke Martin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her mother's childhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her family ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin shares legends about her family ancestry, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sylvia Cooke Martin recalls stories of her father's family in Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her paternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her paternal grandparents, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin remembers wash day at her paternal grandmother's house

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her three siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes living in the McCulloh Homes public housing in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes living in the McCulloh Homes public housing in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin remembers her teachers at Highland Garnet Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her personality as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her childhood dreams and aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experience at Booker T. Washington Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin recalls her recognition of class differences between herself and her peers in junior high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her dreams of becoming a journalist

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experience at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin remembers receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experiences of racial discrimination at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experience of sexual harassment at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her first pregnancy in 1958 and her bachelor's degree in economics

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her early years at the Social Security Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes working as a management intern for the Social Security Administration's Medicare program

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the political climate of Baltimore, Maryland during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the challenge of balancing her work, her studies, and her family in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about developing an interest in personnel management

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin reflects upon the significance of earning her bachelor's degree in 1972

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about buying a home and her graduate studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the beginning of her tenure at the Library of Congress in 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her experience at the Library of Congress

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes what she learned working at the Library of Congress

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sylvia Cooke Martin explains the origin of her interest in genealogy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sylvia Cooke Martin considers the availability and accessibility of African American history

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks describes working with the McNair Scholars Program

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about politics in the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the Ellicott City Colored School restoration project, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes the Ellicott City Colored School restoration project, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sylvia Cooke Martin considers the importance of history

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about the values she inherited from her parents

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Sylvia Cooke Martin considers her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Sylvia Cooke Martin describes her regrets

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about her children and motherhood

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sylvia Cooke Martin narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$4

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
Sylvia Cooke Martin explains the origin of her interest in genealogy
Sylvia Cooke Martin talks about developing an interest in personnel management
Transcript
Did this begin your interest in genealogy?$$No, my interest in genealogy happened about a year before I went to the Library of Congress and I was in Red Square in Moscow [Russia] when I thought about genealogy. In Moscow, I met a woman--there were only two, two or three black--there were three blacks on the trip and the other two blacks were with me at Red Square and they came from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and I told them that my mother's family came from the Eastern Shore, but that the only person I remembered, the only name I remembered was the name Martha Copper. And the woman looked at me and she said, "My best friend's name is Martha Copper." When she got back to the States--or when I got back to the States, I discovered that my baby brother [Benjamin Martin Cook] had died while I was in Russia and when I went to his funeral I realized the only time my family got together was at the funeral. So I set up family reunions. Well a couple of months later I went to--this woman named Martha Copper invited me to the Eastern Shore to her family's reunion and she looked just like my grandmother. To make a long story short, I started the genealogy then, because I was interested in family, my brother was gone, I wanted to hold a family, my other cousins together. And I found out ten years later that this woman that I had met was my grandmother's [Clara Copper Evans] first cousin. But I started because of this experience and my brother's death and all that, not the Library. But the Library was instrumental in moving me along. One of my best friends was the African American specialist in local history and genealogy in that reading room at the Library. And then she got me to join the African American Historical and Genealogical Society. I became president of this national organization that was started by Jimmy Walker, who was the archivist who helped Alex Haley. And out--the Library of Congress carries a tremendous title with it, so when you say that you are the Staff Development Officer for the Library of the Congress, people open doors that couldn't be open to you. And so I met Alex Haley, I met [HM] John Hope Franklin. I got entrees to the--as president of the historical society, but also as a member of the Library of Congress staff people would invite me to speak on career development in libraries. So I got to go to the Society of American Archivists National Conventions and Library, the ALAs [American Library Association] National Conventions and meet people and talk to people as a result. I got to meet librarians and archivists from India, South Africa. And then as I traveled I would try to go to the national libraries in the countries that I was visiting for fun. Go to South Africa, go to Cape Town to the national library, go to Greece or Austria, go to the national library. And then you find out what other ethnic groups are doing in terms of their archives and their collection of materials and you come back and rally African Americans to start thinking about themselves differently.$$Right.$$I think one of the outcomes of slavery is that we didn't think we--we don't think we're worthwhile. We don't know that anybody wants--until recently now everybody wants a piece of the African American pie.$But remember that I said that when I went up to get a detail, I got somebody to come with me, I set my goal then to be a personnelist, to help other black people, especially, who worked hard to move. And I set about--I was in personnel. I took my final position as a management intern in personnel and while I was a management intern, I knew that I wanted to design programs to move lower-grade employees up and that's what I spent the rest of my life doing. I designed upward mobility programs during the civil rights era and the affirmative action era. I designed career development programs at all grade levels from work study at the very bottom to executive development programs at the top. But most important to me was the development of programs for--to move clerical and menial work employees into technical and professional jobs. I would do it at home at night. I would design the program, look over performance appraisals and all this stuff. I would bring my children into the office on Sunday afternoon, put a little portable black and white TV there and sit them down with their toys while I worked. And that became my life and a lifestyle. And I believe that it's been quite beneficial.