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Donald Sutton

Arts administrator Donald Sutton was born on May 7, 1948, in New Orleans, Louisiana to Helen Juanita Landix and Donald S. Sutton, Sr. He graduated from Kaiserslautern High School in Germany in 1965. Sutton received his B.A. degree in speech communications and history from Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois in 1969, and went on to receive his M.F.A. degree in stage directing from Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., and his M.B.A. degree in marketing and operations management from New York’s Fordham University in 1988.

In 1972, Sutton joined the D.C. Black Repertory Theatre as assistant artistic director and production stage manager. In 1977, he worked as director of the special arts services program through the New York State Council on the Arts. Sutton then served as executive director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Foundation in New York, beginning in 1979. In September of 1993, Sutton became president of Global Artists Management of New York, Inc. While in this position, he served as the personal manager of the poet, playwright, and novelist, Ntozake Shange, as well as the historical and biographical playwright, Laurence Holder. In 1996, Sutton became the director of development at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. He then served as the vice president of external affairs for the Museum of Arts & Design in New York in 2001. He also worked for the Empire State Development Corporation as vice president for economic development. In 2006, Sutton was hired by Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey as director of development at the school of communication and information. In February of 2007, Sutton was promoted to assistant dean for external affairs at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, where he remained until 2014. Sutton also joined Planned Parenthood, serving as its principal gifts officer, where he managed client gifts of one million dollars and above.

Sutton served as a trustee at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in both the New York and national chapters from 1990 to 2006, and as trustee of Crossroads Theatre Company from 2010 to 2012. In May of 2014, he joined the board of trustees of WestBeth Artists Housing Corporation in New York City, and became vice president of the board in 2014. He also served as a trustee on the education and development committees at Rutgers Preparatory School.

Sutton and his wife, Hyacinth Reynolds, were married on October 18, 2008, and reside in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Donald Sutton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 21, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.043

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/21/2019

10/24/2019

Last Name

Sutton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

S.

Occupation
Schools

Douglas Elementary School

McDonogh Elementary School

Kaiserslautern High School

Elmhurst College

Catholic University of America

Fordham University

Military Families Elementary School

First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

SUT04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida, Canary Islands,Jamaica

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/7/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Duck

Short Description

Arts administrator Donald Sutton (1948- ) was executive director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Foundation, president of Global Artists Management of New York, Inc., and served as assistant dean for external affairs at Rutgers University for seven years.

Employment

Arena Stage Co.

John F. Kennedy Center

Voices, Inc.

New York State Arts Council

Alvin Ailey American Dance Center

Dance Theater of Harlem

Studio Museum

New York State Urban Development Corp.

Preferred Management Group

Favorite Color

Blue

Tony F. Sias

Arts administrator Tony F. Sias was born on December 20, 1964 in Jackson, Mississippi to Helen Louise Walker Sias and Leo Sterling Sias, Sr. After graduating from John W. Provine High School, Sias went on to receive his B.S. degree in dramatic arts from Jackson State University in 1988, and his M.F.A. degree in acting from Ohio University in 1992.

While earning his M.F.A. degree, Sias was an intern and resident at the Cleveland Play House in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating, he remained in Cleveland and began acting in several of the city’s theaters including a production of Kathleen McGhee-Anderson’s Oak and Ivy at the Karamu House in 1993. Sias then went on to work as a program director for the Rap Arts Youth Fellowship Program through The Centers for Families and Children before moving to the Murtis Taylor Human Services System where he ran the Coordinated Arts Program for the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association. In 1998, Sias performed in a production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes at the Dobama Theatre in Cleveland. For this performance, Sias and his fellow cast members earned a collective Ensemble Keefer Award. The next year, he returned to the Karamu House to perform in Crumbs From the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage. Sias made one of his first directing debuts in 1999 at the Cleveland Public Theatre where he directed the world premiere of Keith Josef Adkins’ On the Hills of Black America. Then, in 2000, Sias became the director of arts education for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. While in this position, Sias continued to perform in and direct productions throughout the city including Elevator at the Karamu House in 2001 and the Ensemble Theatre’s one-man show Paul Robeson. In 2003, while still working for the school district, Sias became the director of the All-City Musical and served as the artistic director of the Cleveland School of the Arts. He also began teaching at Cuyahoga Community College. In 2008, Sias served as a delegate from the U.S. Department of State to Istanbul, Turkey as a representative of the Council of International Programs, USA. In 2015, Sias became the president and CEO of the historic Karamu House in Cleveland. There, he continued to direct and create new productions including the Karamu House’s Holiday Jazz Revue

Sias served on the board of trustees of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc. and as a board member of The League of Historic American Theatres, Inc. He was also an advisory board member for Project 1 Voice, Inc. Sias also received several awards for his acting and directing in Cleveland including the Ohio House of Representatives Tribute for Excellent Leadership and the Times Newspaper’s Outstanding Director.

Tony F. Sias was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 25, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.190

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/25/2018

Last Name

Sias

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Organizations
First Name

Tony

Birth City, State, Country

Jackson

HM ID

SIA02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Belize

Favorite Quote

Leave Before Your Audience Does, And Be Careful With An Encore.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/20/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Arts administrator Tony F. Sias (1964 - ) was the director of arts and education for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the president and CEO of the Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio.

Favorite Color

Blue

Pemon Rami

Arts administrator and theater director Pemon Rami was born on August 9, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois to Mary Foster and Harold Ray.
At the age of fourteen Rami started his first theatre company with the support and encouragement of Okoro Harold Johnson. At eighteen, Rami became the associate director of the Southside Center for the Performing Arts formerly the Joe Louis Theatre under the direction of Theodore Ward. The following year, Rami took over Val Gray Ward’s role as director of the Kuumba Theater, one of Chicago’s first African-American independent theaters. In 1973, Rami founded the Lamont Zeno Theater where he served as the artistic and managing director with the Better Boys Foundation. There, Rami directed numerous productions including: The Black Fairy and Young John Henry, written by Chicago-based poet, Useni Eugene Perkins.

The first African American film casting director in Chicago, Rami provided talent for the classic feature films and television movies; Blues Brothers, Mahogany, Cooley High, The Spook Who Sat by The Door, and Uptown Saturday Night. As an actor Rami appeared in the PBS weekly series Bird of the Iron Feather.

After relocating to Los Angeles for over twenty years, in 2004, Rami returned to Chicago and produced Stories from the Soul a TV series for the Black Family Channel and the feature film Of Boys and Men, starring Angela Bassett and Robert Townsend.

Pemon co-founded Productions to Change Lives (P2CL) a training and production model, which focused on integrating art and media through the eyes of teens, in an effort to effect community involvement and positive change. Through the P2CL Teen Talk Radio apprenticeship program implemented at high schools in Chicago, Rami and his wife Masequa Myers mentored over 300 teens and indirectly impacted thousands through live performances and weekly radio broadcasts.

In 2011, Pemon became director of educational services and public programs at The DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago. After five years with DuSable, Rami returned to filmmaking and produced the feature film 93 Days in Lagos, Nigeria starring Danny Glover for which he was nominated for an African Academy Award and received the Visionary Award in 2016 at the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival.

Rami served on the Joseph Jefferson Awards committee from 2016 to 2018. He was selected one of the Chicago Defender’s “50 Men of Excellence,” as well as to the Wendell Phillips High School Hall of Fame. Rami has also been recognized with awards from numerous organizations including: Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in. Community Leadership at the Black Harvest Film Festival, American Advertising Federation, International Television Association, the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP (Best Theatre Director Award), Proclamation from the Los Angeles City Council, Key to the City of Detroit and the Life Time Achievement Award from the Chicago African American Arts Alliance.

Pemon Rami was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.141

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2018

Last Name

Rami

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
First Name

Pemon

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

RAM03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tobago

Favorite Quote

Greatness Shouldn't Be Determined By Name Recognition But By The Lives That We Touch And The People That We Share With.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/9/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Catfish, Spaghetti

Short Description

Arts administrator and theater director Pemon Rami (1950 - ) director of educational services and public programs at The DuSable Museum of African American History and produced Of Boys and Men, Nineteen and A Day: The Life and Times of D-Jef, and 93 Days.

Favorite Color

Brown

Patricia Cruz

Arts administrator Patricia Cruz was born on January 1, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois to Nelson Marshall and Myrtle Smith. She graduated from Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois and attended Columbia College in Chicago and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois where she studied theater. Cruz went on to graduate from the Goodman School of Theater.

Cruz was a student, actress and activist in Chicago before moving to New York City where she met her husband, artist Emilio Cruz. Following a year in St. Louis with the Black Artist Group, she returned to Chicago while her husband taught at the Art Institute of Chicago. She and her husband, Emilio, also worked together making and producing plays that he wrote. In 1982, they returned to New York City where she accepted a position as deputy director for programs at the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 1998, Cruz accepted a position as executive director at Aaron Davis Hall Inc., an arts non-profit in Harlem that commissioned, staged, and supported artists of color. Her responsibilities included overseeing programing, administrative management, and fundraising. Cruz helped to raise over $26 million to renovate the Gatehouse which became the new home for Aaron Davis Hall Inc., and was rebranded as Harlem Stage in 2006. Cruz worked to expand programming and introduced a major commissioning program, known as, WaterWorks, to commemorate the original function of the Gatehouse as the historic conduit for clean water from the Croton Aqueduct. In addition, Cruz also expanded programming at Harlem Stage, introducing Uptown Nights, and Harlem Slide and commissioned numerous artists including Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer and Stew, while serving thousands of students annually and collaborating with a number of nonprofits including Harlem School for the Arts, Repertorio Espanol, Manhattan School of Music and Carnegie Hall.

Cruz served as a board member of the Urban Assembly; she formerly served on the boards of the Andy Warhol Foundation, Art Table and was the president of The New York Foundation for the Arts. Cruz also serves as a member of the Cal Arts Board of Overseers and is a member of the Tony Nominating Committee and the Brendan Gill jury of the Municipal Arts Society. In 2014, Harlem Stage was awarded the Charles Dawson Award for programmatic excellence and sustained achievement in programming from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

Patricia Cruz was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on December 8, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.214

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/8/2017

Last Name

Cruz

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Martha M. Ruggles Elementary School

Southern Illinois University

Columbia College Chicago

First Name

Patricia

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CRU04

Favorite Season

All Times

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nevis & Egypt

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/11/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Meat

Short Description

Arts administrator Patricia Cruz (1947-) was the executive director of Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. and Harlem Stage.

Employment

Harlem Stage

Studio Museum in Harlem

Chicago Council of Fine Arts

Urban Gateways

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Kinshasha Holman Conwill

Museum director Kinshasha Holman Conwill was born on April 11, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia to Moses Carol Holman and Mariella Ukina Ama Holman. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts as a National Achievement Scholar, and received her B.F.A degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1973, and her M.B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California in 1980.

In Los Angeles, Conwill worked as an arts educator and activities coordinator for the Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House for several years. In 1980, Conwill became the deputy director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, and served in that position for eleven years. Conwill then became senior policy advisor for the Museums and Community Initiative of the American Association of Museums, and also served as the director for the New York City Creative Communities Leveraging Investments in Creativity program. She was exhibit coordinator for the Museum of the American Indian in New York City. Conwill also worked as project director for the New York City Creative Communities program of LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity), project director and managing editor for Culture Counts: Strategies for a More Vibrant Cultural Life for New York City (New York Foundation for the Arts), and project manager for Creative Downtown: The Role of Culture in Rebuilding Lower Manhattan (New York City Arts Coalition). In 2005, Conwill was appointed as deputy director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. In this role, Conwill engaged in fundraising campaigns, expanded the museum’s collections, developed exhibits and programming, and supervised the museum’s publishing activities.

Conwill has also published two books; Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment co-authored by Richard Carlin, and Dream A World Anew: The African American Experience and the Shaping of America with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Conwill served as a board member for numerous organizations, including the Provisions Library in Washington D.C., the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Municipal Art Society of New York, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She has also served on the management panel for the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and as an advisor for the Harvard University Program for Art Museum Directors.

Kinshasha Holman Conwill was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on November 2, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.198

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/2/2017

Last Name

Conwill

Maker Category
Middle Name

Holman

Organizations
First Name

Kinshasha

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

CON07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York City

Favorite Quote

Every Goodbye Ain't Gone

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

4/11/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Broccoli

Short Description

Museum director Kinshasha Holman Conwill (1951 - ) was the director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Favorite Color

Today It's Yellow

Michelle Boone

Arts administrator Michelle T. Boone was born in Chicago, Illinois. She later moved with her family to Gary, Indiana where she was raised and attended school. Boone graduated from high school in Gary and then enrolled in Indiana University at Bloomington and went on to receive her B.A. degree in telecommunications in 1983. Later, in 1998, she earned her M.P.A. degree in nonprofit management from the Indiana University at Bloomington.

Boone began her professional career in 1983 as a television engineer working for Chicago network affiliates such as WMAQ-TV, WLS-TV, and WBBM-TV. During her tenure at WLS-TV, Boone worked with the team that launched The Oprah Winfrey Show (formerly AM-Chicago). Boone continued to work as a freelance television engineer. In 1990, she was brought on as the Midwest Regional Promotions Manager with Virgin Records after several other stints in the record industry with Capitol Records, CEMA Distribution, and Orpheus Records. While there, she was responsible for promoting popular R&B recording artists, including Paula Abdul, Lenny Kravitz, After 7 (Virgin Records), M.C. Hammer, Freddie Jackson, Dianne Reeves and many others.

In 1994, Boone served as a volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Chad, Africa where she worked to install pumps and wells in small villages throughout the Southern region of the country. In 1998, after completing her M.P.A. degree, Boone joined the City of Chicago’s youth job training program, Gallery 37, and was ultimately promoted as director of the program. In 2003, she became the senior program officer of Arts and Culture at The Joyce Foundation and was responsible for managing an annual $2 million arts portfolio for arts and culture initiatives. She also managed the innovative Joyce Awards program that supports the development of minority artists. In addition to her duties at The Joyce Foundation, she also served as an adjunct professor at De Paul University in 2007. In 2011, Boone was appointed Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Boone has served on the national boards of Grantmakers in the Arts and Americans for Arts. She was appointed as a member of the board of directors of the Arts Alliance Illinois, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the South Chicago Arts Center, and NeighborSpace. In addition, Boone served as a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the Ramuson Foundation, and the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Program in Ohio. In 2010, she was awarded the Actors Equity Association Spirit Award; and, in 2011, she received the August Wilson Award from the Goodman Theatre.

Michelle T. Boone was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.219

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2013

Last Name

Boone

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

T.

Schools

Indiana University

First Name

Michelle

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BOO03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Marrakesh, Morroco

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/17/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Arts administrator Michelle Boone (1961 - ) was the former senior program officer of Arts and Culture for The Joyce Foundation, and served as Commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Employment

WBBM TV

WLS TV

Virgin Records

Peace Corps

Gallery 37

Joyce Foundation

DePaul University

City of Chicago

WMAQ TV

Favorite Color

Black

Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin

Arts administrator and librarian Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin was born on April 25, 1945 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Thelma N. Holtzclaw, a custodian, and Arthur William Henry Sprinkle, Jr., a factory worker. She received her B.S. degree in education from Winston-Salem State University in 1967 and her M.S. degree in library science from Clark Atlanta University in 1968.

After the completion of her studies, Sprinkle-Hamlin joined the staff of the Free Library of Philadelphia as a children’s librarian. In 1970, she became an information specialist at the Benjamin Banneker Urban Center and in 1973, she became the instructional media center director for the Philadelphia Public Schools while taking education administration classes at Cheyney State University. Sprinkle-Hamlin returned to Winston-Salem State University in 1978 where she served as a public services librarian and assistant director of the university library. In 1979, she joined the Forsyth County Public Library system as department head for children’s outreach. Also in 1979, Sprinkle-Hamlin met her future husband, Larry Leon Hamlin, who was the founder of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. They married in 1981 and Sprinkle-Hamlin became secretary of the National Black Repertory Company in 1983. Hamlin would go on to found the National Black Theatre Festival in 1989, with the fundraising support of Dr. Maya Angelou. Sprinkle-Hamlin has served on the board of directors for The National Black Theatre Festival since 1991. The Festival grew from thirty performances and 10,000 in attendance in 1989 to over 100 performances and 50,000 in attendance in 2005. In 2007, Hamlin died after an extended illness and Sprinkle-Hamlin carried on her husband’s work becoming executive producer for the National Black Theatre Festival. In 2010, she became president of the board of directors for the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. During this time, Sprinkle-Hamlin also continued to work for the Forsyth County Public Library serving as assistant library director , extension division, associate library director and becoming the library director in 2000. She also served as a library consultant for W.H. Roberts & Associates.

Sprinkle-Hamlin has worked extensively in the Winston-Salem community serving on the board of directors for Family Services, Inc., Forsyth County Smart Start, The Shepherd Center of Greater Winston-Salem and The Diggs Gallery of Winston-Salem University. She has also served as a council member of the American Library Association (ALA), president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Public library Association Board member and chair of the African American Issues Roundtable of the Southeastern Library Association. Sprinkle-Hamlin has received the Roundtable for Ethnic Minority Roadbuilder’s Award, the DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship and The Chronicle Women of the Year Award. She lives in Pfafftown, North Carolina.

Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 23, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.037

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/23/2012

Last Name

Sprinkle-Hamlin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Yvonne

Schools

Winston-Salem State University

Clark Atlanta University

Carter High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sylvia

Birth City, State, Country

Winston-Salem

HM ID

SPR04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

All Things Are Possible With Help From God. I Get My Strength From The Lord.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/25/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Winston-Salem

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cake (Strawberry Shortcake)

Short Description

Arts administrator and librarian Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin (1945 - ) was executive producer of the National Black Theatre Festival, and board president of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. She also directed the Forsyth County Public Library.

Employment

Forsyth County Public Library

Winston-Salem State University

Benjamin Banneker Urban Center

Free Library of Philadelphia

W.H. Roberts & Associates

Fashion Two-Twenty Cosmetics

North Carolina Black Repertory Company

Favorite Color

All Colors

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621553">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621554">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621555">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about her maternal great-grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621556">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sylvia Hamlin-Sprinkle describes her maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621557">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about her mother's upbringing and education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621558">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes her father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621559">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about her upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621560">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin recalls Center Grove A.M.E. Zion Church in Tobaccoville, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621561">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin remembers Carver Consolidated School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621562">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about the book mobile in Forsythe County, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621563">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin recalls segregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621564">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about the history of Winston-Salem, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621565">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin recalls her early exposure to television and radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621566">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin remembers her early interest in reading</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621567">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin recalls her start at Winston-Salem State College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621568">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin remembers her college classmate Earl Monroe</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621569">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes her decision to pursue a master's in library science</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621570">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin remembers Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621571">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about the education qualifications of a librarian</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621572">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes her career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621573">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin remembers her return to Winston-Salem, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621574">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes how she met her husband, Larry Leon Hamlin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621575">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about Larry Leon Hamlin's theater background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621576">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin recalls the founding of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company Theatre Guild</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621577">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes the development of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621578">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about funding for the North Carolina Black Repertory Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621579">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin remembers the inaugural National Black Theatre Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621580">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about the cost of the National Black Theatre Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621581">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes the content of the National Black Theatre Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621582">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about the North Carolina Black Repertory Company staff</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621583">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes North Carolina Black Repertory Company's guest artists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621584">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamline talks about the North Carolina Black Repertory Company's marketing strategy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621585">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes the highlights of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621586">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about support for the North Carolina Black Repertory Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621587">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin reflects upon Larry Leon Hamlin's legacy, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621588">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin reflects upon her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621589">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about the relevance of public libraries</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621590">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621591">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin reflects upon her life and legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621592">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621593">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin reflects upon Larry Leon Hamlin's legacy, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621594">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin talks about the 2012 season of North Carolina Black Repertory Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621595">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/621596">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin remembers the inaugural National Black Theatre Festival
Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin describes the highlights of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company
Transcript
Tell us about the National Black Theatre Festival and how that idea (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay, so I think in 1988 Larry [Sprinkle-Hamlin's husband, Larry Leon Hamlin] went to a conference that was held in Atlanta, Georgia, and I think he was supposed to write an article on black theaters in America, and I think in writing that article he realized that it was quite a few black companies in America, but they weren't communicating with each other, and they all had the same problem: funding, how do you really get funds? So at first he just thought about having a conference and bringing these theater companies together, but then he decided it would be probably more fun to have a festival, so the idea of the festival came up. So what he did was invited some theater companies that he had relationships with to come to the festival and Dr. Maya Angelou, he went to her with his plans and she gave him a lot of pointers as to what he should do, and she also recommended that he bring in celebrities because, you know, if you have celebrities, that would get a lot of the people who wouldn't come to a theater festival, to come to the festival to see the celebrities. So she helped him to get some named people, known people, to come to the first festival. And Oprah was our first celebrity guest.$$Okay, now from what I've read here, he sort of accidentally bumped into [HistoryMaker] Maya Angelou in the airport, is that true?$$Yeah, yeah, yeah.$$So how does that, well tell us that story.$$Well that's all I know, he started--he bumped into her at an airport and he talked to her about what he wanted to do, because you know she had moved here. She was living here.$$Oh no, I didn't know that.$$Oh, yeah, she lives here now.$$Okay.$$She's a Reynolds Scholar [Nancy Susan Reynolds Scholar] at Wake Forest, Reynolds Scholar for life.$$Wake Forest is?$$Wake Forest University.$$Yeah, that's close by Winston-Salem [North Carolina].$$It's here.$$It's in Winston-Salem?$$Yeah, yeah.$$Okay, all right. A lot of people don't know 'cause the name is Wake Forest and we don't know where it is (laughter).$$It used to be in Wake Forest--$$Okay.$$--North Carolina.$$Yeah.$$Then they moved to Winston-Salem in the '50s [1950s].$$Okay. All right.$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$So she helped him to get it off the ground in 1989.$$All right, okay. So it was her clout that got Oprah Winfrey?$$Yeah, yeah, um-hm.$$And Oprah Winfrey was one of the most popular people in America, if not the most popular.$$Right, (laughter) but I like to tell the story, is that when Larry said he was going to have a festival and Oprah was going to be here and some of the other people who came in 1989, the people in Winston-Salem didn't really believe it. And so you know we have an opening night gala and in 1989 gala tickets were only fifty dollars so the people from across the United States was real excited and so they bought a lot of the tickets. So two weeks before the, the festival then the people around here started believing it. Oh yeah, it's really gonna happen, it's really gone happen, but we were sold out, so a lot of people missed out on the first one. But they haven't missed out any more since then.$$Okay. So how was that first festival? What I read here is that Oprah was there, [HistoryMaker] Ruby Dee, [HistoryMaker] Ossie Davis.$$Yeah.$$Esther Rolle, Cicely Tyson.$$Yeah, all of those people were there.$$Maya Angelou too, was she, was she?$$Oh yeah, she was, yeah, she was chair, the first chair we had, co-chair, the first chair we had for the festival. It was very exciting because it happened, people came. I think we were most excited that people came from all over: from California; New York [New York]; Chicago [Illinois]; Atlanta [Georgia]. You know, they saw it, they believed in us and they came and they had a really good time and we had some really good shows. And so that was the beginning.$Now what have been some of the highlights of the, the Black Repertory's [North Carolina Black Repertory Company] seasons over the years?$$Some of the highlights. Well I think--the milestones that I think that we've--? Creating the guild [North Carolina Black Repertory Company Theatre Guild], I think was a high point. Well, first we'll start with the living room theater, how we start at first marketing the company then creating the guild. We now have what we call--at one point we had a music division, where we had singers and musicians that were involved. I think we have what we call now, Marvtastic Society; that was created in 2003. And in order to be a member of the Marvtastic Society you had to pay a thousand dollars to be a part of that society, and you get some discounts, and that has really worked really well.$$Well tell us what--this is a good time I guess to tell us what does marvtastic mean and where did it come from?$$(Laughter) Well Larry [Sprinkle-Hamlin's husband, Larry Leon Hamlin] coined that word, marvtastic, marvelous and fantastic together, so (laughter) that's what it means. And he came up with that word and then it caught on and everybody started using it, everybody started asking what does it mean and so he decided he would come up with a Marvtastic Society, and these people donate, especially to the festival [National Black Theatre Festival].$$Okay, all right, well keep going. I didn't want to, I just wanted to have you say something about that.$$Yeah, yeah, the Marvtastic Society I think is a milestone. I think the teen theater, having actual--doing the teen theater has been a milestone. And I think our longevity, you know, we been in business since 1979 and we've been through a lot and we're still around and we're still doing the festival. And, of course, the biggest thing is the festival in 1989. And I think in 2007 when Larry passed, people didn't know what was going to happen. You know that year, he passed that--the festival was that year. The festival was in August and he passed in June, so we--the board decided that we should go on and do the festival 'cause we were already working on it. And everybody was there and people were having conversations because they really didn't know what was gonna happen with the festival. But I knew that he really loved the festival and sometimes I feel that the festival probably was one--working really hard late at night, not doing what you're supposed to do health wise probably contributed to his early death. I decided that I would do all I could, along with some other supporters, to make sure that it still happened. And you know I was always in the background. I was the person that worked with the community. I knew a lot of people in the community. I worked a lot with the volunteers and I would be around at the meetings and all of that, so I was in the background so I knew some of the things that were involved. And then he had a lot of people who had worked with him before. We call 'em consultants. Lawrence Evans from New York [New York]; lark hackshaw from Atlanta [Georgia], Artie Reese [Arthur Reese]; those people had worked with him before. So we knew that it had to continue. So we just did what had to be done and we just had to do it without him, but we are doing okay, but his presence, we feel that his presence is still here. We feel his spirit, you know, when we start planning the festival.

Gloria Burgess

Arts administrator Gloria Jean Burgess was born on May 23, 1953 in Oxford, Mississippi. Her father, Earnest McEwen, Jr. received a college education thanks to funding from Nobel laureate author William Faulkner, on the condition that his gift be passed on to others, which McEwen did for Gloria and his other four daughters. Burgess grew up in Detroit, where she attended Ralph Bunche Elementary School, and Ann Arbor, where she attended Northside Elementary School, Forsythe Junior High School and graduated from Huron High School. Burgess attended the University of Michigan, studying poetry with Robert Hayden and drama. She earned her B.G.S. degree in education, anthropology, English and speech communication in 1975.

Burgess obtained her M.A. degree in speech communication and theater from the University of Michigan in 1977, earning notoriety as a Distinguished Fellow and Scholar in Direction and Performance. She attended the University of Southern California (USC) in the late 1970s, obtaining her Ph.D. in performance studies. Burgess continued studying, earning her M.B.A. degree from USC in 1986 in organizational behavior and design and information systems.

In 1988, Burgess was appointed assistant professor at the University of Washington College of Engineering, teaching leadership, management, cross cultural studies, and creativity to engineering students. In 1991, Burgess became director of multimedia development for Aldus Corporation, the organization responsible for PageMaker software. In 1994, Burgess founded Jazz, Inc., an executive coaching and consulting organization. She also founded The Lift Every Voice Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to leadership development for underserved, underrepresented youth. Burgess continued studying during this time, and in 1995 earned her M.A. degree in applied behavioral science from Bastyr University. Upon graduating, she became graduate faculty and program lead for their graduate program in leadership and applied behavioral science.

Burgess continued studying poetry as well, becoming a Fellow in the new Cave Canem organization for African American poets and writers in 1996. She became a consultant for Bastyr University's Leadership Institute the following year, consulting for faculty, undergraduate and graduate programs. Burgess spent 1997 through 1999 as a consultant for Boeing Corporation, and in 1998 was appointed to Leadership Tomorrow's Core Faculty. That same year, she published her first book of poetry, entitled Journey of the Rose. Despite all this activity, Burgess managed to remain involved in "Keepers of the Dream" with the Group Theatre Company, a celebration of African American women.

In 2000, Burgess expanded her coaching and consulting practice and became executive coach to the Dean of Libraries at the University of Washington. She also published her second book of poetry in 2001, entitled The Open Door, and wrote her first book for children entitled Hold Fast to Dreams: Pass It On!, about her father's relationship with William Faulkner.

Burgess lives with her husband, John, and daughter, Quinn in Edmonds, Washington.

Burgess was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.306

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/3/2008

10/26/2007

Last Name

Burgess

Maker Category
Schools

Huron High School

Forsythe Junior High School

Ralph Bunche Elementary School

University of Michigan

University of Southern California

Bastyr University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Gloria

Birth City, State, Country

Oxford

HM ID

BUR18

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Pass It On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/23/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pie (Sweet Potato)

Short Description

Arts administrator Gloria Burgess (1953 - ) founded Jazz, Inc., an executive coaching and consulting organization. She is also the author of, "Hold Fast to Dreams: Pass It On!"

Employment

Casey Family Programs

Jazz, Inc.

Aldus/Adobe Corp.

University of Washington

Honeywell

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145573">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gloria Burgess' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145574">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gloria Burgess lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145575">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gloria Burgess describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145576">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gloria Burgess talks about her maternal great-great-grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145577">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gloria Burgess talks about her maternal family's sharecropping</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145578">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gloria Burgess talks about her mother's childhood in Abbeville, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145579">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gloria Burgess describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145580">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gloria Burgess describes Oxford, Mississippi and her father's educational background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145581">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gloria Burgess talks about her father's employment at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145582">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gloria Burgess describes how her parents met and developed a relationship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145583">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gloria Burgess talks about her father's close friendship with author William Faulkner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145584">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gloria Burgess talks about her father's participation in a walkout at Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145585">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gloria Burgess explains why her father was expelled from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145586">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gloria Burgess explains why her father was expelled from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145587">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gloria Burgess talks about her father's studies at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145588">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gloria Burgess talks about her family's move north and her father's inability to find work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145589">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gloria Burgess considers her likeness to her parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145590">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gloria Burgess describes her childhood in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145591">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gloria Burgess describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145592">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gloria Burgess describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145593">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gloria Burgess recalls spending time with her extended family in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145594">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Gloria Burgess lists the elementary schools she attended in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145595">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Gloria Burgess describes her father's jobs in Ann Arbor, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145596">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Gloria Burgess describes difficulties she experienced transitioning from Detroit to Ann Arbor, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145597">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Gloria Burgess explains her father's decision to relocate to Ann Arbor, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145598">Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Gloria Burgess lists the schools she attended in Ann Arbor, Michigan and her favorite teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147302">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gloria Burgess recalls being introduced to Langston Hughes' work in the sixth grade</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147303">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gloria Burgess talks about her family's private relationship with William Faulkner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147304">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gloria Burgess describes her academic interests and personality as an elementary and high school student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147305">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gloria Burgess remembers Gwendolyn Brooks' visit to Huron High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147306">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gloria Burgess talks about her decision to attend University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147307">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gloria Burgess talks about studying under Robert Hayden and Eva Jessye at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147308">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gloria Burgess remembers when she started to wear her hair natural</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147309">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gloria Burgess talks about her family's discussions of the Civil Rights Movement and racism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147310">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gloria Burgess recalls the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147311">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gloria Burgess talks about her undergraduate majors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147312">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Gloria Burgess talks about her experience with poet Robert Hayden</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147313">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Gloria Burgess remembers choral director Eva Jessye, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145611">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gloria Burgess remembers choral director Eva Jessye, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145612">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gloria Burgess remembers professors that were both positive and negative influences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145613">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gloria Burgess talks about earning her M.A. degree in Performance Studies from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145614">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gloria Burgess talks about earning her Ph.D. degree from the University of Southern California and describes her dissertation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145615">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gloria Burgess talks about transitioning from academia into technology and business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145616">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gloria Burgess explains why she wanted to earn an M.B.A. degree</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145617">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gloria Burgess talks about her appointment as assistant professor at the College of Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145618">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gloria Burgess describes meeting and marrying her husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145619">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gloria Burgess describes her experience as an assistant professor in the University of Washington's College of Engineering in Seattle, Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145620">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Gloria Burgess describes joining the Aldus Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145621">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Gloria Burgess describes her experience at the Aldus Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149144">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gloria Burgess talks about earning a third M.A. degree from Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149145">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gloria Burgess talks about her consulting company, Jazz, Incorporated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149146">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gloria Burgess describes the most common problems she addresses as a consultant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149147">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gloria Burgess talks about publishing her poetry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149148">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gloria Burgess describes her managerial style and philosophy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149149">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gloria Burgess talks about the significance of the Middle Passage to her poetry and the work of other poets</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149150">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gloria Burgess talks about the Cave Canem fellowship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149151">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gloria Burgess considers what she might have done differently</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149152">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gloria Burgess describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149153">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Gloria Burgess describes her plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149154">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Gloria Burgess considers her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149155">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Gloria Burgess talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149156">Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Gloria Burgess talks briefly about her mother's legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/149157">Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Gloria Burgess describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/142658">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gloria Burgess narrates her photographs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/142659">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Gloria Burgess narrates her photographs</a>

Stephanie Hughley

Arts administrator and producer Stephanie Smith Hughley is executive producer and co-founder of the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the most important African American arts festivals in the world and founded in 1987. Hughley served as its Artistic Program Director until 1992. She returned to Atlanta in 1999 to revive the failing and debt stricken organization. Under her leadership, the festivals have expanded from a bi-annual summer arts festival to a yearly ten-day festival held during the month of July and a year round African arts cultural teaching institution, which includes an annual curriculum for teachers and students.

Hughley was born in Canton, Ohio to Lillie Mae and Robert Lee Smith, Sr. on October 16, 1948. She attended Kent State University with aspirations of becoming a medical doctor. While at Kent State, she was introduced to dance. Hughley moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1969 where she completed her studies and entered the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts. Hughley obtained her B.S. degree in biology from Northeastern University and her M.Ed. from Antioch College at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 1971, Hughley became a dance instructor and taught at Smith College as well as Northeastern, Brandeis and Harvard Universities. She danced with the Dance Theatre of Boston and the National Center of Afro American Artists. In 1976, Hughley moved to New York City, auditioned for a part in the Broadway production of Bubbling Brown Sugar, studied dance at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance and the Little Red School House and apprenticed under the directorship of Ashton Springer in order to expand her theatre management skills. She became General Manager of the Negro Ensemble Company in 1982. Hughley managed and supervised the production of over twelve Broadway shows including, Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God, Ain’t Misbehavin’ andBubbling Brown Sugar and toured the United States and Europe as the Company Manager of For Colored Girls.

In 1992, Hughley was Theatre and Dance Producer for the Atlanta Committee for the Cultural Olympiad for the 1996 Olympic Games. In 1996, she was commissioned to serve as Vice President of Programs for the newly formed New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Hughley returned to Atlanta in 1999 to become head of the Black Arts Festival.

Hughley serves on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition (MAACC) and the Atlanta Convention Center and Visitors Bureau. She has been a member of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers since 1977.

Hughley resides in the Atlanta area with her surviving son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.

Accession Number

A2006.014

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/13/2006

2/15/2006

Last Name

Hughley

Maker Category
Schools

Mckinley High School

Washington Elementary School

Henry S. Martin Elementary School

Hartford Avenue School

Kent State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Stephanie

Birth City, State, Country

Massillon

HM ID

HUG05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sapello Island, Georgia

Favorite Quote

All Things Work Together For The Good Of Those That Love The Lord And Are Called According To His Purpose.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/16/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

Arts administrator and producer Stephanie Hughley (1948 - ) co-founder of the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the most important African American arts festivals in the world. Hughley is also a dancer and has taught dance at several universities. Hughley managed and supervised the production of over twelve Broadway shows including, Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God, Ain't Misbehavin' and Bubbling Brown Sugar.

Employment

Negro Ensemble Company

Theatre Management Associates

New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Cultural Olympiad

National Black Arts Festival

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327114">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Stephanie Hughley's interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327115">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327116">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327117">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley describes her father, Robert Smith, Sr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327118">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley describes segregation in Canton, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327119">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes her maternal grandmother, Lola Bradley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327120">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley describes her maternal grandfather's farm, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327121">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley describes her maternal grandfather's farm, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327122">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley recounts stories of World War II and the Great Depression</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327123">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley describes her paternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327124">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley remembers her maternal grandmother's house</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327125">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley describes holidays with her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327126">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327127">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley describes the neighborhoods she grew up in</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327128">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327129">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley describes her childhood community in Canton, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327130">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley speculates about her paternal grandmother's heritage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327131">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the schools she attended</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327132">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her paternal grandmother's warning about skin color</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327133">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the support of her black teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327134">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley describes her childhood personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327135">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her family's trips to Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327136">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley describes her childhood hopes and aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327137">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley talks about her sister, Sharon Smith Curle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327138">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes her childhood role models</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327139">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley describes the sports culture of Canton, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327140">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley remembers aspiring to be a doctor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327141">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her love of dancing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327142">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Stephanie Hughley recalls attending Kent State University in Kent, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327143">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Stephanie Hughley describes the political climate of Kent State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327144">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the Black Power movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327145">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley recalls the black student union at Kent State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327146">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley recalls Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327147">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley talks about her racial identity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327148">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley explains why she moved to Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327149">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley describes her life in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327150">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes her education in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327151">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley recalls beginning her career in dance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327152">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley recalls moving to New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327153">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley explains how she earned a living early in her dance career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327154">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the dance classes she took in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327155">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her decision to become a manager on Broadway</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327156">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley remembers working with the Negro Ensemble Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327157">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley describes the differences between producer and manager</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327158">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley recalls being asked to manage 'For Colored Girls'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327159">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes touring with 'For Colored Girls'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327160">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley remembers marrying her second husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327161">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her theatrical productions' international tours</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327063">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers managing the Negro Ensemble Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327064">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley shares the history of the Negro Ensemble Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327065">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley recalls becoming the Negro Ensemble Company's general manager</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327066">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley remembers her decision to move to Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327067">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her impression of Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327068">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327069">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley recalls becoming the National Black Arts Festival program manager</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327070">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley explains what she learned while planning the National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327162">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Stephanie Hughley's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327163">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley describes the creation of the National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327164">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley describes her friend, LaTanya Richardson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327165">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley remembers contributors to the National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327166">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the National Black Arts Festival parade</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327167">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the success of the first National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327168">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley recalls the artists at the first National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327169">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley explains the difference between African and European dance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327170">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley describes the challenges faced by the National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327171">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Stephanie Hughley remembers working on the 1996 Cultural Olympiad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327172">Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Stephanie Hughley narrates her photographs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327173">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers introducing homeless students to a Norwegian poet</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327174">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the dance troupes she recruited for the Cultural Olympiad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327175">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley remarks upon the variation in African arts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327176">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the Celebrate Africa festival, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327177">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the Celebrate Africa festival, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327178">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley recalls consulting on the New Jersey Performing Arts Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327088">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers leaving the Cultural Olympiad planning committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327089">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley shares her memories of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327090">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley describes the ethnic communities of New Jersey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327091">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley describes the New Jersey Performing Arts Center's success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327092">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley remembers organizing the Africa Exchange program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327093">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley recalls organizing festivals for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327094">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the importance of cultural exposure</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327095">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley remembers returning to Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327096">Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley recalls returning to the National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327097">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley describes the educational component of the National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327098">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley describes her hopes for the National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327099">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the September 11 attacks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327100">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the effects of the September 11 attacks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327101">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the Diverse Voices, Collective Spirit holiday celebration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327102">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the frequency and location of the National Black Arts Festival</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327103">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley recalls the themes of recent National Black Arts Festivals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327104">Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the National Black Arts Festival's twentieth anniversary</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327179">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley talks about celebrating African American pioneers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327180">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley talks about her family's white ancestry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327181">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley explains why she decided to share her story</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327182">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley offers advice to young people</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327183">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley describes her hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327184">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327185">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327186">Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the importance of The HistoryMakers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/327187">Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$8

DATitle
Stephanie Hughley recalls being asked to manage 'For Colored Girls'
Stephanie Hughley explains what she learned while planning the National Black Arts Festival
Transcript
Okay, so what happened next? Where did you go from there (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, here I was in this union [Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM)]. And this young woman by the name of [HistoryMaker] Ntozake Shange had written a play called 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf.' And they had taken the play from California, I think they found it in the San Francisco [California] area, in the Bay area [San Francisco Bay Area, California], and brought it down to first Henry Street [Henry Street Settlement, New York, New York], Woodie King [HistoryMaker Woodie King, Jr.] was involved with it. And then they were--then they took it to The Public Theater [New York, New York] to the Shakespeare Festival [New York Shakespeare Festival; Shakespeare in the Park], Joseph Papp was the producer there. And he was working with a general manager by the name of Manny Azenberg [Emanuel Azenberg]. And they decided to take the show to Broadway. But Ntozake had told them that she wanted a black woman company manager. Well they weren't able to--there were, there were none 'cause the only black woman company manager [Carolyne A. Jones] was doing 'Bubbling Brown Sugar' [Loften Mitchell]. And they opened the show on Broadway and they decided that they were gonna take a company out on the road. And Ntozake told them that they were absolutely not taking out that company without a black woman manager. So I had met Joe Papp. He was certainly the impresario of Broadway. And he and Manny Azenberg took me lunch one day and asked me would I consider taking this show out on the road as the company manager. And I said, "Well, I'm only an apprentice." And they said, "Well, we'll hold the contract, we're in the union, we'll hold the contract. And you'll go take the show out." Now my union got wind of this and they were like you can't take a show out on the road, you're only an apprentice, you've only been an apprentice for a year and you have to apprentice for three years. And Joe and Manny, they said, "Listen, they can't stop you." And so I decided to take the show. So I went out on the road with the first national company. I got trained in New York [New York] at the Broadway theater, the Booth Theatre. And we had auditions there and hired all the women. But I went out on the road as the first, the first national company of 'For Colored Girls.' I was the company manager. It was funny too because at first I said to them, "Are you paying me the full salary?" And they said, "Well, but you're not really in the union." And I said, "But I'm doing the work." And they said "Okay."$$So they paid you.$$They paid me the full salary. And my goodness, this was in 1977. And you know my goodness, they were making like, I forgot like seven hundred dollars a week. Good grief, I went from poverty to, you know, to the big house.$$You're not joking. That was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That was serious.$$--good money.$$Those girls were making more than that. The actresses were making outrageous sums of money, plus per diem, you know, two, three hundred dollars a week per diem. So we were all in heaven. And the show as a phenomena. It--nobody knew what it was. We went all over this country, to all the A cities, Washington [D.C.], Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], Chicago [Illinois], Detroit [Michigan], you know, Wilmington [Delaware], all over the country. And nobody knew what it was. They couldn't pro- they couldn't even pronounce the title. We would go to the box office and collect all of the names. The box office treasurer would write down the names of all the names people, 'For Black Girls who Killed Themselves,' you know. But we had a phenomenal company.$$And how long did you stay on the road with it?$$We stayed on the road--well I stayed on the road with them over a year. And then I actually met my second husband [Thomas Hughley, Jr.] touring through Chicago. And one of the lead actresses, LaTanya Richardson, introduced me to him. They had gone to Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia] and Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] together. And I met him and he proposed to me and I left the company and actually married him some months later. But that was a pretty amazing tour. It was, it was a phenomena, that's all I can tell you. In every city we made more money. It was outrageous.$You talk about finally getting connected to my African centeredness. I think the National Black Arts Festival did that more than anything else in my life.$$And how so would you say that occurred?$$Well, there was a man by the name of Worth Long who lives here still.$$And it's Worth, W-O-R-T.$$W-O-R-T-H Long, L-O-N-G. He has since been named a Heritage [National Heritage Fellowships] award winner from Smithsonian [sic. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)]. But I met Worth Long, and Worth Long started to teach me about African American history. He took me over to the Sea Islands. He took me down in the backwoods of Mississippi and Alabama. I met people that were playing spoons and one string guitars and I learned about shape note singing and lining in--$$What note singing is that?$$Shape note singing and lining in hymn singing. Shape notes, do, do, do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, do-do, re-re, you know, shape note singing. I learned about lining in hymn singing, that that's what my [maternal] grandfather [Ciscero Bradley] and all those people down in--on that Alabama farm in Luverne, outside of Luverne, Alabama. Rural route box number. And that old church when one person would start singing--and then everybody would sing right behind him. I learned so many things from Worth Long. From folks at the Smithsonian Institution [Washington, D.C.], you know, about African American history. I knew my grandmothers, but I didn't know my grandmothers' grandmothers', and where they came from, and, and I didn't under--I didn't know about the Great Migration, you know. I didn't know about--I didn't even care to know about all that history going back and how a slave owner had raped the enslaved women in the house and, and how my family went from dark, dark black to white. I didn't even care about any of that until I got into the National Black Arts Festival and I started to meet the people who were rooted and grounded in the history. And I was amazed at how many people who live in Atlanta [Georgia] have never been to the Sea Islands. They didn't know about the African retention of culture in those Sea Island people. And so I saw this incredible opportunity to bridge Africa and African American history in a way that had not been really done in this country before, through music, dance, theater, film, visual art, performing art, literary art and folk art. People came from all over the world, and they came from all over this country. And they converged around this incredible celebration. I started working March or March of 1987 and we did the first festival in July of 1988. It was the end of July, beginning of August. And boy, we decided the first festival was gonna focus on the Harlem Renaissance. And it was funny because when they decided to call the National Black Arts Festival, the only thing I would have still done differently with that title. A lot of people say you shouldn't call it black, you should, you know. Only thing I would have changed would have been the International Black Arts Festival. Because there's no way that you could tell the story about African American people and not begin in Africa. So I have these incredible opportunities to travel to Africa for the first time. I got off that plane and kissed the ground in Ghana and in Senegal where I saw the people who were looking like my [paternal] grandmother's [Zella Smith] people who I decided were from Sapelo Island in Georgia, all the way up to today. I saw the continuum of African people, and I realized that we as African Americans, we were the most ignorant about it all because we had been so brainwashed into believing that Africa was the dark continent. When I got there, it was the brightest continent I'd ever seen in all of my travels. It was the most colorful, the most brilliant, the most, the most incredible sounds and smells and, and I realized that this festival was important. That it was important for us to do it. It was important for us to have this moment in time to go back and reflect and, and build the bridge. And build the bridge not only from African to this country, but from this country into our everyday lives. To bring the art back to the people. And I realized that art was just this very marginalized term in this country. That art was a picture on a wall. An artist was a singer or a painter. But in fact art was just one expression of culture, and that this was really about culture and creativity. If you boil it all down to its basic common denominator, it's about culture and creativity. 'Cause everybody has culture and everybody has creativity. And art was just one manifestation of those two things. And so for me you know, that's why I took on the National Black Arts Festival and I guess that's why I'm still here.

Barbara Ann Teer

Founder and CEO of the National Black Theatre, Inc., Barbara Ann Teer was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on June 18, 1937, to a family of educators and leaders in the field of community development. After graduating magna cum laude with her degree in dance education from the University of Illinois, Teer moved to New York City to begin her career as an actress, dancer, and director.

In the 1960s, Teer left show business to begin teaching at Harlem's Wadleigh Junior High School; her methods helped to develop the Group Theatre Workshop, which became the foundation for the world renowned Negro Ensemble Company. In 1968, Teer founded the National Black Theatre with the aim of maintaining and developing African American cultural traditions. In 1983, Teer expanded the purpose and vision of the National Black Theatre by purchasing a 64,000 square foot city block of property on 125th Street and Fifth Avenue, creating the first revenue generating black art complex in the country by housing several entrepreneurial businesses.

In May 1994, Teer was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Rochester, New York; in 1995, she received an honorary doctorate degree of humane letters from the University of Southern Illinois. Teer is included in Who's Who Worldwide, which recognizes her as a global business leader and has received more than sixty awards and citations. Teer passed away on July 21, 2008 at the age of 71. She leaves behind two children: her son, Michael F. Lythcott, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University's Business School and her daughter, Barbara A. Lythcott, is a graduate of New York University.

Dr. Barbara Ann Teer passed away on July 21, 2008, at the age of seventy-one.

Accession Number

A2005.126

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/6/2005

Last Name

Teer

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ann

Occupation
Schools

Dunbar Elem School

Bennett College for Women

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

TEE01

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Thailand

Favorite Quote

Right On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/18/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Death Date

7/21/2008

Short Description

Arts administrator Barbara Ann Teer (1937 - 2008 ) was the founder and chief director of the National Black Theater, whose mission was to maintain and develop African American cultural traditions. Teer was recognized as a global business leader, receiving more than sixty awards and citations.

Employment

National Black Theatre

Wadleigh Junior High School

Favorite Color

Blue, Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315717">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Ann Teer's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315718">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315719">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her parents' family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315720">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls attending Bennett College for a year</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315721">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her training in dance and theatre</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315722">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls her sister's activism and her decision to leave acting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315723">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer describes growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315724">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer describes herself as a child and her experience with racism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315725">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her schooling in East St. Louis, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315726">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer remembers the pressure to adapt to mainstream culture</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315727">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her childhood home in East St. Louis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315728">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her neighborhood in East St. Louis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315729">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls notable figures from East St. Louis, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315730">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315731">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls attending church and school in East St. Louis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315732">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls traveling in Europe after college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315733">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls her experience at New York City's Henry Street Settlement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315734">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience as a theatre actress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315735">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer contrasts her modern dance training to black dance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315736">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls writing for The New York Times</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315737">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes founding the Group Theatre Workshop</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315738">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315739">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes co-founding the Black Arts Movement in Harlem</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315740">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer describes Harlem in the late 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315741">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer talks about The Last Poets</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315742">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer talks about Amiri Baraka</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315743">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls playwrights Historymaker Paul Carter Harrison and Joseph Walker</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315744">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon black theatre</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315745">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her role in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315746">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience in Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315747">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the spirituality of her work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315748">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience at FESTAC in Nigeria in 1977</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315749">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience visiting Nigeria in 1977 and 1984</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315750">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315751">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the black arts and theatre community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315752">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her life and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315753">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the importance of history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315754">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the transformation of Harlem, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315755">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the gentrification of Harlem, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315756">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315757">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls FESTAC in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315758">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls meeting Malcolm X</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315759">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls HistoryMaker Melvin Van Peebles and divorcing Godfrey Cambridge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315760">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the need to re-interpret black history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315761">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the power of theatre</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315762">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the sustainability of the National Black Theatre</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315763">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/315764">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Barbara Ann Teer describes her training in dance and theatre
Barbara Ann Teer describes the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company
Transcript
So, when I graduated, summa cum [summa cum laude], from the University of Illinois [University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois], I was shipped off to Europe. And I studied there with everybody you can think of because of who I was within the dance profession. Now, I left Europe after Switzerland, and London [England], and, and the whole thing. Now, I came to New York [New York] to work on my master's [degree] at Sarah Lawrence [Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York]. But I was bored with school because I never saw anything that represented where I came from. It was a different, a different kind of culture. And I did well. However, when Pearl Primus came to the University of Illinois with her drummers, and her husband was Percival Borde. All these people are probably dead now--I mean, they're not probably--they are. There were five hundred young women in this gym for this master class of Pearl Bailey--I mean, Pearl, Pearl Primus. Actually, I work with Pearl Bailey. And she started playing the drums, and I just went crazy. And everybody else didn't know what was happening and I did, and I said, oh, I have to go somewhere and do what my heart is pumping. So, I went to Pearl Primus. I came to New York. I stayed at the Henry Street Playhouse [Henry Street Settlement; Henry Street Settlement, New York, New York] with Alwin Nikolais, which was, again, a derivative of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham--all those names. I mean, I was really in that profession until I hurt my knee. My daddy [Fred Teer] was a coach. He came to New York to try to help me with my knee. And I met all these wonderful actors who were in 'Raisin in the Sun' ['A Raisin in the Sun,' Lorraine Hansberry], and because one of the leads in 'Raisin in the Sun' came from St. Louis [Missouri]. The rest is history. Lonne Elder [Lonne Elder III], Lorraine Hansberry, Sidney Poitier, [HistoryMaker] Robert Hooks--all of these people became my friends, and my whatever. And I left the dance profession after travelling with Alvin Ailey, and [HistoryMaker] Louis Johnson, and going to Brazil. I mean, I did a whole lot of stuff. And then, I came into the world of theater and acting, studied with Sanford Meisner, and Philip Burton, and Paul Mann, and Lloyd Richardson. You name it, you name it, you name it, until finally, my instructor at the time was Sanford Meisner, who was the most important acting teacher. And, of course, at that time, everybody was talking about Stanislavski [Konstantin Stanislavski] and the message and, and Lee Strasberg, and all that stuff. And Sandy Knox [ph.] said, "You know, Barbara [HistoryMaker Barbara Ann Teer], you don't need to study anymore, you need to work--"$And it was so powerful 'cause I--first thing I choreographed and designed a piece, which now Ntozake [HistoryMaker Ntozake Shange] calls it choreopoems. But those days, I took a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, which was eight lines, called 'We Real Cool,' and I developed it into a whole evening. Well, Joe Pappa [Joseph Papp] was a big deal at the time. He's now dead too, Public Theater [New York, New York]--he saw it, and he loved it, and he wanted me to come and do something for him. And I said no. But he put 'We Real Cool' on the mobile unit that toured all the boroughs of New York [New York]. So, all my little kids who were 14, 13, so got to get a taste of show business. That was the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company. So, when Douglas Turner [HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Ward] wrote an article ['American Theater: For Whites Only?' Douglas Turner Ward] for The New York Times about black people in theatre--he called it Negroes--he got a lot of opportunities to get grants. But we were in the Village [Greenwich Village, New York, New York] at St. Mark's theatre [St. Mark's Playhouse, New York, New York], and we were doing Imamu's [Amiri Baraka] plays. And I was just acting all over the place. So, what happened was when they got that first big grant from the Ford Foundation [New York, New York], they changed up on me. It was called the Negro Ensemble Company, and I--that was just offensive to me. It's black, like we're going to call it Negro, you know. It was in the Village. I thought it should be in the black community--like that. And they were picking plays that didn't have anything to do with the culture that I knew. So, I left them--my friends, I left them. I'm always leaving people. I left them and I came to Harlem [New York, New York]. With the reputation of wanting to start an authentic black theatre company, not one in the Village, but one in Harlem.