The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Shirley Ann Woodson Reid

Painter and arts administrator Shirley Woodson Reid was born on March 3, 1936 in Pulaski, Tennessee. Her father, Claude Elwood Woodson, worked for contractor Abraham McKissack, a relative of Reid’s mother, Celia Trotter Woodson. Attending Columbia Elementary School and Sherrill Elementary School, Reid captained the cheerleaders and graduated from Chadsey High School in 1954. She earned her B.F.A. degree from Wayne State University in 1958 and her M.A. degree from the same university in 1966. While attending MacDowell Artist Colony on a fellowship, Reid met her husband, Edsel B. Reid. In 1970, Reid attended the Conference on the Functional Aspects of Black Art (CONFABA) at Northwestern University.

Reid worked as an art education specialist in the Highland Park (Michigan) School District from 1966 to 1992. An art education professor at Wayne State University from 1996 to 2000, Reid started serving as art education supervisor for the Detroit Public Schools in 1992. She also served as director of the Pyramid Art Gallery from 1979 to 1980. Sought after as an art historian, Reid has been interviewed by the Detroit media many times since 1972 and has contributed to scores of newspaper and magazine articles.

Since 1974, Reid has been a member of the national executive board of the National Conference of Artists and in 1997 she was elected president of the Michigan chapter. A board member of the Ellington White Project, Reid is also a member of the Detroit Art Teachers Association, College Art Association, National Art Education Association and the Michigan Art Education Association. Reid’s paintings of African American life are a part of 22 collections housed by the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Museum of the National Center for Afro American Artists (Boston), Detroit Edison, the Toledo Art Commission, Florida A&M University and Seagrams. She has two sons, Khari and Senghor Reid.

Accession Number

A2005.100

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/7/2005

Last Name

Woodson-Reid

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Ann

Schools

Chadsey High School

Wayne State University

Sherrill Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Shirley

Birth City, State, Country

Pulaski

HM ID

WOO06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

Lord Have Mercy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/3/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Corn (Fried)

Short Description

Painter and arts administrator Shirley Ann Woodson Reid (1936 - ) is most know for her paintings of African American life, which are a part of twenty-two collections housed by the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Studio Museum of Harlem, among other notable institutions. Woodson-Reid has also taught at Wayne State University, and has served as art education supervisor for the Detroit Public Schools since 1974.

Employment

Detroit Public Schools

Wayne State University

Highland Park School District

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:7979,233:15202,353:15904,363:17074,394:19102,442:21208,485:29545,612:31855,638:34539,658:34944,664:36078,678:36402,683:37293,697:41667,787:50318,863:52502,903:53139,911:57052,975:63558,1041:68950,1097:72981,1123:74597,1151:76415,1172:77122,1181:79135,1196:88900,1409:91210,1602:114739,1801:118402,1972:125629,2058:126520,2070:134655,2136:137749,2198:139114,2226:140479,2248:141025,2255:142481,2283:142845,2288:143209,2293:151114,2352:155082,2404:155670,2416:157434,2495:158610,2510:165248,2598:166908,2637:169481,2693:171888,2730:172718,2745:173382,2755:173797,2764:179300,2839:184800,2879:192388,2957:193356,3023:211190,3228$0,0:4950,232:35200,568:52342,769:52958,776:53486,784:54366,797:58715,849:59055,854:59990,867:60925,879:61350,885:65005,948:66025,961:66705,969:67385,978:72027,987:73008,999:74207,1022:80400,1077:80784,1082:81360,1089:91632,1212:92592,1221:94800,1245:98736,1296:109660,1386:110290,1394:124972,1531:134507,1639:137244,1679:139498,1691:140346,1702:150180,1818:150500,1823:158088,1898:173756,2112:180792,2195:195930,2378:197100,2395:206976,2566:218875,2744:224452,2794:224788,2801:226470,2882
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283430">Tape: 1 Slating of Shirley Ann Woodson Reid's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283431">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283432">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283433">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283434">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her maternal grandparents' homes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283435">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her mother's childhood on a farm in Pulaski, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283436">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls her maternal uncles' work in the mines of West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283437">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her mother's unfulfilled desire to attend college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283438">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283439">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her father's high schools in Pulaski and Chattanooga, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283440">Tape: 1 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls how her parents met at a picnic in Pulaski, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284192">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls her mother's enjoyment of farm work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284193">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her childhood household</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284194">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls moving to Detroit, Michigan in 1936</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284195">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284196">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284197">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about attending St. Stephen A.M.E. Church in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284198">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her childhood personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284199">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls her interest in art as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284200">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about her teachers in elementary school in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284201">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284202">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls studying art at Chadsey High School in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284203">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about her school report on Harriet Tubman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/284204">Tape: 2 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her religious extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283810">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes the Detroit Institute of Arts museum youth program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283811">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls her lack of exposure to African American artists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283812">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls studying art at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283813">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls her perspective on the murder of Emmett Till in 1955</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283814">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes how her artistic interest developed at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283815">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls learning about African American art in 1966</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283816">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls meeting Richard Hunt at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283817">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her gradual awakening to African American art</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283818">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes how her art changed after visiting Europe in 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283819">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson describes her experiences as an African American woman in Europe in 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283820">Tape: 3 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283821">Tape: 4 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about Cedric Dover's book 'American Negro Art'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283822">Tape: 4 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes Romare Bearden's influence on her art</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283823">Tape: 4 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about creating art with African American subjects</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283824">Tape: 4 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid reflects upon her artistic style</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283825">Tape: 4 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls seeing saxophonists John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders perform together in Detroit</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283826">Tape: 4 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about teaching a course on black art and music at Highland Park Community College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283827">Tape: 4 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about the book 'The Vanguard Artist' and its oversight of black artists in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283828">Tape: 4 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes HistoryMaker Howardena Pindell's research on the exclusion of black artists from museums in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283829">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes the market for African American art</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283830">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls the Conference on the Functional Aspects of Black Art</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283831">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about art education in Detroit Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283832">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about her ancestor series</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283833">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283834">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283835">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about purchasing art by the African American painter, Jacob Lawrence</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283836">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid talks about where her artwork is collected</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283837">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes her masterpieces</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283838">Tape: 5 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283483">Tape: 6 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid reflects upon the importance of visual art</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283484">Tape: 6 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/283485">Tape: 6 Shirley Ann Woodson Reid narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Shirley Ann Woodson Reid recalls meeting Richard Hunt at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Shirley Ann Woodson Reid describes the market for African American art
Transcript
How did you choose to go to the University of--I mean the [School of the] Art Institute of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois]?$$Well, I wanted to--I didn't wanna go to Wayne [University; Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan]. I said, well I've got my first degree here, I don't wanna go and get my degree, let me try somewhere else. So I rode around to different places and I--you know, as I'm looking through material and I said, oh, here's something in Chicago [Illinois]. I've--my uncle lived in Chicago and his family, and I always loved Chicago. So I said, oh, I could--I could maybe go to Chicago. So I wrote for application for summer to see how I would like it and I went there for the summer. And it was in the--I took painting and art history and it was in the art history class that I met [HistoryMaker] Richard Hunt. That was in 1960. And he was taking the class--he was taking the art history class. It was really--it was called the history--it was really contemporary sculpture, but the instructor taught everything else that dealt with it, so it was really--it was a fabulous course. And at--we had a break. It was--we were--we were there like from eight to twelve for the class in the morning, and the afternoon was the painting. So every--when we take our break about ten o'clock, all the kids would go out and they'd all kind of rush around this young black guy. They'd all huddle around him and everything, and so there was another lady, African American lady in the class and we'd eat--you know, have our break, and I'd say, who are--who--why are all those--who is--who's that guy? All those people every time, they're always going and talking to him. She said, oh, that's Richard Hunt. I said, who's Richard Hunt? He's--she says, here, I'll show you and she took me around the corner and there was one of his gorgeous sculptures (laughter). She said the museum [Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois] bought that from him--bought that piece from him when he was eighteen (laughter), you know? I said, oh, okay. So that was my first awakening that there was something going on out here in the world that I didn't know about, but I was learning fast and I really enjoyed that. I met Richard, you know, we became friends and I--you know, we know each other. And--but anyway, and then we went on a tour of his studio and, and it was--at that time, it was in the home of his parents [Etoria Henderson Hunt and Cleophus Hunt] in the basement. He had all this metal and everything, and just, you know, it was--as I said, it was a real awakening. So I guess that was--I knew I wasn't gonna be the first woman--I mean, I was--I already met the first man that I thought--but still, this--the history of it, there was still no inclusion in terms of African American. It wasn't, as I said, until after that. These little, you know, bits and pieces you see, Archibald Motley, you know, they put him in--I knew about him from Ebony but they did him doing shower curtains if you remember that famous article. That was--that's how they covered him. They didn't cover him as an artist. They covered him as an artist who did designs on shower curtains, and so that's how I found out about him.$Off camera, we were talking--I was talking about the new boom in black folk art from the South.$$Right.$$You know if you go into the House of the Blues, for instance in, in Chicago [Illinois], it's filled with Negro--black folk art from down South--$$Yes.$$--and coffee table books written by--it's a whole movement now about black folk art and we're just discussing similar, the Haitian art, African art, people--usually white art dealers going to the regions and pick up this work for next to nothing--$$Right.$$--and then it's--now it's pricey.$$Right. Well, it's about the market. The centers of the art market are in New York [New York], London [England], and, well, Cologne [Germany] or wherever--Germany, wherever it would--wherever it would be. So, it's the United States, England, and Germany. It's still the core of the art market and it's probably the core of all other markets as well. And so in terms of African American artists, contemporary African American artists, that is not something, thankfully, that we have--that is something, I should say, that we have become involved in and enveloped and beginning to develop a market, a strong market with initiatives and so on. But reactions to that are that these--they're not interested unless they're gonna control it, so the white dealers who are not gonna have African American art, they're not gonna do that, but they're going to--they will develop a market in terms of the folk art, create big books, and have endless supply and, and continually to develop that. They want the aesthetic. The aesthetic--the aesthetic excites them but they're not interested in it unless they're--you know, it's in their hands. For example, I compare the work say of [HistoryMaker] Sam Gilliam and Frank Stella. Sam Gilliam is by far the more inventive, the more creative, but there's not one book, there's not one publication--there are catalogs, but there's not one publication out on this guy, on Sam Gilliam. He's a brilliant, brilliant artist, but I'm sure the Frank Stellas would stack up. And Frank Stella usually stays sort of in one vein of sculptural composition. And--but he's not--I mean, Sam, as I said, is by far--and that would be a contemporary, his contemporary. And you'll find the same with [HistoryMaker] Richard Hunt. Richard Hunt is a, you know, wealthy man according to what he's done, but there is not one major book. Rizzoli, Abrams [Harry N. Abrams, Inc.], whoever all these other people are that do the art books, there's nothing out on Richard Hunt. There's not--he's in catalogs. There's no book out on Richard Hunt. [HistoryMaker] Samella Lewis produced--even [Richmond] Barthe--a catalog for when they traveled abroad and, and she developed an exhibition, but nothing. And that was one of the things that had come out of CONFABA [Conference on the Functional Aspects of Black Art].

Najwa I

Arts administrator and dancer Najwa I was born Arnell Pugh in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Her parents, Ruby and Timothy Pugh, soon moved to Chicago where Najwa attended Medill, Smith and Howland elementary schools. As a young woman, she took dance classes at the Marcy Newberry Association in the Maxwell Street area. Under the instruction of the late Panamanian performer, Jimmy Payne, Najwa studied Afro-Cuban and Calypso dance while still in high school. She started at Farragut High School, but graduated from Harrison High School in 1954.

Soon after graduation, Najwa was approached by impresario Larry Steele’s Smart Affair tour. Taking her first airplane ride, Najwa was flown to Australia, where she joined Steele’s group on the road. Najwa performed in Australia and New Zealand and continued on extended international tour with Larry Steele through the mid-fifties. In her travels she learned the dance styles of different nations and peoples. Najwa performed in swing productions with icons like Duke Ellington and Count Basie. In New York City, her study of African dance was enriched by Asadata Dafora, Baba Dinizulu, Babatunde Olatunji, and Carmencita Romero. At the Cat and Fiddle Club in the Bahamas, Najwa learned to dance with fire. Performing with Julian Swain, she also taught ethnic dance at the Julian Swain Dance Theatre and at Chicago’s Better Boys Foundation.

In 1977 she founded the Najwa Dance Corps in Chicago. The group presents a repertoire that spans the rituals of traditional Africa to the glamorous chorus girls of the swing era. As artistic director, Najwa is also a gifted choreographer and dance historian. The group offers classes in Dances of West Africa, Dances of the Caribbean and Dances of Contemporary African American Culture and holds public workshops, master classes, concerts, two-week residencies, and ensemble performances. The recipient of the Woman in Dance Award, the Woman of the Year Award and the African American Arts Alliance’s Paul Robeson Award. The name Najwa means “one who is spiritually in tune” and because others have named daughters after her, she is now known as Najwa I.

Accession Number

A2004.268

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/21/2004

Last Name

I

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Joseph Medill Elementary School

Wendell Smith Elementary School

Howland School

Maria Saucedo Elementary Scholastic Academy

Chicago State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Najwa

Birth City, State, Country

Clarksdale

HM ID

NAJ01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Puerto Rico

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo (Okra)

Short Description

Arts administrator and dancer Najwa I ( - ) founded the Najwa Dance Corps in Chicago. Najwa performed in Australia and New Zealand with Larry Steele through the mid-fifties, and also taught ethnic dance at the Julian Swain Dance Theatre and at Chicago’s Better Boys Foundation.

Employment

Larry Steele's Smart Affair tour, Australia

Cat and Fiddle Club, Bahamas

Julian Swain Inner City Dance Theatre, Chicago

Najwa Dance Corps, Chicago

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1539,39:5874,91:6734,103:7508,117:7938,123:8884,178:9572,188:10260,197:13786,270:14302,278:15334,291:15678,296:16452,308:18602,346:32438,472:33148,492:33432,497:33716,502:34071,509:34781,551:38402,607:41313,702:41668,708:42520,727:42804,732:43159,738:49460,800:49835,806:51860,849:52160,854:52985,868:53735,879:54710,924:63110,1105:64085,1123:71810,1269:72710,1298:80607,1333:81223,1342:83225,1379:83841,1388:87075,1434:88692,1466:92340,1490:92690,1499:93320,1511:94650,1560:95070,1568:95700,1578:96050,1584:96540,1593:96960,1604:97800,1625:98850,1648:100040,1682:109602,1780:110498,1789:112775,1801:113798,1816:116930,1850:117770,1868:120010,1908:120290,1913:122250,1974:123440,1995:123720,2000:126240,2055:127360,2082:131680,2106:132082,2113:132350,2134:133824,2157:134360,2167:136973,2214:137442,2222:139251,2267:139787,2278:140457,2289:142601,2325:143472,2336:143740,2341:144343,2352:144946,2362:151330,2415:153010,2461:158781,2550:159418,2557:165760,2623:169500,2705:171455,2736:182642,2877:185898,2948:188784,2997:190486,3030:191004,3039:191522,3048:194630,3117:195370,3149:208804,3319:210094,3344:210696,3352:211546,3363:218118,3538:226692,3650:227161,3660:227563,3667:228635,3690:228903,3695:230310,3727:231449,3752:232253,3799:233459,3824:242512,3959:246593,4058:250366,4134:251290,4160:255525,4253:255910,4259:258143,4302:266470,4377:267914,4404:271053,4435:271455,4444:271790,4450:291903,4786:293268,4816:293814,4824:294269,4830:302795,4909:303470,4922:303770,4927:304070,4932:312932,5105:313968,5123:317890,5217:318556,5229:318926,5235:327875,5351:328220,5360:331884,5414:332940,5425:333402,5479:343578,5637:348198,5772:348506,5777:348814,5782:360523,5997:361467,6020:361821,6028:365184,6104:367662,6200:369255,6230:369609,6241:379436,6323:380156,6339:382316,6478:385052,6518:385340,6535:388076,6584:396788,6746:403220,6784:406058,6853:409820,6938:413017,6958$0,0:492,8:820,13:2624,32:4264,57:4756,64:8894,103:10012,118:10614,128:10958,140:12248,180:12764,188:15946,238:17064,253:17408,259:23120,343:26270,406:32838,485:33658,502:43060,612:45730,658:47777,687:61152,830:61992,842:64680,889:66276,908:66864,916:68796,956:69300,964:70224,980:81610,1056:85588,1109:94356,1149:94950,1162:95544,1172:95808,1177:101484,1326:103464,1366:112707,1495:113015,1500:119190,1586:122070,1640:123430,1666:123990,1676:126150,1714:127750,1743:131590,1807:131910,1812:132390,1819:132790,1825:142040,1868:145592,1910:145944,1915:146296,1920:152176,1979:152864,1990:153552,2011:156476,2095:157250,2106:158024,2119:160690,2162:161292,2171:167594,2234:168182,2243:168770,2252:169190,2258:170366,2276:173726,2330:174230,2337:174734,2344:175322,2353:178727,2361:179283,2366:181240,2376:183312,2418:196114,2677:196706,2686:197002,2691:197890,2707:198334,2714:198630,2719:199000,2724:199666,2763:204032,2844:204550,2853:209878,2965:210840,2980:212912,3033:215798,3089:216242,3096:216612,3102:221530,3108:224595,3148:224967,3153:235785,3262:236110,3268:236760,3294:238515,3326:242935,3393:245470,3491:246120,3506:249630,3599:250020,3606:255036,3630:263776,3788:265904,3839:268760,3849:269282,3857:269717,3863:271979,3904:282506,4128:292890,4250:295770,4293:299370,4340:299760,4346:301398,4369:301866,4376:309006,4450:310128,4463:318700,4575:319239,4584:321164,4610:321472,4625:324966,4655:328376,4688:330387,4711:330940,4719:331335,4725:332046,4735:332599,4743:334179,4766:334574,4772:339326,4817:340014,4827:341648,4850:343034,4864
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11236">Tape: 1 Slating of Najwa I interview: explanation of name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11237">Tape: 1 Slating of Najwa I interview continued</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11238">Tape: 1 Najwa I's favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11239">Tape: 1 Najwa I describes her mother's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11240">Tape: 1 Najwa I recalls her father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11241">Tape: 1 Najwa remembers her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11242">Tape: 1 Najwa I remembers her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11243">Tape: 1 Najwa I shares memories from her family life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11244">Tape: 2 Najwa I shares a memory of her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11245">Tape: 2 Najwa I describes her childhood environs, Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11246">Tape: 2 Najwa I remembers Chicago's Maxwell Street Market from her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11247">Tape: 2 Najwa I describes her childhood interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11248">Tape: 2 Najwa I describes her upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11249">Tape: 2 Najwa I recalls her early school life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11250">Tape: 2 Najwa I details her childhood avocations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11251">Tape: 2 Najwa I recalls diversity in her neighborhood as a youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11252">Tape: 2 Najwa I describes her college prospects</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11253">Tape: 2 Najwa I recalls her early dance performances with Jimmy Payne</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11254">Tape: 3 Najwa I recalls travels to New York during her youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11255">Tape: 3 Najwa I recalls her dance engagements in Australia, late 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11256">Tape: 3 Najwa I describes the Australian locales she visited</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11257">Tape: 3 Najwa I discusses her early dance engagements in the U.S.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11258">Tape: 3 Najwa I describes memorable dance instructors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11259">Tape: 4 Najwa I describes her studies in African dance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11260">Tape: 4 Najwa I discusses her studies in Caribbean dance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11261">Tape: 4 Najwa I considers the popularization of African dance in the U.S.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11262">Tape: 4 Najwa I discusses her dance troupe, the Najwa Dance Corps, Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11263">Tape: 4 Najwa I describes the Najwa Dance Corps's signature dance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11264">Tape: 5 Najwa I shares the philosophy behind the Najwa Dance Corps, Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11265">Tape: 5 Najwa I details the Najwa Dance Corps's schedule</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11266">Tape: 5 Najwa I describes the relationship between the Najwa Dance Corps and Malcolm X College, Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11267">Tape: 5 Najwa I discusses the travels of Najwa Dance Corps dancers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11268">Tape: 5 Najwa I reflects on the practice of African dance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11269">Tape: 5 Najwa I expresses her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11270">Tape: 5 Najwa I reflects on her life's course</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/11271">Tape: 5 Najwa I considers her legacy</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

10$1

DATitle
Najwa I recalls her early dance performances with Jimmy Payne
Najwa I describes her studies in African dance
Transcript
How did you get involved in your first show as a dancer?$$Okay, like I said, we used to go downtown to Jimmy Payne's dance studio [Jimmy Payne School of Dance] when we were like thirteen, fourteen years old--me, when I was like thirteen, fourteen years old. But it was also my buddies. We knew that he was teaching African--we knew that he was teaching Afro-Cuban dance and calypso dance. And, of course, all of us wanted to be like Katherine Dunham or be in her dance group. You know, I just knew when I grew up I was gonna be one of Kath--I was gonna join her troupe. You know, you read it in, we're reading in JET and Ebony, I mean not JET, Ebony and, you know, or what--I don't remember what other magazines. It was some other magazines. And you'd see her in Europe, and I used buy--keep those books in my drawer and look at 'em all the time because I was definitely going to, you know--that was it for me. You know, I was aspiring to do that--when I decided I wanted to be a dancer, it was Katherine Dunham. But Jimmy Payne did the kind of dance styles she did, so naturally, that's what I wanted to do, you know. So we went, I used to go down to Jimmy Payne's for his classes. I think they were on Saturdays. I'm not sure. So Jimmy Payne had--I was kind of--.$$And where did he teach?$$Four, at--in the Fine Arts Building downtown, and he also taught in that building where the Oriental Theater used to be, is and always downtown. It was always downtown, but he was in three or four places downtown, and wherever he was, we followed him.$$Tell us something about what you know about Jimmy Payne that you think the people would want to know cause he's no longer with us, and he's a important figure in the dance in Chicago. So.$$Okay, well, what I know about Jimmy is that he was from, I think, Panama. And he lived a lot of--I think he lived in Cuba, and I think Barbados, and I'm not sure which one of those places he was from, but I know he was all around like in areas like that. And he lived in New--he moved from there to New York. And this is just me remembering, so I'm not saying that this is it, but this is what I kind of remember, just listening to him talk. And that's how he started doing all the different kind of dances. But what I was fascinated with Jimmy about was, was him being able to a, some languages, different languages. And he used to every--you know, speak in Spanish, you know, all the time, and I'd, you know, listen to him. But that's, that's how we found out that he was from, one of those Latino countries. But he, he, he taught Lena Horne. He taught Nichelle Nichols, I mean, and he used to fascinate us with all those stories about all the people that he danced with and taught dance to. So, you know, he could play--he played, he could play his drums; he could dance, he could sing, he could tap. He could do everything in dance (chuckle), for, you know, to us, you know, he knew everything. And I learned how, I learned all my basics with Jimmy.$$Now, how old were you when you first started dancing with Jimmy Payne?$$I think, I think maybe like thirteen, fourteen--thirteen or fourteen. But we didn't--he used to let us do gigs. We weren't that good. I don't know if we were that good. We just had a lot of energy. And he used to do a lot of shows at country--at the country clubs, you know. So, all we had to do was like go in and do our little show, and then they'd pack us up and take us out. So one time Jimmy had asked us--well, I guess I must have been about seventeen at the time, I was cause I--and, you know, this is what we'd been doing over the years, country clubs and places like that with Jimmy. Some people used to come through the neighborhood, and at the time, you could do that. You know, it's a man that used to come in the neighborhood and gather up everybody, all the kids who thought they could dance and sing or what, and he'd take us to go do a show and give us three dollars, five dollars each. You know, we did all that in the neighborhood. So, but Jimmy, well, I, we used to do little shows with him. But when we got to be seventeen and we could do other places--when I got seventeen and was old enough to look like, you know, we could dance other places. So he used to go to this place in Wisconsin called the White Pub. And it was a Latino club. And he took us there, and one night I was there and this impresario, his name was Larry Steele, he came in and he watched our show. And we were introduced to him cause one of the girls that danced with us also used to dance with him--did dance with him. And she introduced all of us. And then they said they were going off to Australia, and, you know, I was excited. She was going to Australia, and, but I never thought about it, you know. And then about a month later, well, it might have been a month or so, a month or two later, some time later, I got this call from his wife, and she said, you know, she said, how would you like to go to Australia? I said, Australia? She said, yes, she said, Larry Steele called, and he remembered seeing you at the White Pub in Wisconsin dancing, and he wanted to know, he needed another girl, and he want to know if you would like to go to Australia. So, of course, I said, yes, but I was still scared, you know, cause I had never been on a plane or anything at that time. And she said, well, okay, she said, I'll call you back, you know. So she, you know, called me back. She said, you got to go down and get your fingerprints, and--I mean go down and get your--.$$Passport.$$--passport and that whole bit and all. And my mother [Ruby Tom DeMeyers], she was having a fit, you know, (laughter), oh, no, no, no, no, you can't go that far away. And my aunts, they came over, and "What would your father [Timothy Pugh] think?" And oh, they went through the whole bit, you know. But I did go. And I remember my cousin, Opal, she got me all fixed up, you know, in her clothes. I was skin and bones, little skinny, skinny girl, and she, she fixed me up in her clothes. My coat was big, and everything, you know, to get me ready to go to Australia. So I went, and I went by myself, and that was the first time I was ever on an airplane. I went all the way over there by myself.$$Okay, so the troupe traveled together on the same plane.$$No.$$You went by--.$$No, I went by myself. They were there already.$$They were there already, oh.$$They were there already. That was my first time--I mean I hadn't been very far at that time at all. I don't know where else I had been. And I don't--oh, New York. I went to live--went to New York a lot growing up cause my aunt [Mamie DeMeyers] lived in New York, my mother's sister. So we stayed there a lot, you know. And my mother took us there a lot thinking she was getting away, out of the neighborhood in the summer and all of that. But, and I stayed with her a lot in New York, which I loved.$Give me your impression of when African dance started to become popular in--and you were talking about classes in New York, and some of the teachers there in New York, and--?$$But here in Chicago, I think in the--we, like I said, we took classes in New York, from, you know, all the time. I mean when I'd go to New York, I'd take any kind of classes. It didn't matter what. I took all kind. I took the Spanish dance classes, I took, you know, Egyptian dance. I took Indian dance, everything. You just take classes, but I like, we'd always like to take the African dance classes to, but I had--and we did. Whenever I'd go, whenever I did shows, it was never African dance. It was always jazz, Afro-Cuban, calypso, Caribbean, tap, just some other styles cause I came out of the chorus line. And in the chorus line, you did everything, every style of dancing. So, but what I really remembered for me, African dance and me really thinking, um, yeah, this is good to do, you know, other than what you did as a kid, dancing around. I think, to me, in Chicago, for me in the '60s [1960s], I think Darlene Blackburn made African dance popular, I mean made it something that everybody said, oh, wait, we want to do, we could do, we want to do this. Or let's do that. Why can't we do or why can't--better still, it was why can't we do that kind of dancing on the stage? Or why can't we do this kind of dancing? Why can't we teach it, you know, teach this kind of dancing? And why can't we make people want to learn it? The kids learn it, they'll, you know, like it. And she was working with Phil Cohran a lot, you know, and she had studied in Ghana, I think Nigeria. Anyway, I think, for me, I think that she's the one that for me in Chicago, and I think for us in Chicago, I really think so, that made people think about why can't we do this kind of dancing also. We like it, you know, you know, we feel good doing it. Why can't we put this on stage, you know. So I think, you know, that's, that's kind of what happened because then people, you know, I remember in the '60s [1960s] people all over started doing African dance routines. And we went from the Caribbean, the calypso to Afro-Cuban, you know. I, I or, some ideas of what you think African dance is, into learning some authentic African dance, you know, people coming into the country from different countries. And like I said, a lot of, at first a lot of, I think, the Ghanaians, Nigerians came in, and you learned some Nigerian dance. And maybe a lot of Ghanaians or vice versa, and we learned a lot of Ghanaian dances, oh, just tons of it. Then we throw--the problem with it is, you, as soon as somebody else comes, the more people come from different countries, you know, African countries, you want to learn it all cause you don't know what your country is or what you need to be learning, you know, so you got to learn it all because if you skip one, you might be--and you had an opportunity to learn it, that might be the place you're from. So I know a lot of dancers that do dance, African dance. We always think about what, what's our dance? You hear some, some people, they'll say, you know, Samba is my dance, you know, or Lamban, is my dance. And that says, I'm from these people. And I must--they must be my people. You know, I feel this. And some girls, some dancers like Ghanaian dance cause they feel it, you know. And so they'll think about it like that too. But we learned it all, you know, a lot of different dance, African dance styles, a lot of different African dance techniques, not just styles from, like not thinking that, you know, Ghanaian dance is--okay, you learn the Ghanaian dance, and that Ghanaian dance. Well, they got a lot of styles and techniques and tribes and groups and, you know, that you, that's, that's got different ways of doing some dance, and so, it's, it's a lot to study. But you need to--you know, you got the Asante people, you got, you know, all kind, in Ghana, I'm saying, a lot of different groups in Ghana, a lot of different groups in Senegal, you know. So you got a lot a dance. Today, people are doing a lot of Senegalese dancing and a lot of Guinea dance.$$The Guinea coast is--$$Um-hum, but I like knowing a lot of all, all of it because we always have to use it, you know. Right now, I never thought I--you know, I wasn't thinking that come Kwanzaa and Malcolm X College on the twenty-sixth, the president is being installed and they're using, and they're doing the Asante ritual for it. And we have to, and I'm able to pull, go back and get that dancing that goes with that ritual, you know. So it gave us a lot, you know, to pull from.$$Okay.$$And then another thing about the African dance is, and we're so happy about, is that we learned to learn, to learn about the culture that the dance came from too.

Joan Gray

Dancer and arts administrator Joan Gray, was born on July 29, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois, one of eight children, including her twin sister, Judi. Gray attended Chicago public schools and, after earning her high school diploma in 1967, went on to North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. From 1979 to 1986, Gray worked as an administrative assistant at South Shore Bank.

From 1984 on, Gray was a member of the Muntu Dance Theatre in Chicago. Muntu, from the Bantu word for “the essence of humanity,” was founded in 1972 on the South Side of Chicago by a group of young artists looking for a means of expressing their African heritage. In 1973, the group was joined by choreographer and dancer Alyo Tolbert, who helped them rise to the professional level. Gray first heard of Muntu in 1977 from a drummer who was on his way to the theater; though she did not join until 1984, by 1987 she had become president of the troupe. Gray continued to dance with the theater until 1991.

The performances put on by Muntu included dances from various African countries, such as Senegal, Mali, and Ghana, as well as dances from the Caribbean and the United States. Their performances are known to bring viewers to their feet dancing, and because the troupe so thoroughly studies the significance of each dance, they teach about the culture as the performance takes place.

In addition to her work with Muntu, Gray was active as a board member of the International Association of Blacks in Dance for over a decade, and served on the African American Arts Alliance and the Chicago Dance Coalition.

In addition to her career in dance and arts administration, Gray raised two children.

Accession Number

A2003.199

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/20/2003

Last Name

Gray

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

Frances E. Willard Elementary School

Vincennes Upper Grade School

Hyde Park Academy High School

North Central College

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Joan

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GRA03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Clarify The Vision.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/29/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Grilled Salmon

Short Description

Dancer and arts administrator Joan Gray (1949 - ) was the president and a former dancer with the Muntu Dance Theater.

Employment

South Shore Bank

Muntu Dance Theatre

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2050,49:3116,65:4346,85:4756,95:10260,166:12800,287:14352,314:14740,319:19890,388:20242,393:20594,398:22002,419:25698,499:26490,509:27106,522:28426,540:29042,554:30450,574:30802,579:31858,598:37620,627:38110,633:39160,650:39440,655:39790,661:40420,672:40700,700:47113,832:47428,838:47806,846:52405,969:52657,974:55555,1058:57508,1096:63438,1131:63778,1137:67790,1251:68470,1263:70714,1330:71734,1354:72210,1363:79800,1507:82040,1560:82390,1566:84070,1633:85680,1678:90078,1726:94304,1787:95711,1810:102300,1940:102720,1948:103440,1971:103680,1976:105180,2006:105780,2019:106200,2027:106680,2038:107340,2055:108000,2067:108360,2074:112002,2108:113282,2148:113730,2157:114370,2168:114818,2177:115266,2185:115906,2207:125530,2319:126154,2328:127948,2360:129352,2392:130522,2428:131146,2437:131926,2457:134812,2639:139960,2758:140350,2765:142066,2816:143548,2845:143860,2850:144562,2864:146512,2921:152650,2935:153100,2941:153730,2950:154540,2960:155710,2982:156520,2997:163180,3103:172938,3219:173922,3234:174414,3241:175316,3254:176792,3279:177858,3296:178760,3313:179662,3330:181056,3358:183106,3386:189396,3434:190428,3449:191116,3460:195095,3508:196734,3520:197262,3529:198230,3548:198670,3554:199550,3567:200694,3584:201046,3589:202102,3599:204742,3640:205974,3655:206326,3704:223927,3877:225383,3910:226202,3921:226839,3930:227749,3939:231918,3950:232270,3955:235045,3976:236041,3989:236373,3994:236954,4003:240070,4026:240490,4034:242450,4081:243360,4097:244970,4125:245320,4132:246790,4168:247770,4185:249590,4224:257018,4294:257498,4300:258266,4309:260666,4342:261146,4350:261626,4356:262490,4366:263162,4375:270270,4407:271590,4416:275382,4436:276336,4448:278986,4478:283060,4500:283870,4513:285310,4541:288100,4591:288550,4597:295709,4637:296153,4642:296597,4648:304508,4732:305420,4751:308150,4779:308675,4787:309725,4803:310100,4809:310775,4819:311525,4832:311825,4838:312650,4850:312950,4855:313550,4864:313925,4870:314750,4883:315200,4890:315800,4899:316175,4905:317600,4930:319550,4974:319850,4979:320525,4991:321200,5002:324658,5011:325904,5028:328485,5081:330690,5090:331015,5096:334782,5143:335166,5150:339966,5289:340414,5298:340862,5306:341502,5317:344413,5329:350837,5507:352021,5528$0,0:730,8:7642,204:9178,227:15309,298:25711,372:26683,387:28465,444:29923,467:31786,508:32434,518:33001,526:33730,537:38020,549:38700,558:39465,570:40485,586:43500,612:48140,700:48460,705:49500,721:49820,726:52460,770:52780,775:54060,799:59590,815:60130,822:61120,832:61480,837:62920,856:63370,862:64180,873:65350,887:72190,1000:72820,1009:73270,1015:73720,1021:74080,1026:76925,1038:77210,1044:79376,1091:79604,1096:81200,1168:81542,1178:81998,1187:82568,1201:83081,1213:83594,1230:84107,1240:84563,1249:85019,1259:85646,1273:86558,1298:87014,1309:88097,1348:88325,1353:88781,1363:89921,1394:91004,1428:91346,1435:97121,1463:97753,1472:98464,1484:100439,1509:100913,1518:101545,1527:102256,1538:102730,1545:103915,1566:104389,1576:105100,1588:106364,1600:106680,1605:107075,1611:107549,1618:108102,1627:108655,1635:109682,1651:110314,1660:112052,1691:112684,1700:113869,1719:114738,1731:120938,1751:121952,1764:122342,1770:122888,1779:123824,1792:124604,1804:126476,1835:126944,1843:127256,1848:128036,1859:128660,1869:129752,1882:151138,2087:154274,2118:157090,2126:158242,2151:158602,2160:159466,2177:160546,2196:163282,2256:165370,2313:165802,2321:171850,2431:178135,2481:179435,2504:180735,2532:182035,2567:182555,2577:182880,2583:183335,2594:183790,2602:184050,2607:184570,2620:186065,2669:188210,2711:188990,2729:189640,2747:190225,2759:194877,2769:195749,2780:196730,2789:198692,2817:199673,2834:205590,2885:209961,2994:212379,3037:213123,3048:213960,3060:214983,3075:215355,3085:222940,3143:223630,3156:224665,3182:225148,3191:225769,3207:226252,3215:226735,3223:228460,3253:229288,3272:229702,3279:231634,3318:231910,3323:232324,3329:232669,3335:233359,3348:234118,3361:234877,3374:241174,3448:241831,3471:242415,3492:243072,3502:244897,3534:245189,3539:247014,3572:247744,3584:248693,3601:249058,3607:249861,3620:250591,3633:251686,3651:252562,3664:260013,3722:261322,3759:261861,3768:262323,3775:262631,3780:263093,3787:264017,3802:265018,3817:265403,3822:267097,3854:268098,3869:268791,3879:277459,3982:277783,3987:278269,3994:279565,4021:280294,4035:285154,4125:285721,4133:291225,4161:291810,4171:292330,4181:292720,4189:293630,4216:294085,4237:294670,4247:295450,4266:296425,4286:296880,4294:298050,4318:298570,4328:299025,4336:299285,4341:300000,4354:300715,4366:301235,4375:301820,4386:302340,4396:303770,4445:304095,4451:308077,4480
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7779">Tape: 1 Slating of Joan Gray interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7780">Tape: 1 Joan Gray lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7781">Tape: 1 Joan Gray talks about her mother's origins and ancestors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7782">Tape: 1 Joan Gray remembers her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7783">Tape: 1 Joan Gray recalls her father's background and her grandmother's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7784">Tape: 1 Joan Gray talks about the skin color prejudice in her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7785">Tape: 1 Joan Gray reminisces about her earliest memory and sights, smells and sounds of her neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7786">Tape: 1 Joan Gray talks about her childhood and religious upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7787">Tape: 2 Joan Gray talks about her activities in her church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7788">Tape: 2 Joan Gray recalls her piano lessons as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7789">Tape: 2 Joan Gray details her formal education in Chicago through high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7790">Tape: 2 Joan Gray talks about her grandmother's reaction to the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7791">Tape: 2 Joan Gray recalls her high school experiences in Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7792">Tape: 2 Joan Gray talks more about her high school experiences and her strict upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7793">Tape: 2 Joan Gray discusses her rebellious youth and her negative experiences in college in Naperville, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7794">Tape: 3 Joan Gray talks about her experience at Roosevelt University and subsequent work with the Black Panther Party</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7795">Tape: 3 Joan Gray recalls her involvement with the Black Panther Party in Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7796">Tape: 3 Joan Gray discusses the Black Panthers' cooperation with Chicago street gangs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7797">Tape: 3 Joan Gray recalls the day Fred Hampton was assassinated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7798">Tape: 3 Joan Gray talks about being under surveillance due to her activities in the Black Panther Party</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7799">Tape: 3 Joan Gray discusses misogyny within the various black political movements of the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7800">Tape: 4 Joan Gray talks about her activities after leaving the Black Panther Party</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7801">Tape: 4 Joan Gray recalls her introduction to Muntu Dance Theatre</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7802">Tape: 4 Joan Gray discusses the public's reception to Muntu Dance Theatre</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7803">Tape: 4 Joan Gray talks about Muntu Dance Theatre's growth in popularity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7804">Tape: 4 Joan Gray recalls one of Muntu Dance Theatre's performances</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7805">Tape: 4 Joan Gray recounts the death of Muntu Dance Theatre's organizer, Alyo Tolbert</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7806">Tape: 5 Joan Gray discusses the direction of Muntu Dance Theatre after Alyo Tolbert</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7807">Tape: 5 Joan Gray recalls the steps taken to keep the Muntu Dance Theatre afloat in the 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7808">Tape: 5 Joan Gray details her current activities with Muntu Dance Theatre</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7809">Tape: 5 Joan Gray talks about her hopes and concerns for the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7810">Tape: 5 Joan Gray discusses her legacy and how she would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Joan Gray recalls the day Fred Hampton was assassinated
Joan Gray talks about Muntu Dance Theatre's growth in popularity
Transcript
It was December 4th '69 [1969] and--'cause I was pregnant at the time and my son was born that following August of '70 [1970] yeah, that's right.$$Yeah. Okay, well, where were you when--when [Deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party] Fred Hampton was killed.$$Actually, I was staying at that apartment his mother--wife [sic, girlfriend] Deborah [Johnson] and I were good friends and I had my grandmother's [Alice Marie Warner] car, and I had given--we had left political education class at the church and one of them, I can't remember one of the guys asked to borrow my grandmother's car, and I was gonna south with--with some other friends of mine in the [Black Panther] Party and they were gonna come back and get me and they didn't come back and get me and I was pissed 'cause you know sometimes they would take my grandmother's car and they'd go off and do whatever they wanted to do with it and I'm without--excuse me that's my car. So that morning I was really pissed cause I had to take the bus to the [Free] Breakfast for Children's program. We had it at the church on 51st [Street] and around State Street. I can't think of the name of the church now. But, I had to take the bus to the Breakfast for Children's program and when I got to the Breakfast for Children's Program--.$$Is that St. Charles Lwanga?$$Nope. This was going toward--it was across the street from the projects up there by DuSable [High School, Chicago, Illinois]. Can't think of the name of that church now. But, I was bugged because I was over in South Shore and I had to take the bus over to the Breakfast for Children program early in the morning so we could get there before the kids got there and when we got there, we got a phone call saying you know, no Breakfast for Children today, closed down, come to the office, you know--we knew--we were told what had happened to Fred. In fact, it wasn't come to the office then because they said, stay as far away from the office as you could, because they thought that there were going to be retaliatory things going on so, we were kind of at a loss for a minute about what to do so I think we ultimately ended up staying there and then we you know met at somebody's house and to find out what was going on and to get the update.$$Now you may not have any thoughts about this--I mean--but--in--in retrospect when you look at--at what happened--I mean there--it was revealed later on that there several operatives from Chicago's Red Squad [a select group of police officers and FBI agents whose sole purpose is to infiltrate alleged corrupt organizations]--not several but at least one or two in the Panther Party.$$Oh, yeah, oh, yeah$$The one that did--yeah.$$Always--always.$$Did you--did you have a sense that that was going on while you were in the Party or--or did you--did it just come to light after the--?$$We knew it was going on while I was in the Party because while Fred was locked up during one particular point in time, this guy, his name was Louis Truelock came and he was a skinner--you know I was Malcolm X's bodyguard and every time he talked--he was you know, skinnin' and rap--you know that whole East Coast New York thing--slick. And people kind of openly accepted him because he had all these stories. "Oh, he must be okay, if he's Malcolm X's bodyguard," you know, and I remember Fred was out for a minute while the trial was going on and we were talking and he told me he said, "Louis Truelock don't run nothin' but his mouth," you know, so don't trust him in other words, and I think we got the word from Fred while he was in prison that Truelock had been in prison with someone that--I--it's kind of fuzzy now but someone who Fred connected with while he was in prison knew Truelock and said, nope, and so he--we didn't see him any more I guess he realized he--it was blown and that--he just disappeared, but there were others who came and went and actually a good friend of mine had a relationship with this guy William O'Neal who was head of security for the Black Panther Party and I was pregnant at the time and for some reason he took a liking to me cause I, I--there--his girlfriend and I were roommates, we shared an apartment together and he kind of took me under his wing and he recruited me to their security staff so I got to spend a lot of time on doing different kinds of things shall we just say, and I remember when Fred died. He came to the apartment and he put his fist through the wall, you know, he was angry, he--you know, he was upset. He put his fist through the wall. We had moved over there by then and you know we--you know what, this was--yeah, he put his fist through the wall and then he left, you know and the attorneys who were working on the case by then started interviewing us about different ones and you know, information that they had about meetings and things that had taken place and questioning us about who was--who all was there--anyway it came around that O'Neal had been the informant in the Party all along, and he had been--wormed his self up into the upper echelon of the Party as well. So.$$And he was killed mysteriously--?$$On the Eisenhower.$$Yeah, running down the Eisenhower Expressway.$$Right, yeah, 'cause he was in the--they--they took him into the Witness Protection Program. I remember one time, mm-hmm--.$$This is in '83 [1983] I think about '83.$$Yeah, he was killed while he--.$$About '82 [1982] '83 [1983], I was doing the Harold Washington [mayoral] campaign, I remember.$Tell us about Muntu's [Dance Theatre of Chicago] growth--I guess cause Alyo [Tolbert, Muntu Dance Theatre's founder and first artistic director]--I remember when--in the mid '70s [1970s] it was sort of a small group but it was intense and they doing , you know--but it began to kind of grow in the late '70s.$$Alyo was a visionary and, I likened him in a way--his persona reminded me of Fred Hampton's [Black Panther Party leader] persona in a different way, but the same kind of strength and magnitude. He again was another person who knew how to motivate people, who knew how to get people to--to give up the energy for him in a way. People--anybody who met Alyo immediately loved him, cause you knew that he saw the good things in you. He encouraged you to do the best that you could do and I know it was his vision primarily that propelled Muntu to begin looking at institutional status. You know, in '76 [1976] we did the company, I wasn't with them then, I didn't come until '77 [1977] but they did their first full concert the first annual fall concert was done at Francis Parker High School on the North Side [of Chicago, Illinois] and Alyo--we didn't get grants or anything like that--he would go to people, you know different business people or people in his family. He would borrow money, you know, and say, you know, "I'll pay you back after the show," and some kind of way he would you know, find a way to pay people back but he was a--he was a magnetic person, you know, and just a blessed spirit. Peaceful spirit and people radiated to him, you know. So when he got involved on that level that's when the company really began to perceive itself as yes--holding to that cultural heritage root, but envisioning themselves now as a professional dance company, professional dancers and musicians, you know so it went more in that direction, under his guidance and leadership, and Babu Atiba and--the musical director at the time--shoot, with the long dreads, oh, this is terrible. Moshe. (ph.)$$Moshe Mallen (ph.).$$Yeah, Moshe Mallen and all of us. I as the--we had this thing called you know the council that was a different one from the company we'd get elected to and the whole point--purpose of the council was to you know the--to help set policy and stuff for the--for the company.$$Now here we have like a new kind of governance for a dance company.$$Yes, yeah.$$And this is you know, as we look back--I mean t the Institute for Positive Education had a council, you know, and these are--so--.$$And Babba Daniel (ph.) was our advisor and I think the whole idea for a council came from him. I could be wrong about that, but that's kind of my memory of it, and different ones from the company would get elected and you'd serve for a year, you know and I remember when it was--we were on the council. It was myself and Atiba, Alyo, Minyamin (ph.) and some--a couple of others, you know and Alyo was saying, you know, "We need to have our own building." You know, "We need to have the artists on full time. We need to be able to pay salaries," you know, and that kind of thing. As early as you know like 1978, 1979 that was his vision. That's where his mind was going to and he started looking around for gigs for us out of town 'cause we had really taken off in the Chicagoland area. We were doing block parties, and funerals and weddings and naming ceremonies and Gwendolyn Brooks [poet laureate of Illinois] use to refer to us and it was such an honor as the community professionals in residence, you know because we would--that's how the company was building up it's loyal following by doing all of these grass roots neighborhood events and it was really an honor--I didn't realize it as much then but what--what a statement that was making that people thought it was appropriate to have African dancing and drumming to commemorate an important event in their life, you know, so it was a block club, yeah, but we--I--you know it was an honor to me that people wanted us to come and be a part of their celebrations in that way, and Alyo said, "Hey, this can go on the road, you know." So we started contacting and we--you know different people we knew in Detroit [Michigan] and St. Louis [Missouri] and different places and getting booked and the word started spreading and then next thing you know we were going to New York to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and down to Louisville [Kentucky] and just different other places you know, doing stuff.

Ronne Hartfield

Arts administrator Ronne Hartfield was born on March 17, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois to Thelma Shepherd and John Drayton Rone.After graduating from Wendell Phillips High School in 1952, Hartfield (then Rone) went to the University of Chicago. She earned a B.A. in history in 1955. Her first job, doing public relations for the Chicago Children's Choir, gave her a "sense of mission." That sense, as well as her natural energy and enthusiasm, carried over to the rest of her career in which she sought positions through which she could positively affect the arts and society.

In 1969, Hartfield became the project director at Urban Gateways, the largest private arts education organization in the United States. After a successful start there, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago hired her in 1974 as professor of comparative literature and Dean of Students. There, she developed national and international exchange study programs and fellowships, supervised student services and designed and executed assessment studies. She taught at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, Chicago as well. Seven years later, Urban Gateways lured Hartfield back as the Executive Director. Under her leadership, the organization was designated by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as the national model for artist training and community arts education. She returned to the University of Chicago for graduate studies, earning an M.A. in theology and literature in 1982. In 1991, she began serving the Art Institute as the Executive Director for Museum Education. In this role, she provided interpretive materials and programs for all visitors to the museum. Because of this work, Hartfield is internationally recognized as an expert in arts and multicultural education.

Hartfield continues to consult with the Art Institute on a variety of projects. She serves as a trustee for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Rhode Island School of Design. She served as a trustee for Chicago's Columbia College and New York's International Sculpture Center for five years and has worked as a consultant for the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation. She and her husband, Robert Hartfield, have four children.

Selected Publications:

Hartfield, Ronne. "The Chicago Years: Gathering Light in the Gray City." Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green. University of South Carolina Press, 1996.

Hartfield, Ronne. Encountering Art/Different Facets of the Esthetic Experience. Miho Museum/Kyoto. New York: Overlook Press, 2001.

Accession Number

A2002.080

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/3/2002

Last Name

Hartfield

Maker Category
Schools

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

John B. Drake Elementary School

University of Chicago

University of Chicago Divinity School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Days, Evenings

First Name

Ronne

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HAR04

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

We Was Mostly About Survival.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/17/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Short Description

Arts administrator Ronne Hartfield (1936 - ) was project director at Urban Gateways, the largest private arts education organization in the United States. She was a professor and dean of students at The School of the Art Institute, Chicago, where she became the executive director for museum education. Due to this work, Hartfield is internationally recognized as an expert in arts and multicultural education.

Employment

Chicago Children's Choir

Urban Gateways

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Northwestern University

University of Illinois, Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:4104,113:7704,172:8496,185:16344,363:36750,678:45340,765:55015,926:55315,931:56065,943:57490,968:74480,1156:75772,1178:79192,1238:84350,1259:85190,1280:87430,1323:111034,1666:111538,1674:113410,1717:114922,1737:123464,1806:129360,1915:131303,1955:135658,2041:154057,2310:155782,2338:156472,2351:156955,2359:157714,2372:162406,2438:162751,2443:163510,2455:171990,2538:173112,2558:183550,2719:185354,2754:186256,2768:186584,2773:254554,3739:258818,3813:259228,3819:275980,4058:292000,4273:294100,4308:296760,4394:308249,4534:308942,4545:310636,4579:323250,4725$0,0:4485,84:16991,222:18816,246:23488,329:24145,339:25386,353:26846,376:31978,391:33014,404:40932,549:42634,582:42930,587:43596,598:44558,621:45150,630:46408,646:60020,795:61008,816:63896,861:64808,884:74798,1001:75350,1008:75718,1013:77006,1032:80675,1090:81000,1096:89190,1266:104320,1473:105250,1486:106428,1513:106924,1523:107358,1532:107606,1537:107854,1545:113806,1668:114426,1681:114922,1690:125118,1830:125694,1839:127062,1868:129366,1970:130158,1985:131814,2019:132102,2024:137680,2080:139526,2134:140094,2144:140378,2149:140875,2157:141727,2170:143999,2207:144780,2222:146626,2259:170514,2567:171207,2582:173825,2651:179061,2756:179831,2769:180293,2776:185958,2810:189682,2878:204766,3113:208628,3180:209167,3189:209937,3204:210476,3212:214634,3278:215327,3289:220810,3345:221210,3351:223370,3377:223930,3385:224410,3392:224730,3397:228250,3470:228810,3478:233984,3515:235118,3544:235388,3550:237818,3599:238034,3604:241777,3644:242659,3665:243982,3698:244486,3708:245116,3720:249640,3783
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68473">Tape: 1 Slating of Ronne Hartfield's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68474">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68475">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield talks about her name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68476">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield describes her mother's move from Mississippi to Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68477">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield talks about her mother's childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68478">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield describes her mother's family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68479">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield talks about the relationship between her family and her grandfather's white family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68480">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68481">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield talks about how her parents met in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68482">Tape: 1 Ronne Hartfield talks about her father's jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66974">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield talks about the importance of sharing family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66975">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66976">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66977">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield talks about her father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66978">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield talks about her parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66979">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield describes her experience at John B. Drake Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66980">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield describes her experience at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66981">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield describes her mentors at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66982">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield describes her social life at the Wasbash YWCA in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66983">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield talks about graduating from Wendell Phillips High School in 1952</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66984">Tape: 2 Ronne Hartfield describes enrolling at the University of Chicago in Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66985">Tape: 3 Ronne Hartfield describes her experience at the University of Chicago in Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66986">Tape: 3 Ronne Hartfield talks about her life after graduating from the University of Chicago in 1955</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66987">Tape: 3 Ronne Hartfield talks about her husband, Robert Hartfield</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66988">Tape: 3 Ronne Hartfield talks about her friends and professors at the University of Chicago in Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66989">Tape: 3 Ronne Hartfield describes earning a fellowship to enroll in graduate school at the University of Chicago in Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66990">Tape: 3 Ronne Hartfield describes her graduate studies at the University of Chicago in Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66991">Tape: 3 Ronne Hartfield describes her career at Urban Gateways and as Dean at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/66992">Tape: 3 Ronne Hartfield describes her career as Executive Director of Urban Gateways in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68483">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield recounts the history of Urban Gateways in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68484">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield recounts the history of Urban Gateways in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68485">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield describes the condition of Urban Gateways after she left</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68486">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield describes her accomplishments as Executive Director of Museum Education at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68487">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield talks about raising community involvement at the Art Institute of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68488">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield describes some of the community programs she developed at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68489">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield describes assisting the Art Institute of Chicago with the purchase of a daguerreotype of Frederick Douglass</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68490">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield talks about organizing an exhibition of spiritual art at the Art Institute of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68491">Tape: 4 Ronne Hartfield describes organizing conferences on sacred art for Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68492">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield describes receiving a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship to write her book in Bellagio, Italy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68493">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield talks about her poetry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68494">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield talks about writing her book 'Another Way Home' in Italy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68495">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield describes her experience with the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68496">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68497">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68498">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68499">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield talks about the need for valorizing African American history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/68500">Tape: 5 Ronne Hartfield reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/67011">Tape: 6 Ronne Hartfield narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Ronne Hartfield talks about the relationship between her family and her grandfather's white family
Ronne Hartfield recounts the history of Urban Gateways in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
Transcript
And does the white side of the family [of Hartfield's mother, Thelma Shepherd Rone] acknowledge a relationship?$$They did.$$Okay.$$They did at that time. The newer--their children and grandchildren don't--I should say their grandchildren. My grandfather [Arthur Shepherd], when he--after my grandmother [Cornelia Lehmann] died, he married a white woman and had three children with her and two of them were sons, boys, and they used to come visit us when we were kids. They totally acknowledged us. And her father, of course, totally acknowledged his children. Gave him his name and educated them and so forth. But we have beautiful pictures of my uncle, particularly as a child, very elegant, with a book in his hand and so forth. But when we were doing the genealogy and wanted his white granddaughter, who is exactly the age of my sister, to meet with us, she didn't want to to do it. So, that's changed.$$Yeah, was that unusual for those, I mean, for those days for--$$To acknowledge them?$$Uh-huh.$$Unusual, yes, not rare. Not rare. I've talked to a number of my friends who came from similar families. It was unusual--what was particularly unusual about him was that he was not married. He didn't have a second family, a white family. Those three little colored children were the only children he had and that my black grandmother was the only wife equivalent that he had. And then after she died, he married a white woman and it was always very disturbing to his mother that he wasn't married and had proper children and so forth. And my mother and her brothers made fun of them all the time about how she talked, "Got to have legitimate heirs" because they were not legitimate. But he was very powerful, so no one bothered them. And interestingly, to this day, that aura around the Shepherd family is still there because my mother's brother, one of them, stayed down there. They got left a plantation by their father, by a rouse, which I won't go into, is interesting. He had one of--he had the oldest son declared white. Had all the records changed so he could leave him one of the plantations. He had seven plantations and he left the smallest one to him, to his son. And they tried to get it back but they couldn't do it. They had enough property, anyway. Anyway, that little plantation then was for all three of the colored children and they sold out to one brother and he became very affluent because, when electricity came out there, he was a contractor and he built all these houses. They never had electricity and air conditioning and all that, you know, gas stoves and everything, electric stove. So he became very affluent and he stayed there until he died. And his children were raised there. And one of his children is a Vice Chancellor at Carbondale, SIU [Southern Illinois University]. But anyway, we go back down there with them and all the people still talk about the incredible freedom that my Uncle Ben had because of his father. His father's long since dead but that kind of power in those little communities, you know, it stays around.$$Yes, it's fascinating a lot of stories about, you know, the race in the United States is quite--it's hard to figure out how things are going to turn out sometimes, I guess.$$Race in the United States is one of the most interesting threads in its history. I have one, my mother had a great-grandfather, I mean had a grandfather, he's my great-grandfather, her mother, this colored woman, my grandmother, Cornelia, was Cornelia Lehmann, her father was Jewish and Jewish merchant who lived there. So she was part Jewish, or half Jewish. Her father, unlike my grandfather, had a Jewish family and he continued to have this long-term relationship with this colored woman, who's my great-grandmother, Emmaline, and he had three girls and one boy with her. He had the boy sent away to New Orleans [Louisiana] to be raised as white. The girls stayed down there and he totally acknowledged it was his children, with his name, and he owned that store I'm talking about with his brother. So they had everything there they ever wanted and needed but it was a disgrace in the community, you see, because he had another family. So there are intricacies upon intricacies in race in this country.$$I think it's interesting that they--they kept the name, Lehmann?$$Yes.$$They carried his name.$$I have tons of black cousins in Chicago right now named Lehmann.$$That's interesting.$$It is and they find it funny when they go to apply for jobs because people are always surprised 'cause they have this resume from Catherine Lehmann or Theresa Lehmann and then they see them and they're, black.$$How do you spell Lehmann?$$L-E-H-M-A-N-N.$$Okay.$I'll say something about Urban Gateways [in Chicago, Illinois]. Urban Gateways was started in 1961 so you need to think about it as a '60s' [1960s] kind of program when a lot of interest on the part of the government was emerging for inter-city schools. Simultaneously, a lot of interest was emerging in the arts, particularly community arts. And so there was this kind of conjunction of interest and strengthening black arts in the community and--and strengthening the lives of inter-city kids. And so Urban Gateways got a lot of model cities' money. Okay, Jessie [Woods] and some friends of hers, they were always racially integrated, had this deep concern and they started these camps and they started getting tickets from impresarios at the Auditorium and Orchestra Hall and so forth. When they--after all their halls weren't being filled and so they started saying, "Well, give us your extra tickets, we'll fill it up with students." And so they did. And that's how it started with these giving away tickets to poverty schools. And it grew, and grew and grew to include these camps which were inter-racial, urban/suburban camps, because they were sponsored by institutions in the suburbs, primarily churches, but sometimes community centers. I wasn't working for them in those days and I wasn't working at all. I'd just accept teaching a course here and there. I had little kids. I was writing poetry all the time. Poetry is a wonderful occupation for a young mother because you could write it while you wait for your kids to come out of dancing school or you can write it while you're waiting for your diapers to dry or you can, you know, it was a great, great creative time for me. So I wasn't working for Urban Gateways, but I knew them. I knew about them. I knew some of their volunteers. Jessie Woods' children were in Harvard - St. George School [Chicago, Illinois] when my husband [Robert Hartfield] was teaching there. So I knew her very slightly. And many of their volunteers lived in Hyde Park [Chicago, Illinois], where we did. Well, they got this infusion of Model Cities' [Model Cities Program] money and they started thinking the children needed some preparation for what they were going to seek because these kids had little or no experience with ballet or classical music or the Harlem Dance Theatre or Alvin Ailey and they weren't ready--the teachers weren't--didn't know how to get them ready. So they started sending in these teams of artists to get them ready for what they would see and they would prepare these little sheets for the teacher and the kids. And then they'd start, "Hum, we could get the parents involved in this." So they started preparing the parents and that's--then grew to become a very large thing, larger than the performances itself, the preparation end of things. And then, of course, they were training teachers, they were training parents and they were getting the kids ready, which means they were doing what I call "pre-curriculum". And the government, the National Endowment for the Arts, got interested in them, and gave them a big push up as a model. The city [Chicago, Illinois] got interested. They got money from the mayor's office and so forth. So they were doing quite well there in that second ten years or so--middle ten years. And then the government money started to dry up and the schools didn't have money to buy these things and so Urban Gateways was giving them away and raising money to give them away. And it was getting harder and harder to raise money from corporations and foundations, to give kids that kind of programming. The "back to basics" movement was starting. People wanted to give money for reading and writing programs and math. So things got a little tough there.