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Louise Hope

Educator and arts advocate Rhoda Louise Meredith Kent-Hope was born on January 15, 1915 in Newton, Kansas. She is the only child of Annie Mae and Paul Matthew Meredith. She earned her B.S. degree in music from the University of Wichita in Wichita, Kansas in 1936 and her M.S. degree in music education from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1946. She also completed additional coursework in reading, language arts, mathematics, classroom organization and behavior management.

Kent-Hope was a teacher in Cleveland Public Schools from 1951 to 1977. From 1974 to 1977, she led teacher workshops at Cuyahoga Community College, and from 1987 to 1994, she taught piano and music appreciation at the Cleveland Music School Settlement. In 1990, Kent-Hope and other educators joined the Great Lakes Theater Festival in launching the Adrienne Kennedy Society. In addition to celebrating the genius of an African American playwright, the Society provided mentoring programs for elementary and secondary school students. In 1993, Kent-Hope co-founded (along with June Sallee Antoine) Creative Writing Workshop Projects, a non-profit arts education and student-mentoring program.

Kent-Hope was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Teacher Leader Grants from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and a grant from the Pace Program for Action by Citizens in Education. She was active in civic affairs, including the Women’s City Club, the Musical Arts Association of the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Council of Human Relations. She held life memberships in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the NAACP, and she also belonged to the Urban League of Greater Cleveland and the United Church of Christ.

She was the mother of two daughters, Julia Carlyne and the late Anita Louise Kent. Twice widowed to Morehouse classmates, her first husband was Dr. Carl Owen Kent, a physician in Cleveland, Ohio for over thirty-five years, and her second husband, an engineer, Dr. Edward Swain Hope, Ph.D.

Mrs. Kent-Hope passed away on October 6, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.137

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/14/2005

Last Name

Hope

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Louise

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Rhoda

Birth City, State, Country

Newton

HM ID

HOP01

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cleveland, Ohio

Favorite Quote

God Is Good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

1/15/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Hot Biscuits

Death Date

10/6/2005

Short Description

Music instructor Louise Hope (1915 - 2005 ) co-founded the Adrienne Kennedy Society.

Favorite Color

Blue

Bernice Hutcherson

Social worker and educator, Bernice Hutcherson, was born on April 4, 1925, in Newton, Kansas, to Henrietta and Albert Ray, Sr. Hutcherson was educated in public schools, and eventually received her B.A. degree from Langston University in 1950; she was further trained at the Chicago Teacher's College and received an M.S.W. from the University of Kansas in 1969.

Throughout her nearly five-decade-long career, Hutcherson worked as an educator, beginning as a remedial reading teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system, and later as a social worker in her native Kansas. Hutcherson spent nearly twenty years with Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services in various supervisory and training positions before taking a position as a professor of Social Work at Wichita State University in 1970. Hutcherson served on numerous university committees, including a three-year-long term as gerontology faculty chair before her retirement in 1996.

Retirement did not impede Hutcherson's commitment to the social service field; an active lecturer, she was regularly asked to run workshops and participate in academic forums. Hutcherson's numerous professional affiliations and memberships represented years of commitment to service and leadership; she remained active in the National Association of Social Workers, and the Kansas Conference on Social Welfare, and was the founding president of the Kansas Multicultural Association of Substance Abuse.

Hutcherson continued to be involved in the field of social work by volunteering through committee and board structures dedicated to substance abuse research and program development. The recipient of numerous community, professional, and academic accolades, the Wichita city council named an elder housing facility, the Bernice Hutcherson Complex, in Hutcherson's honor in 1980. In addition to her professional activities, Hutcherson and her late husband of forty years, Hubert Hutcherson, raised two daughters.

Accession Number

A2002.170

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/28/2002

Last Name

Hutcherson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Organizations
First Name

Bernice

Birth City, State, Country

Newton

HM ID

HUT01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Freeport, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

I'm never alone.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/4/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tomah

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Breakfast Foods

Death Date

5/3/2012

Short Description

Civic activist, social work professor, and social worker Bernice Hutcherson (1925 - 2012 ) is a former social worker with Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services, where she served in various supervisory roles before becoming a professor of social work at Wichita State University in 1970. There, she served on numerous university committees and completed a three-year term as gerontology faculty chair before retiring in 1996.

Employment

Chicago Public Schools

Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services

Wichita State University

Favorite Color

Green

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bernice Hutcherson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bernice Hutcherson describes the location of The Kansas African American Museum, Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bernice Hutcherson's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bernice Hutcherson details her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bernice Hutcherson describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bernice Hutcherson recounts her parents' courtship and marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bernice Hutcherson remembers her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bernice Hutcherson describes her relationship with her brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bernice Hutcherson remembers her father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bernice Hutcherson recalls growing up in her Newton, Kansas community

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bernice Hutcherson recalls a fight from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bernice Hutcherson describes her lifelong love of reading

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bernice Hutcherson describes memorable teachers from elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bernice Hutcherson describes her pursuits upon college graduation

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bernice Hutcherson explains her decision to attend Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bernice Hutcherson describes the courtship of she and her future husband

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bernice Hutcherson describes a memorable college professor

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bernice Hutcherson recalls her college experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bernice Hutcherson discusses her marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bernice Hutcherson discusses her pursuits following her college graduation

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bernice Hutcherson recalls her efforts to reform social work practices

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bernice Hutcherson details her experience as a community organizer

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bernice Hutcherson details the efforts of Wichita, Kansas community organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bernice Hutcherson shares motivational ideas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bernice Hutcherson details her efforts to stem drug and alcohol abuse

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bernice Hutcherson shares reflections on prejudice

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bernice Hutcherson reflects on her life's course

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bernice Hutcherson hopes for unity in the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bernice Hutcherson considers her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Bernice Hutcherson describes her mother's background
Bernice Hutcherson recalls growing up in her Newton, Kansas community
Transcript
What about your mother's side of the family? Where did they come from, and did they have any stories about slavery or, or reconstruction or migration?$$They came out of Kentucky. On my father's side were the house slaves. And on my mother's side were the field slaves. And my grandmother left Kentucky and went somewhere and got near the Mississippi River, and she and two mules somehow made it across the Mississippi River because she was trying to get away from the master who was molesting, of course, all the young girls her age. That grandmother was twelve years old when slavery ended. So, she had been born, well, both sets were born in slavery. And she had actually somehow--.$$So she was born about 1850, I guess, 1851, 1850--.$$Fifty, forty--forty-nine, forty-eight [1848]. And was about the time I was getting good and grown, why, she was almost a hundred years old. She came out of there and landed, landed someplace on the other side of the Mississippi and then came back from Kentucky--.$$(Simultaneously) Now this is from Kentucky.$$Yeah, from Kentucky. Now I, I don't know where her travails took her with this, these two mules, but she was determined that she was not going back. And so for some reason she ended up swimming the Mississippi River--her and these two mules that we heard about. And then she finally landed--when she finally landed in Georgia, I believe, is where she met--came back to Georgia is where she met my grandpa. And they then got together and started traveling toward California where all the gold was supposed to be. And they ended up in Oklahoma, between Oklahoma and Kansas. Since he was kind of a farmer, kind of a--and he would farm here and then he would move, and then he would farm someplace else. What did they call them? Share-, sharecroppers, sharecropper.$$Okay.$$And he'd stay there a season and if it didn't come out right there, why, he would move again. And so between Kansas and Oklahoma is where they were. I'm also told that she didn't get to know her mother very, very well because the mother and her sister was sold off before she ever left there. And she doesn't know where they landed. And she was more left on her own by the time she was twelve and had heard that the slaves had been emancipated. But she does know that her mother spoke highly of education, and she's the one who pushed the education for everybody. Everybody had to get as much education as they possibly could because that's what was gonna make it a better place for all of the Negroes that were needing to know how to read and write 'cause they didn't know how to read and write. And she always said if you don't, if you can't read and write, why, you don't know what's going in the world around you. So, she constantly pushed education. She had ten children and, what, eight of them, I guess, got the eighth grade education, which was like our high school now, I guess. And she instilled it in them that their children should get as much, much education as they could. So most of us have. We still push it in our family.$Can you tell me about some of the sights and sounds and smells of growing up in Newton [Kansas]? What was it, you know, what was your neighborhood like and--?$$Oh, yeah, my neighborhood was fun, really. I didn't realize then how unique we were that in our neighborhood we had blacks, we had Mexicans, we had whites, we had middle class, we had very poor, and we had lived and worked and all of us kids there played together. We pretty much run in and out of each other's houses like kids do except one. I'll never forget it. Her name was Mrs. Speen (ph.), and she lived on the corner. She was a little white lady who seemed to have no children, no family, and she was, she would yell at us so much until especially the boys would deliberately do things to make her mad. So simple things like--she didn't want you step on her grass, okay. And when they would walk by her house they would just take their toe and put it over on her grass. So she would come to the door and begin to hol--"Ray row row row," and they would laugh and run. But everybody else--we got along very well. We--now my father [Albert Ray] had a job as I think back to the Depression time, the Great Depression that you read about--.$$Sure, in the 1920's--that was the year of the war.$$Yes, that was a tough time. And lots of people didn't have jobs. They just had to do whatever they could do to live. And my father had a job and so I can remember it on, especially on Sundays, we would have all kinds of people at our house from our neighborhood because the people--whoever had something, they would bring it to our house and go in there and with my mother they would all be cooking 'cause we had some meat. We had goats on the yard, we had chickens on the yard, we had a--we called it a bill I think then--they call it a tab or something now. But we had a bill down at the main grocery store where we could go and buy some pork or buy some beef every once in a while. So since we had the meat, why, the neighbors could come to bring whatever they had. And we always had us a scrumptious dinner on Sundays. But we usually had somebody else there, too--some other family or two families or three families--just whoever decided to come. So I got used to all kinds of people and being able to relate to all kinds of people and understanding that we--people are people. Human beings are pretty much the same. And I think that has served me well as I have moved to adult career of social work. I don't meet any strangers. In fact, right now I've always traveled alone a lot. Right now, if I'm needing to go into a restaurant and I'm alone and somebody else seems to be alone, I'm gonna just ask them if they would like to eat with me. I'd say, you know, are you alone, no, you eat alone? They say, yes. I, I'll say, well, would you like to meet, sit down and eat with me and then we can go our separate ways? And sometimes they'll say, no. Other times they'll say, yeah, you know. And it doesn't bother me when--whichever they do is fine.