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Bishop Imagene Stewart

Social activist, pastor and founder of the Washington, D.C. based House of Imagene Shelter and Women’s Center Bishop Imagene Bigham Stewart was born on January 23, 1942 in Dublin, Georgia.

Stewart arrived in Washington, D.C. in 1963 to participate in the March on Washington for jobs and freedom. After the march, she became ill and never returned home to Georgia. In the mid-1960s, Stewart was homeless and survived by living in Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Park. She eventually found a job at the Government Printing Office where she worked full-time. Although she was gainfully employed, Stewart never forgot the hardships she faced as a homeless person and was inspired to open her own shelter. She managed to set aside time to organize volunteers and found boarder rooms to house thirty homeless people. Stewart then gained the interest of the late Mayor Walter E. Washington with her plans of opening a shelter, and with a meager budget, she was able to purchase property for the opening of the House of Imagene Shelter and Women’s Center in 1972. That same year, Stewart earned her A.A. degree from the University of the District of Columbia.

The House of Imagene is the first Washington, D.C. based shelter founded by an African American woman. It is comprised of two satellite centers: a shelter for battered women and children, and a shelter that provides temporary housing for homeless veterans and their families.

Stewart went on to become the pastor of the Greater Pearly Gates Baptist Church. She also worked as a radio personality for WOL radio in Washington, D.C. In 1992, Stewart was honored with the prestigious Living Dream Award for her service to battered women and the homeless. In 1993, Stewart served as the National Chaplain for the American Legion Auxiliary and as the director of the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.

Stewart was interviewed by the HistoryMakers on January 30, 2008.

Stewart passed away on May 30, 2012.

Accession Number

A2008.002

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/28/2008 |and| 1/30/2008

Last Name

Stewart

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bigham

Schools

Susie Dasher Elementary School

Oconee High School

University of the District of Columbia

First Name

Imagene

Birth City, State, Country

Dublin

HM ID

STE12

Favorite Season

September

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Georgia

Favorite Quote

If I can be of help, that's what I'm here for.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/23/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pig Feet

Death Date

5/30/2012

Short Description

Civil rights activist and pastor Bishop Imagene Stewart (1942 - 2012 ) founded the House of Imagene Shelter and Women’s Center in Washington, D.C. She became the pastor of the Greater Pearly Gates Baptist Church.

Employment

U.S. Printing Office

House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Office of Mayor Walter Washington

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bishop Imagene Stewart's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her early experiences of discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her father's role in her family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers her pregnancies

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the influence of her father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the H.T. Jones Village in Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her father

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her father's preaching circuit

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers picking cotton

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her early understanding of pregnancy

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers Susie Dasher Elementary School in Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her sons' father

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls her start as a civil rights activist

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her sisters' social circle

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers joining the SCLC

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her commitment to patriotism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her commitment to patriotism, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers the Citizenship Education Program

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her political affiliations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls picketing the Belk Matthews Company store in Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about segregation in Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers leaving Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls her decision to remain in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers joining Walter Washington's mayoral office in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls how she came to open the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls working at the U.S. Government Printing Office

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart shares her perspective on black liberation theology, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart shares her perspective on black liberation theology, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her ministry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her sons

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her early work at the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her approach to victims of domestic violence

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about the problem of homelessness among veterans

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about fundraising for the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the counseling services at the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her career

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart reflects upon the legacy of the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about the Ebony Women's Society

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her husband

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart reflects upon her work at the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about domestic violence in the civil rights community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her awards

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the Pearly Gate Baptist Mission in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about the National Black Republican Association

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart narrates her photographs

Barbara L. Thomas

Barbara Louise Thomas was the president and CEO of the Chicago based National Black Master of Business Administration Association (NBMBAA). Thomas was born on December 5, 1947, in Dublin, Georgia, one of Jerrie Lee Tart and Horace Sanders’s thirteen children. Thomas was raised by foster parents Georgia and George Monroe in Dublin, where she attended segregated public schools and graduated from Oconee High School. In 1965, Thomas moved to New York City with her birth mother and took a job at Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited - Associated Community Teams (HARYOU-ACT) where she met her husband. Thomas went on to receive her B.A. degree from New York's Bernard Baruch College in 1970 and her M.B.A. degree from Columbia University in 1973.

While a university student, Thomas clerked at CBS’s Radio Division. After completing her education, Thomas moved into the CBS television division and managed network cut-ins, a position she credits with opening the door to her twenty-five year career at CBS. Eventually Thomas was the first African American woman to attend CBS’s School of Management. Thomas later became director of finance and administration for CBS, and left the network in 1989 after serving as the first African American woman to act as a senior vice-president.

Moving on from CBS to function as chief financial officer for various health care organizations and other non-profit groups, Thomas moved to Chicago in 2001 and spent two years as the chief financial officer for the NBMBAA. The board of directors of the NBMBAA appointed Thomas as president in 2003.

Citing her faith as a major sustaining force in her life, Thomas remained active in her church. Thomas raised two daughters and had five grandchildren.

Accession Number

A2005.169

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/21/2005

Last Name

Thomas

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Schools

Oconee High School

City University of New York

Baruch College

Columbia University

Susie Dasher Elementary School

CBS School of Management

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Dublin

HM ID

THO09

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Sponsor

The Jay Pritzker Foundation

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

I'm Blessed.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/5/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Donuts (Krispy Kreme)

Short Description

Association executive and broadcast executive Barbara L. Thomas (1947 - ) was appointed president of the National Black Master of Business Administration Association in 2003.

Employment

National Black MBA Association

Harlem United Activists for Community

CBS Radio

CBS Television Division

CBS Television Finance Division

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara L. Thomas' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara L. Thomas lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her father and how she resembles him

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara L. Thomas describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara L. Thomas recalls Susie Dasher Elementary School and Oconee High School, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara L. Thomas recalls Susie Dasher Elementary School and Oconee High School, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara L. Thomas recalls her experiences at Oconee High School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara L. Thomas recounts her civil rights activity in Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara L. Thomas recalls her favorite television shows growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara L. Thomas talks about attending college and moving to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara L. Thomas recalls working for HARYOU-ACT

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara L. Thomas recalls meeting her husband and their marriage in 1967

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara L. Thomas recalls studying finance and obtaining her M.B.A. degree from Columbia University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara L. Thomas recalls her various promotions at CBS

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara L. Thomas recounts her experiences at the CBS School of Management

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her retirement from CBS and subsequent roles

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara L. Thomas recounts the history of the National Black MBA Association

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara L. Thomas describes the activities of the National Black MBA Association

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara L. Thomas describes the current climate for young black people with M.B.A.s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara L. Thomas details the National Black MBA Association's future plans

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her involvement with her church

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara L. Thomas describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara L. Thomas reflects upon her life

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara L. Thomas reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Barbara L. Thomas reflects upon her family

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Barbara L. Thomas describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara L. Thomas describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Barbara L. Thomas recounts her civil rights activity in Dublin, Georgia
Barbara L. Thomas recounts her experiences at the CBS School of Management
Transcript
Okay. And when you, well, in that part of Georgia was there any civil rights activity going on there?$$Oh, yeah, I was a naughty little girl (laughter). I did have one experience and it was really an accident. And Georgia gets very, very hot and you walk every place. I mean, you know, teenagers didn't drive their parents' cars, you, you walked. And we were not allowed to go into any of the white restaurants. And in the department stores there is a water fountain and it would say what, white and colored. But our water was always hot and it would never come up to high but the white fountains water was always high and icy cold.$$In the cooler--$$And, yeah.$$--or water cooler.$$Oh, yeah. And so one day we were cutting through the department store, Belk's Department Store on our way home and it was hot and I wanted a drink of water and I just figured no one was watching so I thought I'd steal some water from the white fountain and next thing I know the sheriff had me by the shoulders (laughter).$$The, the sheriff himself?$$The sheriff, right. He just happened to be in the, in the store. Like, I really got quite a lashing. But because he knew my father [Horace Sanders] I didn't get thrown in jail but I probably would have. So I thought since I got away with that I could get away with something else. So then there was, we used to have a drugstore and it had a soda fountain but we weren't allowed, I mean, we could go in and order if we wanted to but you had to stand over in the back, you weren't allowed to sit. And I decided one day to sit down. Well, that was the time I got taken down to the jail house. I didn't get locked up but it frightened me enough to know that I dare not do those things again. But there was a lot of picketing, you know, a lot of protesting and it started back in the '60s [1960s].$$Now did you keep up--$$In Dublin [Georgia].$$--with civil rights activity?$$Yeah, you know, as far as reading and what was going on. And I was, of course, very anxious to, you know, to participate in it but, you know. You didn't have as much going on in Dublin as you did in Atlanta [Georgia] or Macon [Georgia], the larger cities that surrounded us, you know. But our voices were, their voices were heard, you know. But my parents and foster parents [George Monroe and Georgia Monroe], you know, at that time I was back with my parents, didn't allow us to participate, you know.$Well tell us about the CBS School of Management [New York, New York]. You know, is CBS the only network to have its own school of management?$$I, I don't know. I don't know if other networks had it. But I, I, I remember us going to the old Ford mansion up in upstate New York, I can't even remember where, but I was just very surprised that I was selected and again it was the same gentleman Donald Bryan [ph.] who had watched me. And he basically said to me that he saw a lot of potential in me and he was going to help me, you know, learn the ropes and make my way up the ladder. And I received a memo saying that I had been selected to go to the CBS School of Management, which was a total shock because first of all I was black, and to me that was a very prestigious place and you didn't, you know, you didn't get to go in there. But what they did is they selected people that they felt had potential and the company wanted to invest in because they saw you as a long term employee that they could truly see the return on their investment. CBS School of Management basically taught you how to dress, how to speak, which pieces of silverware to use when you're out on a client meeting, you know. We did simulations, but with the simulations then back, if you were the president of CBS, you know, how would you run this company. So you had a full day where you were the president. These are things people are doing now that CBS was doing way back, you know, in the '60s [1960s]. It, I guess, in its, one could say that it brainwashed you because I went out and bought more pinstripe, black and blue pinstriped suits than I ever knew in my life because that was what, that was the dress. But it really prepared you to be ready to step out and meet with their key clients and negotiate business for the company. So that's really what it was all about, preparing you for that.$$Okay. So, so an emphasis on style and culture and how to--$$Exactly. Exactly. But very few people were selected to attend this, go through this. So I was very, very privileged to have had that opportunity. And it was a, you know, it was much, much more intense and I'm sort of giving you the, the high level of it but there was a lot of intense time. We were up very early in the morning, you know, to very late at night going through trainings that they had provided for us.$$How long did it last?$$I think it was about two and a half weeks of--$$And--$$--just intense. And you didn't go home to your family.$$And about what, what year was this (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) That's what I'm trying to remember. I believe, if I remember it was in 1973, I have to look at my, my award, my, that I received from them.$$All right.$$My diploma.