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The Honorable Doris Ward

Doris Margaret Ward was born on January 27, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois, to Robbie Floyd and Jesse Keys. Ward’s grandparents, Joseph and Julia Floyd, migrated from the South and settled in Gary, Indiana. Ward grew up in Gary and lived with her grandparents after her parents divorced. Ward’s family also owned a grocery store in the community. Ward attended integrated Frable School from kindergarten through twelfth grade. While there, Ward was a member of the debate team and was queen of the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago. She also became interested and active in the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. Ward attended Indiana University and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. During and after college, she participated in sit-ins at bars and other public areas in Indiana.

Ward started her career as a teacher, taught in Indiana for ten years and then moved to California. In 1968, Ward decided to continue her education and attended San Francisco State University. After that, Ward began her political career in 1972 when she became a trustee for the San Francisco Community College District. In 1979, Ward became a county supervisor, and in 1990, she became president of the Board of Supervisors. In 1996, Ward was elected San Francisco County Assessor-Recorder. In 2000, Ward served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, representing California. In 2006, Ward retired.

Ward lives in San Francisco.

Accession Number

A2005.244

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/14/2005

Last Name

Ward

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Froebel School

Indiana University

San Francisco State University

First Name

Doris

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WAR09

Favorite Season

October

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

What Happens To You Is Not Near As Important As How You Handle What Happens To You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/27/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

County supervisor The Honorable Doris Ward (1932 - ) is a former San Francisco County, California Assessor-Recorder and served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2000.

Employment

San Francisco Board of Supervisors

City of San Francisco

County of San Mateo

San Francisco Community College District

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Doris Ward's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Ward lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Ward lists her favorite food

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her maternal family's battles against segregation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls being raised by her grandparents and her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls her extracurricular activities at Gary's Froebel School

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her childhood neighborhood in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes the role of religion in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls her childhood friend in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls damaging her mother's car as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls being the queen of Chicago's Bud Billiken Parade

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes influential teachers at Gary's Froebel School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her activities at Froebel School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls her college plans and her grandfather's death

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her experiences at Indiana University Bloomington

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her husband, John Ward

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls her husband's legal career in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls her activities in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls her early career in Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls recruiting black teachers for San Mateo County, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes African Americans' options for educational jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Ward reflects upon civil rights activists she admires

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her work as an educational administrator

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her career in elected office

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes becoming San Francisco's assessor

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls her ex-husband, John Ward

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her tenure as San Francisco's assessor

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes San Francisco's transformation during her career in office

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes demographic changes in San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes African American political leaders in San Francisco

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Ward recalls her battle with breast cancer

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Ward reflects on treatments for breast cancer

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her concerns for youth drug addiction

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Ward reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Ward reflects upon her political career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes her future goals

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Ward shares a tribute to her mother, Robbie Floyd

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes how she would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Doris Ward describes how she would like to be remembered, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
The Honorable Doris Ward recalls being the queen of Chicago's Bud Billiken Parade
The Honorable Doris Ward describes becoming San Francisco's assessor
Transcript
Imogene [Imogene Bolton Edwards] and I, because we had, we have a lot of friends, she was at Roosevelt [Theodore Roosevelt High School, Gary, Indiana]. She was not at Froebel [Froebel School; Friedrich Froebel High School, Gary, Indiana], but we still were friends. Mr. Means [Andrew Means], who had developed the first houses in Gary [Indiana], he had the first, you know, really, really nice houses. It was called--$$For black people?$$Yes, for black people, called Means Manor [Gary, Indiana]. He was well known, and you know, well-heeled. He wanted to be the sponsor of the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago [Illinois], which was during the week of Emancipation Proclamation, biggest parade in Chicago. And Mr. Means wanted to be the sponsor of that parade. So they had told him in Chicago: it's your parade, and we are going to have a Gary girl as the queen; and, but we're gonna pretend; we're gonna have a contest with everybody. But they told Mr. Means: you decide who the queen will be in Gary, and that's gonna be the queen; and that queen will just beat people in Chicago. So, Mr. Means asked Imogene and me if we would collect money, run against each other. Whoever collected the most money would be the queen and, but win in Gary. And it was already a foregone conclusion that we would have won in Chicago. And so my family, which always gets behind everything that we do, my [maternal] grandfather [Joseph Floyd] put up jars in the grocery store to raise money for Doris [HistoryMaker Doris Ward] so she can be the queen of the Bud Billiken Parade. And Imogene did the same thing in over in her restaurant [Mae's Louisiana Kitchen, Gary, Indiana]. And so I became the queen of the Bud Billiken Parade. Had you ever head of that--$$Yes, I've heard of it.$$Yeah, right.$$I've lived there.$$And that was a, I mean that was something. I was sixteen years old then. I really remembered that because the one thing I was supposed to get, I was supposed to get a trip to some southern city, but that never came about.$$I see.$We were talking about where blacks are in the world today, so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh yeah, okay.$$--so your--$$Yeah, and I was saying I was trying to do my part when I was here on the Board of Supervisors [San Francisco Board of Supervisors] and I became president. Frank Jordan made me the assessor--$$And he was the mayor?$$--after only one year of my being president of the board. The way I got to be president, that, at that time, everybody was elected at-large. And whoever runs number one becomes the president of the board.$$Oh.$$So I ran number one, and I was the president of the board, got over a hundred thousand votes, and so I was very, very, very pleased about that. And I said, "Now I can do something, you know. I want to be president." But then, but, but Frank Jordan, just as my second term started I had all ideas what I wanted to do, Frank stepped in and said, "Would you like to be the assessor," because I was gonna be term limited out anyway.$$Exactly.$$So, as always, I called John Ward, you know. I don't care how many wives John had (laughter), and they accepted me, you know, and but then I accepted them. John would come here, and you know, I'd put 'em all up, you know, whatever, even when he had girlfriends I'd put them up. I mean we were not married. I mean we were, when we act--$$You just, you were friends.$$Yeah, I mean the best of friends.$$Yes.$$He was my best friend. He said, or I said, "John, Frank Jordan asked me did I want to be the assessor. And the assessor gets a much, much better job." And he says, "When do you have to run?" And so I said, "In two years." He said, "Then take it. If you have to run tomorrow, don't do it, 'cause you don't know anything about it," he says, "but then take it." And so I said okay. So, you know, he always gave me advice like that. Like I was telling you that the reason I was so successful when I went back to recruit people, because I was paying people, you know, and you had to have everything right. Otherwise, if I went back, I wouldn't have come back with no more than five applications--$$Um-hm.