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Alyce Jenkins

Rehabilitation counselor, educator, and first African American female to be appointed in 1974 to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Reserve (USNR) without prior service, Alyce Earl Jenkins was born on September 22, 1935 in Birmingham, Alabama. The daughter of Margaret LaVern Wright Earl and Boysie Orr, Jenkins was raised by her mother and stepfather, Arthur Fred Earl. She attended Lincoln Elementary School and graduated from A.H. Parker High School in 1953. She majored in graphic arts at Alabama A&M College in Huntsville, Alabama where she graduated with a B.S. degree in mechanics arts in 1957. She earned a M.Ed. in rehabilitation counseling from Kent State University in 1968.

In 1958, Jenkins was hired as assistant director of printing and graphics for Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio where the Journal of Human Relations was printed. In 1966, the Central State University’s Printing Department closed, and Jenkins worked for the Ohio Bureau of Rehabilitation Counseling. From 1968 to 1972, Jenkins was Director of Counseling for Wilberforce University. From 1972 to 1993, she taught rehabilitation counseling at Wright State University in Dayton.

Published widely in professional journals, Jenkins’s writings, professional presentations, and federal funding awards focused on African Americans with disabilities, a group historically ignored by state and federal rehabilitation agencies. She is the producer/director of the video series, Living Your Dreams that highlights historical contributions of ordinary African Americans to the community. The video series includes Profiles of African Americans: Their Roles In Shaping Wright State University, A Predominantly White Institution and The Story of Neal Loving: Aviator, Experimental Airplane Builder and Double Amputee.

Jenkins’ professional service contributions include serving on the national planning committee for the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Education, an accrediting organization for undergraduate and graduate programs. Jenkins also served as a founding member for four years on the Ohio Counselor and Social Worker Licensure Board where she strongly advocated for practicing rehabilitation counselors.

Jenkins retired in 1993 as Wright State University’s Professor Emerita. Jenkins, who is included in the book, Black Americans in the United States Navy rose to the rank of full Commander before leaving the Navy in 1984.

Jenkins founded AEJ Associates, her own rehabilitation consulting firm in 1993. Returning to Wright State University, she served as interim director and associate director of the Wright State University Center for Teaching and Learning from 1996 to 1998. She was also associate assistant director of Wright State University’s African and African American Studies Program from 1999 to 2001 and coordinator of Youth Programs for the National Conference for Community and Justice from 2001 to 2003. Active in many organizations in her career, Jenkins is a member of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education, Dayton Dialog on Race Relations and the National Rehabilitation Professional Association. She was chosen as one of the Top Ten African American Women in Dayton in 2005 and in 2004, received the Keeping the Dream Alive Award from the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. In 2000, Jenkins was honored by the Ohio Senate with the Recognition of Outstanding Service Award, among other honors. A resident of Yellow Springs, Ohio, Jenkins is also a video oral historian and sits on the Yellow Springs Community Council.

Accession Number

A2006.042

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/19/2006

Last Name

Jenkins

Maker Category
Schools

A.H. Parker High School

Lincoln School

Alabama A&M University

Kent State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alyce

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

JEN04

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

My Dog's Not In That Fight.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

9/22/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dayton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Rehabilitation specialist and military officer Alyce Jenkins (1935 - ) was the first African American female Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Reserve (USNR).

Employment

Central State University

Greene County Vocational School

Dayton State Hospital

Wilberforce University

Wright State University

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alyce Jenkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alyce Jenkins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alyce Jenkins describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alyce Jenkins describes her mother's parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alyce Jenkins describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alyce Jenkins recalls learning who her father was

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alyce Jenkins recalls visiting her father in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alyce Jenkins describes her stepfather and his family

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alyce Jenkins describes her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alyce Jenkins recalls moving to Birmingham's Enon Ridge

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alyce Jenkins recalls childhood activities in Birmingham

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alyce Jenkins remembers Birmingham's Lincoln Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alyce Jenkins describes her grade school courses and study habits

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alyce Jenkins describes the Enon Ridge neighborhood of Birmingham

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alyce Jenkins remembers her experience of discrimination at A.H. Parker High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alyce Jenkins talks about discrimination within the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alyce Jenkins describes her social life in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alyce Jenkins recalls the pressure on women to marry young in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alyce Jenkins recalls her decision to attend Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alyce Jenkins remembers her history courses in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alyce Jenkins describes her mentors at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alyce Jenkins recalls pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alyce Jenkins recalls growing up in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alyce Jenkins describes her mother's activism in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alyce Jenkins remembers Gertrude Wesley

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alyce Jenkins recalls her physics tutor, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alyce Jenkins recalls teaching printing at Central State College, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alyce Jenkins recalls teaching printing at Central State College, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alyce Jenkins remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alyce Jenkins recalls entering the mental health field

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alyce Jenkins remembers an experience at Greene County Vocational School

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alyce Jenkins describes her career path

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alyce Jenkins recalls negotiating with students at Wilberforce University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alyce Jenkins recalls meeting notable figures at Wilberforce University

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Alyce Jenkins recalls her experience as a counselor at Wilberforce University

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Alyce Jenkins describes the results of student protests at Wilberforce University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alyce Jenkins recalls developing encounter groups at Wilberforce University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alyce Jenkins remembers Dr. Wilhelmina S. Robinson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alyce Jenkins recalls accepting an offer to teach at Wright State University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alyce Jenkins describes her work with the Republican Party

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alyce Jenkins describes how the Republican Party changed

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alyce Jenkins remembers receiving tenure at Wright State University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alyce Jenkins recalls teaching classes at Wright State University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alyce Jenkins recalls working in minority recruitment for the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alyce Jenkins recalls her decision to leave the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alyce Jenkins describes the recruiting tools she created for the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alyce Jenkins remembers establishing a scholarship at Wright State University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alyce Jenkins describes her work since retirement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alyce Jenkins recalls her work at Wright State University after retirement

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alyce Jenkins describes her board memberships

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alyce Jenkins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alyce Jenkins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Alyce Jenkins reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alyce Jenkins reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alyce Jenkins talks about her family and her decision not to have children

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alyce Jenkins describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alyce Jenkins narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Alyce Jenkins recalls teaching printing at Central State College, pt. 1
Alyce Jenkins recalls teaching classes at Wright State University
Transcript
Now Central State [Central State College; Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio] how did you get this job at Central State, printer?$$Okay when I was at Alabama A&M [Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College; Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, Normal, Alabama] one of my classmates, Reuben Baxter graduated before I did and he was hired here at Central and when they said that they needed someone else he contacted me and asked me to apply for the job. I told him I wasn't interested in the job. And I really didn't want to come to Ohio, and after I graduated I was offered a job down in Texas, and Texas was too far. So I was working there in the registrar's [Ralph H. Lee] office as full time and so I just really didn't want to leave Alabama. And so finally President Drake [Joseph Drake] and Dean Carter [Robert A. Carter] who was an academic dean told me that I should really go ahead and work in the field for which I had been trained and that I should come--accept the job and that if I didn't like it they would have a job for me there at Alabama A&M. And Dr. Wesley [Charles H. Wesley] had been writing me as well.$$The president of Central State?$$Uh-huh, the president of Central State and so I came and then I didn't want to fail, you know, because I said--I was working hard to do well and to like it because I didn't want to go back. If I had the job--I knew I had the job but if I went back it would have meant that I couldn't cut it, you know. So that's how I got here. So Baxter was the director and Mr. Dungee [ph.] who had been the director was ill and he subsequently passed and so Baxter was named the director and I was his assistant director. Again, I was responsible for most of the linotype work and I taught the introductory courses in printing and composition and platen press and again I was the only female doing that. We had a secretary but I was the only female in there and they didn't want to give me any respect, and we had a huge platen press that I could operate as well as Baxter could. So I was having a hard time and they were teasing me all the time, and Baxter was out of town once and the linotype machine broke and I had to order the part and I was just so happy because I was able to--I knew the part to order, I knew where to call and I knew how to put it on, you know, this complicated machine. They would just tease me and I had been keeping all of this stuff to myself, you know, people. I was up here in the North and I didn't understand them and they didn't understand me but I was just keeping it all to myself. So it finally got to me, and I kind of lost it and told them you guys can have this job, I don't need this and I walked out. And then, what's his name? Mr. Sellers [Walter G. Sellers] and Mr. Johns, [HistoryMaker] Harry Johns talked with me and talked with them and so then I went back and I didn't have any more problems with them. They stopped teasing me like they had been because they were just disrespecting my position and I didn't like that.$Committees and all of that.$$Right, committees at Wright State [Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio].$$Okay yeah, so they helped me to learn how to navigate the higher education community, and I was able to get the tenure. And as far as my classes were concerned as I said most of the time I was the only minority in that class and I also had a lot of first generation white students coming in from rural areas and they didn't know anything about black people except what they had read or seen on television. And so it was--the atmosphere was kind of tense but the good part about it was that, I was the faculty member, I was a professor and I had academic freedom; I had control of that classroom. And so I learned early on to always remember that, you know, and not crumble or, you know, get weak in the classroom. And so as it turned out, I was looking through my retirement book and the comments of different students and they talk about how I influenced them and how much they learned from me and how--the different ways that I helped them and all and that they were pleased to have been in the class to have had a class with someone who was so committed to rehab as I was. So it turned out to be a good experience but the early years were kind of hard because I was trying to learn how to do that. I had quite a few military people in my classes and there was this one guy in my class and he would sit in the back and he would just frown--his non verbals were awful all the time. I said this man has a problem with me I guess it's because I'm female and he was just awful. So one day I had the call him and when I called him I saw that he was a retired colonel and I said, oh that's what his problem is. I am black and female and I'm in charge of this class and he's used to being in charge and so when he answered the phone I said, "Colonel Brimler [ph.], this is Lieutenant Commander Jenkins [HistoryMaker Alyce Jenkins]," and from that moment on I did not have any more trouble with him because it was officer to officer.