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Lauranita Dugas

Lifetime educator Lauranita Taylor Dugas was born on December 2, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Dorothy and Robert Taylor. Her father was the first black commissioner of the Chicago Housing Authority, an organization he worked with for eleven years. In 1944, Dugas graduated from Parker High School and moved to Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received her B.A. degree in sociology. In 1949, Dugas married Lester J. Dugas Jr., an electrical engineering student at the time who then became the first black senior manager of Commonwealth Edison in Chicago. The two of them moved to Milwaukee where the Dugas' began a family.

In 1953, Dugas moved back to Chicago. With an interest in education, she began working for the Head Start Program. Three years later, Dugas moved to the State of Illinois’ Institute for Juvenile Research and in 1974, she started working for the Chicago Child Care Society as a supervising teacher. Dugas remained with the Society for twenty-five years until her retirement in 1989. She then returned to the workforce as an educational consultant at Harold Washington College for their Child Development Associate Training Project, a position she held until 2007.

Dugas chaired the Jones-Swift Scholarship fund as part of the Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children, a sector of the national Association for the Education of Young Children. She was also a founding member of the Black Creativity Panel, an event hosted by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She was also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. The board works to update the campus, with such projects as a new Early Childhood Development Center and renovation of the former Home Economics building. In 2009, the book The Classrooms All Young Children Need: Lessons in Teaching from Vivian Paley recognized her for her skillful teaching and support.

Dugas had three children, Gail D. Dugas, Jeffrey A. Dugas Sr., and Lauren Dugas Glover.

Lauranita Dugas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 28, 2010.

Dugas passed away on May 20, 2015.

Accession Number

A2010.032

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/28/2010

Last Name

Dugas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Lewis-Champlin Elementary School

Parker High School

University of Wisconsin-Madison

First Name

Lauranita

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DUG01

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Key West, Florida

Favorite Quote

A Dream Without A Plan Is Just A Wish.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/2/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

5/20/2015

Short Description

City education administrator and teacher Lauranita Dugas (1926 - 2015 ) was a former educational consultant for the Child Development Associate Training Project at Harold Washington College and teacher with the Chicago Child Care Society.

Employment

C.P.S. Head Start

State of Illinois Institute for Juvenile Research

Martin Luther King Jr Park & Family Entertainment Center

Chicago Child Care Society

Harold Washington College

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5955,107:7205,149:14665,232:21060,321:21825,331:22335,339:22930,380:23950,401:37820,512:49364,616:54203,675:57938,725:63132,765:64154,787:64519,793:65030,802:65395,808:65687,813:71578,870:80810,890:81655,904:82435,919:94691,1011:95601,1026:95965,1031:101388,1136:101684,1141:103164,1171:104052,1259:104348,1264:104644,1269:108492,1350:116972,1448:125560,1514:126180,1519:131144,1610:143409,1824:145047,1867:168397,2079:178870,2193:182550,2263:183830,2283:192266,2367:205264,2588:209490,2654:209818,2659:210310,2666:222200,2988:222528,2993:228228,3020:228624,3027:229218,3040:236030,3148:236870,3157:237710,3171:249288,3281:255874,3393:260395,3457:263904,3551:264496,3561:276160,3684$0,0:19787,268:20321,328:28072,510:31548,567:32496,583:35439,616:35913,623:37483,634:38029,641:38666,649:40954,671:41634,689:45538,736:56254,956:66486,1104:67608,1116:68628,1132:73706,1164:74590,1181:74998,1189:80442,1263:88164,1423:88710,1431:91752,1481:92454,1495:107004,1734:132660,2061
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lauranita Dugas' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas describes the early years of her parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her paternal grandfather's architectural work in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas describes her paternal grandfather's education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her father's collaboration with Julius Rosenwald

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's work in the banking industry

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas talks about the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas describes the racially restrictive housing covenants in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas remembers the segregated public schools in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's legacy in the field of public housing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas talks about the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lauranita Dugas describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lauranita Dugas recalls her community in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her sister's work at the Erikson Institute in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas remembers segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas recalls her nursery school in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas remembers her elementary school education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas describes the effects of the Great Depression

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas remembers Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas recalls the racial division in Chicago's South Side

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lauranita Dugas remembers her studies at Parker High School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas remembers the prom at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas recalls her decision to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes her academic difficulties at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her accomplishments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas remembers returning to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas recalls her father's death

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas remembers raising her children in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas remembers the community of Hyde Park-Kenwood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas remembers the community of Hyde Park-Kenwood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes the University of Chicago's impact on the communities of Hyde Park and Kenwood

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas talks about the changes in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas remembers teaching at a Head Start program

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas describes her role at the Institute for Juvenile Research

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas remembers joining the Chicago Child Care Society

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas remembers her tenure at the Chicago Child Care Society

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas describes her philosophy of early childhood education

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes her work with Head Start

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas talks about the Black Creativity exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas describes her board memberships, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her husband's community involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lauranita Dugas describes her board memberships, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her family, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her family, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas reflects upon her heritage

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas describes her friendship with President Barack Obama

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas talks about politicians from the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

10$7

DATitle
Lauranita Dugas recalls her community in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois
Lauranita Dugas remembers joining the Chicago Child Care Society
Transcript
And he [Dugas' father, Robert Rochon Taylor] was a penny pincher. All of the Taylors are (laughter). But mother [Dorothy Jennings Taylor] was in a different way because she had, she grew up with--without a lot. And my [maternal] grandmother [Laura Smith Jennings] knew how to make a lot out of a little. So, it was a different kind of economy from her side of the family than from his side of the family. And we had almost everything needed--we thought we needed or wanted growing up. We knew that we were privileged, because he had a job, and not everybody did. And we were taught very, very early to accept people as they are and that we were no better than anybody else. And we just happened to fall into a better situation, and that everybody needed an opportunity. And you never knew who would take advantage of an opportunity and surpass us if they had a chance. So, we had opportunities because of his connections to be diverse, to have diverse relationships and cross cultural relationships. Because of the Girl Scouts [Girl Scouts of the United States of America] and the persistence of Mrs. Pacheco [ph.] who was a Girl Scout leader in the Rosenwald building [Rosenwald Apartments; Michigan Boulevard Apartments, Chicago, Illinois]. She made sure that we were not just isolated. That we, the Girls--that Girls Scout troop went places and did things that the other Girl Scouts did. They couldn't keep us out. We didn't know that, we just went (laughter). So, I did grow up feeling that we were just only one, one kind of people. We would go back to Wilmington [North Carolina] in the summer to see my [paternal] grandparents [Robert Robinson Taylor and Dugas' step-grandmother, Nellie Chesnutt Taylor], and all the rest of the kids came too; my father's siblings. We had lots of fun and visit the cousins and the uncles, 'cause most of the uncles were bachelors. So, we had a good time. In the summers we went back to Wilmington. I had what was double mastoids as an eight year old. Because--this was before antibiotics and before shots. The only shots that we had were diphtheria and small pox. We caught everything else. One winter, my father lived with my grandmother because we had the big red sign, quarantine on the door. First one, then the other. And so, he was very close to his mother-in-law, and he lived with her prob- because he couldn't, he couldn't come in and go out. Everybody--if you were quarantined, you were quarantined. He had to run the building so he lived over with my grandma. I had double mastoids, which was repeated ear infections and the mastoid bone which is behind your ear, both of them became infected. If they'd gone to my brain I would've died. They--and there was no antibiotics. That came with the Second World War [World War II, WWII]. And there was doctor at Children's Memorial [Children's Memorial Hospital; Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago, Illinois] had perfected an operations to take both these bones out. Our family doctor was a pediatrician. He was one of the few black pediatricians in the city. He could not take me into Children's Memorial Hospital. He called his classmate who was this surgeon, and they operated on me and took those two mastoid bones out. The following winter, I began to catch cold again, and Dr. Beasley [ph.] said, "You know, you got to get her out of this climate. Well, at least for this winter." So, we went to California, mother, Barbara [Dugas' sister, HistoryMaker Barbara Bowman] and I. We spent six months in California. And by this time, by the time I came home I was robust (laughter). And I never was too thin again (laughter).$Then '69 [1969] came (laughter), and it was chaos. It was chaos, and the riots and everything. We had to get evacuated out.$$Was this after Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was assassinated?$$Yeah.$$Sixty-eight [1968], near '68 [1968], yeah.$$And the school [Institute for Juvenile Research, Chicago, Illinois] closed down for a while and that's when I came over here to Chicago Child Care Center--Society [Chicago Child Care Society, Chicago, Illinois].$$Okay.$$And I was really enthusiastic about Chicago Child Care because it was going to combine social work and teaching. Child development and social work. The social workers were advocates of the parents. And the teachers were the advocates of the child. And sometimes the two didn't meet. Social workers was telling us, "She's not--the mother's not ready for that," (laughter). And we would say, "But the child is sinking in the, in the deep mud." And so, we had, we had the opportunity to, under the leadership of Marion Obenhaus [Marion Pendleton Obenhaus], who was the director of Chicago Child Care, to bring these two professions together in the interest of the family. And it worked out to be such an exciting adventure. I really enjoyed every minute of it. And we staffed children together; we staffed families together. We worked with families together. Social workers began to come into the classroom and could see what we were talking about and how, how--what was going on at home was affecting the children away from the home. And so, it, it was beautiful experience, exciting experience. I began to supervise two assistant teachers; more Erikson [Erikson Institute, Chicago, Illinois] students--they were there for a quarter--nursing students from Michael Reese [Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois]. Because early childhood develop was foreign to almost every profession. Nobody looked at it as a profession. You sat with kids. You watch kids. (Laughter) You didn't get involved in their development in an educational kind of way.

Evie Garrett Dennis

Evie Garrett Dennis was born on September 8, 1924, in Farmhaven, Mississippi, to Ola and Eugene Garrett. She graduated from Cameron Street High School and received her B.S. degree from St. Louis University in 1953.

Dennis came to Denver, Colorado, as a researcher for the Children’s Asthma Research Institute and The Jewish National Home for Asthmatic Children. In 1966, she began her career in public education as a teacher. Dennis was instrumental in convening the first ever convention of The Athletics Congress (now USA Track & Field) in 1980. Since 1983, Dennis has chaired the El Pomar Foundation Awards for Excellence Commission, which recognizes and rewards Colorado nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals that serve their communities with distinction and excellence. She was the Chef de Mission for the United States Olympic Committee for two Pan American Games as well as the 1988 Olympic Games, a first for a woman in Olympics' history. Dennis was one of the first two women to reach the U.S. Olympic Executive Committee and the first to serve as Vice President of the U.S. Olympic Committee. She has chaired its Women’s Committee and Diversity Committee and remains a member of the Governing Bodies Council. She has been a staunch advocate and spokesperson for Title IX, ensuring equal access to sports for young women. Dennis served as Deputy Superintendent of the Denver Public School System from 1988 through 1990 and the District Superintendent from 1990 to 1994. She was the first woman and the first African American to head the 60,000-student district. Dennis was charged with implementing and monitoring the U.S. District Court order to desegregate Denver Public Schools. Through her dedication to improve and ensure equal educational opportunities for all students and to work with the community through the difficult issues presented by the court’s order, Dennis successfully guided the school system through a complicated and divisive period to create positive alliances between the school district, parents, students, teachers, patrons, and community leaders. She designed and implemented innovative programs to meet the needs of the district’s diverse population, including the Education Advisory Councils; the Denver Energy, Engineering and Education Program (DEEEP); and the American Israel Student Exchange Program. Dennis officially retired from the Denver Public School System in 1994.

Dennis was honored as an inductee to the Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame in 1997. In 1999, she was named Laureate of the Association of National Olympic Committees. In addition, Dennis was inducted into the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2004.

Accession Number

A2008.118

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/3/2008

Last Name

Dennis

Maker Category
Middle Name

Garrett

Schools

Cameron Street High School

Saint Louis University

University of Nebraska-Omaha

University of Colorado Boulder

Nova Southeastern University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Evie

Birth City, State, Country

Farmhaven

HM ID

DEN01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Jerome Page

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

9/8/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Turkey

Short Description

City education administrator and olympics executive Evie Garrett Dennis (1924 - ) was the first woman and first person of color to serve as the vice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee. She was also the first woman and first African American superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, where she was instrumental in the desegregation process.

Employment

Denver Public Schools

Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital

Washington University School of Medicine

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:213,3:497,8:994,16:7904,220:13140,269:13910,277:17989,346:22684,407:23110,415:23962,430:24459,438:28278,467:29218,479:37376,568:55962,781:56298,786:62798,915:63316,923:68447,1000:82306,1103:83146,1114:83986,1125:84574,1133:87262,1240:98480,1346:101196,1383:101681,1389:104688,1437:115530,1582:116028,1590:122095,1652:127474,1732:128278,1747:129820,1761:139548,1968:140024,1979:151580,2089:172720,2294:173040,2299:175040,2340:178535,2382:178811,2387:179156,2393:181433,2442:182123,2460:182399,2465:185753,2496:195910,2638$0,0:990,32:1710,42:3060,63:3870,73:4950,88:5310,93:8241,110:8606,120:9482,135:9847,141:10504,152:11380,184:15687,266:24447,450:25396,465:26345,479:32920,505:39806,568:41486,590:42382,601:42830,606:50470,660:51120,666:62953,787:63585,796:66982,900:68088,916:69747,938:71011,958:76960,998:77870,1012:78360,1020:80040,1053:80600,1062:85286,1123:85784,1131:87112,1162:87776,1171:88523,1180:88855,1185:93503,1253:94084,1263:99422,1279:100129,1287:101038,1301:105214,1378:105498,1383:105995,1392:109190,1441:109758,1450:110113,1456:110894,1469:113668,1520:113998,1526:114262,1531:118400,1573:135490,1746:137803,1756:138799,1775:139380,1784:140957,1814:141372,1820:142202,1831:146898,1869:148050,1895:148306,1900:152722,2025:154194,2072:155346,2100:166936,2252:168469,2270:169126,2285:170075,2308:183530,2461:184015,2467:184403,2472:188991,2536:189594,2546:193630,2595:194060,2602:197156,2650:197758,2658:198102,2663:201520,2693:201845,2699:208124,2799:208580,2807:208884,2812:210252,2838:212152,2879:216484,2991:218232,3030:224700,3080
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Evie Garrett Dennis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Evie Garrett Dennis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her mother and her likeness to her

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her father and her likeness to him

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Evie Garrett Dennis lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her childhood community

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her home in Farmhaven, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her brother, Robert Garrett

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her family's move to Canton, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Evie Garrett Dennis talks about the Church of God

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers Cameron Street High School in Canton, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her family's holiday traditions

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her siblings' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her undergraduate education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her decision to move to Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers working at the Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls teaching at Lake Junior High School in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers her recruitment as an administrator of the Denver Public Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her role in the desegregation of the Denver Public Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes the results of desegregation busing in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers the violence during the desegregation of the Denver Public Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Evie Garrett Dennis talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes the segregated schools in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers joining the Amateur Athletic Union

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls becoming an officer of the Amateur Athletic Union

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers serving on the U.S. Olympic Committee

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her experiences at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers representing the USA Track and Field team

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her graduate education

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers receiving the Congressional Gold Medal

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Evie Garrett Dennis talks about steroid testing on the USA Track and Field team

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her interactions with Cuban President Fidel Castro

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Evie Garrett Dennis reflects upon her experiences of sexual harassment

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her efforts to diversify the U.S. Olympic Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls serving as the superintendent of the Denver Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her achievements in the Denver Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls working with Omar Blair

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her daughter and grandchildren

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her trip to Russia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her experiences abroad, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her experiences abroad, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Evie Garrett Dennis recalls the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Evie Garrett Dennis remembers the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her advocacy for athletic and art education

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Evie Garrett Dennis reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Evie Garrett Dennis shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Evie Garrett Dennis reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Evie Garrett Dennis describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Evie Garrett Dennis narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her decision to move to Denver, Colorado
Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her experiences at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba
Transcript
So what happens next? You get married to Philip [Philip Dennis]--$$And we (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) and you graduated [from Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri].$$And we, and we get pregnant (laughter) with Pia [Pia Dennis Smith]. We both applied to medical school, Meharry [Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee]. He went, I stayed home and took care of the baby and worked two jobs to support him in medical school. And the year he was supposed to graduate, the year he did graduate, suddenly there was somebody else on the scene with a child to be. And so we were divorced. And I worked two jobs during that time. I worked at what they call the St. Louis Chronic Hospital [St. Louis, Missouri] sort of as a nurse's aide, and then I worked at the post office [U.S. Post Office Department; U.S. Postal Service] at night. And my sister took care of my baby while I supported him in medical school. And as things happen, there you are with somebody else on the scene with a pregnancy and what have you and so a divorce occurred. My child was--I'm doing research at, at Washington University medical school [Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri] during this time, as I indicated as well as working at the post office. Pia was, Pia is my daughter's name, was an allergic child and so the allergist that I took her to see was doing research on the same floor where I was. And he said to me one day, "How is Pia? I haven't seen her in a long time." And I said, "Well it's a long story." He said, "Well better hurry up and tell me because I'm leaving St. Louis [Missouri]." I said, "You are, where are you going?" He said, "To Denver [Colorado]." Then he told me he was coming here to establish the Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital [Denver, Colorado]. I said to him, "Do you need a good technician?" He said, "As a matter of fact, Eileen [ph.] can't go," which was his person. And I was working in hypertension and cardiovascular diseases and research. Well we--I conferred with the boss that I was working with on establishing a book, which is listed in, in my bibliography, I mean a list of publishing people there. And he said, "Are you serious?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "I'm going to Denver." And he came back he said, "You've got the job if you want it." Well I have to go to court and talk about taking the child out of town, so that--we worked that in. and so I came here to help him establish the laboratory altogether. I had the, the luxury of equipping the laboratory and doing all the work in asthma and allergy and infectious diseases.$In my role working with women's track and field for the United States, I traveled a lot with teams. And I, I made this statement to a group meeting in Munich [Germany] in a different area one time that I've traveled on every continent in the, in the world and, and some two or three times. And a little guy said to me, "Have you ever been to Iceland?" And I said, "Well no, but I didn't think of Iceland as a continent." But I--it provided me the opportunity to take athletes around the world. And so I've had lots of first in this movement. I was the first then female or minority to serve as a vice president of the [U.S.] Olympic Committee. I was the first female or minority, male or female, to serve as what they call a chef de maison for a major team. I did that at the Pan American Games in Caracas [1983 Pan American Games, Caracas, Venezuela].$$And what does that actually--$$You are responsible for that team and all the staff, for whatever happens. You are the connection to the International Olympic Committee, the international Pan American Games group [Pan American Sports Organization]. I served as that in Caracas [Venezuela] at the Pan American Games, a very difficult assignment. And I was the first chef de maison to serve, female or minority, at an Olympic Games. I did that in 1988 in Seoul [1988 Summer Olympics, Seoul, South Korea]. Then they came back and wanted me to serve as chef de maison for the Pan American Games competing in Cuba [1991 Pan American Games, Havana, Cuba]. All three very difficult assignments because of the, the reaction for men and particularly men in those areas to women being in leadership roles. Mr. Castro and I, well became kissing buddies. Every time he saw me, he wanted to kiss me. When the, when the Gulf War broke out, I was sitting in a press conference with Fidel Castro in Cuba. And I was like how can I get out of here quickly because he just ranting and raving. You didn't know what he was saying, but you knew that he was ranting and raving about that awful United States, you could hear that coming through all the time. But before I was, was ready to leave there, he found out I was in education and he said, "Would you consider coming to, to serve as my deputy of education for two years?" And I said, "Sorry, can't do that." "Oh," he said, "I can arrange." And I said well--$$You're talking about Castro?$$Fidel Castro. I said, "Well let's get the games over with and we'll talk about it." Well the games about over with and had thirty-eight countries competing in these games. And wherever we went, when I came in leading my delegation, that's where the cameras were peeled. They tell me he knew every minute of the day where I was. When the games were over he sent his interpreter to say tell her we need to talk about this before. And I said, "Well, I have to accompany my team back home, so we'll talk about it later." So that ended that conversation. But I, I just tell you all that to tell you some of the things I've, I've come up against in, in, in my role in these areas.