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Joyce E. Tucker

Experienced advocate of equal-opportunity employment Joyce Elaine Tucker was born on September 21, 1948 to Howard (George) and Vivian Tucker in Chicago, Illinois. A middle child with two sisters, Tucker attended Irving Elementary School and Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois where she received her diploma in 1966. Tucker earned her B.S. degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1970 and began working as a substitute teacher for Chicago Public Schools.

In 1970, Tucker was also hired as a mental health specialist at Tinley Park Mental Health Center. Four years later, she served as coordinator of the Illinois Department of Mental Health’s equal employment opportunity and affirmative action (EEO/AA) programs. Tucker was then promoted to chief of the EEO/AA Title VI program at the Illinois Department of Mental Health. She received her J.D. degree from the John Marshall Law School in 1978 before becoming acting director for the Illinois Department of Equal Employment Opportunity. In 1980, Tucker was hired as director for the Illinois Department of Human Rights and was the first black woman to serve in the Governor’s cabinet.

In 1990, Tucker was appointed to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by President George H.W. Bush and in 2001 President George W. Bush appointed Joyce to the White House Initiative Advisory Board for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Tucker began her own EEO management company Tucker Spearman & Associates in 1997. Since 2002, she has been vice president of Global Diversity and Employee Rights for the Boeing Company.

Tucker has been named a “Diversity Leader” by Women of Color magazine and was the keynote speaker at the Executive Symposium for Women Business Leaders in 2006. She has also received the Legacy of Opportunity Award, awarded by the Black Law Students Association at the John Marshall Law School.

Joyce Tucker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 24, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.033

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/24/2010

Last Name

Tucker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

E.

Occupation
Schools

John Marshall Law School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Proviso East High School

Irving Elementry School

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

Chciago

HM ID

TUC06

Favorite Season

September

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Francisco, California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/21/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Corporate executive Joyce E. Tucker (1948 - ) has more than thirty years of experience with civil rights and equal employment. She has served in the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, appointed by the president.

Employment

Boeing Company

Tucker Spearman & Associates

Illinois Department of Human Rights

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Illinois Department of Equal Employment Opportunity

EEO/AA Title VI Program, Illinois Department of Mental Health

Title VII Program, Illinois Department of Mental Health

Tinley Park Mental Health Center

Chicago Public Schools

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joyce E. Tucker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joyce E. Tucker lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her maternal great-grandfather's store

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her father's childhood and service in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joyce E. Tucker describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her childhood personality and likeness to her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Joyce E. Tucker describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joyce E. Tucker recalls playing outside in her childhood neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joyce E. Tucker recalls a spooky experience in her childhood basement

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joyce E. Tucker describes the television shows and music of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience at the Hayes School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience at the Hayes School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her awareness of politics as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her elementary schools in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood and in Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois and being a minorette

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her friend Kathy Walker Owens (ph.)

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joyce E. Tucker describes the racism she and her friends experienced at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joyce E. Tucker describes herself as a student at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her interest in football and basketball at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about discussions about Fred Hampton's assassination and shootings at Jackson State University during college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about Fred Hampton and racial divisions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joyce E. Tucker recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about the political atmosphere at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois in 1968 and 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her social life at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her dating life at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience as a substitute teacher in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience as a substitute teacher in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience working at Tinley Park Mental Health Center in Tinley Park, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience working at Tinley Park Mental Health Center in Tinley Park, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joyce E. Tucker describes filing a discrimination grievance against Tinley Park Mental Health Center in Tinley Park, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joyce E. Tucker recalls becoming Coordinator of Affirmative Action for the Illinois Department of Mental Health

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her promotions within the Illinois state government

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joyce E. Tucker describes becoming Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joyce E. Tucker describes becoming Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience as Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience with partisan politics in the Illinois General Assembly, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience with partisan politics in the Illinois General Assembly, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joyce E. Tucker remembers the tragedies that hit her family, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joyce E. Tucker remembers the tragedies that hit her family, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joyce E. Tucker describes the campaign and election of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington in 1983

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about Bernard Epton and Republican politics in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about the death of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington in 1987

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience as Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joyce E. Tucker describes being appointed to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about the reasons she was not reappointed to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1996

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about starting her consulting firm, Tucker Spearman and Associates

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Joyce E. Tucker describes the success of Tucker Spearman and Associates

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Joyce E. Tucker describes being hired by Boeing in 2002

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience as Vice President of Global Diversity and Employee Rights at Boeing, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience as Vice President of Global Diversity and Employee Rights at Boeing, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her department at Boeing

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her experience on the President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her experience with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boys and Girls Club in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Joyce E. Tucker describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Joyce E. Tucker recalls developing her principles as a child

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Joyce E. Tucker reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Joyce E. Tucker reflects on her career

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Joyce E. Tucker talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Joyce E. Tucker describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
Joyce E. Tucker describes becoming Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights, pt. 1
Joyce E. Tucker describes being appointed to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Transcript
What was [Chicago Mayor] Harold Washington like?$$He was fabulous. I mean he was fabulous. He was definitely committed to equal employment opportunities, civil rights. He was brilliant. I mean his, his concept of language and he was a fighter. And when I was working on helping deal with the, the implementation of the legislation and the, getting the budget for this agency [Illinois Department of Human Rights], I'm working with him all the time. You know, and I'm not understanding that a senator is someone that you are supposed to ask permission to meet or whatever. When I would go by his office, if I, if I saw him, I went in. And he was available. I mean he never told me, you're not supposed to do that. Now his staff would look at me like I was out of my mind but it was like Harold, bam, I was, I was in there before they could come get me. But I never knew that there was any protocol or whatever. You know, if I need a person, I see the person, I go talk to the person. And with senators and legislators you're supposed to make an appointment, you do that but I think Harold kind of enjoyed that naivete. And the fact that, you know, I believed in what I was doing. And I never really let anything be a barrier 'cause I really didn't know I was supposed to. So while they were doing a national search for the director, the Governor [James Thompson, Jr.] mentioned to me, he said Harold Washington is recommending that you become the director of Human Rights. And I said "Really, I didn't know the search committee recommended me" and the Governor said, "It is my job (laughter) so I'll decide who get it, who gets it." But as I was setting up the staffing plan and I was, you know, coming up with the criteria for the director, and I was giving the search committee what I thought the criteria of the director should be, I looked at it and said "Well, that looks like me." And then I resigned from some of the committees that I was on because I thought it would be a conflict of interest but the people on the search committee told me that my chance of getting the directorship was slim to none. There was no way that I could be considered because one lady said I didn't pay my dues. And so I asked her, "How much are they?" (Laughter) that didn't go over too well. But, you know, I mean I felt like if you want something, you go for it or you asked yourself for the rest of your life "What would happened if I--" You know, the, the worst that could have happened was I would have been turned down. Well, I didn't have it anyway. And the best that could have happened was I got it, which I ended up getting it. But they were, you know, there's no way. So Harold recommended that I get, the governor consider me for the position and I think it was on a Friday the 13th, governor was supposed to announce the position on a Monday and the Thursday the 12th, his, one of his staff people caught me in the train station going back to Chicago [Illinois] and said, "Governor wants to interview you tomorrow morning." And my first response was, "That's Friday the 13th," and they said yeah. And then I said, "Well, I don't have any clothes." "Look, governor wants to see you tomorrow morning 9 o'clock." So I did whatever I needed to do, got a room, you know, went to the Governor's office, interviewed, and he said, "Why should I give you this job?" And I said, "Well, Governor, because it's the only thing that makes sense, you know. I know the budget, I know the staffing plan, I know the legislature, I know your staff." I said, "Anybody that comes in to this position, I'm gonna have to train." And he said, "Thank you," and that was it. That was the interview. And I'm thinking, like okay. I mean, I've never had an interview that short. There is no way I got the job. So I remember going on the train writing him thank you for the interview because I knew someone else was gonna get this job. So I get a call that Monday on my direct line and I pick it up, and I hear "This is the Governor speaking, congratulations Director." And I went like, "who is this?" This is the Governor speaking. And I'm going like, "yeah, yeah, who is it?" I mean I didn't know it was the governor. He says, "Joyce, you got the job." And I said oh--and he goes, "Why did you say that?" I said, "My grandmother says be careful what you ask for, you just might get it."$So what happened in 1990 that you left the--, what happened (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$Well, I was the Director of [the Illinois Department of] Human Rights, and as a 706 Human Rights Agency we interface a lot with EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission], which meant we interface a lot with Clarence Thomas who was the chair of the EEOC. And we were an aggressive agency then, I mean we set some things in place that other agencies modeled in terms of how we enforce the Human Rights Act. We were, Illinois was one of the bigger human rights agencies, so we kind of stood out. I was the, had been president of the Illinois Association of Official Human Rights Agencies which were all the 706 agencies. And we kind of like made a mark for ourselves. And, Har--, Clarence was a friend and so he was going to the Appellate Court [United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit] and he asked me, he said, "Do you wanna take my spot at EEOC?" And I said, "Well I don't know if they would give it to me or not." He says, "Well I told 'em you're not like me. You know, (laughter) you're not conservative like I am." And he says, "You want the spot?" I said, "sure." He said, "Send me a resume." So I sent him a resume, he sent it to the White House, and they called me and they asked me to come in for an interview. Well the same thing happened when they called me at home and said this is the White House, I went through that "Really, who is this, give me your number I'll call back." And so I called back, it was the White House. And they said we wanna interview you, you know, Clarence sent us your resume and we wanna interview for, you know, Clarence's position. And I went in for an interview with Chase Untermeyer [Charles Graves Untermeyer], who was Chief of White House staff [assistant to the President and director of the Office of Presidential Personnel]. And, you know, he interviewed me and all this stuff, and then finally when the interview was over, I said, "Look, I am a supporter and advocate of affirmative action. I can't work for anybody who doesn't like affirmative action because that's what I do." He showed me the White House Affirmative Action Plan under Bush. And he said we have no problem with that, you know.$$Now this is [President] George Herbert Walker Bush?$$George, right.$$The, the older Bush.$$I served Bush I.$$Bush I.$$And then he took me through a tour of the White House. Now everybody told me when you meet Chase Untermeyer, don't have a problem because he's gruff, he doesn't any personality, he's cold, he's distant, he's all of these things. With my interview he was the nicest, warmest, kindest, friendliest person ever. And they couldn't, really couldn't believe it was the same person. But we connected, you know. It was, it was a great interview. And that's how I ended up getting that job. I filled his spot. I wasn't designated chair, you know, 'cause they gave that to someone who was more conservative than me. But I became one of the commissioners.$$Okay. For the EEOC?$$For EEOC.$$Yeah.$$And it was a challenge. You know, it was a challenge when the Republicans were in the majority, it was a challenge when the Democrats were in the majority because I had been raised to think that these kind of jobs weren't political. That you don't look at the politics of the situation, you do the job. And I came there with a civil rights background, you know. That's what I did. And not everybody who gets appointed to those positions brings the same kind of background.