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Toni Fay

Communications executive Toni Fay was born on April 25, 1947 to George E. and Allie C. (Smith) Fay. Fay received her B.A. degree from Duquesne University in 1968. She obtained her M.S.W. degree, four years later, from the University of Pittsburgh. She also received her M.Ed. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1973. Fay began her professional career in 1968 when she was hired as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Welfare. She was then named the director of social services for the Pittsburgh Drug Abuse Center in 1972. Fay was also appointed regional commissioner of the Governor's Council on Drugs & Alcohol for the state of Pennsylvania, serving in that capacity from 1973 to 1976. In 1977, she was named director of planning and development for the National Council of Negro Women. She was then hired as an executive vice president of D. Parke Gibson Associates, a public relations firm.

In 1982, Fay was named manager of community relations for Time-Warner, Inc. in New York. After only a year with the media conglomerate, she was promoted to the position of director of corporate community relations and affirmative action. She would go on to serve in that role for ten years before being appointed Time Warner’s vice president and corporation officer. After eight years as vice president, Fay launched her own management consultant firm TGF Associates in Englewood, New Jersey.

In addition to her corporate career, Fay was a member of the transition team for former U.S. President William Clinton in 1992. She was also appointed by President Clinton to the boards of the National Institute for Literacy and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Fay has served on a number of boards for civic, social and educational entities, including that of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, UNICEF, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and Library, the Apollo Theatre Foundation, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Bethune Cookman College, the Coro Foundation, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, among many others.

Toni Fay was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on August 1, 2012.

Accession Number




Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category
Middle Name



Duquesne University

University of Pittsburgh

A Whizz Kids Preschool Inc Ii

A-Karrasel Primary Grade Center

Benjamin Franklin Junior High School

Teaneck Senior High School

P.S. 169 Robert F Kennedy School

First Name


Birth City, State, Country

New York



Favorite Season



New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Morocco

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City




Favorite Food


Short Description

Communications executive Toni Fay (1947 - ) was vice president of Time Warner, Inc.


New York City Department of Welfare

Pittsburgh Drug Abuse Center

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)

D. Parke Gibson Association

Time Warner, Inc.

TGF Associates

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Toni Fay's interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Toni Fay lists her favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her maternal family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes how her maternal grandparents met</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes her maternal grandfather and great uncle's occupations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Toni Fay remembers visiting her grandfather in New Jersey after the 1967 Newark riots</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes her maternal grandmother</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about her family's relationship to the Presbyterian Church</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Toni Fay recaps her maternal family history</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Toni Fay describes her mother's childhood in Harlem, New York</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Toni Fay talks about her father and paternal family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Toni Fay talks about her father and paternal family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Toni Fay describes her father's personality</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about her father's start of an African American high school football league</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about her father's draft into the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her family's perspective toward the draft</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Toni Fay explains how her parent met and fell in love</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes her childhood home in Harlem, New York</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her parents' dispositions and considers her likeness to them</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes experiencing discrimination in the Teaneck, New Jersey schools</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Toni Fay recalls her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes her childhood activities in Harlem, New York</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Toni Fay describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Harlem, New York</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Toni Fay remembers beating Roosevelt "Rosey" Brown in ping pong</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Toni Fay talks about the distinction between Harlem and Washington Heights</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Toni Fay describes her experience at P.S. 169 elementary school in New York City</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Toni Fay describes her experience at Stitt Junior High School and moving to Teaneck, New Jersey</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes playing in the band at Stitt Junior High School in New York City</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Toni Fay describes leaving New York City for Teaneck, New Jersey</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes how she avoided being held back from the eighth grade</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Toni Fay talks about her neighbors in Teaneck, Jersey, including the Isley family, and northern migration to the suburbs</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes attending summer camp and other structured activities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes the racial discrimination she experienced in Teaneck, New Jersey</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about entertaining her parents' friends</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about her father's establishment of a football team in Teaneck, New Jersey</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Toni Fay recalls attending the March on Washington in 1963 and boycotting companies that were segregationist</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about Malcolm X and remembers visiting "Southern" cousins in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Toni Fay talks about her decision to attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Toni Fay explains why she elected not to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes her undergraduate experience at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about HistoryMaker Ronald Davenport, then-professor in the Duquesne University School of Law</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes being accepted into graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Toni Fay talks about her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Toni Fay talks about her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Toni Fay talks about heading the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about her parents' mentorship</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about C. Delores Tucker, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes moving to San Francisco, California briefly after leaving her job in Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about C. Delores Tucker, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about moving back home after spending one year in San Francisco, California</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Toni Fay describes interviewing with and being hired by HistoryMaker Dorothy Height</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes initiatives she oversaw at the National Council of Negro Women</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes being hired by the D. Parke Gibson Association public relations firm</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes being hired at Time Inc.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her experience at Time Inc. and relationship with executive William J. Trent, Jr.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes making connections with Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, and others through the Black Leadership Family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about the members, requirements and objectives at the Black Leadership Academy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes the development of her literacy program at Time Inc.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes the literacy program she developed at Time Inc.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about Time Inc.'s merger with Warner Communications Inc. in 1990</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes working on 'Songs of My People' photography book</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes meeting HistoryMaker Quincy Jones and her involvement in the Listen Up Foundation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Toni Fay talks about becoming Time Warner's first African American officer</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes working on 'Americanos: Latino Life in the United States' and Gordon Parks' 'Half Past Autumn' at Time Warner</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about the external projects she worked on, including the Business Policy Review Council</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Toni Fay explains why the Business Policy Review Council stopped operating</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Toni Fay talks about her retirement from Time Warner</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about challenges surrounding the preservation of the Apollo Theater</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about her role in the revitalization of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Toni Fay remembers HistoryMaker Ossie Davis</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her role on President Bill Clinton's transition team</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes her literacy work with the Clinton Administration and Time Warner Inc.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Toni Fay lists various boards she has served on over the years</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Toni Fay reflects considers what she might have done differently</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Toni Fay considers her legacy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Toni Fay talks about her family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Toni Fay shares her advice to young professionals</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Toni Fay describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Toni Fay narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Toni Fay narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>







Toni Fay talks about heading the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Pennsylvania
Toni Fay describes working on 'Songs of My People' photography book
And I got--as I said, I think I've been blessed my whole career. All of a sudden, there was a brand new agency being started by Governor Milton Shapp in Pennsylvania. And it was to be the single-state agency for drug and alcohol abuse. Again, this was a whole new wave in the whole health and mental health arena nationally. So he started it, and the single-state agency was called the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. And for some reason, I was hired to be head of the whole region, which put me in charge of twenty-four counties in western Pennsylvania in allocating their drug and alcohol money for their county programs and other things. It's the first time I'm managing a staff, first time I was traveling statewide to look at programs. So I learned so much, and the first time I had to deal with administration, with panels. So I was taken from a community-based activity, thinking about, you know, we're just gonna improve the lot of people, to an administrative position dealing with budgets and money and plans and, and more racism, which was easier because outside of Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], if you know western Pennsylvania and you should coming from Dayton [Ohio], I mean it's Appalachia in some places. I remember going to one of my counties and the, the county commissioner was blind. And I'm walking in to introduce myself, and he said, "Oh, yeah, I heard this, this colored gal got that job." I said, yes, and she's right here in front of you, you know (laughter). And what, and, and you have a request before me, you know. So, you know, I learned those--it was like the sum total of the things I had learned from Teaneck [New Jersey] (laughter), that I had to bring to that experience too. But it was a great job. I mean it propelled me totally out of traditional social work into now looking at this whole understanding of public health systems and administration and managing people.$There were two things going on that propelled me in getting my officer's stripe, which was unbelievable. First, I had this, "what the hell" attitude. I'm just gonna keep my head down and not stay in the gossip, rumor mill about who's on first, who's on second. My boss, who was then Jerry Levin [Gerald Levin], who became the chairman of Time Warner later on and did the AOL deal to our, our chagrin, Jerry said, call me only if you need me 'cause he was in his own political battle. So, you know, we were all just holding on. None of us were gonna put our hands up to say, "I'm leaving" 'cause they said, "Oh, at least let's get a package if we're gonna leave." So that's when I was approached to take on this project called 'Songs of My People.' I had gotten a call from a couple of the photographers that were looking at some way--quite frankly, they were a little outraged that this project around black women had traveled all around the United States and gotten such notoriety and there weren't any black photographers engaged in it. So many of them had gotten together, who were the top photographers in many of the newspapers around the country to say, let's do a day-in-the-life kind of concept. They brought it to me. I said, this is fabulous. Now, how am I gonna talk this company into it? I went to our book company and said, you all got to do this. They said, it sounds good. I said, I want us to get into the exhibition thing. We could travel this to all of our markets because in the newspaper--I'll never forget, when I went to the chairman, I said, "Look, Jerry, every paper is talking about records and synergy and movies and synergy. Not one is mentioning books, not one is mentioning magazines, not one is mentioning--it's all about now, this new entertainment complex. I have a book project that I wanna get all of our businesses engaged in." And it's gonna propel our agenda in terms of saying to the black community, we are here and the white community too. And think about all these museums. You like culture. Well, I sold it to Jerry to say--he said, "Toni, I like your thought." He said, but I don't even know how we're gonna pay for this. If we have to commit to fund an exhibition, all our money's tied up in this deal. Do you know how I got the exhibition funded? There was a line that the banks had not attached that was the retirement gift for Dick Munro, who was the outgoing CEO. That was the only line not attached in the deal we're paying for this merger (laughter). So if you ever see any literature from 'Songs of My People,' 'cause it traveled in over a hundred countries, you know, through the State Department [U.S. Department of State]. I mean it's just great. It always says, and "Is dedicated to Dick Munro through his retired," (laughter). It went on for five years. It was a major book, gangbusters exhibition. And what I liked most about it, and I think why people remember me and always come up to me and all of our executives in the company and said, "I'm one of the 'Songs of My People' photographers. They all got better jobs. Some became the press secretaries for Clinton [President William "Bill" Clinton] and everybody got promoted at their newspapers. And that's also how we got so much press 'cause when we would hit town, all of a sudden they could go to their publisher and say, look, I'm in this exhibition, and this is in our town. So you're gonna get some play. I mean it was just gangbusters. It was a landmark thing for the craft of photography. So that was one--

Adelaide Sanford

Educator Adelaide L. Sanford was born in Brooklyn on November 27, 1925. Sanford studied at Brooklyn College, where she earned her B.Ed. degree in 1947; she received her M.Ed. degree from Wellesley College three years later. From 1950 to 1965, Sanford taught in New York's elementary schools, before being hired as an assistant principal. Sanford earned her Ph.D. degree from Fordham University in 1967, and later became principal at Crispus Attucks School in Brooklyn, earning an outstanding reputation for promoting excellence and achievement at an inner-city school.

In 1986, Sanford won unanimous election to the Board of Regents of the State University of New York. As chairperson of the Regents' Committee on Low Performing Schools, Sanford played an instrumental role in shaping new educational policies that sought to close the gap among schools in student performance. Though outspoken and known for her African-style dress and Ebonics commentary, Sanford never wavered in her concern for the welfare of New York's students, particularly those at low-performing schools. While serving as a regent, Sanford also taught at Baruch College and Fordham University.

Many honors and awards were bestowed upon Sanford for her work; she received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's humanitarian award, and distinguished alumna awards from Wellesley College and Brooklyn College. Sanford played an instrumental role in creating the John Henrick Clark meetinghouse. Sanford also served on the board of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and as a national advisory board for multicultural education. Sanford and her husband, Jay, were married in 1955; the couple raised two children.

Accession Number




Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category
Marital Status



Brooklyn College

Wellesley College

Fordham University

First Name


Birth City, State, Country

New York



Favorite Season



New York

Favorite Vacation Destination


Favorite Quote

Hate cannot drive away hate; only love can, and darkness cannot drive away darkness; only light can.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York



Favorite Food


Short Description

Education administrator and elementary school teacher Adelaide Sanford (1925 - ) is vice chancellor of the State University of New York's Board of Regents and was an Afrocentric educator for many years in Brooklyn.


New York City Board of Education

Howard University

Baruch College

Favorite Color


Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Adelaide Sanford interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Adelaide Sanford's favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Adelaide Sanford remembers her mother</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Adelaide Sanford's mother is diagnosed with cancer</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Adelaide Sanford speaks of family struggles</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Adelaide Sandford details her mother's upbringing in Vicksburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Adelaide Sanford discusses her parents courtship and marriage.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Adelaide Sanford shares her mothers philosophy of marriage</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Adelaide Sanford's husband's name</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Adelaide Sanford describes her father's life struggles as a black man</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Adelaide Sanford speaks of her father's experience in France in WWI</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Adelaide Sanford remembers the warmth and openness of her childhood home</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Adelaide Sanford details the difference</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Adelaide Sanford remembers the Bedford Stuyvesant of her youth</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Adelaide Sanford recalls her grandmother's life as a slave</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Adelaide Sanford discusses her Nigerian ancestry</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Adelaide Sanford tells the heart-breaking story of her aunt's forced sterilization at age 14</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Adelaide Sanford remembers her loving Aunt Florence</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Adelaide Sanford speaks of the abuse of black women by medical doctors</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Adelaide Sanford notes her grandfather's life during and after slavery</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Adelaide Sanford details her education, secondary and post-secondary</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Adelaide Sanford details her undergraduate and graduate education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Adelaide Sanford recalls the years of discrimination during her school years</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Adelaide Sanford discusses how segregation fostered a rich black cultural life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Adelaide Sanford clears up a misconception about her birthplace</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Adelaide Sanford recalls a harrowing childhood roadtrip to Vicksburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Adelaide Sanford gives more detail about the childhood roadtrip accident</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Adelaide Sanford discusses the profundity of the roadtrip experience</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Adelaide Sanford talks about her first teaching position</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Adelaide Sanford continues with her teaching experience at Crispus Attucks School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Adelaide Sanford refuses to apologize to fellow teachers</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Adelaide Sanford details how she became principal of Crispus Attucks School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Adelaide Sanford discusses her involvement in contract comliance legislation in New York City</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Adelaide Sanford gives more detail on the Crispus Attucks School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Adelaide Sanford recalls the impetus behind her becoming principal</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Adelaide Sanford details the social an political pressures in her school district in the 1960s</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Adelaide Sanford discusses the Ocean Hill-Brownsville controversy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Adelaide Sanford reveals the circumstances which led her into school administration</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Adelaide Sanford describes how she became a New York Regent</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Adelaide Sanford reveals that she hasn't received her PhD</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Adelaide Sanford details the influences on her educational philosophy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Adelaide Sanford shares her frustrations of being New York Regent</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Adelaide Sanford describes her thoughts on the term 'Afrocentrism'</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Adelaide Sanford defines what home is to her</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Adelaide Sanford wants to see truth taught in American schools</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Adelaide Sanford reminisces about her childhood friend, Shirley Chisholm</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Adelaide Sanford articulates her philosphy on Ebonics</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Adelaide Sanford shares stories of her travels to Egypt</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Adelaide Sanford discusses her desire to see children travel to Africa</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Adelaide Sanford stresses the importance of imparting knwledge of African history to children of African ancestry</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Adelaide Sanford on her legacy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 17 - Adelaide Sanford unveils her courtship with her future husband</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Adelaide Sanford meets her future husband over a home-cooked meal</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Adelaide Sanford talks about her adult children</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Adelaide Sanford wants to be remembered as being responsible for children</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Adelaide Sanford has hope</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo- Luvenia WIlliams</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Photo-Peyton Williams</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo-Sulir and Henry Hines</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo-The Sanford Family, 1960</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo-The Sanford Family 1984</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo- Adelaide Sanford in Ghana</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo-Adelaide Sanford with fellow educators</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo- Adelaide Sanford and Bishop Tutu</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo-Adelaide Sanford with Regent Carson and Commissioner Trayman</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo- New York Board of Regents portrait</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photos- Adelaide Sanford and Toni Morrison</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo-Adelaide Sanford in Cape Town, South Africa</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo- Adelaide Sanford at her Kwanzaa ceremony</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo-Adelaide Sanford</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 19 - Photo-Adelaide Sanford</a>







Adelaide Sanford talks about her first teaching position
Adelaide Sanford articulates her philosphy on Ebonics
So, going back, you take this experience back with you when you go back to the North, and schools. And how did you negotiate those different Northern, Southern and racism, a part of both experiences, but there being some difference?$$How did you (unclear) (simultaneous)-- Yeah, it's different because when I became a teacher in Bedford Stuyvesant in a school near Atlantic Avenue, that was my first teaching experience, it was 1950. So it's fifty-three years now that I've been involved in some way in public or private education. And I was assigned a class that was called an 'Opportunity Class'. It was made up of boys, fourth, fifth and sixth grade boys who were considered uneducable, incorrigible. They were not, they were not considered mentally retarded. But they were just behavior problems. So they were put all together in this one class. And I started there in November. And they told me, they said, "We're gonna beat the hell out of you, just like we did all the four other teachers who came. You not gonna stay here." And I said, "Oh, no (laughter) because I need a job." I started in November, my mother was ill then. And they tried everything they could to run me out of that class (laughter). But they were so bright. And there was one boy, David Rosette, he was the ringleader. He was the one that was really going to see that I didn't stay. He was gonna keep his reputation. Now, in the meantime, the principal told me, just keep them in the classroom. Just keep them from running up and down the hall, and annoying the other teachers. I had no materials, I had no books, I had no drawing paper. I had nothing. But I was determined to love them--cause I could see their ability. They could organize, and, and assign each other things. And so I decided that I was going to make this work. And one of the things that they taught me was, they wanted to read about themselves. They didn't want to read about Ted and Sally. They didn't want to read about 'Dick and Jane'. They didn't have any white house with a white fence, they didn't have no damned red wagon. And so they were telling what they're asking me to read is not relevant. So I said, well, what do you want to read? Well, they tease--they, they tricked me at first. They told me they wanted pussy and dick. So I went to the principal and asked him--I thought it was a different reading series. And the principal said, "Oh, my God, Miss Hines, close the door and get the guidance counselor. So when I went back the next day, I said, "Look what you did to me." They said, "Look, we knew you were dumb, but we didn't know you were stupid." I said, "Do you know you almost got me fired?" And I said, "I think that you owe me something. So we, first thing we're gonna do is vocabulary because I didn't recognize those words. I'm gonna teach you your anatomy so you know the proper terms. It's nothing wrong with it. It's not dirty." And so that was the, that was the overture. And then they told me that they wanted to read about themselves. So I said, you tell me your story, and I'll write it. And that's how I learned to teach. I learned from them. I did not learn at Wellesley. They told me their story: there are rats in my house. Sometimes we only have beans to eat. Sometimes the--whatever they wrote, whatever they told me, I wrote it. And I said, this is David's story. This is John's story. This is Mary's story. Then I extrapolated the words, the ending sounds, the rhyming words, the smaller words inside, make a sentence. I--the same thing you would do with Ted and Sally, I did with--and they were so proud of their stories. They identified with them. And we began to learn. And then all of a sudden, it became clear that these were very bright children, but they never wanted those children to go back into regular classes. I stayed in that school six years. And then when the new school opened, I went to the new school, which was the Crispus Attucks Schools in 1956 and I stayed there till 1985. I became principal at that school. And my whole philosophy was, every child has a story. And he wants to read about his story. It's interesting, in yesterday's [New York] Times [newspaper], this new school that they're opening at Columbia University [New York, NY], the curriculum for the only child whose grades is me and myself. The next one is me and my family. The next one is me and my world. So, people know what's important, but they feel that every child doesn't have a story so they have to read someone else's story. But each child has a story and has a life, and it has to be validated. And we were quite successful there.$I think I read somewhere where Ebonics was a discussion that you were a part of and took a stance that was not necessarily popular, I mean in the mainstream. Could you talk about that? Well, I really never took a stand. I believe that in Oakland when the issue of Ebonics [African American Vernacular English] came up, it came up in reference to children failing again. And the School Board in Oakland and the woman who did the work, Dr. Joyce King was a very close friend of mine, they said, "We would like for the language that the children bring to school to be recognized and respected and take them from there to standard English." But people became hysterical. They said, oh, we want to teach the children Ebonics. They want to teach the teachers Ebonics. I never took a public stand on Ebonics. There was a major conference on Ebonics held at the Medgar Evers [College, Brooklyn, N.Y.]. And the National Organization of Linguists declared Ebonics is a language. It has a syntax, it has a system. It's grammatically intricate and so forth. And, I never spoke at this conference, I wasn't involved in the conference. However, subsequent to that, Charles Barron, who was now a member of the council, had a forum with [Rev.] Herbert Daughtry at their church [Pastor of the House of the Lord Pentecostal Church.] And they talked about Ebonics. And I was a participant in that panel. I tried to help them to understand that no one was talking about teaching Ebonics. The children come speaking Ebonics. But every language system that a child brings to school should be respected as a language system. You don't condemn it because language is full communication. There's no language that's superior to any other language. That's all I ever said about Ebonics. But when the issue came up about my running for the Chancellor of the Board of Regents, they dragged this out and ran this article in the paper saying that I was a supporter of Ebonics--even had a manufactured picture of me with a sign that said Ebonics. But I have never taken a public stand about Ebonics because to me it's, there's no need for a public stand. Whatever language a child brings to school, you validate that language. Children don't just have to speak one language. Right. When you go to Curacao or other parts of the world, children speak four or five--they come up and say, "What language do you speak?" And whatever it is, they can speak it. So we don't have to discard one language. And then, as I pointed out, the spirituals are in Ebonics. The slave narratives are in Ebonics. You expect me to throw that away.