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Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly

Sculptor Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly was born on September 11, 1937 in Crenshaw, Mississippi to Mattie Louise Williams and Floyd Pitchford. Jolly received her B.A. degree from Roosevelt University in 1961 and her M.A. degree from Governors State University in 1974, both in the State of Illinois.

From 1961 to 1965, Pitchford-Jolly taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. She worked as teacher and director at the Chicago Youth Center Head Start from 1965 to 1969. Pitchford-Jolly then worked as program director at the Chicago Commons from 1969 to 1974. In 1974, she worked as a professor of ceramic at Chicago State University and the education coordinator of the Suburban Health System Agency until 1981. From 1981 to 1985, she was a self-taught ceramic artist and sculptor at the Press Artisan 21 Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. Pitchford-Jolly received an award in the Best Of Category at the Museum of Science and Industry in 1984. In 1986, she was recognized as a Top Ten Emerging Black Chicago Artist. A year later, Pitchford-Jolly worked as a curator at the Saphire and Crystals Black Women’s Art Exhibition. Her profile was featured in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine and worked as an artist-in-residence for the Lakeside Group in 1988. Her work was also featured in the 2005 Chicago Woman’s Caucus for Art. In 2008, Pitchford-Jolly and David Philpot’s clay pots and carved wooden staffs were showcased in the “Kindred Spirits” Exhibit at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. Her art is also exhibited and sold at the Esther Saks Gallery and was seen in Columbia Motion Pictures film, Date Night 7.

Pitchford-Jolly served on the board of directors of Urban Traditions in 1984 and the Chicago Cultural Center in 1986; a board member of the African American Rountable in 1985; and on the Exhibition Committee at the Chicago Cultural Center. In addition, Pitchford-Jolly volunteered at the Southside Community Art Center. Also, she is the founder of the Mude People’s Black Women’s Resources Sharing Workshop.

Pitchford-Jolly lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Pitchford-Jolly was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 15, 2008.

Marva Pitchford-Jolly passed away on October 21, 2012.

Accession Number

A2008.086

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/15/2008

Last Name

Pitchford-Jolly

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lee

Occupation
Schools

Francis Parkman Elementary School

Northern Illinois University

Englewood High School

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marva

Birth City, State, Country

Crenshaw

HM ID

PIT02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Guadalajara, Mexico

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/11/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

10/21/2012

Short Description

Sculptor Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly (1937 - 2012 ) was a tenured professor of ceramics at Chicago State University. She was recognized as one of the Top Ten Emerging Black Chicago Artists of 1986, and her works have been exhibited numerous times.

Employment

Suburban Cook-DuPage County Health Systems Agency

Chicago State University

Head Start

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls the community of Crenshaw, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls the community of Crenshaw, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her parents' courtship

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes the smells and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes the sights of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her home in Crenshaw, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her relationship with her twin sister

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her schooling in Crenshaw, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls her bedtime routine

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her first grade teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her early interest in art

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her childhood friends

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes race relations in Crenshaw, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls moving to her aunt's home in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her black history education

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her counselors at Englewood High School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her graduation from Englewood High School

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls working at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls transferring to Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her art and music collection

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers the atmosphere of Roosevelt University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her work in community organizing

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls joining the faculty of Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers teaching at Chicago State University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about the South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes the Sapphire and Crystals art collective, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes the Sapphire and Crystals art collective, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her involvement in arts organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her philosophy of art

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her story pot about Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her artistic inspiration

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her story pots

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls her travels in Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her residency in Zambia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her sculpture, 'Old People Say'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers the sale of an early story pot sculpture

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about the spiritual component of her artwork

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her friends and family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly shares the 'Women of the World' story pot sculpture

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her youngest brother

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers teaching at Chicago State University
Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her story pot about Hurricane Katrina
Transcript
And I worked as a part timer until '89 [1989], but a lot of different things were happening. But that's the only thing you need to know. And we were changing presidents, you know. We had a couple of them during that period of time. Ayers [George E. Ayers] was, was one, and he left, and then we had some interim folks, you know. Chicago State was a mess. Let's just put it like that. And I didn't--I was debating whether or not--I have a tendency to really get hooked into things. So I was debating whether or not I am going to get hooked into teaching at Chicago State, I mean, because tenure track, I don't know what people think tenure track is, but that's a lot of work and a lot of documentation. So I just kept saying no. I just kept saying no. And in 1990, when Dolores Cross [HistoryMaker Dolores E. Cross] came, that's when the talks got really, really serious. We didn't have a lot of--people didn't know this, but the bulk of Chicago State's faculty was also white up until the early '90s [1990s], you know. And then it was about 60/40 [percent], maybe, black/white. It, it made a flip-flop, but even now. I think there are some advantages to it; I mean, I really do. I think that students really ought to be exposed to a lot of different kind of teachers. And the ones that--we kind of hung on to the ones that want to be there. The ones who don't are gone, you know. They kind of get tenure, and then they go someplace else. But when she came and talked to me about it, you know, I began to soften a bit, you know. And I thought, oh, man, here we go. But, you know, I made the commitment, and it is absolutely the best decision I've ever made, even though I swore (laughter) on my mother's [Mattie Williams Pitchford] grave I would never teach. Yet, that is--but my friends say that it is--God's punishing me by making me teach because I used to pick on them so much, you know. They were teachers, and I just laughed at them, (laughter) you know. So--and at Chicago State, you know, when we were going away, when were all graduating from Englewood [Englewood High School, Chicago, Illinois] if they were going to Chicago Teachers College [Chicago State University, Chicago, Illinois], you know, we just thought, ah, anybody can go to Chicago Teachers College, you know. And the fact that I end up being a professor at Chicago Teachers College, they just see it as an absolute justice, you know. And perhaps it is, because I, I just--but I love it. It's been a wonderful--you learn so much from students, you know. And particularly as a, as a professional artist, they approach and do things and create art in ways that, you know, I never thought about, you know. And I'll go like, oh, I'm taking that (laughter), you know.$And I felt very strongly about a lot of stuff socially. It has always pissed me off, racism. You have no idea, even as a little kid. You know, I thought, this is stupid. You know, it just never made sense to me. And I just wasn't going to go quietly. And I thought that a lot of the values that, the moral values that I had as a youngster, I thought they were universal, actually. We weren't taught to do this because this is better for black people. We were taught to do things because it was better for people period, you know, and to have a very broad thought about how the world runs, you know, not just America even, you know. And I will take some social issues and have that as a, as subject matter. For instance, this pot that's over to the right, I did this pot when Katrina [Hurricane Katrina] was going on. And that's just the name of it, because I hadn't been paying attention because I was busy and hadn't been watching TV or listening to much radio. And I get up, I ten--I get up four, five o'clock still a lot now. And I was watching TV, and I couldn't believe it. I mean, I just could not--you know, I'd heard them talking about there's gonna be a flood and stuff. But what I was seeing, I just--'cause I saw water full of debris, and I didn't know what the debris was, and then I saw it, you know. And it just, it just knocked me for a loop. And I just ate my breakfast and went to the studio and built a pot and painted it, you know. That's the way I just kind of purged the, the desire to absolutely kill somebody, I mean, you know, just go--I just wanted to go slap George Bush [President George Walker Bush]. That, that's what, you know--like, just shake him, you know. Now this, this, this, this, you know, man, I know you ain't connected, but (laughter), you know, this is crazy. This won't work, you know. So, that's, that, and I'm okay, and--$$So, so you use your, your interest in, in world events and politics--$$Yes.$$--inform your art.$$Yes, absolutely.

Xernona Clayton

Broadcast executive, foundation chief executive, nonprofit executive, television host, and television producer Xernona Clayton and her twin sister, Xenobia, were born August 30, 1930 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Clayton’s parents, Reverend James M. and Lillie Brewster, were actively engaged in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee. In 1952, Clayton earned her B.A. degree from Tennessee State Agricultural and Industrial College, now Tennessee State University. She later earned a scholarship and pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago. In 1957, Clayton married noted journalist and civil rights activist Edward Clayton, who died in 1966. She later married jurist Paul L. Brady, the first African American appointed as a Federal Administrative Law judge.

Clayton's civic involvement and participation in the Civil Rights Movement was informed by the Chicago Urban League, in which she worked to investigate discrimination in employment. As an activist, Clayton was instrumental in coordinating activities for the Doctor's Committee for Implementation project, which culminated with the desegregation of hospital facilities in Atlanta, Georgia. Clayton also worked closely with Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to organize fundraising initiatives for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). By the mid-1960s, Clayton was writing for the Atlanta Voice, and in 1968, she became the first black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, Variations, which became The Xernona Clayton Show on WAGA-TV in Atlanta. Her guests included Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. Later that year, Clayton successfully convinced the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan to renounce the Klan. In 1982, Clayton began her long standing and impressive career with Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). At TBS, she assumed many roles throughout the years, including producing documentaries, hosting a public affairs program entitled Open Upand serving as director and vice-president of public affairs in the early 1980s. Ted Turner, founder of TBS, promoted Clayton to assistant corporate vice-president for urban affairs in 1988. In 1993, Clayton created the Trumpet Awards for Turner Broadcasting to honor African American achievements. The program is seen in over 185 countries.

As Governor of Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter appointed Clayton to the State Motion Picture and Television Commission. She is a member of the Academy for Television Arts and Sciences, the National Urban League, among other civic and professional organizations. Clayton is also a board member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and served as chairman of the Atlanta University Board of Trustees. The recipient of numerous accolades, Clayton received the Leadership and Dedication to Civil Rights Award and the Drum Major for Justice Award from SCLC in 2004. In her honor, the Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Black Journalists established the Xernona Clayton Scholarship. Clayton’s autobiography, I’ve Been Marching All the Time was published in 1991.

Xernona Clayton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 22, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.143

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/22/2005 |and| 2/21/2014

Last Name

Clayton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Dunbar Elementary School

University of Chicago

Manual Training High School

Tennessee State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Xernona

Birth City, State, Country

Muskogee

HM ID

CLA10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada, Bahamas, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

If You Can't Change People Around You, Change The People Around You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/30/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Grapes

Short Description

Foundation chief executive, broadcast executive, and television host Xernona Clayton (1930 - ) was the founder of the Trumpet Awards, and the first black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, Variations, which became The Xernona Clayton Show on WAGA-TV.

Employment

WAGA TV

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Chicago Urban League

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1428,20:4896,86:6460,124:7412,145:8772,198:9248,206:10404,240:11492,261:13532,295:20102,335:20772,347:25931,474:28611,524:29080,531:34373,662:34641,667:35311,684:37388,728:37656,733:38728,759:48161,859:52111,922:53770,956:54323,962:54718,968:57325,1016:62855,1137:72650,1279:72946,1284:78940,1445:79606,1457:84130,1471:88546,1561:89098,1574:108552,1934:109514,1953:110180,1964:113436,2019:114324,2033:116618,2077:116914,2082:121310,2106:121913,2120:132365,2350:133839,2380:135782,2417:137926,2491:140338,2520:149904,2596:150480,2603:151440,2615:153700,2631$0,0:810,26:1260,32:1980,42:3420,95:7248,145:8132,165:10924,193:14476,266:15734,290:16474,303:20026,368:21950,403:36902,541:37832,554:48126,694:48498,702:49490,720:49924,728:55776,809:57017,939:57309,944:58915,972:59426,982:63500,1020:65100,1047:70124,1128:75674,1304:76414,1316:85410,1475:87621,1542:88157,1555:96202,1666:104808,1765:105340,1773:105644,1778:105948,1783:107848,1819:108456,1828:116227,1938:127268,2065:132164,2129:135899,2207:143330,2325:143890,2337:147460,2416:148160,2433:148440,2438:150610,2509:151240,2519:151520,2524:155806,2554:156400,2564:156928,2576:157654,2591:157918,2596:162604,2731:163462,2752:163726,2757:167092,2849:167752,2862:176930,2963:181840,3002:185840,3092:186480,3101:190960,3188:200900,3290:201868,3303:206895,3482:207155,3487:207415,3492:208260,3507:209885,3543:210210,3549:213966,3600:215144,3638:215392,3643:216260,3667:216818,3678:217128,3690:217500,3699:221096,3787:224800,3817
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Xernona Clayton's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton talks about her mother's paternal background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton relates lessons from her father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recounts how her parents met in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Xernona Clayton recalls her father's leadership in the Baptist church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton remembers her father's work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls her father's humbling response to public praise of Clayton and her twin sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton describes Dunbar Elementary School in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton recalls her favorite teachers and classes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of Xernona Clayton's interview, session 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton talks about her educational foundation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton remembers Manual Training High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton talks about being a twin

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her father's role in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes her adolescent career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton recalls her decision to attend Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton recalls being named the smartest girl in her class at Manual Training High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recalls matriculating at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Xernona Clayton considers how her childhood influenced her activism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Xernona Clayton considers how her childhood influenced her activism, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton recalls her collegiate extracurricular activities, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls her collegiate extracurricular activities, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls being sheltered from discrimination during college

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton recalls participating in a University of Wisconsin twin study

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton recalls studying with her twin at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes her approach to learning

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton explains her decision to attend the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton reflects upon the impact of her father's lessons on humility

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recalls how she became involved with the Chicago Urban League

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton describes her initial work with the Chicago Urban League in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton talks about the Chicago Urban League's position on labor integration

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls chairing the most successful Chicago Urban League charity dinner

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton remembers deciding to leave graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton talks about meeting her husband, Edward Clayton

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton recalls her involvement in Chicago's South Side society

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton recalls teaching a prominent Chicago businessman to read and write

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton reflects upon her legacy as an elementary school teacher in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton explains how she began working for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 1
Xernona Clayton describes her initial work with the Chicago Urban League in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
But as a twin, now, people say it's--did you feel special--I guess you'd have to feel special as a twin, and did you have a special relationship with your twin [Xenobia Brewster]?$$Yes, we did feel special because when we found out we were rare and people made such notice of it--$$When did you first kind of realize it that something unusual was going on?$$Well, since we heard it every day, we started saying, "Mm-mm, you know, we're pretty special." But then we were so close. I mean, my sister and I, it's so like you have a best friend all the time. Everybody else has to go and try to find one and chose one. But I had one, and she had one, and we had each other. And it's somebody you really trust. I mean, you can tell your innermost secrets to your twin sister, and she could tell me hers. As a matter of fact, when we started courting, she'd tell me, like, she's going to slip out tonight when we had the curfew on and we couldn't get out after eight o'clock, and she had this hot date that she was determined to keep. And she says, "I'm going to slip out of the window"--we shared a bedroom; we slept together all the years. She said, "I'm going to slip out because my boyfriend's going to rap on the window, then I'm going out of the window, and then when I come back, I'm going to rap on the window, you let me back in and Mother [Lillie Elliott Brewster] will never know." And, of course, I didn't want her to do it, but that was my sister and my closest friend. And so, she was determined to slip out, that I was going to help her and support her, rather. And I was the one who really was always Miss Goody Two-Shoes. You know, I'd say, "Oh, no you can't break the rules. No, no, no." But she'd say, "Oh, yes, yes, yes." And so, since she was determined, I was going to support her because I didn't want her to get a whipping. And so, like we had those little secrets that nobody knew but us. But one night it backfired because my mother, having her own leveled wisdom, kind of figured something was going on I guess by the behavior pattern or body language. And so, that night when my sister slipped out and I was to assist her to slip back in when she rapped on the window, my mother opened the window (laughter). And she said, "Help me in," and the voice said, "Okay," and she thought it was my voice; it was my mother's voice. And when she came up, you know, she wanted to run back then; of course, it was too late then. Then when my mother gave her that little spanking, then I cried, too, because I didn't want her to, you know, to get spanked. But we shared everything, just everything.$We were talking about the Urban League of Chicago [Chicago Urban League]. And--$$Yes.$$--they needed--$$Well, discrimination was a reality, but they couldn't get a handle on it. So what they decided to do was, let's see if we can, you know, catch come--let do our homework to see if it's really being practice like what we think. So the pattern then was to, or the process was to look in the want ad sections and see who's hiring, what jobs are open, and then apply; apply meaning--now, this was in '52 [1952], and requirements or skills were not all that involved. Like, if you were a clerk, you could apply for a clerk/typist job if you could type and you could spell. And so you didn't have to have, you know, a medical degree to get a job. Now, my sister [Xenobia Brewster] and I had graduated from college [Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College; Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee], so you assume we knew something. We could spell, read, and write, and we could type, and, and we learned how to type in, in college. And I don't know if you remember a man name Cortez Peters, who was the fastest man in, in America.$$Right, Cortez Typing School [sic. Cortez W. Peters Business School].$$Yeah, he was a typist. And we had a chance to meet him. And he came to our college one year, and I got a chance to meet, and boy, I was so fascinated by him. And I said one of these days I'm gonna type like Cortez Peters. And I learned to be a pretty good typist, you know, of course nowadays it doesn't matter much. But I learned how to be a good typist, and so was my sister. So we were both good typists. And so the Urban League said well, let's do this: you be our front men. And we'll always like, position five minutes, ten minutes away from where we'd call. So we called, say Marshall Field's [Marshall Field & Company]. There would be an ad in the paper for a clerk typist. And we'd call and said, "I see you have an ad in the paper." "Yes." "Is the job still open?" "Yes." "It's okay to apply?" "Yes." Then we'd make a beeline over there, like ten minutes away. And we'd get there and, "We're here to apply. I understand you got a clerk/typist at"--we don't tell we're the ones that called. You said, "I came to apply for your clerk/typist job." "Oh, so sorry, but we just filled that." You know, (laughter), well, then you got them right there. Well, that happened with so many companies, Spiegel [Spiegel Inc.]--well, I don't wanna name all of the companies that were kind of guilty but major companies that looked like they were good guys. You know, Marshall Field's, everybody went to Marshall Field's. It was a joy to go to Marshall Field's. They looked like good guys. Spiegel was a good mail order place and oh, a lot of places. And my sister and I went to many of those places that did the same pattern, apply--I mean broadcast the--advertise an opening, and then when you got there, you're black, it's not for you. And we broke down a lot of that. And it was kind of, you know, fun job; job meaning, you know, it was assigned tasks. They were really very--and I was waiting for school to start anyways, then the summer, so it was before we went to col- before I went to school.$$So, so would the Urban League then confront the business in, in a (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And they would--$$--formal setting--$$Oh yeah, and then they, they would document it.$$(Unclear)--$$And so they put, I mean had very good documentation, which means--and then they called a press conference. And of course, then you embarrass the company. And then the, you know, the good guys say well, we gotta change our image. You know, we can't be out here looking this bad. So that's how the integration took place, is all I think just felt embarrassed.$$

Susan Cayton Woodson

Art enthusiast Susan Cayton Woodson helped collect and preserve several works from the Chicago Renaissance. Born on October 16, 1918, in Seattle, Washington, Woodson was raised by her maternal grandparents after her mother died when she was just a year old.

From an early age, Woodson was conscious of her heritage, and expected to live up to the reputations of her ancestors. Her great-grandfather, Hiram R. Revels, became the first African American senator in 1870 when he won election from Mississippi during Reconstruction. At home, Woodson was influenced by the accomplishments of her grandparents. Grandmother Susie Revels Cayton was a suffragette and union activist, and Woodson's grandfather, Horace Roscoe Cayton, published the Seattle Republican, the city's first black newspaper.

Woodson attended Washington State College until her grandfather's death in 1940; at that time her grandmother decided it would be best to send Woodson some place where she could get married, and chose to move her to Chicago. Paul Robeson, a friend of Woodson's siblings, flew out to chaperone Woodson on the drive to Chicago. In Chicago, Woodson lived in the Rosenwald; home to many of the city's black intellectuals and artists.

After working at the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, Woodson volunteered at the Parkway Community House where her uncle, Horace Cayton, Jr., became director; she herself became a board member in 1973. Over the years, Woodson befriended Eldzier Cortor, Langston Hughes, Ted Ward, Richard Wright, and many other artists and activists from the eras of the WPA and Chicago Renaissance. Woodson also formed relationships with Chicago's great artists, and began collecting art commemorating these important movements. The Susan Woodson Gallery houses the preeminent collection of the Chicago Renaissance and has attracted an international clientele.

Woodson served on the board of the South Side Community Art Center, and was a member of the Vivian G. Harsh Collection at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library.

Woodson passed away on January 31, 2013.

Accession Number

A2003.105

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/14/2003

Last Name

Woodson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Cayton

Occupation
Schools

Washington State University

James A. Garfield High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Susan

Birth City, State, Country

Seattle

HM ID

WOO03

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Willie Leftwich

State

Washington

Favorite Vacation Destination

Seattle, Washington

Favorite Quote

The kitchen is closed.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/16/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cobbler (Apple)

Death Date

1/31/2013

Short Description

Art collector Susan Cayton Woodson (1918 - 2013 ) is a collector and preservationist of Chicago Rennaissance art. The Susan Woodson Gallery houses the preeminent collection of the Chicago Renaissance and has attracted an international clientele.

Employment

Supreme Liberty Life Insurance

Parkway Community House

Susan Woodson Gallery

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
530,0:2426,17:3453,31:4006,39:6850,69:7166,74:7561,80:12600,145:13580,175:14210,185:19741,228:20398,237:20909,246:22889,255:24130,278:28074,367:31440,415:32034,428:33024,458:33486,467:39325,515:43090,546:45695,563:46050,569:47541,587:49666,602:50081,608:50496,614:52073,638:57255,691:59937,720:62040,740:62670,754:72344,857:73048,867:73928,880:77750,914:78075,920:78855,932:79115,937:81320,952:81712,957:82300,964:83476,979:84162,988:84848,997:85338,1003:93821,1062:98808,1107:100106,1139:100519,1147:100755,1152:101109,1160:101404,1166:103792,1186:104728,1202:105016,1207:105376,1213:105664,1218:106240,1227:107248,1251:107536,1256:107824,1261:108184,1267:111152,1287:111590,1294:113050,1309:113853,1323:116244,1341:116972,1351:118804,1363:119350,1371:119896,1380:124000,1413:126394,1434:126642,1439:134088,1542:134700,1549:135108,1554:135516,1559:136536,1573:138474,1604:140037,1610$0,0:11700,198:11948,203:18707,289:18991,297:19275,302:19843,312:21192,338:30381,462:31237,474:31772,480:36644,523:36928,528:37283,536:38064,550:38632,560:43383,627:51110,716:51656,724:57272,818:58052,843:59456,862:60158,872:64370,883:76954,1067:77298,1072:77900,1080:78330,1087:82674,1105:84578,1144:85666,1167:86414,1179:87162,1193:87910,1207:88386,1218:88794,1225:89678,1235:90222,1245:90970,1266:91446,1275:96214,1317:99526,1407:100534,1428:102622,1467:103054,1474:105358,1529:105862,1538:110390,1552:111190,1565:113830,1600:114150,1605:116456,1628:116967,1636:117916,1653:128232,1873:128602,1879:129268,1890:129564,1895:133927,1936:134322,1942:137390,1956:142660,1981:143332,1988:146188,2029:146608,2035:146944,2040:148120,2054:148456,2059:150472,2094:150976,2101:151732,2113:152068,2118:153076,2127:153412,2132:157570,2140:158074,2171:160306,2204:160810,2212:163656,2238:163852,2243:167692,2311:167972,2317:168588,2331:168812,2336:169764,2358:176846,2459:178910,2473:179834,2490:180088,2508
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Susan Woodson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson talks about her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson remembers her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson recalls her father's background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Susan Woodson recalls problems traveling to her father's funeral

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson remembers her early reaction to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson talks about growing up in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson discusses childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson describes family life during her childhood in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Susan Woodson talks about her brothers' wives

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Susan Woodson remembers elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Susan Woodson explains hardships during junior college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Susan Woodson details her years at the Rosenwald Building

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson describes Chicago's racial and social climates

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson talks about experiences with Paul Robeson

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson recalls her attempts at finding work in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Susan Woodson explains various family problems

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Susan Woodson talks about her husband's professional career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson remembers opening her gallery

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson discusses experiences with Charles Sebree and his art

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson recalls the Woodson family's business successes

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson names artists she's worked with

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Susan Woodson explains how she got involved in showing WPA artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Susan Woodson talks about various ways she's obtained artwork

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Susan Woodson discusses William McBride's art collection

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson talks about how Margaret Burroughs helped artists

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson recalls rewarding moments in gallery ownership

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson comments on her hopes for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson considers her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Susan Woodson shares her regrets

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Susan Woodson looks back on her career

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

2$2

DATitle
Susan Woodson remembers her early reaction to Chicago, Illinois
Susan Woodson remembers opening her gallery
Transcript
Paul Robeson was closing out a concert that was at 43rd and Ashland, some large building there. And it was something to do--it was an all-black affair. There must have been thousands there, must have been. So he flew out and drove to where we were and from there, drove into Chicago [Illinois].$$Paul Robeson drove you to--$$No, the driver, but he was with--I was with two men, Gene Coleman and Paul Robeson and myself. And this was--Madge [Cayton] felt that was secure. She was the matriarch of the family at that period. So we drove into Chicago, and the first thing that--I was looking at all these black people. So he had Gene stop at 47th and Michigan, and we just stood on that corner. I had--it was a new world, complete new world. Black people dressed up. We walked up 47th Street, businesses, black businesses. And they had on these red suits and hats and red shoes. And they were just--I had never seen such a city that was awake with people walking up and down the streets, going into stores, drug stores. And I used the word, I used the word to Paul, "Look at these niggers". Now, this is what, you know, we were talking like that in those days. And "Look at these niggers. I've never seen anything like it." And he says, just wait until tonight. And so we slowly walked up 47th Street to the Rosenwald, a new, brand new world. And walking into the gates of the, front gate, it was paradise. And so we took pictures and then I took a picture of Gene and Paul in front of where we were going to be living. And that's what this picture on my wall comes from. It was a new world.$I know you met a lot of artists and a lot of activists along the way, now, but you--how did the idea for gallery come up?$$Sitting home with your husband [Harold Woodson] wondering, now, what can I talk about now. And, and Harold would read and tell, want to discuss his books. I didn't want to talk about the books. I enjoyed art. I enjoyed it, and I joined the [South Side] Art Center. Vern Gayeton [NOT FOUND] brought me on the board there. And one day there was a woman from Oak Park came into the art center and said that, I have a lot of black art that I'd like to sell. And at the art center, we don't do it like that. We have shows. And she couldn't--and she'd gone to several of the art--Nicole's, several people, and they said, no, we can't do it. So I, I heard about it, and I had the director to drive me out there. And there was all this wonderful black art, Charles (unclear) Sebree. I had some of it on my walls, beautiful art. I said, I'll sell it in my home. I said, just bring it all to me. And Mrs. Woodson had passed so I, I opened that bedroom into a gallery. It's so interesting, you know, the artists did support me. I had two comfortable chairs in the middle of the room and a coffee table for people to come in and just sit down and relax. And Sylvester Britton, who was my main artist, came in. He says, take these things out of here. You don't have to make it comfortable. You're selling art. You're not--this isn't a living room. Take it out. Sell the art and get the, put the best art forward. And that was the beginning of it. And Walter Evans from Detroit [Michigan] has several books out on his collections. He came here one day, and somebody told me about him, and he was checking it out. And I don't know how the conversation came up, but I said, well, where are you gonna take your art? He said, I'm thinking about putting it back here. And I had the best, top art in my small gallery. And people bought and--but I didn't have heavy names to come in. The little names were buying these, this work, putting it in will-call. He stayed with me and kept bringing more work in until he wanted, he decided he wanted to buy that picture, this Charles White. He stayed with me long enough for me to be able to say, no, I'll never sell it. So art, I don't know if he'll come back or not, but he's well wanted. His art collection, I'd love to sell it.$$That's on Evans and--$$Walter Evans.$$Walter Evans, okay.$$He's now down in Atlanta [Georgia].

Dr. Billie Wright Adams

Medical professor and pediatrician Dr. Billie Wright Adams was born in Bluefield, West Virginia. Her father, William Morris Wright, was a country doctor who accepted chickens and potatoes in lieu of cash for his services. Adams received her B. S. degree from Fisk University in 1950. The following year, she received her M. S. degree in zoology from the University of Indiana in Bloomington. Intending to begin a career in research, but not wanting to be isolated in the laboratory, Adams enrolled in medical school at Howard University. After receiving her M.D. degree in 1960, she focused her efforts on pediatric medicine, completing her residency at Cook County Children's Hospital. She then completed a fellowship in hematology at Cook Country Hospital from 1963 to 1964.

From 1964 to 1967, Adams served as a research associate in the Department of Hematology at the Hektoen Institute for Medical Research. She began teach as a clinical instructor at the Chicago Medical School in 1967. Adams served as an attending at Michael Reese Hospital in the pediatrics department in 1970 and then was appointed chief of the Pediatric Hematology Clinic at Mercy Hospital. Two years later, she joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in the Department of Pediatrics as a clinical assistant instructor. In 1976, she was promoted to clinical associate professor. Adams became the project director in 1980 of a United States Department of Health and Human Services funded grant for a Pediatric Primary Care Residency Program at Mercy Hopsital. From 1981 to 1987, Adams served as the Assistant Program Director of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics. Her professional responsibilities over the years have also included acting bureau chief of the Chicago Department of Health, Bureau of Community and Comprehensive Personal Health; former president of the Chicago Pediatrics Society and coordinator of a medical student training program at Cook County Hospital.

Adams was recognized many times for her dedication to pediatric care. In 1997, the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics named her Pediatrician of the Year. She received the 1999 Chicago Medical Society Public Service Award and the 2012 Timuel Black Community Service Award from the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Adams served on the board of the Ounce of Prevention Fund. Adams is the widow of Frank Adams and the mother of Chicago attorney Frank Adams, Jr.

Dr. Billie Wright Adams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 17, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.187

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/17/2002

Last Name

Adams

Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Wright

Schools

The Toya School

The Young Street School

Genoa Junior High School

Genoa High School

Fisk University

Indiana University

Howard University

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Billie

Birth City, State, Country

Bluefield

HM ID

ADA01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Virginia Mountains, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/15/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Watermelon, Fruit

Short Description

Medical professor and pediatrician Dr. Billie Wright Adams (1935 - ) was the program director in the Department of Pediatrics at Mercy Hospital. Adams also served as an associate clinical professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine while maintaining a private practice.

Employment

Cook County Children's Hospital

Mercy Hospital

Chicago Department of Health

Cook County Hospital

University of Illinois College of Medicine

Favorite Color

Black, Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1402,11:2130,23:2494,28:3313,38:3859,46:5042,64:5406,69:6589,89:8955,144:12504,177:21594,249:22926,272:25664,316:31436,404:35870,426:36230,431:38660,456:39470,466:40280,478:66190,820:66600,826:67338,838:68978,859:74110,888:79456,982:80023,989:80995,1003:82210,1023:85855,1112:86908,1126:87637,1140:87961,1145:88447,1152:88852,1158:97236,1239:98421,1258:98974,1266:101344,1307:102055,1320:111378,1464:115199,1511:115766,1519:117467,1544:119573,1597:119897,1609:120464,1617:124536,1656:125498,1673:127422,1704:131048,1775:131344,1780:134822,1828:135266,1835:135784,1844:136154,1850:138226,1879:143312,1896:145603,1929:148842,1989:150185,2009:154451,2080:165649,2194:180030,2374:180350,2379:186350,2473:186830,2480:196635,2611:197202,2621:199308,2651:201900,2699:202386,2707:202872,2714:204087,2733:214160,2847$0,0:8460,117:8900,123:15324,180:15676,185:27954,273:28198,282:28503,288:30028,313:30333,319:38990,349:76364,741:78044,766:80564,800:123781,1431:124558,1439:159691,1756:160355,1765:161102,1780:196356,2242:205559,2366:208552,2413:223990,2611:238770,2830
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Billie Wright Adams's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her sister

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her family's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams describes her father's civic activities in Bluefield, West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams describes her experience in grade school

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Genoa High School in Bluefield, West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Fisk University and her decision to become a doctor

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about some of the writers and entertainers who visited her childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her childhood experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her missed opportunities at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about raising her son, Frank McClinton Adams, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience in pediatrics

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Cook County Hospital

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Billie Wright Adams talks about diversity at Cook County Hospital

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Billie Wright Adams talks about the New Cook County Hospital

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Billie Wright Adams describes the type of student she treasures

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Billie Wright Adams talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Billie Wright Adams talks about her regrets

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Billie Wright Adams lists her favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Billie Wright Adams lists her favorites, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Dr. Billie Wright Adams describes her father's civic activities in Bluefield, West Virginia
Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Cook County Hospital
Transcript
So we knew that it was very important that we have training but even more so that we did community service. My dad [William Morris Wright] was very civic minded and was active there in the city and at the college. He likewise became interested in politics so he did not want an elective office but he did serve as chairman of the democratic branch for the Negroes as they called it, living in Southern West Virginia and was very supportive. And also at that time there was a very active Lincoln University [Chester County, Pennsylvania] alumni club. And as you can imagine in that small state because West Virginia is a small state, that there were few alumnists from Lincoln but the lovely thing about it is that we had Langston Hughes who came to our home. Langston Hughes had graduated from Lincoln and came and spent time at our home and read and we have a book that he signed. Somehow another, the other books were lost in moving but we just of course didn't value it as much. Also Thurgood Marshall had been a graduate of Lincoln, Pennsylvania who had come to Bluefield [West Virginia]. It was not that far away from D.C. and some people would come there sort of as a respite, just to get a little rest. But we did have the sponsorship of the Lincoln Alumni like Horace Mann Bond who was the president of Lincoln, the youngest one, [HM] Julian Bond's father who came to our home. And then when my father [William Morris Wright] died, came there to eulogize my dad on the part of his activity at Lincoln University. So they had people from the capital, Charleston [West Virginia], some of the smaller communities who all got together. And because it was a college town and Bluefield was named as the gateway to the billion dollar coal fields, we didn't have coal mines right in Bluefield but within a radius of twenty some odd miles were coal mines. But in our community we had coal operators, coal owners, the railroad was big. In fact Bluefield was the center for the Norfolk and Western Railroad and that the purpose of that mainly was to transport the coal from the coal fields to other parts going east. And so my dad knew all of those, knew a lot of the people in the community. And I was getting ready to say, with it being the billion dollar coal fields, we also had a lot of musicians who would come there. Some of the big bands we remember. Duke Ellington would bring his band because at the college the sororities and fraternities and the alumni groups would sponsor them in addition to the fact they would go to their one night stands and what we called the coal mines. So I just have good memories of having those people who were in and out of our home and then with my father being a physician, some of the band members who would become ill when they would travel that area, my dad would see them as patients.$With your career, so within the context of knowing the condition of these children and here, and you're working with these children every day, that's what I wanted to know how you deal with attaching and detaching?$$The attachment part is very easy because you always hope that the child will be the mechanism by which this will be a better world. That the child will recognize, respect, the child will then go on to explore their possibilities and again to help us, as I said to make this a better world. So it's easy to attach to children and children respond to you. They can certainly see love and respect. Now the detachment you ask about is a bit more difficult because you know that you have to let go because what is that saying that it is a student and children act as teachers to you. That it is the wise teacher who recognizes that their students can teach them. And I try to be a student of medicine. I can be very opinionated and at times my son [Frank McClinton Adams, Jr.] says judgmental. I hope not so much but absolutely, positively I know that I have some very strong beliefs. It takes a whole lot to get me detached from those beliefs. And I do remember when I first went to Cook County [now called John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County] as an intern and of course if you remember that at that time it was one of the largest hospitals in the world at, I think was it Belleview, but it was the largest hospital with like 3,000 beds. I really became attached to that hospital because I saw it as a place where one could give service and one could learn. I learned so much from my patients. I learned on so many levels and I had made a commitment that I wanted to remain a student of medicine. And yet, I felt having attended Howard Medical School [Howard University School of Medicine] which was a wonderful experience for me. But when I first went to County there were only two black interns my year. I was the only black female at that time and there was another gentleman there who was a graduate of one of the local schools who found it a little difficult to bond with other blacks. But there were some who were in their residency but they interned and trust me that was a lot of work, physical work and a lot of emotional work, but so rewarding. And I learned so much that it stayed with me the rest of my life. And when I rotated as an intern through pediatrics that was then I decided that I wanted to specialize in pediatrics. And I was so impressed with the quality of care, it wasn't perfect but the quality of care and all the good that could be done at that community. That time when I first came, many of the black physicians were not permitted to join the staff of a major hospital and it was then in Chicago [Illinois] that we were--they were instituting the lawsuit--

Frances T. Matlock

Honored teacher and advisor, Frances Matlock was born in Chicago on January 6, 1907. She attended Proviso East High School, where she was the only black student in her 1924 graduating class. While a student, several exceptional teachers inspired Matlock to pursue a career in education. She earned an associate's degree from Chicago Normal College (now Chicago State University) and a bachelor's degree in Education from Northwestern University in 1928.

Matlock's prolific career has included work in elementary education as well as civic and community activism. She taught Social Studies for the Chicago Public School system at Hayes Elementary School and Forestville Elementary School from 1933-1972, and served on the Chicago Public School's Board of Education. She acted as an advisor to the NAACP's Youth Leadership Council from 1935-1941, overseeing the early efforts of such notables as Dr. Margaret Burroughs, founder of the African American Museum of Black History; Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning poet; and John Johnson, publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines. The council fostered the growth of these future leaders by participating in marches and demonstrations in protest of lynching. Shortly thereafter, Matlock put her public relations talents to work to help raise the funds to establish the Southside Community Art Center, which was dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941. Matlock worked on a national level as a public relations and publicity assistant for the original March-On-Washington, in which demonstrators demanded that President Roosevelt provide jobs for Blacks in the World War II defense plants. From 1953-1993 she served as publicity chairman and archivist for the Chicago Chapter of The Links, Inc., an organization that provides financial support to college-bound youth.

Her interests and activities are international in scope. For her years of support and dedication to the Jamaican community, Matlock received Special Recognition from the Consul of Jamaica. In addition, Matlock was granted a Golden Alumnus Award from Chicago State University in 1999. The following year, Operation Uplift honored her with their Golden Heritage Award. In acknowledgment of her role as a teacher and mentor, and her unyielding work for her community, Matlock has been inducted into the Chicago Senior Citizen's Hall of Fame.

Accession Number

A2002.083

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/3/2002

Last Name

Matlock

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Schools

Emerson Elem School

Proviso East High School

Washington Elem School

Chicago State University

Northwestern University

First Name

Frances

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MAT01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/6/1907

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken, Chocolate, Steak, Ice Cream

Death Date

11/21/2002

Short Description

Elementary school teacher Frances T. Matlock (1907 - 2002 ) taught in Chicago Public Schools for three decades, and served as an adviser to the NAACP's Youth Leadership Council. She served as a public relations and publicity assistant for the 1932 March on Washington, and from 1953 to 1993 acted as publicity chairman and archivist for the Chicago Chapter of The Links, Inc.

Employment

Chicago Public Schools

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frances T. Matlock's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frances T. Matlock lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frances T. Matlock talks about her family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frances T. Matlock talks about her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frances T. Matlock describes her grandmother, Lydia Baird Bundy

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frances T. Matlock describes moving from Chicago, Illinois to Maywood in 1912

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frances T. Matlock describes her childhood in Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frances T. Matlock describes her mother's civic involvement

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frances T. Matlock describes visiting the wreckage of the SS Eastland in 1915

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frances T. Matlock remembers meeting a stranger at the Decoration Day parade in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Frances T. Matlock remembers meeting a doctor on a streetcar near Mary Thompson Hospital in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frances T. Matlock remembers her childhood experience at Mary Thompson Hospital in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frances T. Matlock describes seeing the bandleader James Reese Europe perform in a parade

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frances T. Matlock describes her relationship with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experience working while attending college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experience at Proviso High School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frances T. Matlock describes a teacher who helped her

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frances T. Matlock remembers being asked by a classmate when she had no dance partner at Proviso High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frances T. Matlock describes a racist comment made by a high school classmate

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experiences with discrimination at Proviso High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experience at Chicago Normal School and Northwestern University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experience at Chicago Normal School and Northwestern University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frances T. Matlock describes her early experiences as a teacher, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frances T. Matlock describes her early experiences as a teacher, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experience with the NAACP Youth Council, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experience with the NAACP Youth Council, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frances T. Matlock describes planning a dance for the NAACP Youth Council

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frances T. Matlock describes supervising the selection of social studies textbooks for Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frances T. Matlock talks about the historical subjects that she thought important to to black students

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frances T. Matlock talks about buying books from black historian Frederick H. Hammurabi Robb

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frances T. Matlock talks about mentoring Gwendolyn Brooks and HistoryMakers John H. Johnson and Dr. Margaret Burroughs as youth in the NAACP Youth Council

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frances T. Matlock describes the fundraising activities of her friend Gloria Wailes

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experience with the Children's Theatre Group of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frances T. Matlock describes her experience training hostesses at Servicemen's Center Number Three during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frances T. Matlock describes the founding of the South Side Community Art Center

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frances T. Matlock talks about her travels to Trinidad and Jamaica

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frances T. Matlock talks about her two marriages

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frances T. Matlock talks about some of the royalty that she met from Jamaica and Trinidad

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Frances T. Matlock talks about Haiti

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Frances T. Matlock talks about her experience teaching at Forestville Elementary School

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Frances T. Matlock reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frances T. Matlock describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Frances T. Matlock reflects upon her parents

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Frances T. Matlock talks about the younger people who treat her like a mother

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Frances T. Matlock describes her concerns for youth facing addiction

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Frances T. Matlock shares her opinion about The HistoryMakers

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Frances T. Matlock narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Frances T. Matlock narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Frances T. Matlock remembers being asked by a classmate when she had no dance partner at Proviso High School
Frances T. Matlock describes her experience with the NAACP Youth Council, pt. 2
Transcript
Oh, the worst situation of all was a boy who lived right across the street from school and his sister, Caroline, Caroline Smith, was the most popular girl in the school. She was, she was blond and blue-eyed and everybody loved her. Everybody just admired her and the day that she came in to school to register as a freshman, all the kids-"Oh, here comes Caroline, here comes Caroline. Caroline was this and Caroline was that." Everybody loved her and I heard about her but she didn't come until about the third day and I wanted to see who she was. Well, anyway, when I saw her, I could see everybody did love her but when we went to gym, I was in the gym class with her, and we took up dancing, we volunteered, we didn't have to, but we volunteered to learn dancing. And we did our little one, two three, one, two, three, one, two, three, and then about the third day, it was time to change to get partners and dance together. Well, you know what happened to me? I had nobody to dance with and I surely wasn't going to ask anybody to be my partner and they weren't going to ask me to be their partner. So there I stood. The other girls all had partners, standing there, waiting to start the dance and I stood there without a partner. My arms were empty and I was just agonized just--at that age, you know, you're sensitive to anything that goes wrong and I didn't know what to do. I hadn't thought about having to get a partner. That didn't dawn on me. All I thought about was learning how to dance but learning how to dance meant you had to have a white--a partner and it could not be a white person, of course, not in those days. So, I just stood there but suddenly, who came to my rescue? Beautiful, blue-eyed, blond, Caroline Smith. Caroline dropped her friend's hands and walked across the gym to me and asked me to be her partner. Now that child--the teacher didn't do it. The teacher should have done it. Should have saved my agonizing embarrassment but the teacher--but the teacher just stood there and--but Caroline came to the rescue and "would you be my partner?" She was so sweet and the incident was over, okay. The music went on and we all, from then on, all of Caroline's friends came to--one by one--she set the pattern and her friends came to me, one by one, and saw to it that I was involved in every dance, I had a partner, so that I didn't have to worry about that agonizing embarrassment any more.$There were several that I was very proud that we could get people on that caliber to come in and teach our kids how to do their committee work. If they're on the publicity committee, show them how to do publicity. If they're on this committee, show them how to do that. Show them--give them your professional experience to do the job. So that's how we made such success of what they were doing 'cause they took it seriously and they did pay attention and they did develop leadership but I thought it was for the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], for the future of the branch. I thought they were going to turn around and help the NAACP but never. I haven't seen anybody. I know [HM] John [H. Johnson] --I've never heard of John being on the board or [HM Dr.] Margaret [Burroughs] being on the board or Gwendolyn [Brooks]. I haven't heard of any of them being on the board.$$But you were talking about--we're rolling again, I just wanted to let you know the camera's rolling again. You were talking about the--your "training trek," you know--$$Yeah.$$--those you train, just so whoever's, you know, when we mention this tape in the future, they'll understand what we're talking about here.$$Yeah.$$So you have something called the "training trek" and you bring in people to train--$$Yeah, we call it the "training trek."$$Okay.$$And we'd start out with Friday night and we'd have a dinner, a nice big dinner Saturday night and it was the weekend and everyone--every October we had this training for future leadership. That's what I called it, for future leadership. But--$$For NAACP?$$But then--for leadership for themselves but not for the NAACP. Margaret led--sure she put the museum [DuSable Museum of African American History] there but once it got--the NAACP had nothing to do with it. See it--Margaret didn't build and it isn't Margaret's fault, it's the leadership. They knew what I was trying to do. I was training them for future leadership and back in those days they had the lynching down in Sikeston, Missouri, the lynching, and they would--we had--we'd march around the streets at night, holding up flags and whatnot and signs, "stop lynching," stop this, stop that, you know. These young kids, these high school kids, marchin' around the neighborhood, protesting against lynching. Now that was NAACP work. That's the kind of work the NAACP should fight against lynching. We met--our kid met Walter [Francis] White, all the other big ones, Roy Wilkins, all those great guys from the--my kids met all of them.$$Just for the record, who's Walter White and Roy Wilkins?$$Who is Walter White?$$Just for the record here.$$Walter White was the Mr. One, Mr. NAACP. He was a little short, blue-eyed, blond hair, you didn't know he was colored. He went--he attended and sat in on a lot of those lynchings. He was in the audience watching them hang that black man, this white-skinned fella, Walter White. He was a great guy. He was the head of the NAACP. When I came in, then there was A. C.--$$Wait a minute, now. He would watch the lynching and then what would he do?$$Yeah, he'd be in the audience.$$Then what would he do?$$And he would testify in court against them. He could do that, see, he was there to observe. If he'd been brown skinned, he would have been killed and he wouldn't have dared be in that audience but see, since he was fair, he could just stand there, just watch them, hang that black man. He couldn't stop them so he might as well watch them and be there as a--to testify--to be there to testify against and see who did it. I saw, he was there, she was there, you know, he could testify.$$So--$$And so I--that's what I thought I was training him to be angry and to be mad and to--to be, you know, head up and work about--against civil rights--against, what is it, the lynching.