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Emma E. Houston

Emma Elizabeth Roberson Houston was born on February 18, 1956 in Navasota, Texas to Ida and Norman Roberson. Houston attended Dallas’ Albert Sidney Johnston Elementary School and Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High School before moving with her family to Houston, Texas and graduating from Stephen F. Austin High School. Later, she earned her B.S. degree in business management from the University of Phoenix at Utah.

Houston has performed civic work in Salt Lake City, Utah for almost twenty years. In 1989, she was hired by the Girl Scouts of Utah and served as the director of membership until 1993. She eventually became the organization’s sales specialist, instilling entrepreneurial values in high school age girls through training and leadership workshops. Houston then served as the director of girl services and provided supervision, support, training and direction to staff members and volunteers. She went on to work for Rowland Hall St. Mark’s School as the diversity coordinator and at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, Houston served her hometown by helping to keep the Olympic Village secure.

Houston was hired by Salt Lake County Aging Services in 2002 as center supervisor and later became the organization’s assistant program manager and the first in the State of Utah to facilitate a Senior Center receiving National Accreditation. Through her work, Houston helped to foster independence for the elderly by providing community-based services, in-home services and volunteer opportunities.

Houston, a breast cancer survivor, serves as a member of several institutions including the League of Black Women, the Salt Lake County Housing Authority, the Utah Gerontological Society and the Utah Commission on Women and Families. Houston has also served as the chair of the Governor’s Office of Black Affairs and corresponding secretary for the NAACP.

Houston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 16, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.054

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/16/2008

Last Name

Houston

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Schools

Stephen F. Austin High School

Albert Sidney Johnston Elementary School

Oliver Wendell Holmes Humanities and Communications Academy

Franklin D. Roosevelt High School

University of Houston

First Name

Emma

Birth City, State, Country

Navasota

HM ID

HOU01

Favorite Season

None

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Australia

Favorite Quote

How Bad Can It Be When You Have God?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Birth Date

2/18/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Pecan)

Short Description

Nonprofit administrator Emma E. Houston (1956 - ) served as Assistant Program Manager for the Salt Lake County Aging Services in the State of Utah. She was also the Director of Membership, as well as a sales specialist and Director of Girl Services for the Girl Scouts of Utah.

Employment

Girl Scouts of Utah

Salt Lake County Aging Services

Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School

Calvary Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:2982,73:4118,185:8023,246:9088,267:9798,279:13561,426:17537,501:24772,553:29848,614:30908,626:31544,633:32710,647:34194,663:37024,681:39514,721:40178,731:41672,750:45490,805:45905,811:46486,819:47399,858:47814,864:54288,971:59490,992:60610,1008:61730,1030:63890,1064:64210,1069:64530,1074:68290,1114:69090,1126:70290,1148:70690,1154:76506,1190:77142,1204:77354,1209:79638,1221:80428,1234:82087,1271:83746,1305:84378,1317:85168,1330:85484,1335:93304,1384:103208,1525:104048,1539:106400,1576:106820,1582:108332,1611:117100,1703:117392,1712:118341,1727:119874,1765:123451,1840:126663,1915:127393,1929:127685,1934:134482,1991:134993,2000:136672,2026:139227,2074:141855,2128:142147,2133:144045,2181:154484,2278:154769,2284:158060,2314$0,0:4824,168:5184,174:5616,182:5976,188:8784,250:10584,292:10872,297:11304,305:29282,504:29922,515:32482,565:43298,866:45026,929:45666,940:64447,1159:66155,1200:66643,1211:67131,1221:72790,1322:75240,1382:85420,1527:86250,1542:91894,1688:98490,1742:99894,1766:100440,1775:102234,1798:102546,1803:102936,1809:110220,1898:110895,1912:111495,1921:115876,1951:122412,2098:123552,2117:129102,2149:129550,2157:129806,2162:139650,2335:141828,2400:148279,2467:151270,2488:153560,2515
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Emma E. Houston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Emma E. Houston lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Emma E. Houston talks about her maternal great-grandmothers

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Emma E. Houston describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Emma E. Houston talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Emma E. Houston describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Emma E. Houston remembers her paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Emma E. Houston talks about her father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Emma E. Houston recalls how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Emma E. Houston describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Emma E. Houston describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Emma E. Houston remembers her neighborhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Emma E. Houston describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Emma E. Houston recalls her early activities at church

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Emma E. Houston remembers the television programs of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Emma E. Houston describes her early interest in history

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Emma E. Houston talks about her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Emma E. Houston describes her experiences of school integration

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Emma E. Houston recalls her activities at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Emma E. Houston remembers moving during her senior year of high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Emma E. Houston talks about her marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Emma E. Houston remembers moving from Florida to Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Emma E. Houston reflects upon the importance of African American history

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Emma E. Houston describes her community in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Emma E. Houston recalls founding an all-black Girl Scout troop in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Emma E. Houston describes her career with the Girl Scouts of Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Emma E. Houston remembers the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Emma E. Houston describes her work as a school diversity coordinator, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Emma E. Houston describes her work as a school diversity coordinator, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Emma E. Houston describes her early career at the Salt Lake County Aging Services

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Emma E. Houston remembers her breast cancer diagnosis

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Emma E. Houston describes her experience of cancer treatment

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Emma E. Houston reflects upon her experience of breast cancer, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Emma E. Houston reflects upon her experience of breast cancer, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Emma E. Houston describes her work for the Salt Lake County Aging Services

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Emma E. Houston talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Emma E. Houston describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Emma E. Houston reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Emma E. Houston reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Emma E. Houston describes her daughters

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Emma E. Houston recalls her siblings' fiftieth birthday celebrations

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Emma E. Houston describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Emma E. Houston narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Emma E. Houston reflects upon the importance of African American history
Emma E. Houston recalls founding an all-black Girl Scout troop in Salt Lake City, Utah
Transcript
Well I take it that from what you said before--now we didn't really deal with this when we talked about college but you had some black history in college right?$$Yeah, black history in college, yeah (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And--$$Yes, in college.$$And--black history and culture, and you seemed to have a certain dedication to it?$$Um-hm, absolutely, absolutely.$$And, well, who taught you and what, you know, can you talk a little--$$Oh man--$$--bit about it?$$Yeah, I'm thinking, you know I think as far as, as learning more about history, my husband [Larry Houston] is my educator because he--militant, absolutely, strong black man who understands the value of what our people had to go through and understand still the oppression of what blacks go through even in 2008. So, understanding the Black Panther movement [Black Panther Party] and the Civil Rights Movement, and you know being in all-black schools and having all black educators, the importance of that, so my, I guess enthusiasm with history is to get the story right. And be proud of the fact that although we were slaves--all intent and purposes is that, yeah, but we're still here. And the advancements that we have made for this country, it would not be what it was if it were not for black people. So celebrating--and I, I think being black is the best thing going. I think the fortitude, to have the integrity and the proudness to be black and to recognize it and to own it and to celebrate it, I think it's the best thing going; I think it signifies the strong will of a person. And I know every person has been oppressed in some way or the other, but to stand on the shoulders of people who made the way for you--. When the elections were going on--primaries were going on, my colleague said to me, "Well, just vote online or just go and vote early or just go and send in an af- just go--mail your ballot in." I'm saying, "As long as I can walk into and pull the lever to vote, you better believe I am going to make it my business to do that." Too many of my people suffered and died because they tried to pave the way for us to do it, I will always physically go and vote. So learning the history and understanding it and embracing it and being proud of it, once you know the truth you can't help but, I guess, express it.$You started working for the Girl Scouts [Girl Scouts of Utah]?$$I did, I did, I started a troop with my daughters [Lorry Houston and Erica Houston Critchfield] when we first came on board because wanted them to get active, to meet some friends, move from Florida, okay, my kids want to be in Girl Scouts, what is it that we need to do? "You need to be a troop leader." Oh, okay. So, to be a troop leader, now, keep in mind, here we are pretty predominant culture in regards to religion, in regards to background culture, black woman being a troop leader, and of course, all the troops are white. So, our (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So all the rest of the Girl Scout troops--$$All the rest of the troops are white. So, here we are in--$$Now, where does your--where was your troop based? Out of the church or?$$No, our troop was based out of the elementary school. The very first troop--$$Okay.$$--was based out of the elementary school$$What was the name of the school, based out of?$$M. Lynn Bennion, M. Lynn Bennion Elementary School [Salt Lake City, Utah].$$Okay.$$So, I'm, I'm a co-leader, assistant leader with Mary Ann Gertsen [ph.], and our children are there, and my daughters are there, and we're all having this celebration, you know. And I'm saying to her, now, I'm the assistant leader, what is my roles, my responsibilities, I'm just not here to sit on the sidelines and she said, "You just do what I tell you to do." I said, "That's not acceptable," (laughter). So, contacted the Girl Scout chapter here, received training to start a troop and moved our troop to the church [Calvary Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, Utah], that's when we moved the troop to the church. And our little darlings, an all-black troop, black leaders, parental support, church support, we got more phone calls to do flag ceremonies in the city, because we were an all-black troop. And it was like, we want everyone else to know that we want all girls to be involved in Girl Scouting, and that was one of Mrs. Henry's [Alberta H. Henry] pet peeves; she said, "Until you got involved with Girl Scouts, I told our people, 'Don't join, don't join because they will not treat you right.' You got involved--." And she put the word out: "Let your girls join Girl Scouts now, Mrs. Houston [HistoryMaker Emma E. Houston] is involved." Flourished, absolute- not to say that because of me, but really, because Mrs. Henry gave the word, "Let your girls join Girl Scouts because one of us is there."$$Okay.$$Absolutely.

Joyce Moore Gray

Educational specialist Joyce Moore Gray was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1943. As a child, Gray played the clarinet and was encouraged by her mother and music instructor to become a teacher. She attended Southwestern Elementary School and graduated from Crestwood High School in 1961. Gray received a scholarship to attend Virginia State University where she graduated with her B.S. degree in music. She went on to earn her M.A. degree in education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

After graduating from college, Gray began her career as a music teacher in Clark County School District, Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1981, she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where for one year she taught instrumental music at West Lake Junior High School, Granite School District. The following year, Gray was appointed to serve as that district’s Multicultural Programs Coordinator. While serving in that capacity, she also filled the position as Assistant Principal at Central Junior High School.

In 1984, Gray broke the color barrier in educational administration by becoming the first African American principal in the State of Utah. She was selected to be the Principal of Arcadia Elementary School in the Granite School District, Taylorsville, Utah. After six years, Gray continued to defy the odds when she was appointed Principal of Granite School District’s Roosevelt Elementary School. During her second year at that school, she was approached by an Assistant Superintendent in Salt Lake City School District and requested to apply to be principal of an intermediate school. In 1992, Gray became Principal of Bryant Intermediate School, Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake City, Utah. Bryant Intermediate School became one of the nation’s top schools and was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Gray and her school team were invited to the White House to receive this award. During their Washington, D.C. visit, they met President and Mrs. Bill Clinton.

In 1995, Gray’s ambition led her to enroll in a doctorate program in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. She continued to pursue professional goals and applied for a high school principalship. Another moment in history occurred in 1996 when Gray was selected to be principal of West High School, Salt Lake City School District. Thus, Gray became the first African American high school principal in the State of Utah. Gray’s outstanding leadership skills led her to become Utah Principal of the Year in 1999.

Gray earned her doctorate in education from the University of Utah in 2001. She went on to become Director for Career and Technical Education in Salt Lake City School District for two years prior to her retirement in 2005. Gray is now an Educational Consultant and Founder and President of her own company, Jam G Consulting, Inc.

Gray has earned numerous awards during her professional journey. These include: the NAACP Rosa Parks Award, UASCD Educator of The Year, NCCJ Community Award, YWCA Outstanding Achievement Award in Education and the UWEAA President’s Award. Her work in the Utah community included: Board member of the United Way of the Greater Salt Lake Area; YWCA Board member; Chair, Utah Governor’s Black Advisory Council; Board of Lay Editors for Salt Lake Tribune’s “Common Carrier” column; Minister of Music and Director at New Pilgrim Baptist Church; Youth Director, NPBC; Chartering President for the Utah Alliance of Black School Educators. Gray is also a chartering member of Upsilon Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She currently serves as that chapter’s President.

Gray and her husband, Lloyd, reside in Murray, Utah. They have three children and eight grand children

Accession Number

A2008.046

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/13/2008

Last Name

Gray

Maker Category
Middle Name

Moore

Schools

Crestwood High School

Southwestern Elementary School

Virginia State University

Chestnut Street School

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

University of Utah

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

Portsmouth

HM ID

GRA09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Birth Date

8/3/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Education consultant and principal Joyce Moore Gray (1943 - ) was the first African American principal in the history of the State of Utah. She was also founder and president of her own educational consulting company, Jam G Consulting, Inc.

Employment

Clark County School District

Granite School District

Arcadia Elementary School

Simmons Associates - The Education Company

Jam G Consulting, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:930,21:1335,27:6280,98:6680,103:8680,131:9280,138:10080,148:11180,162:12380,238:19707,301:20400,310:21588,325:23271,346:26437,354:27270,363:28341,382:32387,434:35524,449:36672,469:38394,496:39542,514:40280,530:41756,553:45700,578:46148,587:50500,708:53334,733:53719,739:54489,755:56106,784:56568,793:57954,835:58416,843:58878,857:59802,874:60110,879:63036,916:63498,923:64422,936:71130,979:71500,984:72092,993:74645,1025:75212,1038:80956,1091:81341,1097:82111,1113:82419,1118:84036,1147:84652,1156:87260,1161:91308,1210:92218,1227:104304,1399:104576,1404:107530,1433:108220,1440:111660,1468:112760,1481:122412,1656:124300,1672:125400,1705:125785,1718:128725,1737:129120,1744:130621,1771:132359,1795:133149,1808:133465,1815:134650,1841:134966,1846:135993,1864:141630,1916:142070,1922:142950,1933:146570,1949:148970,1992:149850,2004:151130,2034:151450,2039:151770,2044:152570,2056:152970,2063:153530,2072:157599,2097:158151,2107:158772,2117:159117,2123:159393,2128:160359,2137:160842,2145:161325,2154:161739,2161:162429,2175:162705,2180:163395,2193:163878,2204:165396,2239:165810,2246:166086,2251:166362,2256:167811,2294:172250,2309:173210,2330:173594,2337:174618,2363:175194,2375:175578,2382:178452,2406:178890,2413:180131,2434:180715,2446:181007,2451:183510,2464:183810,2469:184110,2474:184935,2488:185460,2497:186135,2508:186735,2518:187785,2534:190410,2566:195580,2583:195868,2588:196804,2610:197452,2621:199540,2663:201124,2694:201484,2700:204554,2715:204988,2724:205608,2736:206290,2749:209296,2793:210166,2807:215125,2934:215995,2950:224650,3087:224930,3092:225210,3098:225490,3103:225770,3108:226260,3116:226960,3129:227310,3135:229200,3176:229620,3183:230740,3227:236048,3289:236820,3294$0,0:1200,31:6320,140:9120,196:9440,201:9760,206:10080,211:13440,219:14300,232:15676,256:19976,318:24104,381:28594,404:29578,473:30152,482:30808,496:32120,516:33022,534:34334,558:36302,596:40867,630:41973,649:42368,655:43316,670:43632,675:44738,688:45054,693:48278,717:48506,722:49076,735:49475,743:49703,748:49931,753:53074,781:53466,786:56610,812:65207,964:70480,1029:71740,1053:72160,1067:72510,1074:72790,1079:75352,1091:81398,1163:81776,1170:86440,1283:87700,1324:92010,1386:93690,1421:100662,1544:109274,1601:109814,1607:114630,1641:115230,1649:116580,1669:116955,1675:117405,1682:119655,1730:120780,1753:121230,1761:121755,1769:123255,1812:123705,1822:124455,1834:124755,1839:131533,1891:132100,1901:132352,1906:132793,1915:133108,1921:134520,1937
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joyce Moore Gray's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her parents' emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her likeness to her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her father's service in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers segregation in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her family's house in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers her first trip to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes Victory Manor in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her early interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray lists her elementary and high schools

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls her activities at Crestwood High School in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about the segregated school system in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Joyce Moore Gray narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers the music of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers the segregated movie theater in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her early religious experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers her early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her first year at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers F. Nathaniel Gatlin

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her activities at Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers learning to play brass, string and percussion instruments

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls being hired at Jo Mackey Elementary School in North Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her teaching experiences in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers the music scene in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her experiences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers her courtship with her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her early teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls her work for the Granite School District

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her early experiences as an elementary school principal

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the challenges she faced at Arcadia Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls becoming the principal of Roosevelt Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her work at Bryant Intermediate School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls becoming the principal of West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her start as the principal of West High School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers developing the I CARE program

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the demographics of West High School's student body

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her Ed.D. degree program

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the academic programs at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the academic programs at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her work as a educational consultant

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her organizational involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her involvement with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about diversity in the State of Utah

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her philosophy of education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Joyce Moore Gray reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Joyce Moore Gray describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Joyce Moore Gray narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Joyce Moore Gray describes her early experiences as an elementary school principal
Joyce Moore Gray describes the challenges she faced at Arcadia Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah
Transcript
Now here's where the story starts.$$(Laughter) Okay.$$(Laughter).$$Go ahead (laughter).$$Well, in this situation, now that I'm the person that's in charge of the school [Arcadia Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah], it's a little bit different than being a teacher. So, I mean, the race--racists began to surface in the community and at the school, from the teachers, from the students, and from the parents. And it was, it was difficult that first year because, first of all, parents were looking at me and saying, "Is she qualified to be at the school? Does she really have the credentials? We want to see her creden- ." They actually said this to my assistant superintendent: "We want to see her credentials." And then, there were a group of parents that were very, very racist. Some of them pulled their kids out of the school, went to other schools, but yet they still had--they were noisy enough to create havoc in the school that I was in. There were students that actually called me a nigger. There were parents that actually called me nigger. And it was, it was not a happy time. I was at that school for six years, and it probably took three good years to really, you know, get myself situated in that school.$$How did you handle, you know, that, the name calling and that sort of thing?$$I think I handled it--I had a, I had a secretary, a white lady was my secretary, but very supportive of me and she was always there for me. I had, I had people at my church [New Pilgrim Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, Utah], and I had Lloyd [Gray's husband, Lloyd Gray] that I would talk to. The way I handled it, I knew that I had to do a good job, and I knew I had to always do what was best for the children. And so, what I would do is I would put my focus on doing what was best for the kids. Because parents wanted to come after me, and say that I wasn't doing what was best for the kids, you know, that I was misusing funds, that I was assigning students to the wrong teachers or just--. But I knew, and so I just kept focusing on what I knew was right. But the other--I think the strongest thing that came out that my first or second year, was the fact that it was, this was a small group, the racist group, the people that were basically trying to get me out of the school. They, they had gone to the school board and everything, but there was a silent majority out there that really supported what I was doing. And what they did was they came together, and they put together a manual of support letters that were given to the board of education saying that they wanted me in the school and that, you know, they didn't represent the minority; they represented the large majority. And that was probably my salvation in terms of--. And it turned out to be a good situation. I mean, by my third, my, my fourth, fifth, and sixth year, I didn't want to move. The parents didn't want me out. The teachers that were still there with me didn't want me gone, and the students loved me, so I didn't want to go. But in that district [Granite School District] at that time, they make changes every six to eight years. And my sixth year was up, so the school board made--put me in another assignment at another school. But, yeah, that was, that was a pretty rough time.$I was wondering if you had any preparation for that kind of thing. Did you anticipate it at all, or did anybody try to warn you about what might happen or?$$Nope, nope, there was no warning. It just came full force. There was no preparation and I don't even know if they, if anyone knew how to prepare, prepare the community for a black woman coming in to be principal of their school, or prepare the school [Arcadia Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah]. Now what, what the people at the school and what the people at, in the community wanted to do, they wanted me to change who I was in order to be their principal. And changing who I was meant giving parents what they wanted, each parent, giving teachers what they wanted, whether they were right or wrong, buying into that system. I had, I had one person to say to me--because I, you know, I didn't get angry with them. I didn't curse anyone out. I just did my job, and I did it well, and I did my homework, and I was very firm in what I believed. And I had one person to say to me one time, "You're such a good person, you should be a Mormon." So, I said, "Are you saying that only Mormons, or people that are LDS [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] can be good people?" "Well, I really didn't mean that way." I said, "Well, that's how it came off." I'm not Mormon. I'm Baptist, you know, and I'm a person. I'm who I am, and I can't change that. The assistant superintendent said to me one time, "What can I do to help you?" I said, "Well, you've got to support who I am, and what I'm doing." And I said, "You can't change me. I'm a black woman, an African American woman; you can't change that. It's what it is, it's who I am. And you have to, you know, you have to respect that. That's the only thing you can do to help me. Support the work that I do, you know, don't let my race or my gender interfere with what I'm doing professionally."

Mattelia B. Grays

The 18th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority Incorporated (1970-1974), Mattelia Bennett Grays was born in Houston, Texas to the Reverend and Mrs. A.B. Bennett. Bennett graduated as salutatorian from Booker T. Washington High School in 1948 and went on to attend Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she was initiated into the AKA Sorority in the Beta Upsilon Chapter. She received her B.A. degree from Dillard University in 1952 and was married to Horace Grays the same year. The couple has one daughter, Karen, and a grandson, Kristopher John Howard.

Grays went on to receive her M.A. degree with honors in special education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and later received her Doctorate in educational administration from Pacific University in Sacramento, California in 1985. Grays returned to Houston to teach in the Houston Public Schools, where she also worked as a consultant for the Continuous Progress Learning Corporation and principal of Rogers Educational Enrichment Center. Grays served as principal of Rogers Educational Enrichment Center from 1970 to 1987. Under her leadership, the center served as a teacher training center and was named “One of Six Super Schools” by Texas Monthly magazine. After several years in Houston Public Schools, she began working summers with the University of Houston as a supervisor of laboratory experiences for teachers of culturally deprived children. She became District Three Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District in 1987. Grays transferred her AKA Sorority membership to the Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter in Houston and served as Chapter President and Regional Director of the Sorority’s South Central Region. She was the youngest person ever elected National President of the Sorority in 1968 and was installed at the Sorority’s biennial national convention in 1970.

As National President, Grays emphasized member involvement and was adamant about every member embracing her financial responsibility to the Sorority. She headed the Sorority’s effort to purchase the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and presented a check for $20,000 to Coretta Scott King. Her focus as Sorority President included Negro heritage brochures, chapter programs designed for the specific community that the chapter served, educational grants, Job Corps and leadership training.

Grays retired from the Houston Independent School District and continues to reside in Houston, Texas. She has been honored by several organizations including the AKA Sorority. AKA Sorority’s South Central Region has a scholarship fund named in her honor, and she is an Outstanding Alumna of the Booker T. Washington High School in Houston.

Grays was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 11, 2008 as part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Centennial Boule 2008 celebration. Segments of these interviews were used in a DVD entitled A.K.A. Sorority: Legacy of Leadership.

Accession Number

A2008.044

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/11/2008

Last Name

Grays

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Dillard University

University of Michigan

First Name

Mattelia

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

GRA08

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

Sponsor

Alpha Kappa Alpha

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cities

Favorite Quote

Live Every Day As If It Were Your Last Because Tomorrow Is Not Promised To You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

7/26/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Association chief executive and school superintendent Mattelia B. Grays (1931 - ) was the eighteenth international president of AKA Sorority, Inc., serving from 1970 to 1974. She was also the youngest person ever elected National President of the Sorority in 1968. Grays also served as Deputy Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.

Employment

Houston Independent School District

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Turquoise

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mattelia B. Grays' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her election as the vice president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her roles in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her leadership style, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about her mentors

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her initiatives for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about the regional directors of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her leadership style, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about maintaining the legacy of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays remembers the mentorship of Larzette Hale-Wilson

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls opening the AKA boule banquet to men

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her tenure as the supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls leading the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to purchase the King family home

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her friendship with Esther Payne

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about her motivations as a leader

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her achievements at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her hopes for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls her pinning as supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her legacy at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her legacy at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mattelia B. Grays describes how she would like to be remembered within the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon her commitment to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about the future of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon the importance of sisterhood

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about the requirements of members in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mattelia B. Grays reflects upon the value of sisterhood for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls her mother's role as a caregiver

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mattelia B. Grays remembers her father's hardworking nature

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mattelia B. Grays describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mattelia B. Grays talks about her father's personality

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mattelia B. Grays describes how her parents met

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Mattelia B. Grays recalls her mother's occupation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mattelia B. Grays narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mattelia B. Grays narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Eva Evans

The 24th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc. (1994 – 1998) and educational administrator, Eva Lois Evans was born in Memphis, Tennessee but lived most of her life in Detroit, Michigan. Under Evans’ leadership, the theme of Alpha Kappa Alpha became “Building the Future: The Alpha Kappa Alpha Strategy: Making the Net Work.”

Reared in Detroit, Michigan, Evans attended the city’s public elementary and high schools and went on to earn her B.S. degree from Wayne State University. She later attended Michigan State University where she received her M.A. degree and her Ph.D. While at Wayne State, Evans was initiated into the Xi Chapter of the AKA Sorority. For a period, she was affiliated with the Detroit Chapters and transferred her membership to the Delta Tau Omega Chapter after returning to Lansing.

With her career in education, Evans served as a classroom teacher, building administrator, Division Director, Assistant Superintendent and then the number two position of Deputy Superintendent of Lansing Public Schools when she retired.

Evans has served the AKA Sorority in a variety of key roles. At the local level, she served as graduate advisor, auditor and chapter Basileus. In addition, she served as Regional Director of the Great Lakes Region and at the national level, she was the National Program Chairman. She was also a frequent workshop presenter at Boulés and the Leadership Fellows Program. Evans worked with the Sorority’s 20th International President, Dr. Barbara K. Phillips, and helped to shape the national foci of her administration.

Evans was elected First-Vice President in 1990 in Richmond, Virginia. She was installed as the 24th International President in 1994 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The theme of Evans’ administration was “Building the Future: The Alpha Kappa Alpha Strategy: Making the Net Work.” She networked with major entities in the United States to make this a reality including, Elizabeth Dole of the American Red Cross and the Pillsbury Corporation for a partnership in mathematics and science (PIMS) which became her administration’s signature program. She also began the Public Policy Forums in Washington, D.C.

At the 1996 Boulé, the Sorority made a $50,000 contribution to the NAACP, a $75,000 contribution to UNCF, and in 1998, the Sorority made additional contributions to the NAACP and UNCF of $50,000 and $25,000 respectively.

In her home community of Lansing, Michigan, Evans has served as many “firsts.” The first female Deputy Superintendent of Lansing Schools; Campaign Chairman and Chairman of the Tri-County United Way; Vice Chairman of the Lansing Board of Water and Light; Chairman of the Lansing Community College Foundation; Sparrow Hospital Women’s Board of Managers and Trustee of the Michigan State University Board of the College of Education. Evans was appointed by the state governor to serve on the Michigan Council for the Humanities and was Chairman of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Evans has received countless honors in her hometown including the YWCA’s Diana Award for Excellence in Education; the NAACP’s Educator of the Year; Lansing Chamber of Commerce’s Althena Award; Crystal Apple Award for Education from Michigan State University and the Applause Award from the Lansing Center for the Arts. She also has served as the Grand Marshall of the African American Parade and Family Picnic in Lansing which began in 1999. In 2006, Evans was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

Evans was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 28, 2008 as part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Centennial Boulé 2008 celebration. Segments of these interviews were used in a DVD entitled A.K.A. Sorority: A Legacy of Supreme Service.

Accession Number

A2008.036

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/28/2008

Last Name

Evans

Maker Category
Schools

Cass Technical High School

Northern High School

Wayne State University

Michigan State University

First Name

Eva

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

EVA04

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Alpha Kappa Alpha

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

1/14/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Lansing

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Clams

Short Description

Association chief executive and school superintendent Eva Evans (1935 - ) was the 24th international president of the AKA Sorority. She was also a retired education administrator who was the Lansing Public Schools Deputy Superintendent for Instruction in Lansing, Michigan.

Employment

Joyce Elementary School

Lansing Public Schools

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Light Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eva Evans' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eva Evans lists her favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eva Evans describes becoming Supreme Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eva Evans describes her vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eva Evans explains how she implemented her vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eva Evans describes her leadership style

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eva Evans shares lessons she learned about leadership as Supreme Basileus in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eva Evans describes her greatest achievements and moments as Supreme Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eva Evans reflects upon her legacy as national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eva Evans reflects upon the history and the future of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eva Evans describes her mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eva Evans talks about her maternal ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eva Evans talks about the educational achievements of her maternal family

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eva Evans describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eva Evans describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eva Evans describes how her parents met and moved to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eva Evans describes her parents' personalities and who she resembles

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eva Evans recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eva Evans describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eva Evans remembers her childhood dance lessons

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eva Evans talks about her love for radio and movies growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eva Evans talks about her church and schools she attended in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eva Evans remembers her love of studying and teaching English

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eva Evans recalls her mentors in school

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eva Evans remembers famous peers from Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eva Evans describes her interests and activities at Northern High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eva Evans talks about attending Eastern Michigan College in Ypsilanti, Michigan and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eva Evans describes her experiences as a student teacher in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eva Evans talks about meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eva Evans talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eva Evans talks about her activism in the NAACP

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eva Evans talks about the NAACP desegregation suit against Lansing, Michigan schools

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eva Evans talks about the impact of desegregation on public education in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eva Evans talks about her dissertation on teacher expectations

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eva Evans talks about her research on teacher expectations and its impact on students

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eva Evans talks about the work of Alex Kotlowitz

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eva Evans remembers Magic Johnson

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eva Evans remembers her time as deputy superintendent for support services and deputy superintendent for instruction in Lansing, Michigan schools

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eva Evans talks about being the first vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eva Evans recounts her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority presidential inauguration

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eva Evans talks about preparation to becoming 23rd Supreme Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eva Evans talks about starting a public policy forum for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eva Evans remembers the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority convention in Baltimore, Maryland in 1996

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eva Evans explains Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Take Five voter registration program

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eva Evans explains how she averted a crisis with the Cleveland Jobs Corps

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eva Evans reflects upon her achievements and her life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eva Evans describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eva Evans talks about her matured perspective on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's relationship to other African American sororities

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eva Evans reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eva Evans talks about her community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eva Evans shares her hopes for an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority senior residence

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Eva Evans describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Eva Evans narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Eva Evans reflects upon her legacy as national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Eva Evans talks about starting a public policy forum for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
All right. This, this following set of questions is about your legacy. Compare the Alpha Kappa Alpha [Sorority, Inc.] you inherited from your predecessor to the one you left for your successor.$$Well, when I left--when I got to alpha ka--came into my presidency of Alpha Kappa Alpha [AKA], it was a good time to be the national president. My predecessor had built a headquarters, not the whole headquarters, the third floor of the headquarters and had gotten it paid for. Now, of course, there were repercussions from that but I was able to recoup some of the lost membership and I think move on from there. Alpha Kappa Alpha is an humungous sized organization, so it doesn't shift easily. Programs that [HistoryMaker] Dr. Mary Shy Scott in Atlanta [Georgia] put together, some people are still doing those as well as some people are still doing science and math. Some people are still working on the [American] Red Cross, so every president leaves something. I think that I left, though, the notion of partnering with other organizations to leverage our influence. When I was president, we partnered with Pillsbury to underwrite some of our programs and the quid pro quo of that was the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha who were science majors and math majors and et cetera, it helped Pillsbury with its program to diversify its workforce. So, we had science people and math people who went to work for Pillsbury and they were grateful and we were grateful for their underwriting our program, so, the notion of partnershipping. I partnershipped with Elizabeth Dole, as I told you, and I worked with HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] and so on to get this building built in North Carolina. I think I left that idea, leverage. I left the idea I think, too, that programs should be global, that all of us should turn our attention to whatever it is the sorority is trying to accomplish.$$Okay. Now, which of your contributions had the most impact?$$Who knows (laughter)? I don't know, I started a public policy forum in Washington [D.C.] because I felt that a group like ours should have a presence in the nation's capital. That's continued and I think that was impactful for Washington to know about a group like ours. I think the understanding that we were bright and we were the best and brightest the nation could produce bar race or anything else, and we could use that for something, that if we decided--I think that I was forever articulating, we're the best and brightest and we can do whatever we choose. I think it resonated and whether it set or not, I think we, we know that better.$$Okay. All right. Now, what accomplishments of your administration do you want to be remembered for?$$I'd like to be remembered for the, the Ivy Acres [Winston-Salem, North Carolina], our center for the aging. I'd like to be remembered for the public policy. I'd like to be remembered because even though I didn't have girls, I was convinced that our sorority would be better off if our daughters had an equal shot at membership, so I campaigned for four years along with everybody else and me, but I had a focus on it, that we would leave legacy, that our daughters could be AKAs, as long as they held the same standards, the same academic averages, they had the same as everybody else, that we couldn't keep them out of Alpha Kappa Alpha. And my story I used to tell was, hey, if you went to Harvard [University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] or Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut] or the University of Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan], you got extra points for being a legacy. We should give extra points.$Yeah, [HistoryMaker] Eddie Williams, yeah.$$Eddie Williams. I--when I was president, I told you I felt that we needed a presence in Washington, D.C. We're smart enough. And of--we had five members of the [U.S.] House of Representatives who were AKAs [Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.], so I figured, hey, let's use that to our advantage and we can help them, they can help us. So, we would have what was called a public policy forum each year in Washington when I was president, and one--we would focus on different things. And we would have the senators and the--well, the only--well, we had black people that--in the main, but I'm--I--if I'm not mistaking, I believe Mr. [Orrin] Hatch came over once because one of our themes was--you see, the president picks the [U.S.] Supreme Court and I was interested in Supreme Court justices that year and I was interested, equally interested, in people who got into federal judgeships down at these levels, 'cause I was in federal court two times on school deseg [desegregation]. One judge was wonderful, one was not, so I understood that process. I had wanted to work with Eddie Williams because I felt that we in the United States, we could have benefited from Alpha Kappa Alpha's presence in a Black Think Tank like that. He and--I, I ran out of time. I couldn't do all the things I wanted to do. I got to meet him one time and didn't get, get a chance before my time was up to, to finish all my stuff. We had very good friends in the White House [Washington, D.C.] thanks to [HistoryMaker] Ofield [Dukes], [HistoryMaker] Alexis Herman. We had Bob Johnson [HistoryMaker Ben Johnson], wonderful man in the White House. Oh, my. His office was right next door to [First Lady] Hillary [Rodham] Clinton's office and right around the corner from himself. But, he would arrange the speakers. He would help us get them for many of the public policy forums that we had. And because so many of the female members of the legislature were African Americans, I had an opportunity to address the Congressional Black Caucus at their--they met once a month, and I came to Washington once to meet with them. And guess who was waiting in the hall when I was waiting to get in? George Stephanopoulos. And I remember thinking, boy, go and shine your shoes (laughter). But, I did ask the [Congressional] Black Caucus to come to Baltimore [Maryland]. And do you know they came? We, we got a bus for them--

Mary Shy Scott

The 23rd International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc., Mary Shy Scott was born on July 19, 1930, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Robert Shy and Flora Spearman Shy. Under Scott’s leadership, the AKA Sorority initiated an international chapter in London, England; established a non-military memorial to World War II veterans; helped to encourage reading through a partnership with the Library of Congress; and completed the building of an addition to the national headquarters.

Raised in Atlanta where she attended public elementary and high schools, Scott went on to enroll at Spelman College, where she graduated with her B.A. degree. In 1953, Scott was initiated into the Kappa Omega Chapter of the AKA Sorority. She continued her education by earning her M.A. degree from New York University. Afterwards, she completed her post graduate work in the humanities at New York University and Georgia State University, where she became certified in supervision and administration.

From 1982 to 1984, Scott served as the regional director of the Atlanta branch of the AKA Sorority. Later, in 1986, Scott became the first Anti-Basileus elect at the Boulé in Detroit, Michigan. In 1990, Scott was elected as the 23rd International President of AKA Sorority, Inc., at the Boulé in Richmond, Virginia. As international president, Scott was instrumental in the first non-military memorial to World War II veterans at Pearl Harbor, dedicated to the unsung hero, Doris Miller. She also completed the building and financing of the third story addition to the AKA Sorority national headquarters. Then, in 1992, Scott used her position to establish an international chapter in London, England, which existed until 2006. During her administration, she formed a partnership with the Library of Congress in a national campaign to promote reading. She also renewed the AKA Cleveland Job Corps contract.

Aside from her leadership roles in the AKA Sorority, Scott has worked as an educator, elementary school music specialist and motivational speaker. She has received many awards and recognitions including the Prominent American Personality Award from the President of the Republic of Benin. In 1990, Scott received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Miles College in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mary Scott passed away on April 15, 2013.

Accession Number

A2008.026

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/24/2008

Last Name

Scott

Maker Category
Middle Name

Shy

Schools

Edwin P. Johnson Elementary School

David T. Howard Elementary School

Booker T. Washington High School

Spelman College

First Name

Mary

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

SCO06

Favorite Season

None

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/19/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Apples

Death Date

4/15/2013

Short Description

Association chief executive and elementary school music teacher Mary Shy Scott (1930 - 2013 ) was the 23rd International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority. Under Scott's leadership, AKA established the first non-military World War II veterans' memorial at Pearl Harbor, dedicated to the unsung hero, Doris Miller. She used her position to expand the sorority's headquarters, to establish an international chapter in London, and to promote reading in a national campaign with the Library of Congress. She was also a motivational speaker.

Employment

Atlanta Public Schools

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mary Shy Scott's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mary Shy Scott describes her ascension to supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mary Shy Scott talks about her vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mary Shy Scott recalls implementing her vision for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mary Shy Scott describes her leadership style

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mary Shy Scott remembers the influence of Margaret Davis Bowen

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mary Shy Scott recalls lessons from her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority leadership

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mary Shy Scott describes the Ivy Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mary Shy Scott recalls an irritation leading Alpha Kappa Alpha

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mary Shy Scott remembers a lesson from her father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Mary Shy Scott reflects upon her success as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Mary Shy Scott reflects upon her tenure as supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mary Shy Scott recalls paying the mortgage on the Ivy Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mary Shy Scott reflects upon her legacy at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mary Shy Scott talks about her accomplishments at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mary Shy Scott describes her hopes for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's future

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mary Shy Scott talks about the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's commitment to service

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mary Shy Scott describes her ideal of the perfect sisterhood at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mary Shy Scott lists her favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mary Shy Scott describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mary Shy Scott describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Mary Shy Scott remembers her mother

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mary Shy Scott talks about her mother's education, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mary Shy Scott talks about her mother's education, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mary Shy Scott describes her father's family background

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mary Shy Scott remembers her paternal grandparents

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mary Shy Scott describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mary Shy Scott talks about how her parents met

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mary Shy Scott describes her parents' professions

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mary Shy Scott remembers the Summerhill neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mary Shy Scott recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Mary Shy Scott describes Edwin P. Johnson Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Mary Shy Scott lists her siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Mary Shy Scott describes her elementary school experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mary Shy Scott describes her primary education

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mary Shy Scott remembers Grady Homes in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mary Shy Scott recalls her childhood music lessons

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mary Shy Scott remembers World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mary Shy Scott talks about her high school aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mary Shy Scott describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mary Shy Scott talks about Capitol Homes in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mary Shy Scott recalls her teachers

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Mary Shy Scott remembers segregation in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Mary Shy Scott describes Brooklyn School of Dance in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mary Shy Scott recalls studying ballet and tap dance in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mary Shy Scott remembers learning about race in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mary Shy Scott recalls living in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mary Shy Scott remembers Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mary Shy Scott describes her social life at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mary Shy Scott remembers her introduction to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mary Shy Scott recalls her early teaching career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mary Shy Scott remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Mary Shy Scott recalls her active participation in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

5$12

DATitle
Mary Shy Scott describes her leadership style
Mary Shy Scott describes her elementary school experiences
Transcript
As far as your leaders- leadership style, what leadership style did you use to bring your vision to fruition?$$First of all, I worked very, very, very carefully to let every soror I know that love was gonna be the theme of my administration. I sent every message out with love, and they felt it. I touched sorors: sorors who were in wheelchairs, sorors who were taller than me, sorors who were smaller than me. But they felt the love that I was offering them, and so we were able then to get together and work together and know together that we were on a mission and that was to serve the world through Alpha Kappa Alpha [Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.]. And I think that was the thing that helped because sorors still write me now and sign their letters, love.$$As the individual with the ultimate responsibility for making decisions which would shape Alpha Kappa Alpha, what was the fundamental test you applied?$$Well, the fundamen- fundamental test was to see after a suggestion was made, after it was carried from the board table into each chapter, I would go into regional conferences, I would visit chapters across the world, I would speak to chapters and I couldn't get a feel. Once I'm in that chapter, or once I'm in the aggregation of the people they got together, I could get a feel of what was out there as a result of what I had put out there with my directorate. And it was excellent because you could feel the response, you could feel the love. You could also feel the seriousness of the program entities. Families were coming to worship with us. As I spoke over in Nassau [Bahamas], the ladies who were in charge of getting us in the island were right on top of us, you know, showing that they cared about what we were bringing into their island. When we went to England to do the chapters there, and set up the charters for those chapters, many, many, ladies who were non Alpha Kappa Alpha women knew about Alpha Kappa Alpha and came to help us and support us. That was my real test of what we were doing and making a decision, is it working?$Tell me more about your elementary school days in school. What about the books, and was there anything that you can look back on and say could've or should have been better?$$Sure. First of all, if you ask me about my elementary school days, I was too young and too inexperienced to know that the books we were using were passed down to us. When I got to David T. Howard [David T. Howard Elementary School; David T. Howard High School, Atlanta, Georgia], I was yet so busy, I knew I had a textbook, I'm not sure that I knew and I, I think I can say I didn't know that we didn't have all the textbooks we needed because there again, the teachers created enough for us to get what we were supposed to get and feel that we were getting it. It was only when I started teaching right out of college that I realized that every book that came through my desk was from one of the white schools and every elementary majorette suit I got came from another white school and they passed them down to us. Now that was when my fight started with the system. I didn't want the children to put those dirty suits on and didn't let 'em put it on. I talked to the parents and very early in my young teaching career, I found parents in the community who could make majorette suits and I really was upset about the books, but we were at that point--in 1950, when I started teaching, they were still handing us books from Sylvan High [Sylvan Hills High School, Atlanta, Georgia] and from the other schools.

Barbara McKinzie

The 27th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc. (2006 - ) Barbara Anne McKinzie was born on January 2, 1954 in Ada, Oklahoma to Leonard T. and Johnnie M. Moses Watson. Under McKinzie’s leadership the AKA Sorority Annual Boulé’s revenues have increased and video telecasting was instituted to accommodate conference seating in multiple areas. In addition, the Sorority’s operational and delivery systems were updated and upgraded.

McKinzie attended East Central University where she was initiated into the Eta Pi Chapter of the AKA Sorority in 1973. After receiving her B.S. degree in 1976, McKinzie went on to earn her M.A. degree from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management in 1997. In 1978, McKinzie became the Financial Advisor for AKA Sorority National President Barbara K. Phillips and served again in this capacity in 1982 under the leadership of Ms. Faye B. Bryant. She went on to become the Fourth Executive Director of the AKA Sorority in 1985. During that year, McKinzie also assumed the position of Second Secretary for the Sorority’s Educational Advancement Foundation where she increased the Sorority’s annual cash flow by more than $1 million. Afterwards, in 1998, McKinzie was elected as the Sorority’s International Treasurer. She also chaired the Finance and Strategic Planning Committee. Under her leadership, the Committee issued a host of recommendations that will strengthen the AKA Sorority for decades to come.

In 2000, McKinzie ran unopposed for another two-year term as International Treasurer. That following year, she was recognized for her achievements and was named the 2001 Woman of the Year by the American Biographical Institute. The New York Network Journal later named McKinzie one of the Top 25 Outstanding Business Women of 2002. That same year, she was elected First Vice President of the AKA Sorority thereby positioning her to be International President. In 2006, during the Sorority’s convention in Detroit, she ascended to AKA’s top leadership position.

McKinzie augments her commitment to AKA Sorority, Inc. by serving other organizations whose missions parallel her passion. She became a member of the Board of Directors of Africare in 2005. Its programs primarily address health and HIV/AIDS and agricultural needs. McKinzie has also served as Comptroller for the Chicago Housing Authority.

As International President of AKA Sorority, McKinzie adopted as her signature program theme "Extraordinary Service Program", ESP, which is an acronym for Economics, Service (Sisterhood) and Partnerships. This program is achieved through five platforms focused on entrepreneurship: economic keys to success, economic strength of the black family, economics in technology (the first Undergraduate Signature Program), health resource management and economics, resulting in program funding exceeding $3 million and two million hours of service in 2007.

She has received numerous honors in recognition of her leadership commitment and documented results. In 2006, at Stillman College’s 130th Founder’s Day Convocation, McKinzie received her doctor of humane letters from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

McKinzie has served as comptroller for the Chicago Housing Authority and Deputy Director of Finance and Administration for Chicago’s Neighborhood Housing Services. She is currently President of BMC Consulting, a firm that specializes in developing financial strategies for corporations and non-profit entities.

McKinzie was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 20, 2008 as part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Centennial Boulé 2008 celebration. Segments of these interviews were used in a DVD entitled A.K.A. Sorority: A Legacy of Supreme Service.

Accession Number

A2008.021

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/20/2008

Last Name

McKinzie

Maker Category
Schools

Napier Grade School

Ada Junior High School

Byng High School

East Central University

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Ada

HM ID

MCK14

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Alpha Kappa Alpha

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Aruba

Favorite Quote

Make Excellence A Habit.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/2/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Olympia Fields

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Association chief executive Barbara McKinzie (1954 - ) was a certified public accountant, CEO of an accounting firm and the twenty-seventh supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Employment

Touche and Ross Co.

Deloitte Haskins and Sells

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Coopers and Lybrand

Whitman Corporation

Illinois State Toll Highway Authority

Salomon Smith Barney

Hollywood Casino Corporation

Forest Preserve District of Cook County

BMC Associates

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara McKinzie's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara McKinzie lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara McKinzie recalls her ascension to supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara McKinzie describes her vision for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara McKinzie talks about the Extraordinary Service Program

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara McKinzie reflects upon her leadership style at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara McKinzie reflects upon her role as supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara McKinzie describes her achievements as supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara McKinzie reflects upon her legacy in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara McKinzie describes how she would like to be remembered in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Barbara McKinzie talks about the history of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara McKinzie talks about the future of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara McKinzie describes her idea of perfect sisterhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara McKinzie describes her mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara McKinzie talks about her mother's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara McKinzie describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara McKinzie talks about how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara McKinzie describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara McKinzie remembers her neighborhood in Ada, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara McKinzie describes her childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara McKinzie recalls her early school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Barbara McKinzie talks about her Catholic faith

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Barbara McKinzie remembers race relations in Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Barbara McKinzie recalls playing basketball at Byng High School in Ada, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Barbara McKinzie describes her early interest in history

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara McKinzie describes her academic experiences at Byng High School in Ada, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara McKinzie recalls briefly attending Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara McKinzie describes her experiences at East Central Oklahoma State University in Ada, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara McKinzie remembers her graduate education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara McKinzie describes her early work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara McKinzie recalls her role in the construction of the AKA headquarters in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara McKinzie describes her work as the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's financial advisor

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara McKinzie recalls her experiences in majority-white accounting firms

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara McKinzie remembers an experience of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara McKinzie describes her accounting career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara McKinzie recalls working for Whitman Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara McKinzie remembers the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara McKinzie recalls working for the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and Salomon Smith Barney

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara McKinzie describes her role as the CFO of the Hollywood Casino Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara McKinzie talks about her work with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara McKinzie recalls working for the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara McKinzie describes the global membership of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Barbara McKinzie talks about her duties as supreme basileus of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Barbara McKinzie reflects upon her career

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Barbara McKinzie describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Barbara McKinzie reflects upon her family and legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Barbara McKinzie describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara McKinzie narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara McKinzie narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

5$5

DATitle
Barbara McKinzie talks about the Extraordinary Service Program
Barbara McKinzie talks about her work with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Transcript
Example, we have five platforms in the ESP program [Extraordinary Service Program of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.]. Platform one is what we refer to as our nontraditional entrepreneur. That is, we, as an organization of women who found it to encourage, foster relationships with women, we focus on developing women entrepreneurs, which is nontraditional, and in particular, in the African American community. The second platform is called the economic keys to success. The focus of that platform is meant to say everyone needs a high school diploma in the topic of economics. You cannot give away what you do not own. And education as a core competency of this institution for a hundred years, we think that every member needs to have at least, let's say a high school diploma in economics. Our third platform is a focus on our black family which we always do. And we've decided that we would focus on the black male in our black family unit structure and support that concept through certain economic ventures. We have a partnership with JP Chase Morgan [JPMorgan Chase and Co.] where we've agreed to put first time homeowners four thousand of them, in homes over the four year period of time of this administration. And we have a platform four which is a platform for our undergraduates. Those are our members who are on college campuses, and their focus is to use economics and education with technology by studying a problem in their community on their campus, collaborating with the university, partnering with the other organization and chapters on those campuses and actually bring to fruition some technology program that had some value to someone in the way of service. An example of some of those would be in Evanston [Illinois] at Northwestern [Northwestern University]. The students studied what was a problem in that community. What they figured out was this, there were a lot of immigrants who had relocated to the Evanston area, and so if they were to strengthen communication as a community, then helping those immigrants learn a second language, English, and helping some of the older people in the community learn a second language, whatever the prevalent second language, they're Hispanic, was, that that would be a way they could use technology to train and tutor people and that's one of the things that they do. The fifth platform is called economics in health management and in that topic of health, preventive health, we wanted to focus on mental health, because we used that as our foundation in stating that it is the mental state that truly drives the connection between mind, body and spirit, and there is an economic cost if that mental state is not at its tip performance.$So I opted to come back to the place I had been and knew which was Chicago [Illinois], and I came back as a chief financial officer for the late John Stroger, Jr. [HistoryMaker John H. Stroger, Jr.]. Again, I came back in this role of turn around person. If you recall, the Cook County forest preserve [Forest Preserve District of Cook County], when they were going through a series of scandals back in 2002, 2001, 2002, they'd fired their CFO, rife with all kinds of financial issues and so I came back in January of '02 [2002] as the CFO of the forest preserve to turn around a fourteen year deficit driven agency, and we were successful in doing that within two years.$$Okay. This is like, this is 2000 and--$$Twenty o-two [2002]$$Twenty o-two [2002], okay.$$To 2004.$$Okay. Well, what was some of the, I guess I have to ask, what were some of the challenges in trying to right that situation?$$Well first you had, I think it's eighteen or nineteen Cook County [Illinois] commissioners. You see 'em on TV, you know the personalities. And when I came back President Stroger was, I think 2002 was an election year so he was getting ready to run for president of the Cook County board for the third time I think it was. And there had been some issues surrounding it, but the biggest issue he had was the forest preserve. Well, I knew from my experience and the work habits that I had that I could turn it around, but the only way I could do it was that I had his support and I meant his solid support, not his political support. And he indicated to me that he wanted it fixed and he was committed to having it fixed and that if I was able to do it, then he would support that. And so I shared with him the vision and plan I had for how I knew it could work and I also wanted to understand, given the fallout from it, what would that mean politically and that that was something he was prepared to deal with and he indicated that he was. So my job became very simple, which was to devise a plan and implement it. And I did it in a way that first, dealing with the commissioners. All of them say that they are here to serve, well, if that were true, then they would have no problem buying into the plan that he and I had devised because the plan was about returning the county back to the taxpayer by minimizing their taxes. That was basically the strategy but the way we would have to get there was to reduce costs, which meant laying off people, which meant with a reduced staff, the people who remained must be people who can do the work or you can't get the work done. And so we took an agency down from, the forest preserve district I think, upwards of fifteen hundred, twelve, fifteen hundred people, we restructured it down to a staffing of somewhere less than half that. And immediately began to, after two years of severance packages, et cetera, return the agency to financial solvency, and therefore stem the tide for property tax increases to taxpayers because the organization was operating in the black, under the current tax structure. And so like I say, the most challenge I had was sitting in a, sitting in board meetings watching the antics and the stage performances of people for the camera when it wasn't doing anything to governing. So that was a valuable lesson.$$Okay. So, so you were able to turn this situation around and--$$Yes.$$--make it solvent again.$$Yes.

Loann Honesty King

Educational expert Loann Julia Honesty King was born on December 10, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois to Elizabeth and Edward Honesty. Her brother is Edward F. Honesty, Jr. King attended Englewood High School in Chicago. In 1961, she married Chicago contractor and executive Paul J. King, Jr. They have two adult sons, Paul J. King, III and Timothy J. King. King received her B.A. degree in education in 1963 from Chicago Teachers College (now Chicago State University). She did graduate work at Northeastern Illinois University and received her M.A. degree in inner-city studies in 1971.

King began a highly respected career as a teacher and counselor in the Chicago Public Schools in 1963, and became a program development consultant for the U.S. Department of Education in 1976. Her dedication to youth enrichment continued as she became the Associate Director of Jobs for Youth Chicago in 1980. She also worked as a grant coordinator for the Illinois Community College Board, Malcolm X College and City-Wide College. Committed to the growth of Chicago-area community colleges, King served in several capacities at Olive-Harvey College beginning in 1987, including serving as Dean of Instruction and Dean of Career Programs. She moved on to become Dean of Instruction at Kennedy-King College in 2001, where she also served as Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management. She retired from her position as Vice President at Kennedy-King in 2003.

King is a dedicated member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She was initiated into the Beta Chapter in Chicago in 1959. She serves as Chairman of the International Program Committee and has also authored two editions of a history of the Sorority’s Central Region. She also served the Sorority as National Treasurer and Central Regional Director, among many other positions. She is also a member of The Links, Inc.

King has sat on the boards of numerous community organizations including the Jane Adams Hull House Foundation, Parkway Community House (served as President) and the HRDI (Human Resources Development Institute). She currently serves on the boards of the Chicago Community Trust African American Legacy Initiative (founding member) and Urban Prep Academies, where her son Timothy is the founder and CEO. She has been honored extensively, by organizations such as Ebony Magazine, the U.S. Department of Education, Englewood High School Alumni Hall of Fame, Olive-Harvey College, Kennedy-King College, the American Association of Women in Community Colleges, and the University of South Carolina and Houghton Mifflin.

Loann and her husband established the Loann and Paul King Philanthropic Fund in 2001, with Chicago Community Trust, becoming the Trust’s first family donor advised fund established by African Americans.

King was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 6, 2008 as part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Centennial Boulé 2008 100 year celebration. Segments of these interviews were used in a DVD entitled A.K.A. Sorority: A Legacy of Supreme Service.

Accession Number

A2008.014

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/6/2008 |and| 5/28/2008

Last Name

King

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Honesty

Schools

Chicago State University

Englewood High School

William W. Carter Elementary School

Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

First Name

Loann

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

KIN12

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Alpha Kappa Alpha

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/10/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Program administrator and educator Loann Honesty King (1940 - ) served as a consultant for the Department of Education, and as the Associate Director of Jobs at Youth Chicago. She later become Dean of Instruction and Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management at Kennedy-King College.

Employment

Jobs for Youth/Chicago, Inc.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Chicago Public Schools

Illinois Community College Board

City Colleges of Chicago

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Green, Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Loann Honesty King's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King describes her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King talks about her brother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King remembers her parents' education and employment

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King describes her neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King remembers her shamrock Halloween costume

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Loann Honesty King describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Loann Honesty King talks about her teenage social activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Loann Honesty King remembers Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Loann Honesty King describes her early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King recalls matriculating at Chicago Teachers College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King describes her introduction to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King remembers the Ivy Leaf Pledge Club, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King remembers the Ivy Leaf Pledge Club, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King recalls her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. initiation, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King recalls her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. initiation, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King describes how she met her husband

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King remembers attending her first boule

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King describes her early leadership at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Loann Honesty King recalls her early teaching career in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King talks about the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King describes her career at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King describes her career at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King talks about the women's movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King remembers campaigning for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King describes her graduate work in inner city studies

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King recalls her decision to run for national treasurer of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Loann Honesty King remembers her campaign for national treasurer of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King recalls her election as treasurer of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King talks about her experiences as treasurer of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King recalls Supreme Basileus Barbara Kinard Phillips' leadership

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King talks about Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.'s undergraduate membership

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King recalls the executive leadership of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King talks about leadership opportunities in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King reflects upon her tenure as treasurer of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King describes Demetrius Carney's work for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King recalls being hired at Jobs for Youth/Chicago, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Loann Honesty King describes her work with the Illinois Community College Board

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Loann Honesty King talks about her sons

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Loann Honesty King describes her organizational involvement in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King recalls running for central regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King describes Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.'s position on hazing

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King recalls her vision as central regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King remembers her challenges as central regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King describes the development of Theta Omega Chapter's community center

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King remembers her mentors in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King talks about the AKArama Foundation, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King describes her work with Kennedy-King College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King reflects upon her career in education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King describes her book, 'Pledged to Remember'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King recalls the motivation for writing her book, 'Pledged to Remember'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King talks about the second edition of 'Pledged to Remember'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King recalls her decision to retire

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King describes the Extraordinary Service Program

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King talks about the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. centennial

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King reflects upon her leadership at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King describes her involvement with Chicago Community Trust

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Loann Honesty King's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King talks about her father's upbringing

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King describes her paternal grandmother

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King remembers how her parents met

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King talks about her maternal great-grandparents

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King describes her mother's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King remembers her home life

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Loann Honesty King remembers her family's holiday traditions

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Loann Honesty King describes her neighbors in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Loann Honesty King remembers William W. Carter Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King remembers her elementary school conduct

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King describes her repertoire with her classmates

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King remembers her father's businesses in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King describes the Englewood High School building in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King remembers the birth of her younger brother

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King recalls her early religious experiences

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King talks about her early awareness of racism

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King remembers attending high school football games

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King recalls her early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Loann Honesty King remembers her educational aspirations

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Loann Honesty King recalls discrimination from her elementary school teacher

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King remembers the support of her elementary school principal

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King recalls her decision to attend Chicago Teachers College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King describes her early relationship with her husband

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King recalls her decision to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King remembers her experiences with hazing, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King remembers her experiences with hazing, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King recalls her experiences at Chicago Teachers College

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King remembers student teaching at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King recalls her early experiences in Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King recalls the student takeover at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King talks about her disappointment in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King describes the Englewood community in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King remembers her students

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King describes the U.S. Department of Education's Triple T program

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King recalls her work at Jobs for Youth/Chicago, Inc.

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King talks about her husband's career

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King recalls her grant work for the Illinois Community College Board

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King describes her career with City Colleges of Chicago

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Loann Honesty King talks about the City Colleges of Chicago

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Loann Honesty King describes her retirement from Kennedy-King College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Loann Honesty King talks about receiving the Outstanding First Year Student Advocates Award

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Loann Honesty King describes her friendship with Supreme Basileus Loraine Richardson Green

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Loann Honesty King recalls her early involvement in the Theta Omega Chapter

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Loann Honesty King describes her civic activities with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Loann Honesty King reflects upon her leadership positions at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Loann Honesty King talks about the sisterhood of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Loann Honesty King reflects upon her life

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Loann Honesty King describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Loann Honesty King describes her graduate work in inner city studies
Loann Honesty King describes her book, 'Pledged to Remember'
Transcript
I'm going to take you back just a little bit to when you were a consultant for the U.S. Department of Education [U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare; U.S. Department of Education]--$$Okay.$$--in the mid-'70s [1970s]. What did you do in that capacity?$$I was on a panel. It was a grant I guess that was given Northwestern University [Evanston, Illinois], and it was called the Triple T project, and it was the Training of Teacher Trainees [sic.], and they brought together various individuals in education from throughout the country to deal with the issue of whether teachers were being trained properly in these institutions to be able to go out and teach primarily in inner city schools.$$So necessary work.$$Yes. So, I, I participated on many of the discussions in bringing that kind of information, you know, to the table from my perspective and was nominated from the school [Parker High School; Paul Robeson High School, Chicago, Illinois]. Now part of it might have been based on my master's thesis, which had to do with the conspiracy of vocational education in the City of Chicago [Illinois], where I looked into how the vocational schools in the City of Chicago were taking the cream of the crop from the high schools and putting them into vocational career oriented schools as opposed to putting them into college bound education. So, I did a study on that, and that was what I did my master's thesis on.$$What school?$$Northeastern Illinois University, Center for Inner City Studies [Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, Chicago, Illinois].$$And you got a master's degree in what?$$An M.A., masters of arts in inner city studies.$$Okay, and so this seems pretty revolutionary even using the word conspiracy.$$I know. You know, I--it's just me, 'cause I really thought there was a plan. I mean I really thought, I didn't think it was just by coincidence that this was happening. I really felt this was a deliberate attempt to prevent the best of the best or at least proven academically from going into college careers. Now those schools that were predominately the vocational schools in Chicago at the time of course then began to say how they had these college curriculums, you know, and you could go to college as well because they were offering. But, they were not offering the advanced Englishes and literatures and the advanced math courses that would take to get all these college entrance exams and where you would need to score on the AA- SAT and the ACT scores. So, then why were you doing it, you know. Was it--my idea was it was to primarily get the better student because it was easier to educate the student who was academically achiever than it was the one who was not. So, the general high school, the general ed [general education] high schools were getting the middle to lower graduates, where the vocational schools were getting first choice and selling their schools to these parents who thought this was the place to be.$$And so once you finished your master's thesis, what happened to these ideas? Did anyone sort of listen?$$I, well as I said I think that's part of why I ended up with the Triple T kind of involvement with the Department of Education 'cause I did get called a couple of times to speak to the Department of Education on the issue of this thesis, so I think that's how they got my name; you know how that goes.$$And you finished your master's at Northeastern (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--in the early '70s [1970s]?$$Yes.$$Seventy-one [1971].$So you authored a book in 1997 focused on the sorority. Tell me about that, what was it called?$$Okay. It was called 'Pledged to Remember: The History of Central Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.' ['Pledged to Remember: The History of Central Region,' Loann Julia Honesty King], which is the region I served as central regional director. Now the first edition, there has been two now, but the first edition came about because I had the honor of knowing and being around Loraine Richardson Green, and she used to talk so much about what it was like when she was a member, what it was like when she was supreme, and we would just have conversation after conversation about the sorority. And I said, you know this stuff is too important to miss. Now of course our national history had been documented quite well by Dr. Marjorie Parker [Marjorie Holloman Parker], but it was like the little things --because she was in Chicago [Illinois] and a part of what we considered Central Region. It was the little things about that I felt maybe these are gonna, you know gonna get missed. So, she said, "You know you should right a history book." So, I went to the regional director at the time and I said, "Hey, you know I'd be willing to chair committee to try to put together a history of Central Region and see what comes you know on--of it if you think it's okay with you." Well, the regional director at the time did say, "Sure, fine go right ahead." So it started and it was a labor of love and a project that took approximately four years to really complete because as I got into it there was more and more that I wanted to say to make sure it got documented and chapters participated by submitting their own individual chapter histories to be a part of the book. They had, of course had to be edited so there was some consistency in how they were told. But primarily I wanted to talk about what was going on during the times of the establishment of these chapters and when we first came about and how the evolution of the region took place and what was going on and, and in what kind of atmosphere or environment did these trailblazing, pioneer women go out and establish these chapters and what were they doing on the landscape of the region seen to shape it.

Dorothy Cowser Yancy

Johnson C. Smith University President Dorothy Cowser Yancy was born on April 18, 1944 in Cherokee County, Alabama to Linnie Bell Covington Cowser and Howard Cowser, a farmer. She was raised on the family farm once owned by her great-great grandfather. Upon graduation from Hatcher High School in 1960, Yancy entered Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina where she was a student activist in the Civil Rights Movement, holding memberships in the SGA, SCLC, and SNCC. She graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in 1964 with her B.A. degree in history. In 1964, Yancy entered the University of Massachusetts where she earned her M.A. degree in history. Simultaneously, she received a certificate in management development from Harvard University. In 1968, Yancy married Robert James Yancy, and in 1974, she entered the doctoral program in political science at Atlanta University where she became an accomplished scholar.

After receiving her Ph.D. degree from Atlanta University, Yancy sought post-graduate work at a variety of institutions including the University of Singapore, Hampton University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Georgia Tech University and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Yancy became a tenure-track professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1972 and served as professor of history, technology, and society and management. She became the first African American professor to be promoted and tenured as a full professor. She also served as Associate Director of the School of Social Sciences, and she remained at Georgia Tech until 1994, when she became the first female president of Johnson C. Smith University.

As president, Yancy doubled the University endowment to approximately $57 million and increased applications 300%. She also upgraded the technical capabilities of the school by ensuring that each undergraduate student receives an IBM Thinkpad upon entry through a lease program. During her presidency, Yancy became the first female board president of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Yancy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 20, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.180

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/20/2007

Last Name

Yancy

Maker Category
Middle Name

Cowser

Schools

Hatcher High School

Savage Wood Elementary School

Johnson C. Smith University

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Clark Atlanta University

Northwestern University

Northeastern University

First Name

Dorothy

Birth City, State, Country

Cherokee County

HM ID

COW01

Favorite Season

Christmas, Thanksgiving

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Spas

Favorite Quote

No Good Deed Will Go Unpunished.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

4/18/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

String Beans, Barbeque Ribs

Short Description

Political science professor and university president Dorothy Cowser Yancy (1944 - ) was the first female president of Johnson C. Smith University.

Employment

Johnson C. Smith University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Albany State College

Barat College

Hampton Institute

Favorite Color

Bright, Dark Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorothy Cowser Yancy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her parents' roots in Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her white relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her family's land in Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her early interest in literature

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers Hatcher High School in Centre, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls segregation in Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her parents' professions and siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers her sister's role at Hatcher High School in Centre, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the racial tensions in Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her experiences at Hatcher High School in Centre, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about the segregation of schools in Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls her paternal relatives who passed as white

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers her arrival at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the civil rights activities at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her experiences at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recall her aspiration to attend graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls her arrival at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her summer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers her decision to become a teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her teaching position at Albany State College in Albany, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her husband and daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls her doctoral studies at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her courses at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her work with the labor unions in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls the impact of desegregation and the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls integrating the tenured faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her social life in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her role as an associate director at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about The Links chapter in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her holiday celebrations

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls how she became the president of Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers her mentors at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her capital campaign at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the laptop program at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the use of technology at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about the security system at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the international studies programs at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers working with her former professors at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy reflects upon the traditions at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her fundraising strategies

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the social activities at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about Johnson C. Smith University's donors

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about the Smith family's contribution to Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her decision to retire from Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her involvement with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her role at the United Negro College Fund

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about returning home to Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1$1

DATape

3$5$1

DAStory

1$2$10

DATitle
Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the civil rights activities at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina
Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her capital campaign at Johnson C. Smith University
Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her early interest in literature
Transcript
You had mentioned the Civil Rights Movement, so when you got to Johnson C. Smith [Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina] how did that manifest on campus?$$Well, you know, you have to remember now I came out of Alabama where the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] was illegal. We had had the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but in north Alabama, nothing had happened, not in the north Alabama where I lived. After I left home, there was a movement in Gadsden, Alabama and my cousins were involved in it and then my cousins integrated the Cherokee County High School [Centre, Alabama] after I left home. And eventually my sister [Evelyn Cowser] taught at the white high school. But when I left home, everything was still segregated. And so when I came here, and, and, and I knew about the sit-ins, I immediately began to participate 'cause it made a lot of sense to me.$$What were the organizations?$$Well, we just had a student government here on campus. And I remember Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.], you know, SNCCs [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee], S--SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference], SNCC and stuff like that. But we had a student organization. But see, I, I don't remember too much the stu- the, the SNCC and all that. I remember Dr. Hawkins [Reginald Hawkins]. There was a man here in town who was a dentist, who also had graduated from Johnson C. Smith Seminary [Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia] and graduated from undergraduate school here. He led the movement in this town of students. And then we had student leaders, and I remember we had to go through this nonviolent training in the auditorium downstairs because you weren't supposed to spit back or hit back or anything like that. So I remember going through all of that before you went downtown to protest. But we used to go on Tuesdays and Thursdays, those were light teaching days. And the boys from Davidson [Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina] would come over sometimes. But the Queens girls [Queens College; Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina], I don't ever remember seeing them, although now they say they were in the movement. But I don't know anything about them. But I do remember the Davidson boys coming over. And we were--we were very active. We had Charlie Jones [Charles Jones] who was involved in SCL- was involved in SNCC, and Charlie ha- went on down to the protest in Mississippi and went on down to Albany, Georgia and places like that. And there were a few fellas out of the seminary, 'cause Charlie was in the seminary. It was--his mother was my English teacher. And Charlie used to write back letters telling us what was going on in the various southern towns that he was going, going through. And she would--we would go over them in class, in English class. And she would teach that along with 'The Iliad' [Homer] and 'The Odyssey' [Homer]. How she did it I will never know. Well, Ms. Jones was a wonder woman. She was considered to be a little fickle, you know, and quite avant garde, but she was one of the more exciting teachers I ever had. And she was fun and I kept her for two years of English, and I've always had the upmost respect for her.$$But she would teach the classics and then she would teach?$$And, and, and she would read Charlie's letters and somehow it would bring it into human rights and social justice. And we had--we had a teacher in religion whose name was Dr. Steele who believed that the Civil Rights Movement was sort of like God ordained. You know, if God was here, if Jesus was here he'd be in the movement too. And we had some very interesting religious--religion classes on social justice and the social gospel. Johnson C. Smith had an interesting social gospel that they taught at the seminary. And there's been a dissertation written on it about the social gospel that was taught in the seminary at Johnson C. Smith led by Algernon O. Steele. And it was--it was quite interesting because we knew that we were doing what God would've wanted us to do when we were protesting. And it was supported by the president and the faculty and everybody.$So, what was your plan of action when you got here, what did you wanna do?$$Well, the pla- when I got here, I walked into a capital campaign and the goal was $50 million. And so I had to raise the money. So I walked in and went to the capital campaign meeting and Ed Crutchfield who was the biggest banker in town head of First Union Bank [First Union Corporation; Wells Fargo and Company], and John Stedman [John B. Stedman, Jr.] who was the guru of fundraising here in town and the head of Duke Energy [Duke Energy Corporation] and Duke Power [Duke Power Company, Charlotte, North Carolina] at the time, and the head of the newspaper and the head of Lance [Lance, Inc.; Snyder's-Lance, Inc.]. That was my operating committee. I mean here are all these big dogs, you know, and here I am this kid who just walked out of the classroom. And so I'll never forget my first meeting. The--Ed Crutchfield was late. You know, Presbyterians are always on time. And then he looked at me and he says, "Well I don't know how we gonna tell the Johnson C. Smith story since Bob Albright [Robert Albright] has gone." And I remember looking at him, by now I'm really seething. I said, "Well I don't know what you are talking about, I am the damn story. And if I can't tell it, it can't be told. Bob Albright didn't go to Johnson C. Smith [Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina]." And he and I hit it off just like that. And we've been friends ever since. And he helped--we work together. We met every three months and we raised that money.$$How long did it take you (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) We had sixty-three--in--in '98 [1998] we ended the campaign at $63.8 million. That's right.$$And you had more than doubled the endowment or?$$The endowment has gone from when I came here it was 13 something, and a few weeks ago it was 53 million, 'cause we just finished an--another campaign. It was 75 million and we've hit 80.6 million. So it's, it's, it's been interesting. So what you see around the campus, the new library, the new technology center, the renovation of this building, the track and academic complex, the renovation of the buildings, the air conditioning of all the dormitories. You know, the, the gr- I mean all the things you see around here are the things that we've done and the infrastructure. We've tried to, to improve upon what we found and just create a very good learning community, a place where students can come and learn and go out and be, be successful and main--major contributors to, to, to the universe. I mean, we, we wanna raise global students and I think we do that with our technology. I don't think our students would know what to do without having a laptop. They've all had one individually since 2000. And I think that's probably the, the connections that they made with the world is probably the best contribution or the major contributions of, of something I've given to them.$What was your favorite subject in school?$$Well, I liked math and I liked--I, I loved to read, that was, that was my favorite thing.$$What did you like to read, what books?$$Well, I loved to read anything. And I remember my favorite set of books, and you're probably gonna think I'm really nerdy now, was this set of Childcraft that the school [Savage Wood Elemenatary School, Cherokee County, Alabama] had. The little school had a set of Childcraft, I don't know who bought them. But when the school closed and my father [Howard Cowser] bought the school, we ended up with the whole set of Childcraft. And we used--I used to read all of the fairy tales and all of the stories. And then we would have, you know, they had that big long one, what volume thirteen and fourteen were the big long skinny ones, remember. And they had the--had all the wild animals and all this kind of stuff in it. And it was a really exciting book. And of course the story--the stories you don't tell those kind of stories to children anymore because the people got eaten up, you know. They had to--had to sort of make them socially acceptable in recent years. But I still--we still have that set in my parents' ho- house. But I used to just love to read anything. And then my mother [Linnie Covington Cowser] used to get Progressive Farmer, I know that's not gonna float your boat, but we used to--I used to read The Progressive Farmer, I used to read Reader's Digest, and then Reader's Digest had the books, novels that you could get. And then we use to get all the magazines and stuff. I, I, I would just read anything. But my favorite person that I loved to read about that my mother had difficulty with was Billie Holiday. I loved Billie Holiday. I thought she had the most beautiful voice in the world, but it was about the time that she was on drugs and my mother was just incensed that I wanted to read about this woman. So I would hide and read everything I could about Billie Holiday.

Naomi Long Madgett

Poet and English professor emeritus Naomi Cornelia Long Madgett was born on July 5, 1923 in Norfolk, Virginia to the Reverend Clarence Marcellus Long and the former Maude Selena Hilton. Growing up in East Orange, New Jersey, she attended Ashland Grammar School and Bordentown School. At age twelve, Madgett’s poem, My Choice, was published on the youth page of the Orange Daily Courier. In 1937, the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where her schoolmates included Margaret Bush Wilson, E. Sims Campbell and lifelong friend, baritone Robert McFerrin, Sr. Madgett, at age fifteen, established a friendship with Langston Hughes. Just days after graduating with honors from Charles Sumner High School in 1941, Madgett’s first book of poetry, Songs to a Phantom Nightingale was published. She attended Virginia State University during World War II and graduated with her B.A. degree in 1945.

Madgett attended graduate school at New York University. In 1946, she married and moved to Detroit, Michigan where she worked as a copywriter for the Michigan Chronicle and the Michigan Bell. In 1949, her poem Refugee appeared in The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1949 and in 1950, several of her poems were featured in American Literature by Negro Authors. Occasionally, Madgett read her poetry for the Detroit Study Club. After marrying William H. Madgett in 1954, she earned her M.Ed. from Wayne State University in 1955. Madgett taught at Northwestern High School, while two other books; 1956’s One and the Many and 1965’s Star by Star gained local accolade. Madgett joined a group of black Detroit writers including Margaret Danner, Oliver LaGrone, Dudley Randall, Harold G. Lawrence, Edward Simpkins, Gloria Davis, Alma Parks, James Thompson and Betty Ford who met at Boone House. They were featured along with James Edward McCall and playwrights Powell Lindsay and Woodie King, Jr. in the October 1962 issue of the Negro History Bulletin. Madgett’s poetry was also published in the Negro Digest and Hughes’s 1964 anthology, New Negro Poets: U.S.A. In 1965, she was awarded the Mott Fellowship in English.

In 1968, Madgett was included in Ten: Anthology of Detroit Poets and joined the faculty of Eastern Michigan University where she wrote A Student’s Guide to Creative Writing. Madgett’s 1971 African travels inspired the poems Phillis, and Glimpses of Africa. She earned her Ph.D. from Greenwich University in 1980. Octavia and Other Poems was published in 1988 by Third World Press. Madgett formed Lotus Press in 1972 and published her own book, Pink Ladies in the Afternoon. She edited the acclaimed Adam of Ife: Black Women in Praise of Black Men in 1992. Madgett is the recipient of many honors including 1993’s American Book Award and the George Kent Award in 1995.

Madgett, who was made Detroit’s Poet Laureate by Mayor Dennis Archer, continues as a vital part of Detroit’s cultural life.

Accession Number

A2007.072

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/5/2007 |and| 6/27/2007

Last Name

Madgett

Maker Category
Middle Name

Long

Occupation
Schools

Charles H. Sumner High School

Ashland Grammar School

Virginia State University

New York University

Wayne State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Naomi

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

MAD04

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

7/5/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Poet and english professor Naomi Long Madgett (1923 - ) was first published at age twelve. Madgett was the recipient of many honors including 1993's American Book Award and the George Kent Award in 1995.

Employment

Michigan Bell Telephone

Northern High School

Northwestern High School

Eastern Michigan University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Naomi Long Madgett's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers her paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her paternal aunt, Octavia Long, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her paternal aunt, Octavia Long, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls researching her paternal aunt, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls researching her paternal aunt, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett describes Guthrie, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Reverend S.S. Jones

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls the racism in East Orange, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her father's personality

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her poem, 'Reluctant Light'

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers East Orange, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett describes Ashland Grammar School in East Orange, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Calvary Baptist Church, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Calvary Baptist Church, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls tension at Calvary Baptist Church in East Orange, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls leaving Calvary Baptist Church

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Robert McFerrin, Sr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her graduating class at Charles H. Sumner High School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers her classes at Charles H. Sumner High School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her brother's military service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls learning about black history

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Langston Hughes

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her first book of poetry

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers the release of her first book of poetry

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her decision to attend Virginia State College for Negroes in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her paternal grandmother

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls visiting Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers rationing during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers her brother's disappearance during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her brother's time in prison camp

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her brother's release from prison camp

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the important role of teachers

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers professors at Virginia State College for Negroes

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers historian, Luther Porter Jackson, Sr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett describes the history of Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls graduating from Virginia State College for Negroes

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about her first marriage

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls being hired at Michigan Bell Telephone Company

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about completing her master's degree

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her early teaching career

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett describes the inspiration for her poetry

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her poem, 'Midway'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her poem, 'Alabama Centennial'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the theme of race in her poetry

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her style of poetry

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the impact of 'Midway,' pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the impact of 'Midway,' pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers the Boone House group in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers African American writers in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Naomi Long Madgett's interview, session 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls meeting African American poets in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett describes the Boone House poets

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls working for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls working for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about her teaching career

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her civil rights poems

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her childhood inspiration

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers the deaths of her brothers

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about writing new poetry

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett recites her poem, 'Reluctant Light'

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett recites her poem, 'Connected Islands'

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett recounts her paternal family history

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls conducting research on her paternal family

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls visiting Guthrie, Oklahoma

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers starting Lotus Press

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls early publications of Lotus Press

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett describes the authors published by Lotus Press

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about Lotus Press' operations

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls serving as poet laureate of Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett describes other poet laureates

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett compares spoken word poetry and written poetry

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her future plans

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her organizational memberships

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls donating her papers

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett reflects upon her life

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett shares her hopes for future generations

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Naomi Long Madgett remembers Langston Hughes
Naomi Long Madgett recites her poem, 'Connected Islands'
Transcript
When we went to St. Louis [Missouri] I met Langston Hughes for the first time. I was about fifteen.$$Now, tell us about that. Now you, you, you were, you were a sophomore in high school [Charles H. Sumner High School, St. Louis, Missouri] I guess, or, or--$$Something like that.$$And, and you met Langston. How did you meet Langston Hughes (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, he was, he was touring. And this was about--I'm trying to think of the copyright date on the book he gave me--about '39 [1939] or '40 [1940] I think. He was speaking at a women's, black women's literary meeting, and my mother [Maude Hilton Long] took me there, and I told him I was writing poetry. And he talked to me and said, "Don't ever pay to have your poems published," and he gave me a signed copy of 'A New Song' [Langston Hughes]. And then the next time I saw him I was at Virginia State [Virginia State College for Negroes; Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia], and he was going to do a reading there, and I met with him with a small literary group that I belonged to in the afternoon of the reading. And I had a notebook, loose leaf notebook, with typed poems of mine, and I asked him if he had time would he look at some of them and tell me what he thought. So he said, "Yes, I'll give it back to you after the reading tonight." So in the middle of his reading, he read some of my poems and said that I had authored them, and my head got this big. He praised me. And when I get to get the notebook back, people had joined him on the stage. And I stood off to the side, but he saw me there, and he, he brought the book to me, and he had gone through all of the poems and written penciled notes, which I immediately covered with scotch tape and so it wouldn't get erased. And then when I heard that he and Arna Bontemps were doing a, an anthology of black poetry--'Negro'--'The Poetry of the Negro: 19--1746 to 1949' ['The Poetry of the Negro: 1746 to 1949,' eds. Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes], I sent him several of the poems, and he included one ["Refugee," Naomi Long Witherspoon] of them in there. And I stayed in touch with him until his death. Every time he was in Detroit [Michigan], somebody had a party for him, and I was always there. But he was the most wonderful person in the world, just down to earth, very helpful, encouraging to other poets, younger poets. And a number of black women poets could tell the same story. Mari Evans knew him much better than I did, but she and Margaret Walker and I were at least three of the black poets that he had, had encouraged.$$That's something.$'Connected--$$'Connected Islands' (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) Islands.'$$--'New and Selected Poems' ['Connected Islands: New and Selected Poems,' Naomi Long Madgett].$$The title, tell me about the title.$$I guess it came from the introductory poem. Do I have time to read that?$$Sure.$$Okay, and I'm, I'm gonna sing part of it because--try to sing part of it, because it, it's excerpts from songs.$$All right.$$But everything is connected ["Connected Islands," Naomi Long Madgett]: "Disjointed words and phrases come to me in dreams like scattered islands. Rising from secret places, they flow to the surface of consciousness, spill onto empty pages. But I tell you this, they will all come together. Everything means, and nothing is isolated. 'Rock-a-bye baby on the treetop' a mother in Africa rocks her infant, dying of starvation, belly distended. 'When the bow breaks,' a sergeant in Baltimore on furlough scribbles a note before she leaps from a ninth floor ledge. So long, badness. I did love you. See you there. Her broken bones lie at awkward angles on the sidewalk. The next week, her married soldier-lover follows her in suicide. I cover the waterfront, searching for a love that cannot live, yet never dies. A woman shivers under the boardwalk in Atlantic City, with only a box for shelter. In a funeral home in London the ring that covered head of a year old baby rests on a pillow in a small white casket. Nearby the shriveled hands of a woman in her nineties hold a rose with his sheep securely fold you. The space between them is heavy with formaldehyde, ends and beginnings, change and decay. They're alone; they are together. Even separate islands are connected by some sea. And we are sisters touching across the waters of our disparate lives, singing our untold stories in a harmo- harmony of undulating waves." So that, I decided that that should be the introductory poem to the book.$$Okay.

Marie Brown

Literary agent and publishing consultant, Marie Dutton Brown was born on October 4, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Josephine and Benson Dutton. Brown attended a Catholic elementary school and a public high school. She graduated from Germantown High School in 1958 and went on to Penn State University where she received her B.S degree in 1962.

Brown became a teacher for the Philadelphia Public School System in 1963. In 1965, as a multicultural coordinator, she helped to introduce multicultural education into the school system, which included African American history.

In 1967, Brown decided to take a different direction in her career. She took a position as a general publishing trainee at Doubleday Book Publishing in New York City, but in 1969, she married and relocated with her husband to California. There, from 1969 until 1972, Brown worked in bookstores and did freelance work. Then, she returned to New York City and to Doubleday Book Publishing as a senior editor.

Brown went on to become the Editor-In-Chief of Elan magazine in 1982 and sales manager and assistant buyer for Endicott Booksellers in 1984. At a time when publishers were no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts, Brown decided to take her expertise and open her own literary agency, Marie Brown and Associates in Harlem, New York, becoming one of the few African American agents in the book world. Her agency provided marketing, promotions and consulting along with publishing. In 1990, Brown began to concentrate on book publishing because she cherished the idea of working creatively and developmentally with the authors. Brown has represented authors Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Randall Robinson, Dr. Johnetta Cole, Susan Taylor and Van Whitfield.

Brown is on the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Cultural Center, To Be Continued Kids Theater and Frank Silvera Black Theater.

Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 8, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.003

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/8/2007

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Schools

Germantown High School

George P. Phenix School

St. Vincent de Paul School

Washington Junior High School

Ford Green Elementary School

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

Pennsylvania State University Abington Campus

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marie

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BRO40

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/4/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Literary agent, magazine editor, and book editor Marie Brown (1940 - ) opened her own literary agency, Marie Brown and Associates in Harlem, New York, becoming one of the few African American agents in the book world. Brown represented authors Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Randall Robinson, Dr. Johnetta Cole, Susan Taylor and Van Whitfield.

Employment

Gen. Louis Wagner Junior High School

Philadelphia Public Schools

Doubleday Publishing Company

Endicott Booksellers

Marie Brown Associates

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marie Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marie Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marie Brown describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marie Brown describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marie Brown describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marie Brown describes her parents' jobs during college

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marie Brown describes her grandparents' property ownership

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marie Brown describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marie Brown describes her parents' college education and occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marie Brown describes her parents' social activities at Hampton Institute

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marie Brown describes her early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marie Brown describes the sounds of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marie Brown describes her elementary school experiences in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marie Brown describes the May Day festivities at Hampton Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marie Brown describes her childhood activities in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marie describes her family and their move to Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marie Brown describes the assemblies at Ford Greene Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marie Brown recalls attending Nashville's St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marie Brown describes her early love for reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marie Brown describes her childhood activities in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marie Brown describes her neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marie Brown recalls her experiences as a Girl Scout

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marie Brown recalls attending George E. Washington Junior High School in Nashville

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marie Brown describes her favorite music as a teenager in Nashville

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marie Brown recalls her parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marie Brown describes Nashville's country music

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marie Brown recalls her academic experience at George E. Washington Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marie Brown recalls attending Nashville's Pearl High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marie Brown describes her teachers at Nashville's Pearl High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marie Brown recalls moving to Philadelphia in her late teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marie Brown recalls adjusting at Philadelphia's Germantown High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marie Brown recalls her decision to attend Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marie Brown recalls her transition to college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marie Brown recalls pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marie Brown recalls adjusting to Pennsylvania State University's campus life

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marie Brown recalls studying psychology at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marie Brown recalls teaching at General Louis Wagner Junior High School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marie Brown recalls working as education coordinator in Philadelphia's public schools

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marie Brown remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marie Brown remembers the integration of Philadelphia's public schools

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marie Brown recalls being offered a position at Doubleday and Company Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marie Brown recalls the trainee program at Doubleday and Company Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Marie Brown recalls working as an editorial assistant for Loretta Barrett

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Marie Brown recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marie Brown describes her work experiences in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marie Brown recalls her husband's cartoon work and their life in Los Angeles

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marie Brown recalls returning to Doubleday and Company Inc. as an editor

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marie Brown describes the books she edited at Doubleday and Company Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marie Brown explains the role of a book editor

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marie Brown describes the process of publishing a book

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marie Brown recalls working with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at Doubleday and Company Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marie Brown recalls becoming editor in chief of Elan magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marie Brown recalls her unemployment after Elan magazine ceased publication

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Marie Brown remembers working at New York City's Endicott Booksellers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marie Brown recalls her experiences as a literary agent

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marie Brown talks about the authors she represented as a literary agent

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marie Brown explains how she built her clientele as a literary agent

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marie Brown describes her lifelong friends

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marie Brown reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marie Brown shares her message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marie Brown describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marie Brown reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marie Brown narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Marie Brown recalls her experiences as a literary agent
Marie Brown recalls working with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at Doubleday and Company Inc.
Transcript
It's 1983, I guess, I think--$$Um-hm.$$--we're in '83 [1983] 'cause you, you stayed there until '84 [1984].$$Um-hm.$$At the Endicott Booksellers [New York, New York] and you're having a hard time getting a job as an editor.$$Um-hm.$$Okay. So tell me about Endicott. How do you, you stay there for another year and then what happens?$$I stayed at Endicott for a year, I was, and I became assistant buyer and assistant manager. And one of my young mentees, Gerald Gladly [ph.] who was an editor at Doubleday [Doubleday and Company Inc.; Knopf Doubleday Publishing Company, New York, New York], called me and asked me if I would consider agenting one of the authors that he was taking on and that author was Randy Taraborrelli [J. Randy Taraborrelli], who has now since become, you know, a mega writer of celebrity bios. And Randy at the time was, I think, the president of the Diana Ross Fan Club or something like that. He was very young then and he was, so he wanted to do a Diana Ross fan book ['Diana: A Celebration of the Life and Career of Diana Ross,' J. Randy Taraborrelli] and Gerald wanted to publish that. And he also later did a book on the history of Motown ['Motown: Hot Wax, City Cool and Solid Gold,' J. Randy Taraborrelli]. So he needed an agent because this was in a period where now the publishers were really requiring most of the books that they acquired to be agented because so many manuscripts were being submitted because technology had changed the picture with the copying machines people could make many copies (laughter) of their manuscripts and send them to many publishers and there was a lot more submission of manuscripts happening than publishers could really handle so they found that okay, we can require that there be agents to represent these writers so at least they'll be some kind of, you know, filtering process. So I told Gerald, "Oh, well, okay," reluctantly, I will agent, you know, these manuscripts. And so I took on Randy for the first two or three, two projects. And then he wanted to switch over and write more critical kinds of books, well, where, you know, he could really get into their lives, he was no longer the fan, he was gonna really go into, you know, all of the other aspects of their lives, not just the good but the bad and the ugly. And so I felt like I couldn't represent those kinds of books, I don't know where my head was then but that was where it was and so. But eventually I started acquiring other clients because as I mentioned, you know, the publishers were requiring people to have agents so people were sending me manuscripts and I started out, you know, just representing a very few authors but I was able to do this because I had worked at Doubleday and one of the reasons that one can agent somewhat successfully is that you have editorial contacts in other houses. And by this time there had been, you know, a lot of turnover in publishing so I knew at least one person in every publishing house 'cause I had worked with them when they were editors at Doubleday, so I was able to at least have someone to submit to. And then from those people you find out others and when they move around, so that's how my business got started, you know, I would submit to the editors I knew and then subsequently meet other editors or those editors would acquire some of the authors that I was representing. And I was able to sustain myself through, you know, those tough times also doing freelance editorial work, putting together a newsletter for the National Minority Supplier Development Council which I did right here on this place, we did newsletters, we packaged books, I did books, you know, how to books on how to raise your pet, how to raise your dog, how to raise your cat, how to, you know, enter the stock market, whatever was necessary, I mean, I did it as it was, as it related to, you know, packaging and producing or selling books. And those were the early days of Marie Brown Associates [New York, New York].$During the time that you were at Doubleday [Doubleday and Company Inc.; Knopf Doubleday Publishing Company, New York, New York], I'm just stepping back a few--$$Um-hm.$$--cause I, I just thought of something. Well, I, I, I don't know, I guess, this is the question but Jackie Onassis [Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis] worked at Doubleday, didn't she?$$Um-hm.$$Was she there while you were there?$$Um-hm, yes, she was. I'm smiling because this is really a funny story. There's a lot to Jackie Onassis having been there. But when I was an editor, she came to Doubleday. And I remember clearly, looking up from my desk and seeing Jackie Onassis standing at the door with someone who was taking her around to introduce her to editors and people in other departments. And it's just, it, it was just amazing, just to see her standing there. But I stood up to go and greet her and my pocketbook was (laughter) on the floor right by my desk which I hadn't seen and I go (making sounds) (laughter) all over, what a grand introduction. I said oops, at least I didn't fall on the floor. But there, I remember that, you know, tripping, I said okay, hi, and she says, "Hi, I'm Jackie Onassis," and I said, "I know, (laughter) you know, it was so great to meet you." And then, you know, and we talked on a couple occasions about book projects. And then I left to become an agent and I had sent her a project on [HistoryMaker] Katherine Dunham, Miss Dunham's memoir and she called me to talk about it, you know, and I just really could not still believe that she was on the telephone because this was before I moved into the whole house which was another story but my office used to be right there in that little small space there and I can see myself picking up the phone, "Hi, this is Jackie Onassis," and I'm just like, I don't believe this, you know. And she called to tell me why she couldn't acquire the book, you know, because she's really couldn't convince the powers that be at Doubleday. But she told me that she remembered seeing Miss Dunham dance in Paris [France] when she was there and how important she was to her cultural development in experiencing, you know, Katherine Dunham's dance. And then she also called me about Vertamae Grosvenor [Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor] because she really wanted Verta to do this book on her life when she married Bobby Grosvenor [Robert Grosvenor], because the Grosvenors and the Auchinclosses, had been neighbors up in Hyannis Port [Massachusetts] or where ever up on the Cape [Cape Cod, Massachusetts], where ever they were raised (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Martha's Vineyard [Massachusetts].$$And she knew Bobby Grosvenor when he was a young man and she knew all the family and all of that but then when Verta married into the Grosvenor family, because he's with the Grosvenors of the National Geographic and all of that, that was just another whole experience for, you know, this family and all of that. And she would say, "Well, I just don't know why she doesn't wanna write this," I mean, she wanted to write it but she could never get around to writing it so, you know, we had several conversations. And then she was a great supporter of the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center [New York, New York] which is still in existence. Budd, Budd Schulberg was one of the founders along with Fred Hudson of the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center which is a, an organization that supports black arts and artists, you know, in New York [New York] through workshops, seminars, and productions. And I remember Budd saying well, we have to get together and have lunch with Jackie. And so he and Fred and I went to lunch with her and it was just a great experience and I, it was a rainy day just like this and we had lunch on a, somewhere in the 50s between Madison [Avenue] and Park [Avenue]. And then, you know, she said, okay. And then she just said, "I'm going, now, I'm going, I'm just gone take a half day with work and just jump on the bus and go home." And she, I said I could imagine those people on the (laughter) Madison Avenue bus seeing her get on the bus, you know. But, you know, she was just that way. She was just, you know, very accessible. And she, people would ask me, "Did she come to work?" I said, yeah. She, you know, she does, you know. She was serious about her editing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Okay.$$--and about her job.