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Opalanga D. Pugh

Professional storyteller Opalanga D. Pugh was born on October 31, 1952, in Denver, Colorado, to Mary Edmonson and John Harris. She also grew up in Denver. In 1975, Pugh received her B.S. degree in communication studies from the University of Wisconsin. Her senior year, as an undergraduate student, she studied at the Imo University of Lagos in Nigeria. Her more extensive informal education includes studying under the instruction of traditional griots in the Gambia, and workshops with African dance choreographer Baba Chuck Davis; African shamans Malidoma and Sobonfu Some; futurist Jean Houston; and motivational speaker Les Brown. Pugh has immersed herself and her work in the realm of communication—including (but not limited to) public relations, group facilitation, mental health, and outdoor education.

Pugh spent an extensive amount of time working, traveling and studying in nine West African countries including the Gambia and Nigeria. While she was there, her studies served as primary sources of learning African oral tradition. Since 1986, she has been a professional storyteller. In addition to that, she has done various keynote addresses as well as facilitated workshops and programs. To date, Pugh has made presentations at thousands of schools in thirty-seven states across the country and over 500 corporations and nonprofit organizations. Her work has taken her across the world. She has shared and collected stories, and hosted events and ceremonies in the United States, Canada, Europe, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

In 1995, Denver’s Westword Magazine named Pugh “Best Storyteller.” She also received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts that year. The following year, she was featured as an “African American Living Legend” by NBC-TV. She has been featured in the following publications and media outlets: Women Who Run with the Wolves, The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and on Black Entertainment Television (BET). Pugh was awarded the Urban Spectrum Newspaper “One Who Makes A Difference” Award. She also received the Ambassador of Peace Award from The Conflict Center in Denver.

Other accomplishments include her work with the international relief organization, CARE, to coordinate and present components of their global conference for over 60 country directors surrounding the theme of gender equity and diversity. Pugh was also instrumental in assisting the grieving Columbine High School staff and students through ‘story intervention’ after the tragic shooting in 1999.

Opalanga D. Pugh was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 3, 2008.

Ms. Pugh passed away on June 5, 2010.

Accession Number

A2008.120

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/3/2008

Last Name

Pugh

Maker Category
Middle Name

Donna Jessie

Schools

East High School

Ebert Elementary School

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

University of Lagos

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Opalanga

Birth City, State, Country

Denver

HM ID

PUG02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Colorado

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Stories Are Not Just Meant To Make Us Smile. Our Very Lives Depend On It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/31/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Lentils (Curried)

Death Date

6/5/2010

Short Description

Professional storyteller Opalanga D. Pugh (1952 - 2010 ) was a scholar of African oral traditions who facilitated ceremonies and workshops across the United States, Canada, West Africa and the Caribbean.

Employment

Trans-Alaska Pipeline System

Salvation Army-Booth Memorial Home

Adams County Library

Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616564">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Opalanga D. Pugh's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616565">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Opalanga D. Pugh lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616566">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her mother's upbringing and education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616567">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her mother's creativity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616568">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her maternal grandmother's personality, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616569">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her maternal great-grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616570">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her maternal grandmother's personality, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616571">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her mother's experiences in the medical field</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616572">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her maternal great-grandmother's appearance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616573">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Opalnaga D. Pugh describes her likeness to her maternal family members</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616574">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her paternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616575">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her stepfather's parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616576">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Opalanga D. Pugh recalls her step-grandfather's experiences in the segregated South</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616577">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her step-grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616578">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her stepfather's career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616579">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her brothers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616580">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616581">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers Ebert Elementary School in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616582">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her early personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616583">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her childhood in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616584">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616585">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616586">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616587">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Opalanga D. Pugh recalls the integration of the Denver Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616588">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her involvement in the Black Power movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616589">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers a Black Power march in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616590">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her parents' response to the Black Power march</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616591">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her community in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616592">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers the start of her adolescence</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616593">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Opalanga D. Pugh recalls her campaign for student council secretary</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616594">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her early aspirations, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616595">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her junior high school math teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616596">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her early aspirations, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616597">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her time at the Colorado Outward Bound School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616598">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers matriculating at the University of Colorado Boulder</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616599">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers living in Dayton, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616600">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Opalanga D. Pugh recalls her decision to study abroad in Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616601">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her arrival in Lagos, Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616602">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Opalanga D. Pugh recalls her educational experiences at the University of Lagos in Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616603">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers Nigerians' misconceptions about African American women</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616604">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her Yoruba naming ceremony</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616605">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes the Yoruba language</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616606">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her experiences in Lagos, Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616607">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Opalanga D. Pugh recalls her departure from Lagos, Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616608">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her move to Fairbanks, Alaska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616609">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Opalanga D. Pugh recalls working on the Trans Alaska Pipeline System</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616610">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers meeting Eldridge Cleaver</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616611">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her work at Salvation Army Booth Memorial Home in Anchorage, Alaska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616612">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Opalanga D. Pugh reflects upon her time in Anchorage, Alaska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616613">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her introduction to professional storytelling</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616614">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616615">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Opalanga D. Pugh shares a parable about gratitude</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616616">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about fable singing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616617">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about facilitating broom jumping ceremonies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616618">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about officiating end of life ceremonies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616619">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her ceremonial instruments</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616620">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about the importance of godparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616621">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about mentoring her nephew</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616622">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about roots and wings ceremonies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616623">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Opalanga D. Pugh reflects upon her career as a storyteller</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616624">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her experience with cancer, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616625">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her experience with cancer, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616626">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Opalanga D. Pugh talks about her interest in sharing her life story</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616627">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Opalanga D. Pugh reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616628">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Opalanga D. Pugh describes her advice to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616629">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Opalanga D. Pugh plays the mbira</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/616630">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Opalanga D. Pugh narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Opalanga D. Pugh remembers a Black Power march in Denver, Colorado
Opalanga D. Pugh remembers her introduction to professional storytelling
Transcript
But I remember the day that Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was assassinated and I was a junior in high school. And, and it was a sad day. And I remember, you know, we had this school assembly in East High School [Denver, Colorado] and they had called us all into assembly and I remember the principal, Mr. Colwell [Robert Colwell]. He, he called us all in and, and you know, people were just crying, it was such a blow. And he was saying that Dr. Martin Luther King wanted us to be peaceful, that he was about nonviolence, and you know, that we should keep our focus and you know, 'cause riots was breaking off, you know, Watts [Los Angeles, California] was burning and you know, it was all across the country. It was like (makes sound) just jumping off. And then I remember this brother named Michael Dehue [ph.] he was from Oakland, California, he was in the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense [Black Panther Party], and also another brother named Lauren Watson who was a local person here. He's another person that should be interviewed on this HistoryMakers [The HistoryMakers]. So they came in, they had their black leather jackets, had their black tams, and then they just like rolled up into the high school, you know right on through the auditorium, up on the stage and took the microphone from the principal. Talking about, "All power to the people." And we're like (gesture), "Power!" You know he said, "Power to the people," we said, "Power!" He said, "They have killed our black shining king. The dream is dead." He said, "Why are you sitting here? You should be back in your community." And then there's like that moment of silence, you know, people was just like deciding on what to do. It's like--. And then I could hear (claps hands) boom, it was like one of the seats--hit the back of the chair 'cause somebody had got up, then another one, and then another one and another one, and people started getting up, you know. And I got up and we were going down the hallway and we were trying to head to this community. Manual High School [Denver, Colorado] is like one block from where I live right now. That was--you know, this is the heart of the black community where I'm at. East High School is like--was on the edge of black and white 'cause we had integrated. So we were making a, a trail down here to go to Five Points [Denver, Colorado] back into the center of the black community. But on the way out, there was--then you could feel that anger coming up, you know, and then black kids was like beating white kids head. I mean I remember this one white girl was in a--that's when they had phone booths that, you know, you could close the door and--I remember this guy just like kicked the door open, just pulled her out, ho, ho, I was like oh my--then I remember I stopped him, like, "No this is not--I don't think Martin wanted this," you know. And they were just running across--it was just pandemonium, running across the football field. And so then we finally gathered in the park and then formed a parade down to, to Manual. And again, the music was such a part of our, our movement and this is awesome, again back to music is medicine. I mean that's how our, our slave ancestors I think made it through dark nights would be able to call those songs that could warm the soul. And so we were doing all these revolutionary songs: (singing), "Revolution has come. Off the pig! It's time to pick up your gun. Off the pig! No more pigs in our community. Off the pigs! What we need is black unity." And you know, we were singing and chanting, you know, and coming down to Manual. But when we got to Manual, which is an all-black school, their principal had like locked the doors, I mean put the chain lock on the doors and they were up in the second floor and they were waving down at us. We're like, "Come out, come out," you know, but they wouldn't--they wouldn't come out. So we just kept going down to Five Points and we were singing, you know, the revolutionary songs and you know, once in a while they throw in 'We Shall Overcome,' you know, that, that--. And what were some of the other songs that they were signing? (Singing), "Power to the people, power to the people." You always do call and response. (Singing), "Stone people's power, stone people's power, power to the people, power to the people, said power, power. Free Huey Newton [Huey P. Newton]," so we'd just go run through all the political prisoners.$Nineteen eighty [1980], I came back, again my [maternal] grandma [Jessie Howard] got sick and that was interesting 'cause I really had a job in Puerto Rico, but I stopped in Denver [Colorado] to check on my grandma and she just had an appointment to go to the doctor and they end up taking her to the hospital and then ultimately she went to a nursing home. She never came back to her house from that doctor's appointment. And I decided to stay in Denver. And from--so from 1980 I've pretty much been here as my base. I worked at Adams County public library as a media, public, public affairs person. So I was still, still writing and press releases and in charge of the audiovisual collections for Adams County public library. And it was a thirty hour job. So I began to pick up storytelling on the side, you know. But I was also producing storytelling hours working with the children's librarians. Producing storytelling hours for cable television, also producing adult public affairs programming. That I won an award for a program I did on literacy in Colorado. And I interviewed Famous Amos [Wally Amos], the cookie magnate, who was the spokesman for Literacy Volunteers of America. And so that--that was very meaningful. So that was another form of storytelling, but it was through video, through the movement. And but I was beginning to pick up so much work storytelling that I had like thirty hours of storytelling and thirty hours at Adams County public library which like was a sixty hour week. So I knew I had to make a decision. And so when I decided to go I started saving my money and you know, getting my dental work done 'cause I was getting ready to break camp. And, and it was 1983 in March where there's a National Storytelling Conference held here in Denver. And at the end of the conference they have a place, you know, for a story swap, or new people to bring their story forward. And I brought Sojourner Truth. And she was probably the first historical character who came through me. Excuse me. And I say through me because she was six foot tall and so am I. And I just kind of feel her speaking in my ear. And I came forward and I did the speech called Ain't I a Woman? And it was a speech that she, she gave at a Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1855 [sic. 1851]. And they were afraid for her to speak because they thought that the women's--the issue of women's rights be con- be confused with colored folk's rights. But she just took the stage anyway. And she said, "Well children, why there so much racket? It seems to me there's something out of kilter. Now I think between the white women in the North and, and the women in the South all working for our rights, the white man be in a heck of a fix pretty soon." So she went on to, to speak her truth, you know. And it was so well received that--at this conference there were a lot of librarians and teachers and they became probably my first line of support to invite me into the schools, do school assemblies, to be in the library programs. And so it's beg- it's just kind of developed from there, you know. I've joined the National Association of Black Storytellers. I was at their first gathering and we're celebrating twenty-five years now. Nineteen eighty-six [1986], you know, I've been telling as full time storytelling as an independent way of making my life and my livelihood since 1986. You know, paying my car, and paying my mortgage and so it's, it's been a journey. It's been quite a journey.

Dr. Edith Irby Jones

Pioneering medical physician Dr. Edith Irby Jones was born on December 23, 1927 to Mattie Buice Irby, a maid, and Robert Irby, a farmer. As a child, Jones witnessed her older sister die due to a typhoid epidemic and was encouraged to pursue a career as a medical physician. She attended Langston Elementary School and Langston Secondary School both in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1944, Jones’ high school teacher helped her obtain a scholarship to attend Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee where she majored in chemistry, biology and physics. While at Knoxville College, Jones was an active member of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society and was initiated into the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In addition, Jones was a member of the debate team, pep squad, drama club and the YMCA.

In 1948, nine years before the “Little Rock Nine” integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jones became the first African American admitted to the University of Arkansas College of Medicine. Although she was not provided with the same housing, dining or bathroom facilities as white students, Jones received support from her high school alumni, neighbors and a black-owned local newspaper, The Arkansas State-Press. Afterwards, she received an internship at the University Hospital in Little Rock. In Arkansas, Jones practiced medicine and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement before moving with her family to Texas in 1958. In 1959, Jones began her residency in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals, but the hospital that she was assigned to segregated her, limiting her patient rosters. She completed the last months of her residency at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., and in 1963, she received an academic appointment as a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

On May 4, 1979, Jones’ achievements were recognized by the State of Arkansas, and she was honored with the founding of the annual celebration of Edith Irby Jones Day. That following year, she became a founding member of the Association of Black Cardiologists Incorporated. In 1985, Jones became the first woman to be elected president of the National Medical Association, and in 1986, she led the United States Task Force on Health to Haiti where the medical and healthcare infrastructure were examined and potential solutions for the impoverished nation were explored.

In 1997, the Edith Irby Jones M.D. Hospital was opened in Houston, Texas. Later, in 2001, Jones was named in Black Enterprise Magazine’s selection of 101 leading black physicians in America. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions to the medical field and the American Civil Rights Movement including: the Sinkler Miller Medical Association National Achievement Award, Kato Models Woman of the Year Award, Pioneer Award from the Student National Medical Association, Mickey Leland Certificate of Congressional Award, Bennett College Belle Ringer Image Award and the Oscar E. Edwards Memorial Award for Volunteers.

Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2008.

Jones passed away on July 15, 2019.

Accession Number

A2008.041

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/10/2008

5/10/2010

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Irby

Schools

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Langston High School

Knoxville College

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

First Name

Edith

Birth City, State, Country

Mayflower

HM ID

JON20

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Favorite Quote

I Love You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/23/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

USA

Death Date

7/15/2019

Short Description

Internal medicine physician Dr. Edith Irby Jones (1927 - 2019) integrated the University of Arkansas College of Medicine in 1950. In addition to practicing medicine, Jones served as president of the National Medical Association and on the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine.

Employment

Baylor College of Medicine

Hermann Hospital

Favorite Color

Red and Black

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610528">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Edith Irby Jones' interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610529">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610530">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610531">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her relationship with her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610532">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her memories of her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610533">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610534">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610535">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her parents' marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610536">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her father's employment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610537">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610538">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her sister's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610539">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her neighborhood in Conway, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610540">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers contracting rheumatic fever</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610541">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610542">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about the community of Hot Springs, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610543">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610544">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her favorite teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610545">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610546">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the Union Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610547">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her decision to attend a private university</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610548">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her teenage social activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610549">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes the sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610550">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes the sights of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610551">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers Virginia Clinton Kelley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610552">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her aspiration to become a doctor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610553">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers enrolling at Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610554">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her work experiences at Knoxville College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610555">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her academic experiences at Knoxville College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610556">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers joining the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610557">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her medical school applications</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610558">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her decision to attend the University of Arkansas Medical School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610559">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her first day at University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610560">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her experiences as the first black student at the University of Arkansas Medical School, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610561">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her transportation to the University of Arkansas Medical School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610562">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her apartment in Little Rock, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610563">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her private accommodations at University of Arkansas Medical School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610564">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her experiences as the first black student at the University of Arkansas Medical School, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610565">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers opening a private medical practice in Hot Springs, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610566">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610567">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her opportunity to attend medical school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610568">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Edith Irby Jones' interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610569">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her decision to practice medicine in Hot Springs, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610570">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610571">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers moving to Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610572">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her residency at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610573">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her activism with the Freedom Four</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610574">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls the support of Daisy Bates</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610575">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her decision to integrate an all-white medical school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610576">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the support of H. Clay Chenault</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610577">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls opening a medical practice in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610578">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her medical office in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610579">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers joining the staff of Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610580">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her patients</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610581">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her teaching career, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610582">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610583">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her teaching career, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610584">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls the founding of the Association of Black Cardiologists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610585">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early involvement in the National Medical Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610586">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her mentor, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610587">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her agenda as president of the National Medical Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610588">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about the hot springs of Hot Springs, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610589">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her humanitarian work in Haiti, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610590">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her humanitarian work in Haiti, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610591">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her hopes for the Haitian people</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610592">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her advocacy work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610593">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones shares a message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610594">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes a hospital named in her honor in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/610595">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her legacy</a>

Lula Ford

Illinois Commerce Commissioner Lula Mae Ford was born on March 11, 1944 to a family of nine in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Ford’s father was a World War II veteran that worked most of his life in the Pine Bluff Arsenal, and her mother was a homemaker who also instilled in Ford, as a child, the importance of education. After attending Coleman High School in Pine Bluff, Ford went on to graduate from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1965. She then relocated to Chicago, Illinois where she pursued her M.A. degree in urban studies at Northeastern University and later earned her M.A. degree in science, career education and vocational guidance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

In 1965, Ford began her teaching career at Horner Elementary School. She served in that capacity until 1975 when she became a counselor for at-risk students. Then in 1976, Ford was hired as the mathematics coordinator at McCorkle Elementary School. She resigned from that position in 1979 to become a liaison for parents and the principal selection committee as the ESEA Reading Teacher and Coordinator. Later in 1984, while serving as a math teacher for John Hope Academy, Ford became the coordinator for the Effective Schools Campaign, organizing GED programs and the school’s black history programs. Ford went on to become the principal for Beethoven Elementary School and was awarded the principal of excellence award for her performance in 1992, 1993 and 1994. She also provided administrative leadership when she fulfilled the position of assistant superintendent of Chicago Public Schools in 1994. Afterwards, from 1995 until 1996, Ford served as the chief instruction officer, advising teachers and faculty on the best teaching practices.

Ford has received many awards and recognitions for her achievements in the field of education including: the Walter H. Dyett Middle School Women in History Award, the Kathy Osterman Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Arkansas, Pine Bluff and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northeastern Illinois University. Ford was hired as the assistant director of central management services for the State of Illinois from 1999 until 2003. In 2003, Ford was appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission and was reappointed to the same office in 2008.

Ford is an active member of many civic organizations including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Lakeshore Chapter (IL) of The Links, Incorporated, and the board of the Trinity Higher Education Corporation.

Ford lives in Illinois and is the proud mother of one adult daughter, Charisse Ford.

Ford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.022

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/21/2008

Last Name

Ford

Schools

Coleman High School

Coleman Elementary School

New Town School

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

First Name

Lula

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

FOR11

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Favorite Quote

Help Me, Jesus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/11/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Education executive, state government appointee, and elementary school principal Lula Ford (1944 - ) held teaching, administrative and counseling positions at several of the Chicago Public Schools before becoming the district's assistant superintendent. She also served on the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Employment

Henry Horner School

Helen J. McCorkle School

John Hope Community Academy

Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School

Chicago Public Schools

Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Illinois Commerce Commission

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638673">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lula Ford's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638674">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lula Ford lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638675">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638676">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lula Ford talks about her mother's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638677">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lula Ford describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638678">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lula Ford talks about her father's experiences in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638679">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lula Ford describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638680">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lula Ford recalls her neighborhood in Pine Bluff, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638681">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lula Ford remembers her early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638682">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lula Ford describes her elementary school experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638683">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lula Ford recalls her extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638684">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lula Ford remembers the civil rights activities in Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638685">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lula Ford recalls the discipline of Principal C.P. Coleman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638686">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lula Ford remembers the African American community in Pine Bluff, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638687">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lula Ford remembers the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638688">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about her interests at the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638689">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lula Ford recalls her civil rights activities in Pine Bluff, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638690">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lula Ford describes the black business district in Pine Bluff, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638691">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lula Ford remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638692">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes the start of her teaching career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638693">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lula Ford recalls her first impressions of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638694">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lula Ford remembers the influential figures in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638695">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lula Ford recalls teaching at the John Hope Academy in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638696">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about the desegregation of the Chicago Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638697">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lula Ford describes her graduate studies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638698">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lula Ford recalls her transition to educational administrative positions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638699">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lula Ford talks about Harold Washington's mayoral campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638700">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lula Ford describes her work at the Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638701">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lula Ford recalls her accomplishments as the principal of Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638702">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lula Ford describes her administrative roles in the Chicago Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638703">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lula Ford talks about the underperformance of the Chicago Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638704">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lula Ford describes her assistant directorship of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638705">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about her experiences as an Illinois Commerce Commissioner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638706">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lula Ford describes her organizational memberships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638707">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lula Ford talks about the Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638708">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lula Ford describes her social and political volunteer work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638709">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes her hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638710">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lula Ford reflects upon her life and legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638711">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lula Ford describes her family and how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638712">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lula Ford narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Lula Ford describes the black business district in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Lula Ford recalls her accomplishments as the principal of Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
Okay, now before we leave Pine Bluff [Arkansas], tell us something about 3rd Street [sic. Avenue]? Third Street was a, I would call a, the black metropolis of downtown Main Street. You had all kinds of black businesses, the beauty colleges were there. Wiley Branton taxis [Branton's 98, Pine Bluff, Arkansas], their family owned the taxicab, black taxicab company.$$Wiley Branton [Wiley A. Branton, Sr.]?$$His family the Brantons owned the taxi cab company. Then there was a hotel there, exclusively for blacks. And everybody who would leave out of, if you wanted to go eat, where you could sit you would go to 3rd Street. You could find everything barber shops, beauty shops, every. And, and certainly juke joints, all that would be on 3rd Street. Downtown was Main Street, you know, where you have the stores, Kresge [S.S. Kresge Company] and Woolworths [F.W. Woolworth Company] all those kinds of things would be on the Main Street. And I think that was probably 5th [Avenue] or 6th Avenue but 3rd Street was where most blacks would come up from the rural areas and would be able to get food and just have a good time.$$Okay, so a lot of pe- people from the smaller towns would come, come into (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Small towns came to Pine Bluff.$$Would they come in on the weekends and something?$$They'd come in on a Saturday.$$Okay. Was there a lot of live music in those days?$$Yeah, you, I met, when I was in college [Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, Arkansas], that's the first time I saw Ike and Tina Turner Revue and Bobby Bland. We had what was known as the Rec- Townsend Recreational Center [sic. Townsend Park Recreation Center, Pine Bluff, Arkansas]. And that's where you would have the live acts. Bobby "Blue" Bland's band would come in. As I said Ike and Tina Turner Revue, that's where I first saw them.$$Okay, was it unusual for, for the big named acts to come through?$$No, not for Pine Bluff (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.$After I, I, I added bicycles for perfect attendance all year, I got a--bought I don't know how many bicycles my first year. And iss- gave them out for perfect attendance. So, it improved my attendance but, because when, if you have five children in the family and monitor them and I say why is this child absent, they say, "He has chickenpox." I knew then that if he, he has five brothers and sisters next week they are gonna be out. So, I, then I told the board [Chicago Board of Education] I said, "You all got to give me a waiver, so I can get some perfect attendance here, because my children, there's an epic- chickenpox epidemic. Any time you have this close of quarters and you have this many children in a family you're gonna have that." So, I've had indicators of success always my first year. But, then I could see my children going out of a lower quarter, quartile. But, when I look back and saw that these children are getting ready to go to gym and taking out time away from task onto me. I must I need to, the second year I said I need to extend my school day. So, I brought my teachers in and I said, "I can pay you an hourly rate but I need you one hour after school. How many people," only wanted the names of the people who cannot stay. Only three people could not stay. That's because they were in school. I extended my school day from--to 3:30. And they could only teach reading, extend my reading. And that's when my scores began to improve. And that's the model that Paul Vallas took when he took over the Chicago Public Schools. He took the model that I had created at Beethoven [Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois] and that was extended day reading (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Really okay?$$If you know your children are not getting enough time on task and I know that my parents were not going to be able to do some of the kinds of things that I needed them to do, then I needed my children there longer. I also, brought another gym teacher. And then Compton [HistoryMaker James W. Compton] was the president of the school at that time and I did get the gym. That was one of my goals. The gym did come the year I left. And they named it after me the Ford Arena [ph.]. It was built but I was--$$Where, where is it?$$It's at the, it's in the school.$$At Beethoven?$$Beethoven yeah.$$Okay.$$Built it on the front side of the school.$$They call it the Ford Arena?$$Uh-huh.$$Okay.$$Oprah [Oprah Winfrey] adopted the school, when I was there. I did a grant with Stedman [Stedman Graham], I have a picture of that one over there. She adopted the school. And she would take my top reading scorers from kindergarten through eight out for lunch. She had, she did that two years and then she visited the school. So, we had a lot of support.$$Was it easy to get a hold of Oprah?$$I, I met her through Edmund, I mean Stedman.$$Okay.$$Uh-huh.$$Okay.$$But, you know, how that was, we did a grant together and then she got a lot, he got a lot of play out of that. And then she, the children went crazy, she would send limousines for them, of course they were excited about that. But, it was an interesting time to be in schools. But, I think I gained most of my weight being a principal. 'Cause you would be so tired at the evenings that you would go home and Gladys [Gladys Luncheonette, Chicago, Illinois] was in the area so I would get a dinner go home and go to bed. My daughter [Charisse Ford] was away in college and I had no husband at the time, so. But, it was very rewarding.$$Okay. Now, so you won, you won three awards during that period of time, you said. And Paul Vallas took your model. I mean did he ever officially acknowledge that was the model, he got?$$Yeah.$$Okay, all right.$$And the mayor came to our school.$$Okay.$$President Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] visited my school in 1994.$$Okay.$$Mrs. Edgar [Brenda Edgar], Jim Edgar's wife came out and read to my kindergarten children. I have pictures of that also over there. But, because and, and six legislators from the state came to see how I was spending my state Chapter I [Elementary and Secondary Education Act Chapter I] money. And that was the way I was spending it to make sure that my children got time on task.

Dorothy Terrell

Corporate executive Dorothy Ann Terrell was born June 12, 1945 in Hallandale, Florida. Her parents, Pearlie Weeks Terrell and Charles Walter Terrell, sent her to Lanier Elementary School, Lanier Junior High School, and Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale. Aspiring to be a journalist, Terrell graduated from high school in 1963 and enrolled at Florida A&M University. Terrell graduated cum laude from Florida A&M University in 1966 with her B.A. degree in English.

After accepting a counseling position with Job Corps, Terrell moved to Poland Springs, Maine. In 1967, Terrell moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where she worked as a counselor for Reverend Leon Sullivan’s Opportunities Industrial Corporation (OIC), and eventually rose to the position of assistant director. In 1973, Terrell joined the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office for Children, where she became the associate director in 1975. Serving on the advisory board of OIC brought Terrell into contact with representatives of the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), who offered her a job as a training manager in 1976. From 1978 to 1980, Terrell was plant human relations manager in Westminster, Massachusetts. She later became group human relations manager of systems manufacturing from 1980 to 1983 and, from 1983 to 1984, served as group manager for engineering and manufacturing. In 1984, Terrell was promoted to plant manager of the DEC plant in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She was the first African American woman to hold this position. Primarily manufacturing keyboards, Terrell reduced the new product cycle from ninety days to seventy-five days and reduced manufacturing costs by more than 30%. Terrell also served as DEC’s group manager of interconnect/packaging from 1987 to 1991. Terrell joined Sun Microsystems, Inc. in 1991 as president of Sun-Express, and as a corporate officer through 1997. At Sun Microsystems, she led the company in asset management performance and grew revenues to over $300 million per year. After 1997, Terrell was served simultaneously as senior vice president of worldwide sales for NMS Communications and president of Platform Services Group. Terrell temporarily left First Light Capital as a partner and became president and CEO of Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a national nonprofit organization that promotes economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector engagement with local residents. Terrell later returned to work for First Light Capital.

Terrell has been the recipient of many awards, including being named one of the Top 50 line managers in America by Executive Female magazine, a Top Ten Business Marketer by Business Marketing magazine, and one of 20 Women of Power and Influence by Black Enterprise magazine. She also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Florida A&M University. Terrell was a subject in The Wizards and Their Wonders: Portraits in Computing, an exhibit and book by Christopher Morgan, as well as The Enterprising Woman by Mari Florence.

Terrell lives in Miami Beach, Florida.

Dorothy Terrell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 11, 2007 and March 9, 2017.

Accession Number

A2007.133

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/11/2007

3/9/2017

Last Name

Terrell

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Dillard High School

Lanier Elementary School

Lanier Junior High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

First Name

Dorothy

Birth City, State, Country

Fort Lauderdale

HM ID

TER03

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Genelle Trader

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

While We Can.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/12/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Corporate executive Dorothy Terrell (1945 - ) was the former president of Sun Microsystem’s Sun-Express.

Employment

SunExpress

Initiative for a Competitive Inner City

Digital Equipment Corporation

Job Corps

Office for Children

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369667">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorothy Terrell's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369668">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369669">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369670">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369671">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369672">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell describes her mother's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369673">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell describes her father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369674">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell describes her siblings and adopted siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369675">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell describes her parents' marriage and economic status</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369676">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369677">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell describes her family's involvement in the A.M.E. Church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369678">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell describes Lanier Elementary School in Hallandale, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369679">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell describes Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369680">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell describes her teachers and aspirations at Dillard High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369681">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell remembers her childhood pastimes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369682">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell describes her older brother's life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369683">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell describes her decision to attend Florida A&M University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369684">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell describes her experiences at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369685">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell describes her civil rights activity in Tallahassee, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369686">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369687">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell recalls her teachers at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369688">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell talks about the Marching 100 and Bob Hayes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369689">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell recalls her graduation from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369690">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell recalls working at a Job Corps center in Poland, Maine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369691">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell describes her early career in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369692">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell remembers being hired at Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369693">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell describes her career at the Digital Equipment Corporation, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369694">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell describes her career at the Digital Equipment Corporation, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369695">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell recalls becoming a plant manager at the Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369696">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell recalls running Digital Equipment Corporation's Roxbury plant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369697">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell describes her team based production strategy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369698">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell describes her family's move to Cupertino, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369699">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell reflects upon her career at Digital Equipment Corporation in Cupertino, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369700">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell recalls making major layoffs at Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369701">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell describes how she came to work for Sun Microsystems, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/369702">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell describes the mission of SunExpress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673018">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorothy Terrell's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673019">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell remembers her childhood games</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673020">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell describes her relationship with her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673021">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673022">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell remembers Greater Ward Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hallandale Beach, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673023">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell recalls her early religious inquires</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673024">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell describes her early household and extended family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673025">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her reasons for attending Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673026">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dorothy Terrell remembers the social environment at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673027">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell describes her high school personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673028">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her decision to attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673029">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell remembers her social life at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673030">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell recalls her decision to join the Job Corps in Poland Spring, Maine in 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673031">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell describes her experiences at the Poland Spring Job Corps Center for Women in Poland Springs, Maine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673032">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell remembers her move to Boston, Massachusetts in 1967</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673033">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell describes her work with the Opportunities Industrialization Centers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673034">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her time with the Office for Children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673035">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dorothy Terrell remembers Paul Newman's invitation to join Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673036">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Dorothy Terrell describes the work environment at Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673037">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell describes affirmative action practices at the Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673038">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell remembers challenges and support groups in her start at the Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673039">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell compares work environments at the Digital Equipment Corporation and Sun Microsystems, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673040">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell remembers becoming plant manager at the Digital Equipment Corporation's Boston plant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673041">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell talks about the impact of core groups at the Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673042">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell talks about racial diversity within the Digital Equipment Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673043">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell remembers improving production times at the Digital Equipment Corporation's Boston plant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673044">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell recalls lessons and challenges from managing the Digital Equipment Corporation's Boston plant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673045">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Dorothy Terrell remembers colleague Barbara Walker's advice at a difficult time</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673046">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Dorothy Terrell describes the support she received from colleagues Richard Farrahar and Kevin Melia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673047">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell remembers implementing just-in-time manufacturing at the Digital Equipment Corporation's Boston plant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673048">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell talks about competition in the computing industry in the 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673049">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell remembers her promotion to lead the Digital Equipment Corporation's plant in Cupertino, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673050">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her family's move to Saratoga, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673051">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell describes the development of the VAX 9000 supercomputer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673052">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell remembers laying off workers at the Digital Equipment Corporation's plant in Cupertino, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673053">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell recalls Scott McNealy's offer to become president of SunExpress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673054">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell describes Scott McNealy's initial plans for SunExpress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673055">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell remembers her family's reluctance to leave California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673056">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell recalls hiring Genelle Trader to join SunExpress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673057">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell describes sales innovations at SunExpress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673058">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell talks about building SunExpress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673059">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell describes her approach to hiring SunExpress' personnel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673060">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her hiring process</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673061">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell remembers key executives at SunExpress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673062">Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell describes infighting within Sun Microsystems, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673063">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell remembers other women and people of color from her time in the technology industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673064">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell talks about the importance of support to care for a family while sustaining a corporate career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673065">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell reflects upon her success as a business leader</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673066">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell remembers her decision to leave SunExpress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673067">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell recalls her first board memberships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673068">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell names corporate boards and committees where she has served</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673069">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell remembers her colleagues from corporate boards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673070">Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell reflects upon the significance of diversity on corporate boards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673071">Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her experiences on corporate boards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673072">Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell talks about Corporate America's global position</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673073">Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell remembers joining the NMS Communications Corporation in Framingham, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673074">Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell recalls her experiences at the NMS Communications Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673075">Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell describes the NMS Communications Corporation's operations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673076">Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell talks about joining the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673077">Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Dorothy Terrell remembers projects of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673078">Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Dorothy Terrell recalls buying an apartment in Miami, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673079">Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Dorothy Terrell reflects upon her attraction to Miami, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673080">Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Dorothy Terrell describes the Perez Art Museum Miami in Miami, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673081">Tape: 12 Story: 10 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her home in Newport, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673082">Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her political involvements</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673083">Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Dorothy Terrell reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673084">Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Dorothy Terrell talks about her philanthropic interests in Miami, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673085">Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Dorothy Terrell describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/673086">Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Dorothy Terrell describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Dorothy Terrell recalls becoming a plant manager at the Digital Equipment Corporation
Dorothy Terrell describes her team based production strategy
Transcript
And then I got a call one day from Ralph [Ralph Gillespie] and he says, "I'm leaving this plant. I've been promoted to another job." He says, "Are you interested in running a plant," and I laughed. I said, "Ralph, you called me out of a meeting to ask me about running a plant. You know that doesn't happen here," because plant managers came from engineering or they came from these materials. You had to be technical in order to be a plant manager in Digital [Digital Equipment Corporation]. He says, "Why don't you just wait and see what the job description is and you decide from there," so I said fine. I went back to my meeting. But, it was at a time when I had moved from Boston [Massachusetts], I lived in Marlborough [Massachusetts] for a while, then in Chelmsford [Massachusetts], and I was getting to the point where I wanted to, if I didn't move back into Boston, I wanted to be closer to Boston. I felt like I had been blessed, I had learned a lot of things and I wanted to, wasn't so much go back home, I wanted to give back and be closer to be able to do that, and so I was in the process of trying to think about where could I work to make that happen and so Ralph's call caused me to do some thinking, although I thought it was the longest shot in the world, but when the job description came out, it played to my strengths as opposed to my weaknesses. I didn't have the technical piece but I knew Digital. That plant was a low-end manufacturing plant and that was the group that I supported, so I knew the people there. They knew me. I knew manufacturing, after all I had been in Westminster [Massachusetts] for quite some time. I grew up in manufacturing. So, I went after that job with a vengeance and I competed with a person who was an engineer, I interviewed with the group managers, I interviewed, you know, with the plant staff and I was selected to run the Boston plant in Roxbury [Boston, Massachusetts]. It was such an honor. And--$$Now what year is this?$$Eighty-four [1984].$$Okay.$$So, the Boston plant manufactured keyboards, but it was the highest volume manufacturing operation Digital had, and we had to go to three shifts because of the volume at that point. When Ralph was there, Ralph hired a really good staff and then, that's when he got a promotion, so I had great material to work with. These were really competent people and helped me to understand that I didn't have to know everything. What my job was, was to provide leadership and to bring people together to help to form a team to make that place really hum. It was at the time when just-in-time was coming in and I, when I, to tell you a story, when I went after that plant, I talked with the plant manager that I supported in Westminster and he told me, he says, "You know, you're probably gonna have to make some changes when you go to Boston." He said, "We know you in Westminster; we know you in Maynard [Massachusetts]. When you say something, that's what you mean. You might not smile a lot or you need to show emo-, you need to show more emotion." And I said, "What are talking about?" Because for me, being black, being a woman, emotion is the last thing I want. He says, "Because people are not going to understand what you're really trying to say."$How did the team, how did it help them to do it as a team, I mean, I know there's one, are they making like several keyboards at once, or are they, what do they (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, they could because what was going on is you do one thing--it wasn't like one person making an entire keyboard, one person who was doing one function and then pushing it to someone else to do something else. When you form a team, then the team would be responsible for that one person, then got to know how to put together an entire keyboard themselves, and then there would be decisions as to who would make decisions today, in a sense, around, if they had to do a hundred keyboards, then how would that get done? You know, would X number of people do it and Y number of people go get the material, or allotted, so it was the team's decision as to how the production happened, not waiting for something to come to them to do one little thing to pass it on, and they felt that was much more exciting, and I also found out that being me didn't mean that folks didn't understand me at all. It meant that, because I got a poem from one of the folks on the floor out of the group, and it pretty much said that and I think I still have it somewhere. I don't know. But it was like understanding that I care about people. I may not take care of people, but I do care about people and that came across in that I was interested in getting the best out of people. I want the best out of me, so why wouldn't folks want to have the best. You come to work, you've gotta be there, you might as well use all of you to make these kinds of things happen. So, it was an exciting time and then after Boston [Massachusetts], I got promoted to Maynard [Massachusetts] to work for Bill Hanson, who was in charge of manufacturing and I was responsible for helping with the strategy of manufacturing [for Digital Equipment Corporation]. That didn't last too long. Oh, the other thing that happened while I was in Boston is I got married for the second time just when I started working in Boston, and I got pregnant when I was in the, in the plant.

Gloria Johnson Goins

Gloria Johnson Goins was born and raised in Miami, Florida on April 17, 1963 to Albert and Lillian Johnson. She graduated in the top five percent of her class from Ransom Everglade College Preparatory School in Coconut Grove, Florida. Goins received her B.A. degree in psychology from Stanford University in 1985 and her J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1988, where she was also an editor of the Law Review. She received her M.B.A. degree from Mercer University in 2000.

After receiving her law degree, Goins joined the law firm of Fine, Jacobson, Schwartz, Nash, Block & England as an associate in the area of commercial and civil litigation. In 1992, she joined BellSouth Telecommunications as a General Attorney. Goins played a major role in the successful design and implementation of the 678 area code and mandatory ten digit dialing. She also co-authored an article on the Family and Medical Leave Act which was published in the October 1996 issue of the Georgia Bar Journal.

Goins continued her career at BellSouth in the roles of General Attorney and Vice President of Diversity at Cingular Wireless, a division of BellSouth, until May 2003 when she joined the Home Depot Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia as Chief Diversity Officer. Her primary responsibilities as Chief Diversity Officer include creating and implementing global company wide diversity and inclusion initiatives. Some of Goins’ key accomplishments include developing a corporate inclusion council charged with leveraging diversity as a competitive advantage, and the implementation of domestic partner benefits.

Goins is a member of the Home Depot Foundation, the Florida and Georgia Bar Associations and the National and American Bar Associations. She is active in the United Way of America, the NAACP and the Georgia Council of Child Abuse. In 2004, she was named Woman of the Year by Women Looking Ahead magazine.

Goins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.110

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/26/2007

Last Name

Goins

Maker Category
Middle Name

Johnson

Occupation
Schools

St. Stephen's Episcopal Day School

Ransom Everglades School

Stanford University

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Mercer University Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics

First Name

Gloria

Birth City, State, Country

Miami

HM ID

GOI01

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/17/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Corporate lawyer Gloria Johnson Goins (1963 - ) served as a general attorney at BellSouth Telecommunications, where she played a major role in the implementation of the 678 area code and mandatory ten digit dialing. She also served as vice president of diversity at Cingular Wireless, before she joined the Home Depot Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia as its chief diversity officer.

Employment

The Home Depot, Inc.

Cingular Wireless LLC

Fine, Jacobson, Schwartz, Nash, Block, and England

Adorno and Zeder

BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc.

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596929">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gloria Johnson Goins' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596930">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gloria Johnson Goins lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596931">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596932">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gloria Johnson Goins talks about her mother's childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596933">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596934">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers her parents' occupations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596935">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596936">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gloria Johnson Goins talks about her parents' marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596937">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596938">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596939">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596940">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596941">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her early influences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596942">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers her extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596943">Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her family's Bahamian traditions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596944">Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers visiting the Bahamas as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596945">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gloria Johnson Goins talks about the early influence of religion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596946">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her relationship with her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596947">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her relationship with her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596948">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers the Ransom Everglades School in Miami, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596949">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her activities at the Ransom Everglades School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596950">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers her high school prom</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596951">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gloria Johnson Goins talks about her family's economic status</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596952">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gloria Johnson Goins talks about the Cuban community in Miami, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596953">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her mentor at the Ransom Everglades School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596954">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her transition to Stanford University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596955">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers her first experience of an earthquake</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596956">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes the black community at Stanford University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596957">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls joining the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596958">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her undergraduate honors thesis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596959">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her decision to major in psychology at Stanford University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596960">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her preparation for law school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596961">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her first impression of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596962">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her first law internship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596963">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes the demographics of the University of Pennsylvania Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596964">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her first year of law school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596965">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers her second year of law school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596966">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers her second law internship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596967">Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls joining the University of Pennsylvania Law School Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596968">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls the demographics of the Fine, Jacobson, Schwartz, Nash, Block and England law firm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596969">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers her third year of law school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596970">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her experiences as an associate at a majority-white law firm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596971">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers joining the law firm of Adorno and Zeder</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596972">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls joining the legal staff of BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596973">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her casework at the BellSouth Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596974">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her article on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596975">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her regulatory initiatives at the BellSouth Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596976">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her position at the BellSouth Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596977">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her role as the vice president of diversity at Cingular Wireless LLC, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596978">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her role as the vice president of diversity at Cingular Wireless LLC, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596979">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gloria Johnson Goins remembers the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596980">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gloria Johnson Goins talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596981">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gloria Johnson Goins reflects upon her faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596982">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls joining The Home Depot, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596983">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her initiatives at The Home Depot, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596984">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her challenges as chief diversity officer of The Home Depot, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596985">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gloria Johnson Goins reflects upon her plans for The Home Depot, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596986">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gloria Johnson Goins talks about her faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596987">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Gloria Johnson Goins reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596988">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596989">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596990">Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Gloria Johnson Goins describes her advice to young people</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/596991">Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Gloria Johnson Goins reflects upon her legacy</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$1

DAStory

9$13

DATitle
Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her mentor at the Ransom Everglades School
Gloria Johnson Goins recalls her early influences
Transcript
Before you graduate, is there a teacher or a counselor that lead you in the direction of what school you would go to?$$Yes. There's a teacher at Ransom Everglades [Ransom Everglades School, Miami, Florida] named Dan Bowden, who is an institution within the institution. Mr. Bowden probably taught at Ransom forty years. I mean the, the power of Ransom Everglades is that the teachers could go to public school and make more money. But they loved teaching, and they loved the students, so they, they're committed to the school. So he's, he taught there forty years plus before he retired. And I remember him--he's a hoot. He and my mother [Lillian Dean Johnson], their birthdays were near each other. And he would always send my mother a birthday card on her birthday. But I'll, I'll tell you the most salient thing I remember about Dan Bowden, apart from the fact he was my poetry teacher and taught me this incredible poetry. I remember one day I was walking down the breezeway, which was sort of the main atrium of Ransom. And Mr. Bowden said, "[HistoryMaker] Maya Angelou is coming to town, and I want to take you to see her. I want you to go get permission from your parents to go see her." And I said like a, you know, a confused teenager, "Maya Angelou, who's that?" And he said, "You don't know who Maya Angelou is, oh, oh, please." I mean he was just so hurt and disappointed. So I said, "Okay, wow, I've just offended my English teacher, but okay, I'll ask my parents if I can go." So, of course, you know, whatever Mr. Bowden said was fine with them. So they signed a permission slip, and he took me and no one else. I was the only student he took out of the entire school to go see Maya Angelou. And she was the most incredible individual I have seen to date. I have never seen someone so incredibly talented and elegant and gorgeous. I think I laughed and I cried all at the same time. I mean she sang. She recited poetry. I mean I was mesmerized. And so, Mr. Bowden said, after the performance was over, he said, "I'm gonna take you up to meet her." And I'm thinking, okay, well, there's like two thousand people in here. How are we gonna get to that stage to meet her? And certainly, you may have heard of her. I don't think you guys are old, old friends that have tea. So he literally took me by the hand and really just went through the crowd, pushing people aside, "Excuse me, excuse me," I mean just pushing people aside. He was like a weed whacker, just getting through the crowd. And finally, you know, he kind of, you know, you know, got his way up to the stage. And I was like, oh, my god, I hope these people aren't mad because, you know, this man just kind of knocked them over. And he went up to her, and he said, "Ms. Angelou, I'd like you to meet Gloria Johnson [HistoryMaker Gloria Johnson Goins]. She's one of my best and brightest students." And she--I'll never forget this--she leaned down from the stage, and she took my face in her hands, and she said, "Gloria, you're beautiful." And I'll never forget that because I said, "Wow. You mean I could actually be like Maya Angelou one day?" So, that, you know, changed my life. And then, coupled with the fact that when I was doubting my abilities even then, he said, "Look, you can go wherever you want to go. So you want to go Stanford [Stanford University, Stanford, California], even though nobody's gotten into Stanford for five years at this school, you can go there." And so he really kind of just really worked on my self-esteem and, and, and just told me, you know, "Wherever you want to go to college, you can go there. You want to go to Stanford, that's where you can go." And that's actually where I ended up going.$Do you remember any of the teachers at that school [St. Stephen's Episcopal Day School, Miami, Florida]?$$Yes.$$Tell me about them.$$I remember Ms. Betts. She was my fourth grade teacher. She was--her name was Marguerite Betts [ph.]. She looked like an angel, and she acted like an angel. She was so protective of me. I remember unfortunately my dad [Albert Johnson, Sr.] got in a really bad car accident. And my father was struggling trying to take care of me, get to school. And he had me stay with Ms. Betts for a couple of days. And she would take me to school and make sure I did my homework, and she was just an angel. And I, I remember in fourth grade that someone also called me the N word. And when she found that out, I mean she was just, you know, really, really angry about it and just took immediate reaction--immediate cor- corrective action of that situation, so she was an angel. I remember my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Reynolds [ph.]. Mrs. Reynolds was a no nonsense kind of teacher. And what I remember most about her is I remember her being fair. And what I mean is two things. We did 'A Christmas Carol' [Charles Dickens] as a play. And I was one of--I was the only black child in the class and only one of two in the whole school, and she gave me the lead. And a lot of my other classmates were like, "Wait a minute. How can you be Scrooge [Ebenezer Scrooge]? Number one, you're, you're not a man, and number two, you're black. So how can you, black girl, be the lead in this play?" So that was the first thing. I thought she was fair. But then, something interesting happened. Growing up for most of my life, I, I just naturally assumed that, that white people were smarter than black people. Having spent the first couple of years of my life in a basically all-black school, living in an all-black neighborhood [Overtown, Miami, Florida], going to an all-black church, I really didn't interact with white people extensively. And so, even though I was getting straight A's, and I was in advanced classes, I didn't think very much of it 'cause I assumed everybody else was. And of course we weren't talking to each other because they never talked to me. And my best friend [Madelaine Bertram Osborne], I loved her death, but I knew she wasn't an Einstein [Albert Einstein]. So I knew that, you know, she wasn't knocking it out of the ballpark, but I didn't care; she was my friend. And so I remember Mrs. Reynolds because when it was time to graduate from sixth grade, she decided to wait until graduation day to announce who the top students in the class were. So she got, she gets up, and she announces that the third place student is Olga Gomez [ph.]. So I said, "Okay, yeah, Olga's pretty smart." Then she gets up and says the second place student is Nancy Roth [ph.]. And I said, "Wait a minute. How can Nancy Roth be second place? There's nobody in this class smarter than Nancy; something's wrong." So then she gets up and says, "Our first place scholarship winner is Gloria Johnson [HistoryMaker Gloria Johnson Goins]," and I didn't get up. So I looked around and looked around, and she's like, "Come on, get up, get up. What's wrong with you?" And I'm like, "Me? How could I be the smartest person?" I mean it took a long, uncomfortable pause for me to get up there and realize I had the highest grades in the entire class, stark contrast from where I started, 'cause I was constantly in the principal's office. It was a, a religious school. I was always teasing the priests, putting cupcakes in his chair, and putting tacks in his hair, and you know, disrupting the class. So the fact that I had the highest grades, I, I couldn't accept that. So it, it took me awhile to kind of come to grips with the fact that I actually was bright, and I was talented, and that I could compete.

Gwendolyn Patton

Gwendolyn Marie Patton was born on October 14, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan to Jeanetta and Clarence Patton. After the death of her mother in 1957, Gwendolyn and her siblings moved to Montgomery, Alabama. She attended George Washington Carver High School and graduated in 1961 with academic honors. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in English and history from Tuskegee Institute in 1966.

Patton coined the phrase “scholar-activist” and urged students to work in the community for social, political and economic change. She was also the Direct Action Chair for the Tuskegee Institute Advancement League, which planned strategies to desegregate Macon County in all areas, especially employment.

Though her grandmother’s rental property was the Freedom House that was used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the Civil Rights Movement, Patton herself was active with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

In 1972, Patton received her M.A. degree in education from Antioch University in Washington, D.C. and returned home to Alabama to accept a position as director of the Alabama State University Academic Advising Center. She later held the University’s Freshman Coordinator position from 1981 to 1986. Patton received her Ph.D. (ABD) from Union Graduate University Consortium and her LL.D. from the Interdenominational Institute of Theology.

Patton has made many noteworthy accomplishments, including founding the National Anti-War Anti-Draft Union against the war in Vietnam in 1969, the National Association of Black Students, and the New Alabama New South Coalition. She was selected to be an Aspen Institute Fellow and also wrote and published The Insurgent Memories in 1981. Patton is listed in the International Who’s Who of Intellectuals and is designated as a “Special Scholar” by the Institute of Higher Education and Research at the University of Alabama.

In 1992, Patton became an archivist for Trenholm Technical College, where she has assisted in establishing one of the few archives in the United States at a two year college.

Patton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2007.

Patton passed away on May 11, 2017.

Accession Number

A2007.098

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/19/2007

9/5/2007

Last Name

Patton

Maker Category
Schools

George Washington Carver High School

Tuskegee University

Marymount College

Inkster High School

First Name

Gwendolyn

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

PAT07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bern, Switzerland

Favorite Quote

Ignorance Offends Me, Especially My Own.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/14/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Montgomery

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

5/11/2017

Short Description

Civil rights activist and archivist Gwendolyn Patton (1943 - 2017 ) worked in the archives at Trenholm Technical College, one of the few archives at a two year college.

Employment

Alabama State University

H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College

Montgomery Tuskegee Times

Southern Student Human Relations Project

Favorite Color

Green, Red, White

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565638">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gwendolyn Patton's interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565639">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565640">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her paternal and maternal family backgrounds</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565641">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her paternal great-grandmother's brother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565642">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her family's roots near Montgomery, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565643">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her family's land ownership</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565644">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her paternal grandfather's entrepreneurialism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565645">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her maternal family's educational legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565646">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565647">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565648">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her mother's schooling</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565649">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her father's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565650">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565651">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about the murder of her maternal uncle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565652">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her father and grandmother's responses to the FBI</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565653">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her summers in Montgomery, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565654">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her father's middle class aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565655">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her father's financial windfall</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565656">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her influences in Inkster, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565657">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565658">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her half-sister</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565659">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her mother's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565660">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her relationship with her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565661">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her father's second marriage, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565662">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her father's second marriage, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565663">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her early experiences of racial discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565664">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her early activism in Montgomery, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565665">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the Montgomery Bus Boycott</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565666">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her family's role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565667">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about Claudette Colvin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565668">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about the female activists in Montgomery, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565669">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her introduction to the Alabama Democratic Conference</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565670">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her decision to attend the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565671">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls becoming salutatorian at George Washington Carver High School in Montgomery, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565672">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her experiences in Inkster, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565683">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her father's discipline</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565684">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her experiences at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565685">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes the role of a scholar-activist</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565686">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls the organization of the Tuskegee to Montgomery march</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565687">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers Bloody Sunday</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565688">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers Judge Frank Minis Johnson, Jr.'s injunction against the Selma to Montgomery March</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565689">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the march from Tuskegee to Montgomery, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565690">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her treatment for tuberculosis, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565691">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her treatment for tuberculosis, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565692">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls securing access to the library at the Batson Memorial Sanatorium in LaFayette, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565693">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the Black Panther Party in Lowndes County, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565694">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the start of the Black Power movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565695">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers rooming with Stokely Carmichael in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565696">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her decision to move to Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565697">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls organizing the first national black power conference</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565698">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her car accident</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565699">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her experiences at the Hospital for Joint Diseases</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565700">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her bone transplant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565715">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Gwendolyn Patton's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565716">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls the student activism at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565717">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the death of Sammy Younge, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565718">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the founding of the National Black Antiwar Antidraft Union</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565719">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes the founding of the National Association of Black Students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565720">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls being targeted by federal intelligence agents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565721">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her experiences at Antioch College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565722">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers organizing a union of domestic workers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565723">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton describes the Students Economic Development Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565724">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her work with minority business students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565725">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her tenure at the Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565726">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her return to Montgomery, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565727">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her first marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565728">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her experiences at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565729">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her writing for the Montgomery Tuskegee Times</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565730">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls hosting the television program, 'Harmabee'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565731">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her teaching methods</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565732">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her teaching experiences at Alabama State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565733">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers serving as a delegate for Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's presidential campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565734">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes the founding of the Alabama New South Coalition</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565749">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her venture into electoral politics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565750">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her activism in the 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565751">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls how she came to work for the H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College in Montgomery, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565752">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her start at the H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565753">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her career at the H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565754">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565755">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her maternal grandmother's philosophy on freedom</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565756">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton shares a message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565757">Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her dissertation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565758">Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565759">Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers Floyd Griffin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565766">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton narrates her photographs</a>

Shirley James

Shirley James was born in Georgetown, South Carolina on September 5, 1946. Her mother, Camille Barber, was a schoolteacher and her father, Eli Baxter Barber, was a mail porter. In 1964, James graduated from Howard High School. She continued her education at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received her B.A. degree in psychology in 1968. She went on to receive her M.A. degree in education from Harvard University in 1970.

In 1971, James became a counselor and administrator for Savannah State University. She also held positions as Director of Testing, Vice President of Student Affairs and Counselor Orientation Director. During her tenure, James developed Peer Counselors, a committee to support the students of Savannah State University.

James also became a publisher and editor for The Tribune, a weekly newspaper founded by James’ husband, Robert Earl James, that focuses on the issues of African Americans.

In 2002, James left her position at Savannah State University to become the Coordinator of the Savannah Black Heritage Festival. Between 2004 and 2005, she served on the Board of Directors of the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and in 2005, she was appointed to a five year term for Savannah’s Airport Commission. James is a member of several professional organizations as well as owner of the Education Testing Services in Savannah.

James and her husband Robert live in Savannah, Georgia. They have three adult children.

James was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 17, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.013

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/17/2007

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Howard High School

Howard Adult Center & Optional School

Spelman College

Harvard Graduate School of Education

J.B. Beck Middle School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Shirley

Birth City, State, Country

Georgetown

HM ID

JAM02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

South Carolina

Favorite Quote

You Live, You Learn, And You Pass It On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/5/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Bread

Short Description

Academic administrator and newspaper publishing chief executive Shirley James (1946 - ) was the owner and former publisher and editor of the Savannah Tribune. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, James held positions as Director of Testing, Vice President of Student Affairs and Counselor-Orientation Director at Savannah State University.

Employment

Savannah State University

The Savannah Tribune

Favorite Color

Winter White

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466508">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shirley James' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466509">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shirley James lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466510">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shirley James describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466511">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shirley James describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466512">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shirley James describes the history of her family's home</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466513">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shirley James remembers her maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466514">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shirley James describes her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466515">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shirley James describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466516">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shirley James remembers her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466517">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shirley James describes her older brother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466518">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shirley James talks about her brother's U.S. Army career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466519">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shirley James remembers her younger brother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466520">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shirley James describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466521">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shirley James remembers her community in Georgetown, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466522">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shirley James describes her grade school teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466523">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shirley James describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466524">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shirley James recalls her activities during high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466525">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shirley James remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466526">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shirley James describes her early work experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466527">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shirley James remembers applying to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466528">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shirley James describes her experiences at Spelman College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466529">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shirley James recalls her influences at Spelman College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466530">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shirley James remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466531">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shirley James recalls participating in a student exchange program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466532">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shirley James describes her experiences of racial discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466533">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Shirley James describes her social activities at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466534">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Shirley James recalls her activities after graduation from Spelman College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466535">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shirley James recalls becoming a counselor at Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466536">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shirley James describes the peer counseling program at Savannah State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466537">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shirley James remembers retiring from Savannah State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466538">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shirley James describes the history of The Savannah Tribune</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466539">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shirley James talks about her presidency of The Savannah Tribune</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466540">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shirley James talks about Jack and Jill of America, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466541">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shirley James describes her organizational involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466542">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shirley James talks about her activities during retirement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466543">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Shirley James shares a message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466544">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shirley James describes her children and their professions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/466545">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shirley James talks about her husband and grandchildren</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$2

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Shirley James recalls becoming a counselor at Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia
Shirley James describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
Transcript
Both you and your husband [HistoryMaker Robert James] graduate in 1970 from Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and you moved to Atlanta [Georgia], is that right?$$Yes.$$Okay. And how long did you stay in Atlanta?$$We were in Atlanta approximately a year. Right after graduation in June we moved here and he worked for a year at Citizens and Southern Bank [The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia]. I got to be a housewife and a mom, and then we moved to Savannah [Georgia] in August of '71 [1971].$$Okay. And you took a position, administrative counseling position at Savannah State University [Savannah State College; Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes, I did.$$So, tell me about that position.$$Well, something that I loved, because that counseling, you know, was my area, my field, and Dr. Prince A. Jackson [HistoryMaker Prince Jackson, Jr.] was president at Savannah State University at the time, and he actually hired me. During that period I was probably the first trained counselor that they had on the campus, and as a result of that, he kind of challenged me within about a year or, within the first year, and it was twofold. One was to look at establishing or getting a grant together to establish a counseling center, because that was not anything that we had had. I worked initially out of what you call a student affairs office with the dean. His name was Nelson Freeman, so student affairs you know, encompasses everything that's outside of the academic area, and, but we didn't have anything specifically to address, like a center for counselors, so that was one of the challenges, and he paired me with Hinton Thomas [ph.], a person who was working in one of the, a federal funded program that had been housed at Savannah State University at the time, and the two of us got together and wrote the grant through Title III, so by 1972, we were able to get the counseling center started, and the second challenge that he had given me was to start an organization where students could be almost like paraprofessional peer counselors, because there was Dr. Lucy Cutlive [ph.]. I'm not sure what her married name is, her name now, but at the time it was Lucy Cutlive, and she was at Tennessee State University [Nashville, Tennessee].$$Cutlive? How do you spell that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Cutlive. I think it's C-U-T-L-I-V-E.$$Okay.$$But I'll have to check that to be sure.$$Okay.$$But she did an address at Savannah State and talked about the students helping students at Tennessee State, and Dr. Jackson heard and he said, "Oh, this is something I'd like to have happen at Savannah State," so as a result of that, I was able to put together what we call a peer counseling program, which they served as student leaders during orientation, but they also served as peers and student-to-student counselors like throughout the year, so you selected upper classmen and we paired them, well not paired them, they would work with groups of new students coming in, so they may have two or twenty-five students that they were kind of responsible for, assisting through that first year of college to help them become acclimated to what college was about, so they would help him academically from a social side just all the way around. So, to this day and it is now 19--2007, the peer counseling program is still thriving at Savannah State University.$When you think about growing up, what sounds, sights, and smells come to your mind?$$(Laughter) The smells would be the smell of the International Paper Company; (laughter) the odor from that. I don't know if you've grown around, grown up in a town where you get this odor from pulp and from paper being made, so that is a pungent kind of sound, smell, and even to this day if you're driving into Georgetown [South Carolina], you know, even with all the new things with the environment and trying to control the atmosphere and all that, there's still that little thing that's there, so that's one of them. The other is like Christmastime; the kind of smells, you know, from making fruitcake and hog head cheese, turkey and dressing, you know, those kinds of smells, just from the kitchen, are things that I still can relate to or reminisce about and seemingly can still, you know, kind of smell chitlins (laughter), which I do love. Okay. You talk about sights. One of them is the beach, because we went to Pawleys Island [South Carolina] and to Atlantic Beach [South Carolina], but on Pawleys there was a beach called Frank's beach [McKenzie Beach], which was specifically for African Americans, and so it was kind of very well developed for that period of time and in the summers we would go to Frank's Beach for swimming. After we got older my Uncle Freddie [Fredrick Bessellieu], who grew up on Pawleys Island and from that area, would take us crabbing and clam hunting, and whatever we caught, you know, a lot of times we would eat it at the creek, eat a certain amount of it at the creek and then the rest of it we had to take back to the block to the neighborhood, because then we had this crab boil at night. Whatever, you know, we got we shared it with the neighbors, and so just the sight of the beach was one thing, and just the neighborhood, really. You know, just the sight of my neighborhood, really, was a good thing. Sound? That's kind of difficult, but what comes to mind right now that I'm thinking of is high school with the band and the orchestra, because I was able to participate in both; in the marching band, and we also had an orchestra. I played clarinet and I was able to ascend to first clarinet, so I'm listening to some of the things that we played as an orchestra, and going, like to state band competitions and actually winning. You know, a little school in Georgetown, South Carolina, Howard High School, but the band instructor that we had there, Mr. Ephraim [ph.], really just did so much for us and carried us so far and helped us to appreciate a lot of classical music. I still remember some of the symphonies and some of the parts that the clarinet would play in the symphonies and when I hear them now, I said, oh, you know, it's a good thing (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And remember.$$Um-hm.

Blanche Burton-Lyles

Accomplished concert pianist and music educator Blanche Henrietta Burton-Lyles was born on March 2, 1933 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father sang bass in the choir at Union Baptist Church which was also attended by her mentor, Marian Anderson who encouraged her young protégé to pursue a career in classical music. Marian Anderson invited Burton-Lyles to entertain guests in her home many times. By age seven, Burton-Lyles was considered a child prodigy, and in 1944, at age 11, she received an unlimited scholarship to study piano at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. The first African American female pianist to play at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947, Burton-Lyles entered and won the Young Audiences Competition. In 1954, she graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music where she received her B.A. degree in music.

Continuing her studies and her professional career, Burton-Lyles performed at Yale University with the New Haven Symphony and performed for fifteen years with Leroy Bostic and the Mellow Aires. In 1963, she joined the Philadelphia Board of Education as a teacher. She continued her own studies and received her B.A. degree in music education in 1971 from Temple University. Burton-Lyles retired from teaching in 1993 and became the founder and President of the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc. She acquired both of Anderson’s historical residences in 1998 and Anderson’s birthplace in 2000. Burton-Lyles, who has made it her mission to preserve Anderson’s legacy, maintains both sites, which houses memorabilia, rare photos, books, and paintings relating to the contralto’s life. The Anderson Residence/Museum also offers musical programs, lectures, audio-visual presentations and even private lessons.

Burton-Lyles is the recipient of numerous performance awards and humanitarian honors. These include the Shirley Chisholm Philadelphia Political Congress of Black Women Award for Achievement in Music in 1994 and the National Black Music Caucus Award for Outstanding Women in Music in 1995. For preserving Marian Anderson’s legacy, Burton-Lyles has received the Mary McLeod Bethune Award from the National Council of Negro Women, 2000; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s highest honor – the Sadie T. Alexander Award, 2005; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s Edythe Ingram Award, 2006; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Cultural Award, 2007; and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Unsung Hero Award at Carnegie Hall, 2007. She was also honored with the Philadelphia 76ers’ Community Service All-Star Award in 2004. For well over forty years, Burton-Lyles has enjoyed a multi-faceted career in classical music and continues to groom young classical vocal artists.

Burton-Lyles lived in Philadelphia with her family and is a member of Union Baptist Church where her mentor Marian Anderson sang as a child.

Burton-Lyles was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 18, 2006.

Burton-Lyles passed away on November 12, 2018.

Accession Number

A2006.179

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

12/18/2006

Last Name

Burton-Lyles

Maker Category
Schools

Temple University

Curtis Institute of Music

Ornstein's School of Music

Temple University High School

Horace Howard Furness Junior High School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Blanche

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BUR16

Favorite Season

Christmas, Easter

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

You Must Be Kidding.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/2/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salmon

Death Date

11/12/2018

Short Description

Cultural heritage chief executive and pianist Blanche Burton-Lyles (1933 - 2018 ) was the founder of the Marian Anderson Historical Society. She was also the first black female pianist to play at New York City's Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Employment

School District of Philadelphia

The O.V. Catto School

Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.

Marian Anderson Historical Residence Museum

Favorite Color

Purple

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534133">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Blanche Burton-Lyles' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534134">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534135">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534136">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534137">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her mother's musical background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534138">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her parents' professions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534139">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534140">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534141">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her early musical influences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534142">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her musical education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534143">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers her mother's music students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534144">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers her father's musical talent</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534145">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Blanche Burton-Lyles reflects upon the role of music in her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534146">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her mother's music recitals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534147">Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her studies at the Ornstein School of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534148">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her early experiences of racial discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534149">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes Marian Anderson's residences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534150">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534151">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her experiences at the Curtis Institute of Music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534152">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers lessons from her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534153">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about the discrimination faced by Marian Anderson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534154">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls the Temple University High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534155">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers playing with the Philadelphia Concert Orchestra</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534156">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her relationship with Marian Anderson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534157">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the Marian Anderson Historical Residence Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534158">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her experiences of discrimination at the Philadelphia Orchestra</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534159">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534160">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers touring the country clubs in Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534161">Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about Marian Anderson's career abroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534162">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about notable African American classical musicians</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534163">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers her first piano recital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534164">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls notable African American female pianists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534165">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls the support of the black musical community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534166">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her experiences of racial discrimination as a teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534167">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls performing with the New York Philharmonic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534168">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes Marian Anderson's performance at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534169">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes a fundraiser for the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534170">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her teaching positions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534171">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the importance of musical education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534172">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her sense of fashion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534173">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her family's relationship with Marian Anderson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534174">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the misconceptions about Marian Anderson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534175">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her tour of the historically black colleges and universities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534176">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her sponsorship of young singers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534177">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her work to preserve Marian Anderson's legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534178">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the sponsorship program at the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534179">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534180">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the former participants in the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.'s sponsorship program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534181">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about the relationship between musicians and audiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534182">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her plans for the Marian Anderson Heritage Village in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534183">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the importance of travel for musical education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534184">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about the music industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534185">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534186">Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her recent performances</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534187">Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the importance of musical education in the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534188">Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Blanche Burton-Lyles reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534189">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls advocating for the Marian Anderson commemorative stamp</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534190">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about Marian Anderson's role in the March on Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534191">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles reflects upon her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534192">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles narrates her photographs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534193">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles plays the piano, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534194">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles shares her Sadie T.M. Alexander May Week Award</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/534195">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles plays the piano, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

12$4

DATitle
Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City
Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her work to preserve Marian Anderson's legacy
Transcript
Who entered you into that concert?$$Well my teacher at Curtis [Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], 'cause I was still at, at yes I was still at Curtis, I was right in the midst of my learning there. And she says, "I think you have a good chance," and so I went and made the finals it was on WQXR [WQXR Radio, Newark, New Jersey] broadcast station in New York [New York]. And Miss Anderson [Marian Anderson], there's a write-up upstairs, Miss Anderson invited my mother [Blanche Taylor Burton] and me to come here to hear the finals that had been taped. It was a record player in the corner you know a floor model right in that corner, in fact there's a picture of this house of her sitting there in '51 [1951] Phyllis [Phyllis Sims] has it somewhere. And she said, "Well I want to stay here together," and we thought, but that's when we heard it--oh I was, and so mother, mother she winked at me, you know, not to get too excited (laughter). She said, "She's a child," of course I was probably sixteen something like that, and then I heard that and the winner is Blanche Henrietta Burton [HistoryMaker Blanche Burton-Lyles] of Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. Well there was this Jewish lady, she said, "But you heard my daughter, she was out--." They said, "Yes, she was. But Blanche is number one," (laughter) 'cause that was the pride, you know, that was oh, it was in The Bulletin, which was the paper at the time, New York Times [The New York Times]. I was in the Musical of America [sic. Musical America] which was like the bible of musical magazines. And it said, "Young colored girl from Philadelphia winner, the first ever," (laughter), yeah. And Madame [Isabelle Vengerova] was right there in the audience, "Yes, she's my student," (laughter) she was very proud, very, she was just so sweet. But she, after about three years she told my mother, "You don't need to come to the lessons anymore because your pressure's going up." 'Cause she was very, very stern and mother, she said, "No, Blanche understands and she can write it down," she said but mother--, "You need to stay home," (laughter).$$Who was very stern?$$My mother.$$Your mother was very stern, so she (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh no, no, no, my, my teacher.$$Your teacher was very stern.$$My mother used to go to my lesson and she would write down, she would say, "She's going to have to remember on her own, stop writing." So she allowed me to have a notebook when I would go on my own, you know.$$So your mother was encouraging you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, always--$$--all along the way.$$Whenever I, she just, "Do your best, just do your best, um-hm. 'Cause you know what you're doing that's why you're up there on the stage and they're in the audience," oh yeah.$When did you become interested in preserving her legacy?$$Well shortly after I retired, I retired from teaching [from the School District of Philadelphia] in '92 [1992] technically, and I did some traveling. And I was saying there's so many singers, I would hear them say, "We can only do so much," and they didn't know which direction to go, many of them. And so I knew how wonderful Miss Anderson [Marian Anderson] had been to me and I said, I must do something to continue this. And to support and encourage these young people, so I got a few friends together. And now we have a large, I would say a revenue of people who want to know, what are you doing, how can we help, and that's the best thing to hear (laughter). And this event in September really reconfirmed my belief in doing this, and continuing it you know. So we're having some people who are in touch with the schools to bring more school children here. And they come over, they have their papers, they've been on the Internet (laughter) and they, "Oh yes we knew about the, this and we read it in here." 'Cause there are nine hundred boxes in the University of Penn [University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] Marian Anderson collection, nine hundred she gave it. She gave them all her papers like sales slips, like for the kitchen she put six hundred dollars down in 1940. That kitchen only cost fifteen hundred when I say that, stainless steel kitchen in 1940; she saved receipts and different things. I'm glad she did; and how this, the floors were put down in 1926, I think and so she had such insight and foresight (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So after you retired--$$Um-hm.$$--you were trying to think of something to do--$$Yes.$$--to preserve her legacy.$$Yeah.$$How did you come, how did you come back to the house and--?$$But see I only lived four blocks from here, and I go to church [Union Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] almost regularly across the street, and I'd see different people sitting outside. And I, and I said, "Do you whose house you're living--?" It was rental property for nine years before I got it. And they said, "No, no one mentioned about Marian." I said, "Well this was her home." They took such good care of it, we haven't had to patch anything. This place was like this when we said, we had wall to wall carpet, and when I looked at it, I didn't mention to the realtor, I said, "Aren't there floors under here?" When I look around this step you can imagine I said, "Oh, it's still in good condition," and of course you saw the basement. And there was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And it, it was always your idea to restore it and have it become a historical--$$Yes, too that it become a museum like the Betsy Ross House [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] and that's, and after we all take wings, we're forming an endowment those are the next plans for the next few months. To raise funds that the principal will remain, the interest just for preservation you know like pointing the back of the house, which it needs it bad. I hope the snow won't come in (laughter) and just paint up, we had just had a new pavement put out last week, we paid to put it in. It has those little pebbles which was from that period, early oh 1940s and so on; we wanna things within the integrity of the period. That's why that awning is the way you see it.$$So what is it about her legacy that you want to live on?$$Well about the lady herself, what a great lady she was, and the young people need to know she was not one who said, "Well she just came out of rehab." And you know you hear about some of the young artists, we know they have many more temptations. But she had them too, but she remained focused and that they learned that this great lady's art can be repeated and saved through these young performers. 'Cause there some spectacular voices out there, but mainly just need structure and guidance that you shouldn't be coming in at three o'clock in the morning (laughter) unless it's New Year's Eve.

Rachel Noel

Educator Rachel Louise Bassette Noel was born on January 15, 1918, in Hampton, Virginia. Both of her parents were college graduates and her father, Andrew William Ernest Bassette, Jr., was a lawyer. They believed in the importance of a higher education and stressed to her the significance of going to college. Noel earned her B.A. degree from Hampton Institute, later named Hampton University, and she received her M.A. degree in sociology from Fisk University.

Noel married Edmond F. Noel, a physician, in 1942 and the couple moved to Denver, Colorado. In 1965, she became the first African American to be elected to the Denver Board of Education. Having won this seat made her the first African American woman to hold public office in the State of Colorado. In 1968, Noel presented the Board of Education with the “Noel Resolution,” which required that the school district provide equal educational opportunities for every child in Denver. It also called for the superintendent to devise a plan that integrated the school system. After the resolution’s proposal was presented, she received numerous life-threatening phone calls; however, the resolution passed in February, 1970.

Appointed by former Governor Richard Lamm in 1976, Noel became the first African American to serve on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. In 1978, she won statewide election to a six-year term on the board and served a one-year term as chairperson of the board. She has been a professor at Metropolitan State College, as well as chairperson of the school’s African American Studies Department. She also served as a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for the Health Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Denver campuses and the Commissioner for the Denver Housing Authority.

Noel received numerous honors and awards including an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from the University of Denver; named one of Colorado’s Top 100 Citizens of the Century; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award; and the naming in her honor of a public middle school in Denver, Rachel B. Noel Middle School. In 1981, the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Professorship was created in her honor at Metropolitan State College. In 2004, the University of Colorado awarded her an Honorary Degree in Humane Letters. Noel passed away on February 4, 2008 at the age of ninety.

Rachel Noel was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 22, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.083

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/22/2006

Last Name

Noel

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Louise

Schools

Hampton University

Fisk University

Whittier School

First Name

Rachel

Birth City, State, Country

Hampton

HM ID

NOE01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virginia Mountains

Favorite Quote

Heavenly Days.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/15/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Mashed Potatoes

Death Date

2/4/2008

Short Description

Education chief executive Rachel Noel (1918 - 2008 ) was the first African American woman elected public official in the State of Colorado, and the first African American to serve on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. As a member of the Denver Board of Education, she presented the “Noel Resolution,” which required that the school district provide equal education opportunities for every child in Denver.

Employment

Metropolitan State College of Denver

Denver Board of Education

University of Colorado Board of Regents

Southeast Settlement House

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625826">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rachel Noel's interview, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625827">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rachel Noel lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625828">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Rachel Noel's interview, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625829">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rachel Noel describes her mother's background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625830">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rachel Noel talks about her maternal great-grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625831">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rachel Noel describes Wytheville, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625832">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rachel Noel describes her mother's background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625833">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rachel Noel describes how her parents met in Wytheville, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625834">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rachel Noel describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625835">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rachel Noel describes her parents' choice to stay in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625836">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rachel Noel describes her sisters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625837">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rachel Noel describes her paternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625838">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Rachel Noel describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625839">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Rachel Noel describes her early childhood education in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625840">Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Rachel Noel describes her family's attitude towards passing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625841">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rachel Noel describes others' perceptions of her skin tone</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625842">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rachel Noel recalls attending the Whittier School in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625843">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rachel Noel describes Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625844">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rachel Noel describes her neighborhood in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625845">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rachel Noel describes her family's religious background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625846">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rachel Noel describes her time at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625847">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rachel Noel recalls Dr. Charles S. Johnson's support at Fisk University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625848">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rachel Noel describes her husband, Edmond F. Noel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625849">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rachel Noel recalls her work and activities in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625850">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rachel Noel recalls living with Charles S. Johnson's family at Fisk University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625851">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Rachel Noel recalls moving with her husband to Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625852">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rachel Noel describes her work with the Girl Scouts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625853">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rachel Noel talks about her children, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625854">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rachel Noel recalls Metropolitan State College of Denver and Shorter Community A.M.E. Church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625855">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rachel Noel talks about Justina Ford</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625856">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rachel Noel remembers her campaign for the Denver Board of Education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625857">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rachel Noel recalls her board motion to integrate the Denver Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625858">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rachel Noel reflects upon her contributions to the Denver Board of Education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625859">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rachel Noel describes support she received from African American ministers in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625860">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rachel Noel recalls her sense of safety while serving on the Denver Board of Education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625861">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Rachel Noel recalls her being appointed to the University of Colorado Board of Regents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625862">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Rachel Noel recalls teaching black studies at Metropolitan State College of Denver</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625863">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Rachel Noel describes her parents' involvement in voter registration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625864">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rachel Noel reflects upon her social activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625865">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rachel Noel reflects upon segregation in Denver Public Schools, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625866">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rachel Noel talks about her children, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625867">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rachel Noel describes her social contributions to Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625868">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rachel Noel reflects upon the impact of her parents' social activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625869">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rachel Noel reflects upon segregation in Denver Public Schools, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625870">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rachel Noel describes her hopes for Denver's African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625871">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rachel Noel describes the support of her husband, Edmond F. Noel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625872">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rachel Noel reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625873">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rachel Noel describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625874">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Rachel Noel describes the importance of community support</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625875">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Rachel Noel reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625876">Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Rachel Noel describes the leadership of Denver's Rachel B. Noel Middle School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625877">Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Rachel Noel talks about Kevin Patterson's work on the Denver Board of Education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625878">Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Rachel Noel shares a message for future generations of children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/625879">Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Rachel Noel narrates her photographs</a>

Rena Bancroft

Rena Ercelle Merritt Bancroft was born on September 14, 1931 in Clinton, North Carolina to Sadie B. Herring and William Edward Merritt. Her maternal grandfather was named George Washington Herring. When slavery ended, he founded the Sampson County Normal and Industrial School, one of the first college preparatory high schools for African Americans. Bancroft grew up in Clinton, North Carolina. In 1948, Bancroft took the College Entrance Examination Board test, earning the highest score in the State of North Carolina. As a result of her score, Bancroft earned a Pepsi-Cola scholarship, which funded her undergraduate studies. After attending Howard University for two years, she transferred to Syracuse University, from where she earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in home economics and education.

In 1952, Bancroft began her teaching career in Watertown, New York. She taught morning and evening classes in home economics. Bancroft stayed in Watertown for two years, then she moved in with her aunt, Rena Hawkins, and taught in Syracuse, New York. In 1956, Bancroft decided to move to the West Coast, where she joined the Oakland Public School System. She taught at Havenscourt Junior High School for four years followed by Montera Middle School, where she stayed for another three years. In the evenings and during the summer, Bancroft taught sewing at Oakland High School. For the McCall Pattern Company, Bancroft conducted sewing and other home economic demonstrations at schools in San Francisco and San Jose. Bancroft went on to become the first African American female principal for the San Mateo Union High School District. In 1986, Bancroft became president of the San Francisco Community College Centers. Also that year, she earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of California – Berkeley. Bancroft remained president of the centers until 1991, when she began directing the centers' evening division and adult program. When she retired, Bancroft worked as a consultant for the State of California, evaluating school programs.

Bancroft was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 7, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.070

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/7/2006

Last Name

Bancroft

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Syracuse University

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Rena

Birth City, State, Country

Clinton

HM ID

BAN04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/14/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Strawberries

Short Description

College president Rena Bancroft (1931 - ) was the first African American female principal in the San Mateo Union High School District. She also served as president of the San Francisco Community College Centers.

Employment

San Mateo Union High School District

San Francisco Community College Centers

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397372">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rena Bancroft's interview, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397373">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Rena Bancroft's interview, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397374">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397375">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft talks about her maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397376">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft talks about her mother's romantic relationships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397377">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397378">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft talks about her ancestry in North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397379">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft recalls her relationship with Burl Toler, Sr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398612">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft remembers Melvia Woolfolk Toler's illness</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398613">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398614">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft remembers her sister's work as a children's librarian</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398615">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft talks about her affinity for pigs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398616">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft recalls her early family life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398617">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft remembers singing with her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398618">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft describes her community in Clinton, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398619">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft recalls her early education in Clinton, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398620">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rena Bancroft remembers serving as a high school principal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398621">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft remembers her sister's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398622">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft recalls transferring to Garland High School in Garland, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398623">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft remembers earning a full scholarship from Pepsi-Cola</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398624">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft remembers her mentor, Paul F. Lawrence</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398625">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft remembers her high school principal, W.M. McLean</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398626">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft talks about her childhood friend, Cassandra McLean Clay</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398627">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft describes her family's religious background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398628">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft remembers her relationship with her parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397397">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft recalls her mother's second marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397398">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft remembers Howard University in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397399">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft remembers moving to Syracuse, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397400">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft recalls living with Rena Hawkins in Syracuse, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397401">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft remembers her early teaching career in Upstate New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397402">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft remembers her career in the Oakland Unified School District</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397403">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft remembers her brief marriage to Richard Bancroft</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397404">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft recalls her work with the McCall Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397405">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rena Bancroft recalls her early career in the San Mateo Union High School District</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/397406">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rena Bancroft recalls teaching at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398629">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft remembers meeting with a spiritualist in Vallejo, California, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398630">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft remembers meeting with a spiritualist in Vallejo, California, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398631">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft recalls her challenges as a school administrator</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398632">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft talks about attending church services in San Francisco, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398633">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft recalls applying for the presidency of the San Francisco Community College Centers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398634">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft describes her presidency of the San Francisco Community College Centers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398635">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft recalls the San Francisco Community College Centers' courses</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398636">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rena Bancroft reflects upon her life, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398637">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rena Bancroft reflects upon her life, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398638">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rena Bancroft describes her house in North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398639">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rena Bancroft reflects upon her values</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398640">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rena Bancroft describes her organizational activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398641">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rena Bancroft describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398642">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rena Bancroft remembers being late to a meeting in Portland, Oregon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/398643">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rena Bancroft narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Rena Bancroft recalls teaching at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California
Rena Bancroft describes her presidency of the San Francisco Community College Centers
Transcript
Well you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That, that's right (laughter).$$--that's what you were supposed if you teach cooking, you have to move around (laughter).$$Anyhow, when he called me in for my evaluation, he said, "Did you read this?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "What do you think about it?" And I said, "I think it's funny, Mr. Alley [ph.]." I said, "The day that I lost my enthusiasm is the day that I need to stop teaching. And if the only complaint she has is that my children move around in the classroom, that's what I want them to do." I run a three ring circus. I had some kids who would be cooking. I had some kids who would be sewing because we only had seven sewing machines in the room and then I'd have another group and we'd either be doing child development or decorating or something that kept them in their seats at the table and we could work in groups and I ran three like I said I ran three ring circus and the kids had a marvelous time and I did too. And I had people knocking down the doors to get in my classes so that the other--the department chair got angry because her classes fell off and everybody wanted to be in Mrs. Bancroft's [HistoryMaker Rena Bancroft] class. So anyway I stayed there [Hillsdale High School, San Mateo, California] for four years and I had a good time and by the end she and I had become friends but that first year (laughter) we had a supply closet between our two rooms. We had what they call all-purpose rooms, there were sewing machines and tables so the kids could work in and the kitchens. She would actually go in that supply closet and take the flour out, the little canisters of flour into the kitchen so I wouldn't use all the flour. And we all had a budget you know, it was just, just simple stuff. Anyway it turned out to be all right and last time I saw her she wanted to hug and kiss and I just you know long ago and far away.$(Simultaneous) So how was it being president of the, of the colle- (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Division [San Francisco Community College Centers]?$$--did you enjoy it?$$Yes. I had a lot of trouble with the chancellor, Hilary Hsu. He had a bachelor's degree and I was just about finish with my doctorate. He had lived in the United States from the time he came here to go to college but I guess they have their classifications and there's a difference between the Mandarins and the Cantonese--$$Right, right.$$--and he's Mandarin. He was very snotty. He had a great deal of trouble dealing with me. I threatened him. I didn't mean to but he, he watched me like a hawk. And he made problems for me and I always solved them. And I never said anything to him that was unhappy or nasty until one day he called me in about something silly and I was working on some reports that I had to get in. And I told him I said, "You're keeping me from doing my work. You want those reports this afternoon you need to let me go back to my office." Burl [HistoryMaker Burl Toler, Sr.] was there. He called Burl in too. And he started and started and started, finally I stood up and I said, "I'm not staying here to have you just rant like this. If you have a reason to have me here, fine, but your papers will be on the desk by four o'clock, and I'm going back to finish." And I walked on out. And I finished the papers and I took them back over there at four o'clock and when we got a new chancellor, I don't know what happened with him and the board [San Francisco Community College Board], but the board released him and--$$Oh my.$$--demoted him to teaching in the business department at the downtown center. And when the new chancellor came, I was demoted from whatever I was head--as president of the centers division and I was made the dean of the evening division and when I had to sign students who were coming in to take evening classes, the fo- former chancellor who'd been so mean to me hid in the corner until everybody had gone and then he came over for me to sign his payroll. So I see him once in a while but I stayed seven years there and that was it.$$Oh wow.$$Stayed 'til I was sixty-two (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So what kind of things did you do? Really? What kinds of things did you teach, did you do there?$$I was an administrator. I had the responsibility for seeing that they kept the budgets straight, that their students performed well, that they kept the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990] up because we were the cash cow for the district [San Francisco Community College District]. We got less money per student because we were non-credit but we had over sixty thousand students whereas city college [City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, California] only has something like twenty-three or twenty-four thousand so they got--their teachers got paid more than mine did, but we had three times as many students or maybe four times as many students, more than that anyway, we did all right, but my job was to keep my money because when I got there, he took 60 percent of the budget that came from the revenue created by that division and gave it to his own office for the gener- the district office running and then the rest of it went to the credit side.$$Oh my Lord.$$So we had to have a little agreement about that. I got it upped a little bit.