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Arva Rice

Nonprofit executive Arva Rice was born on February 23, 1968 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating from Heritage Christian Schools in 1986, Rice received her B.S. degree in social policy from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 1990, and took post-graduate courses in education at the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, New York.

After graduation, Rice moved to New York City where she received a fellowship from the NYC Urban Fellows Program, and worked in the office of political leader Ruth Messinger. In 1993, Rice was hired as the technical assistance director at the Fund for the City of New York. She then served as program director of economic literary for Girls, Incorporated, where she partnered with American Express that brought about the publication of Money Matters: An Economic Literacy Action Kit for Girls. In 1999, Rice became executive director of Public Allies New York; and, then executive director of Project Enterprise in 2003. During her tenure, the agency doubled its revolving loan fund. In 2009, Rice became president and chief executive officer of the New York Urban League (NYUL), becoming the second woman to hold this position. In this role, Rice forged a partnership with the Mary J. Blige Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) that resulted in establishing the inaugural Girls Empowerment Day and a four-year scholarship for an outstanding college-bound young woman. Under her leadership, the NYUL also allied with Jordan Fundamentals, the nonprofit organization run by Michael Jordan, providing students the opportunity to be trained as Team Jordan athletes through a ten-week sportsmanship program.

In 2010, Rice was appointed commissioner of the New York City Equal Employment Practices; and, in 2018, she was appointed commissioner of the Commission on Gender Equity. In 2018, Rice joined the board of trustees of First Corinthians Baptist Church. She was also a member of the New York Women’s Forum and The Links.

In 2005, Rice was named a Network Journal Forty Under 40 honoree and was a grantee for the Robin Hood Foundation. In 2013, Rice was selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as one of sixteen leaders for its Children and Family Fellows. Two years later, she received the Alumni Merit Award for the School of Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

Rice was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 28, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.024

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/28/2019

Last Name

Rice

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

R.

Occupation
Schools

Engleburg Elementary School

Heritage Christian Schools

Northwestern University

Teachers College, Columbia University

First Name

Arva

Birth City, State, Country

Milwaukee

HM ID

RIC24

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Wisconsin

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

The Only People That Don't Make Mistakes Are People Not Doing Anything

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/23/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Nonprofit executive Arva Rice (1968 - ) served as president and CEO of the New York Urban League.

Employment

New York Urban League

Project Enterprise

Public Allies

Girls Inc.

Fund for the City

The Valley

NYC Urban Fellow

Favorite Color

Red

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

Birth Date

3/11/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

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

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lula Ford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lula Ford lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lula Ford talks about her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lula Ford describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lula Ford talks about her father's experiences in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lula Ford describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lula Ford recalls her neighborhood in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lula Ford remembers her early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lula Ford describes her elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lula Ford recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lula Ford remembers the civil rights activities in Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lula Ford recalls the discipline of Principal C.P. Coleman

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lula Ford remembers the African American community in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lula Ford remembers the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about her interests at the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lula Ford recalls her civil rights activities in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lula Ford describes the black business district in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lula Ford remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes the start of her teaching career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lula Ford recalls her first impressions of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lula Ford remembers the influential figures in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lula Ford recalls teaching at the John Hope Academy in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about the desegregation of the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lula Ford describes her graduate studies

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lula Ford recalls her transition to educational administrative positions

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lula Ford talks about Harold Washington's mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lula Ford describes her work at the Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lula Ford recalls her accomplishments as the principal of Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lula Ford describes her administrative roles in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lula Ford talks about the underperformance of the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lula Ford describes her assistant directorship of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about her experiences as an Illinois Commerce Commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lula Ford describes her organizational memberships

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lula Ford talks about the Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lula Ford describes her social and political volunteer work

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lula Ford reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lula Ford describes her family and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lula Ford narrates her photographs

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.

Geraldine D. Brownlee

Geraldine Brownlee has spent most of her life as an educator. Born in East Chicago, Indiana, Brownlee’s father was a skilled worker for Inland Steel and both her mother and her stepmother were homemakers. Brownlee attended West Virginia State College, where she graduated cum laude in 1947 with degrees in biology and Spanish. Brownlee earned an M.S.T. in urban education from the University of Chicago in 1967, and completed her Ph.D. there in 1975. She also spent time at both the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan graduate schools of social work.

In 1947, Brownlee took a job with the Cook County Department of Public Welfare, where she worked as a caseworker from 1948 until 1955 when she began a career in teaching. She taught elementary school for eleven years in the Chicago public schools. From 1967 until 1970, Brownlee worked with the University of Chicago graduate school of education as a staff associate, becoming assistant director of teacher training in 1970. The following year, Brownlee was made an assistant professor and assistant dean of student services in the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) College of Education. During 1975-1976, Brownlee served as director of Title VII desegregation projects for Illinois School District 163. She continued as an assistant professor with UIC until her retirement in 1990, teaching curriculum and instruction within the school of education to both undergraduate and graduate students. During that time, she worked as a visiting professor to Indiana University Northwest and was active evaluating programs within the Chicago public school system. In 1995, Brownlee became a consultant to the Center for Urban Education at DePaul University in Chicago, where she remained for a year.

Brownlee has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout her career. She has also been active both in professional and civic organizations. Some of her honors include the 1990 YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago Outstanding Achievement Award in the field of education; selection as a member of the Chicago Presbyterian Delegation to Cuba in 1998; and election as a commissioner to the 2000 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America. She has served on the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago Board of Directors, the Chicago Urban League Education Advisory Committee and Links, Inc. Brownlee and her husband Brady live in Chicago.

Accession Number

A2003.302

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/17/2003

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Benjamin Franklin Elem School

East Chicago Central High Sch

West Virginia State University

University of Michigan

University of Chicago

First Name

Keronn

Birth City, State, Country

East Chicago

HM ID

BRO17

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Will send VITAE to Crystal. She's an Elder in Presbyterian Church - lc; Charles Branham

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Georgia

Favorite Quote

The Truth Of The Matter Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

4/13/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Education professor Geraldine D. Brownlee (1925 - ) has taught for many years at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Employment

Cook County Department of Public Welfare

Chicago Public Schools

University of Chicago

University of Illinois, Chicago

Illinois School District 163

Indiana University Northwest

Center for Urban Education at DePaul University

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1230,16:2400,36:4194,72:30140,490:33200,562:43667,687:45494,737:46799,754:48278,774:49148,785:54520,824:55510,837:56500,850:72510,941:75570,979:82900,1064:86892,1103:87396,1110:91596,1185:92604,1201:93192,1209:94620,1229:96048,1248:105096,1348:107500,1363:111260,1446:113100,1475:113500,1481:116173,1489:119890,1519:120210,1524:124158,1559:129138,1598:139103,1667:142183,1727:143261,1743:151170,1793:151758,1899:152430,1909:153522,1930:154110,1938:160312,1997:160844,2005:164644,2086:164948,2091:165784,2110:190446,2470:198976,2623:200488,2662:205326,2701:213508,2831:213938,2837:228622,3003:244210,3177:244738,3184:254890,3308$0,0:1414,25:3874,64:9450,165:11828,200:19250,336:45435,731:46245,742:51348,825:52401,838:53535,856:55155,880:68242,1029:68710,1036:69022,1041:72970,1060:78005,1103:78345,1108:78685,1113:79110,1119:80385,1139:89466,1236:94510,1259:95734,1269:101670,1309:107240,1351:122779,1549:123609,1563:124273,1573:125020,1583:136595,1685:139583,1716:141658,1742:145604,1759:152176,1813:172040,1966:173570,1987:185195,2082:190601,2125:191006,2131:191573,2140:199106,2258:203966,2356:213786,2492:217002,2562:224650,2636:233830,2747:234630,2755:235110,2762:235430,2767:236870,2781:239270,2819:244390,2893:244870,2905:245830,2923:262030,3041:264764,3049:265340,3058:265916,3067:266276,3073:266924,3084:267860,3099:269516,3120:271560,3133
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Geraldine D. Brownlee's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Geraldine D. Brownlee lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about her stepmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Geraldine D. Brownlee recalls her birth mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes the culture of reading in her household as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Geraldine D. Brownlee remembers her neighborhood growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Geraldine D. Brownlee recalls the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes herself as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Geraldine D. Brownlee lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Geraldine D. Brownlee remembers Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about a racist experience at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Geraldine D. Brownlee recalls her favorite subjects at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about encountering racism at George Washington High School in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Geraldine D. Brownlee explains how discrimination kept her from entering the National Honor Society

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Geraldine D. Brownlee explains how she decided to attend West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her experience at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about her extracurricular activities at West Virginia State College, Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her studies at West Virginia State College, Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Geraldine D. Brownlee recalls President John W. Davis at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about her interest in the Quakers

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes the speaker series at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Geraldine D. Brownlee remembers learning about black history in her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about the impact of World War II on West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Geraldine D. Brownlee explains how she entered the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for special training in administering to the blind

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about encountering racism in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Geraldine D. Brownlee remembers declining a job with the W.C. Handy Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Geraldine D. Brownlee recalls her experience as a social worker in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about her early teaching experience

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Geraldine D. Brownlee explains her motivation for pursuing graduate studies in education

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her philosophy of curriculum development

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Geraldine D. Brownlee discusses the challenges facing contemporary education

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about the work of HistoryMaker Dr. James Comer

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Geraldine D. Brownlee philosophizes about leadership

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her dissertation research on teacher leadership

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Geraldine D. Brownlee details her work with various community and social organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her work as a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about black studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about her work as principal evaluator for the Chicago Public School system

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about her work as a director of a desegregation program

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about the importance of setting expectations in education

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Geraldine D. Brownlee explains the lack of pro-union sentiment in her family

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Geraldine D. Brownlee reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Geraldine D. Brownlee considers what she would do differently

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Geraldine D. Brownlee remembers her mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Geraldine D. Brownlee talks about the challenges of implementing affirmative action effectively

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Geraldine D. Brownlee describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Geraldine D. Brownlee narrates her photographs pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Geraldine D. Brownlee narrates her photographs pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her experience at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia
Geraldine D. Brownlee describes her work as a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Transcript
Okay. What was West Virginia State like? I mean, who were some of the teachers and personalities that you met there?$$Well, West Virginia State College [West Virginia State University, Institute, West Virginia] is a--on its sign it says, a liberal education, and I always knew from my mother that that was the best kind of education one could get. And when I went there, the dean of the college was Dr. Harrison Ferrell, who was from Chicago [Illinois] and had finished his doctorate at Northwestern [University, Evanston, Illinois]. And he greeted me right away, because you had to send in your picture with your application. And when I walked into the administration building, he said, "Hi, Gerri [HM Geraldine D. Brownlee]," the first day when I registered. And my psychology teacher was Dr. Herman Canady, who had received his doctorate at Northwestern. And I really have never regretted that decision. My whole life changed. I just felt as if I were just liberated from all of the racism, whether it was subtle or not, that I could go--belong to any organization I wanted to belong to. I wasn't afraid of failing, because I knew I had the ability to learn. And then it would put me in contact with my own people, because I was very limited in East Chicago [Indiana] in knowing people, black people--we were colored then--except for church and the limited number who went to school with me, 'cause there were only twenty-six in my graduation class out of over three hundred blacks. And so it was--I was very impressed with the faculty. I was impressed with the students. I didn't like the dorm. I thought the dorms were crummy. But it just made a different person out of me in my life.$$Were there a lot of restrictions on students at West Virginia, West Virginia State at that point (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh, yeah. Yes. In those days you couldn't get in a car. One could not leave campus without written permission from your parents. We had to be in the dorm at certain hours of night. You know, yes. There were a lot of restrictions. But I didn't mind that because I had restrictions at home. And then we--as we learned, we could do everything we wanted to do within a certain--anyway, within a certain time.$$(Laughter) Once you figured out the system.$$That's right.$$That's right.$$But then, I also didn't know, until I got to West Virginia State, and Dr. Canady gave everyone--now that I look back on it, it may have been the Stanford Binet test [Stanford Binet Intelligence Scales]; it was an I.Q. test, and then told us, you know, who did well and who did this. And I was the highest one in the class, and it was a very high I.Q. And he said--told them that. And I was so pleased, because I knew I had a good I.Q., but I didn't know how high it was or how good it was, because they never told me in high school. So with Dean--Dr. Canady and Dr. Ferrell, I could take as many--you know, how a load could be, like, sixteen hours? I was permitted to take twenty, twenty-two, twenty-four. You know, I could--they gave me a lot of privileges, because they said I could do it. And that's how I got the double major, 'cause with a double major, one has to have a double minor, which means you have to have certain courses in two dif- four areas. I had to do it.$Okay. Well, speaking of professing, you've been a professor at University of Illinois of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois] for a number of years. Right? And you're now professor emeritus. Right, or--?$$From the University of Illinois.$$Yeah.$$Um-hm.$$University of Illinois at Chicago.$$At Chicago.$$Yeah. Right.$$Um-hm.$$Right. Okay.$$That was an experience.$$Okay.$$That was truly an experience (laughter).$$Well, I can, you know, I see a balloon above your head, but you got to fill in the blanks. Now, what happened at the University of Illinois at Chicago?$$Well, because it is a large institution. And to leave a college like West Virginia State [College; West Virginia University, Institute, West Virginia] and to go to a university like the University of Chicago, where there are small populations and to go into a public urban university, where there are thousands and thousands of faculty and student is quite a challenge--students. It's quite a challenge. And it was an eyeopener because I went there because I've always been committed to urban education. And I got there and found that they were still searching for their urban mission. And it was very difficult because there's such a mix there of Hispanics, blacks, Indians, and whites of different origins. And there are very relatively speaking, very few tenured black faculty, which puts the burden on those of us who are tenured to meet the needs of the black students, and I--which even though there may not be more than 15 percent, to meet their needs. Because if one is there, one is likely to come to a person who is of, you know, of the same origin. And it was very, very difficult for white faculty to understand the demands made on black faculty in terms of publications and research and funding, when we have these other issues that have to do with race and our students. That was one eyeopener for, you know, for me. The fact that it's a revolving door for black professors was another issue. As a matter of fact, the chancellor asked me to serve as a--to chair his committee on the status of blacks at UIC, which I did for a couple of years before I left, and it was most challenging. I don't--but, I did get in to know a couple of other black faculties from what we call the other campus, the west campus, the medical science campus, who were most supportive, for example, [HM] Dr. [Maurice F.] Rabb, I don't know whether you know him.$$Maurice Rabb?$$Maur- that's how I got to know him. When I was president he was very, very supportive. There were other faculties I would not have gotten to know if I had not had that post. But it was--it also was at the expense of getting my own work done. I was not given off--you know, time off to do this. But that's, that's what happens to us when we are in certain positions. We have to take on certain responsibilities, because--not only because we're needed, but because we have a commitment to do so.$$Okay.$$So it was--there were--I guess I've touched on the primary problems, trying to serve and support minority students while doing what professors are expected to do was a real problem.