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CivicMakers have contributed substantially to their communities either by working for local governments, leading nonprofit organizations, or through activism and other forms of civic leadership and engagement. HistoryMakers in this category include civil rights activists, community volunteers, civil service workers, firefighters, social workers, and nonprofit leaders and emloyees, among many others.

Cora Masters Barry

Professor and civic leader Cora Masters Barry was born on May 7, 1945 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Isabell and Alfred Masters. She graduated from Paseo Academy in Kansas City, Missouri in 1962. Barry briefly attended Pasadena City College and Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri before graduating from Texas Southern University with her B.A. degree in 1969. She subsequently earned her M.A. degree in urban studies and public administration from Howard University in 1972.

In 1971, Barry began working on Walter Fauntroy's congressional campaign where she first met Marion Barry, whom she married in 1994. In 1976, Barry began teaching political science at the University of the District of Columbia, where she specialized in teaching “Black Politics, Comparative Political Studies, the Presidency, and the Constitution.” She was later hired as the northern Virginia minority coordinator for President Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign in 1980. That same year, Marion Barry, then mayor of Washington D.C., appointed her to the District of Columbia's Boxing and Wrestling Commission, making her the first woman in the United States to hold such a position. She later became chairwoman of the commission. Barry later ran a voter registration drive for Marion Barry's 1994 re-election campaign and chaired his inaugural committee. As First Lady of the District of Columbia, Barry founded the Recreation Wish List Committee (RWLC) in 1995 to support recreational activities and provide a nurturing learning environment for underserved youth in Washington D.C. That same year, she, with Dr. Dorothy I. Height, co-organized the “Women for the Million Man March.” In 2001, she founded the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, a premier tennis and education facility.

Throughout her career, Barry has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the DC Chamber of Commerce Community Impact Award, being named the 2013 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine, the USTA Founders Award, and the National Recreation and Park Association’s Robert Artz Citizen Advocacy Award. She was also inducted into the USTA’s Mid-Atlantic Tennis and Education Foundation’s Hall of Fame and the Black Tennis Hall of Fame.

Cora Masters Barry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 6, 2005 and June 16, 2012.

Accession Number

A2005.121

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/6/2005

6/16/2012

Last Name

Barry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Masters

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Cora

Birth City, State, Country

Oklahoma City

HM ID

BAR07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Africa

Favorite Quote

It's Not Gonna Turn Out Right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/7/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Potatoes

Short Description

Professor and civic leader Cora Masters Barry (1945- ), as the First Lady of the District of Columbia, founded the Recreation Wish List Committee in 1995 and the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in 2001, and co-organized the “Women for the Million Man March.”

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167915">Tape: 1 Slating of Cora Masters Barry's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167916">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167917">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her maternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167918">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her mother, Isabell Masters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167919">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her father, Alfred Masters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167920">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her father's experience with racism in the U.S. Marine Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167921">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her maternal family ancestry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167922">Tape: 1 Cora Masters describes her maternal family ancestry and the Exodus of 1879</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167923">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her parents meeting at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167924">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167925">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry talks about moving to Los Angeles, California in the second wave of the Great Migration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167926">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her family life as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167927">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes growing up in predominantly white suburbs of Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167928">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her experience at Cienega Elementary School in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167929">Tape: 1 Cora Masters Barry describes her neighbor, comedian Tim Moore who played Kingfish on 'Amos 'n' Andy,' pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167930">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry describes her neighbor, comedian Tim Moore who played Kingfish on 'Amos 'n' Andy,' pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167931">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry talks about her experience at Gompers Middle School in South Central, and Washington Junior High in Pasadena, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167932">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry describes living in a predominantly white neighborhood in Pasadena, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167933">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry describes her experience at John Muir, Manual Arts, and Paseo Academy High Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167934">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry talks about de-facto segregation at John Muir High School and Manual Arts High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167935">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry talks about transferring to Paseo Academy High School in Kansas City, and being the first black performer in its student talent show</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167936">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry describes her experience at Pasadena City College, and explains how she got to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167937">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry describes her freshman year at Lincoln University in 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167938">Tape: 2 Cora Masters Barry describes leaving Lincoln University and working as a teacher's assistant in California's Head Start pilot program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167939">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry describes her first semester at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167940">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry talks about the influence of black-nationalism at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167941">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry talks about the 1968 shooting of unarmed students at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167942">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry talks about graduating from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167943">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry talks about the black power movement in northern California and the arrest of Black Panther chief of staff David Hilliard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167944">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry describes Texas Southern University after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination and anti-war demonstrations in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167945">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry talks about finishing her graduate degree in urban policy at Howard University in Washington D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167946">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry describes working on HistoryMaker Walter Fauntroy's 1971 campaign for congress with HistoryMaker Marion Barry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167947">Tape: 3 Cora Masters Barry talks about working with the National Council of Negro Women, and on HistoryMaker Marion Barry's campaign for the D.C. school board</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167948">Tape: 4 Cora Masters Barry describes working as the coordinator for "The Committee to Draft HistoryMaker Marion Barry for Chairman of City Council"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167949">Tape: 4 Cora Masters Barry talks about the Home Rule Act and the election of HistoryMaker Walter Fauntroy as Washington, D.C.'s delegate for the U.S. Congress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167950">Tape: 4 Cora Masters Barry talks about her teaching appointment in political science at the University of the District of Columbia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167951">Tape: 4 Cora Masters Barry talks about organizing a boxing fundraiser for athletic programs in Washington D.C.'s public schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167952">Tape: 4 Cora Masters Barry talks about working as the northern Virginia minority coordinator for President Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167953">Tape: 4 Cora Masters Barry talks about working as the northern Virginia minority coordinator for President Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167954">Tape: 4 Cora Masters Barry talks about her controversial nomination to the District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167955">Tape: 5 Cora Masters Barry talks about her controversial nomination for the District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167956">Tape: 5 Cora Masters Barry describes her experience of gender discrimination at her first weigh-in as boxing commissioner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167957">Tape: 5 Cora Masters Barry describes chairing the District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission and her involvement with the International Boxing Federation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167958">Tape: 5 Cora Masters Barry talks about the 1988 court proceedings around allegations of "double-dipping," pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167959">Tape: 5 Cora Masters Barry talks about the 1988 court proceedings around allegations of "double-dipping," pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167960">Tape: 5 Cora Masters Barry talks about female government officials in boxing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167961">Tape: 5 Cora Masters Barry talks about her relationship with HistoryMaker Marion Barry, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167962">Tape: 5 Cora Masters Barry Cora talks about her relationship with HistoryMaker Marion Barry, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167963">Tape: 6 Slating of the second session of Cora Masters Barry's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167964">Tape: 6 Cora Masters Barry talks about her relationship with HistoryMaker Marion Barry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167965">Tape: 6 Cora Masters Barry talks about support of HistoryMaker Marion Barry in Washington, D.C.'s black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167966">Tape: 6 Cora Masters Barry talks about HistoryMaker Marion Barry's 1994 re-election campaign and 1995 inauguration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167967">Tape: 6 Cora Masters Barry explains the founding and function of the Recreation Wish List Committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167968">Tape: 6 Cora Masters Barry talks about early supporters of the Recreation Wish List Committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167969">Tape: 6 Cora Masters Barry describes conceiving the idea for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167970">Tape: 6 Cora Masters Barry describes the first phase in development for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167971">Tape: 6 Cora Masters describes the first phase in development for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167972">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry talks about the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center campaign kickoff event</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167973">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry explains how she secured a developer for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167974">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry talks about the Washington Tennis Foundation's effort to block the development of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167975">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry talks about fundraising for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167976">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry talks about Mayor Anthony Williams' contribution to the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167977">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry talks about the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center grand opening ceremony</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167978">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry talks about educational and athletic programming at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167979">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry talks about celebrity philanthropists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167980">Tape: 7 Cora Masters Barry talks about educational and athletic programming at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167981">Tape: 8 Cora Masters Barry talks about the poverty and socioeconomic issues in Southeast Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167982">Tape: 8 Cora Masters Barry talks about receiving an eviction notice from the Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's office, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167983">Tape: 8 Cora Masters Barry talks about receiving an eviction notice from the Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's office, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167984">Tape: 8 Cora Masters Barry talks about the involvement of HistoryMakers Dorothy Height and Maya Angelou in defense of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167985">Tape: 8 Cora Masters Barry talks about the eviction court proceedings of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center building, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167986">Tape: 8 Cora Masters Barry talks about the eviction court proceedings of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center building, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167987">Tape: 8 Cora Masters Barry describes former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's vision for the Southeast Tennis and Education Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167988">Tape: 8 Cora Masters Barry talks about importance of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167989">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry talks about the talented players at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center and hosting the National Junior Tennis League tournament</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167990">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry talks briefly about her home church, Union Temple Baptist</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167991">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry talks about the tenth anniversary of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167992">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry describes the social services available at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167993">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167994">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry talks the future of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167995">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry talks about her daughters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167996">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry talks about her mother, Isabell Masters' presidential campaign and an interaction with former U.S. president William "Bill" Clinton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167997">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry talks about her friendship with HistoryMaker Marion Barry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/167998">Tape: 9 Cora Masters Barry talks about how she would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Cora Masters Barry describes her experience at Pasadena City College, and explains how she got to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri
Cora Masters Barry describes conceiving the idea for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
After high school [Paseo High School, later, Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri], then where did you go--$$Went back to Pasadena [California], went to Pasadena City College [Pasadena, California] and promptly flunked out.$$Now what do you attribute that to?$$Not being interested. I made an A and--let me see, I made an A, and a F, and the rest were Ds. I think the A was in a cappella choir and the D was in the gym--the F was in gym, which it meant, of course, that I never went. The D was in all the rest of it.$$Okay, so what did you after that?$$You mean what did my mother [Isabella Arch Masters] do?$$Yeah, what did your mother do?$$She told me I was going to get a college education or get a job, which, of course, terrified me the thought of getting a job.$$All right. So what did your mother--(simultaneous)--$$Well I was quite all right with flunking out because I really--they used to have a thing at Pasadena College called, The Wall. I used to spend a lot of time on it.$$This is w-a-l-l?$$You know where you hang out and talk, and just, you know. I was having a ball. The problem was a lot of my friends from high school were going to PCC [Pasadena City College]. You know, Pasadena City College was probably the highest rated junior college in the United States at that time. I mean Pasadena was--you know.$$This is '62 [1962], '63 [1963]?$$Yes. But her thing was, "You're going to get a job or you're going to get back into college," which, of course, the job thing kind of terrified me because I wasn't used to that. So she wanted me to go to Langston [University, Langston, Oklahoma]. I did not want to go to Langston because everybody in my family--my mother graduated from Langston, my father [Alfred Masters] graduated from there, my uncle, my aunt. I wasn't going to do the Langston thing. So she--I think they turned me down anyway. I think she applied. My grades were so bad. She said, "You apply as a freshman, forget that first disastrous year," which I told her I was going to do, but I never did. So my brother, which I hadn't mentioned, was a child preacher, started preaching three years old. So he was on the road a lot. I used to travel with him, singing a lot.$$This was an older brother?$$Baby brother.$$Okay.$$He's a bishop right now in West Palm Beach, Florida. But he used to travel all over the country and he was a preacher and I was the singer. There's a lot of stuff in my life. I can't remember all of it at one time.$$Now, you sang gospel?$$Mm-hmm.$$Okay.$$So were on the road that summer. Mother stopped talking to me about what--I don't know I probably lied and said I had applied and had not heard back or whatever. So were just traveling around the country and then we got to St. Louis, Missouri and we were on the way to Kansas City, Missouri, I think he preached in St. Louis we were on our way to Kansas City, Missouri which is where my aunt lived, which I'm sure he had some appointments to preach there also. And when we got to a place called Jefferson City, Missouri, my mother drove up this long hill and we were at this school called Lincoln University [Jefferson City, Missouri]. She went inside the building, the administration building, came back out with the dean of students, and took my suitcase out and said, "You're going here to college."$$And what happened?$$I had a fit. I wouldn't talk to the man. She had not warned me. But, see, I had graduated from a high school in Missouri and this was a state school, so if you graduated, it didn't matter. You could just-and she had told him all this and he said, "Contingent on her records, I'm going to take your word for it that she is a graduate from a school in Missouri, so we can take her now because we're having freshman orientation." My mother dropped me off in the middle of nowhere at Lincoln University. They took me over to a dormitory hall called Anthony Hall, which was nothing but freshman and she took me to my room. I was furious. I didn't want to speak to her. I didn't even say good bye. She dropped me and my little suitcase off in the middle of nowhere is where I describe it. She went on about her business. Well, she tells the story that she went to Kansas City, where she was heading. Jefferson City, Missouri is almost in the middle between St. Louis and Kansas City, so like maybe 130 miles from one and about 140 miles from the other. So she went to Kansas City, Missouri and her plan was to check back and if I was still in that mode, she would come back and get me. So she left me there. She called back about seven or eight o'clock. I don't know what time. I didn't have time to talk to her. I had met some kids from Cincinnati [Ohio], from Chicago [Illinois], from Dallas [Texas], and from Oklahoma City [Oklahoma], and one of our friend's father--her name was Jamilla Gibson[-Bell] . Her father [Joseph Deighton Gibson Jr.] was Jockey Jack and they used to call him "Jack, the rapper." Before he died, everybody knew him around the country, he is well-known. But, at the time, he was with Motown. So she had this portable battery-operated record player and they had all the advanced, pre-released versions of all Motown songs and another girlfriend that I met from Oklahoma City named Sandra Biggers [ph.] had a jug and on it wrote "medicine," but in it was wine. So between the records and the wine and the cards I was having a ball. So my mother called back. I was like, "I'm having fun." You know, "Alright thank you, talk to you later." So that's how I ended up at Lincoln University.$Okay, so you had projects all over the city [Washington, D.C.] at first. And then--so when did you focus in on this particular project here?$$Well, I really didn't focus on it as a project initially, not to the extent that it is now. One day I was riding down the street and I saw this property, this land, and there were a lot of young people hanging out, looking like they could get themselves in a little trouble and I saw these poles that looked like they were tennis things. And I checked and said, "Yeah, there used to be courts there." They used to be called The Hart Court because it's right next to Hart Junior High School [later, Hart Middles School, Washington, D.C.], and I said, "I wonder if we renovate or build some courts, will the kids come?" So I did a little cursory marketing survey. We built six courts, and all the tennis organizations starting playing courts on them and having programs. The Washington Tennis [and Education] Foundation started using it for their Arthur Ashe [Children's] Program, the (unclear) Tennis Council used it, Totally Tennis, Tennis at Shiloh, all those different organizations that had junior tennis programs started using these courts and myself used to come and play tennis with my husband [HM Marion Barry] and also my coach was Dr. Arnold McKnight. And I would come and play tennis with Marion and then be coached by Arnold, and I started playing with some of the kids and I just took an interest in them. And I found out that through playing tennis with them and watching them--they could really play tennis because many of them were playing with the Washington Tennis Foundation at that time because they had an inner-city program, although they were up on 16th Street. They had a sort of busing situation, but those kids would settle their difference or their beef on the corner at the tennis matches or they would be flipping the birdie at each other, or call each other names. I began to do what I considered informal mentoring. For example, I would give them assignments. For instance, I would say, "Today, I want you to write when you go to school, good attitude, good results, bad attitude, bad results. Give me five things you did that when you had a good attitude, what happened, and five things that happened when you had a bad attitude." Then I'd be there the next day to collect it and talk with them. Finally, one day, I was standing on the corner with Dr. McKnight and I said, "You know what, doc?" I just put the racket--I just dropped my racket, and I said, "You know what? I want to build a building." I really believe to this day and I will believe it until the day that I die that was a vision from the Holy Spirit; just something came over me and said, "You should build a building." He looked over across there and he said, "What do you mean?" I said, "This is not enough. Tennis is not enough for these kids. These kids need--they need mentoring; they need homework assistance, they need guidance, they need more in their life. Tennis is not going to get them where they're going, not from this community." He always laughed because he said, "Okay, that's great but right now we gotta finish this tennis lesson because I gotta go," he was a principal up at [Ferebee-Hope Elementary School, Washington D.C.] and he needed to get to school. It was early in the morning. And that was my first inspiration about doing something here on this property that we are sitting in right now.$$Now about what year was that?$$That was probably about 1995.

Spencer Crew

Museum director and historian Spencer R. Crew was born on January 7, 1949 in Woodmere Village, Ohio to R. Spencer and Ada Lee Scott Crew. Crew received his B.A. degree in history in 1971 from Brown University and his M.A. degree in history in 1973 and his Ph.D. in history in 1979, both from Rutgers University.

From 1978 to 1981, Crew was an assistant professor of African American and American history at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in Catonsville, Maryland while pursuing his Ph.D. degree. In 1981, Crew began working as a historian at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). In 1987, he became a curator of the NMAH’s division of community life and curated his first exhibit titled Field to Factory: African-American Migration, 1915-1940. At the same time, he also worked as a consultant for the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee and the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. From 1991 to 1992, Crew served as the NMAH’s deputy director and in 1992, he was named acting director of the NMAH until 1994 when he was made director of NMAH. In 2001, he left the NMAH to become executive director and president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he stayed for six years. In 2008, Crew joined George Mason University as a Robinson professor in the history and art history departments. He was then appointed interim director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in 2019.

Crew has been a member of the Organization of American Historians and has sat on the boards of the American Association of Museums and the National Council for History Education as chair. At Brown University, he served as trustee, president-elect of the Alumni Association, and on the Advisory Council on Diversity. Crew also served as an editorial board member of the Journal of American History.

Crew has won numerous awards for his work, including the Osceola Award in 1988 from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Robert A. Brooks Award in 1994, and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History Service Award in 1994. Crew was also inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni at Rutgers University in 2003 and received the McMickmen College Distinguished Leadership Award from the University of Cincinnati in 2004.

Spencer and his wife, Sandra Lorraine Prioleau, live in Washington D.C. They have two children, Alika and Adom.

Spencer R. Crew was interviewed by The History Makers on January 23, 2020.

Accession Number

A2020.006

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/23/2020

Last Name

Crew

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Organizations
First Name

Spencer

HM ID

CRE03

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Museum director and historian Spencer R. Crew (1949- ) was director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History division of community life and president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center before becoming director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in 2019.

Favorite Color

Red

Bettye Jo Harris

Program administrator Bettye Jo Harris was born on February 24, 1934 in Arkansas to Cornelia Kilgore. After graduating from Nevada County Training School in 1950, Harris attended Arkansas Baptist College before transferring to Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal (AM&N) College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She went on to receive her M.S. degree in public health from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Harris clerked at the Internal Revenue Service in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before joining the University of Minnesota department of admissions as a clerk. She went on to serve as an administrator for the AM&N College department of agriculture and as a program developer for the University of Hawaii School of Public Health. From 1969 to 1972, Harris and her family lived in Morocco and Tunisia, where Harris’ husband, entomologist Ernest Harris, served as the coordinator of the North Africa Regional Mediterranean Fruit Fly Suppression Program. Harris later joined the Arthritis Foundation Hawaii as a health educator; and, in the 1980s, she served as executive director of the Kalihi-Palama Immigrant Service Center. Harris then became an editor of the Afro Hawaii News, during which she led the campaign to establish the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in Hawai’i. In the 1990s, she served as executive director of the residential substance abuse treatment center Hina Mauka.

An active member of St. Christopher’s Church, Harris served as deputy Diocese of Hawai’i from 1982 to 2006. She served on the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee (JPIC) and finance committee of the Episcopal Church Executive Council. Harris was elected vice president of the Hawaii Diocesan Council in 2000. In 2012, Harris served on the Honolulu African American Film Festival Committee. She also served as the chair of fundraising for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

In 2011, Harris was appointed to the Canon of the Episcopal Church, Dioceses of Hawai’i by Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick. In 2013, she received the Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement from the NAACP of Hawai’i.

Harris married the late Ernest Harris on April 11, 1953. They had three children: Mark, Tanya, and Greg.

Bettye Jo Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.141

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2019

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Jo

Schools

Nevada County Training School

Arkansas Baptist College

AM&N College

University of Hawaii at Manoa

First Name

Bettye

HM ID

HAR56

Favorite Quote

Lord Have Mercy

Speakers Bureau Region State

Hawaii

Birth Date

2/24/1934

Speakers Bureau Region City

Honolulu

Favorite Food

Collard Greens, Ham Hocks, and Corn Bread

Short Description

Program administrator Bettye Jo Harris (1934- ) worked at the University of Minnesota department of admissions, Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College department of agriculture, and the University of Hawaii School of Public Health.

Employment

Spiegal Department Store

Internal Revenue Service

University of Minnesota Admissions

AM&N College Department of Agriculture

Arthritis Foundation Hawaii

Kalihi-Palama Immigrant Service Center

Hina Mauka

Favorite Color

Purple

Pamela Junior

Museum director Pamela Junior was born on August 11, 1958 in Jackson, Mississippi to Beulah Carolyn Green Turner and Melvin Allen Crockett. She graduated from Wingfield High School in Jackson, Mississippi in 1975 and received her B.A. degree in therapeutic recreation and special education from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi in 1981.

After graduation, Junior served as a park ranger with the National Parks Service in Washington, D.C. In 1990, she returned to Mississippi and served as a secretary for a year before joining the Parks and Recreation Department in the City of Jackson as a facilities coordinator. Junior was promoted to supervisor in the Recreation Department, where she oversaw programming in eight community centers. In this role, Junior established the first August Festival, a city-wide Easter egg hunt, and the first Halloween carnival. In 1999, she was hired as the manager of the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, where she became co-coordinator of the National Arts Program (NAP), and also curated and organized the Mississippi Blues: A Pictorial History of Poverty in the Rural South exhibit at the Smith Robertson Museum in 2009. Junior stepped down from her position at Smith Robertson and was named director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the first state-sponsored civil rights museum in the nation, in 2017.

Junior served on the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area board of directors, the Mississippi Book Festival and co-founded the Mississippi Black Theater Festival. In 2014, under Junior’s leadership, the Smith Robertson Museum was named among the 50 States 50 spots by CNN. The following year, Junior was honored at Jackson State University at the 47th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Convocation. In 2018, Junior received the Civil Rights and Social Justice Award at the 8th Annual National Civil Rights Conference. She is also the recipient of the Freedom Rider Award from the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation, the For My People Award from the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, and the Hometown Hero Award from the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Pamela Junior was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 23, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.030

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/23/2019

Last Name

Junior

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Smith Robertson School

Jim Hill High School

Jackson State University

First Name

Pamela

Birth City, State, Country

Jackson

HM ID

JUN01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Ghana, Africa

Favorite Quote

Never Give Up

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Birth Date

8/11/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jackson

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

Museum director Pamela Junior (1959 - ) managed the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center and served as museum director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

Employment

Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center

National Park Service

Parks and Recreation Department

National Arts Program

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Favorite Color

Blue

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

Country

USA

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

Mattie McFadden-Lawson

Civic leader Mattie McFadden-Lawson was born on June 1, 1952. She received her B.A. degree from Brooklyn College in 1974 and her M.A. degree from Howard University in 1974. She later obtained her M.P.A. degree in public administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1977.

After serving as a research associate for McKinsey & Company, McFadden-Lawson was hired as a staff member for the United States Senate Budget Committee. In 1980, McFadden-Lawson and her husband, Michael A. Lawson, moved to Los Angeles, California, where she became involved in supporting various community and philanthropic efforts. She founded the MML Design Group in 2001 and oversaw the restoration of an historic Los Angeles mansion, formerly owned by Muhammad Ali.

McFadden-Lawson served on numerous boards including the Music Center/Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Ford Theater Foundation, and the GRAMMY Museum Board. She served as co-vice chair of the 50 X 50 Leadership Circle of the Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center for International Scholars. McFadden-Lawson was a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and a founding member of the Dance Council of the Colburn School. She served as vice chair of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and as director of the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed her to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 2016, McFadden-Lawson served as a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention from California.

In 2011, Mattie McFadden-Lawson was honored with a Drum Major Award at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at Los Angeles’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. She was also presented with the “Service Above Self” award at the first annual Music Box Awards in 2011. In 2013, she received the Music Center Philanthropy Award from Center Dance Arts and The Music Center. The following year, she was the recipient of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award from the Los Angeles Urban League; and, in 2015, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors presented McFadden-Lawson with the Excellence in Leadership Award. In 2016, she received the Leadership and Community Service Award from the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute, and the Women of City Club Award from the City Club of Los Angeles.

McFadden-Lawson and her husband, Michael A. Lawson, have two adult children, Michael Jr. and Jonathan.

Mattie McFadden-Lawson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.015

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/8/2019

Last Name

McFadden-Lawson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Carver High School

Brooklyn College

Howard University

Harvard Kennedy School

First Name

Mattie

Birth City, State, Country

Clarendon

HM ID

MCF02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Migel

Favorite Quote

No One Can Block Your Blessings Because Your Name Is Written On Them

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/25/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Civic leader Mattie McFadden-Lawson (1952 - ) served as founder and president of MML Design Group, co-vice chair of the 50 X 50 Leadership Circle of the Women in Public Service Project–Wilson Center for International Scholars, and on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Employment

The MML Group

Bankers Trust Company

U.S. Senate Budget Committee

U.S. House District Committee

McKinsey & Company, Inc.

Favorite Color

Black

Gayle Holliday

Transportation executive, business consultant, and political activist Gayle Holliday was born on May 18, 1944 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Helen and George Smith. She graduated from Fredrick Douglass High School in 1962 before attending Howard University and ultimately graduating from Oklahoma City University with her B.A. degree in political science in 1968. Holliday later earned her M.P.A. degree from Central Michigan University in 1978 and her Ph.D. in management and applied technology from Webster University in 2004.

From 1969 to 1971, Holliday was the assistant dean of students at Federal City College in Washington D.C. She subsequently became a reporter and writer for Kansas City, Missouri’s CBS affiliate, KCMO-TV. In 1975, Holliday was hired by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority as the personnel and equal employment opportunity manager. She was later promoted to the director of human resources; and, in 1986, she became deputy general manager. She left the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in 1996 upon founding and becoming president and CEO of G&H Consulting, LLC where she monitored minority and women business enterprise compliance on the renovations of Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, the Kansas City Zoo, and a new police crime laboratory. G&H Consulting has also been a major consultant on five disparity studies for women and minorities, including for the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the State of Missouri; the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority; Jackson County, Missouri; and Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools.

Holliday has served on numerous committees throughout her career, including appointments to Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team in 1992; Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II’s task force on race relations in 1996; the Sixth Circuit Judicial Commission of Kansas City, Missouri in 2006; co-chair of Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James’ Charter Commission in 2016; co-chair of Jackson County, Missouri’s Jail Task Force from 2016 to 2018; and Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II’s Black/Brown Coalition in 2017. She was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Links, Inc., and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In 2019, Holliday was named co-president of Freedom, Inc.

Holliday has received many awards, including being named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Black Women in Kansas City, Missouri in 1983; the Thomas G. Neusom Founder's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Growth and Development of Minorities presented by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials in 1989; the 1992 Service Award from the National Conference of Black Mayors; the 2005 Congressional Black Caucus’s Unsung Hero Award; and the 2018 Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award. She was also recognized by the 109th Congress for Outstanding Service in the State of Missouri and working to promote economic and political empowerment for African Americans and other minorities.

Gayle Holliday resides in Kansas City, Missouri, and has two children with her late husband, Harold Holliday, Jr.: Holli and Harold Holliday, III.

Gayle Holliday was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.132

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/6/2019

Last Name

Holliday

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Patricia

Schools

Dunbar Elementary School

F.D. Moon Junior High School

Frederick A. Douglass High School

Howard University

Oklahoma City University

Central Michigan University

Webster University

First Name

Gayle

Birth City, State, Country

Oklahoma City

HM ID

HOL26

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

5/18/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Any American Dish

Short Description

Transportation executive, business consultant, and political activist Gayle Holliday (1944- ) began working for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in 1975 before founding and becoming president and CEO of G&H Consulting, LLC. in 1996, and president of Freedom, Inc. in 2019.

Employment

Federal City College

KCMO-TV

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

G&H Consulting, LLC

Favorite Color

Pink

Chester C. Owens, Jr.

Community activist Chester Owens, Jr. was born on April 9, 1933 in Ashdown Arkansas to Francis and Chester Owens, Sr. The family moved to Kansas City, Kansas in 1946 where Owens graduated from Sumner High School in 1949. He then attended Sumner Junior College until 1951 when he joined the United States Air Force and was deployed to Japan. Owens was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1955, and subsequently completed his B.S. degree in business administration at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, graduating from there in 1958.

In 1959, Owens was hired as an underwriter and salesman at the insurance agency H.W. Sewing & Co. in Kansas City, Kansas. He worked here until 1961 when he joined General Motors. After one year, Owens returned to H.W. Sewing & Co. as an underwriter and salesman. In the early 1960s, he worked with the Northwest District Citizens Committee and the NAACP to desegregate the downtown shopping district. As chairman of the NAACP’s Labor and Industry Committee from 1960 to 1963, Owen’s and his late wife, Lillie Anne, wrote letters to local business owners and organized pickets of stores refusing to hire African Americans. In 1976, Owens bought H.W. Sewing and Co. from the founder, Henry Warren Sewing, and served as president of the agency. In 1983, he was elected to the City Council of Kansas City, Kansas, making him the first African American elected to Kansas City government in the 20th century. He served two terms on the council, during which time he also briefly served as deputy mayor in 1984. Owens retired as president of H.W. Sewing and Co. in 1998.

Owens has also served on numerous boards, including for Douglass State Bank, United Way of Wyandotte County, Kansas, and the Kansas Association of Independent Insurance Agents, and as president of the Northeast Business Association, Struggler’s Hill/Roots Neighborhood Association, Kansas City, Kansas Association of Independent Insurance Agents, Homeowner's Task Force for the State of Kansas, the Economic Opportunity Foundation, and Sumner High School Alumni Association. He is also a member of Sigma Pi Phi and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternities.

Owens is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kansas City, Kansas Leadership Award in 1989, of which he was the first ever recipient; being named amongst the Kansas City Globe’s One Hundred Most Influential Citizens in 1990; the 2012 Outstanding Leadership Award presented by the Kansas House of Representatives; being named in the Kansas City, Kansas USD 500’s 2012 Reasons to Believe; the NAACP Civil Rights Award; and the Friends of Yates’ Black Man of Distinction Award. Owens has also been honored through the naming of the Chester C. Owens Sumner Alumni Room and The Chester Owens Jr. Construction Skills Training Center, which houses a U.S. Department of Labor-run program called YouthBuild, both named in 2011.

Chester Owens, Jr. resides in Kansas City, Kansas and has three daughters and two grandsons.

Chester Owens, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/5/2019

Last Name

Owens

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Lee Herman

Occupation
Schools

Little River County Training School

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science

Kansas City Junior College at Sumner

Pittsburg State University

First Name

Chester

Birth City, State, Country

Ashdown

HM ID

OWE03

Favorite Season

Mother's Day and Father's Day

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I Am Whole, I Am Perfect, I'm Strong, I'm Powerful, I'm Loving, I'm Harmonious, And I'm Happy

Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

4/9/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Community activist Chester Owens, Jr. (1933- ) was chairman of the Kansas City, Kansas NAACP’s Labor and Industry Committee from 1960 to 1963, the first African American elected to Kansas City government in the 20th century in 1983, and owner and president of the insurance company, H.W. Sewing and Co., from 1976 to 1998.

Employment

The Kansas City Star

United States Air Force

Gustin-Bacon Manufacturing Company

H.W. Sewing & Company

General Motors

Favorite Color

Blue

Linda Whitlock

Civic leader and corporate executive Linda Whitlock was born on December 3, 1947 in Richmond, Virginia to Kenneth Edward Whitlock and Sarah Johnson Whitlock. Whitlock attended Virginia Union University’s Lab Nursing School, Mary Scott Elementary School, Chimborazo Elementary School, Randolph Junior High School, and Maggie L. Walker High School. She received her B.A. degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College in 1972. In 1981, Whitlock received her M.A. degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. 

In 1980, Whitlock served as an instructor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as director of the Massachusetts Government Land Bank. Three years later, she was appointed director of the Massachusetts Office of Real Property. In 1984, Whitlock joined Tufts University as an instructor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy. She served as vice president of Harvard Real Estate, Inc. in 1989. In 1990, she was hired by Concord Academy as assistant head for marketing and associate director of admissions. Two years later, she joined Buckingham Browne & Nichols School and became assistant head for enrollment management. From 1999 to 2008, Whitlock served as the Nicholas president and chief executive officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. In 2008, she founded and was principal of The Whitlock Group, through which she served as senior advisor to Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, senior advisor to John Fish, CEO of Suffolk, and strategic advisory board member of AesRx LLC.

She was a board member of numerous companies, including Cambridge Trust Company, and was the first Lead Director in 2011. She also was on the boards of the Red Sox Foundation, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, The Princeton Review, National Association of Corporate Directors New England, Museum of Afro American History, and Brandeis University.  Whitlock was co-chair of Women Corporate Directors Boston, and a member of The Boston Club’s Executive Advisory Council, the Boston Women Leaders Network, and the Boston Library Society. She was appointed to commissions by Democratic and Republican Governors and Mayors, and served as associate finance director for Dukakis for President in 1987, co-chaired Obama Victory Trustees in 2012, and was a leading national fundraiser for Hillary for America in 2016.

In 2009, Whitlock was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. In 2003, she was named one of the Most Powerful Women in Boston by Boston Magazine, and was the Boston Municipal Research Bureau’s Shattuck City Champion. In 2008, she received the National Service to Youth Award from Boys & Girls Clubs of America as well as the Woman of Valor Award from the Anti-Defamation League New England. In 2011, she received the Advancing Women Award from the Boston Business Journal; and, in 2017, she received the Abigail Adams Award from the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. Whitlock received honorary doctorates from Babson College, Suffolk University, and Pine Manor College.

Whitlock and her husband, Marc Cumsky, have two children, Jake and Leah, and seven grandchildren.

Linda Whitlock was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 23, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.090

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/23/2019

Last Name

Whitlock

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Mary Scott Elementary School

Chimborazo Elementary School

Randolph Junior High School

Maggie L. Walker High School

Mount Holyoke College

University of Michigan

First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

WHI27

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard and Italy

Favorite Quote

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

12/3/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newton

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Spinach

Short Description

Civic leader and corporate executive Linda Whitlock (1947- ) served as the Nicholas president and chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston from 1999 to 2008.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Government Land Bank

The Whitlock Group

Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston

Buckingham Browne and Nichols School

Concord Academy

Harvard Real Estate, Inc.

Dukakis For President Campaign

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Tufts University

University of Michigan

Favorite Color

Red

E. Ginger Sullivan

Civic leader E. Ginger Sullivan was born on July 30, 1933 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to Catherine Caesar and James Williamson. Sullivan attended Craneville Elementary School and Pittsfield High School. In 1955, Sullivan received her B.A. degree from Northeastern University. She later received her J.D. degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in the 1970s.

While attending Northeastern University, Sullivan served as a hepatic research technician at Yale School of Medicine. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she worked as a medical assistant. She later joined Massachusetts General Hospital as a cardiovascular researcher. An active member of Christ Church in Boston, Massachusetts, she helped plan the church’s trip to attend the March on Washington in 1963. In 1975, Sullivan’s husband, Dr. Louis Sullivan, was appointed dean of Morehouse College Medical Education Program. During his deanship, Sullivan clerked for a Fulton County Superior Court Judge and founded the Friends of Morehouse School of Medicine. After President George H.W. Bush appointed Dr. Louis Sullivan U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in 1988, Sullivan served as a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute on the early detection and treatment of breast and prostate cancers in 1989. During this time, Sullivan also joined the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships for three years. In 1993, Sullivan and her family returned to Atlanta, where Dr. Louis Sullivan served as president of Morehouse School of Medicine until 2002.

Sullivan served as founder and co-sponsor of The Sullivan 5K Run/Walk Road Race for Health & Fitness on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She has also served on the boards of the High Museum of Art, the Alliance Theatre, True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, Wolf Trap, the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the Arthritis Foundation of Georgia, and was a strong supporter of Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB) and Africare. A member of the Buckhead Cascade Chapter of Links, Inc. and the auxiliaries to the Atlanta Medical Association and the National Medical Association, Sullivan was active in the Atlanta community.

Sullivan and her husband, Dr. Louis Sullivan, have three children: Paul, Shanta, and Halsted.

E. Ginger Sullivan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.087

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/22/2019

Last Name

Sullivan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Craneville Elementary School

Pittsfield High School

Northeastern University

Atlanta Law School

First Name

E. Ginger

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsfield

HM ID

SUL03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard or South Africa

Favorite Quote

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/31/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Bluefish

Short Description

Civic leader E. Ginger Sullivan (1933- ) founded the Friends of Morehouse School of Medicine and served as a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute from 1989 to 1993.

Employment

Yale School of Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital

Superior Court of Fulton County

National Cancer Institute

Favorite Color

Blue