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Alysia Tate

Journalist Alysia Diane Tate was born on August 7, 1972 in Denver, Colorado. Her mother, Tamra Tate, was a journalist; her father, George Tate, a counselor, professor and former minister. Tate grew up in Denver, Colorado where she attended Park Hill Elementary School, Smiley Middle School, and East High School. In 1994, she graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois with her B.S. degree in journalism.

Upon graduation, Tate was hired as a reporter for the Daily Herald in Chicago, Illinois. Then, in 1998, she moved to The Chicago Reporter, where she worked as a reporter before being promoted to senior editor. In 2001, Tate was appointed editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter, where she led the editorial, fundraising and marketing efforts of the publication. From 2008 to 2011, she served as chief operating officer of the Community Renewal Society, a faith-based, social justice organization that publishes two independent magazines, including The Chicago Reporter. In 2013, Tate was hired as a policy advisor and speechwriter for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. In addition, she has worked as a project and communications consultant, whose clients have included the Chicago Community Trust, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education.

Tate has been active in a number of civic organizations, including the Chicago Network, Leadership Greater Chicago, and Re-evaluation Counseling, an international, volunteer-based peer counseling and social change organization. She served on the board of DePaul University’s Institute for Business and Professional Ethics, and has served on the advisory board of Illinois Issues, a public affairs magazine published by the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Tate also served on the Local School Council of the William H. Ray Elementary School in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

Tate has received recognition for her work including the Clarion Award from the National Association for Women in Communications; the Unity Award in Media from Lincoln University; and the Award of Excellence from the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. She was listed as one of Ebony magazine’s leaders to watch in 2008; was a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow in 2004; and was included in the 2002 “40 Under 40” listing in Crain’s Chicago Business. Tate also served as an Edgar Fellow in 2014, joining a bi-partisan group of emerging leaders exploring policy issues affecting the state of Illinois

Alysia Tate was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.252

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/21/2014 |and| 6/10/2018

Last Name

Tate

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Diane

Occupation
Schools

Park Hill Elementary School

McAuliffe International School

East High School

Northwestern University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alysia

Birth City, State, Country

Denver

HM ID

TAT03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Colorado

Favorite Vacation Destination

Somewhere Warm

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/7/1972

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Journalist Alysia Tate (1972 - ) was the editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter. She also served as a policy advisor and speechwriter for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Employment

Office of the Illinois Attorney General

Community Renewal Society

The Chicago Reporter (a program of CBS)

The Chicago Reporter

Favorite Color

Teal

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alysia Tate's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alysia Tate lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alysia Tate describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alysia Tate describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alysia Tate talks about her father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alysia Tate describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alysia Tate talks about her parents' activism

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alysia Tate talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alysia Tate talks about her father's decision to leave the church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alysia Tate describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alysia Tate describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alysia Tate describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alysia Tate remembers spending time with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alysia Tate describes the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alysia Tate describes her early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alysia Tate talks about the development of her racial identity

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alysia Tate talks about her influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alysia Tate remembers her extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alysia Tate talks about her experiences at East High School in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alysia Tate recalls her decision to attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alysia Tate describes the racial cliques at East High School in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alysia Tate talks about Malcolm X's impact on her life

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alysia Tate describes the African American student community at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alysia Tate remembers the black faculty at Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alysia Tate talks about the racial politics at Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alysia Tate talks about her experiences in a white sorority at Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alysia Tate talks about her political activism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alysia Tate remembers resigning from the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alysia Tate talks about the development of her feminism

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alysia Tate talks about the problem of sexual assault at Northwestern University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alysia Tate remembers being targeted in an investigation at Northwestern University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alysia Tate talks about the discrimination against black women

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alysia Tate remembers the O.J. Simpson trial

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alysia Tate remembers changing her major from theater to journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alysia Tate remembers her internship at The Boston Globe

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alysia Tate remember joining the staff of the Daily Herald

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alysia Tate remembers accepting a position at the Chicago Reporter

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alysia Tate remembers the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alysia Tate remembers Barack Obama's political career in Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alysia Tate talks about her introduction into city politics in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alysia Tate talks about reporting on the murder of Ryan Harris

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alysia Tate reflects upon the need for mental health reparations

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alysia Tate talks about housing discrimination in Chicago, Illinois

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Alysia Tate talks about her political activism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois
Alysia Tate remembers the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa
Transcript
This is what I call my militant phase (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So, this is a transition--I know when we first started talking about college, you said that you felt that you had to choose an allegiance--$$Yes.$$--and you volunteered to choose the black side of the coin because that's the way the political straddle and everything was set up at Northwestern [Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois] and it was a good time to just go and make that transition.$$Yeah.$$But, it seems it's becoming--it's a more gradual change than just--you didn't just change when you got there, right?$$No, no. It was definitely--it was a number of factors. I mean, it was also, you know, being in Chicago [Illinois]. Well, I mean, I'm in Evanston [Illinois], but I'm, you know, surrounded by the City of Chicago. For the first time, I'm really getting close to my, my sister [Karen Tate Warner] who grew up on the South Side of Chicago and still lives at 84th [Street] and Michigan [Avenue].$$So, had you met her before?$$I had met her before. Now, we're fifteen years apart.$$Okay.$$So, she used to come to Denver [Colorado] to visit our dad when I was little and she was a teenager, but then she had her first child at age twenty. So, you know, I was in kindergarten when she had her first child. But, I, I remember, you know, visits with her from time to time, but we had never really been able to get close. So, now we're getting close, I'm taking the train, the Purple Line south until it turns into the Red Line south all the way to the South Side, and you know what happens when you see--you know, when you ride the CTA [Chicago Transit Authority] from the north to the south of Chicago, it just gets black and black and blacker until it's completely black. So, I'm--so I'm--this is the first time I'm in a city like this. This is the first time I'm in a metropolitan area with this kind of numbers of black people, with this kind of history of black leadership, you know, with Har- you know, the, the legacy of Harold Washington. So, it's--so, it's all of that, too, is happening while I'm at the school. I, I get involved in Re-evaluation Counseling, which is a peer counseling social change organization I'm still very involved with. But, but that organization is so much about challenging oppression and providing spaces and places for us to undo the effects of oppression, so I, I get connected through that through a group called Students Together Against Racial Tension, START, on campus. So, so I'm--you know, it's kind of--all these things build on each other. And, and yet, my family had no idea what to do with me. I mean, my white family had no idea what to do (laughter) with me 'cause I was--suddenly, I was angry and I was--you know, remember X--the X caps, the Malcolm X caps. You know, I had my Malcolm X stuff and like--they're like, "Who is this person? Like, what happened to her?" (Laughter) You know? So, but it was important for me to get to explore all of that and test that out and learn about that. And so I remember--you know, we had a march, the black students on campus after Rodney King. We just all dressed in black and we marched to the bursar's office and I don't know if we raised our fists in the air or if we just turned our back on the administration; I'm not sure what we did, but we were just, you know, showing our, our solidarity with Rodney King. It may have been after all of the unrest in Los Angeles [California] that we did that. I remember participating in anti-apartheid marches, you know, through Evanston and, you know, being someone involved in that--in that movement. So, all of this, this--these were just things I had never been exposed to before. And some of it was I was just at that age where you can start doing these kinds of things, but it was also the place I was in and the time--the time that I was in.$I want to ask about two things before we get you started at The Reporter [The Chicago Reporter].$$Okay.$$One is the conference in Durban, South Africa.$$Yeah, 2001?$$Yeah, the United Nations World Conference against Racism [World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance], which is a--how did you get involved in that and what happened there?$$That was through Re-evaluation Counseling. I mentioned the peer counseling social change organization I got involved with in college, that organization, we set up a project called United to End Racism and actually registered for that conference as an NGO [non-governmental organization] and sent a delegation of, of folks from our organization. So, so, Re-evaluation Counseling, RC, is a--pretty much a volunteer based group that has folks involved in--I think now we're--there are people in eighty some countries in the world, so it's an international, very grassroots kind of organization. But, from time to time, we've used this structure of United to End Racism to bring people together to share these tools and this information we have about how to heal from the effects of racism and other oppressions. So, it was a really amazing delegation of people from all over the world, different ages, different backgrounds, all kinds of things, and we did a whole series of different workshops, again, on, you know, recovering from the damage done by racism, for, for all these different groups. We even had workshops for white people on, you know, recovering from the damage done by racism 'cause we, we really put our thinking forward really around three different ways that racism affects people. I mean, one is the actual, you know--we don't believe in reverse racism and I personally don't believe in this thing called reverse racism, but I believe that, you know, there is an economic and--yeah, an economic exploitation of people, people of color around the world that's justified in the name of racism, that's one thing. Then, I believe, you know, there--that we as people of color internalize all of that and turn it against each other and ourselves, i.e., you know, black men killing each other in Chicago [Illinois]. And lastly, though, I think the humanity of white people is deeply, deeply affected by racism if you're taught to be an oppressor, if you're taught to perpetuate this horrible thing. If you're taught to believe its lies, that's deeply injurious to you as a human being and you have to actually tackle it on all those fronts for it to work. You can't do this like white people are evil thing or, you know, whatever. So, we did workshops--we did a series of workshops on all those different kind of flavors of racism with young people, with women, with, I don't know, Jews, gentiles, you know, how racism intersects with anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism was a huge issue at that conference, honestly. Anti-Semitism is used as a wedge issue always to, to grab our attention and get us focused on blaming a group of people, usually Jews, rather than working together to deal with issues, and it was very obvious at that conference how that was playing out. Anyway, so that was an amazing experience. It was amazing to be there. It was amazing to be part of it. It was amazing to see so many thousands of people around the world who really believe that not only must we end racism, but we can by working together that we can actually undo this, that it does not have to be a reality of life forever in perpetuity. So, that was--that was really incredible. It was very unfortunate that 9/11 [September 11, 2001] happened a week or two after that conference, and so the gains from that conference just got kind of, you know, swept under the rug and then we were into 9/11 and justif- using that to justify all kinds of horrible racist policies, you know, at home and abroad. But, that experience, being in Durban, again, was another thing that sort of shaped me in terms of my commitment to tackling racism and speaking out and being visible around it, you know, using The Reporter as a vehicle to do that and using my personal life as a vehicle to do that. You know, I began to really focus on a lot of efforts on building a local community of folks involved with Re-evaluation Counseling who were committed to that work. We've--and we've done really amazing work in, in building a community of people here in Chicago doing that together, a really multiracial, you know, mixed class, mixed generational group of people doing that. So, that conference really gave me a lot of hope and inspiration I think to really know that it was okay to dedicate a lot of my life to this work.

Paula Ann Sneed

Retired corporate executive Paula Ann Sneed was born on November 10, 1947 in Everett, Massachusetts. She is the only child of Thomas E. and Furman Mary (Turner) Sneed. Sneed was raised in Malden, Massachusetts and attended Charles A. Daniel Elementary School and Malden High School. Sneed earned her B.A. degree from Simmons College, a women’s liberal arts college in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1969 to1971, Sneed worked as the Educational Supervisor and Female Coordinator for the Outreach Program for Problem Drinkers, an alcohol-rehabilitation program. From 1971 to 1972, she worked as the Director of Plans for Program Development and Evaluation at the Ecumenical Center in Roxbury. Between 1972 and 1975, Sneed served as the Program Coordinator for the Boston Sickle Cell Center at Boston City Hospital. In 1975, Sneed decided to return to school and obtain her M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School.

After completing her M.B.A. degree in 1977, Sneed embarked on a long and successful career in corporate marketing. Sneed first joined General Foods (which later merged with Kraft Foods, Inc.) in 1977 as assistant product manager. She then went on to hold a number of high-ranking positions within Kraft Foods, Inc., ranging from Senior Vice President of Kraft’s North American Food Service Division to Executive Vice President of the Desserts Division. In her role as Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Resources & Initiatives, Sneed was instrumental in guiding Kraft’s efforts in the areas of consumer relationship marketing, digital marketing, consumer insights, media services, packaging, multi-cultural marketing and advertising. In addition, Sneed was part of a companywide initiative to thwart childhood obesity. In 2006, Sneed retired as Kraft’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing Resources and Initiatives when Kraft Foods, Inc., merged its global marketing unit with its global category development.

Sneed sits on the Board of Directors of The Charles Schwab Corporation, Airgas Inc., and Tyco Electronics Limited. Sneed is a trustee of Teach for America, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and Simmons College. She is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council and The Chicago Network.

Sneed married Lawrence P. Bass on September 2, 1978. They have one child, Courtney J. Bass.

Sneed was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 19, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.020

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/19/2008

Last Name

Sneed

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ann

Occupation
Schools

Malden High School

Charles A. Daniel Elementary School

Simmons College

Harvard Business School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Paula

Birth City, State, Country

Everett

HM ID

SNE01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Amina Dickerson

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Dream Big, Preposterous Dreams.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/10/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Corporate executive Paula Ann Sneed (1947 - ) held a number of high-ranking positions within Kraft Foods, Inc., ranging from Senior Vice President of Kraft’s North American Food Service Division to Executive Vice President of the Desserts Division. In 2006, she retired as Kraft’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing Resources and Initiatives.

Employment

Outreach for Problem Drinkers

The Ecumenical Center

Boston Sickle Cell Center

General Foods Corporation

General Foods (Kraft Foods)

Kraft Foods

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:1020,21:3400,74:11628,226:12716,256:14212,295:14552,301:23068,385:31492,564:40034,678:40404,684:45732,828:46102,834:46546,841:48100,876:49728,943:60200,1049:60650,1056:61175,1065:65750,1134:69578,1217:71318,1253:72536,1282:101348,1630:108388,1765:109156,1780:120230,1992:121034,2015:121302,2020:122039,2032:127080,2099:128394,2135:131825,2196:133942,2232:135256,2263:135694,2270:137008,2301:141960,2317:142315,2323:145084,2401:150712,2540:152230,2590:152506,2595:152782,2600:169520,2909:170528,2926:184982,3191:185558,3201:195514,3385:196246,3395:196551,3401:202346,3525:202773,3533:208360,3619$0,0:280,2:700,9:1120,17:1470,23:4200,74:4620,81:5110,88:5880,105:6860,121:9520,190:17741,289:18938,319:21836,424:22340,434:23159,451:23726,463:30012,554:32064,615:34116,673:34420,678:35636,698:36016,704:38372,758:40348,792:40652,798:43312,858:48556,957:49088,966:49468,972:55590,1000:56290,1015:58740,1092:66860,1259:67210,1266:68050,1286:68470,1293:69660,1314:75350,1338:75770,1372:76050,1377:76540,1386:77240,1398:77520,1403:79410,1448:81790,1507:82420,1514:83050,1528:84450,1548:85640,1574:90470,1676:91100,1688:91870,1701:92500,1711:98835,1729:100485,1762:102010,1778
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paula Ann Sneed's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about her mother's early education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her mother's response to discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about her parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her parents' activities during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her parents' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her parents' disregard for traditional gender roles

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed describes the sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her family's involvement at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Malden, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about her early awareness of race

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her community in Malden, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her mother's emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her role at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Malden, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers Lincoln Junior High School in Malden, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her activities at Malden High School

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her chores

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her social activities at Malden High School

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls lessons from her mother

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her decision to attend Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed describes the curriculum at Simmons College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers the Black Power movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls the occupation of the Simmons College president's office, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls the occupation of the Simmons College president's office, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls lessons about leadership from her time at Simmons College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her first experience of community organizing

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her aspiration to become a social worker

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls the events that spurred her politicization

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her start at a support program for alcoholics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her work at an alcoholic outreach program

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her role at the Boston Sickle Cell Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her decision to attend business school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers the Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her decision to enter the private sector

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her work at the General Foods Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her role as a brand manager

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers marketing Kool-Aid

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her duties at the General Foods Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her perspective on corporate diversity

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her early career goals

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers a coworker's advice

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her strategy for career success

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her promotion to vice president of consumer affairs

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls becoming a division head at the General Foods Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers heading the food service division of the General Foods Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers working with a racist client

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed reflects upon her role as a trailblazer

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls the merger of the General Foods Corporation and Kraft Foods Group Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls being offered a position in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed explains her decision to continue working for Philip Morris Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her decision to retire

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed describes how she would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about the marketing of political candidates

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed reflects upon the benefit of mentorship

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed describes the early years of her marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about her husband's support

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her relationship with her parents and parents-in-law

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her interest in African art

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Paula Ann Sneed describes how she would like to be remembered, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Paula Ann Sneed narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Paula Ann Sneed recalls the occupation of the Simmons College president's office, pt. 1
Paula Ann Sneed recalls her early career goals
Transcript
So the Simmons Civil Rights- Simmons Civil Rights Club evolved--which had whites and blacks--evolved and became the Black Student Organization, which was black students only and we tried to get the school to be what we called more responsive to our needs, which were more black professors, more black students, more scholarship aid, more black administrative people. We did something called the seminars, and we actually brought in--we tried to get a black history course, nobody wanted--the school wouldn't fund it. So we actually brought in black professionals across a variety of different disciplines and we had these seminars and we charged money and people came from the local community, students signed up from Simmons [Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts] and students from other places. And we filled an auditorium every single week for like seven or eight weeks with these lectures, as evidence to the faculty and administration that they should so something like this at Simmons and they didn't. So the next year, my senior year, we really tried to work with the administration to get some sort of response to what we were interested in, and didn't. And if you would think about back to 1968, schools were erupting about--it was, it was wonderful time to be a young person because you could get engaged and involved in things that, that you believed in. So you had white women you know asserting their, their rights for equality and so they had the start of the, the feminist movement. You had the anti-war movement that was running across all campuses and you had many students walking away from the, the civil rights philosophy and embracing a black power philosophy, and so my senior year we went to the faculty and administration after having worked for two years trying to get people to pay attention to us and they didn't so we took over the president's office. I was president and we issued, we had ten demands, we went in and we told him he wasn't leaving until he signed them. It was a very interesting situation because we worked for weeks trying to figure out what we would and how we would do it and as president I recognized we were only as strong as the weakest person in our organization and that meant that we had to develop a tactic that the girl who was the most skeptical about doing anything could buy into. So there were some people who said, "Let's burn the school down," you know, and then there were some people who said, "We'd better go study 'cause we'll flunk out," you know. And I needed to figure out how we could bring people together and make sure that nobody went back and told the administration that we were about to do something. So we just went in his office one day, we put the smallest girl at the door, she sat down. People just--it was a combination of the old sit-ins you know and the provost was there and the president's administrator and the president and we just sat there and we called people from the community, Mel King [HistoryMaker Melvin King] and John Brown [ph.] and you know we just sat in until we got them to sign. And he signed the ten demands and part of the ten demands was setting up a watchdog committee of community members, students, faculty and administration to ensure that these demands were implemented. It was a very interesting situation because we all graduated, the seniors graduated. The next year there were juniors who were then going to be responsible for having this happen. And a lot of things like happened at many of the schools where the administration said they were gonna do stuff and they started back pedaling.$I didn't think I would ever get to be some of--ever get to do some of the things that I wanted to, but I started telling people early on that I--that's what I wanted. I remember going to a boss once and saying when he gave me my--you got your annual review and then you had to write what your career goals were. So I wrote that I wanted to be vice president of General Foods [General Foods Corporation] and I'd been there about six years and he sat down and he said, "You know I wanna talk about your career goal." I'm like, "Okay", and he said, "You said you wanna be a vice president." "I think I do." And he said, "Well, I'm not even a vice president, and there are only like thirty-five to forty vice presidents here." And I'm like, "I know." And he said, "Well you know I'm not sure that, that's a reasonable goal." And I said, "Well, why?" And I said, "If I earn it, I expect to be given it, and I would expect that if that's my goal then as my boss you would help me achieve it." And I said, "I'm not working this hard for your job, Doug [ph.]." You know part of my problem at times was I engaged mouth before engaging brain, you know and that was probably an inappropriate thing to say to this guy 'cause he wasn't a VP yet, but the point was that I believe that if you wanted something you had to really put it out there that you wanted it and you had to work like you thought you were gonna get it. Again, get it in your head if you're ready and able and it comes you can have it, and of course what ended up happening was I was able to make VP and I was able to get to president of a division and group VP and executive VP and global--I mean I got all the things, the trappings of corporate success because I just refused to give up when the going got tough.

Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams

Reverend Dr. Ruth “Teena” Williams was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 4, 1927. Williams attended public schools in New Orleans, and after graduating from high school, she enrolled in Xavier University, earning her A.B. degree in 1947. She then attended St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, earning her master’s of science in medical social work in 1950.

After earning her master’s degree, Williams moved to Chicago and was hired by Cook County Hospital as a social worker in 1950. In 1955, she was hired by the city of Chicago to work as a social worker with welfare recipients, and in 1957 she went to work for the Veterans Administration. In 1959, Williams joined in the family business, Unity Funeral Parlors, and went back to school to become a licensed funeral director and in 1964 she became an embalmer. Williams served as president and chairman of the board of Unity Funeral Parlors, as well as serving as president of Unity Limousine Services.

Wanting to help people, Williams enrolled in the Chicago Theological Seminary in 1977, and she earned her master’s of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees in 1980. Since then, she also earned a certificate in Anglican studies from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. from the Chicago Theological Seminary at the age of eighty. She served as a part-time priest at St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church in Chicago.

Williams was involved with numerous civic organizations, including The Links, Inc., the women’s board of the Field Museum and the Chicago Network. She had numerous awards bestowed upon her over the years, including the Spirit of Love award from the Little City Foundation and special recognition from the Links.

Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 26, 2004.

Williams passed away on June 6, 2011.

Accession Number

A2004.147

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/26/2004 |and| 9/15/2004

Last Name

Williams

Middle Name

Teena

Schools

Valena C. Jones Elementary School

McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School

Xavier University of Louisiana

Saint Louis University

Worsham College of Mortuary Science

Chicago Theological Seminary

Seabury-Western Theological Seminary

Institute for Spiritual Leadership

First Name

Ruth

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

WIL17

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Thank You, God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/4/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish (Fried), Beans (Red), Rice

Death Date

6/6/2011

Short Description

Funeral director and priest Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams (1927 - 2011 ) was president and chairman of the board of Unity Funeral Parlors and president of Unity Limousine Services. She also served as a priest at St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church in Chicago. Williams passed away on June 6, 2011.

Employment

Cook County Hospital

City of Chicago

United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Unity Funeral Parlors

Unity Limousine Services

St. Edmund's Episcopal Church

Unity Mutual Life Insurance

St. James Episcopal Cathedral

St. Margaret of Scotland

Favorite Color

Blue, White

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers stories about her mother's childhood in Pass Christian, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams talks about her father's family in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams explains how her parents' relationship began

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams lists her siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams lists her siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers Creole culture in early twentieth- century New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her family tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 in New Orleans, Lousiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes the economic situation of Creole families during her childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls Creole Mardi Gras traditions

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams talks about the evolution of Creole identity, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams talks about the evolution of Creole identity, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams explains how voodoo was incorporated into Creole Roman Catholic religious practice

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers Catholic kindergarten at Corpus Christi Church in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls Valena C. Jones Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her family and school life during childhood

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers extracurricular activities at McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls her time at McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers graduating at age nineteen from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls experiencing class discrimination at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers her ambivalence upon graduating from college in 1947

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls initial challenges at St. Louis University School of Social Work in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls her final year at St. Louis University School of Social Work in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her social work career in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her social work career in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers her transition to a funerary service career

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers her late husband's work with Constant C. Dejoie, Sr. at Unity Mutual Life Insurance Company

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls convincing her husband that women can lead, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls convincing her husband that women can lead, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams talks about experiencing gender discrimination when applying to Chicago Theological Seminary

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls studying for master's and doctoral degrees at Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers experiences at Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams talks about her conversion to the Episcopal Church

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams talks about founding a widows' support group, LARUTH

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams explains widows' experience of isolation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes the necessity of ministers trained in funerary service

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams talks about her current doctoral studies at Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers her call to ordination at her mothers' deathbed in 1987

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls her husbands' death during her journey to ordination

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams remembers her ordination as an Episcopal priest in 1987

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls experiencing gender, age, and racial discrimination early in her career as an Episcopal priest

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams reflects upon discrimination in the Episcopal Church

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

10$2

DATitle
Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams recalls Creole Mardi Gras traditions
Reverend Dr. Ruth Teena Williams describes her social work career in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
Transcript
Now, do you remember Mardi Gras and that sort of thing when you were (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, yes. Mardi Gras was the big thing (laughter). So important that when I first left home, and I only knew predominantly Roman Catholics, you know. When I first left home, I--it just never occurred to me that there were people who did not know about Mardi Gras. As far as I knew Mardi Gras was celebrated all over the world. Now, mind you, I'm an adult now. And I just never thought about it that way. And so I did not go to work for Mardi Gras, nor did I report in, 'cause I didn't think I had to. I thought everybody took off for Mardi Gras (laughter). And I had the rude awakening that everybody did not know about Mardi Gras, and so--but it was a big day for us, very big day because we had lived through Lent and--I mean we're about to go through Lent. So it starts really, you start celebrating at Christmastime. Everything is very holy, getting ready for the birth of Christ, and then for the New Year, and then right after that, you know Lent is going to come soon. And so you have dances and you have cotillions and you have--so when we would call ourselves poor, but that didn't stop you from being in the cotillion and having a beautiful evening gown and all of the trappings that go with it. So you, you participated in all of these things, and, and that was a big event. And the day of Mardi Gras, everybody got up early. My mother [Louise Cassimere Prudeaux] made a huge, huge, maybe two pots of red beans and rice, and potato salad. These are foods that you can put in the refrigerator and take out. And even before the refrigerator, I can remember the icebox, where you had things in the icebox. And then you can take 'em out and put 'em on the stove. But everything was freshly cooked, but to preserve it so you would not have any spoilage, and you'd have food all day long and not run out. Now, I can't imagine that today. But I can remember as late as my leaving, you know, to go away to graduate school [St. Louis University School of Social Work, St. Louis, Missouri], that my mother never ran out of food, and she would have food--and people could stop in all day long during Mardi Gras. And, but it was mostly like red beans and rice, and sturdy food. And people enjoyed that and looked forward to it, you know. And everybody had a costume of some form or fashion. We didn't buy costumes at the store. You made 'em at home. And you tried to be imaginative. Now, I don't remember us ever being Indians [Native Americans]. There was a group in other areas that were [Mardi Gras] Indians. That was in the area--not the Creole area. The Creoles, to my knowledge, were not Indians. Now, that's another story.$$The black folks would (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right, they would dress like Indians.$$The Wild Tchoupitoulas and--$$Right, right.$$Okay.$$And then they had the [Krewe of] Zulu--I don't know when the Zulu parade started, but the Creoles never participated in that either until late years when they started participating.$I didn't know much about narcotic addiction during that period. Before I left there, I learned about it, and I learned about it more from the maternity section where the women, the--that was--and I didn't work on that ward, and I was glad that I didn't have that assignment, 'cause I was staunchly Roman Catholic still, and the discussions of abortion, which was illegal, but all of that was coming up, you know. So I was glad that I didn't have to have that, but as our coworkers, as we talked and shared stories, in the casework meetings, drug addiction came up. And so I learned more about drug addiction through that, not through users, but through babies who got it from their mothers, you know. So that was a very wonderful experience in both the inpatient--that was one of my first efforts, first time being recognized. A story was done in the [Chicago] Sun-Times, I believe it was. I believe that was the paper, and--showing me in one of the wards as--me and my supervisor talking with a patient at the bedside and showing medical workers not just in what people usually think of as a social worker, but in the professional part of social work. That was a nice story. And then another time, I was invited to participate in a radio panel discussing social work and what it meant and the involvement of it. And I was very proud of my, my field then. And I left Cook County Hospital [John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois] and went, I worked for one year as a consultant for the City [of Chicago, Illinois] during the time when they had the city welfare department separate from the state welfare [department]. Then they merged, and I left the system and went to the Veterans Administration. And I worked in the V.A. West Side [Medical Center; Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois] in the outpatient department. But my assignment was to work with the quadriplegics and paraplegics of World War II [WWII]. And I had inherited that caseload of about four hundred. And I had only two African Americans in that caseload. All the rest were Caucasians. Many of them incurred their injury not in battle, but rather in--it might have been swimming in London [England] or somewhere and injured their head or something that sort, accidents, but while in service. And they were given everything that they needed, special housing, special automobiles, special everything, you know. That was an interesting experience, but it never measured with County Hospital experience. That was the most wonderful experience in my professional life, most wonderful experience. I really had a sense of helping people, although sometimes it was discouraging 'cause you'd have repeat situations and you--because you were not ongoing. It was while you were in the hospital--while the person was in the hospital or being transferred. Your ongoing relationship was when it was in the clinic, where you had an ongoing relationship.