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Shirley Anne Massey

Civic leader Shirley Anne Massey was born on August 14, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. She was the younger of two children born to parents, Anne Johnson, a laundress, and William Streeter, a janitor. Massey attended St. Anslem Grammar School and Holy Cross Grammar School before graduating from Chicago Loretto Academy, which was an all-girls Roman Catholic high school, in 1960. She then enrolled in Chicago Teachers College where see studied education.

In 1962, Massey was hired to work as an accountant at the Playboy club. Then, from 1964 to 1969, she served as a reservationist for Trans World Airlines (TWA). Since then, Massey has committed much of her life to causes for youth and culture. From 1995, Shirley Massey served as First Lady of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Committed to the college, Massey worked alongside her husband, Walter Massey, who served as the ninth president of Morehouse from 1995 to 2007 and also as the president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 2010.

President of the Morehouse Auxiliary, Massey spearheaded the Morehouse College Beautification Committee. She also served on the board of Salzburg Seminar, ARCS Foundation, and the University of Chicago Women’s Board. Her previous affiliations include serving as a board member of the Atlanta Ballet, founding member of the Chicago Foundation for Education, board member of the Great Books Foundation, member of the Women’s Board of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, member of the Women’s board of the Chicago Symphony and founding member of the Museum of Science and Industry President’s Council.

In 2012, the Executive Conference Center building on the campus of Morehouse was renamed as the Shirley A. Massey Executive Conference Center in her honor.

Massey and her husband have two sons, Keith and Eric, and three grandchildren. They remain active in cultural and civic organizations in Chicago and beyond.

Shirley Anne Massey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 24, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.239

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/24/2013

Last Name

Massey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Anne

Occupation
Schools

Holy Cross Elementary School

St. Anselm's School

Loretto Academy Catholic High School

Chicago State University

First Name

Shirley

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MAS09

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Go With The Flow.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/14/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Short Description

Civic leader Shirley Anne Massey (1942 - ) served as the First Lady of Morehouse College from 1995 to 2007.

Employment

Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Trans World Airlines

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644941">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shirley Anne Massey's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644942">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shirley Anne Massey lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644943">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644944">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644945">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her upbringing in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644946">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shirley Anne Massey describes how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644947">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her mother's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644948">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644949">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644950">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Shirley Anne Massey describes the smells and sounds of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644951">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her elementary education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644952">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her childhood personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644953">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers her favorite meals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644954">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers the Holy Cross School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644955">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers family vacations and holidays</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644956">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her experiences at Loretto Academy in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644957">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her family's household responsibilities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644958">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls marrying her first husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644959">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers her parents' divorce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644960">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers her accounting position at Playboy Enterprises, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644961">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers working at Trans World Airlines</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644962">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644963">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers meeting her husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644964">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls marrying Walter E. Massey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644965">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers moving to Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644966">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers her husband's adoption of her oldest son</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644967">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers helping her husband secure a raise</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644968">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls her husband's appointment as the college dean at Brown University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644969">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her duties as a college dean's wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644970">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shirley Anne Massey recall moving into the Powhatan Apartments in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644971">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls her introduction to Chicago's elite society, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644972">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls her introduction to Chicago's elite society, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644973">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls her husband's directorship of the National Science Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644974">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her transition to Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644975">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls her husband's sabbatical in Paris, France</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644976">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shirley Anne Massey talks about her leisure activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644977">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her younger son's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644978">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers moving to Oakland, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644979">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls moving to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644980">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her role at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644981">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers fundraising for Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644982">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her mission at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644983">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers advocating for the young black men of Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644984">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls her husband's retirement from Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644985">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls her husband's appointment as chairman of the Bank of America Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644986">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shirley Anne Massey recalls serving as the first lady of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644987">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644988">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Shirley Anne Massey reflects upon the changes in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644989">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Shirley Anne Massey reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644990">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644991">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Shirley Anne Massey describes her concerns for Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644992">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Shirley Anne Massey shares her advice for young women</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644993">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Shirley Anne Massey reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644994">Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Shirley Anne Massey describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644995">Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Shirley Anne Massey shares her advice for a successful marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644996">Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Shirley Anne Massey remembers caring for her elderly parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644997">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Shirley Anne Massey narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644998">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Shirley Anne Massey narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$7

DATitle
Shirley Anne Massey remembers meeting her husband
Shirley Anne Massey recalls moving to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
Transcript
And then I started really dating, but when you dated back then you, they didn't have these sites, and so you did blind dates and there was a girl that lived down the hall and she was always getting a new, new, new boyfriend, and every time she got a new boyfriend, I got a new blind date. And one, the day Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was killed, I came home from work and picked up Keith [Keith Massey]. He was at a babysitter at that time on 64th [Street] and Woodlawn [Avenue] so I had to come down 63rd Street with all the guns and all this, you know, the [U.S.] Army. And I stopped, and everyone in the building was just, you know, really sad and I went into, stopped by her apartment and she had a new boyfriend and it turns out that Walter [HistoryMaker Walter E. Massey] and his wife had just separated and so he says, "I have someone I want you to meet." So I said, "Fine." So we never did quite meet. He cancelled the date before I even knew him because he called and said he had computer time. He was a post-doc [post doctoral researcher] at Argonne [Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois] and he said he had computer time so he had to cancel the date.$$So you're wondering what kind of guy is this.$$Right. So then we, we talked--uh-oh he says it's thirty minutes. We talk again and he says, okay well he can come by on a Wednesday, and I said, "Well that's fine but I don't go out during the week because I have my son," and that particular day my girlfriend was taking night classes so I would keep her son and--do we have to stop?$$(Inaudible response).$$And then I said, "Fine." He said, "Fine I'll come," and that was a good barometer because if I told some men that I couldn't go out during the week, then, or if we went out on the weekend some days we could go to the museum with my son. If they didn't want to do that, then there was no reason to pursue it. So I remember him coming and I looked out the window and I saw this person get out of this white Ford convertible in white cut off jeans, short jeans, black leather shoes, no socks, a black shirt trimmed in purple, which I still have, and he comes into my apartment and I'm cooking. I'm making spaghetti and hot dogs, except that I don't really cook, but the hot dogs had been boiling and I was going to pour some tomato sauce. Now I had lots of spices and things because, as I said, my father [William Streeter] cooked and he lived downstairs and he gave me, so Walter in the meantime looks at what I'm cooking and he goes and opens my cabinet and starts putting spices and things in and two little boys are just looking and then he goes down the street and gets a bottle of wine. You know that Chianti with the straw, and the kids are just like, "Wow," and I'm thinking, I'm marrying this man. (Laughter) I'll give him time, but I'm marrying this man.$And then people started, someone started calling from Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia]. We'd only been there a year, here [California]. And I said, "Don't call here, we're not going anywhere, don't call here." And they kept calling, and they kept calling, and so I went down to Atlanta [Georgia] just to check it out. When he was finally was thinking he was going to do this and I'm talking with people and I'm talking, now I have to interact, I work always very closely with his secretaries and assistants. They're in charge but we work closely together. I don't do anything without checking with them, and he's been very fortunate to have even people like twenty years old to take over his life, and they're very good. And he had this young woman, Yung Lee [ph.], who was very good. So I go Atlanta and I meet the people that are going to be working for him, and I came back and I said, "First of all we have to have a house on campus. We can't live out away. The students live on campus, we should be there." Because they hadn't--there had been a house and then they tore it down. So the president lived way off campus. And then there was the issue of how it's figured you have to live just so many miles for it not to be a tax issue if you living and the school is paying for you. I said, "And furthermore you can't go unless Yung Lee comes, because you are not going to be able to work with this person that's there. It's not gonna work." So we had to convince her and her new husband to come, which they agreed. And we were very fortunate, we got an apartment near the school, downtown Atlanta, but it was at the time of the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia] and we got the land for the house and they sold the president's house, the house the president was living in that wasn't on campus, that was able to be built there, and then we were able to find alums to give us money for endowment and two other friends to give us money for the furniture.$$So wait a minute, so you built a new president's home. I did not know that.$$I was on the committee.$$I see. I didn't know that.$$They weren't expecting me on the committee.$$So Atlanta was a different community.$$Atlanta was a different community. It's the South (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So how did--it's the South and you hadn't spent time in the South.$$Never spent time. But what was so amazing is people just talk and are friendly, white and black, and they all, I said to Walter [HistoryMaker Walter E. Massey], "White people eat grits!" He said, "Of course they do."$$Well, this is, Walter was coming back home and many way--$$He said, "Of course they do." I said, "White people I knew didn't eat grits." He says, "Who do you think cooked for them? They all ate- ate the same food." I mean I, it just blew my mind.