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Harold Pates

Educator and cultural activist Harold Pates was born October 31, 1931, in Macon, Mississippi. His great aunt, raised in slavery, lost two fingers to her master for attempting to read. Pates’ parents, Amanda Beasley Pates and Squire Pates were graduates of Bolivar Training School in Mound Bayou, Mississsippi. Migrating to Chicago, Illinois, Pates attended Forestville Elementary School and DuSable High School graduating in 1948. Taught music by DuSable’s Captain Walter Dyett, Pates played with Eddie Harris, Richard Davis, John Gilmore, Jimmy Ellis and other future greats. Pates graduated from Wilson Junior College in 1952 and DePaul University with his B.A. degree in English in 1954. He earned his M.A. degree from DePaul in 1956 and received his PhD degree from the University of Chicago in 1976.

Pates taught at Fuller Elementary School and Forestville Elementary School, and was assistant principal of DuSable Upper Grade Center from 1964 to 1968. He served as a counselor at DuSable Upper Grade Center and High School and as a guidance counselor for the Hyde Park Evening School. As teacher and administrator, Pates joined Lawrence Landry, Lu and Jorja Palmer, Rev. C.T. Vivian, Lorenzo Martin, Bobby E. Wright, and others in agitating for African American concerns in the Chicago Public Schools. In 1968, he joined Loop College where he became director of the Admissions Department. Pates also taught at Loyola University, George Williams College, Northeastern Illinois University, and Concordia College. He also helped plan the first Upward Bound Program. Appointed dean of career programs at Malcolm X College in 1981, Pates moved on to Kennedy-King College as a dean in 1983. In 1986, Pates was named president of Kennedy-King College, serving until 1997. At Kennedy-King, he provided access for cultural and civic organizations and events at an unprecedented level.

Active in efforts to generate an African version of the history and culture of Africa and to infuse the black experience into the educational system, Pates was a founder of the Chicago Communiversity and the Association of African Educators with Anderson Thompson in the late 1960s. He was a founding member of the Kemetic Institute, the Association of Black Psychologists, the National Association of Black School Educators, the Black United Front, the Chicago Task Force for Black Political Empowerment, the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations, and the Harold Washington Institute. Recipient of numerous awards, ranging from the Chancellors Award for outstanding Leadership to the Muntu Dance Theatre’s Alyo Award, Pates currently serves on the board of the Black United Fund of Illinois and the advisory board of the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies of Northeastern Illinois University. He is founding director of the All African World Virtual University. Fit, playing full court basketball into his 70s, Pates, now retired, enjoys golf and playing jazz on the cornet.

A widower, Pates has a grown daughter and son.

Accession Number

A2005.263

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/12/2005 |and| 7/10/2006

Last Name

Pates

Maker Category
Schools

Du Sable Leadership Academy

University of Chicago

DePaul University

Kennedy–King College

Forrestville Elementary School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Harold

Birth City, State, Country

Macon

HM ID

PAT04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Palm Springs, California

Favorite Quote

Ain't Nobody Right But God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/31/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Sweet Potato)

Short Description

Cultural activist, college president, and teacher Harold Pates (1931 - ) is the former president of Kennedy-King College in Chicago. He has worked with numerous organizations dedicated to infusing the African American experience into the educational system, and is founding director of the All African World Virtual University.

Employment

Fuller Elementary School

Wisconsin Steel Mill

Forestville Elementary School

DuSable High School

Loop College

Malcolm X College

Kennedy-King College

Favorite Color

Black

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harold Pates' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harold Pates lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes his mother's family history in the A.M.E. church

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harold Pates recalls working conditions in his maternal family's community in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harold Pates recalls traveling to Mississippi as a boy

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harold Pates explains why his parents sent him south for the summers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harold Pates describes his mother's personality, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes his mother's personality, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harold Pates describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harold Pates relates his paternal family's stories from the era of slavery

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harold Pates recalls spending summers in Macon, Mississippi as a boy

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harold Pates describes confrontations with whites in Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harold Pates recalls confrontations with whites in Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harold Pates describes his father's community in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harold Pates recalls his father's move from Mississippi to Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls his father's work for the post office

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes his siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes his sister's career as an opera singer

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harold Pates describes his earliest childhood memory, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harold Pates describes his earliest childhood memory, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harold Pates describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harold Pates remembers learning to drive at the age of twelve

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood during his childhood

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harold Pates recalls performers who lived in and visited Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harold Pates recalls his activities as a child in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harold Pates describes being a paperboy in Chicago's white neighborhoods

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harold Pates recalls running policy as a child in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes influential figures in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls famous musicians from Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes the geography of his childhood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes his father's civil rights activism

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harold Pates talks about systemic racial oppression

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harold Pates recalls segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harold Pates describes racial tension in Chicago's South Side neighborhoods

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harold Pates recalls Chicago's political machine in Bronzeville

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls institutions in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes businesses in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Harold Pates recalls a teacher at Chicago's Forrestville Elementary School

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Harold Pates describes his grade school experiences in Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Harold Pates describes his extracurricular activities during grade school

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Harold Pates recalls his childhood neighbor William Cousins, Jr.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Harold Pates describes his favorite activities at Chicago's DuSable High School

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes politically radical community groups in Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Harold Pates recalls hearing W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson speak, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Harold Pates recalls hearing W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson speak, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Harold Pates describes the social atmosphere of Chicago's DuSable High School

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Harold Pates recalls musicians who studied at Chicago's DuSable High School

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Harold Pates remembers working as a musician as a teenager

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Harold Pates recalls graduating from Chicago's DuSable High School

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Harold Pates describes working for Wisconsin Steel, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes working for Wisconsin Steel, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes his initial setbacks at Chicago's Wilson Junior College

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Harold Pates reflects on his father's support for his education

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Harold Pates describes his experiences at Chicago's DePaul University

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Harold Pates explains how his DePaul University degree helped him to find a job

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes his academic pursuits at DePaul University

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls befriending Italian Americans at DePaul University

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes his impressions of DePaul University

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes his own and his brother's careers during the 1950s

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Harold Pates recalls his first position as a teacher in Chicago

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Harold Pates describes teaching at an all-girls school

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Harold Pates describes the lessons he learned early in his teaching career

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Harold Pates recalls his fellow teachers at Chicago's Fuller Elementary School

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls his concern over expulsions at Fuller Elementary School

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes discrimination against black teachers in Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Harold Pates recalls students from Chicago's Forrestville Elementary School

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Harold Pates recalls how he enjoyed teaching at Forrestville Elementary School

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Harold Pates recalls his decision to leave Forrestville Elementary School

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes his disagreements with the principal of Forrestville Elementary School

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls becoming a teacher at Chicago's DuSable Upper Grade Center

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Harold Pates recalls tension between the students and teachers at DuSable Upper Grade Center

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes a violent incident with a student at DuSable Upper Grade Center

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Harold Pates recalls the overcrowding of Chicago's black schools

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Harold Pates explains how the Willis Wagons controversy mobilized black leadership

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Slating of Harold Pates' interview, session 2

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls racial discrimination in Chicago's trade schools

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Harold Pates recalls biases in the hiring of principals in Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes working for Galeta Kaar at DuSable Upper Grade Center

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Harold Pates talks about Reverend Dr. C.T. Vivian

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Harold Pates recalls joining Loyola University Chicago's Upward Bound program

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Harold Pates describes his career ambitions during the late 1960s

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Harold Pates recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes tensions around integration in Chicago during the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Harold Pates describes the reaction of Chicago's black community to Dr. King's death

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Harold Pates recalls incidents that led to the Selma to Montgomery marches

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Harold Pates recalls his experience in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Harold Pates recalls becoming director of admissions at Chicago's Loop College

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Harold Pates remembers black organizations in Chicago in the late 1960s

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes the influence of the University of Chicago in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls the rise of the Blackstone Rangers

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Harold Pates recalls mediating between gangs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Harold Pates recalls the growth of African American studies programs

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Harold Pates recalls his involvement in the National Association for College Admission Counseling

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Harold Pates recalls the founding of Chicago's Communiversity

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Harold Pates recalls the rise of the Black Power movement in the late 1960s

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Harold Pates reflects on the importance of black institutions

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Harold Pates talks about the educational philosophy of Chicago's Communiversity

Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Harold Pates describes problems with the Eurocentric version of history

Tape: 15 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes the structure of Chicago's Communiversity

Tape: 15 Story: 5 - Harold Pates recalls a quarrel with Sol Tax at the University of Chicago

Tape: 15 Story: 6 - Harold Pates reflects upon the mission of the Communiversity

Tape: 16 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes his administrative tenure at Chicago's Loop College

Tape: 16 Story: 2 - Harold Pates recalls fellow faculty members at Chicago's Loop College

Tape: 16 Story: 3 - Harold Pates recalls becoming a dean of Chicago's Malcolm X College

Tape: 16 Story: 4 - Harold Pates recalls being appointed president of Chicago's Kennedy-King College

Tape: 16 Story: 5 - Harold Pates describes the politics of Kennedy-King College

Tape: 16 Story: 6 - Harold Pates recalls a negative news story about Kennedy-King College

Tape: 16 Story: 7 - Harold Pates recalls community engagement at Kennedy-King College

Tape: 17 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes his policies as Kennedy-King College president

Tape: 17 Story: 2 - Harold Pates describes programs he introduced at Kennedy-King College

Tape: 17 Story: 3 - Harold Pates talks about plans for a new facility for Kennedy-King College

Tape: 17 Story: 4 - Harold Pates describes life after his retirement from Kennedy-King College

Tape: 17 Story: 5 - Harold Pates talks about a controversy at Kennedy-King College

Tape: 17 Story: 6 - Harold Pates reflects upon his life

Tape: 18 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 18 Story: 2 - Harold Pates describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 18 Story: 3 - Harold Pates considers contemporary leaders in the African American community

Tape: 18 Story: 4 - Harold Pates reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 18 Story: 5 - Harold Pates reflects upon his family life

Tape: 18 Story: 6 - Harold Pates talks about the importance of rejecting materialism

Tape: 18 Story: 7 - Harold Pates reflects upon the role of music in his life

Tape: 19 Story: 1 - Harold Pates describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 19 Story: 2 - Harold Pates narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$16

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Harold Pates describes being a paperboy in Chicago's white neighborhoods
Harold Pates recalls being appointed president of Chicago's Kennedy-King College
Transcript
I remember the first time I ever got afraid of a policeman. I told you I was twelve years old, I was tall. I started delivering papers in the white neighborhood; the paper branch was in the alley between Cottage Grove [Avenue] and Drexel [Avenue]. We would, I would go from 46th [Street] and Evans [Avenue], down 47th Street into this alley. There was a drugstore on the corner of 47th and Cottage Grove, it was called Orenstein's [ph.], there was also a newspaper stand right in front of it. One day I had my paper bag, 4:30 in the morning, I'm going to the paper branch. I walk down 47th Street, a white woman was coming in front of me, she saw me and ran across to the south side of 47th Street. It was a policeman standing at the newsstand, and this is one of these pivotal experiences too. I saw this lady, I knew that this lady was afraid of me, it was very clear, she went across the street and walked to the newsstand. There was a policeman at the newsstand, and I saw her doing like this, the policeman took out after me running. And I saw that, I started to run but I didn't because you know how white policemen dealt with black people at that time was no myth. I mean it was very real, I started to run but I didn't, I continued to walk, and I tried to act like I didn't know that he was coming behind me. He came up to me, right when I got in front of the Vee show, he pulled his gun out, put it up to my head and he said, "What are you doing over here?" He said, "Turn around," where my back would be to him, he put the gun up against my head, and he said, "What are you doing over here?" And I went to turn around to talk to him; he said, "If you turn around, I'll blow your head off." So I just stood there, but I said, "You see this paper bag, I'm about to go to the paper branch," but it occurred to me I can't see this man's face. If he killed me nobody will know who he is, but I wouldn't have been able to tell it anyway, you know. So I'm standing there and he's--then he cocked the gun and I thought, Crowe [Larry Crowe], I really thought I was gone then, as a young boy you know. So finally I said, "See the paper bag, see the paper bag, I'm going right back here, the paper branch is right here." So then he, I guess he took the latch off the gun and then he turned around and went on away. And there was a florist shop and when I got back in the paper branch, I thought about that because I never told any of the fellows. See back at that time, there was only one white boy working in the branch, his name was Tommy North, N-O-R-T-H, and he lived in the white community. All the rest of us who delivered papers in the white community were black. My brother [Henry Pates] delivered the papers over in five hotels which are now, which have--many of them have been replaced by 50th on the Lake [50th on the Lake Motel, Chicago, Illinois]. There was also an [U.S.] Army barracks over there that was called the [U.S.] Fifth Army, now that's important. Because in the '60s [1960s], the Fifth Army came out in the '60s [1960s] after Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was killed and posted a .50 caliber machine gun right there on--this is what I saw with my eyes. Right there on Stony Island [Avenue] and 63rd Street, I guess they decided they were gonna shoot down 63rd Street. Because young people were setting 63rd Street on fire, you understand? And they didn't know what to do, so the Army--I came out that night to see, but I was, you know. This is not when I was young; this is when Martin Luther King got killed.$My presidency, I think I became president either in '86 [1986] or '87 [1987], I don't remember the exact date. And that was a very interesting experience, the presidency of Kennedy-King [Kennedy-King College, Chicago, Illinois] because my orientation for the presidency was to make sure that the pres- that the school reflected of the community and its values. And that it took the community to a higher level with respect to the offerings and with respect to, to--it operating as a resource for community development.$$Before I get, I just want to ask you did you, were you surprised when you became, when you were appointed, I mean did, you went after the job I'm sure. But, but were you, I mean how, how was the lay of the land? I mean were you assured of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well--$$--of being, of becoming the president at that time? Did you have, was it a done deal or what?$$Well you know no, it wasn't a done deal. It was very interesting because you see there was, within the college, the faculty council had decided on another person. I'm coming in out of the community with a community support, but also with the, with the support of the student government, who was both a part of the school and a part of the community at the same time. Well, my coming into the presidency, when the selection committee, it just so happens that members of the selection committee, the president of the selection committee--now this just so happens, the president, the chairman of the selection committee was a fellow named Mayo [ph.]; I can't remember his first name, simply because we were in third grade together in elementary school [Forrestville Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois], and when he discovered that they were searching and that they were looking at me as the president, he came to see me. He said, "[HistoryMaker] Harold Pates," he said, "do you realize that, do you realize how far we go back?" And I begin to talk, I said, "Look, I remember when we were in elementary school." We started talking about--. He says, "With your credentials," because everybody knew me in the City of Chicago [Illinois], you know, "you got to be the president over here." He says, "You got to be the president." Well, I don't know what went on in the selection committee, but the student government chairman came out one day and told me while I was in the counseling office he says, "Now Dr. Pates are you ready to be president?" I said, "Oh?" He said, "Are you ready?" I said, "Of course," and that's the way that happened.

Conrad Walter Worrill

Conrad Walter Worrill was born on August 15, 1941, in Pasadena, California. His mother, Anna Bell, was the first African American to sing in the Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra and his father, Walter, was a college-educated YMCA manager. Conrad Worrill became an activist and scholar whose goal is to advance the cause and concept of African independence and self-determination both in the United States and internationally.

After moving to Chicago on his ninth birthday, Worrill became serious about athletics. He gained his first racial consciousness through competitive swimming when his black YMCA team faced serious heckling. In 1962, he was drafted into the Army and shipped to Okinawa, Japan. While overseas, he read profusely about African American history, culture and politics. After he returned to Chicago in 1963, Worrill attended George Williams College but became radicalized by the Black Power movement. After graduating in 1968, a West Side YMCA hired him as the program director. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He headed George Williams College's Urban Institute in 1973 and began teaching at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago in 1976, where he is the coordinator and professor of Inner City Studies Education. While organizing in 1983 to elect Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington, Worrill co-founded the Task Force for Black Political Empowerment. As the national chairman of the National Black United Front (NBUF), Worrill is working aggressively to change the American public school curriculum to be inclusive of the contributions of Africans and African Americans.

Worrill is the elected economic development commissioner of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA). He served as special consultant of field operations for the historic Million Man March/ Day of Absence on October 16, 1995, in Washington, D.C. As part of the fight to win reparations for the American descendants of slaves, he traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1997 with a delegation to formally charge the U.S. Government with genocide and human right violations before the Commission on Human Rights. The delegation presented the commission with a "Declaration of Genocide by the United States Government Against the Black Population in the United States" with 157,000 signatures.

Upon returning to the United States, Worrill presented this petition to the United Nations in New York City. In 2001, he led a 400-member delegation to the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. He writes the syndicated weekly column "Worrill's World," which is widely read in African American newspapers across the country. In August 2002, Worrill organized a national reparations rally attended by thousands.

Accession Number

A2002.144

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/13/2002 |and| 12/15/2009

Last Name

Worrill

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Walter

Schools

Pacific Oaks Children's School

John Farren Elementary School

William H. Ray Elementary School

Hyde Park Academy High School

Pasadena City College

Malcolm X College

Central YMCA College

George Williams College of Aurora University

University of Chicago

University of Wisconsin-Madison

First Name

Conrad

Birth City, State, Country

Pasedena

HM ID

WOR01

Favorite Season

None

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/15/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Nonprofit chief executive and african american studies professor Conrad Walter Worrill (1941 - ) is a reparations leader and chair of the National Black United Front. He traveled with a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland in 1997 to formally charge the U.S. Government with genocide and human right violations before the Commission on Human Rights.

Employment

U.S. Steel

Sears YMCA

United States Army

George Williams College

Northeastern Illinois University

Favorite Color

Blue, Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Conrad Worrill interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Conrad Worrill's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Conrad Worrill details his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Conrad Worrill gives his brother's name

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Conrad Worrill recounts his parents' courtship and early marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Conrad Worrill recalls his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Conrad Worrill remembers his father's early career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Conrad Worrill describes race relations in the Pasadena, California of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Conrad Worrill recalls his family's move to Chicago and his traumatic elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Conrad Worrill recounts his involvement in sports at the Wabash YMCA in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Conrad Worrill illustrates his family's relationship with Jackie Robinson

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Conrad Worrill talks about his family's relationship with Jackie Robinson

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Conrad Worrill recalls some of the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Conrad Worrill lists his childhood role models

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Conrad Worrill details his involvement in high school sports

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Conrad Worrill remembers DuSable High School winning the state basketball championship

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Conrad Worrill provides the socio-political context of his senior year of high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Conrad Worrill recounts his wild college years

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Conrad Worrill provides the socio-political context of his college years

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Conrad Worrill discusses his rising awareness of Civil Rights issues

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Conrad Worrill recalls his experiences in Army basic training

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Conrad Worrill relates his overseas experience in the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Conrad Worrill recounts his efforts to be productive after returning from the Army

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Conrad Worrill talks about his decision to finish college after his return from the military

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Conrad Worrill explains how he got involved in social work

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Conrad Worrill recalls his entree into political activism with Fred Hampton

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Conrad Worrill discusses his involvement in Black Power

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Conrad Worrill details how he gave the Sears YMCA back to the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Conrad Worrill remembers being courted by other social service organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Conrad Worrill recalls Catalyst's impact on the black community in Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Conrad Worrill describes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s relationship to Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Conrad Worrill recalls the assassination of Fred Hampton and C. T. Vivian's 'Black Curfew' declaration

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Conrad Worrill lists the social service programs funded as a result of unrest in the Chicago black community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Conrad Worrill recounts his experiences in graduate school and community organizing

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Conrad Worrill details the political context of his graduate school years

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Conrad Walter Worrill's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls his work at the YMCA during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Conrad Walter Worrill remembers the black consciousness movement

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls enrolling at the University of Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about working on his first political campaign

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Conrad Walter Worrill remembers the assassination of Fred Hampton

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls joining the Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes Black Nationalist activities in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Conrad Walter Worrill remembers Charles O. Ross, Jr.

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls the development of Communiversity

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about the start of the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes the history of the Abraham Lincoln Center in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes the history of the Abraham Lincoln Center in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls working at George Williams College

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about accepting a professorship at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes the Communiversity activities at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes the Communiversity activities at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about the conflicts between Marxism and nationalism in the Pan African movement

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes socialist theories

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes the founding of the National Black United Front

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes the National Black Independent Political Party

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about the activities of the National Black Independent Political Party in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls the contention against Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls rallying Chicago leaders to support mayoral candidate Harold Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls rallying Chicago leaders to support mayoral candidate Harold Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Conrad Walter Worrill describes a flyer used in Harold Washington's campaign

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls the community support of Harold Washington

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about Mayor Harold Washington's accomplishments

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Conrad Walter Worrill recalls the death of Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about the Free South Africa movement

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about campaigns against genocide in Africa

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about social and racial issues of the 20th century

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Conrad Walter Worrill talks about books on African American history

Ausbra Ford

Ausbra Ford's academic and sculptural work has been the result of his adept merging of scholarly research with an artist's creativity. He was born in Chicago on February 28, 1935. He attended Coleman Elementary and DuSable High School before studying sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he earned a B.A. in 1964 and a M.F.A. in 1966.

From 1964-1968, Ford taught art courses for elementary schools in both the Gary and Chicago public school systems. He then served a brief stint as an associate professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge before returning to Chicago to become a full-time Professor at Chicago State University. In support of his interest in the funeral art of Afro-Americans, Ford received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship as well as a grant from Chicago State University to conduct research on the funerary art of West and Central Africa. Subsequent grants from the Chicago State University Foundation allowed him to continue pursuing his work in the field.

Ford's writing on funerary art has been published in journals such as World Anthropology and the Morition Press, and in the books Two Centuries of Afro-American Art and African Influence in Funeral Art of Haiti.

He has lectured at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and the Chicago Field Museum, as well as numerous colleges around the country. Ford sits on the Board of Directors of the DuSable Museum; is the President and one of the founders of the African American Visual Arts Roundtable; and is a member of both the Kemetic Institute of Northeastern Illinois University and the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations. His work has been exhibited both locally and nationally, in one man and group shows. Ford's pieces are part of the permanent collections of Chicago State University, the University of Suwon in the Republic of Korea, the Southside Community Art Center in Chicago, the DuSable Museum of African American History, Northeastern Illinois University and Chicago's Hilton Hotel.

Accession Number

A2002.078

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/17/2002

Last Name

Ford

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Du Sable Leadership Academy

Colman Elementary School

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ausbra

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

FOR04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa, Brazil

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/28/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Sculptor and art professor Ausbra Ford (1935 - ) has taught at Chicago State University and lectured around the country. In support of his interest in the funeral art of Afro-Americans, Ford received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship as well as a grant from Chicago State University to conduct research on the funerary art of West and Central Africa.

Employment

Chicago Public Schools

Southern University

Chicago State University

Gary Indiana Public Schools

Favorite Color

Orange, Light Tan

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ausbra Ford lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ausbra Ford talks about his family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ausbra Ford describes the building where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ausbra Ford describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ausbra Ford describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ausbra Ford talks about his father's trucking business

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ausbra Ford talks about his father leaving Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ausbra Ford describes some of his father's stories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ausbra Ford talks about his father's business philosophy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ausbra Ford describes his mother's escape from Georgia and move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ausbra Ford describes his mother's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ausbra Ford describes his maternal grandmother's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ausbra Ford shares his grandparents' stories of the trauma of slavery and lynching

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ausbra Ford describes his reactions to hearing family stories of lynching

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ausbra Ford describes his childhood in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ausbra Ford describes his childhood in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ausbra Ford describes the development of the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ausbra Ford describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ausbra Ford talks about the gangs in Bronzeville during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ausbra Ford describes his experience at Coleman Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ausbra Ford describes what kind of student he was at Coleman Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ausbra Ford talks about his aspirations to become an artist or architect

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ausbra Ford describes his parents' response to his decision to become an artist

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ausbra Ford describes his experience at DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ausbra Ford describes his experience at DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ausbra Ford talks about athletics at DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ausbra Ford talks about how DuSable High School prepared him academically

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ausbra Ford talks about his high school teacher, HistoryMaker Margaret Burroughs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ausbra Ford talks about graduating from DuSable High School in 1953

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ausbra Ford talks about his service in the United States Air Force during the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ausbra Ford talks about his experience at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ausbra Ford talks about his relationship with HistoryMaker Dr. Margaret Burroughs

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ausbra Ford describes the beginning of his academic career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ausbra Ford describes his study of funeral art in Africa, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ausbra Ford describes his study of funeral art in Africa, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ausbra Ford describes his experience teaching at Northeastern Illinois University Center for Inner City Studies

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ausbra Ford describes his growth as an artist

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ausbra Ford talks about the importance of AFRI-COBRA and the art scene in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ausbra Ford talks about his experience teaching at the Kemetic Institute and Chicago State University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ausbra Ford talks about the importance of the collective in his art and teaching

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ausbra Ford describes his first trip to Egypt in 1987, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ausbra Ford describes his first trip to Egypt in 1987, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ausbra Ford talks about his second trip to Africa in 1988

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ausbra Ford talks about the influence of traveling to Africa on his art

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ausbra Ford describes his two sculptures on Oshun

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ausbra Ford talks about his interest in mixed media sculpture

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ausbra Ford talks about the experience of traveling to Brazil

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ausbra Ford talks about the relationship between African and Brazilian art

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ausbra Ford talks about the creation of the African American Visual Artists Roundtable

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ausbra Ford talks about his success with the African American Visual Artists Roundtable

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ausbra Ford talks about his experience with the committee to provide art to the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ausbra Ford talks about his experience with the committee to provide art to the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ausbra Ford talks about the present support of visual arts in the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ausbra Ford reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ausbra Ford talks about how he would like to be remembered and his parents' pride in him

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ausbra Ford talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ausbra Ford narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Ausbra Ford talks about the importance of the collective in his art and teaching
Ausbra Ford describes his two sculptures on Oshun
Transcript
Yeah it's an interesting thing about the way you speak of your, your work and your experiences you--many artists talk about their vision on something and what they're creating and you, of course, you, your work is unique, their yours on a level, but you, you always speak about in, in a collective way like you're part of something bigger, I mean, you know, you, you've done more talking about the influences of other on your than you have about what you, your own, you know--(unclear)--$$It's, it's that--I, I think it's that African thing, man you know it's that, the collective is as so, so very important, you know, and matter fact it was like the first piece that I did for Inner City Studies [Northeastern Illinois University Center for Inner City Studies in Chicago] I had one name on it, and they renamed it. I, I didn't get upset 'cause hey shoot does it work. Fine, that's probably the way it was meant to be. Sometime it has two names. I said I could care less, but it's, it's the feedback, the input from other folk, which is so important, and this is a problem that we have so much in Western culture and Western art. You know, everything is "I" and, and I keep drumming it and drumming it, and drumming it into those student's heads and everything else. The whole thing is the community, the collective us and Africa. That's why we in trouble now. That's why the continent's in trouble 'cause people doing all these crazy things, and it's all about I and forgetting about everybody else and its un-African. And it's not gon' straighten out, and we're not gonna get the continent straightened out until we get our whole thing and get back on like Jake [HM Jacob H. Carruthers] said, "We get back to fundamentals." And when we get back to fundamentals, things are going to straighten out and things can happen. And I just keep saying this is part, this is why we have problems. You just don't have to look at Africa, you can just look here in the United States and see part of our problem here. We don't own nothing. We don't want to do anything. We just falling apart. We got more money. We got more, we got better jobs and everything else, and we are worse off than we ever were. I said we let the family fall apart and once you let that family fall apart and the collectiveness in terms of the community fall apart you got deep troubles. I said and real deep, and I started giving examples, and they say "Hey Ford I agree with you. You right there and everything else." And this is the whole thing that we gotta understanding. I said, "Look we went through slavery. We went through the middle passage and went through slavery, and we didn't fall apart. Look at us now," I said, "just look at us now." We in pathetic shape, and you know when, when you deal with Jake and the rest of 'em you got statistics. You can, you can drop all that stuff off and that's what Andy [Anderson Thompson] does, you know man Andy drop all that stuff off, he say hey get an understanding. This is time to talk, the right talk and get ourselves together as a people, whereas we are not used by every ethnic group that comes along and this is our problem. Everybody has used us, and that's why the continent is in that shape. Everybody wants something from us without paying. I said and that's why we're in that shape, you know, and, and then their eyes get bigger and the next thing you know they reading the African books, they getting into it and everything else and wanna hold a conversation and then the spiritual stuff comes up and all this other kind of jazz, which makes it interesting, you know, and so you making people, you making real human beings out of real African people. And this is what I love about teaching here is that I can, I can touch somebody, you know.$Now, we're in a unique position today to do something unusual that we don't do. We've got two pieces directly behind you that are on camera and I think we might even be able to focus on them, and, and perhaps you can tell us about those. Because you're an artist, you know it's hard to talk about art without looking at it, but, you know, and the ideas that go into the art work. So, maybe if we can maybe talk about the piece to your left over your left shoulder.$$And that's Oshun 'cause that's from, that's from the Bra, Brazilian thing 'cause I recall it and that's after Dr. Anderson Thompson. You know he coined the phrase the African-Brazilian Connection. And I've gone to Brazil doing stuff and I've become very, very influenced by that also and they work together. And that is we call an Orisha called Oshun, and Orishas are aspects of nature, and they're saints really. And Oshun was, was the Oshun River, and she was very, very, very, very powerful, very, very beautiful. She had curative properties and everything else and so that's a sculpture. So, they have colors. Each Orisha has colors, foods, and everything else that relates directly to them. And they come out, and they, they come out dancing, they come out dancing and this is what she's in a move position of moving forward because she's in a position of dancing, and dancing brings in the spirit entity of that, of that particular Orisha and other Orishas, and this is how the ceremony really starts and everything else. So, and you will see orange and with her being the Orisha in terms of the Oshun River, and I was at the Oshun River when I was in Africa and everything. Matter of fact I used to hang around all the time, you know. A beautiful town, Osogbo [Nigeria], but at any rate this is where she's from, so she was very beautiful, and she was also vain. She was, she loved to look at herself and everything else. So, a lot of times she has a mirror, and you'll see that in the hand. And so she was very, very important and very, very powerful. She has the beads in front of her face. It's called a veil of beads and only those who are associated with and those who are associated with royalty have the right to wear the veil of beads in front of the face. Literally what it does is protects the, the viewer from what we call the spiritual energy of the person or the ashe. That a king's ashe is so powerful that it would harm the average person. So, they have the beads in front of the face to protect you from seeing his face. And so, therefore, if this Orisha is associated with in any way with royalty and everything else then therefore you will see the beads in front of the face. So, that's the one over there and so you can see she's got her mirror in her hand, and, and she's ready for action.$$Okay, now there's one too over your right shoulder. Maybe you could describe that one for us?$$I forgot which one is that.$$OFF-CAMERA MALE VOICE: You can look.$$I can look, okay, shoot all right, shoot. Oh, you know what that one is that's Oshun also. The, the, the wall piece and Oshun is, and let me mention this, Oshun is one of my Orishas. I'm very, very involved in it and everything else. And your Orisha is on your head. And Oshun is, she's not the number one Orisha, but she is one of my Orishas. So, therefore, it is only normal that you would do one of your Orishas and so she's the Orisha of love, curative powers, the water, which water is always important and etc. So, this is what's happen, so I've used plexiglass on her and you can notice the veil of beads coming in front of the face and everything else with the gold mask, so orange, gold are her colors and everything else. And if you look real close you can see the fish on the, on her dress, and her dress is shaped almost bell shaped and that's a symbol. Everything in Africa means something. So, that's symbol in terms of the first mound of the world, where the first, the first mound of earth began. The world was surrounded with water, and what was out was this mound of earth and so therefore the skirts symbolize this mound of earth and therefore you get that kind of bell like shape and everything else. So, that's what she has. So, everything on there, you know, researching down to, you know, very much and I do the Brazilian thing the same way as I do the Kemetic thing is. I'm always in touch with the priests, so when they come in town from Brazil they come in and look and you know give me a yeah or nah on it and everything else and matter of fact they, you know, gave me a, you know, go ahead on all the stuff that I've done. You know, they read the shelves and they tell you whether you can go on and do the work or not.