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Maycie Herrington

Community volunteer and black history conservator Maycie Herrington was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 7, 1918, to Dicie and Thomas Copeland. She attended St. Augustine College for grade school and later Lucille Hunter School. Herrington graduated from Washington High School in 1936. She returned to St. Augustine's College, worked for her tuition and graduated with a B.S. in 1940. In 1943, during World War II, Herrington married former St. Augustine's College classmate, Aaron Herrington, who was soon sent by the army to Tuskegee, Alabama, for flight training.

Herrington quit her job as a bookkeeper with Mechanics and Farmers Bank and joined her husband in Tuskegee where she found employment with the Red Cross. In Tuskegee, Herrington became a familiar face to many of the Tuskegee Airmen. After the war, Herrington and her husband moved to Long Beach, California, where she found employment as a social worker with the Bureau of Public Assistance. There, she was assigned to work with the Long Beach Area Welfare Planning Council United Way, and to coordinate summer camps and Christmas activities. Herrington served in that capacity for more than thirty years. The emergency food assistance program in Compton that Herrington started is still in existence today.

Active in community affairs, Herrington was a member of the Long Beach Altrusa Club, the Long Beach County Grand Jurors' Association, and the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach. As a historical conservator, she was active in keeping the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen alive. One of Herrington's contributions was a set of Tuskegee Airmen trading cards. Each card includes a photo and biography of a Tuskegee Airman. These cards educate the public and help finance the Airmen's youth outreach programs. Herrington was the recipient of the Hannah G. Solomon Award, the Women Helping Women Award, the Rick Racker Woman of the Year Award, and the National Conference for Community and Justice Humanitarian Award.

Herrington passed away on May 24, 2016.

Accession Number

A2002.211

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/19/2002

Last Name

Herrington

Maker Category
Schools

Hunter GT/AIG Magnet Elementary School

St. Augustine's University

Washington High School

First Name

Maycie

Birth City, State, Country

Raleigh

HM ID

HER01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Let Me Live In A House By The Side Of The Road And Be A Friend To Man.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/7/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Yams

Death Date

5/24/2016

Short Description

Social worker and historian Maycie Herrington (1918 - 2016 ) was an award-winning community leader who works to preserve the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Employment

Mechanics and Farmers Bank

American Red Cross

Long Beach Bureau of Public Assistance/Long Beach Department of Public Social Services

U.S. Army

Long Beach Department of Public Social Services

Los Angeles County Grand Jury

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maycie Herrington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maycie Herrington describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maycie Herrington describes her father's philosophy on discipline

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maycie Herrington describes the culture of the farming community in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maycie Herrington describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maycie Herrington describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maycie Herrington talks about the gypsy culture in Raleigh, North Carolina and Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maycie Herrington describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maycie Herrington describes race relations in her childhood community of Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maycie Herrington talks about attending St. Augustine's Normal School

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maycie Herrington describes being bullied by her classmates for being light skinned

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Maycie Herrington talks about the teachers that influenced her as a student at Washington High School in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Maycie Herrington describes the effects of being forced to write with her right hand

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Maycie Herrington describes farming life and attending school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maycie Herrington describes how she paid for college

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington describes her coursework at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maycie Herrington talks about the Delany family, a prominent African American family from Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maycie Herrington recalls her childhood home, as well as the first house her family purchased

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maycie Herrington describes her experiences attending St. Augustine's College

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maycie Herrington describes her brother's experiences during the attack on Pearl Harbor

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maycie Herrington describes how her husband, Aaron Herrington, became a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maycie Herrington describes being hired as the secretary of the Director of the Red Cross in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maycie Herrington talks about giving birth to her daughter Ann

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maycie Herrington talks about working as a secretary to a U.S. Army physician

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Maycie Herrington talks about the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Maycie Herrington describes the discrimination Tuskegee Airmen stationed at Freeman Field in Seymour, Indiana faced

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maycie Herrington talks about moving to Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington describes her perception of California

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maycie Herrington describes being hired to work as a social worker for then-Bureau of Public Assistance in Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maycie Herrington describes her experiences working as a social worker for Department of Public Social Services in Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maycie Herrington describes her experiences working as a resource coordinator for the Department of Public Social Services in Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maycie Herrington describes an incident with the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maycie Herrington describe her role as a social worker in helping her client obtain a driver's license, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maycie Herrington describe her role as a social worker in helping her client obtain a driver's license, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maycie Herrington describes the Los Angeles County Grand Jury nomination and selection process

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maycie Herrington talks about serving on the Los Angeles County Grand Jury

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Maycie Herrington talks about the Twilight Zone accident and subsequent criminal case

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maycie Herrington talks about the John Belushi case

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington describes the demographic makeup of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maycie Herrington describes a case involving a corrupt Los Angeles County judge

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maycie Herrington describes how she became involved with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maycie Herrington describes her role in developing Tuskegee Airmen trading cards

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maycie Herrington talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community and helping others

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maycie Herrington talks about her civic involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maycie Herrington talks about her parents and husband

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maycie Herrington describes honors her husband, Aaron Herrington, received

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maycie Herrington talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Maycie Herrington talks about the uniform and insignia of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maycie Herrington narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Maycie Herrington talks about the John Belushi case
Maycie Herrington describes her role in developing Tuskegee Airmen trading cards
Transcript
So, tell us about the John Belushi case.$$Now, you know, I don't know the life of movie stars, but I was sure shocked when I learned how they lived, to some degree. I guess I'm kind of naive. And they say he arrived in town in the evening. And he was supposed to be, according to the girl who was one of the managers, he was just supposed to rest and then they had a 4 o'clock meeting with somebody, I think she said. He was supposed to meet some friends, so, because they were getting off from work at that time. And now, I understand why. And then I guess he got bored and he wanted this friend of his, he wanted to know if she knew where he could get any drugs. And she said, no. And meanwhile, this gal, Cathy Smith, had come down to the building where he was staying. She just made herself at home there, according to what this young lady said. He had never met her before. And they were sitting there talking, and this gal said to John, "You know, you need to go to bed." He said he didn't want to go to bed. She said, "Well, you know you've got to get up and meet these people." And he said, "Oh, I want to find some action." I don't know how they worded it, but anyway this gal said well, she knew where she could get some drugs. So, he had a limousine at his disposal apparently. So, he had the limousine driver take her wherever it was she knew she could get some drugs. And she came back, and this friend was still there waiting. And she came back and eventually she went, took him into the bathroom and supposedly injected it in his arm. And I guess she just didn't know what she was doing. But then this friend, I think she said she left about 2 o'clock and John was supposed to be meeting this other person at 4. And I guess he--I don't know whether she said what time Cathy Smith left or not. But anyway, apparently he finally went to bed. And then when the friends met up at 4 o'clock, he never showed. So they just felt that he was tired and was sleeping, so they didn't bother until about 6 o'clock. Because I think they had an important engagement around 7 or something. So they went over at 6 to get him up and they couldn't wake him up, and that's when they had to call the police. And when the police came, would you believe Cathy Smith had taken his car, and she showed up bringing it back. And of course, then they had her. And they questioned her, but they kind of let her go because they didn't have enough details at the time. And then as it turns out, they made pictures of him which was... and so passing them around. And he had apparently used drugs before. I don't know whether he had been a drug user or not, but he had the marks on his arms. So, they knew that evidently--I don't know whether it was bad drugs or what that they got that caused his death, but they had to take the body to the County Coroner. And within less than a week the coroner ruled that it was death by drug overdose. So then of course, we had questioned her. Did we have her? No, we didn't have the opportunity to question her, that's what happened; she left the state and went to Canada. But we knew that this reporter had questioned her because it was a story in the [National] Enquirer. So they subpoenaed the reporter from Florida, and when he came he brought his tape, he was smart. And on the tape, he was interviewing her. And she went on to explain what she had done and so forth and so on, and that's how she got indicted. They sent her to jail.$And in 1998 I got nominated for the secretary, because nobody wants to be secretary. (Laughter). It seems to be a permanent job. And as secretary, I do the voicemail. When people call in for the Tuskegee Airmen, it comes on the voice-mail. So, I pick up the messages and try to see what happens there. But the Los Angeles chapter set up a scholarship fund, and it's quite successful. We give scholarships to forty-five students every year who are graduating from high school and going into college--fifteen hundred dollar scholarships. So, I thought the Tuskegee Airmen history has never been told. And my son-in-law is a fireman for the City of Long Beach [California]. And all of a sudden the Fire Department puts out these PR [public relations] baseball-sized cards. And I looked at it and I said, "You know, that would be terrific if we got the guys in their uniform in World War II, put their history on the back of the card, then we could more history of the Tuskegee Airmen out to the public." So, I sent in a request in 1998 to the national office to approve the baseball cards. You have to go through all the formality and get the national organization to approve it. They approved in 1998. But 1999 nothing happened; 2000 nothing happened. At the time we put it through, Alexander Jefferson [HM] in Detroit [Michigan] was the person who put them through. And I called Alexander and I said, "What's happening on my baseball cards? You guys aren't doing anything." "Oh, Maycie you--they aren't going to do anything. You're going to have to do it." So, for the 2000 convention I put through a request to let the Los Angeles chapter do it, knowing I'm going to do it. So, Roger Terry, who was the president at the time, said "Sure, we'll help you." And he did help me. In a way, he didn't do anything but let me use his name. (Laughter). Anyway we put it through, and we got the first batch of cards done... let me see... in 19... in 2000. No, we didn't get it approved until 2000... 2001. So then I had a... see, what happened, the national office has the national membership list. So, they gave me the list and I was able to contact many of the people. A lot of them didn't send it back and others were dead. But some of the widows sent me really good stuff. And I'm just real pleased with the cards we've done as of now, even though no one has really helped me market them. And I'm hoping that I'll get more help on that. So--$$I hope so, they're beautiful.$$Yeah, I'm getting calls now from various parts of the country. When people see them they're very impressed, because that's why I put the sixteen cards together, because you can see everybody. And I also have them in packages. But you only see the person on the front. You don't see the person, you know, inside. You got to open them up and try to wonder who's in there. But I'm very proud of it because I think it's just wonderful, you know. So...