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The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace

Academic administrator and cabinet appointee The Honorable Joan Scott Wallacewas born in Chicago, Illinois on November 8, 1930. Her mother, Esther, worked as a social worker, and her father, William Edouard, was a painter during the Harlem Renaissance. Many of his works appeared as covers on the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis. After graduating from Englewood High School in Chicago in 1948, Wallace attended Bradley University, earning a B.A. in social work. Wallace then went on to attend Columbia University, earning a master’s in social work in 1958, and later earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1973.

Beginning her career with the government during the Carter administration, Wallace was named Assistant Secretary of Agriculture in 1977. There she managed administration policy in personnel, equal opportunity and administrative law among other duties. She held that post until 1981, when she became the head of the International Cooperation and Development Agency. In that position, Wallace sent specialists to 100 foreign countries to provide technical assistance in agriculture and managed over 500 research programs. With the election of George H. W. Bush as president, Wallace was a diplomat with the rank of ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago and represented the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

Wallace retired from the government shortly after the election of President Clinton, and then became the CEO of Americans for Democracy in Africa, a non-profit organization that monitored elections in African countries. Wallace has also served as dean of the Howard University School of Social Work, the director of the Western Michigan School of Social Work and the vice president for administration at Morgan State University. She also was the first female vice president of the National Urban League under Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.

Wallace passed away on March 15, 2018.

Since 2000, Wallace has been the commissioner of Volunteer Florida: the Governor’s Commission on Community Service.

Accession Number

A2004.155

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/31/2004

Last Name

Wallace

Middle Name

Scott

Schools

Englewood High School

Austin O. Sexton Elementary School

Bradley University

Columbia University

Northwestern University

University of Chicago Charter School - North Kenwood/Oakland

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Joan

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WAL06

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Adults, Seniors

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring, Fall, Winter

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: Moderate, plus travel and lodging expenses
Preferred Audience: Adults, Seniors

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

When The Door Of Opportunity Opens, Be Ready To Put Your Foot In, And Leave It Open For Your Brother And Sister.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/8/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pompano Beach

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ice Cream (Sugar-free)

Death Date

3/15/2018

Short Description

Academic administrator and cabinet appointee The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace (1930 - 2018) was the first female vice president of the National Urban League, and has served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, head of the International Cooperation and Development Agency, Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, and CEO of Americans for Democracy in Africa.

Employment

United States Department of Agriculture

International Cooperation and Development Agency

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

Americans for Democracy in Africa

Howard University School of Social Work

Western Michigan University School of Social Work

Morgan State University

University of Chicago

Barat College

University of Illinois School of Social Work

National Urban League

Florida International University

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her mother's early life in West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes how her father, William Edouard Scott, began his career as a painter

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about living in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about the Abraham Lincoln Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes moving to a new elementary school in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about the ethnic makeup of the Oakland neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her experiences at Austin O. Sexton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about donating her father's work for the American Negro Exposition in Chicago to the Schomburg Center in New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her father's work and religious affiliation

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her academic interests

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace recalls her experience at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her teachers and career aspirations at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace recalls attending Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her interests at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and HistoryMaker Reverend C.T. Vivian

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her personality during her time at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace recalls traveling to Puerto Rico for a summer work program during her college years

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace recalls getting married while attending Columbia University School of Social Work in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her experience at Columbia University School of Social Work In New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about eloping with her first husband, John H. Wallace, in 1953

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about the various work she did between getting her master's degree and her Ph.D.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her dissertation project at Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes the positions she held at the School of Social Work at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her experience as vice president of the National Urban League in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her experience as vice president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her two husbands and her remarriage to her first husband

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes being hired as assistant secretary for the administration with the United States Department of Agriculture

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about why she was considered for a job with the United States Department of Agriculture

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes the work environment at the United States Department of Agriculture in 1977

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her work for HBCUs in the United States Department of Agriculture

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her goals and challenges at the United States Department of Agriculture

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her second husband's work during the late 1970s and early 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about her work with African American farmers at the United States Department of Agriculture

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her work with the Office of International Cooperation and Development

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about living in Trinidad

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her activities since retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about visiting Nigeria with Americans for Democracy in Africa and the Abacha Administration in Nigeria

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace talks about the controversial 1993 election in Nigeria

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her experience visiting Sudan with Americans for African Democracy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace recalls attending Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois
The Honorable Joan Scott Wallace describes her work for HBCUs in the United States Department of Agriculture
Transcript
Now tell us about Bradley. Now you went to Bradley University in Peoria [Illinois]. Were there many black students there when you arrived in Bradley?$$I integrated the dormitory at Bradley University because they thought I was white. I just came charging into Bradley fearless. I guess I've always been a little fearless, but I came down there and came to Sissen [ph.] House. It was a small dorm. From Chicago [Illinois]. The blacks that were there were men primarily because right before it became a university it was a Polytechnic Institute [Bradley Polytechnic Institute]. So it had all things like engineering and all kinds of technical subjects there. And a number of blacks were going there, especially graduate students, from Missouri because they couldn't go to school in Missouri to get degrees, so Missouri would pay Illinois, pay Bradley, to send them to school. So there were a number of black men. There was, in my, and the school was heavily men. In my class there were a thousand men and one hundred women. We had a lot of veterans also. So, and then we had that great football, basketball team, Bradley Braves. It was a wonderful basketball team and I remember standing in line from two in the afternoon 'til eight at night to get a ticket.$$Was Bradley winning a lot of games in those days?$$It was top. It won the pennant for several years and then it had a scandal.$$The NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] Championship, was it?$$That's right.$$All right. There was a scandal while you were in school?$$I had gone off to Puerto Rico on a special summer project and I read it in the newspaper or heard it on the news or something and I was just hurt, so hurt, because Bradley had been so good. They didn't have any black players in those days, all white. But everybody loved that Bradley basketball team. And there was one black fraternity which was the Alphas [Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity], I think, and, no it was the Omegas [Omega Psi Phi Fraternity], the Omegas. And then they had no sororities that were black so I became a Delta [Sigma Theta Sorority] by going all the way to the University of Illinois [at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois] and going through down there. But I didn't have, I mean, I never really had a lot of involvement because it was just too far away at Bradley. But, you know, I mean I learned, Bradley was a white world, primarily. A few blacks. Certainly enough guys to date (laughter) and I enjoyed Bradley.$I had a couple of things that I wanted to make a priority. One was the African American, the 1890 black colleges [historically black colleges and universities, HBCUs]. The 1890 colleges are the colleges that are land grant colleges and there are about seventeen of them. The 1862 colleges are land grant, but those are the University of Illinois [at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois], the, you know, the big ones. But the 1890s are the black land grant colleges, like the Alabama A&M [University; Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, Normal, Alabama]. Tuskegee [University, Tuskegee, Alabama] is included in that group. All the A&M [Agricultural and Mechanical] colleges that are primarily black. So I discovered that they had only about, when they started out getting money from the agricultural department [U.S. Department of Agriculture], it was like $280,000 for seventeen colleges, which was ridiculous given that the Ohio States [The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio] of the world got millions of dollars. And so I made that a priority to do something about that. And so I had under me, I had management, operations and finance, data services, equal opportunity personnel, contract appeals, administrative law judges and safety and health, which I created that unit. And so equal opportunity, I created an office for the 1890s in the equal opportunity area. And their job was to be an advocate for those, for those colleges.$$Now, did you have--was [HistoryMaker] James Cheek involved in any of this stuff?$$Uh-uh, because he's not an 1890 university. And I also met with those college presidents. I went and took delegations sometimes to visit those colleges. But when I left to go to Trinidad, it would be after the [President Ronald Wilson] Reagan administration, I, they took me to dinner, all the presidents and they also recommended that I get an honorary degree, which I did from Alabama A&M, just for that special thing. And they were now getting seventy-five million dollars and I feel, felt so--I don't know what they're getting now, probably twice or three times that much, but because of that work.