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June Sallee Antoine

Educator and nonprofit executive June Sallee Antoine was born on March 3, 1929 in Sandusky, Ohio, to Cora Nell Collier Sallee and Charles Louis Sallee. She received her elementary and secondary education in the public schools of Sandusky. She earned a B.A. degree from Ohio State University in 1951 and a master's degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1956. She also completed additional graduate work at John Carroll University and Cleveland State University.

From 1955 until 1966, Antoine was a classroom teacher in the Cleveland Public Schools, and in 1969 she took a position as a guidance counselor at the Adult Education Center of the Cleveland Public Schools. In 1979, she became the assistant principal at Shaker Heights High School. Following her retirement from the public schools in 1986, she served as the director of the Harvard-East Branch of the Cleveland Music School Settlement, where she remained until 1995. In 1993, Antoine, along with Louise Kent Hope, became a co-founder of The Adrienne Kennedy Society, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to increasing public awareness and appreciation of the works of this great African American literary artist. The organization was later renamed Creative Writing Workshop Projects, and Antoine served as the executive director.

Antoine worked with numerous arts, cultural, and civic organizations, including The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio Citizens for the Arts, The Cleveland Art Prize, The Women's City Club Foundation, and the Cleveland International Program. In 2002, she received an Arts Educator Award from Young Audiences of Greater Cleveland and The Northern Ohio Live Award of Achievement for Community Events for Creative Writing Workshop Projects' participation in the Langston Hughes Centennial Celebration.

In addition to her administrative work, Antoine performed with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and the Heritage Chorale in the United States and Europe. She was also a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Antoine passed away on November 15, 2016 at age 87.

Accession Number

A2004.027

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/18/2004

Last Name

Antoine

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

S.

Schools

The Ohio State University

Case Western Reserve University

Sandusky High School

Campbell Elementary School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

June

Birth City, State, Country

Sandusky

HM ID

ANT01

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rhode Island, Alaska, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Lifting As We Climb.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/3/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ethnic Food, Spinach, Roast Turkey, Pies

Death Date

11/15/2016

Short Description

Educator and nonprofit executive June Sallee Antoine (1929 - 2016 ) co-founded The Adrienne Kennedy Society, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to increasing public awareness and appreciation of African American literary artists. She worked for numerous arts, cultural, and civic organizations in Ohio.

Employment

Cleveland Public Schools

Shaker Heights High School

Cleveland Music School Settlement

Adrienne Kennedy Society

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of June Sallee Antoine's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - June Sallee Antoine lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - June Sallee Antoine describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - June Sallee Antoine describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - June Sallee Antoine describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - June Sallee Antoine narrates how her family came to move from Kentucky to Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - June Sallee Antoine describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - June Sallee Antoine describes her experiences at Campbell Street Elementary School in Sandusky, Ohio during the 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - June Sallee Antoine describes her family life growing up in Sandusky, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - June Sallee Antoine describes the role of music in her childhood in Sandusky, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - June Sallee Antoine relates the history of her family's parish, Second Baptist Church, in Sandusky, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - June Sallee Antoine talks about the diverse community in which she was raised in Sandusky, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her time at Campbell Elementary School in Sandusky, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - June Sallee Antoine recalls the presence of the color line while she was growing up in Sandusky, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - June Sallee Antoine talks about the impact of the Great Depression on her family and community in Sandusky, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - June Sallee Antoine recalls how her mother prioritized education for her and her siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her family's views on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his Works Progress Administration

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her family's appreciation for the arts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her sisters' careers

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - June Sallee Antoine recalls her academic achievements at Sandusky High School in Sandusky, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - June Sallee Antoine recalls her decision to attend The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - June Sallee Antoine remembers her family's involvement in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - June Sallee Antoine describes her experiences at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - June Sallee Antoine recalls hearing a speech by Paul Robeson in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - June Sallee Antoine describes meeting her husband, HistoryMaker Albert Antoine, at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - June Sallee Antoine describes her and her husband's graduate education and early careers during the mid-1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her experiences with de facto segregation in Ohio during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - June Sallee Antoine recounts her career as an educator in public schools in Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - June Sallee Antoine talks about the history of segregation in Cleveland, Ohio Public Schools

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her work as an educational administrator in Cleveland Municipal School District and Shaker Heights City School District

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - June Sallee Antoine details how she chose to educate her four children in public and private schools

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - June Sallee Antoine describes her children's success in pursuing advanced degrees

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - June Sallee Antoine recalls roadblocks that her daughter, Janice Antoine Lumpkin, faced during her education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her grandchildren

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her work in music and arts administration after retiring as an educator

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - June Sallee Antoine details the programs she heads within Creative Writing Workshop Projects in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her fundraising to support Creative Writing Workshop Projects in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - June Sallee Antoine describes the life and work of Adrienne Kennedy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - June Sallee Antoine describes the roster of artists and administrators involved with Creative Writing Workshop Projects

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - June Sallee Antoine details the community and governmental support she has received for Creative Writing Workshop Projects

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - June Sallee Antoine explains Creative Writing Workshop Projects' focus on African American heritage

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - June Sallee Antoine talks about her membership in the Heritage Chorale of Cleveland

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - June Sallee Antoine reflects upon her achievements in promoting the arts and education in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - June Sallee Antoine narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - June Sallee Antoine narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - June Sallee Antoine narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$2

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
June Sallee Antoine details the programs she heads within Creative Writing Workshop Projects in Cleveland, Ohio
June Sallee Antoine recalls the presence of the color line while she was growing up in Sandusky, Ohio
Transcript
[HistoryMaker] Mrs. [June Sallee] Antoine, you just started to tell me about CWWP, Creative Writing Workshop Projects [Cleveland, Ohio] the outgrowth of the initial Adrienne Kennedy support group [Adrienne Kennedy Society]. And you keep saying we, we have been active during these things, but can you tell me about some of the other people who are working with you on that initiative, and what kinds of things you've been able to do in working with the schools?$$We, the Creative Writing Workshop Projects, is a non-profit arts organization, and it's a charitable and educational organization that is a 501(c)(3). We collaborate with a number of institutions and agencies and artists in the city [Cleveland, Ohio]. And we are really pleased because we're not an organization that had a large amount of funding, so it was really important that we collaborate with people. And so it is important to share with you these various organizations: The Cleveland Music School Settlement [The Music Settlement, Cleveland, Ohio], the Cleveland Museum of Art [Cleveland, Ohio], the Cleveland Municipal School District [Cleveland Metropolitan School District], Cleveland State University [Cleveland, Ohio], Cleveland Art Theatre [Cleveland Heights, Ohio], and individual artists of various disciplines.$$Okay. Okay. Mrs. Antoine, you were mentioning some of the partnerships that Creative Writing Workshop Projects developed over the years with area organizations but you said all of that came from this initial suggestion made by Adrienne Kennedy that you pursue funding to support outreach to the schools.$$And to support her requirement to do a community project, that was part of her grant stipulation. She got a large grant over three years from Lila Wallace. And although she lived in New York [New York], she really loved Cleveland [Ohio]. She was raised in Cleveland. She had great respect for Cleveland public schools at the time she was coming through. And she had attended and graduated from The Ohio State University [Columbus, Ohio]. And actually was there at, when I was there. I probably was about two years ahead of her. And so I was very pleased to be of support for her literary work. And so, so we actually did a project at her elementary school, Lafayette Contemporary [Educational] Academy [Cleveland, Ohio]. And we started with the young children there with storytellers, and we, once we got funds, we were able to bring in people for different projects. We took them on field trips to the theater, to the rain forest. We brought Karamu Theatre [Karamu House, Cleveland, Ohio] for the young people into the school. And then, of course, Adrienne Kennedy herself came from New York to have some workshops with the children. So it was a wonderful, delightful experience. Then we extended it to the middle schools. And we did, in addition to the creative writing and poetry clubs that we had with the elementary children, we introduced playwriting, improvisation, and all with the middle school students. And did what I think was a rather unique thing by partnering with the Cleveland School of the Arts [Cleveland, Ohio], and the drama teacher came with his double period class. We provided transportation for them, and they as peer mentors worked with some middle school students in developing plays, improvising and then writing a play and also in performing a play.$--Then of course, in high school [Sandusky High School, Sandusky, Ohio]--the only really negative thing was that at the time in junior high, we didn't swim in the pool. For some reason, I think people thought the brown would rub off (laughter). But, no, that's, so, but at any rate, I know my mother [Cornell Collier Sallee] went up and talked to the principal about that and he said, "Well, your children could swim." And she said "No, I said I mean all." And she would not say okay for my children, she said all of the colored children should be able to swim. My, one of my older brothers, (laughter), Leroy [ph.], the family, a tale is that Leroy just ran and jumped in the pool (laughter). So he was the defiant one, at that time, for that regard. But then a lot of the clubs, which some people said were exclusive, but that wasn't completely true because my brother, Henry [ph.], was in the dramatic club. He even directed a play at the high school, and he acted in plays. And so it really, it was really what you, I guess, I don't know, whether he was, he played basketball and so he was on the team and, and he was well liked in the school. Plus he taught all his friends how to dance. And he'd have the basketball team over to our house and I know my, I remember my mother making a big spaghetti dinner for all the basketball players and then they danced and, you know. So there were always, we always had a mix of interactions. But another interesting thing that our next door neighbor, we spoke every day but we were not in and out of each other's houses. It was just a general respect and there was no real desire or effort to be integrated any place where, you know, it wasn't just welcome. I had friends from elementary school that we still meet every five years. Our high school, from 1947 every five years we've had a reunion. And the last reunion, we decided it was gonna be too long to wait to five years, so there's gonna be one this year which is midway. Unfortunately, I'm going to be in Italy with a choir singing other and, you know, that is how much, all important that is to me that I had this ambiguous feeling even about that trip. I said, "Isn't there some way I can come home early so I can go to my reunion?" But, we have a large number that come from Florida, from Texas, from California, from the Midwest, from the East. And so there was something special around that time about school. And we, we would always have almost like a second little reunion of our--of the Campbell Street School [Campbell Elementary School, Sandusky, Ohio] (laughter). So it was kind of interesting.$$Well, it seems then that, perhaps there was a color line--$$Yes.$$--even here in the North but not rigidly drawn.$$Well, you know, there were just places like restaurants. For a while in the theaters where they wanted you to sit in the balcony. I had a dear friend whose name was also June, June Forsyth, and her family had come from Jamaica. And so we went to the theater, and so we just went downstairs and the (laughter) the usher kept coming and he'd tap us on the shoulder and say, "You're supposed to move." And we would just look straight ahead and not pay him any attention (laughter). So that was that.$$This was in high school?$$Yes (laughter).$$Civil disobedience.$$Yeah. But, you know, and, of course, she had gone up to the sixth form, I guess, in Jamaica and had been accustomed to being very free. And then, of course, came here about junior, senior high school. It was in senior high that we were, all through senior high we were good friends (laughter).