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Percy Bates

Educational psychologist Percy Bates was born July 8, 1932 in Pensacola, Florida. Raised by his mother, Gladys Travis Bates, he attended Spencer Bibbs Elementary School and Booker T. Washington High School. After moving to Detroit, Bates ran track and played football at Hamtramack High School, and he graduated from there in 1950. Entering the United States Army in 1952, Bates served at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, where he sang with fellow soldier and pianist Earl Grant. After earning his B.S. degree in biology from Central Michigan University in 1958, Bates received his M.A. in vocational rehabilitation in 1961 from Wayne State University and his Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Michigan in 1968.

In 1968, during a strike of black students demanding black faculty at the University of Michigan, Bates was promoted to assistant professor of education. At the University of Michigan’s School of Education, Bates served as assistant division director of curriculum, teaching and psychological studies and as director of programs for educational opportunity. He later became deputy assistant secretary of special education in the United States Department of Education.

Bates is a member of the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Michigan. He is also very active in University of Michigan’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee. A founding board member and former chairman of the Higher Education Commission of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, Bates has received numerous awards. Bates lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Cheryl.

Accession Number

A2005.020

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/19/2005

Last Name

Bates

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Spencer Bibbs Elementary School

Spencer Bibbs Academy

Hamtramck High School

Central Michigan University

Wayne State University

University of Michigan

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Percy

Birth City, State, Country

Pensacola

HM ID

BAT06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

You Bet.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

7/8/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Banana Cream Pie

Short Description

Education professor Percy Bates (1932 - ) served as assistant division director of curriculum, teaching and psychological studies and as director of programs for educational opportunity at the University of Michigan’s School of Education. Bates was also a member of the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Michigan, and has served in the United States Department of Education.

Employment

University of Michigan

U.S. Department of Education

Boys Training School

Ypsilanti Public Schools, Program in Educable Mentally Impaired

Detroit Public Schools

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Percy Bates' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Percy Bates lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Percy Bates describes his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Percy Bates talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Percy Bates describes his paternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Percy Bates describes his paternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Percy Bates talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Percy Bates describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Percy Bates describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Percy Bates talks about his childhood in Pensacola

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Percy Bates describes church and the music of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Percy Bates describes Spencer Bibbs Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Percy Bates describes his experience in segregated schools and reflects on the pitfalls of school integration

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Percy Bates remembers being well-behaved in school from a young age

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Percy Bates talks about moving to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Percy Bates describes his neighborhood in Detroit

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Percy Bates talks about his activities at Hamtramck High School, Hamtramck, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Percy Bates recalls an English teacher who cared about him

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Percy Bates talks about expectations around college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Percy Bates talks about his job in the U.S. Army base in El Paso, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Percy Bates describes starting college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Percy Bates remembers his friendship with musician Earl Grant

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Percy Bates describes his short-lived singing career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Percy Bates remembers becoming an A student at Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Percy Bates remembers the support of Bernard Meltzer

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Percy Bates describes his decision to get a PhD in psychology

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Percy Bates talks about receiving support from his mother, Gladys Travis Bates

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Percy Bates talks about his Ph.D. dissertation on motivation, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Percy Bates talks about his Ph.D. dissertation on motivation, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Percy Bates talks about the ways black people have been socially conditioned

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Percy Bates talks about the importance of questioning assumptions in learning

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Percy Bates describes his career path from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan to U.S. Department of Education

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Percy Bates describes the demands of the Black Action Movement at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Percy Bates describes the peaceful Black Action Movement negotiations at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Percy Bates talks about his position for the U.S. Department of Education

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Percy Bates describes his position as NCAA representative from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Percy Bates talks about the difficult choices of student athletes

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Percy Bates describes the financial situation of college athletes

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Percy Bates describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Percy Bates talks about his disagreement with Bill Cosby's remarks

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Percy Bates reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Percy Bates talks about being the longest serving African American faculty member at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Percy Bates reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Percy Bates talks about affirmative action at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Percy Bates talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Percy Bates describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Percy Bates narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Percy Bates remembers his friendship with musician Earl Grant
Percy Bates describes his career path from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan to U.S. Department of Education
Transcript
What kinds of things would you sing? Now these are--you would go in popular venues and you're singing popular songs?$$Popular songs. I actually when I got, when I was in the [U.S.] Army I met a young man who was a musician named Earl Grant, and Earl later became reasonably famous. But Earl played the piano and organ and so he would accompany me and then we would sing duets together and so forth. When I got out of the [U.S.] Army, Earl said that his sister owned a club in Missouri some place, and that if I wanted to come there he could get me a job and I could go. I said well actually I think I wanna go to college, and I'm not sure I wanna do this. And so I came to Central Michigan [College; Central Michigan University] in Mount Pleasant [Michigan], Earl went home, and the next thing I knew Earl was on ['The] Ed Sullivan [Show'] and then he had a couple of hit records there--$$He had a couple. I'm trying to think of his big hits, but he was big in the '50s [1950s].$$He did, he, he--I remember he had one called the number 64 [sic. 54], the house, the house with the bamboo floor [sic. 'House of Bamboo']. I've forgotten the name of the, all of the song. He did, he did quite well for himself--$$Earl Grant was very (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) and then he was killed in an automobile accident. He--it was ironic because when I was in the Army I used to kid him about his, his driving and then he actually stopped driving and got himself a driver and was driving to a gig somewhere and ran off the road and he was, he was killed--$Well tell me about your career now when, when you, now after you got your Ph.D. what did you, where did you go next with your career?$$I was, I got my Ph.D. at the University of Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan] and at that time we had a rule that we didn't hire our own Ph.D.'s, but that was in 1968 we were right in the middle of a frantic search for minority persons. In fact, we had just had a student strike here on campus and I had been teaching while I was working on my degree, and the dean said didn't make much sense for him, for me to go someplace else while he's looking for minority professors.$$Let me put this in perspective a bit. This is like '68 [1968], this is right after the or just before the assassination of [Reverend] Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.]. He was assassinated--$$Right.$$-in '68 [1968]. A lot of students are calling for reform on campus and black studies programs.$$Oh, we shut down the, the University of Michigan was shut down. It was called the BAM strike, the Black Action Movement, and the university both black and white students was shut down completely, and we had, they had placed ten demands on the table, one of which was to increase the minority faculty and students on campus and that's when I became an assistant professor here at the university. When I moved from that to I was a program head, I became an assistant dean with a couple of deans, in the end of the [President James Earl "Jimmy"] Carter [Jr.] administration I was appointed as a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Office of Education [U.S. Department of Education] and I took a leave of absence from the university and when I left that, then I came back here. In addition to that, I've been involved in athletics here on campus. I'm also the, what's called the faculty athletic representative for the university to the Big Ten [Conference] and the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association]. So, I've been doing that now for about fifteen years as well.