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Alma Dodd

Insurance executive Alma Leola Dodd was born on September 5, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois, to George and Velma Roberts. Dodd received her B.S. degree in education from Northern Illinois University in 1966. She received her M.S. degree and completed her post graduate work in education with a focus on special education, learning disabilities, and administration & supervision from Chicago State University in 1974.

Dodd began her career in education as a teacher at Woodson North Elementary School in Chicago, where she taught from 1967 through 1970. She then worked as a language arts teacher at Dixon Elementary School in Chicago from 1970 to 1975. From 1975 to 1979, she worked at Victor F. Lawson School, Center for Learning Disabilities as a teacher of reading. From 1979 to 1981, she taught reading at Gillespie Elementary School, Center for Learning Disabilities. Dodd then worked as an instructional intervention teacher for the District 17 Learning Disabilities Program in Chicago from 1981 to 1985. Dodd was promoted to District 17 Supervisor, a position in which she coordinated Chapter One Programs, and supervised 42 Chapter One programs in area schools between 1985 and 1988.

In 1988, Dodd began a new career in the insurance industry when she became part owner and operator of an Allstate Insurance Company in Calumet City, Illinois. From 1990 through 1994, her agency was recognized as the Top Allstate Insurance Agency in Illinois. Dodd is a charter member of the Windy City Chapter of The Links, Inc., and is a former chapter president. Dodd also serves on the board of directors for ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Black Creativity, The HistoryMakers, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dodd has been honored as an outstanding member of the community. The organization 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc., honored Dodd for her exemplary support of youth. In addition, Chicago Magazine recognized her as an outstanding leader in the Chicago community as part of the Marshall Field’s Project Imagine.

Dodd is married to fellow insurance agent Louis Dodd. They have three children: Robert Dodd, Kimberly Yelverton, and Courtney Dodd.

Accession Number

A2008.139

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/21/2008

Last Name

Dodd

Maker Category
Middle Name

Leola

Occupation
Schools

Oakland School

Holy Angels Catholic School

St. Elizabeth Catholic School

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Northeastern Illinois University

Chicago State University

First Name

Alma

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DOD02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

Service Is The Price You Pay For Occupying Your Space On Earth.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/5/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Greens

Short Description

Insurance executive Alma Dodd (1944 - ) worked twenty-one years in Chicago public schools, ending as a district supervisor. Then she became part owner and operator of Dodd’s Insurance Agency, recognized as the best in the state from 1990 to 1994. Dodd was a charter member of the Windy City Chapter of The Links, Inc., and has been honored for her services to the community.

Employment

Woodson North Elementary School

Arthur Dixon Elementary School

Victor F. Lawson School

Gillespie Elementary School

Instructional Intervention Teacher

Dodd's Insurance Agency

Favorite Color

Yellow

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alma Dodd's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alma Dodd describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alma Dodd lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alma Dodd describes her likeness to her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alma Dodd describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alma Dodd recalls the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alma Dodd recalls the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd describes her activities at the South Side YWCA

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd remembers her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd recalls her mentors in school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd remembers her scholarship to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alma Dodd describes her experiences at Northern Illinois University, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alma Dodd describes her experiences at Northern Illinois University, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alma Dodd remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alma Dodd recalls her involvement with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Alma Dodd describes the role of religion in her upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alma Dodd remembers her first student teaching assignment

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd remembers her first teaching position

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd recalls her challenges as a teacher, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd recalls her challenges as a teacher, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd remembers Arthur Dixon Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd remembers earning a master's degree at Chicago State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alma Dodd describes her work at reading clinics

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alma Dodd talks about the graduation rates at disadvantaged schools, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alma Dodd talks about the graduation rates at disadvantaged schools, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alma Dodd describes her role as an instructional intervention teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Alma Dodd recalls Harold Washington's mayoral campaign in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alma Dodd recalls the corruption in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd describes her decision to leave the teaching profession

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd describes her decision to enter the insurance industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd describes Dodd's Insurance Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd remembers a life insurance policy she sold

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alma Dodd describes the role of life insurance in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alma Dodd talks about the clientele of her insurance agency

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alma Dodd describes her role at The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Alma Dodd talks about her family's hospitality business

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alma Dodd talks about her community involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

11$9

DATitle
Alma Dodd recalls Harold Washington's mayoral campaign in Chicago, Illinois
Alma Dodd describes her role at The Links, Incorporated
Transcript
Now this is the, the Harold Washington era, too. Did, did you get active in the campaign?$$Very much so (laughter).$$I know a lot of teachers were active.$$Right. Very much so, and I can remember, you know, it was like a feeling in the air that you knew that, because I lived in the city at that time and you just, I don't want to go into politics but you just knew that some kind of change had to come. I lived through the big snow, I lived through not being able to drive to work, my husband [HistoryMaker Louis Dodd] had to take the kids to my mother's [Velma Morrison Young] and I had to just make it the best way I can, because you couldn't even get down the street for weeks at a time, and so we just knew that a change had come and I could remember that I took off work three days of the week that he, I took off Friday, Monday, and then Tuesday was the election. We made calls, we had, the office was set up on 47th Street, where the South Center [Chicago, Illinois] was, and so we would make calls to the people in the neighborhood and set up ways to have them picked up and brought to the election, et cetera. And I still knew a lot of the people in the community because I had taught down there and I still had a lot of teachers down there so we really worked with getting the parents out to come out and vote, and so on, and I knew that Harold was particularly interested in coming in and making a difference with the schools. He came in, he put Dr. Manford Byrd [HistoryMaker Manford Byrd, Jr.] in, our first black superintendent, you know. Just a lot of the changes, and I knew Manford had been there. He had been sitting there as assistant for so long. He knew the ins and outs of how to keep the system going, what we needed to do, where our emphasis should be in terms of the reading, the math programs, and so on. So, I think that's why it was important to, I just looked at it from the perspective of the educational viewpoint more so than overall city and all of that. I just knew that Harold could make a difference to help us on the South Side [Chicago, Illinois], and he did, you know. The streets changed, the schools changed, money went into the schools. At one time, as nice as Dixon [Arthur Dixon Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois] was, I could remember it snowing in my classroom, you know? So, it wasn't like it was all gravy. When Harold came in, the money went into those schools on the South Side. And, it did make a difference.$(Simultaneous) Now you've mentioned eta [eta Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago, Illinois], Parkway Community House [Chicago, Illinois], the well (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm. The bulk of my time now is with The Links organization [The Links, Incorporated]. Have you heard of The Links? It's probably one of the premiere women's organizations, about twelve thousand membership and it's an international organization, you know. We're in South Africa, the Bahamas, Germany, as well as the U.S., and I've done a lot of work with them over the years, but right now I am what you call the national program coordinator, so with 270 chapters, all chapters have to do some kind of service for their respective communities and as the national program coordinator, I'm responsible for helping to set the program agenda, really being out there supporting the chapters, helping them to design programs, working with the business community to bring in funds to finance the programs, and so on. It takes a lot of travel. I just came back from South Africa. Earlier this year we built fifty-five schools in South Africa, so I've been working with them. We're working with the women of Rwanda. You know, in the aftermath of the genocide, there were so many orphan children and the society was almost 70 percent women for a while and so they took on an entrepreneurial project of basket weaving, and from the work with their basket weaving, they've been able to turn around that economy, the education, the hospitalization. They've done a lot of things. So I've been working a lot with them, and then there are a lot of domestic things that we're doing. We're working with HIV AIDS [human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome], teen pregnancy, you name it, we're out there, and I'm kind of sitting in the driver's seat in terms of working with the chapters, the presidents, and the executive consult of our organization.$$Okay. Is Chicago [Illinois] the national headquarters for the Links--$$Washington, D.C., um-hm (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Washington, D.C., okay, all right.$$Yeah, we're sixty-one years, sixty-two years old.