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Maxine Beatrice Baker

Foundation chief executive Maxine Beatrice Baker was born on February 29, 1952 in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Her paternal great-grandfather, Cumberland Posey, was the first African American engineer and boat builder in Pennsylvania. Her paternal great-uncle, Cumberland Posey, Jr., played for and eventually owned the Homestead Grays baseball team. Raised in Washington, D.C. by her mother and maternal grandmother, Baker attended Washington, D.C public schools and graduated from Western High School in 1969.

Attending Emerson College in Boston on a National Merit scholarship, Baker earned her B.S. degree in speech communications in 1973. After spending several years in the aviation industry, Baker joined the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) in 1982 as a budget administrator. She quickly moved through the management ranks at Freddie Mac, serving in various leadership positions including vice president of administration & corporate properties and vice president of human resources. While working as vice president of industry & trade relations, Baker expanded minority business development programs and minority recruitment. In 1997, Baker was named vice president of community relations and president and chief executive officer of the Freddie Mac Foundation, one of the nation's largest corporate philanthropy programs. Under her leadership, the Foundation’s net assets grew from $22 million in 1997 to $235 million in 2003.

Active in many organizations including the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the Washington Regional Area Grantmakers, the Metropolitan Washington Boys and Girls Club and Voices for America's Children, Baker has received many awards for her civic leadership.

Baker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 1, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.057

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/1/2005

Last Name

Baker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Beatrice

Organizations
Schools

Western High School

Jefferson Middle School Academy

John Quincy Adams Elementary School

Mrs. Dorothy's Garden of Children

Emerson College

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Maxine

Birth City, State, Country

Homestead

HM ID

BAK05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

You've Been Paid For.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/29/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Foundation chief executive Maxine Beatrice Baker (1952 - ) was the President and CEO of the Freddie Mac Foundation.

Employment

Air Transport Association

Beauvais, Robert, and Kurth

Urban Institute

Pacific Consultants

Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac Foundation

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maxine Beatrice Baker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maxine Beatrice Baker lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her father and her parents' meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her mother's work and family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers childhood rituals

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her great-uncle, Cumberland Willis Posey, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maxine Beatrice Baker recalls her maternal grandparents' dry cleaning shop

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes a typical day in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers her childhood birthday parties

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers holidays in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers holidays in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her elementary schools in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maxine Beatrice Baker recalls attending Berean Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers her junior high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers her experience at Jefferson Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers feelings of privilege

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her time at Western High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her decision to attend Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers being on the homecoming court at Western High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers changing her name at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maxine Beatrice Baker recalls her time at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her jobs after college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maxine Beatrice Baker recalls her initial impressions of Freddie Mac

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers adopting her daughters

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes being a working mother

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her work with Freddie Mac and the Freddie Mac Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her work with 'Wednesday's Child'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes changes at Freddie Mac

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maxine Beatrice Baker talks about philanthropy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her experience with breast cancer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maxine Beatrice Baker reflects upon being a role model

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maxine Beatrice Baker reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maxine Beatrice Baker describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Maxine Beatrice Baker reflects upon her career

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Maxine Beatrice Baker reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maxine Beatrice Baker narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Maxine Beatrice Baker remembers changing her name at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts
Maxine Beatrice Baker talks about philanthropy
Transcript
You decided to go to Emerson?$$Um-hm.$$And, what were your experiences like there?$$Well I got to Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, my mother [Thelma Maxine Reynolds Baker] drove me up and my recollection, she dropped me off on the curb and her last thing she said to me was, "Make sure you're getting a minor in education in case you ever have to fall back on it." And so that mentality of, of a woman getting a degree, but always have something to fall back on in case your husband and you split up, you know it was very important. When I went to school I had very long hair, it, the movement was really between the Vietnam War movement and the Black Power movement, I think about two or three weeks later, I cut all my hair off, I went to this black salon in, in Boston, I had an afro created. Now my hair is pretty, pretty dead straight, so I got this permanent and every night I would put a 125 perm rods in and then I could roll 'em real fast, you know, I'd get 'em all in and I'd get up in the morning and take 'em out and I'd pick my hair out, pick, pick, pick, pick, pick, pick, pick, it'd take a while to pick it out and I'd take a can of hairspray and I'd spray my hair and then I'd put this scarf on it, I'd hold the scarf and sort of do it, you know, and it big like [HistoryMaker] Angela Davis, you know, and of course when I walked, you know, it would sort of like--it would sort of move--$$(Laughter).$$--like this, you know? It, it definitely moved with me and I was finding myself. Changed my name.$$What did you change your name too?$$My name was Amanata [ph.]. My friend, my good friend from high school [Western High School; Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, D.C.], Linda [ph.], with whom I'm still friends with named me Amanata. It had a, it had a meaning but to this day we can't remember, I should probably look it up. Never told my family that I had changed my name and changed my persona and that Thanksgiving when I came home, I came off of the airplane, I had my head wrapped in a gele, and my mother was standing at the gate when I got off and she saw this very tall head wrapped, I had on a gorgeous navy blue suede coat with zippers all over. And I caught that eye of hers and walked over to her and she says, "I'll meet you out front," and she scurried on away and I said, "Well what about my bags?" She was gone. And I come out with my bags and I get them in the, in the car and we're riding home and she says, "Well what is, what is this rag on your head?" And I said, "It's a gele and I say it's an African head dress." And she says, "Well Maxine, what, what's going on here?" "Don't call me Maxine anymore, I've changed my name, that's my slave name and I'd prefer if you'd call me Amanata." We got home, I had a date that evening with my boyfriend, I went upstairs, 'cause I had the perm rods underneath the gele, okay? So I took the gele, and got the, got the afro positioned and I told her I was going out about eight o'clock, and about a quarter to eight, or seven thirty, eight o'clock she called me downstairs, I came downstairs, through the living room and dining room, turned into the kitchen and she took a pot of water and threw it on me and she said, "Let me be real clear about this, as long as I'm supporting you, I'm sending you to school, you're living in my house, your name is [HistoryMaker] Maxine Beatrice Baker and blow that hair out and no more Amanata."$$What happened to Amanata after that?$$It was almost like a reverse baptism, or, or in that scene in 'The Wizard of Oz,' when the Wicked Witch just sort of, she sort of left.$$Amanata just kind of faded away?$$Um-hm.$Why is philanthropic work important?$$Well, I think it's the, the essence of what the company's [Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation] about. Our company is about financing homes, our foundation [Freddie Mac Foundation] is about making homes a safe, sound, healthy, happy places for children. We know that if children are stabilized, families are stabilized, if families are stabilized, communities are stabilized, so, you know it all goes together about making a better place, better place than what we found. We understand that to whom much is given, much is required, and so we, we take our philanthropic work, as like any other business, we want to be effective, efficient.$$And do you think that, what are some of your thoughts on African Americans and philanthropic work? Often times, it, it's usually not the face that you see when you hear of philanthropy and that kind of thing, what are some of your thoughts?$$You know, I think it depends on how you define philanthropy. I many times our traditional model is someone who is wealthy, and is investing money and putting their names on, you know, different buildings or programs. I would suggest that I think the African c- American community has always been philanthropic, I think we're taught very early on to take care of our own, to support our family and, you know, the, the neighborhood, you don't have to just give dollars, you can give time and we certainly know that our ancestors, those that we know and those that we, that were here before us, have made this place a better place for us to live in. That's what I think philanthropy is about. I love when Dr. Angelou [HistoryMaker Maya Angelou] talks about we've been paid for, we've been paid for by the generation that came before us, by their giving back to the community to make sure that which they came to is better. And that's what I think philanthropy is all about. So, while we may not have big names, other than the Cosbys or that are giving at, at, you know, to may institutions, or Oprah [Winfrey] or whatever, I think we have a history, a rich history of giving back and taking care of others. I--it reminds me of Aunt Beulah's [Beulah Burke] table (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Unclear).$$You know it's, Aunt Beulah taught me early on, it doesn't matter if they're related, they have a right to be here at this table and if as long as we have something to offer, and to share, then that's what we will do.