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Cora Masters Barry

Professor and civic leader Cora Masters Barry was born on May 7, 1945 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Isabell and Alfred Masters. She graduated from Paseo Academy in Kansas City, Missouri in 1962. Barry briefly attended Pasadena City College and Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri before graduating from Texas Southern University with her B.A. degree in 1969. She subsequently earned her M.A. degree in urban studies and public administration from Howard University in 1972.

In 1971, Barry began working on Walter Fauntroy's congressional campaign where she first met Marion Barry, whom she married in 1994. In 1976, Barry began teaching political science at the University of the District of Columbia, where she specialized in teaching “Black Politics, Comparative Political Studies, the Presidency, and the Constitution.” She was later hired as the northern Virginia minority coordinator for President Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign in 1980. That same year, Marion Barry, then mayor of Washington D.C., appointed her to the District of Columbia's Boxing and Wrestling Commission, making her the first woman in the United States to hold such a position. She later became chairwoman of the commission. Barry later ran a voter registration drive for Marion Barry's 1994 re-election campaign and chaired his inaugural committee. As First Lady of the District of Columbia, Barry founded the Recreation Wish List Committee (RWLC) in 1995 to support recreational activities and provide a nurturing learning environment for underserved youth in Washington D.C. That same year, she, with Dr. Dorothy I. Height, co-organized the “Women for the Million Man March.” In 2001, she founded the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, a premier tennis and education facility.

Throughout her career, Barry has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the DC Chamber of Commerce Community Impact Award, being named the 2013 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine, the USTA Founders Award, and the National Recreation and Park Association’s Robert Artz Citizen Advocacy Award. She was also inducted into the USTA’s Mid-Atlantic Tennis and Education Foundation’s Hall of Fame and the Black Tennis Hall of Fame.

Cora Masters Barry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 6, 2005 and June 16, 2012.

Accession Number

A2005.121

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/3/2019

5/6/2005

6/16/2012

Last Name

Barry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Masters

Schools

W.R. Banks Elementary School

Phillis Wheatley High School

Dillard University

Wellesley College

George Washington University

Harvard University

Atherton Elementary

First Name

Cora

Birth City, State, Country

Oklahoma City

HM ID

BAR07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Africa

Favorite Quote

It's Not Gonna Turn Out Right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/7/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Potatoes

Short Description

Professor and civic leader Cora Masters Barry (1945- ), as the First Lady of the District of Columbia, founded the Recreation Wish List Committee in 1995 and the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in 2001, and co-organized the “Women for the Million Man March.”

Employment

Brown University

Prairie View A&M University

Smith College

Princeton University

Spelman College

University of Southern California

California State University, Northridge

University of New Orleans

Radcliffe College

George Washington University

Language Services Division, U.S. Department of State

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cora Masters Barry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry describes her mother, Isabell Masters

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry describes her father, Alfred Masters

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry describes her father's experience with racism in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry describes her maternal family ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cora Masters describes her maternal family ancestry and the Exodus of 1879

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cora Masters Barry describes her parents meeting at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cora Masters Barry describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cora Masters Barry talks about moving to Los Angeles, California in the second wave of the Great Migration

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Cora Masters Barry describes her family life as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Cora Masters Barry describes growing up in predominantly white suburbs of Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Cora Masters Barry describes her experience at Cienega Elementary School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Cora Masters Barry describes her neighbor, comedian Tim Moore who played Kingfish on 'Amos 'n' Andy,' pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cora Masters Barry describes her neighbor, comedian Tim Moore who played Kingfish on 'Amos 'n' Andy,' pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her experience at Gompers Middle School in South Central, and Washington Junior High in Pasadena, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry describes living in a predominantly white neighborhood in Pasadena, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry describes her experience at John Muir, Manual Arts, and Paseo Academy High Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry talks about de-facto segregation at John Muir High School and Manual Arts High School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry talks about transferring to Paseo Academy High School in Kansas City, and being the first black performer in its student talent show

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry describes her experience at Pasadena City College, and explains how she got to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cora Masters Barry describes her freshman year at Lincoln University in 1964

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cora Masters Barry describes leaving Lincoln University and working as a teacher's assistant in California's Head Start pilot program

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cora Masters Barry describes her first semester at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the influence of black-nationalism at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the 1968 shooting of unarmed students at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry talks about graduating from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas in 1969

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the black power movement in northern California and the arrest of Black Panther chief of staff David Hilliard

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry describes Texas Southern University after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination and anti-war demonstrations in Berkeley, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry talks about finishing her graduate degree in urban policy at Howard University in Washington D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cora Masters Barry describes working on HistoryMaker Walter Fauntroy's 1971 campaign for congress with HistoryMaker Marion Barry

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cora Masters Barry talks about working with the National Council of Negro Women, and on HistoryMaker Marion Barry's campaign for the D.C. school board

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cora Masters Barry describes working as the coordinator for "The Committee to Draft HistoryMaker Marion Barry for Chairman of City Council"

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the Home Rule Act and the election of HistoryMaker Walter Fauntroy as Washington, D.C.'s delegate for the U.S. Congress

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her teaching appointment in political science at the University of the District of Columbia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry talks about organizing a boxing fundraiser for athletic programs in Washington D.C.'s public schools

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry talks about working as the northern Virginia minority coordinator for President Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry talks about working as the northern Virginia minority coordinator for President Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her controversial nomination to the District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her controversial nomination for the District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry describes her experience of gender discrimination at her first weigh-in as boxing commissioner

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry describes chairing the District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission and her involvement with the International Boxing Federation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the 1988 court proceedings around allegations of "double-dipping," pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the 1988 court proceedings around allegations of "double-dipping," pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry talks about female government officials in boxing

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her relationship with HistoryMaker Marion Barry, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cora Masters Barry Cora talks about her relationship with HistoryMaker Marion Barry, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of the second session of Cora Masters Barry's interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her relationship with HistoryMaker Marion Barry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry talks about support of HistoryMaker Marion Barry in Washington, D.C.'s black community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry talks about HistoryMaker Marion Barry's 1994 re-election campaign and 1995 inauguration

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry explains the founding and function of the Recreation Wish List Committee

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry talks about early supporters of the Recreation Wish List Committee

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry describes conceiving the idea for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Cora Masters Barry describes the first phase in development for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Cora Masters describes the first phase in development for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center campaign kickoff event

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry explains how she secured a developer for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the Washington Tennis Foundation's effort to block the development of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry talks about fundraising for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry talks about Mayor Anthony Williams' contribution to the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center grand opening ceremony

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry talks about educational and athletic programming at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Cora Masters Barry talks about celebrity philanthropists

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Cora Masters Barry talks about educational and athletic programming at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the poverty and socioeconomic issues in Southeast Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry talks about receiving an eviction notice from the Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's office, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry talks about receiving an eviction notice from the Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's office, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the involvement of HistoryMakers Dorothy Height and Maya Angelou in defense of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the eviction court proceedings of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center building, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the eviction court proceedings of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center building, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry describes former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's vision for the Southeast Tennis and Education Center

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Cora Masters Barry talks about importance of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the talented players at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center and hosting the National Junior Tennis League tournament

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Cora Masters Barry talks briefly about her home church, Union Temple Baptist

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Cora Masters Barry talks about the tenth anniversary of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Cora Masters Barry describes the social services available at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Cora Masters Barry describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Cora Masters Barry talks the future of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her daughters

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her mother, Isabell Masters' presidential campaign and an interaction with former U.S. president William "Bill" Clinton

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Cora Masters Barry talks about her friendship with HistoryMaker Marion Barry

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Cora Masters Barry talks about how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Cora Masters Barry describes her experience at Pasadena City College, and explains how she got to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri
Cora Masters Barry describes conceiving the idea for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
After high school [Paseo High School, later, Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri], then where did you go--$$Went back to Pasadena [California], went to Pasadena City College [Pasadena, California] and promptly flunked out.$$Now what do you attribute that to?$$Not being interested. I made an A and--let me see, I made an A, and a F, and the rest were Ds. I think the A was in a cappella choir and the D was in the gym--the F was in gym, which it meant, of course, that I never went. The D was in all the rest of it.$$Okay, so what did you after that?$$You mean what did my mother [Isabella Arch Masters] do?$$Yeah, what did your mother do?$$She told me I was going to get a college education or get a job, which, of course, terrified me the thought of getting a job.$$All right. So what did your mother--(simultaneous)--$$Well I was quite all right with flunking out because I really--they used to have a thing at Pasadena College called, The Wall. I used to spend a lot of time on it.$$This is w-a-l-l?$$You know where you hang out and talk, and just, you know. I was having a ball. The problem was a lot of my friends from high school were going to PCC [Pasadena City College]. You know, Pasadena City College was probably the highest rated junior college in the United States at that time. I mean Pasadena was--you know.$$This is '62 [1962], '63 [1963]?$$Yes. But her thing was, "You're going to get a job or you're going to get back into college," which, of course, the job thing kind of terrified me because I wasn't used to that. So she wanted me to go to Langston [University, Langston, Oklahoma]. I did not want to go to Langston because everybody in my family--my mother graduated from Langston, my father [Alfred Masters] graduated from there, my uncle, my aunt. I wasn't going to do the Langston thing. So she--I think they turned me down anyway. I think she applied. My grades were so bad. She said, "You apply as a freshman, forget that first disastrous year," which I told her I was going to do, but I never did. So my brother, which I hadn't mentioned, was a child preacher, started preaching three years old. So he was on the road a lot. I used to travel with him, singing a lot.$$This was an older brother?$$Baby brother.$$Okay.$$He's a bishop right now in West Palm Beach, Florida. But he used to travel all over the country and he was a preacher and I was the singer. There's a lot of stuff in my life. I can't remember all of it at one time.$$Now, you sang gospel?$$Mm-hmm.$$Okay.$$So were on the road that summer. Mother stopped talking to me about what--I don't know I probably lied and said I had applied and had not heard back or whatever. So were just traveling around the country and then we got to St. Louis, Missouri and we were on the way to Kansas City, Missouri, I think he preached in St. Louis we were on our way to Kansas City, Missouri which is where my aunt lived, which I'm sure he had some appointments to preach there also. And when we got to a place called Jefferson City, Missouri, my mother drove up this long hill and we were at this school called Lincoln University [Jefferson City, Missouri]. She went inside the building, the administration building, came back out with the dean of students, and took my suitcase out and said, "You're going here to college."$$And what happened?$$I had a fit. I wouldn't talk to the man. She had not warned me. But, see, I had graduated from a high school in Missouri and this was a state school, so if you graduated, it didn't matter. You could just-and she had told him all this and he said, "Contingent on her records, I'm going to take your word for it that she is a graduate from a school in Missouri, so we can take her now because we're having freshman orientation." My mother dropped me off in the middle of nowhere at Lincoln University. They took me over to a dormitory hall called Anthony Hall, which was nothing but freshman and she took me to my room. I was furious. I didn't want to speak to her. I didn't even say good bye. She dropped me and my little suitcase off in the middle of nowhere is where I describe it. She went on about her business. Well, she tells the story that she went to Kansas City, where she was heading. Jefferson City, Missouri is almost in the middle between St. Louis and Kansas City, so like maybe 130 miles from one and about 140 miles from the other. So she went to Kansas City, Missouri and her plan was to check back and if I was still in that mode, she would come back and get me. So she left me there. She called back about seven or eight o'clock. I don't know what time. I didn't have time to talk to her. I had met some kids from Cincinnati [Ohio], from Chicago [Illinois], from Dallas [Texas], and from Oklahoma City [Oklahoma], and one of our friend's father--her name was Jamilla Gibson[-Bell] . Her father [Joseph Deighton Gibson Jr.] was Jockey Jack and they used to call him "Jack, the rapper." Before he died, everybody knew him around the country, he is well-known. But, at the time, he was with Motown. So she had this portable battery-operated record player and they had all the advanced, pre-released versions of all Motown songs and another girlfriend that I met from Oklahoma City named Sandra Biggers [ph.] had a jug and on it wrote "medicine," but in it was wine. So between the records and the wine and the cards I was having a ball. So my mother called back. I was like, "I'm having fun." You know, "Alright thank you, talk to you later." So that's how I ended up at Lincoln University.$Okay, so you had projects all over the city [Washington, D.C.] at first. And then--so when did you focus in on this particular project here?$$Well, I really didn't focus on it as a project initially, not to the extent that it is now. One day I was riding down the street and I saw this property, this land, and there were a lot of young people hanging out, looking like they could get themselves in a little trouble and I saw these poles that looked like they were tennis things. And I checked and said, "Yeah, there used to be courts there." They used to be called The Hart Court because it's right next to Hart Junior High School [later, Hart Middles School, Washington, D.C.], and I said, "I wonder if we renovate or build some courts, will the kids come?" So I did a little cursory marketing survey. We built six courts, and all the tennis organizations starting playing courts on them and having programs. The Washington Tennis [and Education] Foundation started using it for their Arthur Ashe [Children's] Program, the (unclear) Tennis Council used it, Totally Tennis, Tennis at Shiloh, all those different organizations that had junior tennis programs started using these courts and myself used to come and play tennis with my husband [HM Marion Barry] and also my coach was Dr. Arnold McKnight. And I would come and play tennis with Marion and then be coached by Arnold, and I started playing with some of the kids and I just took an interest in them. And I found out that through playing tennis with them and watching them--they could really play tennis because many of them were playing with the Washington Tennis Foundation at that time because they had an inner-city program, although they were up on 16th Street. They had a sort of busing situation, but those kids would settle their difference or their beef on the corner at the tennis matches or they would be flipping the birdie at each other, or call each other names. I began to do what I considered informal mentoring. For example, I would give them assignments. For instance, I would say, "Today, I want you to write when you go to school, good attitude, good results, bad attitude, bad results. Give me five things you did that when you had a good attitude, what happened, and five things that happened when you had a bad attitude." Then I'd be there the next day to collect it and talk with them. Finally, one day, I was standing on the corner with Dr. McKnight and I said, "You know what, doc?" I just put the racket--I just dropped my racket, and I said, "You know what? I want to build a building." I really believe to this day and I will believe it until the day that I die that was a vision from the Holy Spirit; just something came over me and said, "You should build a building." He looked over across there and he said, "What do you mean?" I said, "This is not enough. Tennis is not enough for these kids. These kids need--they need mentoring; they need homework assistance, they need guidance, they need more in their life. Tennis is not going to get them where they're going, not from this community." He always laughed because he said, "Okay, that's great but right now we gotta finish this tennis lesson because I gotta go," he was a principal up at [Ferebee-Hope Elementary School, Washington D.C.] and he needed to get to school. It was early in the morning. And that was my first inspiration about doing something here on this property that we are sitting in right now.$$Now about what year was that?$$That was probably about 1995.

E. Ginger Sullivan

Civic leader E. Ginger Sullivan was born on July 30, 1933 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to Catherine Caesar and James Williamson. Sullivan attended Craneville Elementary School and Pittsfield High School. In 1955, Sullivan received her B.A. degree from Northeastern University. She later received her J.D. degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in the 1970s.

While attending Northeastern University, Sullivan served as a hepatic research technician at Yale School of Medicine. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she worked as a medical assistant. She later joined Massachusetts General Hospital as a cardiovascular researcher. An active member of Christ Church in Boston, Massachusetts, she helped plan the church’s trip to attend the March on Washington in 1963. In 1975, Sullivan’s husband, Dr. Louis Sullivan, was appointed dean of Morehouse College Medical Education Program. During his deanship, Sullivan clerked for a Fulton County Superior Court Judge and founded the Friends of Morehouse School of Medicine. After President George H.W. Bush appointed Dr. Louis Sullivan U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in 1988, Sullivan served as a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute on the early detection and treatment of breast and prostate cancers in 1989. During this time, Sullivan also joined the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships for three years. In 1993, Sullivan and her family returned to Atlanta, where Dr. Louis Sullivan served as president of Morehouse School of Medicine until 2002.

Sullivan served as founder and co-sponsor of The Sullivan 5K Run/Walk Road Race for Health & Fitness on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She has also served on the boards of the High Museum of Art, the Alliance Theatre, True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, Wolf Trap, the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the Arthritis Foundation of Georgia, and was a strong supporter of Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB) and Africare. A member of the Buckhead Cascade Chapter of Links, Inc. and the auxiliaries to the Atlanta Medical Association and the National Medical Association, Sullivan was active in the Atlanta community.

Sullivan and her husband, Dr. Louis Sullivan, have three children: Paul, Shanta, and Halsted.

E. Ginger Sullivan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.087

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/22/2019

Last Name

Sullivan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Craneville Elementary School

Pittsfield High School

Northeastern University

Atlanta Law School

First Name

E. Ginger

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsfield

HM ID

SUL03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard or South Africa

Favorite Quote

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/30/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Bluefish

Short Description

Civic leader E. Ginger Sullivan (1933- ) founded the Friends of Morehouse School of Medicine and served as a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute from 1989 to 1993.

Employment

Yale School of Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital

Superior Court of Fulton County

National Cancer Institute

Favorite Color

Blue

Peter Blair Henry

Economist and academic administrator Peter Blair Henry was born on July 30, 1969 in Kingston, Jamaica to George Henry and Caroll Henry. After moving to Wilmette, Illinois with his family at age nine, Henry attended New Trier High School. He earned his B.A. degree with distinction and highest honors in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991. A Rhodes Scholar, Henry graduated from Oxford University with his B.A. degree in mathematics in 1993, and went on to receive his Ph.D. degree in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997.

Henry worked as a consultant to the Governor of The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in 1994. The following year, he worked as a consultant to the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica. In 1997, Henry became an assistant professor of economics at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He was promoted to associate professor of economics with tenure in 2005, becoming the first tenured African American professor at the Graduate School of Business. He obtained a full professorship in 2007, and was named the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of International Economics in 2008. That same year, he led the external economic advisory group for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. After the election, Henry served on President Obama’s transition team as leader of the review of international lending agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and was appointed to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships the following year. In 2010, Henry became the first African American dean, and the youngest dean, of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He served in the position for eight years, becoming Dean Emeritus in 2018 and continuing as William R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Finance.

In 2013, Henry released his first book, Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth. Henry also published numerous articles on international economics, including “Debt Relief,” with Serkan Arslanalp, in the Journal of Economic Perspectives (2006); “Capital Account Liberalization: Theory, Evidence, and Speculation” in the Journal of Economic Literature (2007); and “Institutions vs. Policies: A Tale of Two Islands,” with Conrad Miller, in the American Economic Review (2009). Henry was named to the Citigroup Board of Directors in 2015 and the Board of Directors of Nike in 2018. He also served on the Board of Directors of General Electric from 2016 to 2018.

In 2014, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Henry established the Ph.D. Excellence Initiative, a post-baccalaureate program designed to address underrepresentation in economics by mentoring exceptional students of color interested in pursuing doctoral studies in the field.

Henry and his wife, Lisa J. Nelson, have four children.

Peter Blair Henry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 29, 2016 and January 18, 2017.

Accession Number

A2016.088

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/29/2016 |and| 1/18/2017

11/29/2016

1/18/2017

Last Name

Henry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Blair

Schools

Avoca West Elementary School

Marie Murphy School

New Trier Township High School

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Oxford

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

Kingston

HM ID

HEN07

Favorite Season

Christmas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Spain - Andalusia, Ghana

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/30/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Jamaica

Favorite Food

Jerk pork

Short Description

Economist and academic administrator Peter Blair Henry (1969 - ) served on President Barack Obama’s 2008 transition team, and on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. In 2010, he became the youngest and first African American dean of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Employment

New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Stanford University, Graduate School of Business

Stanford University, School of Humanities and Sciences

Favorite Color

Blue