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Donald Carpenter

Distinguished professor of sociology Donald Ray Carpenter was born on September 27, 1943 in Tyler, Texas to Modestine Truesdale Carpenter. In the absence of his father, he was raised by his grandmother, a Seventh Day Adventist. As a youth, Carpenter moved to Ogden, Utah, a city known for its historical involvement as a railroad town saturated with black night life, when his stepfather, John Carpenter, a radio repairman, was hired at Hill AFB near Ogden. Carpenter attended T.J. Austin Elementary School before graduating from Ogden High School in 1962. He performed as an organist and pianist for New Zion Baptist Church for forty-seven years. Carpenter went on to enroll at Weber State University where he majored in sociology and minored in anthropology. While attending Weber State, Carpenter also earned a living by working for Wonder Bread Bakery and the U.S. Post Office.

In 1972, Carpenter entered the University of Utah where he pursued his M.S.W. degree in social work. Afterwards, he returned to his alma mater in 1973 and began teaching in Weber State’s Social Work/Gerontology Department. In 1974, he attended the summer institute at the University of Chicago where he studied curriculum development for social work education. Carpenter went on to further his education by earning his Ph.D. in cultural foundation of education in 1986. He was awarded tenure at Weber State University that same year, and in 1993, he became chair of the Department of Social Work and Gerontology at Weber State University.

After retiring in 2003, Carpenter became the Administrator/Head Start Director of the Ogden/Weber Community Action Partnership, an organization that helps the disadvantaged on the local, state and federal levels. He has received many awards and recognitions including: Social Worker of the Year, Utah Chapter of NASW, 1998; 33 Degree Mason, 1988; Past Master of Mt. Ogden Lodge #20, Ogden, Utah; Past Commander-in-Chief of Ben Lomond Consistory, Ogden, Utah; Past Potentate of Rabbak Temple #218, Ogden, Utah and LCSW Social Worker, State of Utah.

Carpenter has been married to the former Elizabeth Ann Washington for forty-six years. Together they have two daughters, Tamera Lynn and Leslie Ann, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Carpenter passed away on November 9, 2018.

Carpenter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 14, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.051

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/14/2008

Last Name

Carpenter

Maker Category
Schools

Ogden High School

North Davis Junior High School

T.J. Austin Elementary School

Lewis Junior High School

Roy Junior High School

First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Tyler

HM ID

CAR17

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/27/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Beef (Ground)

Death Date

11/9/2018

Short Description

Social worker and sociology professor Donald Carpenter (1943 - 2018) served as the chair of the Department of Social Work and Gerontology at Weber State University. He was also the administrator and Head Start director of the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc.

Employment

Weber School

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald Carpenter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter describes his birth father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with his birth father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter describes his stepfather's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with his stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald Carpenter talks about how his mother met his birth father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donald Carpenter describes his mother and stepfather's marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald Carpenter describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter describes his neighborhood in Tyler, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter remembers the Liberty Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with the elders in his community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter remembers T.J. Austin Elementary School in Tyler, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter recalls his family's move to Clearfield, Utah

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter remembers Ogden High School in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter describes his college aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald Carpenter remembers marrying his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald Carpenter recalls his mentors at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Donald Carpenter talks about his early awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald Carpenter describes the demographics of Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter talks about race relations in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter remembers Professor Ray Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter recalls his work at the Clearfield Job Corps Center in Clearfield, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter remembers the guidance of his mentor, Professor Ray Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter recalls becoming a tenured professor at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter describes his Ph.D. dissertation

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter talks about the termination of Director H.C. Massey from the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald Carpenter talks about his directorship of the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter describes his plans to honor H.C. Massey

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter recalls the controversy over H.C. Massey's termination

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter describes his achievements with the Head Start program in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his directorship of the Head Start program in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter describes his hopes and concerns for the communities of color in Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter talks about H.C. Massey

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald Carpenter describes his concerns for the Head Start program

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter talks about the role of the church in the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter describes his family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter talks about the history of African Americans in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

12$5

DATitle
Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with his mother
Donald Carpenter reflects upon his directorship of the Head Start program in Ogden, Utah
Transcript
When you think about the personalities of your mother and your stepfather [John Carpenter] in particular, who do you think you take after the most?$$My mother, no question. Her and I be--she had so many children and they were so close in particular when we came to Utah I had to really kind of step in and help her quite a bit with those children, and even now my father was a good person, but in the early days he drank quite a bit. So, I had to be the buffer quite a bit between him and her and she depended a lot on me because she was quite young. See she was only about twenty-two, twenty-three when we came to Utah, so she was a young woman herself. In fact, my mother and I are more like brothers and sisters than mother and son. In fact, I call her Modestine [Modestine Truesdell Carpenter]. I don't call her mother, I call her by her name. And, but we--I know what she went through for me, so therefore I'm pretty wired close to her, which gets into a whole lot of things later in years, but she make great sacrifices, I mean no question in my mind. I can name them, go through them. So, we have quite a close relationship. In fact, she says to me all of the time, even today, "If I lost any of my children," the most difficult one would be if she lost me.$So this will be your last job you think as such (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, oh absolutely.$$Okay.$$I'm just, I've got to stay until we've overcome the obstacles. I, I don't know how much longer I'll stay. I, it's really a more rewarding job to me than when I was teaching school. That was an easier job, but this job is more rewarding in the sense that--well it think one of the things that have worked, I've had a career, I've had positions, so I don't have nothing to prove other than to come here and help the staff here. I'm not coming in on an ego trip, I, I've been there, done that. And these people bust their butts for me, and a lot of these people have been here twenty years they know a hell of a lot more than I know about Head Start, but they are so committed and since I've been here I mean they make sure that--it was the staff that led this agency [Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc., Ogden, Utah] to a zero finding, which is very unusual in the Head Start world. But one of the things I like about it is that it's put me in contact with people I never would have met at the college level, you know like Bob Coard [Robert M. Coard] out of ABCD [Action for Boston Community Development] out of Boston [Massachusetts]. I don't know if you're familiar with him. You really need to do him. I mean he's got the biggest community action program in the United States, Coard, ABCD. He's got four thousand kids in the Head Start program. But, at the nation, at the, at the regional and national level the contacts that I made have just been invaluable, and I think his help helped the, helped the agency tremendously. It's no secret in terms of people knowing about the troubles of this agency, but people coming in saying we want to help has a lot to do in terms the network that I've developed with it and we're making progress and we're, we just don't have those problems anymore and so I've got to stay just long enough that I get the seed planted where it continues to grow. It's got to do even better when I leave, and I'm trying to look at succession planning that when I leave you don't have to go all around the country to find a new director, you have one right here, right here in this agency.$$To have, so--$$People who and I've convinced the board we need to do succession planning. I've made sure that the managers understand if you want this seat it's gon- you gonna have to have at least a master's degree to get it. So, through your T and TA [training and technical assistance] plan I sent them to this Johnson and Johnson Institute in California [Irvin, California] to get that certification, the Head Start certification, you know the career development. I'm saying that, "My last hoorah in this agency is to see--I got five managers. One of you five ought to get this job. I want all of you to be so qualified until the board is going to struggle with who to give it to because you paid your dues." And I think when people feel that they can, if, if I work hard, if I do what I need to do, I might have chance to be promoted when something come up. And so it's, it's, it's, it's work, worked well and I mean I have great respect in the region. I'm, like I say, president of the Region 8 board. I deal with Denver [Colorado]. I deal with D.C. [Washington, D.C.], deal with them all. And it's really been a fun job, in particular with the state level CSBG and that whole system. I, it's, it's worked out really well, so it's been a great experience for me. Actually I'm having more fun here then I did at Weber [Weber State College; Weber State University, Ogden, Utah].