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Lauranita Dugas

Lifetime educator Lauranita Taylor Dugas was born on December 2, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Dorothy and Robert Taylor. Her father was the first black commissioner of the Chicago Housing Authority, an organization he worked with for eleven years. In 1944, Dugas graduated from Parker High School and moved to Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received her B.A. degree in sociology. In 1949, Dugas married Lester J. Dugas Jr., an electrical engineering student at the time who then became the first black senior manager of Commonwealth Edison in Chicago. The two of them moved to Milwaukee where the Dugas' began a family.

In 1953, Dugas moved back to Chicago. With an interest in education, she began working for the Head Start Program. Three years later, Dugas moved to the State of Illinois’ Institute for Juvenile Research and in 1974, she started working for the Chicago Child Care Society as a supervising teacher. Dugas remained with the Society for twenty-five years until her retirement in 1989. She then returned to the workforce as an educational consultant at Harold Washington College for their Child Development Associate Training Project, a position she held until 2007.

Dugas chaired the Jones-Swift Scholarship fund as part of the Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children, a sector of the national Association for the Education of Young Children. She was also a founding member of the Black Creativity Panel, an event hosted by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She was also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. The board works to update the campus, with such projects as a new Early Childhood Development Center and renovation of the former Home Economics building. In 2009, the book The Classrooms All Young Children Need: Lessons in Teaching from Vivian Paley recognized her for her skillful teaching and support.

Dugas had three children, Gail D. Dugas, Jeffrey A. Dugas Sr., and Lauren Dugas Glover.

Lauranita Dugas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 28, 2010.

Dugas passed away on May 20, 2015.

Accession Number

A2010.032

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/28/2010

Last Name

Dugas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Lewis-Champlin Elementary School

Parker High School

University of Wisconsin-Madison

First Name

Lauranita

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DUG01

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Key West, Florida

Favorite Quote

A Dream Without A Plan Is Just A Wish.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/2/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

5/20/2015

Short Description

City education administrator and teacher Lauranita Dugas (1926 - 2015 ) was a former educational consultant for the Child Development Associate Training Project at Harold Washington College and teacher with the Chicago Child Care Society.

Employment

C.P.S. Head Start

State of Illinois Institute for Juvenile Research

Martin Luther King Jr Park & Family Entertainment Center

Chicago Child Care Society

Harold Washington College

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lauranita Dugas' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes her mother's family background

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas describes the early years of her parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her paternal grandfather's architectural work in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas describes her paternal grandfather's education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her father's collaboration with Julius Rosenwald

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's work in the banking industry

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas talks about the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas describes the racially restrictive housing covenants in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas remembers the segregated public schools in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas describes her father's legacy in the field of public housing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas talks about the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lauranita Dugas describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lauranita Dugas recalls her community in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her sister's work at the Erikson Institute in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas remembers segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas recalls her nursery school in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas remembers her elementary school education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas describes the effects of the Great Depression

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas remembers Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas recalls the racial division in Chicago's South Side

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lauranita Dugas remembers her studies at Parker High School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas remembers the prom at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas recalls her decision to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes her academic difficulties at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her accomplishments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas remembers returning to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas recalls her father's death

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas remembers raising her children in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas remembers the community of Hyde Park-Kenwood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas remembers the community of Hyde Park-Kenwood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes the University of Chicago's impact on the communities of Hyde Park and Kenwood

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas talks about the changes in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas remembers teaching at a Head Start program

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas describes her role at the Institute for Juvenile Research

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas remembers joining the Chicago Child Care Society

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas remembers her tenure at the Chicago Child Care Society

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas describes her philosophy of early childhood education

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas describes her work with Head Start

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas talks about the Black Creativity exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas describes her board memberships, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her husband's community involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lauranita Dugas describes her board memberships, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her family, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lauranita Dugas talks about her family, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lauranita Dugas reflects upon her heritage

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lauranita Dugas describes her friendship with President Barack Obama

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lauranita Dugas talks about politicians from the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lauranita Dugas describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lauranita Dugas narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

10$7

DATitle
Lauranita Dugas recalls her community in the Rosenwald Apartments in Chicago, Illinois
Lauranita Dugas remembers joining the Chicago Child Care Society
Transcript
And he [Dugas' father, Robert Rochon Taylor] was a penny pincher. All of the Taylors are (laughter). But mother [Dorothy Jennings Taylor] was in a different way because she had, she grew up with--without a lot. And my [maternal] grandmother [Laura Smith Jennings] knew how to make a lot out of a little. So, it was a different kind of economy from her side of the family than from his side of the family. And we had almost everything needed--we thought we needed or wanted growing up. We knew that we were privileged, because he had a job, and not everybody did. And we were taught very, very early to accept people as they are and that we were no better than anybody else. And we just happened to fall into a better situation, and that everybody needed an opportunity. And you never knew who would take advantage of an opportunity and surpass us if they had a chance. So, we had opportunities because of his connections to be diverse, to have diverse relationships and cross cultural relationships. Because of the Girl Scouts [Girl Scouts of the United States of America] and the persistence of Mrs. Pacheco [ph.] who was a Girl Scout leader in the Rosenwald building [Rosenwald Apartments; Michigan Boulevard Apartments, Chicago, Illinois]. She made sure that we were not just isolated. That we, the Girls--that Girls Scout troop went places and did things that the other Girl Scouts did. They couldn't keep us out. We didn't know that, we just went (laughter). So, I did grow up feeling that we were just only one, one kind of people. We would go back to Wilmington [North Carolina] in the summer to see my [paternal] grandparents [Robert Robinson Taylor and Dugas' step-grandmother, Nellie Chesnutt Taylor], and all the rest of the kids came too; my father's siblings. We had lots of fun and visit the cousins and the uncles, 'cause most of the uncles were bachelors. So, we had a good time. In the summers we went back to Wilmington. I had what was double mastoids as an eight year old. Because--this was before antibiotics and before shots. The only shots that we had were diphtheria and small pox. We caught everything else. One winter, my father lived with my grandmother because we had the big red sign, quarantine on the door. First one, then the other. And so, he was very close to his mother-in-law, and he lived with her prob- because he couldn't, he couldn't come in and go out. Everybody--if you were quarantined, you were quarantined. He had to run the building so he lived over with my grandma. I had double mastoids, which was repeated ear infections and the mastoid bone which is behind your ear, both of them became infected. If they'd gone to my brain I would've died. They--and there was no antibiotics. That came with the Second World War [World War II, WWII]. And there was doctor at Children's Memorial [Children's Memorial Hospital; Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago, Illinois] had perfected an operations to take both these bones out. Our family doctor was a pediatrician. He was one of the few black pediatricians in the city. He could not take me into Children's Memorial Hospital. He called his classmate who was this surgeon, and they operated on me and took those two mastoid bones out. The following winter, I began to catch cold again, and Dr. Beasley [ph.] said, "You know, you got to get her out of this climate. Well, at least for this winter." So, we went to California, mother, Barbara [Dugas' sister, HistoryMaker Barbara Bowman] and I. We spent six months in California. And by this time, by the time I came home I was robust (laughter). And I never was too thin again (laughter).$Then '69 [1969] came (laughter), and it was chaos. It was chaos, and the riots and everything. We had to get evacuated out.$$Was this after Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was assassinated?$$Yeah.$$Sixty-eight [1968], near '68 [1968], yeah.$$And the school [Institute for Juvenile Research, Chicago, Illinois] closed down for a while and that's when I came over here to Chicago Child Care Center--Society [Chicago Child Care Society, Chicago, Illinois].$$Okay.$$And I was really enthusiastic about Chicago Child Care because it was going to combine social work and teaching. Child development and social work. The social workers were advocates of the parents. And the teachers were the advocates of the child. And sometimes the two didn't meet. Social workers was telling us, "She's not--the mother's not ready for that," (laughter). And we would say, "But the child is sinking in the, in the deep mud." And so, we had, we had the opportunity to, under the leadership of Marion Obenhaus [Marion Pendleton Obenhaus], who was the director of Chicago Child Care, to bring these two professions together in the interest of the family. And it worked out to be such an exciting adventure. I really enjoyed every minute of it. And we staffed children together; we staffed families together. We worked with families together. Social workers began to come into the classroom and could see what we were talking about and how, how--what was going on at home was affecting the children away from the home. And so, it, it was beautiful experience, exciting experience. I began to supervise two assistant teachers; more Erikson [Erikson Institute, Chicago, Illinois] students--they were there for a quarter--nursing students from Michael Reese [Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois]. Because early childhood develop was foreign to almost every profession. Nobody looked at it as a profession. You sat with kids. You watch kids. (Laughter) You didn't get involved in their development in an educational kind of way.