Adelaide L. Sanford (Finding Aid)

Adelaide L. Sanford

1925 -

Favorite Color: Purple

Favorite Food: Vegetables

Favorite Time of Year: Fall

Favorite Vacation Spot: Africa

Interview Length: 129 minutes

Interview Date(s): September 19, 2003

Interview Location(s): New York, New York


Adelaide Sanford speaks reverentially of her parents and thier experiences as black people at the turn of the century. Most touching are her recollections of her mother, a woman widowed yet trying to express her creativity in an unaccepting world. Sanford describes the warm and open family home of her childhood, a place where friends and family were always welcome. Sanford also lovingly describes her father, who struggled against his World War I injury-induced blindness and racial discrimination.

Adelaide Sanford recalls her environment growing up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and continues to discuss her family. Sanford tells stories about her grandmother's slavery, her aunt's forced sterilization, and her grandfather's life during slavery. Sanford also describes her education from elementary school through graduate school.

This segment is most notable for Sanford's recounting of a family road trip to Vicksburg gone horribly awry. After being forced off the road and into a ditch, Sanford's mother soon finds herself fending off prosecution from a racist judge and endures a surgical procedure without anesthesia. Sanford's also discusses her first teaching experiences and how her strong belief in the capacity of black children to succeed was often met with skepticism and roadblocks. Her efforts to gain quality education facilities for black children extended to workers as well. After prolonged wrangling with New York Mayor Robert Wagner, Sanford led the effort to ensure black laborers were able to work on school construction projects across the city.

Adelaide Sanford gives great detail on the hurdles encountered while trying to better education for her students. From administrotors to other teachers, Sanford found herself battling on multiple fronts to give her students at Crispus Attucks School an equal opportunity to learn. Sanford also discusses how her efforts led he into school administration. Eventually, she was appointed as a Regent on the Board of Regents for the state of NEw York. Sanford also mentions influential black educators and historians whohelped shape her educational philosophy. HTe most pivotal aspect of the interview is the insight she offers into

This segment wraps up the interview with a few questions about what Sanford wants her legacy to be and how she's to be remembered. The majority of the segment is devoted to photos.

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