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Deidre is a higher-education professional with administrative and teaching experience in the public and nonprofit sectors. She earned her doctorate from Columbia University in 2017. Her work centers on African American women in education. Deidre’s additional research interests include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, women’s higher education, student protest and activism, and higher- education leadership. Her dissertation, “Education in Action: The Work of Bennett College for Women 1930-1960,” argues that Bennett College intentionally sought to educate socially conscious and civically engaged citizens during the twentieth century, who worked to improve African Americans’ quality of life domestically and abroad.
A lifelong resident of Harlem, Deidre has recently contributed to the Association of Black Women Historians’ Black Women and the Archive essay project. “Searching for Mildred Louise Johnson: Harlem’s First Private School Proprietor and Advocate for Progressive Education” discusses the challenges she faced researching and recovering the contributions of Mildred Johnson and her private school, founded in 1934, that served students and families in the Harlem community for sixty-five years. An article on Johnson and her work at The Modern School, “A School for Modern Times: Mildred Louise Johnson and the Modern School of Harlem,” will be published in the Fall 2020 issue of the Journal of African American History. Additionally, in July 2020, Deidre was selected by Columbia University as a member of the eighth cohort of the A’lelia Bundles Community Scholars Program. During her Scholar appointment, she will conduct research and gather oral histories for a book on Mildred Johnson and The Modern School.
Deidre has taught in the History and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University; the History department at Manhattan College; and the higher-education administration program at William Paterson University. Deidre is also an alumna of Hampton University and Syracuse University.
Stephanie's relationship with Harlem began when she was part of the churchgoing community of the venerable St. James Presbyterian Church. Stephanie is founder and CEO of One Woman One Voice Project, a certified life coach, and author of ESP: Extreme Self-Pampering for the Soul. She has written numerous essays and short fiction, which are featured in Hunger Mountain, Shadowbox, For Harriet, and others. Stephanie was invited to give a TEDx Talk, where she discussed limiting cultural constructs. Stephanie has taught creative writing at the New School University in New York City, and is currently completing a memoir, Unbroken: One Daughter's Journey. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Vera is a retired educator, who was employed by the New York City Department of Education (DOE) for twenty-eight years as a curriculum writer, professional developer, teacher trainer, and middle-school instructional specialist. She is also a poet and visual artist, who studied at the School of Visual Arts. Vera also worked with the LeAp Public Arts Program, which provides students from targeted, public, middle schools a platform to showcase their artistic talents and generate awareness of important issues facing their communities. She was a member of the curatorial team for the "Harrises of Harlem Show: Eight Generations," a WWSH photo exhibition.
Vera is also a co-founder of Sister/Sister—an organization that provides artists the opportunity to showcase their talents for the “soul support” of bringing to the forefront issues that effect the African-American community. She has also been a panelist for the New York State Council of the Arts.
Vera received a B.A. in education from Hampton Institute, an M.A. from City College in education, and earned credits toward a second M.A. in museum education, through Bank Street College.
An award-winning author of nonfiction books for children and adults, Yvonne interweaves environmental and social justice into all she writes and credits her diverse family for piquing her interest in an inclusive and multicultural world. Although most of her publications have been about Indigenous peoples of the U.S., she has also penned books about Arab Americans and the many different cultures of the country.
She serves as the Education Director for the Children’s Cultural Center of Native America, an educational program that seeks to eradicate racism and stereotypes about First Peoples and is the founder/former director and current board secretary of Nitchen, Inc. an advocacy organization for Indigenous families in the New York City metro area. Yvonne is a board director and educational coordinator of Coopdanza, an interdisciplinary art, media and educational non-profit that supports the power of dance, with a focus on Indigenous styles. An active member of the Bank Street Writers Lab, she also belongs to the Wordcraft of Native Writers and the Radius of Arab-American Writers.
A founder of her local block association, she is an opponent of gentrification, which she sees as contemporary colonialism. She is a lecturer, workshop facilitator, and consultant for many different organizations. In 2014, Yvonne received the National Arab American Museum’s Best Children’s Book of the Year Honor (A Kid’s Guide to Arab American History), a Sanaka Award and the David Chow National Humanitarian Award.
Karen is driven by her passion to bring the cultural history of Harlem to the forefront of now, and to keep it relevant for generations to come. Inspired by the national discussion on “gentrification,” she is moved to steward the creation of programming that wraps the arts and humanities in a package that is a gift to the future. She consults as the director of public history for Columbia University/Teachers College's Harlem Education History Project.
Karen has served as interim director for the Roundtable of Institutions of Color, housed at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University, a research arm of the school that was devoted to assessing the state of African American and Latino communities. Karen has also served as managing editor for Scholastic Books and Amistad Press. As a fundraising development professional she worked for the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Feminist Press at the City University of New York (CUNY), and the Brecht Forum.
She has also conceptualized and produced academic conferences, concerts, and workshops for institutions that include the Apollo; Teachers College; Barnard; the CUNY Graduate Center’s Office of Continuing Education and Public Programming; New York University; and the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College. These events ranged from Women of Color: The Forgotten Members of the City, to Pops: Celebrating the Centennial of Louis Armstrong, to If You Live In Harlem, Please Don’t Breathe Deeply, regarding air pollution in urban environments. While at the Feminist Press, she conceptualized and developed a fully funded educational program that used the Press's publications to develop curriculum for incarcerated women at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.
She has also curated art exhibits, including "After the Flypaper: Harlem In Words and Images (1955-2018)," "The Harrises of Harlem: Eight Generations—The Mildred Harris Collection" and "Jazz Notes: A Tribute to an African-American Art Form."
She is also a multi-genre artist, who has appeared as a vocalist and poet at the Schomburg’s Women In Jazz series; and at Transart’s Jazz In the Valley, she premiered a spoken-word/music tribute to Jayne Cortez, "A Jazz Fan Looks Back." Ms. Taylor has also performed as a playwright in the New York International Fringe Festival. She received a commission from Harlem Stage’s Fund for New Work; and grant support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
She also worked in various editorial capacities for the Smithsonian, Abrams, University of North Carolina, Audubon Magazine, and Taylor & Francis-an academic and scientific publisher, as well as others. As an adjunct professor of English at the College of New Rochelle, she taught writing and composition. Her essay, "Still Occupied: My Report on the Safety of My Sons," published in Transition Magazine was cited in the Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction Category, in 2016 Best American Essays, edited by Jonathon Franzen.
She holds an MFA in Writing (Creative Nonfiction) from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BS in African-American Literature from the State University of New York, Empire State College.
She has been a Harlem resident for more than thirty years.