Jeanne L. Noble
|Jeanne L. Noble|
|Born||July 18, 1926
Albany, Georgia, USA
|Died||October 17, 2002
New York City
|Alma mater||Howard University
|Occupation||Educator, college administrator, counselor, consultant, author, television producer|
New York University
Jeanne Laveta Noble (July 18, 1926 – October 17, 2002) was an innovative African-American educator who served on education commissions for three U.S. presidents. Noble was the first to analyze and publish the experiences of female African Americans in college. She served as president of the Delta Sigma Theta (DST) sorority within which she founded that group's National Commission on Arts and Letters. Noble was the first African-American board member of the Girl Scouts of the USA, and the first to serve the U.S. government's Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). She headed the Women's Job Corps Program in the 1960s, and was the first African-American woman to be made full professor at the New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
Noble wrote several books including The Negro Woman's College Education and Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters. In 1973 with Roscoe Lee Browne she produced Roses and Revolutions, a record album funded by DST. She won a regional Emmy Award for her New York-area television program The Learning Experience which she wrote and moderated; it aired weekly on WCBS-TV in the 1970s. In 1979, Noble co-hosted the TV program Straight Talk. Natalie Cole appeared in an anti-drug abuse public service spot produced by Noble. In 1984 Noble signed A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion noting her affiliation with the National Assembly of Religious Women.
Jeanne Laveta Noble was born in Albany, Georgia on July 18, 1926, the first child of Floyd and Aurelia Noble. After three boys were born to the couple, Floyd Noble left his family around 1930 or 1931. Child-rearing duties fell to Aurelia Noble and her mother Maggie Brown, a first grade teacher. Grandmother Brown stressed to Noble the importance of education. During her childhood, Noble attended an Episcopal church favored by her mother.
Noble entered Howard University and earned a B.A. degree in 1946. E. Franklin Frazier was her adviser, and her teachers included Alain LeRoy Locke and Sterling Allen Brown. From Howard, Noble went to Columbia University and earned master's degree in 1948. Returning home, she taught summer school at Albany State College. Later she said of the experience, "I fell in love with teaching and never left [the field]." After two years Albany State, she accepted a position as dean of women at Langston University in Oklahoma. Two years later, she re-enrolled at Columbia University to pursue a doctorate. With a grant from Pi Lambda Theta, she studied black college women and analyzed data relative to their backgrounds, educations, and achievements. In 1955 she earned her doctorate in educational psychology and counseling. She studied for a time in England at the University of Birmingham.
With her doctorate in hand, Noble was hired by New York University as an associate professor teaching at the Center for Human Relations in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, a school of sociology. When Noble advanced to full professor, she said that she was probably the first African-American female to do so at a major university primarily catering to white students. Other lecturer positions Noble has held during her career include summer visiting professorships at the University of Vermont and at the Tuskegee Institute. She served as assistant dean of students at City College of New York, a counseling position.
Noble has written books detailing her studies and thoughts. The first was her doctoral dissertation, The Negro Woman's College Education, published by Columbian University Teachers College in 1956. Pioneering educator Esther Lloyd-Jones wrote the foreword to this ground-breaking, progressive work. The next year, she published a summary in The Journal of Negro Education, titled "Negro Women Today and Their Education". In 1960 Noble published the freshman-oriented guide College Education as Personal Development, co-authored with Margaret Fisher, the dean of South Florida University. In 1970 Noble published The Negro Woman College Graduate, a book analyzing the lives of 400 black women who had four or more years of college education. For this, Noble was honored with the Pi Lambda Theta Research Award. In 1976, Noble produced Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters, a psychosocial montage of personal stories from some of the 400 black college women that Noble had interviewed.
Noble led the Delta Sigma Theta sorority for from 1958 to 1963. Before taking the presidency she responded as vice president with financial assistance and moral support to the Little Rock Nine. Later, as president, she helped DST work to desegregate her hometown, Albany. Under her leadership, DST opened a chapter in Liberia and sponsored a maternity wing in a remote Kenyan hospital. She instituted new programs such as the "Teen Lift" mentors and the Commission on Arts and Letters. As she passed the baton to her successor, Ebony magazine named her "one of the 100 most influential Negroes of the Emancipation Centennial Year ."
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson tapped Noble to help him plan the Women's Job Corps, a program of his announced War on Poverty. She worked for five months on a 40-page plan to increase jobs for girls and women aged 16 to 21; a demographic that was vulnerable and in great need of employment. Noble recommended to Johnson that a woman should be named director of the program. Later presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford also asked Noble to serve on educational and investigative commissions.
Noble was active in the Episcopal church in New York City. In the 1990s, she was named professor emeritus of Brooklyn College and of the City University of New York's Graduate Center. On October 17, 2002, Noble died at New York University Medical Center of congestive heart failure.
- "Jeanne L. Noble, 76, Pioneer in Education". The New York Times. November 2, 2002.
- "Dr. Jeanne Noble, Educator, Researcher, Author, and Consultant". African American Registry. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
- Smith, Jessie Carney (1996). Notable Black American women. 2. VNR AG. pp. 500–502. ISBN 0-8103-9177-5.
- Giddings, Paula (1988). In search of sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the challenge of the Black sorority movement. HarperCollins. p. 241. ISBN 0-688-13509-9.
- "Negro Women Today and Their Education". The Journal of Negro Education. 26 (1): 15–21. Winter 1957. JSTOR 2293318.
- Rywell, Martin; Wesley, Charles Harris (1974). Afro-American encyclopedia. 7. Educational Book Publishers.
- "Plan Job Centers To Help Women 16–21". Jet. December 10, 1964. p. 45. Retrieved August 12, 2011.