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Barbara Sizemore, a Black educator, was born on this date in 1927.
Barbara Laffoon was born in Chicago, the only child of Sylvester Walter Laffoon and Delila Alexander Laffoon. She grew up in Terre Haute, IN, where she attended Booker T. Washington Elementary School. Her father died when she was eight years old, and her mother remarried a man named Aldwin E. Stewart.
After graduating from Wiley High School, she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Chicago. Sizemore began teaching in the Chicago Public Schools in 1947. In 1963, she became one of the first African American women appointed principal of a Chicago school, Anton Dvorak Elementary School. She then became the principal of Forestville High School in 1965.
In 1972, Sizemore was elected superintendent of schools for the (Washington) District of Columbia public school system. Her election made her the first Black woman to head the public school system of a major city. In 1975, she was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and taught there until she joined DePaul University in 1992.
Her first book was "The Ruptured Diamond" (1981). Her next book was "An Abashing Anomaly" published in 1993. Her honors include the Maude G. Reynolds Classical Language Scholarship, 1944-1947; the Danforth Fellowship, 1965-1967; Chicago Board Fellowship, 1965-1967; the African Heritage Studies Association Edward Blyden Award, 199; and the YWCA Racial Justice Award for 1995. She was the dean of DePaul University's School of Education.
On July 28th, 2004, Barbara Sizemore died of cancer in Chicago.