Baby Boomer (born 1943 to 1963)
Carol Hector-Harris was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her mother, born in Everett, Massachusetts, was a “Rosie the Riveter” at the Charlestown (Mass) Navy Yard during WWII and a homemaker. Her father, born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, was a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier and a typesetter for The Guardian, an African American newspaper in Boston in the 1920s. He was also a swimming instructor at the YMCA.
Carol lived in Roxbury her entire life before college. Starting at the age of five through high school, she attended the Kennedy School of Dance. Weekly dancing practice, annual recitals, and various dance competitions was a major part of her life and what made her happy outside of school. She attended William Lloyd Garrison Elementary School, joining the debate team in the fifth and sixth grades. Next, she attended Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High School and graduated from Brighton High School where she was on the student council every year and elected the senior class secretary.
Her mother and my father welcomed 74 foster children into their home over the years until they retired. The youngest of three girls and one boy, with her siblings being ten to sixteen years older, her mother said that she didn't want her growing up like an only child. They may not be her biological siblings, but they are her brothers and sisters, nonetheless. She grew up with them in her daily life, more than her biological siblings. When she was a teenager, it became her responsibility to cook Sunday dinners after church. When fried chicken was on the menu, it was her job to cut up six whole chickens and fry them in an iron deep fryer and iron frying pan. Carol was a part of a very happy and loving extended family where food and fun played a huge part, enjoying birthdays, holidays, and cookouts and clambakes with family and friends at various beaches on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. Carol was a member of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, as did most of my relatives and family friends, and I joined the Girls’ Friendly Society at the church.
Abandoning her dreams of becoming a professional dancer, Carol set off to honor her father’s wishes for her to become a nurse. Discontented learning nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Carol received his permission to instead study acting and directing at Emerson College. She then transferred to The Ohio State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a master’s degree in Political Science: International Politics (sub-Saharan Africa). At seventy years old and continuing her love of learning, Carol is near completion of a PhD in Journalism from Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism.
Carol built a career as an award-winning journalism practitioner and educator who has made noteworthy accomplishments in a career of more than forty years in print and electronic media, education, public relations, fundraising, photography, public speaking, and special event coordination. In the U. S. and the Caribbean, she is recognized as an expert communications strategist. As an educator, she taught communications at Columbus (Ohio) State Community College and journalism at Ohio University. Carol also worked for the state of Ohio, a cable television station in Antigua where she lived for three years, as a substitute teacher, and for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in external affairs, being deployed to disaster areas around the nation, including in NY, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. With the support of her husband, Carol was away from him and their two boys off and on during fifteen years of her career. Wherever she worked, they visited as often as possible.
She has been honored with the following:
- Cambridge Who’s Who VIP Special Section, 2009 – 2010
- The World’s Who’s Who of Women 1988
- Who’s Who of American Women 1985
- First Place, Radio Broadcast, 1983, Great Lakes Regional Awards, Women In Communications, Inc.
- Certificate of Award, Michigan Lupus Foundation 1981
- Certificate of Appreciation, Columbus Metropolitan Area Community Action Organization, Columbus, Ohio, April 25, 1980, for the series “Poverty in Central Ohio” broadcast on WOSU-AM
- Broadcast Journalism Award, The Ohio State University Black Communicators Association 1978
- Academic Excellence Award, Ohio State Representative Les Brown 1977
- George Kienzle Memorial Award, The Ohio State University School of Journalism 1977.
Carol describes her most significant life accomplishments as being a principled woman that her parents, husband, family members, friends and colleagues can be proud of; living a happy and fulfilled life while being married to a loving and supportive husband for more than 45 years; rearing two successful sons into adulthood who she and her husband are very proud of; living and working in the Caribbean; having a successful career in journalism for more than forty years; and having a ball with her grandkids.
She enjoys traveling to tropical destinations, researching family history and Africans in the diaspora, and having fun with family and friends
Oral History Summary
Journalist. Never enslaved Africa born patriot, Ghana.
Carol talks about descending from Quock Martrick, born in 1756 Ghana, Africa, who served with George Washington in the American Revolution and was with Benedict Arnold when he left his post; spending three years searching for Quock’s slave master, assuming he had one as always taught in school about blacks in America, but never finding one; going before a council of Ga-Adangbe tribal elders for permission to meet her ancestral relatives in Big Ada then, the family giving her the name of Akutu Martey, meaning part warrior because she beat the odds by returning to them and the proper surname which was butchered to “Martrick” by the English; Quock serving in the Massachusetts militia as a free man alongside enslaved soldiers and slaves serving masters who were fighting, but choosing not to join the British; Quock marrying the daughter of a free black patriot; and three white men trying to get Quock declared insane to take his property, representing himself in court and the judge ruling in his favor. Carol shares oral history about growing up in Massachusetts with her siblings who are 10 to 16 years older and her parents fostering 74 siblings so she would not grow up like an only child, having to cut up and fry six whole chickens for dinner; family visiting Martha's Vineyard and having clambakes in the sand at the beach; being shaped by 6th grade "Africa the Dark Continent" school lesson; attending dance school; starting college at U-Mass, Amherst; wanting a dance career but father deciding she needed to study nursing, later switching to acting and directing at Emerson College; her foster brother in Vietnam showing his sisters' photos to soldiers who wrote letters to them, one becoming her husband; earning a bachelor's in Journalism and master's in International Politics- Sub Saharan Africa; working in public relations, communications and journalism; landing a job with a cable tv station in Antigua while vacationing there; her husband supporting her move to work in Antigua for almost 2 years while he and their two sons stayed in Ohio; working for FEMA being deployed to disaster areas; working in Louisiana on a housing restoration project after hurricane Katrina; working on her PhD in Journalism at 70; paternal grandmother's grandfather being a Civil War veteran, having a farm on a street named after him; sister helping with family research, stuck at 3rd paternal great-grandmother Chloe Jacobs; finding a document by a Boston Historic Genealogy Society researcher with 1790 census listing Quock Martrick, learning Chloe was born in Londonderry Canada; never knowing that blacks were in American Revolution; later learning when working on PhD that some Africans came to America free as mariners or for adventure; joining a Ohio Univ. study abroad program to Ghana; familiar faces and mannerisms of people where her ancestor left 250 years ago; Quock knowing his exact birth date, indicating he is royalty; Ga-Adangbe naming boys born on a Wednesday Quock, her confirming the day; grandmother being upset every time she told the story about DAR not allowing Marian Anderson to sing; joining DAR feeling she owed it to Quock, his wife, and her grandmother since "they kept Marian out but I was going to go in", and as an opportunity to learn; discovering a dozen other