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Georgette M. Norman Biography: Historian, Thespian And Activist

 

 

Georgette M. Norman was born on January 27, 1946, in Montgomery, Alabama, to George Maggie Norman, a real estate broker from Hope Hull, Alabama, and Juliet Graham Norman, a Montgomery teacher at W.B. Paterson Elementary School.

Georgette began her education in 1951 at Alabama State University Laboratory School in Montgomery, where she also graduated with honors in 1963. That summer, she attended Hampton Institute’s pre-college political science institute. Norman, on the other hand, enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1963 as a history major and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967.

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In 1970, Norman joined the Teacher Corps while also earning a Master of Education from Hampton Institute. Following that, Norman was hired by the Virgin Islands Government to teach in its public schools on the island of St. Croix. She earned a postgraduate certificate in Humanistic Education from the University of Miami, Florida, in 1973.

Norman taught English at St. Joseph Catholic High School and at the University of the Virgin Islands’ St. Croix campus between 1975 and 1985. She also choreographed dances and directed plays at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Island Center for the Performing Arts and Courtyard Players. Norman left the Virgin Islands after 15 years and returned to her birthplace, Montgomery, Alabama. Norman established the Alabama African American Arts Alliance in 1992, under the auspices of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

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Norman was named the first Director of the Troy University Rosa Parks Museum in 2001. During her tenure, the museum welcomed over 500,000 visitors from around the world and hosted seventy art exhibitions. For the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, she collaborated with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES) to create “361 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story” in 2005. She taught “African American Theater” as part of the Prison Project at the Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County, Alabama, in 2007.

In 2008, she received the “Outstanding Achievement Award” for the Cleveland Avenue Time Machine at the Rosa Parks Museum at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. In 2014, Norman left the Museum. Later that year, she traveled to Bloemfontein, South Africa, to speak about the culture of reconciliation and empowerment at Free State University’s International Conference “Freedom: Our Responsibility.”

As Project Historian for the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium in 2018, Norman was instrumental in identifying 20 civil rights meeting places or worship centers throughout Alabama. In addition, she directed Montgomery August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Fences for Cloverdale Playhouse, which examined race and class through the African American experience.

Norman collaborated with Priscilla Hancock Cooper on the lecture/demonstration “Past, Present, and Future: Our Civil Rights Legacy and Community Revitalization” the following year, 2019, and in 2021, she presented “Traveling While Black & Going Down South” at Auburn University’s Shakespeare Garden.

 

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Written by How Africa News

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