Helen Hendricks Oral History
Scope and Contents
In this interview, Helen Hendricks is interviewed by alumni Stan Shaw and Mike Wenger about her role as a College Office Assistant in Student Activities in the Dean of Students Office during the early to mid-1960s. Wenger and Shaw considered Hendricks a mentor and important behind-the-scenes supporter of civil rights activities they initiated, especially the Virginia Student Help Project, which involved tutoring children in Prince Edward County who had been locked out of the education system due to white resistance to desegregation. Interview topics include her approach to mentoring and advising students, her friendship with Education Professor Rachel Weddington, her recollections of the administrative response to the death of Andrew Goodman during Mississippi Freedom Summer, and her relationship to Shaw, Wenger, and other students looking to make change on campus. The interview also touches on Hendrick’s cultural and political background, and her experience as one of the few Black female staff members at Queens College in the early to mid 1960s. Hendricks was later promoted to Assistant to the Dean and served as an advisor supporting minority students interested in entering graduate programs, though the interview only touches on this phase of her career briefly.
- Hendricks, Helen (Interviewee, Person)
This oral history is open for research. Media files and transcript can be viewed and/or requested through the Queens Memory Project on Aviary: https://queenslibrary.aviaryplatform.com/r/9c6rx93v2g. For help using the site, contact QC.Archives@qc.cuny.edu.
Conditions Governing Use
Interview shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). Users are free to share or adapt the material for non-commercial purposes, as long as they meet the terms of the license. See license details at https://creativecommons.or g/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.
Helen Hendricks was born in New York City in 1934. She attended public schools graduating from Taft High School in the Bronx. In 1957, she took a position at Queens College as a College Office Assistant in Student Activities in the Dean of Students Office. In that capacity, she was in a key position to support the Student-Help Project and its young leaders. Helen earned a B.A. with distinction (magna cum laude) from Queens College in 1978. She was promoted to Assistant to the Dean as an advisor to support minority group students interested in entering graduate programs. Her efforts resulted in a significant increase in the admission and graduation of hundreds of students in law and medical school. In 1986, she became the Higher Education Office Assistant. Her success in guiding these students was acknowledged in a statement published in the U.S. Congressional Record. Shortly thereafter the Helen Hendricks Scholarship was created. This is an annual award given to a minority student who has achieved high standards in scholarship and has made a valuable contribution of service to the College community. Helen retired from Queens College in 1992. She is a widow and has a daughter who is a lawyer, currently working for the United States Senate. Helen is a proud lifetime member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first historically African American service sorority.
1 Digital Files ; Duration: 01:02:09
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to Queens College and Queens Public Library by Helen Hendricks, Mike Wenger, Stan Shaw, and Annie Tummino in November, 2020.
Single MP4 file totaling 658.5 MB and 1 hour and 2 minutes in duration.
Oral history conducted as part of the Queens Memory Project (http://queensmemory.org), a collaborative program of the Queens Public Library and Queens College to collect stories, images,
and other evidence of life in the borough of Queens.
This interview was specifically collected for the Queens College "Student Help: Lived Experience" Project.
- Helen Hendricks Oral History
- Victoria Fernandez
- December 2020
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