Maxine Crump ,CEO Dialogue on Race Louisiana follows a lifelong calling to work toward ending institutional racism. Maxine grew up in the 1950s in Maringouin, Louisiana, in a family of seven children. Her mother Pauline was a homemaker and her father was an entrepreneur. Emanuel, owned a blues nightclub, operated a school bus (during the 50’s bus drivers had to buy their own bus). He was a barber and raised cattle and horses as well as farmed on his own land. She was influenced by her father’s fierce independence and his activism in working for civil rights, particularly voting rights.
It was his work plus Freedom Summer of 1964 where young people her age were killed while working in Mississippi , helping black people register to vote that lead her to enter previously all white public University Louisiana State University and become the first African American to live in women’s housing.
The small bayou town was a great environment for storytelling for which her mother mastered. Story telling was also in blues music which flourished in the 50’s and became the sounds cape of her life. These influences show up in her career working in news, public relations, and media development. She worked as the first black DJ at WFMF radio, and later as the first black reporter at WAFB TV.
Throughout her life, she has been motivated by her father’s efforts to navigate the strictly enforced institutional barriers of the Jim Crow era and the lengths he went through to insure his children would have a future with the full promise of all rights and privileges stated in America’s Constitution for all its citizens. Her volunteer leadership on the YWCA Board of Directors where she participated in the national YWCA racial justice training program lead to her development of The Dialogue on Race Original Series program which was house at the YWCA for a decade until the program became an independent non-profit organization with Maxine Crump as CEO. Now called Dialogue on Race Louisiana, The DOR Series is its core program which is an educational process structured, facilitated, backed by factual information and formatted to provide a safe environment for open honest brave conversation . The Dialogue on Race Original Series motto is “Talk in Action.” Maxine has won numerous awards for her work to eliminate racism in Baton Rouge. She delivered a TEDxLSU talk in 2015, “Why not talk about race?”
She has received more than a dozen awards from various organizations honoring her for her work around race.
In early 2016 she learned for the first that her ancestors had been enslaved at the Maryland Province, owned by Jesuit priests. and their forced labor had funded Georgetown University and through the sale of her people to Louisiana in 1838, that sale helped save the indebted Ivy League school from closure as well as help build Louisiana’s economy and beyond. This is how she came to be born in Louisiana.
She says learning this history has deepened her determination of helping us recognize the unresolved challenges of the slave legacy and the benefits we all have derived from this economic system.
Maxine Crump’s work to end the racial divide dates back to early in her life, when she was at her father’s side while he was active in Civil Rights in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. She entered Louisiana State University in the fall semester when the results of a lawsuit led to the university opening its doors to African-Americans undergraduates for the first time. She was the first African-American to live in the university’s housing for women. Soon after college, she was discovered by a radio disc jockey at WXOK-AM radio, who hired her as the first local female DJ. Soon she was hired as the first African-American female reporter for WAFB-TV, where she worked for 15 years in news. She worked one year for BET News, and eight years covering local programming in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, for APTV. She also produced her own program in the area, called “Ascension on the Move.” Ms. Crump join the YWCA Board of directors because of its mission: the elimination of racism.
She served as board president for three terms. After her service on the board ended, she led the design of the “Dialogue on Race” series and became the trainer of facilitators for the process. Using her combined talents of television news reporter and her work with the “Dialogue on Race” series, she produced the video for the Baton Rouge Town Meeting called “What Color is Community,” and more than 600 residents of Baton Rouge attended. She is the president and CEO of the organization Dialogue on Race Louisiana, which is dedicated to the elimination of racism. She has been honored for her work in racial justice by the Early Riser’s Kiwanis, LSU African American Cultural Center, LSU Women’s Housing and LSU Women’s Center. She was nominated for the YWCA Women of Achievement award, received the YWCA Racial Justice Award, named one of Baton Rouge’s Speakers of Truth by LSU Swine Palace Theater and received Forum 35’s Baton Rouge Original Award.
In 2012, she was named an LSU Legend by the LSU A.P. Tureaud Sr. Black Alumni Chapter, and in 2013 she was recognized by the Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists with the Pioneering Journalist Award of Excellence. In March this year, she was recognized for Excellence in Media at the 2015 Cumulus Awards. Delivered a TEDx LSU Talk on “Why not Talk about Race”