About Maurine F. Bailey
An Exceptional Woman
Maurine F. Bailey was born August 13, 1901, in Atlanta, Texas, Cass County, a descendant of African and Native-Americans. Her parents were Jacob and Lee Annie Washington-Mitchell.
She displayed a keen interest in music at an early age, and at the age of six was given music lessons. Her first music teacher was Miss Portia Washington-Pittman, the eldest daughter of Booker T. Washington, the famed African American educator and founder of Tuskegee University. Mrs. Bailey attended elementary and high school in Atlanta, TX and continued her formal education at Bishop College, Marshall Texas, The University of Colorado at Boulder, CO., Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, and Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. One of the highlights of her formal education was the opportunity to study choral techniques at the Fred Waring Workshops in Shawnee, Pennsylvania under the Maestro himself. She continued to attend until she gained a mastery of Mr. Waring's techniques as they related to all areas of public performances.
Mrs. Bailey shared her choral mastery with her students as well as the entire Dallas Independent School District (DISD) community. She was noted for taking students with untrained voices and some with severe discipline problems and turning them into well disciplined individuals with a near professional, and in some cases professional vocal range and control. She emphasized good citizenship as well as, musicianship with great emphasis on academics. Choir members were required to maintain a high scholastic rating and be well disciplined in order to remain in the group. The Harry T. Burleigh Concert Choir under the direction of Mrs. Bailey performed on so many community, civic, and other programs that they were considered by many to be “P.R. ambassadors for the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and the African-American community. Besides the regular school programs, the choir performed for the following programs and occasions. Just to name a few:
- Christmas concert at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts annually, sponsored by Museum league and the Mu Phi Epsilon Sorority.
- Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
- Annual Thanksgiving Celebration sponsored by the National Conference of Christians & Jews Inc. during the National Brotherhood Week.
- First United Methodist Church, Dallas, TX.
- Music festivals sponsored by Dallas Bethlehem Center.
- In 1949, the choir made a recording for the International School of Music project, sponsored by the American Junior Red Cross. The recordings were sent overseas to 17 foreign countries as a goodwill gesture.
- Annual concerts for the Veterans Administration-Dallas.
- Kiwanis Club
Other activities of the choir included performances for numerous churches and organizations within the community, including countless Teachers Associations at the local, state, and national levels.
Upon retiring from DISD after 25 years as a teacher and choir director at Lincoln High School, the choir was re-named “the Maurine F. Bailey Concert Choir” in her honor.
After retirement, Mrs. Bailey continued to work at her profession. She became an Instructor in the department of teacher education at Bishop College where she taught Music Education for elementary and secondary schools, and supervised student teachers. While at Bishop she served as a member of the Evaluation team of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.
Mrs. Bailey retired from Bishop College in the 70’s to care for her ailing mother, Mrs. Annie Mitchell, who had been her chief motivator through the years. Mrs. Bailey taught private piano lessons at home upon retiring from Bishop College.
Maurine F. Bailey was married to the late Sterling F. Bailey in 1942. Mr. Bailey was a World War II veteran who was always supportive in assisting with her many community activities. He preceeded her in death in 1984.
Maurine F. Bailey received numerous awards for her contributions to the Dallas community in the arts and related fields, such as:
- The H. I. Holland Award in Education by the Dallas Elite Newspaper publisher, William Blair.
- National Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award by the South Central Division of Business & Professional Women’s Club—presented by the daughter of Sandra Thompson, a former choir member and accompanist.
- Inducted into the Texas Black Women’s Hall of Fame by the Museum of African-American Life & Culture, sponsored by Dr. Harry Robinson.
- Dallas Black Dance Theater Award for services to the organizations in the Arts, sponsered by a former student and co-worker, Mrs. Ann Williams.
- National Council of Negro Women’s Role Model Award. Upon accepting this award, Mrs. Bailey said, “If I have achieved success, it has been due to my setting goals, keeping an open mind, and working hard to attain those goals with the assistance of many associates such as my first music teacher, Miss Portia Washington-Pittman, who was the eldest daughter of Booker T. Washington, the great Negro Educator, Scientist, Author, Civil Rights activist, and Founder of the Tuskegee Institute. Miss Portia guided me toward a career in music. Mr. John Talcott, Toronto University, influenced me greatly while at Bishop College. There were many Supervisors, Principals, and Teachers of DISD who assisted me, namely: Dr. E.D. Walker, Ms. Marion Flagg, as well as, Abby Whiteside, of Columbia University, Dr. Robert Shaw, at Northwestern University, and the legendary choral director, Maestro, Fred Waring, of Shawnee, Pennsylvania.” Mrs. Bailey also acknowledged school principals under whom she had worked including T. D. Marshall, J. B. Richey, H. I. Holland and Otto Fridia. Mrs. Bailey also gave credit to Fellow teachers, parents, students, the Dallas Community, her beloved husband and her mother who were so supportive and encouraging.
- In April, 2003, Hastings Street, in South Dallas, was re-named “ MAURINE F. BAILEY WAY ” in her honor. The Maurine F. Bailey Cultural Foundation Inc. was founded in July, 2000 by her god-son, Carl Mathis Craig a.k.a Kingston DuCoeur, in order to preserve her legacy. MFBCF and its supporters are campaigning to have a school in Dallas Independent School District named in her honor, as the cornerstone in her lasting and growing legacy.