Edgerton, Shirley (interviewee)
Shirley Edgerton talks about growing up in Hemingway, South Carolina, Mt. Vernon, NY, South Bronx and North Bronx, NY. Extended family was essential to her childhood, as was the Methodist in Mt. Vernon, NY, where she found mentors who guided, took care of her and modelled a mentoring role that she would follow through her adult life. Shirley attended Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx, and Atlanta University, a HBUC (Historically Black Universities and Colleges). She married an AME Zion minister, and together they had three children. When he was offered the ministry of the Second Congregational Church in Pittsfield, Mass., the family moved there. In Pittsfield, inspired by her children's interests and the needs of the community, Shirley developed and nurtured a step dance team and a bucket drum group, both of which have collaborated with Williams College and Jacob's Pillow. Seeing a tendency for girls to make second class citizens of themselves, she developed Rites of Passage Empowerment Program for Girls. Among that group's activities are trips to Africa, including Ghana and South Africa.