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Board Of Directors

     LaNaye Lawson,

is presently a fourth grade Reading, Writing and Social Science teacher at Stagg School of Excellence. She became a Chicago Public School teacher in 2007. Surprisingly, LaNaye never imagined working as a teacher or building a museum. After high school in 2001 she attended Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, AL. One year later she transferred to Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD majoring in Marketing (at both institutions).  After completing her undergraduate degree, she was accepted into The Academy for Urban School Leadership program and it was there she pursued her Master’s degree in Education. Once she began to teach she found her passion; African American History! She discovered that although African American History was a required subject to teach in Chicago Public Schools it was not a priority. In 2012, LaNaye begin researching intensely the history of African Americans in Chicago and exposing her students to what she learned. This blossomed into what we now see as The Black Chicago Museum Inc.


The Black Chicago Museum Inc. is an emerging, grassroots level museum founded by LaNaye in 2012 with a mission to educate, inspire and motivate children to reach toward and beyond their greatest potential. Children at Stagg enjoy their field trips to the museum! Through detailed murals embedded inside Stagg School of Excellence children learn the story of Black Chicago.  It’s here they can time travel back in history (beginning in the 18thcentury) and explore the many  lives and experiences of African American people who helped build and redefine this magnificent city we call CHICAGO!


While touring, children engage in rich discussions about Black Chicago’s history but more importantly on character building. Through the historical stories of African American leaders in Chicago some themes highlighted in the tour discussions are, what it takes to become an entrepreneur, strategies when facing opposition and unfairness, how to be resilient during turmoil, having dedication and sacrificing for others, unity and togetherness, humanitarian efforts and so much more!

These discussions are rich and thought provoking. They help to fulfill the mission and purpose of the museum; to motivate children to reach toward and beyond their greatest potential in life.   

Currently, LaNaye has big dreams to expand the museum beyond the reach of children and into the entire world.  Her dream is to work the museum full time, acquire a building for the museum in an effort to operate and function within its own space and most importantly welcome the public to tour and learn about the rich and impactful history concerning  Black Chicago.  She strongly believes that the Black culture and community would benefit from such a place!

        Renee Harlow, 

 a loving mother of two wonderful, progessive and thoughtful children: LaNaye T. Lawson and Cameron L. Johnson.  Renee is a graduate of Tennessee State University (B.S)  and Roosevelt University (M.P.A.). Her occupation for 20 plus years has been in the dental field. She is a dental hygientist. She is also a volunteer for a community organization titled Sisters Serving Inc., and she loves cats, going swimming and walking in the park.  


       Roxanna Harlow, 

 Ph.D. is responsible for the development, administration, and implementation of Higher Learning's active learning enrichment program. Before starting Higher Learning, Roxanna was Associate Professor of Sociology at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. A teacher and expert in the areas of education, race, gender, and social inequality, she created and served as director of the Africana Studies minor, conducted, supervised, and presented research on campus climate, diversity, and multiculturalism, and served on the editorial board of Teaching Sociology. After graduating from Northwestern University, Roxanna worked as a case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. She then received her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University Bloomington. Noted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, she has published research on race and education in various journals and edited volumes. A member of the American Sociological Association, Roxanna has been invited to do numerous presentations on issues of education, multiculturalism, race, gender, identity, and the classroom. She also serves on the boards of the Westminster Community of Shalom and Common Ground on the Hill, serves on the Board of Education's Education that is Multicultural council, and is an active member of the Carroll County Chapter of Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland.

      LaToya Jones,  

Psychotherapist, is a Chicago native born and raised on the city’s south side neighborhood Hyde Park. Attending William H. Ray elementary school and Kenwood Academy High school, LaToya had a rich academic upbringing in the place that was deemed the city’s first suburb long before the city parameters were redefined. In 2001, after graduating from High school LaToya headed south to begin her collegiate matriculation at Tennessee State University. After a short 1 year stint, she travelled to Baltimore MD to finish her BS Psychology from Morgan State University. A MS in Counseling Psychology shortly followed her undergraduate degree as did a 5 year term with serving the mental and emotional needs of Chicago’s inner-city pregnant and parenting teenage population. In 2013, LaToya decided to return to her beloved Baltimore MD and begin her career as a federal employee. Today, she is balancing the rigorous maze of federal employment as well as delving back into her psychological roots at Healthcare Living for Families, an agency dedicated to aiding individuals in restoring, balancing, and maintaining their psychoemotional wellbeing.  


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