LIFE & STYLE

She Was 1 Of 9 Black Students At An All-White School. At 76, Gloria Ray Karlmark Is Still Writing her own history

By Darcel Rockett
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Darcel Rockett of the Chicago Tribune sits down for a Q&A with Gloria Ray Karlmark, a member of the Little Rock Nine. The paper talks Karlmark about her historic path, her responsibility to the civil rights cause and her role as a leader in the world of women in STEM. 

Chicago Tribune

Gloria Ray Karlmark walked into the history books when she, along with eight other African American students, walked into Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in September 1957.

Since then, Karlmark has been a member of the Little Rock Nine, nine youths who made federally ordered racial desegregation a reality with their presence at the all-white high school.

Karlmark’s educational path eventually led her to Illinois Institute of Technology, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics in 1965. Her eight-year stint in Chicago during what she calls her “formative years” had her working two part-time jobs, sometimes to pay for transportation as she looked for a job as a chemist or mathematician. She was a waitress at The Medici in Hyde Park in the ’60s, briefly served as a temporary physics and geometry teacher, and held other jobs like laboratory assistant, programmer, mathematician for Sears, Roebuck and Co., and researcher on early robotics projects through Illinois Tech’s Research Institute.

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