Yolanda Simmons

The authors of History Comes Home are all associated with the Center for City Schools, National-Louis University, in Chicago, where they conduct programs for reforming urban education.

Steven Zemelman serves as Center Director, and Pete Leki is coordinator of the Center's Parent Project.

Patricia Bearden and Yolanda Simmons each brought over twenty years teaching experience in the Chicago Public Schools to their work as teacher consultants for the Center. Pat has now gone on to preside over the International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry.

As for their own family histories, Steve is the product of a mother who always wanted to be a teacher but never had the opportunity and a father who was a courageous, workaholic toy manufacturer.

Pete recounts how his parents met and married as refugees in the havoc of Europe after World War II. Pat and Yolanda, who are sisters, celebrate their discoveries of ancestors such as great-great grandmother Fredonia Smith-Parrish, who lived to experience freedom from slavery, and her daughter Queen Bessie Parrish, the first teacher in the family, who taught in Aberdeen, Mississippi's freedom schools in the 1890s.

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