GSU history emeritus head remembered

Minnie Elizabeth Thomas Bailey’s funeral services will be held Saturday, April 27  2 p.m. at Mays Chapel CME Church, Ruston and a Family Night Ceremony is set for Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at  Our Christian Funeral Home/Miller’s Funeral Home location.

She was born to Robert Jackson and Georgia Malone Thomas on March 10, 1924, at Pulaski, Tennessee.  After the loss of her father, she was “raised” from age four by “Ms. Georgia” who ensured that she attended church and school regularly.  Her mother instilled the desire to excel and enjoy the spirit of competition.  She received her early education in the Pulaski School System and at home under the directions of her mother and grandmother.  Miss Minnie Thomas earned the B.S. degree at Tennessee State, the M.S. at Iowa State University, and the Ed.D. (History Emphasis) at Oklahoma State University.  She did further study at Louisiana State University and postdoctoral Black Studies Institute, Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA.

The late Dr. Robert Lawson Bailey captured the heart of Miss Minnie Thomas, and they were married in 1944.  To that union a daughter, Barbara Elizabeth Bailey, was born.  The Bailey’s marriage lasted 62 years.

Dr. Minnie Thomas Bailey’s professional career was a distinguished one.  She served as a teacher and a school principal in the Giles County School System, Tennessee.  For 25 years, Dr. Minnie T. Bailey served in the Department of History as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor and finally Head of the Department of History at Grambling State University.  Also she served as coordinator of Afro-American Studies Center and managing editor of the Journal of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Grambling State University.

Her civic associations included – past president of Shadows of Phi Beta Sigma, Epistoleusof Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, historian and past president of the Monroe-Grambling Chapter of Links, Inc.  Until her recent decline in health, she was an active member of Mays Chapel C.M.E. Church of Ruston.

Dr. Bailey’s biographical sketch has appeared in the following publications: Distinguished Personalities of the South (1967 and 1976); Dictionary of American Scholars Vol. I (History), 1969, 1972 and 1982; Dictionary of International Biography, 1972; Outstanding Educators of America, 1973; Leaders of Black America; and Who’s Who of American Women, 1977-78.

 Some of her scholarly works include Reconstruction in Indian Territory, Kennikat Press, 1972; “The Attitude of Thomas Jefferson Toward Negro Slavery During the Revolutionary and Early National Period,” Journal of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Summer and Fall Issue, 1972; and Fidelia Adams Johnson:  Ingenious Daughter of the Founder of Grambling State University, Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), 1978.  (WE 005-520).

This educator and scholar received numerous honors and awards which include but are not limited to elevation to the status of Emeritus Professor of History and Department Head at Grambling State University; appointment to the Board of Advisors of the Southern Conference on African American Studies; appointment as the first Chairperson of the Inaugural President’s Symposium; recipient of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Achievement Award, 1968; E. H. Sparks Citation, 1967 and 1976; and Omega Phi Psi Achievement Award, 1974.

Dr. Bailey’s leadership and mentorship were marked with a reputation for productivity.  She was known as one who “spoke her mind” clearly with a diplomatic twist, a smile. This woman of exceptional intellect had a keen mind that cut to the heart of a matter and resolved the issue.

Drs. Robert and Minnie Bailey were world travelers, having traveled to Canada, 1967;  Mexico, 1968; Hawaiian Island, 1970; Caribbean, 1971-72; Europe, 1973-74; South America, 1974-75; England, Austria, Germany, Italy and France, 1976; Alaska, 1977; the Bahamas, 1978; and Japan; Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong, 1978.  They also visited more than 40 states.

Dr. M. T. Bailey passed away peacefully on April 11, 2013, as she answered the call of her Eternal Father.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Robert L. Bailey and her grandson, Travis Wilson. She is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Barbara E. Bailey Wilson of Newhall, California, one granddaughter, Miss Nicole Wilson of Washington, DC, one adopted son, Dr. Jimmy McJamerson (Nanthalia), Ruston, Louisiana, one Spiritual daughter, Mrs. Carolyn Ensley and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends throughout the country.


Minnie Elizabeth Thomas Bailey, Ph.D.

March 10, 1924 – April 14, 2013


When I die, let them say I served and honored my God

In public and in countless hours of personal meditation.

When I die, let them say I was a teacher, an administrator,

An educator, a scholar who inspired those who entered

My sphere of influence to aspire for the mountaintop

 And not be content living in the valley.

When I die, let them say

A good and noble woman passed this way.


From “When I Die, Let Them Say”

 by Jimmy McJamerson