Alliance of Parents & Children for Educational Empowerment, Inc.
March 18, 1948 - May 24, 2014
Bertha was born March 18, 1948, the second oldest child of fourteen children to Emma Robinson Knox and Willie Knox in Round Pound, Arkansas. Bertha's family moved to Cochran Gardens high rise development in St. Louis, MO in 1960.
Bertha was educated in St. Louis Public School System and graduated from Vashon High School.
Bertha was an activist and in 1969 as a single mother of two and a Black Panther, she organized and led a nine month rent strike to improve the conditions of public housing and expose the agencies mismanaging them. Bertha was the founder and President of Urban Women, Inc., a consulting firm whose mission was to equip tenant groups with the leadership and management skills necessary to govern their on public housing complex. Bertha traveled throughout the United States, Africa, Australia, and Europe training and helping people regain control of their communities and destinies.
Bertha's vision were in alignment with the Republican campaign for deregulating and changing the rules of welfare administration. Bertha was invite to join Ronald Regan as he signed the 1987 Housing and Community Development Act. Bertha was honored by Oprah Winfrey and received an Essence Award in 1992. Bertha was the subject of a 1983 NBC Show "Fired Up" : The Berth Gilkey Story produced by John Singleton.
James Martin directed a 60 Minute Documentary entitled "Fired Up" : Public Housing is my Home, featuring Bertha. The film was viewed nationally on Public Television in 1989 1nd 1990.
Bertha was self-employed with Urban Women, Inc., and later worked for Black Alliance for Education Option (BAEO). Bertha later founded and worked for Alliance for Parents and Children for Educational Options (APCEE).
Bertha's pride and joy lies within her daughter Yvette Gilkey-Shuford (Rick). Bertha loved going to Alabama to spend time with her adorable grandsons Percy and Ricky, Jr., whom she loved very much. Bertha enjoyed cooking big soul-food dinners for her family, friends, diva's, and many God Children. Bertha met no strangers, and anyone that she came in contact with life was forever changed by her warm smile and big heart. Bertha was often heard saying "My Child", as she personally took an interest into every child she met.
APCEE ® 4811 Delmar Boulevard St. Louis, MO 63108 314-258-3992