Mrs. Suesetta Talbert McCree is a native
Detroiter and was born on May 9, 1931. She is the youngest
of the six children of Dora Russell Talbert and Henry
Payne Talbert. Her parents and four of her siblings
migrated to Detroit from Wilberforce, Ohio in 1919.
She attended Northwestern High School and graduated
in Wayne University to study music, but soon changed
to occupational therapy. She was one of the first two
African Americans to earn a degree in occupational therapy
at Wayne University in 1954.
began practicing as an independent consultant in a number
of nursing homes that were required by state law to
provide occupational therapy activities for the residents.
She also began working for the Society for Crippled
Children and Adults to provide home therapy. She left
that position and became a research associate for the
occupational therapy training program at Wayne University
for three years. The patient base for the program at
that time was Detroit Memorial Hospital (now Riverview).
that, she worked as a supervisor in the physical medicine
and rehabilitation department of the newly opened Detroit
Rehabilitation Institute. She remained at the Institute
for nine years and earned her master's degree in therapeutic
recreation administration and supervision from New York
University in 1962.
Mrs. McCree was appointed assistant professor in the
occupational therapy program at Wayne State. In her
faculty role, she became affiliated with a number of
projects through the Gerontology Institute. She also
helped to develop the Center for Independent Living.
was tenured by 1970 and became chair of the occupational
therapy department in 1990. In 1995, Mrs. McCree retired
from Wayne State and was appointed emeritus associate
professor of occupational therapy by the faculty of
the School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions.
is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association,
Detroit Occupational Therapy Association, and Michigan
Occupational Therapy Association. She influenced the
organization of a local Black Caucus of professional
therapists to help mentor and support students in the
program. Her efforts helped influence the organization
of a National Black Occupational Therapy Caucus.
Mrs. McCree's community involvement has recently included
her association with the WestSiders, a group which developed
and published a community family album of memories entitled,
Remembering Detroit's Old Westside, 1920-1950 (1997).