Swersie Jane Turpin Dumetz-Norris
11 Sep 1926 - 11 Oct 2001
Swersie was the first black person to become a square dance caller at the national level. Her signature call was to “When the Saints Come Marching In” and she earned the nickname “Bubbling Brown Sugar” because of her fast paced calling.
From the Program Book of the 12th IAGSDC Convention, held in Chicago, IL in 1995:
Swersie has been involved with Square Dancing for over 45 years. She was the first Black female caller to be admitted into CallerLab. She is also a member of the American Callers Association. Swersie has called in many states across the country, and conducted many workshops at various state and national Square Dance conventions over the past 40 years. Swersie calls for several groups in the Chicago area including Diamond Squares and Chi-Horseshoe Squares. Her own groups include Swercee's Squares (Mainstream/Plus), SAC's (Advanced), and Friendly Squares, an exhibition group. She and her groups have appeared on the Phil Donahue Show. Common Ground, and Good Morning America. Swersie is on the staff of the Heartland weekend. She has called at Crossfire, the Chi-Town Squares fly-in, which was truly enjoyable. Swersie calls all levels from beginners to Challenge 3, to dancers who range in age from teens to senior citizens. Swersie has three daughters, three grandsons, and a wonderful husband who encourage her in her efforts lo try to be the best!
- on the convention calling staff at
The original working title for the IAGSDC History Project was "The Swersie Project", which then became "The 10-25 Project", which eventually became "IAGSDC History Project". The title came from a conversation Allan Hurst had with Sandie Bryant in mid-2001 about Swersie's personal history.