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Grayson Mitchell

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Information about Grayson Mitchell

Profile image of Grayson Mitchell

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Business Consulting Chief Executive
Newspaper Reporter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Macaroni, Cheese
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/8/1950
Birth Location:
Mobile, Alabama

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Business Consulting Chief Executive
Newspaper Reporter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Macaroni, Cheese
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/8/1950
Birth Location:
Mobile
See how Grayson Mitchell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

William Grayson Mitchell was born March 8, 1950 in Mobile, Alabama. The son of educators, he attended Baldwin County Training School in Daphne, Alabama through the 9th grade. A precocious student, Mitchell qualified for and was granted early admission to Morehouse College, but graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.S. in economics in 1971.

At Morehouse, Mitchell found himself drawn to journalism as his writing in the school paper earned for him a valuable summer internship. He was a political reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1970, at the age of 20. Mitchell was Metro Reporter for the Washington Post from 1972 to 1973, where he knew Watergate reporters, Woodward and Bernstein. Invited by his friend, the late, Jet magazine editor Robert DeLeon, Mitchell signed with Johnson Publishing Company becoming Washington editor for Jet and Ebony magazines from 1973 to 1974. He was Washington columnist for Black Enterprise magazine from 1975 to 1979. He switched careers in 1980 when he became Director of Corporate Communications for Johnson Products in Chicago. In 1983, the 33 year old, Mitchell became Press Secretary for Chicago's first African American Mayor, the Honorable Harold Washington. His new job placed Mitchell in the thick of "Council Wars" as city council factions struggled for political control. Leaving the Mayor's service in 1985, Mitchell went on to found Summit Consulting, Inc., Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Consultancy of which he was Chairman and CEO.

Mitchell also served as director of Lakefront Supportive Housing, the Illinois Humanities Council and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. He was a member of the Economics Club of Chicago. Mitchell had two grown children. They all resides in the city of Chicago.

Mitchell passed away on February 23, 2018 at age 67.

See how Grayson Mitchell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Grayson Mitchell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his maternal family ancestry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes his maternal family ancestry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in the bay of Mobile, Alabama, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his paternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes his paternal family's history in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the class difference between his maternal and paternal families
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in the bay of Mobile, Alabama, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about unusual race relations in the North American Gulf Coast and the influence of French settlers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his Aunt Hattie's open interracial marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell describes his intellectual interests as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes his experience at Baldwin County Training School in Daphne, Alabama, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell describes teaching a summer English and reading course at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida when he was thirteen
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes submitting a book he wrote about the Civil Rights Movement to a publisher at eleven years old
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell talks about socializing with adults at the Elks Club in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell describes his neighborhood church in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes family members in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell talks about an influential guidance counselor and black periodicals in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell describes his experience at Baldwin County Training School in Daphne, Alabama, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his family's relationship to Ralph Abernathy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell describes his first day at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his experience as an early admissions candidate at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell remembers Dr. Benjamin Mays, former president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes working on HistoryMaker Julian Bond's campaign for Georgia State Representative
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Willie Ricks' and Stokely Carmichael's radical organizing in 1960s Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes the events leading to the 1969 student takeover at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell describes the 1969 student takeover of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell describes the 1969 student takeover at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes the consequences of the 1969 student takeover at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure as a reporter for the Southern Courier civil rights newspaper
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell describes the dangers of civil rights reporting in the American South
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell describes working as a reporter for the Newsweek Chicago bureau
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell describes joining the Chicago Sun-Times as a reporter in 1971
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his graduation from the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure as a reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes working as a reporter for the Washington Post
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell describes meeting Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the Washington Post
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes the Washington Post's involvement in the Watergate investigations, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell describes the Washington Post's involvement in the Watergate investigations, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell describes outstanding journalists he met at the Washington Post
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes leaving the Washington Post for Ebony magazine and its associate editor Robert DeLeon
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure at Ebony magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell talks about winning the National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in journalism from Stanford University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Robert DeLeon's marriage to HistoryMaker Diahann Carroll
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Robert DeLeon's death in 1977
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his offer to join the Los Angeles Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes his relationship with John Howard "Jack" Nelson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure at the Los Angeles Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his coverage of Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential election campaign, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his coverage of Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential election campaign, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell remembers meeting George H.W. Bush in Plains, Georgia on the 1976 presidential election campaign trail
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell talks about journalist Ed Bradley's legacy in Plains, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes an interview with U.S. Senator Russell Long
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the relationships he developed with U.S. Senator Russell Long and other southern U.S. congressman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about HistoryMaker Andrew Young's appointment as United States Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell talks about HistoryMaker Leon Dash's work with Angolan rebel forces in the 1970s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Grayson Mitchell talks about black agents in the CIA and the recovery of a black United States spy in Russia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Grayson Mitchell talks about HistoryMaker Andrew Young's diplomacy in Africa
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell talks about U.S. reporting in Angola during the Angolan independence wars in the 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes HistoryMaker Andrew Young's resignation as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell critiques Jimmy Carter's presidency
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell talks about former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz's racist remarks
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell shares his opinion on Richard Nixon's domestic policy record
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the emergence of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell explains why he came back to Chicago, Illinois to work for HistoryMaker George Johnson and Johnson Products Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the legacy of HistoryMaker George Johnson, the founder of Johnson Products Company, and other black hair care entrepreneurs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell describes the Federal Trade Commission's assault on the Johnson Products Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell describes the Johnson Products Company strategy to fight the Federal Trade Commission
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell explains how Jane Byrne's tenure as mayor set the stage for Harold Washington's election as Mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Chicago United's support of Warren Bacon for Mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell talks about a Chicago Defender poll and Harold Washington's reputation
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell remembers Harold Washington's presentation to Chicago United, when he was seeking the organization's endorsement
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell explains why Harold Washington's mayoral campaign was financed primarily by black contributors, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell explains why Harold Washington's mayoral campaign was financed primarily by black contributors, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Hugh and Christie Hefner's support of Harold Washington and Chicago's independent black politicians
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes Harold Washington's campaign strategy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Harold Washington's victory in the 1983 Democratic mayoral primary
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Harold Washington's friendship with Eppie Lederer
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell describes a boycott of the Harold Washington administration and minority and women's business enterprises by Chicago contractors
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Jewish supporters of Harold Washington's campaign
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure as press secretary for the Harold Washington administration, and the onset of the Council Wars
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell describes avoiding a shutdown of O'Hare Airport
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell talks about how race influenced the Council Wars and the relationship between Harold Washington and Edward Vrdolyak
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell critiques Chicago alderman Edward Burke
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes his appointment to press secretary for the Harold Washington mayoral administration, and his resignation in 1985
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the relationship between Harold Washington and mayoral chief of staff William "Bill" Ware
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell describes his strategy as press secretary for Harold Washington, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes his strategy as press secretary for Harold Washington, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes Harold Washington's personality and skill as an orator
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Harold Washington's legacy as Mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the Chicago City Council's support for Harold Washington's second term
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the formation of his consulting firms, Summit Consulting, Inc., and its predecessor North Star Communications, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes the media agenda surrounding the Harold Washington administration
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell lists Chicago media personalities he liked and disliked in the 1980s and 1990s
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell lists black Chicago media personalities in the 1980s and 1990s, including HistoryMakers Vernon Jarrett and Avis LaVelle
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the state of contemporary investigative journalism
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Mayor Richard M. Daley's supervision of the press
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the formation of his consulting firms, Summit Consulting, Inc., and its predecessor North Star Communications, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell considers what he would have done differently
  • Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell describes how he would like to be remembered