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J. Terry Edmonds

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Information about J. Terry Edmonds

Profile image of J. Terry Edmonds

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Speechwriter
Presidential Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steamed Crabs
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beaches
Favorite Quote:
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Birthplace

Born:
9/9/1949
Birth Location:
Baltimore, Maryland

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Speechwriter
Presidential Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steamed Crabs
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beaches
Favorite Quote:
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Birthplace

Born:
9/9/1949
Birth Location:
Baltimore
See how J. Terry Edmonds is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Speechwriter Terry Edmonds was born on September 9, 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland. The son of Naomi Parker, a waitress, Edmonds grew up in the projects of Baltimore’s inner-city. He spent time in a foster home and his family was on welfare for a number of years, but Edmonds went on to be the first in his family to attend college. He graduated from Morgan State University in 1973, with his B.A. degree in English.

In 1978, Edmonds was hired as a public relations and communications specialist at the Maryland Transit Administration. Then, in 1982, he took a position as director of public relations for Trahan, Burden and Charles Advertising. While working at Trahan, Burden and Charles, Edmonds also served as director of communications at the Joint Center for Political Studies, a Washington, D.C. think tank, from 1985 until 1987. In 1987, he was hired as a press secretary in the office of Kweisi Mfume, at that time a newly elected United States representative from Maryland. Edmonds worked in public relations for Macro Systems in 1988, Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 1989, the University Research Corporation in 1990, and R.O.W. Sciences in 1991. Then, in 1993, he was hired as a senior speechwriter for the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala. After serving under Shalala for two years, Edmonds worked as a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton in 1995, making him the first African American speechwriter for a United States President. In 1997, Edmonds was promoted to deputy director of speechwriting, and, in 1999, he was appointed by President Clinton as the director of speechwriting and assistant to the president.

In 2002, Edmonds was hired as the director of editorial management at AARP, and, in 2005, he served as the executive speechwriter for Time Warner, Inc. Edmonds then went on to work as a speechwriter for the Corporation for National and Community Service, as well as the senior advisor and speechwriter for NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. He was also appointed associate vice president and editorial director of Columbia University.

Terry Edmonds was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 26, 2013.

See how J. Terry Edmonds is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - J. Terry Edmonds narrates his photographs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of J. Terry Edmonds' interview
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - J. Terry Edmonds lists his favorites
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - J. Terry Edmonds describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his mother's childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - J. Terry Edmonds describes his father and his step-father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - J. Terry Edmonds describes his parents' personalities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - J. Terry Edmonds describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - J. Terry Edmonds recalls moving around Baltimore while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - J. Terry Edmonds recalls his childhood interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - J. Terry Edmonds remembers the Kennedy Assassination, the March on Washington and the moon landing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about the influence of the "I Have a Dream" speech on his writing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - J. Terry Edmonds describes the schools he attended during childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - J. Terry Edmonds describes his teachers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - J. Terry Edmonds recalls his childhood love of writing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - J. Terry Edmonds remembers the day President Kennedy was assassinated
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about reading the black press as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - J. Terry Edmonds describes his high school interests
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his high school experience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - J. Terry Edmonds describes the churches he attended in Baltimore
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about being published at Morgan State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - J. Terry Edmonds reflects on the influence of Smokey Robinson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - J. Terry Edmonds discusses the poetry scene at Morgan State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - J. Terry Edmonds discusses the culture of Baltimore
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - J. Terry Edmonds remembers his most influential professor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - J. Terry Edmonds recalls how his education influenced his writing
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - J. Terry Edmonds discusses his poetry and his poetic influences
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his experience at Morgan State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his first job after graduating from Morgan State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - J. Terry Edmonds describes his early jobs in public relations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his experience in public relations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about working in advertising
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - J. Terry Edmonds describes working at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - J. Terry Edmonds describes becoming a speechwriter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his experience working for public relations consulting firms
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - J. Terry Edmonds describes his entry into the Clinton Administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - J. Terry Edmonds remembers becoming a presidential speechwriter
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - J. Terry Edmonds describes the diversity of the Clinton Administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his routine as a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - J. Terry Edmonds describes the collaborative process of writing speeches for President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - J. Terry Edmonds remembers writing emergency statements for President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - J. Terry Edmonds recalls advising President Bill Clinton to speak about the Million Man March
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - J. Terry Edmonds discusses his favorite speeches for President Bill Clinton, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about gaining access to President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - J. Terry Edmonds remembers a compassionate call from President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - J. Terry Edmonds discusses his favorite speeches for President Bill Clinton, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - J. Terry Edmonds describes the challenges of being a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - J. Terry Edmonds discusses President Bill Clinton's Advisory Board on Race
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his promotion to Chief Speechwriter and the 2000 State of the Union address
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about the Monica Lewinsky scandal
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - J. Terry Edmonds reflects on working in the Clinton Administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - J. Terry Edmonds discusses writing speeches for AARP and the John Kerry campaign
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - J. Terry Edmonds recalls writing speeches for Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, President Obama, and NASA Director Charles Bolden
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - J. Terry Edmonds reflects on the importance of inner strength
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his plans for the future
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - J. Terry Edmonds reflects on his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - J. Terry Edmonds shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - J. Terry Edmonds talks about his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - J. Terry Edmonds discusses how he would like to be remembered