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Wesley South

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Information about Wesley South

Profile image of Wesley South

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Radio Personality

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/23/1914
Birth Location:
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Radio Personality

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/23/1914
Birth Location:
Muskogee
See how Wesley South is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Radio personality Wesley South was born to Dr. Elijah and Mayme South on March 23, 1914, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1924. South was educated in the Chicago public school system, graduating from Englewood High School.

During World War II, South served two years in the U.S. Army. After leaving the service, he enrolled at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. In 1951, he was hired by the Chicago Defender. In December of that year, he joined the editorial staff of Johnson Publishing Company, where he worked for nearly six years.

While working as a columnist doing public relations work for the NAACP in 1961, South was approached by a local radio executive who was afraid of being penalized by the Federation Communications Commission (FCC) for not having any African Americans on the air. The station executive asked South to host his own show. Then, in 1962, Leonard and Phil Chess of Chess Records bought the station and changed the call letters to WVON. Two years later, Wesley South's Hot Line began its sixteen-year run on WVON Radio. During that time, South interviewed such luminaries as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter; jazz great, Duke Ellington; baseball pioneer, Jackie Robinson; and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He became part owner of WVON Radio in 1979 and stayed in this capacity until the partnership dissolved.

South passed away on January 9, 2010 at the age of 95.

See how Wesley South is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wesley South interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wesley South's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wesley South talks about his family's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wesley South discusses his parent's separation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wesley South remembers his grandparents, part I
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wesley South remembers his grandparents, part II
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wesley South talks about his aunt and uncle's accomplishments
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Wesley South describes his father, part I
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wesley South describes his father, part II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wesley South remembers his mother, part 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wesley South discusses illness in the early 20th century
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wesley South remembers his mother, part II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wesley South recounts his first experiences coming to Chicago
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wesley South discusses his school life, part I
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wesley South describes episodes from his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wesley South discusses his school life, part II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wesley South recalls his high school years
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wesley South discusses his occupational choices, part I
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wesley South discusses his occupational choices, part II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wesley South recounts his military experience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wesley South recalls his travels abroad while in the Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wesley South remembers his grandfather's death
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wesley South recalls mistreatment at a military camp
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wesley South explains his decision to pursue journalism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wesley South recalls the beginning of his career as a journalist
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wesley South discusses John Johnson's Johnson Publishing Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wesley South recounts episodes from his early career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wesley South remembers prominent Americans
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wesley South describes his history with John H. Johnson and 'Ebony' magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wesley South discusses his employment at the 'Chicago American'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wesley South discusses his beginnings in radio broadcasting
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wesley South describes his business relationship with Fred Wall
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wesley South describes his dealings with Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wesley South recalls collaborating with investors to gain ownership of WVON
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wesley South talks about WVON's move to an all-talk format
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wesley South discusses his involvement in an associate judge election
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wesley South recalls how he and Manford Byrd convinced Harold Washington to run for mayor
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wesley South remembers his relationship with Jesse Jackson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wesley South begins a story about the death of Medgar Evers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wesley South explains how the death of Medgar Evers exemplified talk radio's importance
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wesley South discusses the influence and legacy of WVON
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wesley South discusses economic disparity in the black community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wesley South shares his opinions on social problems in the United States
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wesley South discusses Clarence Thomas's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wesley South considers his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Wesley South considers how his grandfather would have reacted to his career success
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo - Wesley South in a publicity photo
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photo - Wesley South with others
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Photo - Wesley South in a publicity photo
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Photo - Wesley South in a publicity photo
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Photo - Wesley South and others outside a storefront
  • Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Photo - Rev. Jesse Jackson, ca. 1960s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Photo - Funeral ceremonies for unknown person
  • Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Photo - Wesley South with prominent Chicago political figures
  • Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Photo - Wesley South with youths in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination, April 1968
  • Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Photo - Wesley South with Elijah Muhammad, 1968
  • Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Photo - Wesley South with children on a field trip to WVON, ca. 1986
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Photo - Wesley South's autographed portrait of Mayor Harold Washington of Chicago, Illinois, 1985
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Photo - Publicity photo of Wesley South, ca. 1988
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Photo - Wesley South with Senator Carol Moseley Braun at a community meeting, Chicago, Illinois, 1996
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Photo - Wesley South outside of WVON studios, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1992
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Photo - A parade down Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Photo - Wesley South with WVON executive Bernadine Washington and Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, 1966
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Wesley South receives an award from an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. representative, Chicago, Illinois, 1992
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - Wesley South in a portrait taken at The Blue Note nightclub, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1960
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Portrait of Wesley South taken in Broadview, Illinois, 1992
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Photo - Wesley South with other Chicago, Illinois figures during his campaign for U.S. Congress, Springfield, Illinois, 1968
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Photo - Wesley South and others at a celebration of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas celebration, 1954
  • Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Photo - Wesley South observes unrest after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Woodlawn area, Chicago, Illinois, 1968
  • Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Photo - Portrait of Wesley South, ca. 1963
  • Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Photo - Wesley South with Illinois governor and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, 1952
  • Tape: 8 Story: 15 - Photo - Wesley South with his daughter, his assistant and Mr. and Mrs. Neil Hartigan, Chicago, Illinois, 1992
  • Tape: 8 Story: 16 - Photo - Wesley and Mildred South with 'Cadillac' Al Johnson at an Operation PUSH/Breadbasket fundraiser, Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 8 Story: 17 - Photo - Wesley South with assistant campaign manager, Jim Hutchinson, at a fundraiser during his bid for U.S. Congress, 1968
  • Tape: 8 Story: 18 - Photo - Wesley South with Muhammad Ali, Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 8 Story: 19 - Photo - Wesley South with American artists in a cultural exchange program at the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, 1966
  • Tape: 8 Story: 20 - Photo - Wesley South with family members at Christmas, 1967
  • Tape: 8 Story: 21 - Photo - Wesley South and others celebrate the Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision, cover of 'Crisis,' magazine, 1979
  • Tape: 8 Story: 22 - Photo - 'The Atlanta Journal' article on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral procession, Atlanta, Georgia, 1968
  • Tape: 8 Story: 23 - Photo - Wesley South with then-Chicago, Illinois 8th ward alderman, William Cousins, 1968