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Jabari Asim

Author and magazine editor Jabari Asim was born on August 11, 1962 in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Southwest High School in 1980, and attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

In 1988, Asim was hired by the startup African American publication, Take Five magazine, as a contributing writer. By 1990, he was promoted to senior editor of the magazine where he ran the magazine’s literary section until 1992, when he became a copy editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Here, he would take on the additional role of arts editor of the weekend section; and, in 1993, he was made book editor. In 1996, Asim moved to Washington D.C. when he was hired by the Washington Post to serve as an assistant editor before becoming senior editor of the newspaper’s Book World in 1999. The Washington Post Book World was a weekly book section in which Asim wrote, assigned, and edited reviews. He remained in this role until he became editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, in 2007. From 2008 to 2010, Asim served as a scholar-in-residence in African American Studies and in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign; and, in 2009, he was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in the general nonfiction category. Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts hired Asim in 2010 to work as an associate professor of writing, literature, and publishing. He left The Crisis in 2017.

Asim is the author of nonfiction, fiction, children’s and adult’s books, and poetry. His children’s literature includes The Road to Freedom: A story of the Reconstruction (2001), Whose Toes are Those? and Whose Knees are These? (2006), Daddy Goes to Work (2006), Girl of Mine and Boy of Mine (2010), Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington (2012), Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis (2016), and A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country (2018). His adult works include Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on the Law, Justice and Life (2001), The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why (2007), What Obama Means: …For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future (2009), A Taste of Honey (2010), Only the Strong (2015), and We Can’t Breathe (2018). Asim’s poetry has also been featured in the Black American Literature Forum, The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry, Step Into A World: A Global Anthology of The New Black Literature, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature & Art, Beyond The Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century, and The Harlem Reader: A Celebration of New York's Most Famous Neighborhood from the Renaissance Years to the 21st Century.

Asim lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Liana Asim, and the couple has five children.

Jabari Asim was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 13, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2019

Last Name

Asim

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Wade Elementary School

Central Visual and Performing Arts High School

Northwestern University

First Name

Jabari

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

ASI01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Newport, RI

Favorite Quote

Writing Is Work, But It's Joyful Work

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

8/11/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Author and magazine editor Jabari Asim (1962 - ) was editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, from 2007 to 2017, and became associate professor of writing literature and publishing at Emerson College in 2010. He has also authored fifteen books.

Employment

Sears

Take Five Magazine

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Washington Post

Washington Post Book World

The Crisis

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

John Guggenheim Foundation

Emerson College

Favorite Color

Green

Randall Robinson

Human rights advocate, author, and law professor Randall Robinson was born on July 6, 1941 in Richmond, Virginia to Maxie Cleveland Robinson and Doris Robinson. He graduated from Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia in 1959; attended Norfolk State College in Norfolk, Virginia; and during his junior year, entered the U.S. Army. Robinson earned his B.A. in sociology from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia in 1967, prior to receiving his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1970.

In his final year of law school, Robinson cofounded the Southern Africa Relief Fund, and after graduation, worked as a Ford Foundation fellow in Tanzania, East Africa. Upon his return to the United States, he worked as a civil rights attorney at the Boston Legal Assistance Project until 1975, when he served as speech writer in the office of Missouri Congressman Bill Clay. He worked as a staff attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in 1976, prior to serving as administrative assistant, i.e. chief of staff, in the office of Michigan Congressman Charles Diggs.

In 1977, Robinson founded TransAfrica Forum to promote enlightened U.S. policies toward Africa and the Caribbean. He served as the organization’s president until 2001, when he and his wife, Hazel, moved to St. Kitts. In 2008, Robinson was named a Distinguished Scholar in Residence by The Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, where he taught human rights law until 2016.

Robinson is a best-selling author, with his works including Defending the Spirit: A Black Life in America; The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks; The Reckoning – What Blacks Owe to Each Other; Quitting America: The Departure of a Black Man from His Native Land; An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President; and two novels: The Emancipation of Wakefield Clay and MAKEDA.

Some nineteen universities have conferred honorary Ph.D.’s upon Robinson in recognition of his work in the area of social justice advocacy, and he has been honored by the United Nations, the Congressional Black Caucus, Harvard University, Essence, ABC News (Person of the Week), The Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Change, the NAACP, and Ebony, among others. The Government of South Africa in 2012 conferred upon him the highest honor permissible to a non-citizen of South Africa, in recognition of his efforts to end apartheid. And the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, New York, named him a 2017 medalist in honor of his work in the area of human rights.

Robinson has presented his views and policy recommendations on Nightline, CNN, CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, Face the Nation, Democracy Now, NPR, NBC Nightly News, ABC’s World News Tonight, The Today Show, C-Span, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Charlie Rose Show, and other leading American television programs.

Robinson has two children, Anike Robinson and Jabari Robinson, from his first marriage. He and his wife, Hazel Ross-Robinson, are the parents of one daughter, Khalea Ross Robinson.

Randall Robinson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

06/13/2017 |and| 08/31/2017

Last Name

Robinson

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Randall

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

ROB33

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

No longer have one - Live on small island in St. Kitts

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

West Indies

Birth Date

7/6/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Kitts

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Carribbean, Indan, Chinese, Soul

Short Description

Human rights advocate, author and law professor Randall Robinson (1941 - ) was an attorney for the Boston Legal Assistance Project and served as an administrative assistant for Michigan Congressman Charles Diggs. He later founded the TransAfrica Forum and published seven books.

Favorite Color

Orange, red and yellow

Ernest J. Gaines

Author Ernest J. Gaines was born on January 15, 1933 in Oscar, Louisiana to Manuel Gaines and Adrienne Jefferson Gaines. Gaines attended St. Augustine Catholic School until he moved to Vallejo, California in 1948 to live with his mother and stepfather. He graduated from Vallejo Junior College and went on to attend San Francisco State University, where he received his B.A. degree in language arts in 1957.

Before receiving his B.A. degree, Gaines served in the U.S. Army from 1953 until 1955, and then published his first short story, The Turtle, in a journal at San Francisco State University in 1956. He then published his second short story, Boy in the Double-Breasted Suit, the following year. These publications helped Gaines earn a Wallace Stegner Writing Fellowship in 1958 at Stanford University, where he remained for a year. Gaines published additional short stories before publishing his first novel, Catherine Carmier, in 1964. After publishing three subsequent novels, Gaines was the recipient of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971. In 1981, he became the writer-in-residence at the University of Louisiana and remained there until his retirement in 2004. After his retirement, Gaines focused on repairing and restoring his old plantation home in Louisiana.

Gaines was the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career. In 1967, Gaines won a National Endowment for the Arts grant; and in 1993, he was awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. His work has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize twice, and his book, A Lesson Before Dying, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The novel was also featured on Oprah’s Book Club, in 1997. Several of Gaines’ novels have been made into films as well, including A Lesson Before Dying, A Gathering of Old Men, The Sky is Gray, and The Autobiography of Jane Pittman. The film verson of A Lesson Before Dying was critically acclaimed and won nine Emmy Awards. In 2007, a book award was established in his honor by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to encourage African-American fiction writers.

Ernest J. Gaines was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 22, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.102

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/22/2017

Last Name

Gaines

Maker Category
Middle Name

J

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Stanford University

San Francisco State University

Vallejo High School

First Name

Ernest

Birth City, State, Country

Oscar

HM ID

GAI03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home or San Francisco or Paris

Favorite Quote

Read, read ,read, write, write, write.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

1/15/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo, jambalaya

Short Description

Author Ernest J. Gaines (1933- ) published several novels and was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. The film version his novel A Lesson Before Dying won nine Emmy Awards.

Favorite Color

Brown

Valerie Wilson Wesley

Author Valerie Wilson Wesley was born on November 22, 1947 in Willimantic, Connecticut to Bertram W. Wilson and Mary Wilson. Wesley attended Howard University, where she earned her B.A. degree in 1970. She went on to receive two M.A. degrees, one from the Bank Street College of Education and another from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Wesley began her career as an associate editor for Scholastic News in 1970, where she remained until 1972. In 1988, she joined Essence magazine as the travel editor. Wesley served in many editing positions at the magazine. She served as executive editor from 1992 until 1996 and as contributing editor from 1994 until 1997. Wesley has also served as a writer for Essence. In 2005, she was named as an artist-in-residence at Columbia College of Chicago, Illinois. Wesley also served as an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2013.

Wesley was the author of numerous works in genres including mystery, romance, children’s, and nonfiction. She was the author of the Tamara Hayle Mysteries series, as well as the Willemena Rules! childrens book series. Wesley also wrote: Where Do I Go from Here?, which won the American Library Association’s Best Book for Reluctant Readers citation in 1993, When Death Comes Stealing, and Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, which received the Award for Excellence in Adult Fiction from the American Library Association Black Caucus in 2000. Wesley was the recipient of the Griot Award from the New York chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists in 1993, and the Author of the Year Award from Amigirls Book Club in 2004, in addition to being named the author of the year by the Go Go, Girls Book Club.

An active participant in community organizations, Wesley was a board member of Sisters of Crime, a professional organization committed to fighting discrimination against women who write mystery novels, and was a member of the board of directors for the Newark Arts Council. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Montclair Art Museum and the YWCA of North Essex, New Jersey.

Wesley and her husband, Richard Wesley, have two daughters, Nandi and Thembi.

Valerie Wilson Wesley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 30, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.079

Sex

Female

Interview Date

03/30/2017

Last Name

Wesley

Maker Category
Middle Name

Wilson

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Ashford School

Howard University

Kaiserslautern High School

Bank Street College of Education

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

First Name

Valerie

Birth City, State, Country

Willimantic

HM ID

WES11

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Life Goes On, There's Always Tomorrow.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

11/22/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Author Valerie Wilson Wesley (1947 - ) was executive editor of Essence magazine and published several award winning novels.

Employment

Newark Public Schools Board of Education

Scholastic News

Essence Magazine

Self Employed, Author

Favorite Color

Purple, Maroon, Turquoise

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Valerie Wilson Wesley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her mother's education and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her father's service as a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her father's legacy as a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers her father's deployment to the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her community in Ashford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers discrimination in Ashford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her early interests

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers living in Madrid, Spain

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her experiences during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her literary instruction in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers Kaiserslautern High School in Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers the political atmosphere at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls majoring in philosophy at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her early experiences of religions

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers meeting her husband at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers meeting her husband at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about influence of philosophy on her writing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her work in early childhood education

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers her marriage to Richard Wesley

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls joining the Harlem Writer's Guild, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls joining the Harlem Writer's Guild, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her decision to attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her position at Scholastic News

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers joining Essence magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her role as senior editor of Essence

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her writing schedule in the late 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her writing process

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her strategy for writing young adult fiction

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her article, 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her book, 'Where Do We Go From Here?'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the adventures of her heroine, Tamara Hayle pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the adventures of her heroine, Tamara Hayle pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the possibility for television adaptations of her stories

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her research for her books

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes the inspiration behind her work

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her favorite books

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the business aspect of publishing

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her written works

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her article, 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong'
Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her book, 'Where Do We Go From Here?'
Transcript
'Where Do I Go from Here?' [Valerie Wilson Wesley] came out--was published in '93 [1993] and now, now it won the NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists] Griot Award at some point?$$No, no that was--$$That--$$Well no, that was--I won the NA- for a journalist piece I did--$$Okay.$$--about my daughter, as a party.$$Oh, okay.$$That was, yeah that was, that was in, wait, wait, no the NABJ thing was an article thing I wrote in Essence.--$$Okay.$$--and that was for a party gone--I think it was called 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong' [Valerie Wilson Wesley].$$Okay that makes more sense to me. Because I have--it's in here the same year so I thought it may have been for the, but I don't know why they would do that so that answers that. 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong.' Now what, what is that about, gun violence?$$No, it's about the cops came into our home. My girls were giving a party and beat up everybody. And Amiri's kids were here and just it was awful. I was at Essence at the time and that's why I wrote it and Audrey [HistoryMaker Audrey Edwards]--$$So, well who orchestrated it (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well what happened was the kids were giving a party. Lucky there were no drugs there.$$Were they in high school?$$No Thembi [Thembi Wesley] was in college [Howard University, Washington, D.C.], first year of college. Nandi [Nandi Wesley] was in high school, and Richard [HistoryMaker Richard Wesley] and I were up the street and Thembi's eighteen, and somehow, we think now that maybe what happened was they were trying to--, there was a young kid, a young very political young boy in Newark [New Jersey] who was, that we think they may have been following because he was really you know, kind of a revolutionary kid. Anyway the house was, friends from college, kids they knew. You know how parties start, with kids like, here. It's a predominantly white neighborhood [Montclair, New Jersey] and somehow I think they were following this kid. But they came in. No one--our neighbors were like really horrified because they don't, I don't care, you know, they were really were protective of the kids and because they know them. And the cops basically came in and and my daughter wouldn't let them in. She said, "You have to have--," basically stood up and said, "you have to have a search warrant. You just can't come in--," and pushed her out of the way and went. They were just, it was awful and when they did that, the boy saw them. What happened in these situations, the boys, they pick on the boys first and there was lots--the girls first. There were lots of siblings at the party so they would start, they would start beating up the girls and you know pushing them around and like you know and anyway they ended up arresting kids and including Thembi and including Amiri Baraka who came when he heard his kids were here and when he heard they were doing that to us, he got in his car and drove down here and came into the party and was angry, and Thembi and Amiri ended up in the same squad car. It was just a mess. Anyway, and so and it was just awful, awful and we ended up, ultimately they kind of dropped the charges and expunged Thembi's record which you know it was just you know, it was just terrible and to have your home invaded like that. And I think if they were looking for something it would have, it would have been of course there was nothing here, including if there'd been would have been mine because the kids, there was not any alcohol. They were not drinking. No alcohol. So that was, and I wrote about it. You read about it from two perspectives. One from me and one from a kid who was here who is now a doctor. Anyway, as it ends it up, as it ends up it was just awful that's all I can say. Recently, that maybe two years ago I ordered a pizza and the delivery guy came and when he came to the house he said, you, he looked like he had a hard time. He said, "I know this house," and I said--. "Well you know I remember I was a cop once and we came here." And he just apologized. He said, "I'm so sorry that what happened to you. Will you forgive me for that?" I said, "Yeah." I mean, "Is everyone okay?" And I said, "Yeah." And they were. I mean they went through it. Thembi never again, they were sensitive, they were afterwards, but they all, it was a terrible education for them but it, thank God there was no one was shot. It would be today, but then they weren't, cops weren't using guns like they do now. And it was just really not, you know, it was just rousing people you know arresting kids but it was really awful but the kids got, that was their first introduction to you know that kind of, "You ain't white," that's what my uncle told me. He said, "Didn't you teach those kids they weren't white?" That was my uncle's--, "Valerie [HistoryMaker Valerie Wilson Welsey], why didn't you, didn't you teach them?" I said, "I, you know, you yeah." I was young too, then in a sense. It was awful. That's all, I kept saying that word again and again. It was just really frightening (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Hm, yeah okay. That's quite a story, I--yeah.$$It, yeah and that was the 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong.' It was a look at that.$'Where Do We Go From Here?' [Valerie Wilson Wesley]. Now what was that about?$$That was about, that was a young adult novel. That was the first after the, in, of the children's the, the AFRO-BETS book of heroes ['Book of Black Heroes from A to Z: An Introduction to Important Black Achievers for Young Readers,' Wade Hudson with Valerie Wilson Wesley] that was about two kids and it was based upon something Richard [Wesley's husband, HistoryMaker Richard Wesley] was writing, and how it got and came into being was [HistoryMaker] Walter Dean Myers had said to send him an--I was working and I'm still working I never sold it on a book about history book for children about the Sea Islands about port--what they call the, port world experiment [sic. Port Royal Experiment] which was when missionaries from the East came down to the Sea Islands. Anyway I had the three chapters and I sent it to Walter Dean Myers' editor and she said, "We don't want to buy history, but do you have anything contemporary?" And I said, "Oh yes, of course I do," which I didn't. You never say you don't. You always--and I wrote the first three chapters of what I called at the time was 'The Indicot Blues' [ph.] and it was, 'Where Do I Go From---'it was basically about a middle--a kid on scholarship at this exclusive school and he [Marcus] and this little girl in Newark [New Jersey] it's from her perspective, whose at the same school and her fitting into the glorified world of middle--of them both the private schools, he you know he drops out and disappears one night. He's like the star of the school. He's very friendly and everyone loves him and he kind of helps her and her name is Nia, kind of helps her be a part of the school only because he's such a you know but he leaves one night and she basically goes in search of him because now she's there by herself and she gets into a fight with a little white girl which also grew up in Newark and was a lot of that tension. Anyway she finds him and they become friends again and he's fine and it was based upon, Richard was doing a story about at the time called 'Murder Without Motive' ['Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story'] for, and it was about a kid who went to one of these prep schools [Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire] and comes back home and ends up shooting a cop or shooting somebody and ends up dead. And I, I of course took my story and made it different. But and that's what it was about and it's about these two kids in this environment, this predominantly white private school. But it was you know it was pretty good and I, it was--out of print now but I think it would be interesting to, it was Scholastic [Scholastic Corporation] was--$$Okay, okay.$$And that was the first one (simultaneous).

Edwidge Danticat

Author Edwidge Danticat was born on January 19, 1969 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to André Danticat and Rose Danticat. In 1981, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she graduated from Clara Barton High School and received her B.A. degree in French literature from Barnard College in New York City in 1990; and her M.F.A. degree in creative writing from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in 1993.

In 1983, at age fourteen, Danticat published her first writing in English, “A Haitian-American Christmas,” in New Youth Connections, a citywide magazine written by teenagers. Her next publication, “A New World Full of Strangers,” was about her immigration experience and led to the writing of her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory in 1994. In 1997, she was named one of the country’s best young authors by the literary journal Granta. Danticat’s other works include, Everything Inside, Claire of the Sea Light, Brother, I’m Dying, Krik? Krik!, The Farming of Bones, The Dew Breaker, and Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work.

Danticat has also taught creative writing at New York University and the University of Miami. She has worked with filmmakers Patricia Benoit and Jonathan Demme, on projects on Haitian art and documentaries about Haiti. Her short stories have appeared in over twenty-five periodicals and have been widely anthologized. In 2009, she narrated Poto Mitan: Haitian Women Pillars of the Global Economy, a documentary about the impact of globalization on five women from different generations.

Danticat’s works received critical acclaim and won numerous awards. Brother, I’m Dying won a National Book Critics Circle Award, Breath, Eyes, Memory was chosen as an Oprah Book Club selection, The Farming of Bones won an American Book Award, The Dew Breaker received a Story Prize, and The Art of Death was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Danticat won fiction awards from Essence and Seventeen magazines, was named as one of “20 people in their twenties who will make a difference” by Harper’s Bazaar magazine, was named one of the “15 Gutsiest Women of the Year” by Jane magazine, and was the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, a Ford Fellowship, and The 2018 Neustadt Prize. Danticat has also received honorary doctorate degree from Brooklyn College, Brown University, Yale University, Smith College, Adelphi University, Saint Thomas University, The University of Indianapolis, and the University of the West Indies Open Campus.

Danticat and her husband, Faidherbe “Fedo” Boyer, have two daughters, Mira and Leila.

Edwidge Danticat was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.062

Sex

Female

Interview Date

03/10/2017

Last Name

Danticat

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Edwidge

Birth City, State, Country

Port-au-Prince

HM ID

DAN09

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Haitien

Favorite Quote

Little by little the bird builds its nest.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

1/19/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

Haiti

Favorite Food

Rice and beans

Short Description

Author Edwidge Danticat (1969 - ) an award winning author of several novels, including Breath, Eyes, Memory and Claire of the Sea Light, and was the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Fellowship.

Favorite Color

Black

ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Author and journalist ReShonda Tate Billingsley was born on September 7, 1969, in Kansas City, Missouri. Billingsley graduated from Madison High School in Houston, Texas in 1987, and attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her B.A. degree in broadcast journalism in 1991.

Billingsley began her career in 1993 as an associate producer for KTRK-TV, an ABC-affiliate in Houston, Texas. After a year at KTRK, Billingsley moved to the NBC-affiliate KJAC-TV in Port Arthur, Texas, as an anchor, reporter and talk show host. In 1996, she accepted a position in Houston, Texas as a reporter for KPRC-TV, the NBC-affiliate. From 1997-2003, Billingsley was a reporter and anchor for the NBC-affiliated KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 2003, she returned to Houston as a reporter for KRIV-TV, the Fox-affiliate, where she remained until 2007. Billingsley published her first book in 2001 My Brother’s Keeper, which was picked up by publishing company Simon & Schuster the following year. She became a National Bestselling Author of over forty fiction, non-fiction, and teen fiction books. Billingsley has also served as a reporter and editor for the Houston Defender since 1993. She served as a host and producer for KPFT’s From Cover to Cover literary talk show from 2009 to 2013, and KTSU’s The Sista Xchange from 2011 to 2014. She, and fellow Simon & Schuster author Victoria Christopher Murray, co-founded Brown Girl Books in 2014. Her books The Devil is a Lie and Let the Church Say Amen were adapted into television movies for TV One and BET.

Billingsley has also served as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Jack & Jill of America, and the Durham Library board. Billingsley received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature in 2012 for her book, Say Amen, Again, and was nominated in 2013 for The Secret She Kept, which was adapted into a television movie for TV One. She was nominated for the award once again in 2015 for Mama’s Boy.

Billingsley and her husband, Dr. Miron Billingsley have three children; Mya, Morgan and Myles.

ReShonda Tate Billingsley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.014

Sex

Female

Interview Date

02/1/2017

Last Name

Billingsley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Tate

Occupation
Schools

James Madison High School

Petersen Elementary School

Retta Brown Elementary School

Audrey H. Lawson Middle School

University of Texas at Austin

First Name

ReShonda

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

BIL05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos

Favorite Quote

Stop Talking About Doing It And Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

9/7/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Author and journalist ReShonda Tate Billingsley (1969 - ) served as a reporter and news anchor in Texas and Oklahoma, and was a national bestselling author of over forty fiction, nonfiction and teen fiction books.

Employment

Simon and Schuster

Houston Defender

KRIV-TV

KFOR-TV

KPRC-TV

KJAC-TV

National Enquirer

Favorite Color

Pink, Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of ReShonda Tate Billingsley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her mother's early years and education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her father's storytelling

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her love of reading

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her father's supper club

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her father's carpentry skills

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her neighborhood in Smackover, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her parents' divorce and moving to Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her favorite middle school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her first published story

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her active imagination

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her church involvements

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her early reputation as a writer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her early career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her favorite teacher at James Madison High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls enrolling at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her activities at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her favorite professor at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her early broadcasting experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers graduating from the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls working for the National Enquirer

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers working as a producer at KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her transition to anchoring for KJAC-TV in Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls worked as a reporter at KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas and KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her first book, 'My Brother's Keeper'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls self-publishing 'My Brother's Keeper'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her book, 'Let the Church Say Amen'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about the controversy around 'Let the Church Say Amen'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes the themes of her books

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her writing career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her books 'Help! I've Turned into My Mother' and 'I Know I've Been Changed'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her books that were published in 2007

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her teen fiction books

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her books, 'The Devil is a Lie' and 'Holy Rollers'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her acting career

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her book, 'The Secret She Kept'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her parenting style

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her book, 'A Family Affair'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her current projects

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about the film adaptations of her books

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her screenwriting aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her awards and accolades

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley reflects upon her writing career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her writing process

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her favorite writers and books

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about the growth of her writing career

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her publishing company, Brown Girls Books

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$7

DATitle
ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her active imagination
ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her book, 'Let the Church Say Amen'
Transcript
Now didn't your mother [Nancy Kilgore Blacknell] tell you at one time that making up a story is a lie unless you write it down and then it's a fiction (laughter)?$$Yes, then it's a story. If it comes out of our mouth (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Then it's a story, right, right.$$--it's a lie, if you write it down.$$If you write it down then it's a story?$$Yes, and so you know and that was one of the things because I would--I remember when my mother, my parents were still together. I would just out of the blue start acting out a story. I had written a story about a little girl that had passed out and we were in Smackover [Arkansas], we were going from Norphlet [Arkansas] to Smackover, and my sister [Tanisha Tate] told my parents, "ReShonda [HistoryMaker ReShonda Tate Billingsley] won't, won't wake up, she won't sit up." And so, my father [Bruce Tate] pulled over to the side of the road, the truck actually broke down, and I would not lift my head. I just--my whole body was limp because that's what I had written in my story and so my parents were freaking out. They ended up flagging down somebody passing by, they took us to the hospital in Smackover to--there was a small like clinic and the doctor, who my grandmother [Tate Billingsley's maternal grandmother, Pearley Hicks Kilgore] cleaned for he examined me. My mother was crying and I'm just, I'm still not lifting up. My eyes are rolled back in the back of my head and Dr. Warren [George W. Warren] was his name and he came in, he examined me and then he said--my mother was like, "What's wrong with her?" And he told me he said, "Sit up gal," and I just kind of sat there, he said, "I said sit up, gal," and I just kind of sat up, and so my parents freaked out. They said, "Why would you do all of that?" And I said, "That's what the little girl did in my story, so I was just trying to carry it out," and my mother ended up having to leave the room before she killed me. My dad was always the, the buffer, but he, and he explained to me, "You know you can't do stuff like that." But I said, "That's how when I wrote it and she did--she never woke up." And so, little stuff that made no sense in my mind and I think I was ten at that time, no, I might have been eight at that time and it made no sense in their minds, but it made perfect sense because that's, that was the story that I wrote.$$So, you had a very active imagination.$$I did.$$And internal life that was--yeah.$$I don't know where it came from, I mean I just out of the blue I would come, and the reason my--the whole--my mother said that it was a lie 'cause I had come in, I said my sister broke her arm outside playing at--we used to gather up the leaves to burn the leaves and so I came in and my mother said, "Well, where's your sister?" I said, "Oh, she's out there. She just broke her arm jumping in the leaves." So, of course my mother ran out there and my sister is just playing in the leaves, and so my mother said, "That's, you know, that's a lie coming out of your mouth." And I said, "Naw I was trying to work through a story in my head," and so it would get me in trouble a lot (laughter) and so, I, I have no idea why I used to--I would, I just don't know why I did stuff like that, but it was just that imagination always at work.$And your next book in 2004 was 'Let the Church Say Amen' [ReShonda Tate Billingsley] which is the foundation of a trilogy, basically?$$Yes.$$Let--it's about two families, right?$$It's about a, about a family and a pastor who gives his all to the church, so much so that he doesn't see how he's neglecting his family and what I wanted to do was show--even though this is a pastor, this could be any man in any job who works so hard for their job that they don't realize how their family needs them just as much, and so that's what I wanted to write about. What ended up happening was because the book had a church title, people started classifying it as Christian fiction, and I caught a lot of flak behind that because it, is not Christian fiction. I did, I had a couple of curse words in it. I have--and you know I don't write gratuitous, I don't write gratuitous sex, I don't write gratuitous cursing. Everything I write has a purpose, but when you pick up a book and you think you're about to read Christian fiction, so I caught a lot of flak, to the point that sometimes I would read the reviews and they would have me in tears, but for every bad review, I would get ten great reviews, but you know how we do, we focus on the bad. But that book is what ended up putting me on the map.$$What were the responses good and bad to your work, I mean what did people like about it?$$A lot of people liked the truth, I mean because what happens is many of us will go to the club Saturday night and then we get up and to the club--go to church on Sunday morning, and so those are the type of characters that I would write about, so people could relate. So, one of the, the biggest things that I got from people and one of the most positive things were, "Your characters are so relatable. This story is relatable." There were people that would say, "I'm struggling, my family is struggling just like the people in this book," so in terms of the positive side, I got that a lot. The negative was the people that said, "I picked this up because I thought it was a Christian fiction book, and you had this character say a bad word, so I'm mortified." There was--I got a couple of, "You're gonna rot in hell" emails, and those are the ones that sent me to, to tears because they would said, "Well, your character is homosexual and he didn't pray hard enough," you know. And you'd wanna reply, "Write your own book," (laughter), but you know you take, try to take the high road, but I would get a lot--I caught the biggest amount of flak because my character didn't pray the gay away, and I think at that time when that was released you saw that was big, a big, the whole DL thing was a big, down low thing was a big thing going around.$$Right, I remember that.$$And people kept saying, "He could just pray this away," and I don't have--I didn't have that in my book. I had this family really struggling with one of their son's dealing with that, and I, let the family deal with it and not say okay, now he's cured at the end of the book. So, I caught that. One lady said she, the book was garbage and she was gonna use it to hold up, her coffee table that had a bad leg. So, I would get that kind of thing all the time. There was one station in Virginia that was going--had me come in for a book signing and they ended up canceling it because they said they read the book after inviting me, and they called the book soft porn, and I was mortified because I don't have any, I don't have anything like that in there, but they said they ended up canceling it and the bookstore was a Christian bookstore started selling the book behind the counter like it was a Hustler magazine, and so the way I found out was a woman contacted me and said, "I don't know who you are, but bought your book because they didn't wanna sell it to the woman in front of me." And so, that kind of, the controversy ended up making more people go and read the book, and then when they read it, they were like okay, this isn't bad, but that's what me on the map.$$Was the controversy had, did it have more to do with having gay characters or, infidelity, or what was the major issue (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) The, the primary one was the gay character, the gay son and then the only, what they considered soft porn there was a line that said, "She lowered her head in his lap," and I moved on, I didn't say anything else, but they considered that soft porn, which was just crazy to me, but that, you know that was their prerogative, but the, the biggest thing was not, not having him pray that gay away, and people kept saying in the black church, "He's a father, but he's a minister, so how is he gonna just accept that his son is gay," and so you know I, I caught that a lot. It just, it was really shocking to me, but that's what created a lot of the controversy.

Jill Nelson

Journalist and author Jill Nelson was born on June 14, 1952 in Harlem, New York to dentist Stanley Earl Nelson and librarian A'Lelia Nelson. Nelson attended Solebury School, a boarding high school in New Hope, Pennsylvania; and went on to earn her B.A. degree in English and African American studies from the City College of New York in 1977, and M.S. degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1980.

Nelson worked as a freelance journalist for various New York periodicals until 1986, when she accepted a staff position at the Washington Post and headed the new Sunday magazine. She left the Post in 1990 and pursued a career as a freelance writer once again. She wrote the screenplay for PBS-TV’s Mandela in 1985, and Two Dollars and a Dream in 1989. In addition, she authored the screenplay for the U.S. Department of Education’s Michael’s Journal in 1991. From 1998 to 2003, Nelson worked as a professor of journalism at the City College of New York.

She contributed to numerous publications throughout her career, including The New York Times, Essence, The Washington Post, The Nation, Ms., the Chicago Tribune, the Village Voice, USA Today, USA Weekend, and msnbc.com. Nelson also served as a lecture on many occasions and was a monthly contributor to the Op Ed page of USA Today. She also hosted numerous writing workshops. In 1993, Nelson published her best-selling memoir, Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience, which won an American Book Award. She also authored Straight, No Chaser: How I Became A Grown-Up Black Woman, which was published in 1997, Finding Martha’s Vineyard: African Americans at Home on an Island, published in 2005, and the novels Sexual Healing and Let’s Get It On, which were published in 2003 and 2009, respectively. Nelson also edited Police Brutality: An Anthology, which was published in 2000. She was named the Washington, D.C. Journalist of the Year at The Washington Post in honor of her contributions to journalism.

Nelson and her husband, Flores Alexander Forbes, have a daughter and two grandsons.

Jill Nelson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 11, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.085

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/11/2016

Last Name

Nelson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

City College of New York

Solebury School

New Lincoln School

First Name

Jill

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

NEL03

Favorite Season

Season

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Matha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

I'm Done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/14/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Author and journalist Jill Nelson (1952 - ) wrote for The Washington Post Magazine, Village Voice and Essence. She also authored several books, including the National Bestseller Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience; and the novels Sexual Healing and Let’s Get It On.

Employment

The City College of New York

NiaOnline.com

MSNBC.com

The Washington Post

USA Weekend

ESSENCE Magazine

The Village Voice

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jill Nelson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson talks about cases of police brutality

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson describes her maternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson talks about racial identity

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson describes her maternal grandparents, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson talks about her maternal grandparents' community in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson talks about her parents' education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson talks about her paternal uncle, Howard Nelson, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson describes her parents' decision to move to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson lists the places where her family lived in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson remembers her childhood in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson recalls the political climate in New York City during the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson remembers her early experiences of watching television

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jill Nelson talks about her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jill Nelson remembers her parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Jill Nelson describes her mother's career as a librarian

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson describes her teenage years in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson remembers her relationship with her high school teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson talks about raising her daughter

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson remembers her early interest in writing

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson describes her master's thesis, 'The Dope Kids of 115th Street'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson remembers her freelance career at Essence magazine, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson remembers her freelance career at Essence magazine, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson talks about supporting her daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson recalls the journalistic challenges she faced at Essence magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson remembers being hired at The Washington Post Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson recalls her experiences as a staff writer at The Washington Post Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her daughter's high school education in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson remembers the stories that she covered for The Washington Post Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson talks about her work in investigative journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson recalls her departure from The Washington Post Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson describes the responses to her book, 'Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson describes her teaching career at the City College of New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson talks about her career as an author

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson describes her recent novels

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her activism

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson talks about President Donald John Trump's campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson reflects upon the Black Lives Matter movement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson shares her advice to aspiring journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
Jill Nelson remembers her early experiences of watching television
Jill Nelson describes her master's thesis, 'The Dope Kids of 115th Street'
Transcript
And you know, then Nixon [President Richard Milhous Nixon] came. Let me say too about growing up in that time, is what I remember. I feel this way to this day that when--I can remember coming home in '63 [1963] in November, November 22nd and the TV being on. And we had been dismissed from school [New Lincoln School, New York, New York] because Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] had been shot. But the TV being--my mother [A'Lelia Ransom Nelson] never had the TV on during the day. She was always out or busy or doing something. She--we weren't T- you know, TV was kind of like not as ubiquitous or as acceptable as it is now to so many people. But I can remember the TV being on. It was the news reporting about Kennedy's assassination. And then I can remember that happening again in '65 [1965] with Malcolm X: the TV being on. And then I can remember it happening again with Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]. So in a way that's a soundtrack of (pause) part of my growing up and a sign that something's wrong, you know. And I think I have a really ambivalent relationship with television in general, and I think a lot of it is because of that. Because when the TV was on during the day, there was no good to come of it. And at--in those days, there were--you hardly saw--that when saw--you hardly saw any black people on TV; and when you did it was a family affair. You know, it was like, "Come on, come on, you know, So and So is on 'The Dinah Shore Show,' you know. "Nat King Cole is on 'Perry Como' ['The Perry Como Show']," you know, and who cared about, you know, you didn't matter if you knew, you were just so happy to see black people, you know, looking pretty and being the star of the show. And that was it, you know, we didn't watch T- it wasn't like now. TV was not ubiquitous.$$And when the TV was on with each of these assassinations, were the kids brought to look or was it just on and--and?$$Oh we were brought to look. I mean we went in and my mother sat there and talked to us about what happened, and then my father [Stanley Nelson, Sr.] came home from the office and he talked about what happened. Then we had dinner or they talked about it and we were always really--it wasn't hidden from us. But I--in retrospect, I mean I think they probably were challenged as we all are with how do we explain the world to our children and not break their spirits. And I think my parents being civically active was one way that they did that for us, you know. My mother raised funds, she was on the board of the Studio Museum [Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York] (makes sounds). You know, she was always doing something besides taking care of yourself and your own, because your own is this larger group. And my guess would be that that's one of the things that brought them together, you know.$And so, when you graduated from City College [City College of New York, New York, New York], what did you do next?$$I started freelancing. I had occasional part time jobs. I worked on a--as an interviewer for a project that was trying to figure out--get statistics on sterilization abuse; you know, which was a kind of door to door job. I worked for the Black Theatre Alliance [Black Theatre Alliance of New York] for their newspaper for a while, you know, maybe a four month stint there. Picked up whatever I really could. Freelance, you know, someone would start a little magazine, I'd so something, made really no serious money. But I wrote--I had column and wrote for the newspaper when I was at City. So I had done that. And then I decided to go to the journalism school.$$At Columbia?$$Um-hm.$$And so, you went there when, in '78 [1978]?$$Seventy-nine [1979].$$Seventy-nine [1979].$$I graduated in '80 [1980].$$Okay, it's a one year program.$$Yeah.$$And so what did you--going to Columbia School of Journalism [Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York, New York], what did you hope that you were gonna get out of being in that program?$$(Pause) You know, a leg up, some connections. It seemed like the thing was so closed, and someone had told me, I don't remember who it was, but they said you--it opens doors. Because when they have to interview people, they're gonna wanna interview people who went to the same school they did, these you know, people who are running things and hiring people. And if they have to interview black people or people of color, and women, it gives you--it puts you in the door. It might get you in the door, so that--$$Right.$$--it was that. And I would say I got that out of it.$$Yeah, you know, it--it's interesting when people have had a freelance career already going into that particular school too exactly what you described is--it's usually strategic?$$Yeah, it was definitely strategic, it was definitely strategic. You know, I kind of--I knew what I wanted to do when I went there, I knew what I wanted to do my thesis on, you know.$$Which was?$$It was called 'The Dope Kids of 115th Street'; and it was about these kids on 115th Street between 7th [Avenue] and 8th [Avenue]--now Adam C.- Clayton Powell [Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard] and Frederick Douglass [Frederick Douglass Boulevard]--who sold like a million dollars' worth of heroin a week on--off this block, you know.$$And they let you track them?$$You know they did. They--the pe- I met a woman who lived in the building where they--where they hung out outside the building, and she was really nice to me. And I think after a while--I just would go every day, you know and at first like, "Oh you from Eyewitness News?" You know, "Yeah we're gonna be on TV." And then I think they--I just became like a bump on the log. You know, they sor- it didn't ma- you know, I--I became invisible or maybe I became visible in a different type of way. So I knew I wanted to do that. Again, to tell a story that I didn't feel was being told. You know, 'cause they were smart, I mean they were smart. They had a great business going and they had the lookouts, they had all these people organized by age to avoid the Rock- because of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. They were using people under eighteen [years old] to do certain types of work. I mean they were slick. They had lookouts, you know, you really--makes you, you know it's the old story that we know where it makes you think, gee what would these people be doing if they went to MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] or City College [City College of New York, New York, New York].$$Did you get that published?$$Yeah, it was in the Village Voice. And in terms of contacts, Wayne Barrett and Jack Newfield came to speak to my class. And afterward I went up to them and pushed my way through my other--through my classmates and said, you know, "I really wanna write for the Voice and I love both of your work," which was true, and they said. "What are you doing your thesis on," and I told them. They said, "Oh let us know when you're finished, we'd love to see it." So that really--boom; and I think I gra- I graduated in May and I think that was published in July on the cover. So that was a wonderful--$$Entree.$$Yes, abso- absolutely.

Ntozake Shange

Playwright and author Ntozake Shange was born Paulette L. Williams on October 18, 1948 in Trenton, New Jersey to Paul T. Williams, an air force surgeon, and Eloise Williams, an educator and psychiatric social worker. Her family regularly hosted artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Robeson, and W.E.B. DuBois at their home. Shange graduated cum laude with her B.S. degree in American Studies from Barnard College in New York City in 1970. While pursuing her M.A. degree in American Studies from the University of Southern California, Shange began to associate with feminist writers, poets and performers. In 1971, she adopted her new name, Ntozake, meaning “she who comes with her own things,” and Shange, meaning “she who walks like a lion,” from the Xhosa dialect of Zulu. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 1973.

Upon joining Malifu Osumare’s dance company, Shange met Paula Moss, and their subsequent collaborations led to the invention of Shange’s work, the choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. The work was initially produced Off-Broadway in 1975 at the New Federal Theatre in New York City, moving to the Anspacher Public Theatre in 1976. After premiering on Broadway at the Booth Theatre later that same year, the play went on to win the Obie Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the AUDELCO Award. Originally conceived as a choreopoem, it has been published in book form, and adapted into a stage play. In 2010, Tyler Perry wrote, produced and directed the film adaptation, For Colored Girls, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson, and Loretta Devine.

In 1978, Shange released Nappy Edges, a collection of fifty poems celebrating the voices of defiantly independent women. In 1979, she produced the Three Pieces trilogy of choreopoems, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 1982, Shange released her first novel, Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo, which she followed with Betsy Brown in 1985 and Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter in 1994.Shange’s work also appeared in The Black Scholar, Yardbird, Ms., Essence magazine, The Chicago Tribune, VIBE, and Third-World Women. In addition to poetry, novels, essays, and screenplays, Shange published four books for children: Whitewash (1997); the tribute to Muhammad Ali, Float Like a Butterfly (2002); Ellington Was Not a Street (2003); Daddy Says (2003); and Coretta Scott (2009). She also served on the faculty of the Department of Drama at the University of Houston.

An Emmy, Tony, and Grammy award nominee, Shange received an NDEA fellowship in 1974, two Obie Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981, the Paul Robeson Achievement Award in 1992, the Living Legend Award from the National Black Theatre Festival in 1993. She was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Shange passed away on October 27, 2018.

Ntozake Shange was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2016 and February 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2016.042

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/12/2016 |and| 02/01/2017

Last Name

Shange

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Barnard College

University of Southern California

Clark Elementary School

Trenton Central High School

Boston University

Dewey International Studies Elementary School

Lone Mountain College

First Name

Ntozake

Birth City, State, Country

Trenton

HM ID

SHA09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

Not My Will But Thy Will Expressed Through Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/18/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood Gumbo

Death Date

10/27/2018

Short Description

Playwright and author Ntozake Shange (1948 - 2018) wrote the award-winning Broadway play and choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, which was published in book form, and adapted into a 2010 film.

Employment

The Evolution of Black Dance Troupe

Trenton State College

Sonoma State College

UC Berkeley Extension

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:12584,218:23582,329:23894,334:24284,340:26936,393:27404,404:27794,410:29900,461:30290,467:34892,647:39150,663:42722,730:44320,750:45824,768:46294,774:47328,788:50994,833:73791,1099:78151,1138:88180,1208:88555,1214:89230,1225:89605,1231:99172,1343:99781,1352:100303,1359:101173,1372:102826,1449:103783,1464:104566,1476:105175,1484:109791,1514:110313,1521:111183,1532:111531,1537:113793,1575:114750,1588:115098,1593:122266,1752:132958,1932:134047,1944:165800,2386:169000,2483:169500,2489:169900,2494:176119,2532:177666,2551:201775,2841:202195,2846:202825,2854:208499,2894:208823,2899:209390,2907:209795,2913:210119,2918:213764,2980:215627,3010:224162,3093:224514,3098:226010,3123:227066,3141:228650,3172:231818,3211:232698,3222:247180,3333:249135,3363:250325,3382:250665,3387:252705,3538:264705,3711:307320,4215:311310,4277$0,0:1152,42:5796,137:6140,142:14110,272:15254,288:15694,293:18122,304:18710,311:19690,322:20572,333:21258,341:21650,346:22728,359:24688,385:25276,392:25668,397:33452,467:55340,643:58828,685:62321,729:63049,738:64141,753:64960,767:65324,772:71721,887:75634,942:111734,1346:112410,1365
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ntozake Shange's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ntozake Shange lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ntozake Shange describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ntozake Shange describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ntozake Shange talks about her mother's education and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ntozake Shange describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ntozake Shange talks about her father's education and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ntozake Shange describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ntozake Shange lists her siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ntozake Shange lists her siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ntozake Shange describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ntozake Shange describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ntozake Shange recalls her parents' celebrity guests

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ntozake Shange remembers watching the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ntozake Shange describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ntozake Shange recalls her early exposure to literature and film

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ntozake Shange remembers her first two poems

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ntozake Shange remembers reading African American periodicals

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ntozake Shange describes her experiences of racial discrimination at Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ntozake Shange describes her decision to attend Barnard College in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ntozake Shange talks about her involvement with the Black Power movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ntozake Shange describes her experiences at Barnard College in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ntozake Shange talks about editing the Phat Mama literary magazine

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ntozake Shange recalls her abortion and first marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ntozake Shange recalls the strike at Columbia University in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ntozake Shange recalls her professors at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ntozake Shange talks about her decision to leave graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ntozake Shange recalls the start of her writing career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ntozake Shange remembers her aspiration to dance with the Sun Ra Arkestra

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ntozake Shange recalls starting to write 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ntozake Shange remembers the rehearsals for the first production of 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ntozake Shange explains the meaning of the title of 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ntozake Shange remembers bringing 'For Colored Girls' to New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ntozake Shange talks about the first performances of 'For Colored Girls' in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Ntozake Shange's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ntozake Shange talks about the negative critical responses to 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ntozake Shange talks about the adaptations of 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ntozake Shange talks about Tyler Perry's film, 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ntozake Shange talks about her work after 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ntozake Shange talks about experiences of bipolar disorder and neuropathy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ntozake Shange talks about her struggle with bipolar disorder

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ntozake Shange describes her writing process

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ntozake Shange talks about her current writing project

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ntozake Shange talks about her theatrical works

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ntozake Shange describes the plot of 'Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ntozake Shange talks about the critical reception of her works

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ntozake Shange talks about her novel, 'Betsey Brown'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ntozake Shange describes the plot of her novel, 'Liliane'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ntozake Shange talks about writing a novel with her sister, Ifa Bayeza

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ntozake Shange talks about her books for children

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ntozake Shange talks about her inspiration

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ntozake Shange talks about the lynching of the Newberry Six

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ntozake Shange remembers the African American literature courses she taught

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ntozake Shange shares her advice to aspiring poets and writers

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ntozake Shange lists her favorite poets

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ntozake Shange reflects upon her body of work

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ntozake Shange describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ntozake Shange reflects upon the status of women today

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ntozake Shange shares her advice for black women

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ntozake Shange reflects upon the state of African American art

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ntozake Shange recites her poem 'Ode to Orlando'

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ntozake Shange recites poetry from her collection, 'Wild Beauty'

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ntozake Shange talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ntozake Shange describes her parents' thoughts on her career

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ntozake Shange talks about her musical accompanists

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ntozake Shange talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ntozake Shange reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$2

DAStory

10$8

DATitle
Ntozake Shange talks about the first performances of 'For Colored Girls' in New York City
Ntozake Shange remembers her first two poems
Transcript
And then I ran into my sister who--the playwright who always inspired me, Ifa. And Ifa said, "What you have here is theater Ntozake [HistoryMaker Ntozake Shange]. You don't need to do this in cafes anymore, you can do this in a theater." And I said, "Well, I'm happy doing it in cafes, I don't need to make it theater and do the same thing every night. When you do theater, you have to do the same poems every night. And doing what I do, I can change the poems every night. And we still have 'For Colored Girls' ['For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf,' Ntozake Shange] because it becomes whatever poem I put in there." And she said, "No, no, no. You don't understand. Theater is alive. You can find actors who can make it different every night." And I very reluctantly entertained these actresses that my sister Ifa Bayeza, and [HistoryMaker] Oz Scott, my director, discovered in New York [New York]. And that's how we got Trazana Beverley and Laurie Carlos. And we kept Paula [Paula Moss] as a speaker as Lady in Green. And Paula had a verbal role which she had never had before. And I had two pieces that I did. We got Janet League and Rise Collins and Aku Kadogo and I think that's all there were. I don't think I'm leaving anybody out. And Oz arranged for us to perform--or I arranged for us to perform down the street from the Old Reliable [Old Reliable Theatre Tavern, New York, New York] where we had been working, where they had no running water and no heat And we were having practicing down there. And then Oz found us rehearsal space at New York University's theater school at the Tisch School of Art [Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York, New York]. And they had empty rehearsal rooms sometimes. So we would be in from seven to eleven [o'clock] or from seven to one, or from eleven 'til dawn. And then we would go to our day jobs and we would finish rehearsal. For free we did this. And then we did to DeMonte's Cafe [New York, New York] on 3rd Street and the Old Reliable was on 3rd Street between C [Avenue C] and D [Avenue D]. But DeMonte's was on 3rd Street between B [Avenue B] and C. So we were moving up as we went along, up the Lower East Side [New York, New York] (laughter). And we felt very accomplished because at DeMonte's, they not only served food, they served drinks. And, and people could come and sit down. So my parents [Eloise Owens Williams and Paul T. Williams] in their mink coats came to the Lower East Side to DeMonte's Cafe to see my show that my sister was very involved with as a dramaturge and assistant director. And she also did the set, the original flower that Ming Cho Lee won a Tony [Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre] for. And we performed it and Woodie King [HistoryMaker Woodie King, Jr.] came to DeMonte's to see it and said that we could do it at Henry Street. So we were very excited about that because we had a theater engagement, and I had been convinced that it was okay to let other people read my poems because I was so used to reading them all myself, that it was very hard for me to let other people have them. Even though I saw they brought different life to them. I still had to transition from ownership to sharing. And so we performed for Woodie King at Henry Street, and there were lines that went around the corner. And it was just word of mouth that people were coming to see it with. And we did a, a workshop of 'For Colored Girls' at Henry Street. And a lot of stuff we did at Henry Street, we lost when we went to The Public Theater [New York, New York]. We had to do a, an audition performance for Joseph Papp in the little theater where the movie theater is now at The Public. It used to be a rehearsal room and, and, and small theater. And we performed in there. And Joe picked us up. He picked up the show. But we made a lot of changes.$$Okay. Let me just--we have to stop here, but just wanted to point out the Henry Street you were referring to is the New Federal Theatre [New York, New York].$$Yes.$$Woodie King's New Federal Theatre (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--and the Henry Street Settlement House [Henry Street Settlement, New York, New York].$$But we didn't do the New Federal, we did the Henry Street auditorium.$Did you start writing, when did you start writing creatively (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well it was really funny. I wrote a poem in high school [Trenton Central High School, Trenton, New Jersey], just one about Vietnam [Vietnam War]. And it was about a picture I had seen in The New York Times of a little Vietnamese girl whose clothes were tattered and everything around her was burned down from Agent Orange. So there was just this black starkness behind her. These stripped trees, and a little white doll with its head off. And the poem I wrote was about the state of the girl and the head off of the white dolly. And how painful that image was to me. That's what the poem was about. And it was--they published it in the literary magazine at my school, at my high school. And then I didn't write another poem 'til I was at Barnard [Barnard College, New York, New York] and I was sitting on a terrace and this white girl came up to me thinking I was Thulani Davis. She came up to me and said my poem was due in by five o'clock. And so I went home and wrote a poem and turned it in by five o'clock. And that's how I started writing and the literary magazine ended up publishing two black girls instead of one because Thulani Davis published her poem, she got hers in by five too (laughter).$$Now that's funny. We're gonna pause here again. That, that's funny.

Richard X. Clark

Civil rights activist and author Richard X. Clark was born on July 29, 1946 in New York City. He was raised in foster homes in the New York neighborhoods of Jamaica, Queens, and the Bronx. Clark graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served until 1968.

In 1969, Clark was arrested on charges of attempted robbery and was sentenced to four years in prison. From 1969 to 1972, he served time at multiple state prisons including Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Elmira Correctional Facility, Auburn Correctional Facility, Wallkill Correctional Facility, and the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York. Appalled by prison conditions at Attica, Clark became a Muslim minister and became active in black Muslim political groups. In September of 1971, he was one of the leaders of the Attica Prison riot, which took the lives of forty-three men. During the riot, Clark was head of the inmates’ internal security and served as a liaison between the inmates of D-yard and the authorities.

After his release in 1972, Clark moved to Greensboro, North Carolina and authored the book, The Brothers of Attica, which was published in 1973. Twenty years later, Clark relocated to New York City and became a case manager for Phase Piggy Bank, a Harlem-based organization that provides drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Clark passed away on September 4, 2015 at the age of 69.

Accession Number

A2014.182

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/12/2014

Last Name

Clark

Maker Category
Middle Name

X.

Organizations
Schools

DeWitt Clinton High School

P.S. 50 Talfourd Lawn Elementary School

First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

Manhattan

HM ID

CLA19

Favorite Season

Winter

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

I'll Never Quit.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

7/29/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hunsterville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Meat Loaf, Fried Chicken

Death Date

9/4/2015

Short Description

Civil rights activist and author Richard X. Clark (1946 - 2015 ) was one of the inmate leaders of the 1971 Attica Prison riot. He was also the author of The Brothers of Attica.

Employment

United States Navy

Phase Piggy Bank

Greensboro Drug Action Council

Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:71982,858:74332,997:101100,1304:108778,1402:122474,1502:202140,2580:246915,3182:259610,3410:268822,3637:273190,3672$0,0:13448,163:24940,471:54544,762:58355,792:74100,930:74555,936:97584,1260:112624,1348:116150,1391:117536,1403:121654,1586:136878,1721:156185,1890:205258,2274:221915,2789:230275,2987:257288,3267:263599,3566:286310,3704:314942,3882:325990,4102
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard X. Clark's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard X. Clark lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard X. Clark describes how he was placed in foster care

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard X. Clark talks about his biological father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard X. Clark recalls his first foster family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard X. Clark talks about his experiences of abuse in foster case

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard X. Clark describes his experiences at P.S. 50 in Queens, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard X. Clark describes his early experiences with religion

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Richard X. Clark recalls his first encounters with the Nation of Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Richard X. Clark remembers running away from his foster home

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Richard X. Clark recalls moving to a new foster home in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard X. Clark talks about his relationship with his foster family in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard X. Clark describes his personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard X. Clark remembers his experiences in the Fruit of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard X. Clark talks about his enlistment in the U.S. Navy Reserves

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard X. Clark describes Malcolm X's expulsion from the Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard X. Clark remembers dating and impregnating two women

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard X. Clark describes his marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard X. Clark describes his release from the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard X. Clark talks about his arrest for armed robbery

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard X. Clark talks about the Nation of Islam's stance on race

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard X. Clark describes the advantages of being Muslim in the American prison system

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard X. Clark describes his experiences at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard X. Clark recalls his experiences in New York State correctional facilities

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Richard X. Clark talks about the rise of the black consciousness movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard X. Clark describes the conditions at Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard X. Clark recalls his experiences with discrimination at Attica Correctional Facility

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard X. Clark remembers the inmates at Attica Correctional Facility

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard X. Clark describes the events leading to the 1971 Attica prison riot

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard X. Clark remembers the commissary conditions at Attica Correctional Facility

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Richard X. Clark recalls the start of the 1971 Attica prison riot

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Richard X. Clark describes the riot at Attica Correctional Facility, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Richard X. Clark describes the riot at Attica Correctional Facility, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard X. Clark recalls the formation of the inmate negotiating committee

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Richard X. Clark describes how he became the inmate liaison during the 1971 Attica prison riot

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Richard X. Clark talks about the inmates and guards at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Richard X. Clark describes the timeline of the first day of the 1971 Attica prison riot

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Richard X. Clark recalls the last days of the 1971 Attica prison riot, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Richard X. Clark recalls the last days of the 1971 Attica prison riot, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Richard X. Clark remembers those who were killed during the uprising at Attica Correctional Facility

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Richard X. Clark remembers his release and the death of his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Richard X. Clark talks about his indictment and subsequent settlement

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Richard X. Clark talks about his children

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Richard X. Clark talks about Phase Piggy Back, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Richard X. Clark reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Richard X. Clark describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Richard X. Clark describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Richard X. Clark recalls the start of the 1971 Attica prison riot
Richard X. Clark recalls the last days of the 1971 Attica prison riot, pt. 1
Transcript
Now, let me ju- let's, let's go to September the 8th, 1971.$$Um-hm.$$I think you opened your book ['The Brothers of Attica,' Richard X. Clark] with a football game, right?$$Um-hm.$$Brothers are playing football [at Attica Correctional Facility, Attica, New York].$$Okay, Raymond Lamorie and Dewer [Leroy Dewer]. Raymond was a white guy, a white inmate, and Dewer was a black inmate. This is like September the 8th, and we in the yard, A block, and they're throwing the football to one another. I'm standing against the wall, having a meeting, and I'm watching 'em throw the football, one, nothing. And I'm talking to the other brothers. There's like myself, maybe four of us, four or five of us. Anyway, guard comes to the yard door and yells at Raymond and Leroy, "Yo, y'all need to stop that." "We ain't doing nothing." "I told you, you need to stop it."$$What was wrong?$$They congregating. They're throwing the football at one another. They're playing. They're co- whatever.$$Well, don't they have the football there so that--$$Um-hm.$$--they can throw it?$$Yeah, but he's white (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh.$$--and he's black.$$So they can't, okay.$$(Shakes head) That's a no-no, yeah. You can congregate with two inmates, but you got to be of the same color, all right. So he's white, one's black. Guard tells 'em to stop. They don't stop, okay. Guard comes in the yard, and he gonna take them bodily out the yard. All the brothers in the yard, white and black, Puerto Rican, surround the guard, say, "You ain't taking 'em out of here." That started it. Okay. Didn't ignite it then, that we know. But they didn't take 'em out the yard. They closed the yard, meant for us to lock in, end of the day. We locked in, we locked in the cells maybe ten, fifteen minutes. We hear the goon squad coming down the tier, and they go to these two brothers' cell, drag 'em out the cell and take 'em up to HBZ [housing block Z]. We are livid, but we're in our cells individually locked up. Next morning, they let us out for breakfast. Now, 9 Company, which is the company I'm on, is the last company to eat breakfast, because we're on the grading gang, and we don't have jobs. So we're the last--excuse me, we're the last company to go to chow. They let everybody out their cell. We're on the tier, one tier--one flight up. They let everybody out the cell. You line up on the sides, and you march down the tier, down the steps into the hallway to go to the chow line. We do this. It's the same day that we're giving commemoration and memorial to George Jackson in California.$$Now, George Jackson had just been killed in California, right at--$$Um-hm. So everybody, what we do, black armband. If you don't have a black armband, silence. March to the mess hall, down the hall to the mess hall, go in the mess hall. Everybody sits there, don't eat.$$Yeah, he was killed in Soledad Prison [sic. San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, California].$$Um-hm.$$George Jackson (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Soledad. They said he had a gun in his Afro (laughter).$$And there was no such thing.$$Unh-uh, no such, no such, yeah. But the brother was involved with [HistoryMaker] Angela Davis at that time, you know, so. Anyway, so we're silent, you know. Usually, procedure is you go in the mess hall, you pick up a spoon. You go sit at a table, you know, go to the line, get your chow, sit at a table, eat and get up, put your spoon back in there and go. We sit down, nobody's making a sound. Okay, I think we got like ten, fifteen minutes to eat. They knock on the, on the wall, us get up, return our spoons. We did this quietly, and we're walking through, back through the hallways.$So we started with the democratic process of trying to get them to implement, you know, different demands as far as enhance- well, not enhancing, but changing the conditions of the institution [Attica Correctional Facility, Attica, New York]. I didn't know at that particular time, but Russell Oswald was saying that, you know, all he could do was so much. We had to take our grievances to the governor who was Nelson D. Rockefeller [Nelson Rockefeller].$$Right, who had just been candidate for president in '68 [1968].$$Um-hm, um-hm.$$Lost the nomination to Richard Nixon [Richard Milhous Nixon].$$Yep, yep. So, we said, all right, you know. We understood what he was saying as far as the only one that could really do anything about the situation was, was the governor. Our worry was that, again, which is our constant worry, was our lives. And we knew that the National Guards, state troopers and regular corrections officers, their intent was to annihilate us, to come in and level the yard and put the whole matter to rest. Rockefeller was a sneaky guy, sneaky guy because we didn't know it at the time, but what they did with the observers, is the observers left the yard. Now, this is like 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, we're think- we, we, the inmates, think that we're still in a negotiation process. The observers who have been sequestered away into another part of the institution think negotiation process is still going on. They think they're waiting the same way that we think we're waiting for Rockefeller. Unbeknownst to both parties, they lock them up and September the 13th, it's a rainy morning or it was a rainy night. September the 12th, it rained all night. That next morning, September the 13th, I didn't have any sleep. It's about, maybe six o'clock in the morning, the sun is just coming up. It's raining. It's a dismal morning. It's kind of cold. All of a sudden, I hear this roar. I know what it is, 'cause I been in the [U.S.] military. It's a helicopter. And we're sitting down. We got--I think I had just had a cup of coffee. Anyway, I'm squatting down. I hear the roar. I stand straight up, and I'm looking at the top of the wall, and I see the helicopter reach the apex of the wall. Suddenly, I hear all this gunfire (makes sounds). And I'm looking around in the yard, and I'm seeing brothers being hit. I'm seeing, being hit in the head, being hit in the chess, arms, legs, hit all over. I'm wondering why I'm not being hit. I know I'm gonna die, you know, God as my witness, I know I'm a die.$$So they're firing on everybody in the courtyard?$$Indiscriminately, they're just firing down there. But they're telling you--$$The prison employees are there too, right? The guards and the--$$The, the hostages, everybody, and they're just firing away. Simultaneously, with them firing, I don't know it at the time, but they're running down--they're busting in. They're running down the catwalk, shotguns, blasting away. Still the hostages is in there. This is where some of the hostages get killed. They're yelling indiscriminate, "Put your hands on your head, you will not be harmed. Walk to the nearest exit." They're telling you this, but they're still firing in the yard, all right. I'm wondering why I haven't been hit. I put my hands on my head. I walk to the nearest exit. I get to the exit, gotta walk up three steps. You hit the hallway, the corridor, then they, they usher you down three steps, hit you in the knees, in the back, strip all your clothes off you, glasses, watch, everything, throw you in the mud. Okay, this is actually what saved my life, threw me in the mud, then took my glasses, couldn't recognize me, all right. Then I'm in the mud. I must have been in that mud three, four hours, all right.$$So naked in the mud--$$Um-hm.$$--for three or four hours.$$Naked, butt naked in the mud, three or four hours, cold. In that three--during that three or four hours, I see them running around the yard, you know, picking up guys, take 'em out the yard, you know, dragging 'em out, whole nine yards. I don't know that they looking for me at that particular time.

Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter

Pastor, educator and author Millicent Hunter was born on September 3, 1950. She graduated from Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1968. Hunter went on to earn her bachelor’s degree, two master's degrees, an Ed.D. degree, and a D.Min. degree from United Theological Seminary.

In 1992, Hunter started The Baptist Worship Center in her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with five members. In 1997, after she rented facilities for a number of years, The Baptist Worship Center congregation purchased its first church in Philadelphia. Hunter then acquired a shopping center in Philadelphia in 2000 for the permanent location for The Baptist Worship Center. She has become senior pastor of the church and the ministry has grown to a congregation of more than 4,000 members. Hunter also established the Worship Center Worldwide Fellowship of Churches in 1998 with seventy-one churches in the United States and South Africa. In 2005, she was elevated to serve as a bishop of the United Pentecostal Churches of Christ International. Hunter also has a twice weekly television broadcast called Your Season Is Coming, and hosts the weekly Moments of Inspiration radio show in Philadelphia.

Hunter is the founder of the National Association of Clergy Women, the Excell Christian Academy, and the Worship Center Bible Training Institute in the United States and South Africa. She is also the chief executive officer of the Excell Community Development Corporation. Hunter has served as a city commissioner in Philadelphia and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Baptist Association. In addition, she was a former dean of the Sanctuary Bible Institute and an adjunct faculty member at a number of colleges and universities, including the United Theological Seminary. She also taught in the Eastern School of Christian Ministry and the Urban Clergy Leadership Institute of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Hunter has authored eight books and is president of Hunter House Publishers. Her first book, entitled Don’t Die In The Winter…Your Season Is Coming, became a bestseller and was produced into an eight-week television series. Her other books include Crashing Satan's Party: Destroying the Works of the Adversary in Your Life; Pot Liquor for the Soul; Strong Medicine: Prescriptions for Successful Living; Destined To Win: Prescriptions for Successful Living In Every Area of Your Life; and How to Survive a Hurt Attack. Hunter has also published numerous articles addressing issues that impact African American life.

She has received numerous awards for her involvement in religious and civic affairs. Hunter was featured in Gospel Today magazine as one of America’s top 10 global pacesetting pastors, and in Charisma and Ebony magazines as a leading pastor for world evangelism. Hunter was also included in a Smithsonian Institute pictorial study of African American life in the twenty-first century.

She is married to Dr. Marino Hunter and has two children, Jason and Melissa.

Rev. Dr. Millicent Hunter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.196

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/12/2014

Last Name

Hunter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Overbrook High School

United Theological Seminary

Nova Southeastern University

University of Pennsylvania

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Edward Heston School

First Name

Millicent

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

HUN09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Thailand

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

9/3/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Pastor and author Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter (1950 - ) was the founder and senior pastor of the Baptist Worship Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She also served as the presiding bishop of the Worship Center Worldwide Fellowship of Churches.

Employment

The Baptist Worship Center

Worship Center Worldwide Fellowship of Churches

United Pentecostal Churches of Christ International

Excell Community Development Corporation

United Theological Seminary

Sanctuary Bible Institute

Eastern School of Christian Ministry

Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Hunter House Publishers

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:2541,44:2849,49:3773,107:5929,157:6314,163:6930,173:7546,182:9086,211:22155,319:22407,324:23163,336:23415,341:23730,347:24423,361:24990,369:25683,383:26502,406:28077,452:31740,473:33105,490:34015,504:34652,512:35380,524:41719,564:45460,576:46315,583:47075,591:47835,600:50085,622:50530,628:52110,639:55554,697:56394,709:57066,718:57402,723:58242,734:60536,750:63052,783:63570,792:63866,797:65198,820:70149,874:70959,888:71607,900:72417,914:72984,922:73956,939:74361,945:74766,953:76143,973:77358,991:78168,1007:78654,1014:80355,1040:81246,1055:88156,1099:92692,1173:93952,1188:94624,1201:95128,1208:96388,1227:96892,1234:97648,1246:101673,1281:103863,1331:104228,1337:104666,1344:104958,1349:106053,1434:106345,1439:106637,1444:110214,1509:114813,1583:115178,1590:115689,1599:116054,1605:121233,1613:122178,1633:122493,1639:123564,1661:124761,1688:125706,1706:126084,1713:126588,1725:128541,1764:129045,1775:129297,1780:129675,1787:130116,1796:130620,1806:132825,1855:133266,1864:133896,1877:134211,1884:134967,1897:135219,1902:135975,1919:144328,2010:145512,2026:145882,2032:146252,2041:146696,2048:150692,2159:151358,2170:154910,2239:155576,2251:156094,2259:157056,2278:157648,2288:158906,2309:159720,2323:160090,2330:160460,2336:163124,2388:163420,2393:164678,2419:165048,2425:172356,2465:173348,2488:173596,2493:175084,2530:175518,2539:183888,2732:184260,2739:190398,2780:190843,2786:191555,2796:192089,2819:192712,2827:198408,2922:206600,3036:207400,3065:213300,3202:216300,3235:221079,3270:222969,3311:223284,3317:223599,3324:224418,3342:224922,3351:225237,3362:225615,3369:226056,3378:226371,3384:235520,3495:237088,3507:237648,3513:240574,3532:241790,3546$0,0:4782,117:10182,251:10614,259:14950,314:15370,321:15650,326:17820,456:28087,550:28868,567:29436,578:30217,596:33483,656:34122,666:35116,693:35826,699:36181,705:36678,713:37956,799:38879,819:39234,825:39518,830:40015,838:46617,938:53316,1075:54186,1087:60222,1131:61608,1160:62136,1170:63060,1197:63324,1202:63588,1207:65700,1259:66228,1268:69870,1291:70760,1312:71383,1323:79328,1392:80416,1415:80928,1426:81312,1434:81952,1448:83360,1533:84832,1567:85728,1585:86752,1672:89888,1750:90656,1763:92384,1800:93472,1829:95840,1899:96160,1905:96544,1912:97824,1949:98336,1958:106360,2011:106936,2019:107704,2028:114860,2136:115380,2145:116290,2166:116615,2172:117005,2180:117265,2185:121245,2219:122805,2266:123065,2271:123520,2279:124170,2295:124495,2301:126959,2315:127274,2321:128540,2326:129020,2333:140400,2426:141440,2446:142090,2452:142350,2457:143065,2471:143390,2477:143715,2483:145535,2525:147160,2551:147615,2560:148200,2574:149045,2589:149500,2604:153550,2622:156012,2637:158010,2662:158565,2668:162708,2719:175576,2840:177016,2859:177496,2865:182951,2926:188536,3057:189124,3065:190552,3089:191056,3097:192484,3113:193744,3131:195760,3173:196432,3182:197188,3201:200212,3258:203861,3265:204500,3277:205636,3301:206275,3315:207127,3329:210059,3390:210563,3398:211067,3407:211571,3416:211949,3423:212390,3432:214595,3484:215477,3508:215729,3513:216485,3529:217241,3543:217493,3548:217934,3557:222422,3691:222926,3699:223262,3704:228230,3751
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter talks about her parents' move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her mother's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter talks about the origin of her father's name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her paternal family's Native American heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her father's service in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend. Dr. Millicent Hunter talks about the demographics of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter remembers her elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter talks about her upbringing, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her experiences of academic tracking

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls running for class office at Overbrook High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls her decision to attend Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter remembers the Black Power movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter remembers Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her career in the Radnor Township School District, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her career in the Radnor Township School District, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter remembers her graduate school experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls participating in church sponsored oratorical contests

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter remembers her calling to the ministry

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes the challenges faced by female Baptist ministers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her first book, 'Don't Die in the Winter'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls earning her doctorate in education

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter remembers founding the Baptist Worship Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls balancing motherhood and her ministry

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes the growth of the Baptist Worship Center

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her development as a minister

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls finding a new location for the Baptist Worship Center

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes the ministry of the Baptist Worship Center

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls her consecration as a Baptist bishop

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter talks about the Worship Center Worldwide Fellowship of Churches

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls her decision to attend the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her studies at the United Theological Seminary

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter talks about her plans for the Baptist Worship Center

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter talks about Hunter House Publishing

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes how she would like to be remembered

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Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter describes her career in the Radnor Township School District, pt. 2
Reverend Dr. Millicent Hunter recalls finding a new location for the Baptist Worship Center
Transcript
So, that was a fortunate turn of--well, you know this is the age--$$Yeah (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) when these things are happening--$$Yeah.$$--where black folks are stepping into a lot of places for the first time.$$Yeah.$$And so, were there any black students at Radnor?$$Yes. There were some; and there were many times I was very angry because I saw what I, because I was right in the middle of everything. You know, I was at the teachers' meetings, all of the things were done that I had no control over, and I watched it and it was so disturbing. I watched the bright African American children who were not being challenged right away pushed into the--put on Ritalin and put in the classes for children with behavioral problems; and I would see the Caucasian students with the same challenges, but it was always, "Well, they're gifted," and I saw them create classes. One time, I got into a lot of trouble because, for the first time, I recommended a young black girl to get testing for the gifted program and the principal came to me and said, "No way." That was shocking. It was like I was in 1950s Mississippi. She said, "There's no way. We will not have a colored child in the gifted program." Well, I almost lost my job because I went to the mother and I said to her, "This is how. This is what you do. Start making some noise with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]." When that girl was tested, the principal sat in the room when the girl was being tested. I'll never forget that she wanted that child to fail. So, what I would do after that, I would go to all the black students' homes and I would give the parents the textbooks for the coming year; and I would say, "This is what you do in the summer, so when Johnny comes to school in September, he has the textbook. He knows what's gonna be covered, you have a problem with some exams and tests, come to me. I'll slide you anything you need," and that's what I did. And so glad I did, because then it broke open the gifted program in Radnor Township [Radnor Township School District]. That was something else.$$So, the principal was balking at allowing the student to e- to take the test?$$To even take the test, because she thought that parents would think the program was polluted because if we have a black student in the gifted program, that probably brings down everything. But then the white teacher who took me under her wing, she said, "This is how you deal with the principal." I remember one time she said, "Take a box of pansies, some flowers, go in and talk to her and ask her how her husband's doing because he's ill and suck up to her like this." I did everything she told me to do and it worked like a charm; and I had a good career, a great career in Radnor [Pennsylvania], because after I got what I needed, I retired at forty-one [years old], and they told me I was crazy to retire, but I was done (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So, so you taught then from '72 [1972] to--$$To--oh, gosh, eight- in the '80s [1980s].$$Ninety- okay--$$In the '80s [1980s].$$--in the '80s [1980s]?$$Yeah.$$So, okay.$$I think it was the '80s [1980s], yeah. Oh--hm.$$Another twenty--$$It was, well, I took a sabbatical for--you know, I had my children for, I took a sabbatical for--I never took a sabbatical 'til I realized that I had missed three o- three sabbaticals or something, so I kind of took them all at one time and they couldn't deny me that. So, I had in twenty plus years because I'd worked consecutively.$You were telling us off camera about how you spotted this place--$$Yeah.$$--that we're in right now and--as you were shopping, I think? Yeah (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah. While I was on my way to little Sunday afternoon activity at the mall with my children [Jason Thompson and Melissa Thompson], and we passed this place and there was a sale sign and the Lord said, look over, and I looked over, and yeah, well, so what, you know. And the Lord said, no. Look, look at that. And tell your sister [Iva Hall Fitch] who's in real estate to call and enquire about this property; and I'm thinking for what? This great big huge place? And I had a wonderful congregation of about two, about three hundred people [in the Baptist Worship Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]; and we filled the church where I was, about five minutes from here in Frankford [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. And, she called and enquired and so what, you know, million dollars, (makes sound) please; and I met the Jewish man who was an owner and the building was for sale, but we didn't have millions of dollars for it. He says, "Well, you know I think I'm supposed to have a church in here." I don't know if he said that because there were no other takers. He said, "I'll consider leasing it to you." I said, "Well, I don't think so," because, leasing it to us for what? And the Lord just said move the congregation there. I went to my people, same as I did when I was in Southwest Philly [Southwest Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], because when I said to them we're forced out of the place we're in now [Sanctuary Church of the Open Door, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], we have to, and we- there's a church in Frankford that's been offered to me. My congregation said, "We love you. We think you're nice, but we're not going up there. It's too far. We don't know that neighborhood. There are no black people there." I said, "Well then, it will probably just be me and my two kids, but we're going," and we came up here and most of them stayed in Southwest Philly. They stayed. Little did I know there were a whole lot of African American people up here. I'd never been to this area of the city, wasn't familiar with it; didn't know how to get here--I had to have someone bring me when I first came up. And there were people just waiting for this church to come, and the churches up here, but God had them waiting and when I acquired one thing just happened, one thing after another and the Jewish man that owned the property, he just did all kinds of things for u- help us get in here, it was a supermarket and a drugstore. We came in and renovated in three months, and the rest is history. And, we have two services every Sunday and about three thousand people, and it's been a stable, thriving congregation of some of the most wonderful people I could ever hope to have as congregants. Yeah.$$So, some have been with you from the very beginning (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) From day one.$$Right.$$From day one, yeah. Yeah. I knew them as college students; and they are, many of them are in the leadership of the church to this day, yeah.$$So, as college students were they you know looking for bible study or (unclear)?$$Yeah, because the church where I was situated, it was on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. So, a lot of the African American students walked down the street to come to church on Sundays. You know, and some of them just--when they would see me on television or hear about my book ['Don't Die in the Winter: Your Season is Coming,' Millicent Hunter], they would say, "Oh, I know her. I'm going up there," and many of them came and stayed and remained here.$$Okay, okay.