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Alex Parrish

Lawyer Alex Parrish was born on October 5, 1955 in Memphis, Tennessee. He received his B.A. degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1977, and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1980.

Parrish worked as a law clerk for Judge Damon J. Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and served from 1980 to 1981, and then was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar on May 7, 1981. He then served for four years in the U.S. Department of the Army, as assistant to the general counsel at the Pentagon, from 1981 to 1985. Parrish was then admitted to the State Bar of Michigan on November 22, 1985, and joined the Detroit law firm of Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn L.L.P. in 1985, and was named partner in the firm in 1989. In 2004, Parrish, was credited for developing one of the largest law practices focused on minority and women owned businesses. Parrish also served on the faculty at the Michigan Institute for Continuing Legal Education from 1990 to 2015.

Parrish was named in DBusiness magazine among the “Top Lawyers” for 2010 and 2011, and was selected by The Michigan Chronicle as “Detroit’s Mergers and Acquistions Lawyer of the Year for 2011.” In 2014, Parrish was honored as one of Michigan Chronicle’s “Power 50.” Parrish has also been recognized by Michigan Super Lawyers and Crain’s Detroit Business as one of Michigan’s Outstanding Young Business Leaders.

Parrish served as chairman of the board of trustees for the Music Hall for the Performing Arts in Detroit. He was also a member of the board of directors for the Detroit
Institute of Arts and a trustee of the Henry Ford Health System Foundation, the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation and a member of the University
of Michigan Board of Regents. He was an active member of the American Bar Association and a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.

Parrish and his wife Pamela, have one son.

Alex Parrish was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 19, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.189

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/19/2017

Last Name

Parrish

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Alex

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

PAR12

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

10/5/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Lawyer Alex Parrish (1955 - ) is a graduate of Harvard Law School and built one of the nation’s largest practices representing minority and female owned businesses at the Detroit law firm of Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn LLP.

Favorite Color

Blue

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Singer and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater was born on May 27, 1950 in Memphis, Tennessee. Raised in Flint, Michigan, Bridgewater was exposed early to jazz music; her father, Matthew Garrett, was a jazz trumpeter and teacher at Manassas High School. After high school, Bridgewater attended Michigan State University before transferring to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1969, she toured the Soviet Union with the University of Illinois Big Band.

In 1970, Bridgewater met and married trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater and moved to New York City. She sang lead vocals for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra in the early 1970s, and appeared in the Broadway musical The Wiz from 1974 to 1976. Bridgewater also released her first album in 1974, entitled Afro Blue. Then, after touring France in 1984 with the musical Sophisticated Ladies, she moved to Paris in 1986 and acted in the show Lady Day. Bridgewater also formed her own backup group around this time and performed at the Sanremo Song Festival in Italy and the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990. Four years later, she collaborated with Horace Silver and released the album Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver. She then released a tribute album, entitled Dear Ella, in 1997, and the record Live at Yoshi’s in 1998. Subsequent albums included This is New (2002); J'ai Deux Amours (2005); Red Earth (2007); and Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Bridgewater (2010). She has also performed with the Terence Blanchard Quintet at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and opened the Shanghai JZ Jazz Festival in 2009. Bridgewater also appeared regularly at other music festivals and on numerous television shows, radio programs, and in feature films. She owns a production company and record label, and has hosted NPR’s syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater since 2001. In addition, Bridgewater served as a United Nations Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Bridgewater has received seven Grammy Award nominations and won three. She also won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in The Wiz. Bridgewater was the first American to be inducted to the Haut Conseil de la Francophonie and has received the Award of Arts and Letters in France, as well as the country’s 1998 top honor, Victoire de la Musique.

Dee Dee Bridgewater was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 10, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.254

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/10/2014

Last Name

Bridgewater

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Michigan State University

Clark Elementary School

St. Matthew Catholic School

Southwestern Classical Academy

First Name

Dee Dee

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

BRI08

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Island

Favorite Quote

Awesome Sauce.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

5/27/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Singer and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater (1950 - ) was a three-time Grammy Award-winning singer, as well as a Tony Award-winning stage actress, and hosted NPR’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Employment

Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

NPR

DDB Productions, Inc.

DDB Records

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dee Dee Bridgewater's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater lists her favorites

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her mother's education and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her father's education and musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her relationship with her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the St. Matthews Catholic School in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her early musical influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her teenage personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater reflects upon the role of religion in her upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her artistic development

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her experiences of sexual abuse in the Catholic church

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her experiences of childhood sexual abuse

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers forming The Irisdescents

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about the prevalence of childhood molestation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her college aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the development of her political consciousness

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her college counseling

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her activism with the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her early singing performances

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers meeting her first husband, Cecil Bridgewater

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers obtaining an illegal abortion

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls transferring to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls joining the Jazz Big Band at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers touring the Soviet Union with the Jazz Big Band

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about jazz music in the Soviet Union

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers Horace Silver

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her collaboration with Horace Silver

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes the jazz fusion scene in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her development as a musician

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her early albums

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her role in 'The Wiz,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her role in 'The Wiz,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about the contention over casting for 'The Wiz' movie

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her relationship with Gilbert Moses

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the critical acclaim for her album, 'Dee Dee Bridgewater'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater reflects upon her experiences performing in 'The Wiz'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her album, 'Just Family'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her television appearances

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her collaboration with Horace Silver
Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her role in 'The Wiz,' pt. 1
Transcript
So, imagine his surprise when I called him in 1995 and said, "Horace [Horace Silver], I'm gonna do an album of your music ['Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver']." He was stunned, he said, "But Dee [HistoryMaker Dee Dee Bridgewater], I mean after, after I threw you off the stage all those years ago, you wanna do it with me?" I said, "I love your music, I love your music." So, when I picked the songs he, he said, "Well, then I will write all the lyrics." And some of the songs had lyrics that had been (simultaneous)-- (Simultaneous) So, you wrote the lyrics?$$Horace wrote, (unclear)--$$Horace said he'd write all the lyrics.$$--said he would write all the lyrics for the songs that I selected, and he had, had some kind of publishing conflict with Jon Hendricks who had written a lot of lyrics on his songs, and their, their agreement can--had come up so he was getting all his publishing back and so he said he would write all the lyrics for me.$$'Cause he had some songs that had lyrics like the "Song for My Father" and then others that didn't have any.$$Yep.$$As of yet.$$He wrote--$$Yeah.$$--all the lyrics, yep for that album and then he agreed, I asked him if he would perform on the album and Horace never guested on anyone's albums. And he did, I flew him to Paris [France], I recorded the album in Paris and he came.$$That was "Permit Me to Introduce You to Yourself" (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) "You to Yourself."$$Did he write those lyrics--$$Yes.$$--especially for you?$$No, that he had (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Were they already--$$--written for--he did this trilogy called The United States of Mind' and that, that was on one of those albums. It was on the first album. So, he'd written those lyrics already.$$Okay, all right.$$But like "Pretty Eyes" well he rewrote the lyrics, they were famous lyrics that had been written by Jon Hendricks, so rewrote the lyrics on, on "Song for My Father" on "Doodlin'" then he wrote me the lyrics for everything else. "Saint Vitus Dance," "Soulville," "Nica's Dream," "Filthy McNasty," "The Jody Grind;" all those songs, every song on that album.$$Okay.$$Those are all Horace Silver lyrics and as a result of that album project, if you look at Horace's CDs [compact discs] that came after, he wrote lyrics on many of the songs and put them in the, the CD sleeves. So, I'm very proud that I initiated that.$$We are all grateful.$$Well, I wanted to at that time give singers other material to choose from other than the 'American Songbooks' ['Great American Songbook'] and I wanted him to be able to reap the rewards while he was alive.$Now you were married to Cecil Bridgewater for two years?$$Four and a half.$$Four and a half, okay, so, you're still married when you produce 'Afro Blue' and--$$Yes.$$Okay.$$He did that horrible contract, Cecil is a horrible negotiator for a contract.$$So you didn't (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) He gave our rights away.$$Oh.$$For four thousand dollars, we were paid four thousand dollars for that, and that's it.$$So, now at some point here, as we approach 1975, now you appeared on a Norman Connors album 'Love from the Sun'?$$Um-hm.$$On Buddah Records and at some point, you auditioned for--$$'The Wiz.'$$The Broadway production of 'The Wiz,' right.$$I auditioned for 'The Wiz'--let me get this straight 'cause we started the rehearsals in '74 [1974]. So, it was like I did a--I just went to a cattle call audition in '73 [1973], seems like it was in the summer of '73 [1973] and I got a call back and I went back and I just sang. I don't remember what I sang but it was certainly jazz. Then the band, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis [The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra] had a tour, a summer tour and we were going to Europe and I remember we came back in August. So, this is like two months later or something and we come back and I get a call to come and audition again, and I'm like, this is weird, for the director and the director is Gilbert Moses. So, I go and, and I, I audition and then the, he called he said he wants to see me and he wants to spend some time with me. So, I go for my fourth audition and that audition he made me do some improvisational stuff. He made me run around this rehearsal room with my arms dangling and shouting at the top of my voice so I could get relaxed and I could--I don't know, release or whatever that thing was.$$This is Free Southern Theater style (unclear) (laughter).$$Gilbert was a genius, Gilbert was a--he really was a genius but he had demons. He had really, really, really, really major demons but I didn't know that at the time, and he did this thing called transformation where we had to improvise like a scene and I had to like create dialogue and he'd throw dialogue at me and then he'd go, "Transformation," and then I had to become another character, doing something else. That was a fun--that was fun. Gilbert was a great, great actor's director. He really, really was. So, after that audition he gave me the role of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South which was a very big role when I first got it. During the tryouts, I don't know, maybe because I was so slender and I had you know, I was so well endowed upstairs, every straight man involved in that show hit on me and I'm married to Cecil. I'm trying to get a divorce from Cecil, he won't give me a divorce. I've already tried to embarrass him by having an affair with a trumpet player, 'cause I just love my trumpets, and I started having an affair with, with Gilbert while we're doing the tryouts. Then the man who was behind 20th Century Fox [Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation] who was a liaison who had given some of the funding to Ken Harper [Kenneth Harper], the producer, decided that he wanted me to be his mistress and he would send notes. He'd come to see the show periodically and he would send notes to me by the ushers and that he wanted to meet me and so I'd go out and I'd be polite, and you know go out in my robe and my makeup half done you know, for the show and he'd be sitting in the theater and you know and he was like you know, I, I--he was very straightforward. "I want you to be my mistress," but I was like, "I'm sorry, I'm with someone and I don't do that, and you're married. I'm sorry. I'm flattered," you know, I tried everything I could think of. "So flattered, but oh, I, I, oh, no that's too scary." So, he came to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and this is just before--I think this is about a month, 'cause were out six weeks, I mean six weeks, we were out six months because then we did tryouts you know where they would fix everything before you got to Broadway, and I think we were about a month out from coming back into New York [New York] and it was in Philadelphia and he came and he sent Nasha [ph.] back and so I come out and he says, "You will be my mistress," and I said, "I'm sorry, if you were the last man on this earth, I would not sleep with you. I'm in a relationship, I am not going to do it." And the next day Gilbert was fired.

Bev Johnson

Radio talk show host Beverly Elaine Johnson was born on May 10, 1953 in Memphis, Tennessee to William Van and Julia Danner Johnson. She was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and attended public schools. Johnson received her B.A. degree in English literature from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and her M.S. degree in educational media technology from Jackson State University. She also graduated from Southwest Tennessee Community College's Substance Abuse Program and The Drug Court Institute, and went on to intern with the Shelby County Drug Court.

Johnson's broadcast career began in Jackson, Mississippi in 1976. In 1983, she was hired at the WDIA radio station in Memphis, Tennessee. She has worked in a number of roles, including as disc jockey to public service director to news/community affairs director, programming assistant, marketing assistant, and talk show host. Johnson was appointed as anchor/talk show host for WDIA, and hosts "The Bev Johnson Show," which first aired in 1987. She is also co-owner of Heart 2 Heart Collaborations Counseling Services, and hosts a cable television show on Comcast Cable titled "Affairs of the Heart." In addition, she teaches at Southwest Tennessee Community College as an instructor of speech and fine arts and language and literature, and has taught radio broadcasting at Rust College for a number of years.

Johnson served on the boards of the Rock N Soul Museum, Memphis-area Planned Parenthood and the National Black Programmers Coalition. She has chaired the Memphis Branch of the NAACP's Radio-thon, and auctioneered for the Coalition of 100 Black Women Memphis Chapter's Annual Eligible Bachelor auction fundraiser, as well as WKNO's Action Auction. She is a charter member of Shelby County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, and was 2nd Vice President for two years. Johnson is also a member of Mt. Pisgah C.M.E. church.

Johnson received the UNCF Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1996. She was named the 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1996 News/Public Affairs Director of the Year by the National Black Programmers Coalition, and was a 1993, 1994 and 1995 nominee for The National Association of Broadcaster's Marconi Award, Personality of the Year. Johnson was also the 1996 Billboard Award Personality of the Year, and was honored by the Tennessee General Assembly's House of Representatives for her tenth and twentieth year hosting "The Bev Johnson Show" talk show. She was named the Memphis Music Commission’s 2013 Emissaries of Memphis Music and received the Jus Blues Foundation 2013 Jack “The Rapper” Gibson Radio Pioneer Award.

Bev Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.081

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/25/2014

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Elaine

Schools

Cummings Elementary School

Burns Park Elementary School

Tappan Middle School

Pioneer High School

Rust College

Jackson State University

Southwest Tennessee Community College

National Drug Court Institute

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Afternoons, Evenings, and Weekends

First Name

Beverly

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

JOH48

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

No Preference

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

As You Treat Yourself, You'll Treat Others.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

5/10/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Memphis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cornbread, Greens

Short Description

Radio talk show host Bev Johnson (1953 - ) is the longtime talk show host of "The Bev Johnson Show," which airs on Memphis, Tennessee’s WDIA radio station.

Employment

WDIA Radio

WWEE / WLVS Radio

WLOK Radio

WMQM Radio

WKXI Radio

WJMI / WOKJ Radio

Memphis City Schools

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bev Johnson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bev Johnson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bev Johnson describes her maternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bev Johnson describes her maternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bev Johnson talks about her mother, Julia Atlas Danner Johnson

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bev Johnson describes her paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bev Johnson talks about her father, William Van Johnson

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bev Johnson describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bev Johnson talks about her younger sister

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bev Johnson describes her earliest childhood memory in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bev Johnson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bev Johnson talks about her dreams of becoming an actress, her favorite movies, and acting in community musicals

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bev Johnson describes the cultural arts scene in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bev Johnson talks about her favorite grade school teachers and watching Nat King Cole on television

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bev Johnson describes her experience at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bev Johnson talks about the impact of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination on black students in her high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bev Johnson talks about African Americans on television during the late 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bev Johnson describes her decision to attend Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bev Johnson talks about the cultural climate of Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1970

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bev Johnson describes her experiences in theatre and choir as a student at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bev Johnson talks about family vacations during her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bev Johnson talks about her activities at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bev Johnson talks about her teachers at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi and her admiration for HistoryMaker Carole Simpson

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bev Johnson talks about performing with Trudy and the Soul Ultimates while a student at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bev Johnson talks about Ida B. Wells and African American Studies at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bev Johnson talks about her graduate school experience at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bev Johnson remembers her mentors at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bev Johnson describes her start in radio while she was a student at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bev Johnson describes her transition from disc jockey to news anchor at WJMI-WOKJ

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bev Johnson talks about working as a news director at WKXI in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bev Johnson talks about her work as news anchor for WLOK in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bev Johnson describes targeting majority white audiences at WWEE radio and WLVS

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bev Johnson talks about her return to black radio upon joining WDIA as a news anchor in 1983

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bev Johnson talks about the launch of "The Bev Johnson Show" in 1987

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bev Johnson describes special guests and topics featured on "The Bev Johnson Show"

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bev Johnson describes the day-to-day operations of "The Bev Johnson Show"

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bev Johnson talks about memorable stories featured on "The Bev Johnson Show", pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bev Johnson talks about memorable stories featured on "The Bev Johnson Show", pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bev Johnson talks about callers to "The Bev Johnson Show"

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bev Johnson talks about the coverage of domestic violence on "The Bev Johnson Show"

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Bev Johnson talks about maintaining neutral political commentary on "The Bev Johnson Show"

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bev Johnson describes her work in her community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bev Johnson talks about the history of WDIA

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bev Johnson talks about the decline of disc jockeys and the Memphis chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bev Johnson talks about authors featured on "The Bev Johnson Show"

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bev Johnson talks about her television show, "Affairs of the Heart"

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bev Johnson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bev Johnson reflects upon her aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Bev Johnson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Bev Johnson describes her honors

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Bev Johnson talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Bev Johnson describes her journalistic philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Bev Johnson talks about how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Bev Johnson describes her decision to attend Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi
Bev Johnson talks about the launch of "The Bev Johnson Show" in 1987
Transcript
So you graduated from high school [Ann Arbor Pioneer High in Michigan] is it seventy--$$Nineteen seventy [1970].$$Seventy, [1970] okay, all right.$$Beginning of the '70's [1970's].$$All right, 1970, and when you were on the verge of graduation, what kind of counseling did you get about college?$$Good counseling because at our high school we had the different kind of curriculums, and I was in the college preparatory. They had university preparatory, college preparatory, they had business, and then they had general. And so I was in the college preparatory, cause I always knew I was going to go to college. So that was counseling, but, but where to go to college. I--taking drama lessons and, and being in the theater thing, I got a scholarship to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City [New York]. And during that time, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts did not have dormitories. So you had to find your own housing. And my dad after he found out he says you think you going to New York City to be living in an apartment wherever you need to live. You better find you a school with dormitory. So that crushed my dreams of, you know, being on Broadway cause I knew I was headed that way. So I had to end up looking for, choosing a, a school with a dormitory.$$Okay, so you couldn't find any housing to, to--now this is a--$$Well you had house--you could find it, but he was not gonna let me go at seventeen years old to New York City. No, I had no relatives, no folks, you were just there. And no telling where you may be living. So that was out.$$Okay, and the school couldn't provide any, any help.$$Yeah, I mean they probably could, but I don't know if we would be living--I would be living in a one room place or what, so you don't know. And then I didn't know the city, so--$$Okay, so--$$So that was out.$$Were you very disappointed about that?$$Oh very, I was, I was devastated. And I was angry with my father for a long time about that.$$Okay, did, did you have recomm--good recommendations and everything from your teachers to go?$$Oh yes, because I got that scholarship, yeah, to go, yeah. The only thing was you just had to find your own housing.$$So now I know you graduated from Rust, but--$$Rust College [Holly Springs, Mississippi].$$Did you go to Rust then?$$Yeah, ended up going to--so end up going to Rust cause throughout--a couple of schools, you know either Fisk [University in Nashville, Tennessee] or I know I didn't want to attend the University of Memphis [Tennessee], which was called Memphis State [University] then. I didn't, I did not want to go to Memphis State. I did not want to go--a counselor for, for the black, black students, they were trying to get us to go to Eastern [Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan]. And we could get full ride to Eastern. I said I'm not going, I don't wanna go, I don't wanna be--I'm leaving, so that was out. So as I said, my mother eventually graduated from Rust College. And so she said well Rust, and I thought now Rust, that's in Mississippi. I had never been to Mississippi in my life. And you know the stories we've, we heard of Mississippi. I could see lynching in Mississippi--no it's not. So finally--anyway went to see the school, saw it and my mother knew people and says we're gonna take care of her, we're gonna take care of her. And fell in love with Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi. So that's where I ended up and graduated, yeah.$Okay, all right. So and you launched the Bev Johnson Show, and that was in --$$Nineteen eighty-seven.$$'87 [1987], okay and how did the --$$That was the brain child of, of program director Bobby O'Jay. Oprah Winfrey started her show nationally 1986. And during that time, Oprah was doing all the relationship stuff. So Bobby thought now we need to, you know, do something because during that time you know the FMs were really coming, you know. Even though [W]DIA had been number one for so long, we were -- said we need to do something different. So he -- so I -- and I remember we were going to a radio event and he says I'm thinking about doing a talk show in the mid-day. So we're listening and I think I remember the promotions director being there, Maxine Maclin and he says "Well Bev, you could do a talk show." I'm thinking no, no, no, I'm used to doing a public affairs show, which I was doing, you know, still, a public affairs show. I says "No, every day a talk show?" He says "Yeah, I'm thinking about putting that together and we're going to do that and it's going to be on relationships and all that kind of thing." So finally I guess after he talked with his superior and they said okay we'll do it. He says "Okay we're gonna, we're gonna put you in mid-day, gonna have a talk show, 'The Bev Johnson Show.'" I started a year after Oprah was on and doing the same kind of things Oprah was doing, but I was doing it on radio. Unheard of. Now it was talk shows, remember public affairs and basically they were community issues. But now I'm talking about lifestyles, from divorce to relationships, to all kinds of stuff, all kinds of craziness. In the beginning it was crazy.

Mark Stansbury

Gospel radio show host and academic administrator Markhum “Mark” L. Stansbury, Sr. was born on April 5, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee to Willie and Eliza Markham Stansbury. He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, where he was editor of the yearbook. In 1960, at age eighteen, Stansbury was hired as a radio personality and gospel announcer at Memphis, Tennessee’s WDIA-AM, where he has worked for over fifty years. He went on to receive his B.A. degree in history from Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee in 1966.

Upon graduation from Lane College, Stansbury was named the school’s public relations director. He then took a job with Holiday Inns, Inc. in 1969 as a community relations manager, where he worked until 1981. From 1983 to 1987, Stansbury was an insurance agent for Union Central Life Insurance Company and American United Insurance Company, and then served as special assistant to the governor of the State of Tennessee from 1987 until 1989. Stansbury was named assistant to the president of the University of Memphis in 1989, and went on to work for four university presidents. In addition, Stansbury has served as vice president of advancement at LeMoyne-Owen College and interim president of Shelby State Community College (now Southwest Tennessee Community College). He was also a regular photographer for the Memphis World and Tri-State Defender, and briefly worked as a reporter and copy editor for The Commercial Appeal.

Stansbury has been affiliated with or served on the boards of Leadership Memphis, E 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District, St. Andrew AME Church, Memphis Race Relations and Diversity Institute, Shelby Farms, YMCA, Goals of Memphis, and the University of Memphis Foundation. He was appointed to the Shelby County Historical Commission, and served as an advisory board member of South Central Bell. He was a NAACP Freedom Fund Gala Coordinator; past president of the Public Relations Society of America-Memphis Chapter; and served on the Steering Committee for the United Negro College Fund. Stansbury was also a founder of Diversity Memphis, an organization which fights to eliminate bigotry.

He is a member of the United Negro College Fund Hall of Fame, and has received the Award of Merit, the highest award presented to a citizen by the Mayor of Memphis. Stansbury was also named Parent of the Year by the Memphis Rotary Club, and was the first person to receive the University of Memphis’ Campus Unity Award in 1993.

Mark Stansbury was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.037

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/25/2014

Last Name

Stansbury

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Leon

Schools

Leath Elementary

Booker T. Washington High School

Lane College

First Name

Markhum

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

STA11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans and Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Lost Somewhere Between Sunrise And Sunset. Sixty Golden Minutes Each Set With 60 Golden Seconds. No Reward Is Offered For They’re Gone Forever.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

4/5/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Memphis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburger

Short Description

Radio talk show host and academic administrator Mark Stansbury (1942 - ) was a host for over fifty years on WDIA Radio in Memphis, Tennessee, and served as the assistant to four University of Memphis presidents.

Employment

WDIA

WJAK

Lane College

Commercial Appeal

Holiday Inns, Inc

Union Central LIC / American United LIC

State of Tennessee

University of Memphis

Shelby State Community College

LeMoyne-Owen College

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mark Stansbury's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mark Stansbury lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mark Stansbury describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mark Stansbury talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mark Stansbury describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mark Stansbury describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mark Stansbury talks about his family's emphasis on temperance

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mark Stansbury describes his sister's career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mark Stansbury describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mark Stansbury remembers the influence of Juanita Brewster Crenshaw

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Mark Stansbury remembers being interviewed by Nat D. Williams

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Mark Stansbury describes the Foote Homes community in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mark Stansbury describes the Foote Homes housing projects in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mark Stansbury talks about the importance of punctuality, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mark Stansbury talks about the importance of punctuality, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mark Stansbury describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mark Stansbury talks about segregation in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mark Stansbury remembers his involvement with journalism at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mark Stansbury remembers joining the Teen Town Singers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mark Stansbury recalls his start at WDIA Radio in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mark Stansbury remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mark Stansbury talks about the hosts of WDIA Radio in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mark Stansbury talks about the listenership of WDIA Radio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mark Stansbury remembers his decision to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mark Stansbury describes his time at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mark Stansbury recalls the influence of Ernest Withers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mark Stansbury describes how he joined the staff of WJAK Radio in Jackson, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mark Stansbury talks about his Top 40 program on WJAK Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mark Stansbury talks about the music community in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mark Stansbury remembers his influences at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mark Stansbury talks about his experience at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mark Stansbury remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mark Stansbury reflects upon Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s activism in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mark Stansbury remembers the shooting of James Meredith

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mark Stansbury remembers joining the staff of the Holiday Inns, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mark Stansbury talks about working for the Holiday Inns, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mark Stansbury describes how he became the president's assistant at Memphis State University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mark Stansbury remember his presidency of Shelby State Community College in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mark Stansbury reflects upon his time as a university administrator

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mark Stansbury remembers volunteering for W.W. Herenton's mayoral campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mark Stansbury remembers his Arthur S. Holman Lifetime Achievement Award

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mark Stansbury describes his experiences at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mark Stansbury talks about the Memphis State Eight, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mark Stansbury talks about the Memphis State Eight, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mark Stansbury talks about his civic activities in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mark Stansbury reflects upon his tenure at WDIA Radio in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mark Stansbury reflects upon the legacy of WDIA Radio in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mark Stansbury reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Mark Stansbury remembers Ernest Withers

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mark Stansbury reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Mark Stansbury talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Mark Stansbury describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Mark Stansbury talks about his community organizing efforts

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Mark Stansbury describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Mark Stansbury narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

2$2

DATitle
Mark Stansbury remember his presidency of Shelby State Community College in Memphis, Tennessee
Mark Stansbury reflects upon his tenure at WDIA Radio in Memphis, Tennessee
Transcript
But in there, I would have to look at my resume on the dates, you know, years. The commissioner of education--I happened to be on a trip for the City of Memphis [Tennessee]. I was on the 9-1-1 board [Shelby County Emergency Communications District]. I think I may have been chair at the time, and I was out in of all places, Las Vegas [Nevada]. And we were observing at a 911 convention and looking at some things that California was doing.$$9-1-1 in terms of, the terrorist attacks (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Nine eleven [September 11, 2001], the emergency communications, yeah. And this was called the emergency communication, we had 9-1-1 here and the chancellor of the board of regents in Tennessee [Tennessee Board of Regents] called and I was down at a meeting and my wife [Stansbury's ex-wife, Lucy Barber] came down to get me. She said, "I think you need to call. You got a long distance call from Chancellor Smith." I said, "What Chancellor Smith doing calling me?" She said, "I don't know." Say, "He didn't say." So I called him back and he says, "Mark [HistoryMaker Mark Stansbury], this is Charles, Charles Smith [Charles K. Smith]. Say I would-how would you like to be president of Shelby State Community College [Southwest Tennessee Community College, Memphis Tennessee]?" And I laughed. I said, "How would I like to be president of Shelby State?" I said, "I've never thought about it." He said, "Well I want you to think about it." And, and I said, "Well I have to--," I said, "I really have to do some thinking on that one." And then he said, "Well think about it and call me back tomorrow." So before I could call him back, he called me back. And said, "What's your decision?" I said, "Chancellor I just can't give you a decision right now," blah, blah, blah. And he said, "Well--." I said, "Because I haven't talked to my boss." He said, "Well believe me, I have already talked to him because the chancellor--the presidents report to the chancellor anyway. So I want you to talk to him." And then the next thing I know he says, "Well how about coming back to Tennessee?" Because I was out there in Vegas. He said, "How about coming back to Tennessee?" And I said, "Well okay, soon as I can get a flight back." And I finally got back and he made a trip from Nashville [Tennessee]. Came down, took me out to lunch and talked to me and you know to see. And we decided what I could do and if I could do this. I said, "Well how long will it take? I mean how long do you want me to be there?" He say, "For about six months." And so I said, "Well, let me make a few more talks." And so I talked to--the mayor was a good friend of mine and I talked to him and some of my political--$$This is Herenton [W.W. Herenton]?$$Herenton, yeah, a good friend of mine. And they were all very supportive of me. And they said, "You have always worked in the background doing things for others and I think this is probably your time." So long story short, I accepted it and thought I would be there for six months. We had a search for a president, and as I recall there was about--either fifty-six or fifty-eight candidates that were interviewed. And then when it came time, the chancellor made a report that nobody fit the bill or could do it as well as I was doing it, trying to relate to the community and uphold the name of Shelby State. And so they decided they was gonna keep me there longer. And so long story short, I ended up being there two years, supposed to be there six months as president of Shelby State.$$Now did, did you enjoy being the president?$$I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it. And everybody wanted me--the people in the community and at the college wanted me to accept the president, be president. And I said no, I had made that commitment and I was kind the kind of person that if I make a commitment, I'm gonna live to my commitment, regardless. I mean and being president--I don't know if you've been president, but there's a lot of pressure. I mean it might be good. I mean you get dinners to go here and do this and you hobnob with the big fund raisers and the people who give you money. But also there's a lot of pressure on you, you know.$$Now what's the--give us some sense of the demographics of Shelby State and what were some of the issues there when you became president?$$We--the demographics, we had about six thousand students. There was a workforce of about five hundred as I recall. The problems--the president had done--enrolling students--I can't remember exactly. Enrolling students, telling them they could do this and they didn't have to do that. It was just a big controversy and they had to let him go. They had paid their money and they were registering and it was just a whole lot of chaos among the faculty and the students. And I was then able to quell that and get them back--people in a working mode. There was--had lost confidence in the previous president.$So at WDIA [WDIA Radio, Memphis, Tennessee] today your show is still being broadcast. You, do you having any thoughts of retiring from the show or you gone do it as long as you can?$$No, I'm gonna do it as long as I can. In fact my wife [Imogene Sayles Stansbury] tells everybody they'll take me out feet first. But I'm working for a good guy, Bobby O'Jay and gives me an opportunity to do the things that I want to do and to help keep the community informed and I just do things just within you know, the FCC [Federal Communications Commission], Federal Communication guidelines. I enjoy it and enjoy making people happy each Sunday.$$Okay. Clear Channel [Clear Channel Communications, Inc.] came in and cut a lot of jobs at WDIA.$$Right, and in fact my job wasn't cut but my hours were cut. I'm down to four hours now on Sundays from four o'clock until eight o'clock. I'm really on the air from four until seven and then from seven until eight I'm there because we have a church called Mount Vernon Baptist Church Westwood [Memphis, Tennessee], which is pastured by the Reverend James L. Netters who has been documented as the longest serving pastor of any church in Memphis, Tennessee. He's been the pastor for fifty-eight years. And so I'm on the board when his church is on and when his church goes off the air, then supposedly I go home. I don't go home, but I'm off the air. But I do some production work afterwards.$$Okay so do you stay around until eleven?$$No, no. But you know they say out of everything bad comes some good. The bad thing is that my hours were cut. But the good part was that it gives me an opportunity to go home and spend some time with my wife because for almost thirty years I was never at home on Sunday evening. Have to go to church, I would rush home, change clothes and to the radio station because I was there at two. So out of everything bad comes some good.$$Yes sir, okay. Well some of your--the personalities on WDIA now include Stan Bell, Bobby O'Jay, Stormy, Nelson [Ford Nelson].$$Bev Johnson and Janis Fullilove.$$Okay, now she was a city councilman?$$She is city councilwoman now, she is now. And in fact city council [Memphis City Council] meets on Tuesday and she's off on Tuesdays. They usually bring in a substitute for her so she can do that.$$Okay, okay. So WDIA continues on. I mean you--has it--I've looked around on the walls and there've been plenty of--I think the papers covered the history of WDIA over and over again. Have there been books written about WDIA?$$To my knowledge there's only been one book ['Wheelin' on Beale: How WDAI-Memphis Became the Nation's First All-Black Radio Station and Created the Sound That Changed America,' Louis Cantor] and it's--I was trying to think of it--there's been one book. Only one book has been written about and I just can't think of the name of it right now.

Mel Watkins

Journalist and author Mel Watkins was born on March 8, 1940 in Memphis, Tennessee to Pittman and Katie Watkins. Although born in Memphis, Watkins grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1962, he received his B.A. degree in art history from Colgate University. While there, he worked a summer job as a copy boy for the New York Daily News.

Upon graduation, Watkins sold books in Harlem, New York for the Negro Book Club, and from 1963 to 1964, he worked as a claims examiner for the Federal Social Security Department. In 1964, Watkins was hired as a copy boy for The New York Times’ Sunday sections. He was soon promoted to clerk for The New York Times Sunday Book Review. In 1968, Watkins was made a book editor, and became the first African American staff editor for The New York Times Sunday Book Review. As an editor and writer for the Sunday Book Review from 1968 to 1985, he contributed hundreds of book reviews and articles on literature, sports and entertainment. Later, he contributed obituaries of such artists as George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield and Gwendolyn Brooks. Watkins also served as the book page editor for Penthouse magazine from 1977 to 1978, and as book page editor for American Visions magazine from 1986 until 1991. In addition, he worked as an instructor at Rutgers University in 1992 and 1993; in 2007, he was hired as National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Humanities at Colgate University.

Watkins has edited, authored and co-authored numerous books and anthologies, including To Be a Black Woman: Portraits in Fact and Fiction (1971); Black Review Number One (1971); Black Review Number Two (1972); Race and Suburbia (1973); African Art: From the Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection (1987); On the Real Side: Laughing, Lying, and Signifying--The Underground Tradition of African-American Humor That Transformed American Culture, from Slavery to Richard Pryor (1994); Dancing with Strangers: A Memoir (1998); The Bob Love Story: If It's Gonna Be, It's up to Me (2000); African American Humor: The Best Black Comedy from Slavery to Today (2002); and Stepin Fetchit: The Life & Times of Lincoln Perry (2005). Watkins also wrote introductions for the first six volumes of the Howard University Press Library of Contemporary Literature Series in 1984. He was the recipient of an Alicia Patterson Foundation journalism fellowship in 1979, and, in 2002, his memoir, Dancing with Strangers, was the initial selection in Youngstown State University’s annual Freshman Reading Dialogue. Watkins has also frequently appeared as a commentator on television documentaries focused on entertainment, show business personalities, and social issues.

Mel Watkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 17, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.064

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/17/2014

Last Name

Watkins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Grant

Hillman - South High

Colgate University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Mel

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

WAT14

State

Tennessee

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/8/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Short Description

Journalist and author Mel Watkins (1940 - ) was the first African American staff editor for The New York Times Sunday Book Review. He has edited, authored and co-authored numerous books and anthologies, including On the Real Side: A History of African American Humor, Dancing with Strangers: A Memoir, and Stepin Fetchit: The Life & Times of Lincoln Perry.

Employment

Colgate University

American Visions Magazine

Penthouse Magazine

The New York Times

US Social Security Dept.

David Brown

Enlisted Soldier David W. Brown was born on August 26, 1920 in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1943, four years after completing high school, and three days after he and his wife were married, Brown was drafted into the United States Army.

In 1944, Brown was deployed during World War II with the 490th Port Battalion, 226 Port Company European Theater, where he served as a technician 4th Grade. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Brown landed on the shores of Utah Beach alongside 23,000 other men as allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy. The following year, while still serving in Europe, he would travel to England, France and Belgium. In December of 1945, Brown received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Army. Following the end of the War, he returned to the United States and was discharged from the military in a ceremony at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Brown then traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended Maplewood Refrigeration, a vocational school. After completing training there in 1948, Brown worked as a refrigeration engineer. He also attended the Carrier Corporation, another vocational institute in Syracuse, New York, where he received further schooling in AC engineering. Brown went on to work as a refrigeration and air conditioning engineer at Beaumont Medical and System Air. He then established his own firm, Brown Industrial Corporation.

Brown was the recipient of many awards and honors. In 2004, he was the featured veteran in Studs Terkel’s production The Good War, showcased in Skokie, Illinois. Then, in 2009, after contributing to the History Channel’s program A Distant Shore: African Americans of D-Day, Brown was awarded an Emmy plaque from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2010, during a ceremony in Northbrook, Illinois, he was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor medal, the highest decoration bestowed on those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.

Brown passed away on June 13, 2015 at age 94.

Accession Number

A2013.193

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/20/2013

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Manassas High School

Maplewood School of Refigeration

Carrier Corporation

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

BRO57

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/26/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Northbrook

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Death Date

6/13/2015

Short Description

Soldier David Brown (1920 - 2015 ) served in the United States Army during World War II, and participated in the Normandy landings on D-Day.

Employment

Hammel Refrigeration

Central Refrigeration

Beaumont Medical

System Air

Brown Industrial Corporation

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:80588,1038:93775,1269:97300,1458:175051,2234:182520,2419:228500,2983:231900,3181:282762,3793:288782,3892:297520,4002$0,0:2550,12:3830,31:4150,36:5750,62:31460,433:31780,438:32100,447:41176,496:41616,502:47836,585:50802,610:55180,677:83196,1011:91300,1101:94410,1232:110696,1418:115470,1464:122610,1573:210680,2566:222660,2696
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Brown lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Brown discusses his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Brown discusses his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about how his parents met and married, their life in Memphis, Tennessee, and his mother's electrical and plumbing skills

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Brown describes his childhood home in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Brown describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Brown describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Brown describes Christmas holidays with his family during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Brown describes the neighborhood where he grew up in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Brown describes his experience in elementary school and high school in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Brown talks about his history and chemistry classes in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about his experience in church as a child, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about his experience in church as a child, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about his experience in elementary school and his desire to become an engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about building radios and a doorbell as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about listening to BBC radio's newscast about World War II, and his interest in airplanes

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about growing up during the Great Depression, and losing the money that he had invested in a program in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his in high school and his friends who volunteered for military service

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about working at an engineering store after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about being drafted into World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Brown talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about the events that led him to date his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about dating his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about growing up during segregation, and saving to buy a car

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Brown describes how he and his brother, Grover, were drafted into World War II, and their trip to Fort Benning, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about leaving home for the draft and being assigned to boot camp in Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about his experience at Camp Harahan, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his altercation with the first sergeant at Camp Harahan, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his altercation with the first sergeant at Camp Harahan, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about his transfer to Newport News, Virginia in August of 1943

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about his reassignment to the U.S. Navy and his involvement with an espionage interception mission

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about being assigned to the Allied invasion of Normandy, France in 1944 during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Brown describes the events that led up to his involvement in the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Brown describes the events that led up to his involvement in the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Brown reflects upon the deaths of American soldiers during the invasion of Normandy in June, 1944, during World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Brown describes his experience after landing on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Brown describes his experience after landing on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about the roles of the soldiers on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about leaving Utah Beach, Normandy, France and being reassigned to Rouen, France in November of 1944

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about the Battle of the Bulge and how German soldiers killed American soldiers and masqueraded as American troops

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Brown discusses two rare instances of racial discrimination while he was a soldier at Utah Beach, Normandy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his assignment to Rouen, France

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David Brown discusses his experience in Rouen, France, as the German offense mounted

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about the killing of German intruders at his post at Rouen, France during the Battle of the Bulge

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about being promoted to Technician Fourth Grade and other black officers whom he served with

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about the soldiers who died on Utah Beach, Normandy in June of 1944

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about the close-knit environment of the troops he served with in World War II

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about being assigned to special duty in Rouen and an American soldier killing an anti-Semitic German

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about capturing a German ship in Cherbourg, France

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about being stationed in Cherbourg, France, after World War II

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his transition out of Europe after World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about his transition out of Europe after World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - David Brown describes his trip from Belgium to New York in December, 1945

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about leaving the U.S. Army in January of 1946, his journey home to Memphis, and the reception from his family

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about encountering racial discrimination as a World War II veteran in America, and his decision to attend trade school

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David Brown describes his experience in trade school

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about his first job assignment and racial discrimination

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about his brother's return from World War II and his career in the railroad and in printing

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about his children, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his children, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his efforts in the union for rights for African Americans in the 1940s

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - David Brown reflects upon the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - David Brown reflects upon the Vietnam War and the politics of war and veterans' services

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - David Brown reflects about being recognized as an African American soldier in World War II and D-Day, and the movie industry's portrayal of the war

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - David Brown reflects upon receiving the Legion of Honor Award, and the difference between his treatment in Europe and in the U.S.

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - David Brown reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - David Brown shares his message to future generations

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - David Brown gives a message to the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - David Brown reflects upon racial prejudices in the United States and segregation in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - David Brown describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1
David Brown talks about the roles of the soldiers on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II
Transcript
Tuesday [June 6, 1944] morning, some guy say, "Hey Sarge, they're bombing the beach." "You're crazy, they're not bombing the beach." And I wake up, they were bombing the beach; from the right to the left, from the right to the left, from right to left--all Tuesday morning. So as the daylight begin to appear over France, all the ships that go in the same direction, everybody--are stopping at disorganized rotation; some goin' east, some goin' west, some goin' north, some goin' south. And we were going north; we kept goin' north. Now the waves begin to settle down; it's still choppy. Now I notice up ahead of us was a striped war ship; he was shining (unclear) ashore. I didn't pay attention where these waves--where shell was falling, but I notice we have these--shell--leave these guns on this war ship; these flame burners, go down and hit the water level. I'm thinkin' 'I hope we don't get too close to this war ship 'cause if that flame hit these shells, we are suckin' duck.' As we got mid-ship, he made a U-turn to the right, in his U-turnin', I turned my head to the left and my chin is still fastened tight against these ammunition, and I spotted that building that you see now in History Channel, two-story building that's on the top of that hill that you see on History Channel, and the gunfire was goin' galore. It was no firing from where we were, but you could hear it on the beach over there. It was Omaha Beach. But we weren't going there, we were goin' back to Utah Beach so we kept goin' south now. As the daylight approaches, I saw that (unclear) stickin' out in the channel like a sore thumb, and along--parallel this was these landing craft that goin' beside of 'em--these two-stage landing craft, and they was already goin' on to Utah Beach unloadin' their vehicles, the tanks and their troops. They're goin' onto the beach through the--through this opening that was in the beach head. Well, there was no gun firing going across; true, we're goin' across at a fast pace but they weren't runnin', 'cause when you're sure--we were pretty sure they were goin' right parallel beside of it and he go right through there and there was nobody on that beach, and this went on all morning. At eight o' clock, we was supposed to go ashore, and we kept goin'--move up a little bit, and we move up a little bit and stop and move up a little bit and stop. All at once, the sailor says, "Go short." So we stop, and there was a whole bunch of ships in front of us--landing craft rather. Then all at once, four landing crafts blew up in front of us; we never did find out who it was because in World War II, information didn't pass like they do today; if you saw it, then you just kept it to yourself. So we didn't bother about it; we kept waiting, kept waiting, so finally our sailor come along and says, "The beach master step on a landing craft because the tide was going out and the beach master didn't want the landing craft stuck three or 400 feet from the beach 'cause the land vehicles gets bogged down in this soft sand unloading these landing crafts and when tide comes back in, they'd be under the water, so they didn't that; they'd stop us that far; they're waitin' for the tide to come back in. Same time--every once in a--maybe five minutes, a shell would come out from the beach. This was a (unclear) box; a gun was fired from a (unclear) box--a German (unclear) box. So we couldn't find him but the Navy was lookin' for it. Navy finally find this gun in the gun slot and it kept firing at this pure box. As it got to five shots--'cause we could see this fireman's shell comin' from this Navy ship hit this pure box and bouncin' off his pure box just like a tennis ball. Now we figure we're in bad trouble 'cause if that shell don't penetrate that (unclear) box, we in trouble buddy. It was shelling down the (unclear)--the beach; it wasn't shelling out to the water, just straight down the beach, which we gotta cross. And this went on all day long.$So the, the next day comes; is that when you get to leave, or what happened?$$You never get no relief. You're in this foxhole and we were waitin'--our job is--everybody has a job; the one job everybody has, even the five on this aircraft--everybody following this aircraft, that's where the air raid is. Well your job is--our job is to unload these seagoing vessels. Well they now, they can't come any closer; they're four or 500 feet from the shore; only the landing crafts come ashore. The beach master they're the traffic jam--traffic cops; all landing crafts come to the shore first; they get unloaded first. The quartermasters, this is their job. (Unclear) don't do this; quartermasters drive their vehicles on these landing crafts, unloads it, all these supplies on these landing craft, drive 'em in shore to the fuel dumps, ammunition dump, to the water dumps. A dump is a supply area, in the Army, they call it a dump. But you got fuel rations, you put on (unclear) and as your front line needs this, front line have their own people comin' to these dumps to get what they need and go back to feed 'em. Now Americans think the minority soldiers are there to feed the Caucasian soldiers. I straightened that out--a writer down in Bloomington [Indiana] about this. It sounded good to the writer. I tore it out of his book; I say "You got it all wrong; I was there, you wasn't." "Well this makes you look--" "I'm not here to make anything to you look good; I'm the one that suffered the consequence over there."$$So, so what was the correct--what did you correct him about? I'm unclear about that.$$He had on his book "the minority soldiers' job was to furnish supplies to Caucasian soldiers." That's not true. The quartermaster was the supply area, and you got--black soldiers was in the quartermasters, white soldiers was in quartermaster--foreman (ph.). And as the front lines told you who was your infantry, they needed guns or they need food, they need ammunition, they need fuel, the quartermaster delivered it to them--to that dump. Whether they're white or black, the delivered to 'em. Then the infantry soldier had their own people come to their particular dump to pick it up and take it to the front lines. Just as simple as you own a business; you go to this company over here to pick up your supply of goods that you need. No, he's not working for you; you go to him to get it. That's the way that went; the Army was set up just like a business. So that's why I had to take it out of his book.$$Okay. So how long were you on Utah Beach [Normandy, France]?$$Five months.$$Five months?$$Five months--from June until November [1944]; Thanksgiving Day.$$Okay.

The Honorable George Forbes

Lawyer and city council member George L Forbes was born on April 4, 1931 in Memphis, Tennessee to Cleveland and Eleanor Forbes. He served a two-year tour of duty in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school and then moved to the Cleveland area in the 1950s. Forbes received his B.A. degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio in 1957 and his J.D. degree from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1961. He was admitted to both the Ohio State Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association in 1962.

In 1963, he secured a seat on the Cleveland City Council where he served in various capiticies for the next twenty-seven years. He assisted Carl B. Stokes in his 1967 mayoral campaign, making Stokes the first black mayor of a major U.S. city, and helped to establish the 21st District Congressional Caucus which improve race relations within the Ohio Democratic Party. In 1971, Forbes became a founding partner of Rogers, Hornton & Forbes (now Forbes, Fields & Associates Co., L.P.A.) – the first African American law firm established in Cleveland, Ohio and the largest minority-owned law firm in the State of Ohio. In 1973, Forbes became the first African American to be elected as president of the Cleveland City Council where he served until 1989, and was instrumental in the merging of the city-owned Cleveland Transit System with the new Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in 1974. In 1992, Forbes was elected as president of the Cleveland Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Forbes served in a number of civic organizations, including the Cleveland Chapter of The National Urban League, the Council of Economic Opportunity, the Businessmen’s Interracial Committee on Community Affairs, the John Harlan Law Club, and the National Association of Defense Lawyers for Criminal Cases. In 1990, Cleveland State University honored Forbes with the Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition, Forbes received Honorary Doctorate degrees from Central State University in 1989 and Baldwin-Wallace College in 1990. Forbes received the top honor bestowed by the NAACP, the Freedom Award, in 2009.

Forbes is married to Mary Fleming Forbes. They have three daughters, Lauren Forbes, Mildred Forbes and Helen Forbes Fields, and three grandchildren, William, Camille, and Brando

George L. Forbes was interviewed by on May 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.164

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/9/2013

Last Name

Forbes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lawrence

Schools

Baldwin Wallace University

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Manassas High School

Hyde Park Elementary School

First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

FOR13

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sarasota, Florida

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

4/4/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Corn (Fried)

Short Description

Lawyer and city council member The Honorable George Forbes (1931 - ) was the first African American elected as president of the Cleveland City Council and a founding partner of Rogers, Hornton & Forbes, the first African American law firm in Cleveland, Ohio and the largest minority-owned law firm in the State of Ohio.

Employment

Cleveland, Ohio Ward 27

Forbes, Fields & Associates Co., L.P.A.

Cleveland City Council

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable George Forbes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable George Forbes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable George Forbes talks about his father's surname

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable George Forbes talks about his father's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable George Forbes lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable George Forbes talks about political corruption in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable George Forbes describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable George Forbes recalls his experiences as a migrant farmworker

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers his home life

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable George Forbes talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers his teachers at Hyde Park Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable George Forbes talk about his part time job at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable George Forbes recalls the educational opportunities for African Americans in Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable George Forbes recalls his early interest in oratory

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers Jackie Robinson's baseball games

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his teachers' encouragement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers his decision to become a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable George Forbes recalls being accused by a white woman in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers police brutality in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable George Forbes recalls his enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers his training in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable George Forbes talk about his U.S. military service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers his mentor, Themistocles Rodis

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable George Forbes describes his teaching career at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable George Forbes talks about his political affiliations

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable George Forbes describes the start of his interest in politics

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable George Forbes recalls the decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable George Forbes talks about Reverend James Lawson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable George Forbes recalls his work experiences during law school

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers the Cleveland Marshall Law School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable George Forbes recalls Dean Wilson Gesner Stapleton of the Cleveland Marshall Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable George Forbes remembers representing Lewis Robinson and the Freedom Fighters

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable George Forbes talks about the CORE activists in Cleveland, Ohio

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

9$1

DATitle
The Honorable George Forbes talks about his maternal grandfather
The Honorable George Forbes remembers the Civil Rights Movement
Transcript
Let me tell you about my [maternal] grandfather [Joseph Lynch]. My grandfather was the (clears throat) was the man in our life. But we would go across the street. He would roast peanuts, and it, it, it have this wooden stove and, and potbelly stove. And the ashes would fall down to the bottom, and you'd pick the ashes out. And if, and this, the cinders would fall, and he would put the peanuts down in there, and he would put potatoes in there, sweet potatoes. And we'd go over there, and we'd eat peanuts and, and sweet potatoes. And then my grandfather had a, a very unique thing he would do. He would, we'd go over and would eat breakfast and would have salt meat and rice and what have--things that people did in the South, and he'd drink coffee. And sometimes they didn't, they didn't have a coffee pot. And they would, they would cook their coffee in the skillet, just put the, put the coffee in a skillet and boil it, and you'd drain the coffee--$$No, go, go ahead.$$--you, you drain the coffee in a cup. And he would drink the coffee out of the cup. And when he would finish drinking the coffee, he would turn the cup upside down in the saucer. Now bear, bear in mind that this, this is not perco- you know this is, didn't come from a coffee pot, because the grounds would be in the, in the coffee cup. He'd turn it upside down. And then after about five or-- minutes, he said, "Well, let me, let me read this cup. Let me see what your fortune is." And he would take the cup, and he'd say, "You know, George [HistoryMaker George Forbes], I see you'll have a long life, you know, and, and it look like, look like something's gonna happen next week." And we would be, we would just be (laughter) enchanted with my grandfather reading the coffee cup, right. And that happened, that would, every time he he'd drink a cup of coffee he do, and I couldn't wait to, 'til I got grown so I could read a coffee cup, see what the grounds (laughter) would say. So that was some of the things that he would do with us.$$Okay. So there was a lot of interaction with him (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Absolutely. And, and, and, and the thing is that, no matter how poor, and these were, we were poor people, there was always something that you could find levity, you know, and find joy.$Okay, all right, so, we're talking about, talk- we were talking about Brown v. the Board [Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954]. When you were in college [Baldwin-Wallace College; Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio] and found out it and wore your suit and tie, did you have any idea of the players, you know, in terms of Thurgood Marshall and--$$Oh, sure.$$--those, okay.$$You got to understand, I have always been motivated. I always, this has, this has been from the time that I was a boy. My, my teachers in high school [Manassas High School, Memphis, Tennessee] said, "It's, it is not right that you have to sit on the back of the bus. Don't settle for this," okay. And I didn't like it either. I didn't like being chased by the police. So the, the race issue have always, this is, this was in, instilled in me from the time that I was kid. So, that's where I got it from. But I'd watch, I'd watch the, the, the factors that went into Brown. I'd watch the cases. I watched Thurgood Marshall. I watched the fellow at Howard University [Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.] that was behind the case.$$Charles Hamilton [Charles Hamilton Houston] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, yeah, I'd watch that, watch all of that. So I was, I was waiting for the decision. And when the decision came out, that was great, I know that was a, a momentous day in the history of this country as it pertain to black people.$$So you were in college also when, what, I guess you, you were there when Little Rock [Arkansas] was, was--$$Absolutely.$$Yeah, the crisis in Little Rock when they--$$Absolutely.$$--attempted to integrate--$$Yeah.$$--Central High School [Little Rock, Arkansas]. Well, they did it, you know.$$Yeah, so I'm, I'm--$$Yeah.$$--all of that was, all of it was part of my life.$$Okay. You also are in school I guess when Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] started in Montgomery [Alabama]. And the Montgomery Bus Boycott in '56 [1956], yeah, you'd be towards your, the end of your college days--$$Okay.$$--I guess when that started.$$I, I met, I knew him. He would come to, he came to Cleveland [Ohio] for the, for the Stokes [HistoryMaker Louis Stokes] registration drives. I have a picture of him. We're on, we're on the back of a truck, you know, a semi. Ben Branch had the Operation Breadbasket band [Operation Breadbasket Orchestra and Choir]. They would come and go to shopping centers and go to grocery stores. And the band would play, and Dr. King would get up and say you gotta go register.$$So this is later on in the '60s [1960s], right, we're talking about, not at the--$$Yeah, that's right.$$--col- in college.$$Yeah, that's--$$I, I was talking about in college.$$Yeah, okay, yeah, yeah.$$Yeah, so, in, in college, so you, you, I guess you gotta be seeing this on TV and radio or the news--$$My, my, my classmates, my friends, my black friends in college always kid me about being involved in struggle. They'd always kid me, 'cause you know, any time there was something that was going on, that I would be an advocate of it. But I knew that was, I knew that was gonna be my life work, life's work. That's what I wanted it to be, my life's work in some kind of way.$$All right, so, now what about, was, Oberlin College [Oberlin, Ohio]. That's close by too.$$Oh, well, it's, Ober- Ober- Oberlin is about thirty miles from us down, west of us.$$But I know Oberlin always, it has a history of agitation for social change and that sort of thing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That was that, that was their mission, Ober- Ober- Oberlin and Antioch [Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio].$$Right.$$Very liberal schools.

Callie Crossley

Radio talk show host Callie Crossley was born in Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from Memphis’ Central High school, she earned her B.A. in English in 1973 from Wellesley College. Crossley was also awarded two fellowships at Harvard University – a Nieman fellowship from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and a fellowship from the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She also served as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow at The Council of Independent Colleges.

Crossley began her career in media and journalism in 1974 as a local news reporter for WREC in Memphis. She then moved to WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, Indiana where she specialized in health reporting, and later was a general assignment reporter for WGBH’s The Ten O’clock News – Boston’s only live, daily, public news program. She returned to WGBH as a news reporter being awarded a Nieman Fellowship in 1982. In 1987, Crossley joined Blackside, Inc. where she worked on the six-hour documentary series “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years: 1954-1965,” which aired on PBS. While there, she partnered with producer Jim DeVinney to produce, write, and direct two hours of the “Eyes on the Prize” series: “No Easy Walk: 1961-1963” and “Bridge to Freedom: 1965.” Crossley was then brought on as a producer for ABC Television Network’s “20/20” news magazine where her stories focused on health and medicine. In 1989, Crossley became a senior producer for the ABC News primetime special “Black in White America” (1989) and began appearing on WGBH-TV’s media criticism program, “Beat the Press.”

Returning to Blackside, Inc. in 2000, Crossley was made the senior producer for the PBS series, “This Far By Faith: African American Spiritual Journeys.” She joined WGBH Radio in 2010 and began hosting “The Callie Crossley Show,” a one-hour, live, call-in program. On July 9, 2012, she debuted as the host and moderator of the two-hour live “Boston Public Radio;” and, in early 2013, she began hosting “Under the Radar with Callie Crossley.” Crossley has served as host of WGBH-TV’s “Basic Black” and as a television and radio commentator on other local, as well as national programs. She also appeared as a contributor on “The Takeaway,” which aired on National Public Radio (NPR); Fox Television Station’s “Fox 25 Morning News”; “Reliable Sources” on CNN; and “News Hour,” which aired on PBS.

Crossley has received multiple journalism and film awards, most notably for her work on the acclaimed documentary series “Eyes on the Prize,” which earned her an Oscar nomination, a National Emmy, a Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award (Gold Baton). In 2012, the Ford Hall Forum honored her with its George W. Coleman Award; and, in 2013, she received the Wellesley Alumnae Achievement Award. Crossley has an Honorary Doctorate of Arts degree from Pine Manor College and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Cambridge College.

Callie Crossley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.118

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/23/2013

Last Name

Crossley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

Wellesley College

Harvard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Callie

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

CRO09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

He who tells the stories rules the world.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

11/21/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Louisiana Food, Memphis Barbecue

Short Description

Radio host Callie Crossley (1951 - ) earned an Oscar® nomination, a National Emmy and the Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia Award (Gold Baton) for her role producing “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965.” She is a former producer for ABC Television Networks’ “20/20” news magazine program and the primetime special “Black in White America.”

Employment

WGBH Radio

Boston Public Radio

WREC-Memphis

Blackside, Inc.

ABC News.

Favorite Color

Chartreuse, Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Callie Crossley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Callie Crossley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Callie Crossley shares her maternal family history, remembering a great aunt born in slavery

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Callie Crossley describes her maternal grandparents and her mother's school experience

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Callie Crossley remembers the family her mother stayed with to attend high school

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Callie Crossley details her mother's college education and experience

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Callie Crossley recounts a story of her mother experiencing racism

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Callie Crossley describes her father's family history and the land they owned in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Callie Crossley describes her father's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Callie Crossley describes her parents' marriage and move to Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Callie Crossley describes her parents' move to Memphis, Tennessee after their graduation from Southern University, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Callie Crossley describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Callie Crossley describes in more detail her parents' personality and their relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Callie Crossley talks about her sister, Fayre, and her personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Callie Crossley remembers growing up in South Memphis, Tennessee, while describing her neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Callie Crossley describes her religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Callie Crossley describes how her church was not particularly involved in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Callie Crossley shares her early childhood memories of her neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Callie Crossley describes her elementary school education

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Callie Crossley describes her mother as open-minded

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Callie Crossley describes herself as a student

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Callie Crossley shares her experiences in junior high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Callie Crossley discusses the 1968 NAACP case that led to her attending Central High School in Memphis

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Callie Crossley shares her memories of the days leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in Memphis

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Callie Crossley remembers what happened the day of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in Memphis

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Callie Crossley describes her experience being one of the first black students at Central High School in Memphis

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Callie Crossley recalls some of her favorite books on black history

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Callie Crossley recounts the lack of social life at Central High School, Memphis

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Callie Crossley recounts her parents' advice during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Callie Crossley describes her acceptance into Wellesley College, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Callie Crossley talks about her positive experience at Wellesley College, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Callie Crossley remembers people who influenced her at Wellesley College, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Callie Crossley remembers the shift from 'Negro' to 'black' during the 1960's

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Callie Crossley recalls her interest in broadcast journalism at Wellesley College, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Callie Crossley recounts being hired by WREC in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Callie Crossley describes being a black woman in the 1970's newsroom

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Callie Crossley recalls moving to WTHR in Indianapolis, Indiana and honing her skills

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Callie Crossley describes changes in the 1970s with black journalists

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Callie Crossley recalls going to her first NABJ Convention

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Callie Crossley describes her move to public broadcasting at WGBH Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Callie Crossley shares her experiences at WGBH in Boston in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Callie Crossley describes WBGH's focus on children's and artistic programming

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Callie Crossley shares memorable stories she produced while at WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Callie Crossley talks about her Harvard University Neiman Fellowship and Henry Hampton's 'Eyes on the Prize' documentary

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Callie Crossley shares her experience working on 'Eyes on the Prize' with Henry Hampton, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Callie Crossley continues to share her memories of working on 'Eyes on the Prize', part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Callie Crossley discusses Hampton's choice of Julian Bond as the narrator of 'Eyes on the Prize'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Callie Crossley recalls the challenges of working on an independent production of 'Eyes on the Prize'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Callie Crossley shares her favorite part of working on 'Eyes on the Prize'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Callie Crossley remembers 'Eyes on the Prize' being nominated for an Academy Award

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Callie Crossley recalls joining ABC TV

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Callie Crossley shares a story of her work at ABC TV's '20/20'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Callie Crossley recalls working on 'Black in White America'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Callie Crossley describes leaving ABC T.V. after its purchase by Disney in 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Callie Crossley discusses her work on the project 'This Far By Faith' in 2003

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Callie Crossley talks about her radio show 'The Callie Crossley Show', part 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Callie Crossley talks about 'The Callie Crossley Show', part 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Callie Crossley discusses her additional media prospects

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Callie Crossley describes the end of 'The Callie Crossley Show'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Callie Crossley discusses some of the memorable guests she had on her radio show

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Callie Crossley describes her awards

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Callie Crossley talks about her show, 'Under the Radar with Callie Crossley'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Callie Crossley shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Callie Crossley talks about what she wishes to work on in the future

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Callie Crossley talks post-racial America

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Callie Crossley regrets some missed opportunities in her career

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Callie Crossley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Callie Crossley talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Callie Crossley discusses her journalistic philosophy as inclusion and accuracy

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Callie Crossley describers how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Callie Crossley shares her experiences at WGBH in Boston in the 1980s
Callie Crossley shares her experience working on 'Eyes on the Prize' with Henry Hampton, part 1
Transcript
Okay. So WGBH [Public Broadcasting Service member station Boston, Massachusetts] 1980, you're doing the news, long news casting. Is it similar to the 'PBS Hourly', I mean the nightly news?$$I suppose, except it was a very much a local--it was a local show. I mean it was focused on local news. What's interesting now is a lot of that reporting that we did back in the day is archived and many other places, local places here, around the country and network, have tapped into it, because we were covering some events that have--of course, so much that happens in Boston [Massachusetts] has a national impact, and we were doing a lot of that coverage. So we did some of the first stories on, you know, HIV, on, you know, a lot of the bussing stories, I mean, just name it-$$Is the bussing issue still real hot here?$$It was hot and--so there was, you know, a lot of the stuff that we covered just as a matter of fact is now in our archives and is accessed by many scholars and other reporters and whatever. So when you ask is it like the 'PBS News Hour', it is to some degree in that there was a long look at many stories. We rarely went out to say there's a bad smell in the neighborhood. That piece would end up being, here's where the smell is emanating from, the policy is that created it has allowed these people to dump this in here and here's what this means and here's who created the policy and here--they're connected to this, and there was just much more layers and texture, which of course, was comfortable to me because I was--for me, because I was coming from Indianapolis [Indiana] having done short pieces really well. I was very on top of my production skills. So it was just a matter of understanding how to do a piece that had two or three moments in them as opposed to one. And that took a minute, but it turned out to be something I needed to know for the work that I was going to do later in my career. But that was my first experience with long form of any sort.$$Now, it seems to me, as I reflect back on it, 1979, '80' [1980] period was a time when public radio and television were feeling their cheerios in some ways. They were--reporting was in depth and a lot of public officials were calling out on the carpet because of things which ended, you know, shortly, a couple of years later Ronald Reagan was sliced a funding for public radio-$$Right.$$--And public T.V.[television] -$$Right.$$--As much as he possibly could. He tried to eliminate--he eliminated like 80 percent employees public radio?$$Well, you know, it's always been a ready target for folks. When I think, well to some degree, always be a ready target. I think what actually has saved public--particularly public radio in the last few years are those folks, those representatives from areas where this is the communication, where this is the communication link for a lot of their communities, particularly in the rural areas, or hard-to-reach areas and it offers a variety that people want. So, they've been able to stand up and say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, you know, this is something that my community very much enjoys and appreciates and we're not just going to do away with it at some"--or do away with the funding as some would like to have happen. So that's really been the mainstay I think in the last years when public media has come under attack. But I think you're right during that time, there were so much variety and there was--I think anything you could have picked would have been ticking off somebody in some way {laughs). But there was a lot of variety, I think, got more independent filmmakers had accessibility though not as many persons of color as filmmakers, but certainly they're just, from a topic perspective, from subject matter perspective, from--there was a lot of diversity. And they were definitely for many topics that other folks just wouldn't touch, either because they didn't have the resources to touch them or didn't think of them as important or just didn't think something the audience would watch. So to that extent there was a real intellectual diversity about what the offerings were and it allowed for the folks that did have the opportunities to create to have much more leeway in their creations which was a good thing. I mean whoever heard of--I mean, now it seems crazy, a live daily (laughs) non-commercial newscast, it happened here.$'Eyes on the Prize' [by Henry Hampton, 1987] was such a revelation. When Civil Rights are done on television it's not always done right-$$Tell me about it.$$--But this was just something that-$$And how could it not be. The way in which we did the series was so carefully done. Henry [Hampton] borrowed from a system that had started to become typical here at WGBH [Boston, Massachusetts]. Again, you know, this is a place where innovation is happening all the time. And Judith [Vecchione] had just finished working on the Vietnam ['Vietnam: A Television History', 1983] series which was many, many hours across three countries, very detailed. This was a monumental, and still remains, a monumental series trying to unravel how we got into the war, what it meant, the impact on all these countries and people and all of that. So she'd come from that. She was primed to start what was going to be a six-hour series. Henry [Hampton] had not done a series. He'd done individual hours, he'd done a lot industry work, but he'd not done--and so PBS [Public Broadcasting Service], which is where it was going to air was a little nervous. It was going to be an independent production, so he would govern it, but whether or not they aired it, depend on many things, and they felt more comfortable if he had somebody coming from quote the system, and that was Judith [Vecchione]. So she brought all of that experience and she instituted something we call "Civil Rights school'. So after he had hired all of us, we spent a week, very intense week, in school, eight hours a day or longer with historians, musicians, not all people that agreed with each other, but all manner of folk who could bring scholarship to the period and put them before us, they'd speak, we'd ask questions, and we'd, you know, take copious notes. And at the end of that, and only at the end of that, Henry [Hampton] told us which were our hours, because we knew--each team knew that we'd do two hours, but he wouldn't tell us before, and he said, "I'm not telling you before, because I want you pay attention to every piece of this, you know, if you know just what your hours are, you'll dismiss everything else. And this has to be so integral in the way that the hours stand alone, but also interact with each other, and you need to know the breadth and the depth of all the other information. Now after the week and after you're assigned, of course, you can focus on your own area, but you'll come away with having a strong foundation of where it fits in the whole context," which was a brilliant move, of course. So my head was full of everything at the end of that week then he assigned the hours and the fourth hour, the sixth hour were my hours, that's the fourth hour was Albany, Georgia, and Birmingham [Alabama], March on Washington [1963] and the sixth hour was Selma [Alabama, voting rights march, 1965] and the voting rights campaign. But as a result of having been there through "Civil Rights school" and of course working so intimately together and working really collaboratively, as it turned out, I ended up doing some interviews for other people's shows. So I did the Rosa Parks [activist, 1913-2005] interview, but she was not in my show, and I couldn't have done that without having some real understanding of what happened. But before the interviews, we did treatments that were detailed, revamped several times under both Judith's guidance and also John Else who was our director of photography, but also teaches documentary at [University of California] Berkeley and has many Oscar winning documentaries on his credits. And he had just come from working on the Harvey Milk documentary [The Times of Harvey Milk, 1984] and knowing about that, interacting with those folks who did it. So we had all of this talent of people, and again, none of these people would I have met. There were in a completely different world from me. I was in a daily newscast world and they were in the documentary--independent documentary world. It was mind-blowing for me. And just exactly the experience I was looking for without being able to articulate it coming out of the Nieman [Foundation] Fellowship [Harvard University, Massachusetts]. I wanted to be able to do something that was lasting. I didn't realize how lasting it was going to be, but this was going to be important for me, plus coming from Memphis, Tennessee, having that interest in Civil Rights, having that history interest, this all came together for me. Having worked then even in my last newsroom in a place where longer pieces were--what was valued was important to me, good writing learning that from the last two sessions all came together in a way that was perfect for this experience. And we--because it was, you know, very low budget, we worked together closely. And Henry [Hampton]'s idea was that he was going to get as much feedback as we were putting it together. So, before we went out in the field, and after the treatments, we did about six months, I would say, of nothing but research, paper research, working with our academic advisors. That was intense. We really knew that material. We knew that material, which turned out to be incredibly important. When people would mention something in passing, and because we knew our materials so well, we could understand what its importance was and pick up on it. We were able also, because we knew the material so well, to convince people who had never spoken before, and in fact, had refused to speak because they had seen these bad attempts at telling the story and were insulted and embarrassed by it and they didn't want anything to do with it. So people would literally be--about to hang up on us and we'd say, well, what about the day that you. . . they'd say, "Oh, wait a minute, you know about that." And then we'd have a conversation then they would feel more confident in talking with us. As I think about it now that was--even with that, that was still a leap of faith. 'Blackside Incorporated' [production company] was not a known entity. I think I'm calling these people these icons of the Civil Rights movements. Who the heck were we to call these people, they didn't know us. So we really had to get to a point of trust that we were going to tell this story right and well.

Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent

U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major Carlton W. Kent was born on November 5, 1957 in Memphis, Tennessee. Kent graduated from South Side High School in Memphis. His military education includes graduating from the Army Airborne School and Parachute Riggers School in 1981, the Marine Corps Drill Instructor School in 1989, and the Army Sergeants Major Academy in 1994.

In 1976, Kent completed recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina and was assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade. Kent was transferred to the Marine Security Guard Battalion where he served as a Marine security guard at the American Embassy in Kinshasa, Zaire and Panama. In 1983, Kent reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California for duty as a drill instructor, senior drill instructor, and battalion drill master with the First Battalion. Kent was meritoriously promoted to Gunnery Sergeant in 1985. Following his promotion, Kent briefly served as Platoon Sergeant with the 3rd Air Delivery Platoon, and then reported to Hawaii where he was assigned Company Gunnery Sergeant with the Engineer Company, 1st Marine Brigade. In February 1990, Kent was promoted to First Sergeant and assigned as First Sergeant, Marine Aviation and Training Support Group, Pensacola, Florida.

Following his graduation from the Army Sergeants Major Academy in 1994, Kent was assigned as First Sergeant, and then later as Sergeant Major of the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment. In May 2001, Kent was transferred to Stuttgart, Germany where he was assigned to the position of Sergeant Major of Marine Forces in Europe. In 2004, Kent reported to Camp Pendleton, California to serve as the Sergeant Major of the I Marine Expeditionary Force. He was appointed as the 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in April 2007 and served in this position until June 2011.

Kent’s military honors include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Gold Star, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and the Combat Action Ribbon. He is the recipient of the General Gerald C. Thomas Award for leadership.

U.S. Sergeant Major Carlton W. Kent was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 16, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.052

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/16/2013

Last Name

Kent

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

South Side High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Carlton

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

KEN05

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Devil Dog!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/5/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Frosted Flakes

Short Description

Sergeant major Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent (1957 - ) was the 16th Sergeant Major of the United States Marine Corps

Employment

United States Marine Corps

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7726,104:16540,261:16860,266:17180,271:31631,468:32019,473:51016,712:51868,731:52436,742:74772,1113:77888,1171:88084,1345:101780,1504:104042,1531:104432,1537:112466,1702:128216,1894:139704,2094:140008,2102:172656,2561:172948,2566:186728,2864:187148,2870:195800,3040:197760,3064:201771,3147:232058,3567:239436,3683:239791,3689:243412,3774:246444,3792:259230,4049:260770,4075:261680,4174:298980,4615:300100,4634:308740,4835:327822,5068:328154,5073:328569,5079:333658,5137:335600,5161$0,0:5145,53:5905,62:18362,224:21404,330:26942,450:73896,1007:96910,1368:127352,1774:133672,2089:140032,2193:158396,2434:158756,2440:161060,2486:166028,2604:183910,2859:184345,2867:196680,3047:197170,3058:221994,3448:222310,3454:232640,3555
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carlton W. Kent's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carlton W. Kent lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carlton W. Kent describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carlton W. Kent describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carlton W. Kent tells which parent he takes after and discusses his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carlton W. Kent describes growing up in Memphis, Tennessee and shares his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carlton W. Kent describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carlton W. Kent describes his childhood neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carlton W. Kent describes his involvement in the church as a youth and attending elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carlton W. Kent discusses his various childhood jobs and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carlton W. Kent talks about being suspended from his junior high school, describes his academic performance, and playing team sports

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carlton W. Kent discusses the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carlton W. Kent describes his experience in high school with bussing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carlton W. Kent discusses his high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carlton W. Kent talks about joining the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carlton W. Kent talks about graduating from high school and starting U.S. Marine Corps boot camp

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carlton W. Kent describes his U.S. Marine Corps boot camp training pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carlton W. Kent describes his U.S. Marine Corps boot camp training pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carlton W. Kent describes his marksmanship and swim training during boot camp

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carlton W. Kent discusses his fellow U.S. Marine Corps recruits

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carlton W. Kent describes the most difficult part of his boot camp training

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carlton W. Kent talks about graduating from basic training in 1976

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carlton W. Kent discusses his assignment to the First Marine Brigade in Hawaii

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carlton W. Kent talks about his mentors in boot camp and his tour of duty in Zaire

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carlton W. Kent describes his tour of duty in Panama and compares it to his tour in Zaire

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carlton W. Kent describes attending Army Airborne School at Fort Benning pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carlton W. Kent talks about attending Army Airborne School at Fort Benning pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carlton W. Kent discusses his promotions to Sergeant and Staff Sergeant

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carlton W. Kent describes his experiences as a Platoon Sergeant

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carlton W. Kent discusses becoming a drill instructor and his promotion to Gunnery Sergeant

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carlton W. Kent describes his career as a Gunnery Sergeant

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carlton W. Kent talks about the Gulf War and his job as a drill instructor for the Training in Aviation Officer Candidate School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carlton W. Kent describes his duties as a First Sergeant in Okinawa, Japan

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carlton W. Kent discusses women in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carlton W. Kent talks about race relations in the military and the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carlton W. Kent describes his role as a Battalion Sergeant Major and his promotion to Sergeant Major of regiment recruit training

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carlton W. Kent describes his experience as the Sergeant Major of the Marine Forces-Europe and remembers 9/11

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carlton W. Kent discusses military deployment into Iraq following 9/11

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carlton W. Kent discusses military operations in Fallujah during the Iraq War pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Carlton W. Kent discusses military operations in Fallujah during the Iraq War pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Carlton W. Kent describes the process he went through in order to become Sergeant Major of the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carlton W. Kent discusses the press coverage of U.S. soldiers in Fallujah and the Iraqi people's reaction to the soldiers

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carlton W. Kent discusses his nomination to Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in 2007

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carlton W. Kent discusses what the election of President Barack Obama meant to him and reflects on highlights from his career in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carlton W. Kent reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carlton W. Kent describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community and talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carlton W. Kent talks about the transition of veterans into civilian life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carlton W. Kent discusses recommending U.S. Marine Corps service to others and shares how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Carlton W. Kent describes his U.S. Marine Corps boot camp training pt.1
Carlton W. Kent discusses his nomination to Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in 2007
Transcript
Okay. Now tell us about hell.$$Okay. And the drill instructors come there they pick us up; and again, this is nighttime. They were--you know, Marines are really good at doing everything at night for some reason. So we were tired. We had been up for, like, four days just constantly doing things to get us prepped to--for our drill instructors to pick us up. So they take us over to squad bay, we, you know, they get us into the showers. Now, this is--you learn very fast. You don't use the restroom, you don't drink water, you don't think anything without asking the drill instructor first. You don't move. You stand at attention until the drill instructors tell you to do anything differently. So as they got us in the squad bay, they got this line that goes down on both sides of the squad bay where we got footlockers, you got all that. So when they get us in the squad bay, the drill instructors give us--well, the senior drill instructor is the senior guy of this whole drill instructor team, and it was three drill instructors, counting the senior drill instructor. So he gives us a spiel that he's going to be our mother, he's going to be our father, he's going to take care of us for the next 13 weeks; you don't breathe, you don't eat, you don't do this, you don't do that until you ask us; and if you do it any other way, you're going to have hell to pay. So the senior drill instructor tells the drill instructors "Turn 2." "Turn 2" means that when hell break out. So they had these big soapy trash--big trash cans with hot soapy water, so they threw it down through the middle of the squad bay. The footlockers, they had us dump all our gear in to the footlockers; all our shaving gear, cleaning gear, everything; to the footlockers, they started turning the footlockers over with all our gear in it. And we had bunks, you had a top bunk and bottom bunk. So they took the mattresses off of them. I mean, they just tore up the whole squad bay. So, you know what we had to do? Clean the whole squad bay. That took hours to unscrew the squad bay. And then it's late at night, so you're getting into that early morning. So you finally get a chance to go to sleep, like, 1 a.m. in the morning, just to get woken back up by the drill instructors the next day. And, now, imagine this too; when you go to sleep, you sleep at attention throughout the night. And if you didn't sleep at attention, we had recruits what we used to call "Fire Watchers." That was to--we rotated every four hours and we'll walk around the squad bay to make sure everybody was sleeping at attention.$$Now, how do you sleep at attention? Do you--$$You sleep at attention just like (laughs)--$$You lay down and--$$You lay down just like if you were standing at attention, you lay at attention.$$And you sleep at attention?$$And you sleep at attention.$$And every night, prior to us going to sleep, the drill instructors used to make us count off, and then we sung the Marines hymn every night, then they would tell you to get in the rack, attack. And when they say attack, you jump in the rack and you jump at attention in the rack. Then they say, "Goodnight, Chesty Puller." That was one of our famous Marine heroes, Chesty Puller. So you used to say, "Goodnight, Chesty Puller, wherever you are." (laughs). And then the lights go off, and then they say, "Sleep." The drill instructors say sleep. So the Fire Watchers walk around at night, and if you weren't at the position of attention, you got woken up. They say, "Get at attention." And then the next day the same thing happened, a day after day where the drill instructors came in--and this happened, like, the first week of training--this was the breakdown period, you know, where they got you out of your whole way of life that you'd had been--they build you up as a team because they want to get you out of, you know, the areas--like me, I came from South Memphis, I had a different attitude; you got people from New York, down in Georgia. So they wanted to get you out of your mindset that you had grew for the last 17, 18 years and put you into the Marine Corps mindset as working as a team. So that every morning for the first week, they would come down, wake us up. When the lights come on, you better be on that line at attention, and then you count off so they make sure all the recruits are there. You count off one by one. And then this hot, soapy water, trash cans come back down through the squad bay, and you clean it up again. Then you go to--then they march you to eat in the morning, and the crazy thing about that, the first week when we grab our trays to go through the chow line, the drill instructor would tell you what to get and what not to get. So you didn't have much food on your plate. So for the first week when we sit down to take a bite, at each meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they'll let the food get on your lips, and then they'll tell you, "You're done. Get out." And I'm like, "whoa." I mean, that's a breaking period. And we had some recruits, that first week they were done. They were done. So that's how they start building the team.$Okay. So, 2007, you're nominated to become the 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.$$Yes.$$And succeeding Sergeant Major John L. Estrada.$$Estrada, yes. African-American.$$Okay. All right. So, well, now, this is the second time you'd been interviewed for this position, right? And so what happened this second time?$$The second time when I went in, I flat out--and quite naturally, I as planning on, you know, retiring in 2008; that was the plan. But, when I got the call I was totally shocked, to be honest with you. I thought I had passed up on my only chance, but I was okay not being the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, because I had felt that, I mean, it was just an honor to be able to serve with all these Marines over my--back then it was 31 years or so. So I was just honored to be able to do that. So, you know, being a Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps would have been an honor, but I was okay, you know, retiring in 2008. So when I got the call, I felt I was truly blessed at that time to be a second time around. And, plus, I was blessed because the Commandant at that time, General [James] Conway, was also the Commanding General when I was the I MEF [I Marine Expeditionary Force] Sergeant Major; so we had a common bond, and we knew each other, and my wife [Elizabeth Kent] knew his wife very well. So that was--we were blessed on that part. But it was no guarantee during the interview that I was going to be the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps or he was going to pick me, and I knew that that. So when I walked in, I mean, during the interview process, I mean, it went very well. About a week later, I get a call from his office saying, "Hey, are you available because the Commandant and his wife is flying out to California and they want to take ya'll out to dinner?" So I thought to myself, I said, "Okay. It's a couple of things here: one, I'm going home 2008 and I'm okay with that or he's going to ask me to be the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps," you know, me and my wife, Liz. And when he came out there, we went to dinner; had a great dinner, and he looked at my wife (laughs), because spouses run the household, and we already know that. We can pretend like we're in charge, but we're not. So he looked at Liz and he said, "Liz, what do you think about coming back to [Washington] D.C., you know, and joining us?" And I'm, like, "Wow." So, I mean, that was--that was a great night for us, and it was a great tour being a Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, because instead of doing it at those levels, taking care of Marines, Sailors, and families at the level I just told you about; Battalion, you know, you go to Regiment, you go to Division, you go to MEF; now, I have an opportunity to take care of Marines throughout the whole Marine Corps and Sailors and their family. And my wife, Liz, she's a great teammate of mine. And she love families, so it was just a joy for us for four and a half years to go around the Marine Corps and talk to Marines, Sailors, families, and see what their issues are. And the Commandant, we traveled around together with him and his wife. The present Commandant that's serving right now, General [James F.] Amos and his wife, and Liz; I spent nine months once the previous Commandant, the 34th Commandant transitioned, the 35th Commandant, he asked me to stay on. So I stayed on for nine months with him, and it was an honor to serve with him also, because both of them are superb leaders and they care about people, and that's what makes it special.

Lilia Abron

Chief executive officer and chemical engineer Lilia Ann Abron was born on March 8, 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father was a school principal and her mother was a school teacher who taught art and geography. Abron attended Lemoyne College in Memphis, Tennessee where she received her B.S. degree in chemistry in 1966. She earned her M.S. degree in sanitary engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 1968. After receiving her M.S. degree, Abron worked for the Kansas City Water Department. She went on to become a research engineer for the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago. Abron received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Iowa in 1972, the first African American woman to do so.

After completing her education, Abron served as an assistant professor of civil engineering at Tennessee State University and held a joint appointment as an assistant professor of environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University. In 1975, she joined the faculty of Howard University as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering while serving as a consultant to local engineering firms. Abron founded PEER Consultants in 1978, an environmental engineering consulting firm that provides solutions to the problems of contamination of the environment. Her firm had contracts with the Superfund program including the Boston Harbor cleanup; the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy through its Hazardous Waste Remedial Actions Program. In 1995, Abron founded Peer Africa with the mission of building energy-efficient homes in post-apartheid South Africa. Peer Africa’s Witsand iEEECO (Integrated Energy Environment Empowerment-cost Optimization) Sustainable Human Settlement won the American Academy of Engineers 2012 Superior Achievement Award.

Abron is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the International Women’s Forum. Professionally, she is a member of the Water Environment Federation, American Water Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the College of Engineering, University of South Florida. Abron has been active in in community serving as the president of the Washington DC chapter of Jack and Jill of American, Inc., and as a board member for the Baptist Home for Children. She was an original participant of the 1975 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) study, “The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science.” In 1999, Abron was the recipient of the Hancher-Finkbine Alumni Medallion from the University of Iowa; in 2001, she was awarded the Magic Hands Award by LeMoyne-Owen College, and in 2004, she was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. Abron has three adult sons.

Lilia Ann Abron was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.113

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/17/2012

Last Name

Abron

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

LeMoyne-Owen College

Washington University in St Louis

University of Iowa

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lilia

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

ABR01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

I won't worry about that today, I'll worry about it tomorrow.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/8/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Chemical engineer Lilia Abron (1945 - ) , the first African American woman to receive her Ph.D. in chemical engineering, founded PEER Consultants, an environmental engineering consulting firm.

Employment

Kansas City water department

Tennessee State University

Vanderbilt University

Howard University

PEER Consultants

Peer Africa

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lilia Abron's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lilia Abron lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lilia Abron describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lilia Abron talks about her mother's growing up and education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lilia Abron describes her mother's family resemblance

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lilia Abron talks about her mother's role in the family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lilia Abron talks about her family as land owners

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lilia Abron describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lilia Abron talks about her grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lilia Abron talks about her father's education and how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lilia Abron talks about her siblings and her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lilia Abron describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lilia Abron talks about her childhood neighborhoods

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lilia Abron describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lilia Abron talks about the racial climate of Memphis when she was a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lilia Abron talks about her childhood career interests

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lilia Abron talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lilia Abron talks about the structure of her childhood schools

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lilia Abron talks about her family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lilia Abron talks about her family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement- part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lilia Abron talks about her academic standing during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lilia Abron talks about her social life during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lilia Abron talks about her decision to attend Lemoyne Owen College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lilia Abron talks about her experience at Lemoyne-Owen College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lilia Abron talks about famous people that visited Lemoyne-Owen College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lilia Abron talks about the music of Memphis and her peers from college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lilia Abron talks about her peers during her college years

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lilia Abron talks about her decision to major in chemistry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lilia Abron talks about her decision to pursue her graduate studies at Washington University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lilia Abron talks about her experience at Washington University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lilia Abron talks about what a sanitary engineer does

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lilia Abron talks about environmental justice and her professors at Washington University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lilia Abron describes the social unrest after Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lilia Abron talks about her mentors and research at the University of Iowa

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lilia Abron talks about bottled water

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lilia Abron talks about her post-doctoral employment opportunities and African American women in STEM

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lilia Abron talks about her experience teaching at Howard University and how her career trajectory shifted

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lilia Abron talks about how she met her husband

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lilia Abron talks about her business, PEER Consultants

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lilia Abron talks about environmental racism

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lilia Abron talks about her consulting projects from her business, PEER Consultants

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lilia Abron talks about PEER Africa and her work in Africa- part 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lilia Abron talks about PEER Africa and her work in Africa- part 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lilia Abron talks about her awards and her future plans

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lilia Abron talks about her business partner, Douglas Guy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lilia Abron talks about the dynamics of working in South Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lilia Abron reflects on her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lilia Abron talks about the business operations at PEER

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lilia Abron reflects on her career and talks about the challenges of owning a small business

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Lilia Abron talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Lilia Abron talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Lilia Abron describes her photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

5$5

DATitle
Lilia Abron talks about her decision to pursue her graduate studies at Washington University
Lilia Abron talks about PEER Africa and her work in Africa- part 1
Transcript
So then I saw these signs on the bulletin board one day for fellowships in sanitary engineering. What is that? And then about that time I, I had read Silent Spring and trying to figure out you know what to do. And the thing with Silent Spring just kind of upset me as to what we were doing. But then I, I hadn't connected the two and then I saw this. So I said well hmm, interesting. So I wrote and asked them what it was all about and they were recruiting. They were out looking for minority students cause this was beginning to be the heyday when white schools were going after black students and all. So they sent a group down to recruit me and that was so funny. My mom had to make sure that they were going to look after me. I mean I am grown, graduating from college and she still wants to know if I'm going to be safe on campus and are they going to look after me, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. But at any rate, so I got the full fellowship, full ride at Washington University. And I had read up about the curriculum and what they did and then I was beginning to put the Silent Spring together with what they did and oh!, so that's how that happened.$$Okay. All right, so Washington University in St. Louis, this is 1966. You start--now oh, before we leave Lemoyne, were there any special teachers that, like that you remember there that were either a mentor to you or really impressed you there?$$My chemistry professor, Dr. Buehler.$$Doctor what?$$Dr. Buehler, B-U-E-H-L-E-R, pushed me, kept me going, kept me moving. Dr. Williamson, she was the English professor and a linguist, probably the first black to get a Ph.D. in linguistics. She and my mom by the way were at Lemoyne together. She was younger than my mother. So I think when my mom was graduating she was just coming in and she was a Delta also. But she was really four years, I was there, fantastic. And she was doing a book on black speech and one of my jobs is I transcribed a lot of her tapes. So that was really fascinating watching her write a book. She wrote a book, never met anybody who wrote a book. And Mr. Whittaker he was, who was a music professor but he had taught me piano lessons for whole--all twelve years. So those are the people that really stand out. Professor Gibson who was the biology professor got really upset when I got the fellowship from Washington University and he just frankly told me to my face that I would never make it. But that's you know you had, still had stuff like that at Lemoyne even though you wouldn't know it. But you, you know--I wasn't--$$(Unclear).$$I wasn't a biology major. I wasn't--he just said you won't make it. You won't, you know. I don't know some people are like that. Only his students were the best and his students all went to Meharry [Medical College] and he handpicked who he considered were the best students. I wasn't one of his handpicked--I never wanted to be cause I didn't want to major in biology. And I think those are the ones that really stand out.$Now you started PEER Africa in 1995, right?$$Well '94 [1994] and we incorporated in '95 [1995].$$Okay. Tell us how that got started.$$Well I had wanted to go international started around 1990 and I had looked at going into Liberia because we thought the war would be over. Didn't know that it's still not over but at any rate a friend of mine, I was on the advisory board for the business school at Langston University and 1993 he called up one day and said oh, I'm going to have our next board meeting in South Africa. And I said you're going to have your next board meeting from Langston University B School in South Africa? Yes! I said, okay I guess we'll go. And I had already kind of started thinking about this was '93 [1993], ninety--this was '94 [1994], '94 [1994] and Nelson Mandela was president so I had kind of started thinking about umm, wonder if there is the opportunity that I might be able to do something in South Africa. So I said okay. So I went to the board meeting and while I was there for those two weeks for the board meeting I started looking around on the possibly of working, doing, see how we could do working. I wanted to do classical environmental engineering cause South Africa had said they wanted tourism to be one of their number one attractions and the country is very contaminated from all of the mining they do over there. They--it's a very rich country and they have--you name it, the minerals they have. They have--they're the fifth largest export of coal in the world, they have diamonds, they have gold, they have platinum, they have everything. So we had started talking to the Chamber of Mines about doing clean up work for them and President Mandela had instituted this housing program where he had set aside 5 percent of their GDP to get his homeless families into formal housing. So you had all of these housing projects going on and I'd ride up and down the street and see all of these and I kept wondering why they weren't doing them correctly with so many houses they had to build, why weren't they taking sustainable design into consideration and passive solar. And now this was before it became the buzz word that it is now, this is in '94 [1994], '95 [1995]. But I still felt with 5 million home, come on, or 5 million homeless families, surely you got to do this thing right and they weren't. So I went to Secretary O'Leary who was head of Energy under bill Clinton and they had this--$$It was Hazel O'Leary.$$Huh?$$Hazel O'Leary.$$Hazel, yeah. And they had this program that they had set up called Gore-Mbeki Bi-National Commission and six months, every six months they would either come to the U.S. or the U.S. would go to South Africa and this was a cooperation between the two vice presidents which they thought were going to become the presidents and to help them get up on their feet after apartheid. So I went to her and said you know one thing, sure would like to demonstrate passive solar and all this building they're doing. So she said well I'll give you a little money. I said what's little? Why don't you build one? So we became part of what they call the housing program under the Gore-Mbeki Bi-National Commission. So we were able to put up a couple of pallet houses and so that's how we got started in South Africa was through--we had already you know made some inroads and everything but that relationship really helped to push us over the top and to help us get solidified.