The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Herman "Skip" Mason

Reverend and historian Herman ‘Skip’ Mason was born on July 14, 1962 in Atlanta, Georgia to Herman ‘Pop’ Mason and Deloris Hughes. At the age of fourteen, Mason read Alex Haley’s Roots and was inspired to research and document the history of African American people. In 1980, Mason graduated from Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia and enrolled at Morris Brown College in Atlanta. In 1982, Mason realized his life-long goal by being initiated into the Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated on the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. That same year, he became president of the chapter and during his tenure the fraternity was named Georgia College Chapter of the Year. After graduating college in 1984 with his B.A. degree in communications and history, Mason joined the Eta Lambda chapter and became the chapter’s historian in 1985. In 1989, Mason received his M.S. degree in library and information science with a concentration in African American history from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta and was awarded his certification in archival studies from the Archives Institute of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Mason later studied at the Phillips School of Theology in Atlanta.

Mason began his career by working at the Herndon Home Museum in Atlanta during his junior year of college as a historian where he interpreted the history of the Herndon Family and the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. In 1986, he worked for the U.S. Department of Interior interpreting the historical significance of the Martin Luther King family with the King Center Library and Archives. From 1987 to 1992, Mason worked for the Atlanta Fulton Public Library as the black studies librarian and archivist for the Special Collections Department. His work with the library involved developing strategies for identification and procurement of archival collections on African Americans in Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the Southeast region. During this period, Mason became the first national archivist for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and helped to facilitate the transfer of its archives to the Moorland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. In 1992, Mason founded Digging It Up, a full scale African American research and consulting firm which he later renamed Skip Mason’s Archives in 1998. Mason also became the pastor of Greater Hopewell Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta and later, pastor of St. James C.M.E. Church in Washington, Georgia. In 2006, Mason curated House of Alpha, an exhibition which displayed the records of Alpha Phi Alpha, Incorporated, local chapters and the personal collection of fraternity members for the fraternity’s centenary in Washington, D.C. In 2008, Mason was named Alpha Phi Alpha, Incorporated’s thirty-third general president. Mason served as Morehouse College’s archivist and interim director of Student Affairs.

Mason has authored several books including, Going Against the Wind: A History of African Americans in Atlanta, Black Atlanta in the Roaring Twenties, African-American Life in Jacksonville, Florida, The History of Black Entertainment in Atlanta, and African-American Life in DeKalb County, 1823-1970 (Images of America: Georgia).

Herman ‘Skip’ Mason was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 06/20/2011.

Accession Number

A2011.037

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/20/2011

Last Name

Mason

Maker Category
Middle Name

"Skip"

Occupation
Schools

Berean Christian Junior Academy

E. C. Clement Elementary School

G.A. Towns Elementary School

Ben Hill UMC Christian Academy

Daniel McLaughlin Therrell High School

Morris Brown College

Clark Atlanta University

First Name

Herman

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

MAS06

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/14/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Archivist Herman "Skip" Mason (1962 - ) served as the 33rd general president of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the college archivist at Morris Brown College and Morehouse College.

Employment

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

Morris Brown College

Morehouse College

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:552,6:11132,139:15824,223:16468,231:16836,236:18492,261:22632,322:23000,332:23552,339:30178,347:30573,353:31126,362:31442,367:32943,401:33259,406:34286,422:34997,434:37931,471:38707,481:40356,500:40938,507:44139,551:44721,559:45109,564:48989,607:49668,615:50347,625:52384,654:60169,709:61118,726:62213,745:63308,764:66812,838:67469,850:69951,916:70754,928:73820,993:77470,1082:78419,1103:78857,1110:87236,1148:90074,1191:101780,1302:102388,1314:105258,1347:105554,1352:106516,1373:106960,1386:107478,1394:107774,1399:111992,1483:116152,1523:116614,1532:117076,1540:117868,1554:120416,1579:122164,1602:125568,1669:130443,1707:130929,1745:131901,1762:132549,1784:133197,1793:136356,1848:137004,1858:151122,2018:152487,2040:155126,2086:161860,2142:162596,2151:163148,2158:163700,2165:164344,2180:165908,2209:166460,2216:168852,2261:175746,2312:176194,2317:178098,2338:181162,2346:181567,2352:184080,2391:185004,2398:191198,2445:192428,2467:192920,2474:193494,2482:193986,2490:194560,2501:198004,2553:203481,2597:203757,2602:205137,2628:205620,2636:208863,2698:209898,2719:210381,2728:216246,2842:220870,2867:222670,2885:223210,2894:227759,2948:230519,2983:230795,2988:231278,2996:233624,3097:235763,3134:236039,3139:236591,3149:239890,3170:240490,3183:240865,3189:242290,3203:242590,3208:245440,3260:249040,3322:249340,3327:251515,3369:252190,3382:253315,3417:254215,3432:258915,3442:260415,3480:265665,3566:265965,3594:266340,3605:268215,3639:268590,3646:268965,3652:269565,3657:270315,3669:273894,3678:276050,3716:278052,3763:280439,3808:281363,3823:296244,4012:296736,4019:297064,4024:297392,4029:301492,4098:302640,4113:305264,4162:305674,4168:307478,4208:307806,4213:312980,4222:313335,4229:314116,4244:316104,4281:316459,4287:316743,4292:323346,4469:324269,4487:333440,4585:338300,4677:339740,4695:346380,4745$0,0:5832,45:7008,60:7512,67:8016,106:10032,139:10452,145:11964,171:12552,179:17330,233:17918,242:18758,253:19094,258:19430,263:21614,317:21950,322:24134,359:24554,366:29690,411:30410,422:32030,447:35180,593:35900,603:36530,611:46562,734:54577,842:55838,857:56226,862:63074,983:65374,1023:65926,1031:66294,1036:69698,1090:77194,1228:80722,1311:87668,1480:91022,1578:93986,1633:94532,1645:95078,1654:99924,1706:103785,1737:104343,1744:105459,1758:105831,1767:110574,1834:115155,1866:118071,1927:118638,1936:125090,1979:125954,1988:126818,1997:128222,2006:128654,2011:132369,2034:132927,2041:141164,2139:141682,2155:143458,2197:144346,2213:150348,2297:151908,2325:153390,2387:157446,2460:158460,2482:162918,2502:163283,2508:165254,2615:166787,2644:167225,2652:169707,2694:170802,2738:185806,2887:186910,2896:192846,2976:196467,3058:197035,3067:197958,3090:205250,3166
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herman "Skip" Mason's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the discovery of his ancestors' burial grounds

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls the discovery of his maternal great-grandfather's original name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the origin of his name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his maternal grandmother's employers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls the birth of his son

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls joining his stepfather's household

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his love of collecting

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the sights of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his relationship with his stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his childhood pastimes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his elementary education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his mother's role in school desegregation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers his first white teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the impact of 'Roots'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls the start of his genealogical research

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls his decision to attend Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls joining the staff of the Herndon Home Museum in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers working at the Herndon Home Museum in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls his early genealogical research resources

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers his introduction to archival work

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls working for the Atlanta Fulton Public Library System

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers teaching history at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls developing the markers for the black historic districts of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls joining the staff of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls the loss of Morris Brown College's accreditation

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls becoming the Morehouse College archivist

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the history of the Atlanta University Center Consortium

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his work as the Morehouse College archivist

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his early publications

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls his first historical exhibition

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers curating 'The House of Alpha' exhibition

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his collection of artifacts from Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason recalls campaigning for the national presidency of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers his election as the national president of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the power of social media

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his plans for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes the importance of black historical archives

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herman "Skip" Mason shares the results of his historical research

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the results of his genealogical research

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Herman "Skip" Mason remembers his experiences of unemployment

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Herman "Skip" Mason describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Herman "Skip" Mason reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
Herman "Skip" Mason talks about the discovery of his ancestors' burial grounds
Herman "Skip" Mason recalls becoming the Morehouse College archivist
Transcript
A few years ago we did the African ancestry DNA and I, I swabbed and, of course, it was purported to trace the DNA of my maternal line, my mother's mother's mother's and so forth. That's Amy's [Emmie London] line, and the results came back that we had a match from the, the Bamileke tribe in Cameroon, and so we unveiled that at a family reunion about three or four years ago in Macon [Georgia]. We were actually on the side of the plantation [McArthur Plantation], we found the descendants of the family that owned my family, the McArthurs, and we went to that site and it was just, it was so spiritual, walking down that long winding driveway to the spot that we had chosen. There was an old Confederate flag in the yard from the owner who currently owns the property now, but he was just so embracing and inviting. He said, "Y'all come on and make yourselves at home," and I couldn't help but to look at that Confederate flag and he also had a little, a little black figurine, a little jockey out in the yard as well. Just the ironies of the time, but about one hundred and fifty members of the family gathered on that site and it was just spiritual. The graves of the slave owning family were somewhere behind us. And I proclaimed on that day, that somewhere on this land are the remains of some of our ancestors. We didn't it, didn't know where it was, but we just assumed because most plantations or communities had an area where they would allow slaves to be buried. Well, let's fast forward, we get a call from the Georgia Department of Transportation. They're expanding the roadway, which was near the old side of the plantation, and a man who owned property that's part of this mansion, said, "Well, you may want to check, I believe, I heard that there was an old cemetery somewhere over there," and so DOT went out. There was really no evidence of any, any graves, but they went out and they began to do some, some scanning of the soil and so forth, and they uncovered what appeared to have been shallows of what were possibly graves, and they began to remove the layers of soil, and pretty much confirmed that there're probably bodies buried here, and then they called me out and a few family members out the day they brought the cadaver dogs out. And the cadaver dogs were let loose and each time the cadaver dog smelled human remains, they would sit right on top. Well a hundred and ten graves were uncovered, and two years ago we took the family reunion back so they could actually see the excavation, so family members were walking on this old cemetery and they could look down and see the skeleton remains because they were very slowly doing an archaeological dig and study of it. It was just the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my entire life, you know, and to have the little kids to witness and to be a part of this, and so the decision was made that the remains would be removed. Now I didn't contest it or fight it, one, because the DOT and this company called New South Associates [New South Associates, Inc., Stone Mountain, Georgia] who specialized in archaeological studies and digs said they wanted to study, you know, the remains, and study that area and they found, they found, jewelry, coffin nails, and so we documented it. I took a camera crew down as well, but it was just amazing. Now we're going through the DNA process. So what they're doing, they're taking samples of DNA from many members of our family and some of the people who lived in the community to see if any of them matched with the, the remains that they uncovered. But I would have never thought in a thousand years that I would have located the possible cemetery that may contain some of the remains, of some of the unmarked remains of my relatives. According to their research, the last grave was about, placed there may be around 1910. So after that you have years of growth, dirt, growth, grass, under bush, that had totally covered, there were no markers, no headstones, but I just simply said that because I kind of called it out at that reunion and said, "Somewhere over there's a cemetery," but had no idea, so, and this means a great deal to me, you know, I think I learned very early on that I wanted to be a historian, and you know, I wanted to learn more about my family. I think I shared with you earlier, Alex Haley's 'Roots' ['Roots: The Saga of an American Family'] just was a life changing moment for me at the age of, age of fourteen. All of that has led to Amy, who was our oldest known documented ancestor, documented in the wills of the slave owner and with the amount five hundred dollars, that's how much she was valued at the time that she was being given to one of the sons of the slave owner.$In August of oct- August of 2003, I faxed my resume over to Walter Massey [HistoryMaker Walter E. Massey] because I read an article in the paper that they had the Maynard Jackson papers, and I just sent a note, I said, "Well, if you need any assistance with that collection, I'd be interested." The next day I got a call from the provost. He said, "Well we have a position that we been trying to fill for two years, the director of the Learning Resource Center [Frederick Douglass Learning Resource Center]. It required one to have a degree in library science." And I said, "Well I have a degree in library science." He said, "Well why don't you come over to the school?" We went over to the school, he walked me through and he said, "We'd love to have you, are you interested?" And I wanted to say, "Am I interested?" I say, "I been unemployed for five months, you know, yes, I'm interested," and so I was hired to come to Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] to direct the Learning Resource Center and then he also included in my contract that I would be appointed the college archivist. But Morehouse didn't have an archive. They didn't have an archive. Dean Carter [HistoryMaker Lawrence Carter] had a collection of material, but they did not have a formal archive because they shared with the Woodruff Library [Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta, Georgia] and he said, "We need our own archives here at Morehouse." And I was kind of shocked, I said a school like Morehouse, the Morehouse, Martin Luther King's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] school, educating black men for a hundred thirty-five, forty years does not have its own archives, and they didn't. There were boxes of papers, Benjamin Mays papers scattered all over the campus in this orchestra pit, in the gymnasium, in the back rooms, hallways, everywhere, Morehouse papers were scattered all over, and so part of my job was to begin to collect, to bring in, to gather all of the historic material that had been displaced everywhere. Walter Massey, no, Hugh Gloster, who was the previous president. His robe was over in an empty building that had been a laundromat, his robe sitting over there. Walter Massey's first robe was over there. See what would happen, you know, they would, the campus operations folks would take boxes and they just put 'em anywhere, cause they didn't, they didn't know where these things were supposed to go, so fast forward, now today we have our own facility. We got a grant from the save the treasures [Save America's Treasures] and IMLS [Institute of Museum and Library Services] early to do an inventory and then to begin the processing of the Benjamin Mays papers, and so that--$$And when did you get that grant?$$The IMLS grant we received in 2004.$$Okay, so a year after you came.$$Yeah, a year after I came and we did our preliminary inventory of archival material there, with that grant and then to save the treasures grant we got two years ago, which has allowed me to hire two archivists, processing archivists, to begin to process the voluminous collection of papers of Dr. Benjamin Mays as president of Morehouse College.

C. T. King-Miller

Researcher and activist Carolyn (Tasmiya) King-Miller was born in 1947 and is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. Her father, Floyd King Sr. was a reverend at a Baptist church in Birmingham. King-Miller attended Wenonah High School for three years and then transferred to Jones Valley High School where she graduated in 1965. King-Miller attended Miles College in 1965 and later transferred to Brooklyn College.

King-Miller was the first African American to integrate and graduate from Jones Valley High School in 1965. Her parents successfully petitioned the school board to admit her at the all white school. While there, she suffered from harassment from both her classmates and teachers. The dance was held at a secret location to intentionally exclude her from participating. After high school, she attended Miles College, an all African American school known for its work in civil rights activities, for two years. Later, she transferred to Brooklyn College in New York and studied communications. In New York, she married and had two children. From 1980 to 1989, King-Miller worked as a supervisor at Dean Witter in San Francisco. From 1989 to 1991, King-Miller worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco as a supervisor. She worked at Charles Schwab Company, from 1994 to 1999, as a researcher. In 1999, King-Miller worked at Creative Genealogy Services and Research as a researcher. King-Miller’s interest in genealogy extends to her own family, having conducted extensive research on both sides of her family. In 2000, King-Miller worked at Each One Teach One, an employment recruitment service for high school students. She also published, Mama, I was the only one there!, about her experience as a student in 1964.

King-Miller has continued her activism with her involvement at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where she has participated in many events and programming, including a conciliatory forum that coincided with her first-ever appearance at the Jones Valley High School reunion for alumni from 1961-1969. The forum provided a space for the community to address past events. King-Miller was given the key to the City of Birmingham and honored with a street dedication for her role in desegregation. Her achievements have been recognized by President Bill Clinton, The St. John Missionary Baptist Church and many others. Her oral history is included in institutions such as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Black Radio, and the Smithsonian Institute.

King-Miller was interviewed by Larry Crowe on March 7, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.009

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/8/2011

Last Name

King-Miller

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Schools

Powderly Elementary School

Wenonah High School

Jones Valley Kinderg-Eighth Grade

Miles College

Brooklyn College

First Name

Carolyn-Tasmiya

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

KIN16

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Birmingham, Alabama

Favorite Quote

People So Seldom Say I Love You, But When They Do, It Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Want You To Go, I Wish You Wouldn’t Have To.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/7/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon Croquettes

Short Description

Archivist and cultural activist C. T. King-Miller (1947 - ) is best known for integrating Jones Valley High School in 1964.

Employment

Creative Genealogy

Chas Schwak Co.

Federal Reserve Bank

Morgan Stanley

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:8544,111:14390,200:14730,205:16090,334:40449,515:41232,524:52106,696:54484,733:66108,928:66380,933:69372,1003:70120,1017:76024,1082:79300,1158:80470,1184:81952,1244:82342,1250:88650,1323:110192,1676:110552,1689:110912,1695:116835,1753:124968,1859:125373,1865:128370,2010:136875,2130:153702,2338:154132,2344:162414,2443:163492,2474:163954,2481:168189,2555:168497,2560:169113,2570:181349,2674:191492,2889:196170,2923:196737,2932:197142,2939:197709,2947:201638,2984:202259,2994:203294,3015:203777,3023:206456,3028:207112,3037:211704,3107:212032,3112:221125,3193:224920,3277:226783,3311:237048,3479:239568,3504:239856,3509:251236,3660:251812,3665:256862,3718:261508,3794:262660,3825:263308,3839:272716,3980:274900,4007$0,0:413,4:3963,74:13036,228:26715,382:27615,399:32490,523:32940,535:41324,642:42812,687:43556,704:45676,731:47314,750:48094,768:50824,828:55036,910:58078,965:68566,1167:94638,1466:98548,1525:99520,1539:100168,1552:112990,1761:117670,1855:132319,2052:132714,2059:147329,2209:148642,2229:150508,2238:153132,2282:160420,2387:173168,2506:173602,2515:182110,2632:188510,2742:188806,2747:191860,2807:193660,2841:196090,2892:196540,2898:204110,2967:205202,2990:206372,3003:206840,3010:210896,3116:217672,3224:221260,3304:221572,3309:231212,3436:233892,3476:251994,3812:261240,3871:262855,3916:264215,3940:266935,3993:277600,4114
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of C.T. King-Miller's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - C.T. King-Miller lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - C.T. King-Miller describes her mother's family background, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - C.T. King-Miller describes her mother's family background, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - C.T. King-Miller describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - C.T. King-Miller talks about her father's service in World War II, his work in the coal mines, and how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - C.T. King-Miller describes her similarities to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - C.T. King-Miller talks about her father's work at Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - C.T. King-Miller lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - C.T. King-Miller describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - C.T. King-Miller recalls childhood memories of watching baseball and football

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - C.T. King-Miller describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - C.T. King-Miller describes her grade school years at Powderly Elementary School in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - C.T. King-Miller talks about her mother's work as a maid

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - C.T. King-Miller talks about segregated busing in Birmingham, Alabama and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - C.T. King-Miller describes the protective measures her brothers were taught to observe outside of the black community

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - C.T. King-Miller recalls her father's gospel singing group, the McMillan Gospel Singers

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - C.T. King-Miller describes her childhood memories of music

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - C.T. King-Miller describes her experience at Wenonah High School in Birmingham, Alabama and her personality as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - C.T. King-Miller describes her experience with racial discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - C.T. King-Miller reflects on her father's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - C.T. King-Miller describes her father's friendship with HistoryMaker Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - C.T. King-Miller recounts the beginning of her involvement in the Birmingham youth movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - C.T. King-Miller talks about preparing for the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - C.T. King-Miller talks about preparing for the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - C.T. King-Miller recalls being arrested as a teenager during Birmingham's Children's Crusade in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - C.T. King-Miller describes participating in the 1963 March on Washington, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - C.T. King-Miller describes participating in the 1963 March on Washington, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - C.T. King-Miller remembers the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church and President John F. Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - C.T. King-Miller recalls the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - C.T. King-Miller talks about the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - C.T. King-Miller describes her integration of Jones Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - C.T. King-Miller recounts registering for school at Jones Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - C.T. King-Miller describes the absence of white people in Birmingham, Alabama's black community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - C.T. King-Miller describes her experience integrating Jones Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - C.T. King-Miller describes her experience integrating Jones Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - C.T. King-Miller describes the support she received from her church and mixed reactions from the black community after integrating Jones Valley High School

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - C.T. King-Miller recalls experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - C.T. King-Miller recalls losing all of her black friends after integrating Jones Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - C.T. King-Miller describes her graduation from Jones Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - C.T. King-Miller remembers preparing for the prom

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - C.T. King-Miller talks about being excluded from the prom

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - C.T. King-Miller talks about dearth of stories from the African American community on school integration

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - C.T. King-Miller describes apologies from her classmates at Jones Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - C.T. King-Miller describes her experience at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - C.T. King-Miller describes moving to Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - C.T. King-Miller explains her name change

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - C.T. King-Miller describes her career path

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - C.T. King-Miller describes attending her 35th high school reunion, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - C.T. King-Miller describes attending her 35th high school reunion, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - C.T. King-Miller talks about her business, Creative Genealogist Services

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - C.T. King-Miller talks about the lasting effects of her work injury

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - C.T. King-Miller reflects upon being honored in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - C.T. King-Miller talks about her father's radio show, American Trailblazers, and her other family members

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - C.T. King-Miller describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - C.T. King-Miller describes what she would have done differently in her life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - C.T. King-Miller reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - C.T. King-Miller talks about how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
C.T. King-Miller describes her experience integrating Jones Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama pt. 2
C.T. King-Miller describes attending her 35th high school reunion, pt. 2
Transcript
Okay.$$Okay.$$Now what about--$$I was told that at lunchtime I could not go outside. I had to stay within the cafeteria. I think I was told not to go in the bathrooms, but I don't remember that. I just remember that I was told where I could go. Now, all the people in the cafeteria who served the food, except for one supervisor, were black. And I remember going through the line for my food, and I remember they used to pile all this food on, like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables. I mean, nothing like any school I'd gone to. Even at Wenonah, we took our own lunch. But they had that, and I would go through there and--chocolate milk, I didn't get chocolate milk on a regular basis. I mean, that's when I had my first chocolate milk, and I enjoyed it. And I used to have to, my father [Floyd King, Sr.] said always try to sit closest to where adults were, because you would be more safe, you'd be safe and more secure around other adults. Even in the classroom, he said you'll be secure in the classroom because the teacher's there. They cannot let anything happen to you. I didn't realize later when he kept on saying nothing would happen to me, is that the most that could happen, I could have been killed. I didn't think about them being concerned with that. I felt like I had a right. I was exercising the right, and I know he used to teach us the 14th Amendment and the 15th Amendment and used to read it to us and help us understand it, me and my siblings. And I used to remember him saying, "This is our right that's guaranteed to us. And the civil rights bill that Kennedy thought of and Johnson signed, this is your right. You're doing this for the black community." And I did begin to feel like I had the whole black community on my shoulder. I had to make sure I dressed right, I spoke right--and I was naturally a smart person, so, you know, that wasn't a problem, and I had nothing else to do. But, I would go in the cafeteria almost everyday, and they had fixed this beautiful food and I would sit at this tray and I'd sit there and I'd look at all those black women that my father said that I could not talk to, or I would get them fired. And the white kids would come by and spit, hark and spit in my food. So, I seldom ate lunch at school. And I went through a pattern of this, and I would just drink my chocolate milk and go on to class. And they would see it, I'd see tears were coming down their eyes, you know, and things like that. But it was nothing they could do. And he basically said that they would get fired, and that I was doing the right thing. And I could not react.$$Even with a principal that seemed like he was sympathetic?$$The principal wasn't there.$$Okay. He thought--$$But he knew what was happening, because I told my father, and my father told him.$$Okay. So, did you have a locker?$$No. I didn't have a locker. However, from going from class to class, passing classes, they would let me leave the classroom first. But if other classes were changing classes also, I didn't walk down the hall by myself. As I walked by, they would jump against the lockers, you know, and call me names. They would--it was never any physical violence, I should say that. But one of the things they did do, especially during--I guess it was some type of gun crap in school, they would have water guns, where they would run behind me and they would spray me with this water gun. And I remember one time a guy just came, a man, a boy, came right up in front of me and I had glasses on, and just sprayed that water gun right in my face and my glasses. And I remember one time that I used to have wear the type of clothes that dry fast, you know, to school. And they'd shoot it in my hair and my hair would curl up and stuff like that. And I'd get to the class and I'd have to dry off or go back to the office to the principal's wife and she would take me in the bathroom where I had to dry myself off. And I just didn't talk, you know.$And what they did once it was in the news, I was there and I was going to black and white radio stations in Birmingham [Alabama], telling my story and everything. Well, I guess people found out where I was living, and the night before the prom, the hotel I was staying at started getting what I would call now, terrorist telephone calls. I meant, it became so bad that the manager came up and said that you guys are getting these calls--and we'd gotten two up to the room--they told them to hold those calls. So, we went back to the church I grew up in, St. John Missionary Baptist Church, and told the pastor. And it was an FBI guy and a policeman, a Birmingham [Alabama] policeman, that goes to the church. And they provided security, not only from the FBI, but also from the Birmingham [Alabama] police department. They came up and they talked to us, and you know, told us to be careful, that we'll be here. And when we left going from the hotel, they put security around the hotel so nothing would happen there, because they were scared, and they wanted to put us out. So, what they did was they provided escorts to the prom. And with that, I took along with me as my guest the newslady reporter named Vicky Howell, who had written the story that appeared on the first page. She had called out here and I'd given her everything--a beautiful article that captured everything, including the prom. When she got there--and she just wanted to keep knowing about my feelings, my feeling. I didn't have no feeling. First of all, when I asked people who did come around that were in my class at the time, and I didn't know anybody from my class--I had met Ken Battles--and when I got to the prom, I met the committee and they told me who they were and what role they played during that time. But I didn't know them from Adam or Eve. Of course, they all apologized and told me things. "Well, you know, I own a car dealership. If you're ever here and you need a car, call me." And the other one was a real estate agent, "If you ever need a house, call me." That sort of thing. And, so they all wanted to know what's my feeling, what's my feeling, you know? I'll say out of the maybe 500 or 600 people there, maybe about 50 came up and said I'm sorry. And out of the class I graduated out of, it was 107 of us. And for that class picture maybe it was about, I'd say it's about 80 or 90. These are all adults now. And I re-created that picture by standing in the middle, and I'll share it with you after this, and they all stood this time by me. And all of them said they were sorry. Everybody wanted to hug me. When I asked them point blank, "Why didn't you do anything?" And that's when they said that they were afraid that something would happen to them, that they would be teased. When I asked them about the prom, they said, "We thought you were going to bring the whole black community to our prom, and we were scared." When I asked them about meeting with the mayor during Senior Week, and this was 35 years ago, they said, "We didn't think you wanted to go, because you didn't come to school." I said, "But the principal told me not to come." They said, "Well, we know." So, all those were lame excuses, and I told them I didn't buy it, and please don't tell me nothing like that anymore. For those who said--the taunting things they did to me--it looked like all the boys were in the gun club at the school. During that time, gun clubs in school was popular. And as far as I'm concerned, they all sprayed me, shot me with those little plastic water guns. And they said, "I don't remember doing that, I don't remember doing that." But they all were there, and when they--I looked at a picture of them during that time, in the yearbook. I said, "Yes, you were, this is you right?" They said "Right, yeah, yeah, I'm sorry. Can you forgive me?" And I told them what my father said, "I forgave you at that time." I was raised that you had to forgive at that time if you were going to go ahead, and that's what has gotten me this far. You have to let go, you have to let go.

Gwendolyn Patton

Gwendolyn Marie Patton was born on October 14, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan to Jeanetta and Clarence Patton. After the death of her mother in 1957, Gwendolyn and her siblings moved to Montgomery, Alabama. She attended George Washington Carver High School and graduated in 1961 with academic honors. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in English and history from Tuskegee Institute in 1966.

Patton coined the phrase “scholar-activist” and urged students to work in the community for social, political and economic change. She was also the Direct Action Chair for the Tuskegee Institute Advancement League, which planned strategies to desegregate Macon County in all areas, especially employment.

Though her grandmother’s rental property was the Freedom House that was used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the Civil Rights Movement, Patton herself was active with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

In 1972, Patton received her M.A. degree in education from Antioch University in Washington, D.C. and returned home to Alabama to accept a position as director of the Alabama State University Academic Advising Center. She later held the University’s Freshman Coordinator position from 1981 to 1986. Patton received her Ph.D. (ABD) from Union Graduate University Consortium and her LL.D. from the Interdenominational Institute of Theology.

Patton has made many noteworthy accomplishments, including founding the National Anti-War Anti-Draft Union against the war in Vietnam in 1969, the National Association of Black Students, and the New Alabama New South Coalition. She was selected to be an Aspen Institute Fellow and also wrote and published The Insurgent Memories in 1981. Patton is listed in the International Who’s Who of Intellectuals and is designated as a “Special Scholar” by the Institute of Higher Education and Research at the University of Alabama.

In 1992, Patton became an archivist for Trenholm Technical College, where she has assisted in establishing one of the few archives in the United States at a two year college.

Patton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2007.

Patton passed away on May 11, 2017.

Accession Number

A2007.098

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/19/2007 |and| 9/5/2007

Last Name

Patton

Maker Category
Schools

George Washington Carver High School

Tuskegee University

Marymount College

Inkster High School

First Name

Gwendolyn

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

PAT07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bern, Switzerland

Favorite Quote

Ignorance Offends Me, Especially My Own.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

10/14/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Montgomery

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

5/11/2017

Short Description

Civil rights activist and archivist Gwendolyn Patton (1943 - 2017 ) worked in the archives at Trenholm Technical College, one of the few archives at a two year college.

Employment

Alabama State University

H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College

Montgomery Tuskegee Times

Southern Student Human Relations Project

Favorite Color

Green, Red, White

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gwendolyn Patton's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her paternal and maternal family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her paternal great-grandmother's brother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her family's roots near Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her family's land ownership

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her paternal grandfather's entrepreneurialism

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her maternal family's educational legacy

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her mother's schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her father's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about the murder of her maternal uncle

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her father and grandmother's responses to the FBI

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her summers in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her father's middle class aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her father's financial windfall

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her influences in Inkster, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her early religious experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her half-sister

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her relationship with her mother

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her father's second marriage, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her father's second marriage, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her early activism in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her family's role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about Claudette Colvin

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about the female activists in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her introduction to the Alabama Democratic Conference

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her decision to attend the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls becoming salutatorian at George Washington Carver High School in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her experiences in Inkster, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her father's discipline

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her experiences at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes the role of a scholar-activist

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls the organization of the Tuskegee to Montgomery march

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers Bloody Sunday

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers Judge Frank Minis Johnson, Jr.'s injunction against the Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the march from Tuskegee to Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her treatment for tuberculosis, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her treatment for tuberculosis, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls securing access to the library at the Batson Memorial Sanatorium in LaFayette, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the Black Panther Party in Lowndes County, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the start of the Black Power movement

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers rooming with Stokely Carmichael in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her decision to move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls organizing the first national black power conference

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her car accident

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her experiences at the Hospital for Joint Diseases

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her bone transplant

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Gwendolyn Patton's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls the student activism at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the death of Sammy Younge, Jr.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers the founding of the National Black Antiwar Antidraft Union

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes the founding of the National Association of Black Students

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls being targeted by federal intelligence agents

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her experiences at Antioch College

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers organizing a union of domestic workers

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton describes the Students Economic Development Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her work with minority business students

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her tenure at the Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her return to Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her first marriage

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her experiences at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her writing for the Montgomery Tuskegee Times

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls hosting the television program, 'Harmabee'

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her teaching methods

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her teaching experiences at Alabama State University

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers serving as a delegate for Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's presidential campaign

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes the founding of the Alabama New South Coalition

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her venture into electoral politics

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Patton talks about her activism in the 1980s

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls how she came to work for the H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Patton recalls her start at the H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her career at the H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Patton describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers her maternal grandmother's philosophy on freedom

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Patton shares a message to future generations

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her dissertation

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Patton describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Gwendolyn Patton remembers Floyd Griffin

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Patton narrates her photographs

Thomas Battle

Librarian, artist, curator, and historian Thomas Cornell Battle was born on March 19, 1946, at Howard University’s Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., to Thomas Oscar Battle and Lenore Thomas Battle. Battle attended Colonel Charles Young Elementary School, Bishop Henry McNeil Turner Elementary School, River Terrace Elementary School and Carter G. Woodson Junior High School. Battle graduated from William McKinley High School in 1964 while working at Mt. Pleasant Public Library. At Howard University, Battle was mentored by Loraine Williams and Rayford W. Logan and was influenced by Stokeley Carmichael, James Nabrit, Leon Damas, and Nathan Hare, among others. Battle was awarded his B.A. degree in history in 1968; he earned his M.L.S. degree from the University of Maryland College of Information Studies in 1971, and his Ph.D. degree in American studies from George Washington University in 1983. Battle’s dissertation was a bibliographical study of slavery in the District of Columbia.

In 1972, advised by Oswald Person, Battle applied for and was hired as a reference librarian by Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, then under distinguished director, Dorothy Porter. During this period, Battle was granted a fellowship through the Black Caucus of the American Library Association to study in Sierra Leone for a year. Michael Winston was director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection as Battle became founding curator of the manuscript division in 1974; later, Battle became university archivist. In 1986, Battle was named director of Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, the largest black owned archive of black history and culture in the world.

Committed to illuminating the lives of pioneer bibliophiles like Arthur Schomburg, Alexander Cromwell, and Jesse Moorland, Battle, with Paul Coates and Eleanor Des Virney Sinnette, authored Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History in 1983. The realization of Howard’s unique place in world history prompted the book, Howard in Retrospect: Images of the Capstone co-authored with Clifford L. Muse, Jr. in 1995. Battle co-edited with Donna M. Wells on the 2007 work, Legacy: Treasures of Black History, which features more than 150 historic items including documents, letters, images, artifacts and articles by twelve scholars including: Joseph E. Harris, Greg Carr, James Turner and Deborah Willis.

Battle taught history at Howard University, the University of Maryland, and Amherst College. In 2006, the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (CLIS) presented Battle with the James Partridge Award.

Accession Number

A2007.058

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/9/2007

Last Name

Battle

Maker Category
Schools

McKinley Technology High School

Charles E. Young Elementary School

Carter G. Woodson Junior High School

River Terrace Elementary School

Bishop Henry McNeil Turner Elementary School

University of Maryland

George Washington University

Howard University

First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BAT07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

I Am Unbought And Unbossed.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/19/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab ( Maryland Blue)

Short Description

Archivist, cultural heritage chief executive, and historian Thomas Battle (1946 - ) was the director of Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, the largest black owned archive of black history and culture in the world.

Employment

District of Columbia Public Library

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:201,2:8710,205:11390,255:19090,328:24018,431:24338,437:24786,445:26386,473:27922,504:29074,535:29394,541:30098,557:31570,586:32978,615:33682,629:34578,640:40860,686:45900,793:46680,809:49200,867:49440,872:55674,934:55922,939:56542,953:57162,962:57596,975:57906,981:58588,991:59270,1005:60448,1027:69686,1230:78158,1344:79280,1363:80534,1384:80864,1390:83108,1434:91990,1525:93124,1538:99487,1664:100117,1676:100369,1681:108832,1805:109747,1826:110052,1832:112797,1915:113834,1941:116396,2003:116762,2010:117067,2020:118226,2046:118531,2052:119690,2087:123190,2096$0,0:623,43:6470,102:10383,198:10747,203:11475,213:12294,224:17746,275:19402,293:21490,330:26424,375:26892,382:28062,412:28842,423:29466,434:30012,442:40308,624:45378,714:45846,721:54968,805:68212,959:69751,980:70075,985:73315,1045:75178,1073:75664,1081:76798,1097:84658,1175:87694,1228:88591,1243:90661,1290:91627,1308:91972,1320:92317,1326:93007,1341:93352,1347:93628,1352:94456,1367:95560,1390:99079,1463:99562,1473:99907,1478:100804,1493:101425,1506:101908,1515:110456,1585:110840,1592:111288,1601:111864,1612:112376,1622:114808,1680:116408,1725:117048,1733:117368,1739:122570,1787:124090,1818:125530,1842:127050,1863:128250,1930:128730,1938:129450,1950:130090,1959:130970,1971:131610,1982:132170,1990:133130,2004:137556,2030:137966,2036:139032,2051:139770,2062:140098,2067:140672,2076:141246,2084:143460,2119:146986,2173:147396,2180:148544,2196:149528,2211:149938,2217:152234,2261:158728,2347:159094,2354:162978,2397:163283,2403:163893,2425:167553,2493:167797,2498:168224,2506:168895,2522:169139,2527:170481,2552:170725,2557:171701,2581:172555,2594:173104,2604:173348,2609:173653,2615:174263,2628:175239,2648:179150,2658:180650,2693:182210,2727:183110,2744:184070,2765:184610,2775:184910,2785:186830,2828:187190,2836:187430,2841:187910,2850:191870,2945:195832,2959:197608,2994:199606,3038:204460,3101
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas Battle's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his father's upbringing and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes his early life experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas Battles recalls his early education and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle remembers his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle recalls his early interest in African American history

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thomas Battle describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Thomas Battle remembers segregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Thomas Battle recalls his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Thomas Battle describes his experiences at Howard University

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Thomas Battle lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Thomas Battle recall graduating from Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle talks about the problems in the public schools of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes the student tracking system in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle describes the student tracking system in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle recalls working at the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes the history of Federal City College in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls the influential figures at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle remembers graduating from Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle describes his position at the Federal City College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle recalls enrolling at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle remembers the Black Power movement at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle recalls the academic environment at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about his approach to learning

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle remembers the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls the student protests at the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his African American identity

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about President Richard Nixon's administration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle remembers graduating from the University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle recalls joining the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle remembers Dorothy Porter Wesley

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle describes the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center's collection

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle recalls the patrons of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls serving as an exchange librarian

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle recalls arriving in Sierra Leone

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about the national library in Sierra Leone

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle describes Sierra Leone's national library collection

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle recalls meeting Sierra Leonean librarians

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle talks about the access to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about theft from libraries

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes the history of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle recalls returning from Sierra Leone

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle remembers Michael R. Winston

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes his roles at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle remembers the faculty of Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle recalls his decision to attend George Washington University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about the history of African Americans in Washington D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle recalls publishing his dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about the acquisition of materials by the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle talks about private collectors

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle talks about the collections of historically black institutions

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle describes Mayme Clayton's collection

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about his speaking engagements

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle describes his book, 'Black Bibliophiles and Collectors'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle describes the collectors of black artifacts

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle talks about African American historical collections

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about the misallocation of African American collections

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his book, 'Legacy: Treasures of Black History'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle describes his challenges at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes his favorite artifacts at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle describes his involvement in professional organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about the Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Thomas Battle recalls the student protests at the University of Maryland
Thomas Battle describes his favorite artifacts at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
Transcript
I also remember at the University of Maryland [College Park, Maryland], the--I think it was the invasion of Cambodia. And--or Route 1 [U.S. Route 1], which runs through the campus was closed down and the university was closed down and there was a lot of activity going on and lots of student, and not necessarily violence, but things going on. And there were two things of interest. One, the individual I referred to was with a black student union, in being asked about these activities, made it very clear of the disappointment of black students in the university being closed down because of the impact it was having on our ability to become educated. And I thought that was very telling since there had not been this great desire for us to be there anyway. That black students and the black cause was something that was featured as an important issue. And I also remember it was one of the few times that white students felt that they would be safer by walking with black students, because as it turned out no one was bothering the black students on campus, although, white students were having their own problems among each other. And I clearly remember white classmates, and certainly some of the white women I was in class with, saying, "Do you mind if I walk with you to the parking lot," or "Do you mind if we do this." And the reason was because they felt much safer being with us as their black classmates and other black students, than they felt being out on the campus and subject to being abused, if you will, by the police forces that had been brought on the campus to quell the student disturbances that were going on. And, in essence, the feeling was that black students are not responsible for and involved in this. So the black students are immune from this because there's no reason to bother the black students. It's the white students who were starting all of the trouble. And I've always found that, that's probably one of the few times that white people felt that the safest place for them to be was to be with black people who could provide for their security.$What do you think, of all the holdings you have here, what would you consider to be the most valuable piece that you (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) You know, I am frequently asked what, what's the most valuable, what's the most impressive. I, I--my, my answer sometimes is like, "Well, it's like the blind man and the elephant; depends on where you touch it." There is no single item. There's an item in the collection that has a certain appeal to me, it's a, it's an image, a rare image called 'The Hunted Slaves' [Richard Ansdell]. This is a, a, a print based upon a, a painting that is in a museum in England and it took its inspiration from a Wadsworth--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, 'The Slave in the Dismal Swamp,' which is actually reproduced on, on this engraving. But what appeals to me about the engraving is that--and, as I say, it's the, the--this inspiration to 'Slave in the Dismal Swamp,' is you see these vicious dogs that are in the process of attacking this black man and this black woman. But what you do not see is this fear and this docility that is often projected about the enslaving experience, but what you see is this black man there with this, this hatchet or axe in his hand protecting and preserving not only his freedom, but that of his woman and by extension for me, that of the black family. And I think that whether or not that was the, the true intent of the, of the artist, that's sort of the inspiration that I draw from it. That this was not a situation in which we just accepted our fate, but that shows that these were and we were at people that was willing to stand and fight for our rights and, and for the preservation of our lives; that for me, is a, is a very powerful piece. Every member of our staff has his or her own favorite piece. For me, it is the, the collection, this is the comprehensiveness of what is here [Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Washington, D.C.] that is important. That you have in one place, the largest collection of materials documenting the black experience. A library of more than two hundred thousand volumes, all of it on the black experience from Africa throughout the Americas; north, central, south, Europe and all other aspects of the black diaspora. It is that, that wealth of material that I think is overwhelming and helps us to put to lie black people have no history; here is the documentation right here. If I offer you another ques- example, I could say we have a Babylonian clay tablet from several centuries B.C., that might be the rarest, the most valuable, but there are others. And something that might appear to be insignificant could really be something that is vitally valuable because it might have a, a bit of information that expresses or exposes something about our history that is otherwise unknown. It may have no real monetary value, but the informational value should--could be key. So depending upon how one interprets value and how meaningful things are to one as an individual, probably gets you to answer the question, we have a million items, we have a million favorites.

Camille Billops

Artist and filmmaker Camille Billops was born on August 12, 1933, in Los Angeles, California. Billops’ career has consisted of printmaking, sculpture, book illustration and filmmaking. She obtained her B.A. degree from California State University as well as her M.F.A. degree from City College of New York in 1975. Her primary medium is sculpture, and her works are in the permanent collections of the Jersey City Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Museum of Drawers, Bern, Switzerland. Billops has exhibited in one-woman and group exhibitions worldwide including: Gallerie Akhenaton, Cairo, Egypt; Hamburg, Germany; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Gimpel and Weitzenhoffer Gallery, and El Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia. She was a long time friend and colleague of master printmaker Robert Blackburn, whom she assisted in establishing the first printmaking workshop in Asilah, Morocco in 1978.

In 1975, with her husband, Black theatre historian James Hatch, Billops founded the Hatch-Billops Collection. This impressive African American archive is a collection of oral histories, books, slides, photographs and other historical references. Billops also collaborated with James Van Der Zee and poet Owen Dodson in the publication of The Harlem Book of the Dead. In 1982, Billops began her filmmaking career with Suzanne, Suzanne. She followed this promising beginning by directing five more films, including Finding Christa in 1991, which is a highly autobiographical work that garnered the Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival. Finding Christa has also been aired as part of the Public Broadcasting Station’s P.O.V. television series. Her other film credits include Older Women and Love in 1987, The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks in 1994, Take Your Bags in 1998, and A String of Pearls in 2002. Billops produced all of her films with her husband and their film company, Mom and Pop Productions. They have also co-published Artist and Influence, an annual, in 1981 as an extensive journal of the African Americans in the visual, performing and literary arts community.

Billops and her husband residde in New York City, where they both served as archivists of the Hatch-Billops Collection.

Billops passed away on June 1, 2019.

Accession Number

A2006.171

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/14/2006

Last Name

Billops

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Catholic Girls' High School

Los Angeles City College

California State University, Los Angeles

University of Southern California

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Camille

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

BIL03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/12/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Death Date

6/1/2019

Short Description

Fine artist, archivist, and film producer Camille Billops (1933 - ) worked in several media: printmaking, sculpture, book illustration and award-winning documentaries. Along with her husband, Billops founded the Hatch-Billops Collection, an African American archival collection of oral histories, books, slides, photographs and other historical references.

Employment

City College of New York

New York Public Schools

‘Artist and Influence: The Journal of Black American Cultural History’

Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archives

'Finding Christa'

'Suzanne, Suzanne'

'A String of Pearls'

'Older Women and Love'

‘The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks’

'The Harlem Book of the Dead'

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:792,11:2904,59:5720,105:6600,117:10912,217:42806,587:43768,603:44286,611:50322,674:52758,718:56034,764:57042,778:57630,787:58386,797:60738,865:67400,903:68100,917:69500,937:69920,945:70550,957:70900,963:73350,1016:79430,1098:79920,1104:80606,1113:81096,1122:84722,1183:102752,1418:104624,1451:106424,1511:110024,1585:113624,1649:125242,1816:126025,1826:127069,1844:128374,1862:141933,2117:142402,2126:143273,2143:151370,2227$0,0:5628,119:7476,152:10332,198:18818,258:20450,279:28202,520:28610,525:33364,551:33972,564:34656,574:34960,590:35416,613:41724,721:48336,872:50768,950:51832,967:52136,972:52440,977:69980,1196:77964,1294:87624,1490:105396,1717:111740,1747:113090,1774:117161,1862:117437,1867:119921,1929:121978,1950:122825,1970:130833,2190:131680,2205:141998,2348:153690,2494:161190,2567:161510,2598:161990,2605:164100,2654
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Camille Billops' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Camille Billops lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Camille Billops describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Camille describes her mother's enslaved ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Camille Billops talks about preserving her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Camille Billops recalls researching her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Camille Billops describes her father and her maternal family's relocation to Red Bank, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Camille Billops talks about her father's occupation as a Pullman porter

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes her father's travels as a Pullman porter

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Camille Billops recalls her father's dark skin complexion

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her parents' photographs and her family's early deaths

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls living in Los Angeles as World War II began

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Camille Billops describes her childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Camille Billops describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Camille Billops recalls moving to the Westside of Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Camille Billops remembers skating to her favorite music as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Camille Billops recalls her mother remarrying after her father's death

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Camille Billops recalls her disillusionment with Catholicism

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes her views on religion

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Camille Billops recalls becoming interested in art during her college career

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Camille Billops describes her stepfather and stepsister

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Camille Billops recalls her career after giving her daughter up for adoption

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her theater experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls her experiences as a theater costume designer

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls working as a visual artist in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Camille Billops remembers actor Vin Diesel

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Camille Billops describes her experiences teaching art in elementary schools

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Camille Billops talks about popular African American artists

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Camille Billops talks about the black art aesthetic

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Camille Billops talks about feminism and her African American history journal

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes the relationship of black and white female artists

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Camille Billops talks about interracial relationships

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls how rising New York rent costs affected artists

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls protesting the lack of diversity at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Camille Billops talks about African American artist co-ops' rental properties

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Camille Billops recalls African American artists' lack of interest in co-ops

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Camille Billops recalls directing plays with her husband, James V. Hatch

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Camille Billops remembers holding poetry readings at her artist co-op

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Camille Billops describes her artist co-op and establishing her archive

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes the early stages of the archive

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Camille Billops describes her short films about drug abuse and violence

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Camille Billops talks about her short documentary, 'Older Women and Love'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her relationship with her daughter, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Camille Billops describes her relationship with her daughter, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Camille Billops shares her views on racism, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Camille Billops shares her views on racism, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Camille Billops describes her short film, 'Take Your Bags'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Camille Billops describes her favorite filmmakers

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Camille Billops recalls working on 'The Harlem Book of the Dead' by James Van Der Zee, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Camille Billops recalls working on 'The Harlem Book of the Dead' by James Van Der Zee, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls teaching at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls teaching at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Camille Billops talks about painter Richard Bruce Nugent

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Camille Billops talks about George C. Wolfe

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Camille Billops talks about George C. Wolfe's play 'The Colored Museum'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Camille Billops describes her favorite artists

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Camille Billops recalls the artists featured in her archive

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$8

DATitle
Camille Billops recalls her experiences as a theater costume designer
Camille Billops describes her artist co-op and establishing her archive
Transcript
What other roles, I mean, you--wasn't [HistoryMaker] Micki Grant in 'Fly Blackbird'?$$Yeah. And when it came to New York [New York], well, I didn't try out because I knew I wouldn't get it. But Micki didn't get her role, because the role was called Camille. And little influence there, huh? But anyway, she, that was, was that Mary Louise or something? I don't know, I forgot who was the lead. We can look it up on the record album. But Bob Guillaume [HistoryMaker Robert Guillaume] was in it. And then they had a nice Jewish boy playing George, a Jewish boy with Max Factor and Japanese makeup playing George. But eventually, he did get in; he got in the New York production, you know, later. But that was, that was it. You know, but once--see, once I discovered or began to associate with theater people, then I saw what--I mean, I could do a cover, I could do a drawing, or I could draw a costume. You know, these things, later I began to do these things. In '68 [1968] Jim [James V. Hatch] was on a Fulbright [Fulbright Scholarship] to go to India to do theater, and we did it for about seven or eight or nine months, I don't remember. But we did theater all up in Bombay [Bombay, India; Mumbai, India] and Delhi [India] and all those places--Bangalore [India]. And I did the masks. You see, I did the masks and we designed the costumes. And then when we went back to India, they needed a theater specialist. And Jim's buddy was working for USIA [U.S. Information Agency], and he put in a request for a theater person, and we were the only ones who applied. So, when we appeared we said, "Our flight, too." And I did, we did parts of Jean-Claude van Itallie's play, 'American Hurrah' [sic. 'America Hurrah']. And I did the costumes and masks, and then it was really sort of clear that I was designing things. I had an opportunity to do things. That's how you develop, you have an opportunity. You know, you have an opportunity to learn how to write a book when you have the opportunity. And that demystified it, I mean in retrospect. It demystified it for me--that how many people never have the opportunity, the access? But this energy is right there. I was just lucky. I was very, very lucky.$Who else was in the 11th Street [New York, New York] scene with you?$$Oh, it was a guy named Larry Garvin, who used to work for the archives. He later married an editor, Paula Heredia, who was the editor for our film, 'Finding Christa.' There were friends from the old days at UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California], Stan Meyers [Stanley Meyer]. Jim's son [Dion Hatch] was living with us, you know, because he was going to City College [City College of New York, New York, New York] at that time. And so, there were just sort of local New York [New York] people that we had met that had come, and musicians. And we rented the floor up above us in the same building. And Dion, I don't know why he thought he could do this, but he was going to--you know, we were power to the people, you know. And he was going to teach plumbing to the people. I said, "You don't know nothing about plumbing," (laughter). But we have photographs from that time. And then there was one Puerto Rican artist, a poet. And he was a fabulous poet, but he was, he had AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome], it was the early days of AIDS. And his wife later died. But he did this poem to Miles Davis called 'Sketches of Spain.' That's why you can never do anything with a copyright, you know. It was really beautiful. His name was Nelson [ph.], and he just loved Victoria [ph.], who was a white girl. He just loved Vicky, but Vicky didn't like him (laughter). But that was, those people--artists and playwrights--and young, youngish. We were what, '30s [1930s]? No, late '30s [1930s], '40s [1940s], around in there.$$So, once the era of 11th Street, how did that era end?$$We had to move, because the landlord sold the building. And it was good that we didn't try to buy it, because we didn't know how to buy it. And two, later the back wall separated from the building, and they had to bring it in five feet. So, it's nice that we didn't have it. But we moved into an eight-room loft, and that's where Hatch-Billops [Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archives] was. We weren't going to do anymore theater and stuff. So we, Hatch-Billops became, took the energy, and we incorporated it in 1975 and became, started this library. And then the people who had our floor here--$$Moved out?$$Moved out. So we came by here to see it, and so we--it was not a tunnel loft like the other one. And we said, "Oh, God, we're going to have to move again." So, we moved fifteen months later into this space, and then this happened. So that's like thirty years; we moved in thirty years (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And then--

Harry Robinson, Jr.

Museum director, Harry Robinson, Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 16, 1941. His mother, Ruth, and father, Harry Sr., raised their family in Raceland Louisiana, where Robinson attended Pitman and Kent Hadley elementary schools. The family moved to Thibodaux, Louisiana the year Robinson entered high school. He attended C.M. Washington High School where he came under the tutelage of his industrial arts teacher. However, health reasons prompted Robinson to instead major in history and minor in library science, and he received his B.A. degree from Southern University in 1964.

Robinson attended graduate school at Atlanta University and majored in Library Science. It is here where Robinson researched volumes of African American history making him a legend in his field. Robinson received his M.S.L.S. degree in 1965 from Atlanta University and returned to Southern University to continue his work as an archivist. Robinson went on to become a cataloger at Kentucky State University and worked at the University of Florida.

After earning his Ed.D in 1969 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and heading up special collections for Alabama State University, Robinson joined Bishop College in Dallas as librarian and museum director in 1974. With his negotiation skills, Robinson was able to acquire many collections for the museum. Under his leadership, a new facility was built in 1984 as Fair Park in Dallas to house the collection. The collection includes African American decorative arts, Sepia Magazine’s photo archive and the carefully researched archaeological specimens of the Freedmen’s Cemetery Collection. Robinson has developed the African American Museum in Dallas into a nationally recognized destination for people from all over the world.

Robinson lives in Dallas, Texas. He is the President of the Association of African American Museums, the African American Library Association and a member of the Institute of Museum and Library Science.

Accession Number

A2006.089

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/4/2006

Last Name

Robinson

Maker Category
Schools

C.M. Washington High School

Kent Hadley Elementary School

Pitman Elementary School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Clark Atlanta University

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

First Name

Harry

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

ROB11

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans, Louisiana

Favorite Quote

Super

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

9/16/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans (Red), Rice

Short Description

Archivist and museum executive Harry Robinson, Jr. (1941 - ) joined Bishop College as librarian and director of its African American museum. Under his leadership the African American Museum in Dallas became independent, expanded its collection, and built a new facility in Dallas' Fair Park.

Employment

Southern University

Kentucky State University

Prairie View A & M University

Alabama State University

Bishop College

African American Museum in Dallas

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:3518,68:7522,219:8250,236:47672,645:48692,669:49168,677:78994,1253:86386,1460:87142,1470:113670,1824$0,0:738,14:12344,268:13965,281:21686,415:22766,452:25862,577:40880,910:62130,1209:67412,1246:67708,1251:68300,1260:71610,1333:91236,1550:95036,1621:96328,1689:97088,1701:104008,1769:104352,1774:105642,1791:107415,1808:108255,1818:110775,1872:130054,2118:130450,2123:133618,2177:146356,2403:147012,2426:164346,2686:164786,2693:165578,2708:174140,2829:174805,2837:175565,2846:191700,3049:192564,3070:193356,3084:195444,3121:196092,3132:197532,3166:197820,3171:201230,3181:201770,3189:206810,3295:207620,3306:208340,3323:213187,3347:214688,3385:221087,3506:237597,3789:237982,3800:245808,3903:252890,4010:264628,4223:268106,4273:273386,4364:273878,4369:274370,4374:281970,4426:291253,4527:291858,4533:300796,4606:314236,4887:318470,4901:319182,4916:344876,5357:347945,5417:355480,5527
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harry Robinson, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harry Robinson, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls his mother's intuition

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls following his mother's principles, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls following his mother's principles, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his mother's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harry Robinson, Jr. lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls lessons from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his father's commitment to education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls his father's pride in his career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls a loan from his paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his elementary schools in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his schools in Raceland, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harry Robinson, Jr. remembers Godchaux's sugar plantation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harry Robinson, Jr. remembers living on Harvey Peltier, Sr.'s plantation

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his family's Christmas traditions

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his family's church membership

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harry Robinson, Jr. remembers the influence of his principal

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harry Robinson, Jr. reflects upon his primary education

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harry Robinson, Jr. remembers desegregation in Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls C.M. Washington High School in Thibodaux, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harry Robinson, Jr. remembers his early interest in history

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls the student demonstrations at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes Southern University President Felton G. Clark

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's funeral

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harry Robinson, Jr. talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's papers

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls his career after Southern University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harry Robinson, Jr. remembers the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harry Robinson, Jr. talks about President Lyndon Baines Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harry Robinson, Jr. remembers his first two marriages

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls acquiring Ralph Abernathy's papers for Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes George Wallace's honorary degree from Alabama State University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls hosting Bishop Joseph Howze at Alabama State University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls trying to secure Harper Councill Trenholm, Sr.'s papers

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls being hired at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls founding the Museum of African-American Life and Culture in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls relocating the Museum of African-American Life and Culture

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls fundraising for the Museum of African-American Life and Culture

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harry Robinson, Jr. remembers obtaining a grant from The Meadows Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes the donors to the Museum of African-American Life and Culture

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes the collections of the African American Museum in Dallas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes the location of the African American Museum in Dallas

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Harry Robinson, Jr. talks about the value of the African American Museum in Dallas

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes the challenges of funding a museum

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Harry Robinson, Jr. describes his hopes for the African American Museum in Dallas

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Harry Robinson, Jr. reflects upon his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

7$9

DATitle
Harry Robinson, Jr. talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's papers
Harry Robinson, Jr. recalls founding the Museum of African-American Life and Culture in Dallas, Texas
Transcript
But I lost it, but not only did I lose that, when I was in graduate school at Atlanta University [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia], I worked in the Trevor Arnett Library that was one of the jobs, I had three jobs in graduate school 'cause I didn't have any money. I was in Trevor Arnett and I picked up a book and there was a call slip in there, 1948, that was Martin's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] senior year and on that call slip in pencil Martin had signed that slip for the book. I don't know where it is, misplaced. But I was there, worked in the library and I never shall forget that my cataloging teacher had been trying to--she had been working with the families who were trying to get his papers--Atlanta, 'cause he went to Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia], his old man was on the board, they were all on the board, pastor, Benny Mays [Benjamin Mays] was his mentor, trying to get his papers. And I never shall forget we were in the cataloging class and this woman came in and she told us that--we heard that Boston [Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts] had gotten his papers--and this woman was a hard-hearted Hannah and we actually saw her weep, she wept in class (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) What was her name, Suzanne something-$$Her name was Annette Phinazee [Annette Lewis Phinazee].$$Annette Phinazee (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Annette Hoage Phinazee, she taught me cataloging, she was an excellent teacher. And she looked up and she said, "Well class, I guess you can't tell people what to do with their papers." (Unclear) and we hated that we didn't get them, but it was kind of good for us to see her break 'cause she was a stiff--I mean she showed no emotion for anything, she had emotion, but you know, she just. But that's my Martin King story.$I came and we started developing the idea of this museum [Southwest Research Center and Museum of African-American Life and Culture; African American Museum in Dallas, Dallas, Texas] because there was nothing in this area, no efforts to do anything in Texas or in the region. The president was an old Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] man, Renaissance man, and I mean, he's got the first--one of the first master's [degree] from Atlanta University [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia] when they became graduate school, in math. And he had a facility in French too (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) What was his name?$$--and he was a preacher. Milton King Curry [Milton King Curry, Sr.]. And he knew the Kings personally and there's a story about him and the Kings too. But anyway, he brought Martin [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] to Marshall, Texas in the '50s [1950s], he was just that courageous. Can you imagine someone brining Martin Luther King to East Texas in the '50s [1950s]? But this old man, he was, he was something else, that's why he's not president anymore, why he got out--they ran him off. But anyway, I came to Dallas [Texas], I called together a group of people one of whom was a man who had been involved with the Hall of Negro Life [Texas Centennial Exposition, Dallas, Texas] here in 1936, named A. Maceo Smith, and was A. Maceo Smith, the woman who became mayor of Dallas, Annette Strauss another woman who was Stanley Marcus sister in-law, you know, the Neiman Marcus crowd, Betty Marcus, a preacher who's involved in the movement, he pastored the silk stocking church here, New Hope [New Hope Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas], his brother was president of Junior Union University [ph.], and an old guy who was vice president at the college. He had worked in Alabama and he was one of the persons they told me to look up when I came to, to this place. And so he was one of my buddies, so we, I presented the idea to them they all bought in and we moved on from that point. We had one of the best--we started off as a part of the college. We had one of the best special collections of African American titles in the country. I didn't build that collection, it was the guy before me, his name was George Johnson [ph.]. He left here and went to Central State [Central State College; Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio], but he was a scholar. I don't know where he found those books he had a contact somewhere. We had Phillis Wheatley's, poems, 1773, we had a part of Walter White's, collection, autograph book by Langston Hughes, limited editions and what have you. Frederick Douglass--the works were there. But when I came they were spread throughout the library, just out. And so the first thing I did was to get a group of students--you talking about several thousand volumes of works. And so we pulled them all into a room about this size and we had shelves around the walls but there were stacks of books we had and we just pulled them. It's a wonderful collection. That was sort of the basis for our research collection because it was a museum and research center at the time. But this president kept on supporting me, whatever I needed, he supported, he supported me, he supported, he supported me, so. So we decided to pull those books together, 'cause it was easy to do and least people would see something, so we had the W.R. Banks special collection. Dr. Banks was a professor had been on that campus for fifty-two years, he went down when the first black president went to Bishop [Bishop College, Dallas, Texas] in 1929. So, we named the coll- we thought, you know, everybody loves Dean Banks, so we named the room for him, carpeted room--about this size, carpeted the room put glass shelves up, just did a nice job. One of the grad- one of Bishop's graduates who Dr. Banks had been very close owned a carpet company so I went to J.D. Hall [ph.] and told J.D. to give them the carpet at half price or something like that, I'll give you the (unclear). So he came to the dedication, he saw the room, he said, "Doc, where's the bill?" I said, "I'll go get it." He tore it up, paid for the carpet. I had the graduates to give me some money so I bought the glass shelves and what have you. It was a beautiful room, a guy who did the senator's picture Arthello Beck, who died last year, he did a portrait of Dr. Banks, so we had the portrait in the room and a lot of other Bishop memorabilia in that room. Well then we developed the space downstairs which was twice the size of upstairs and we opened that space during the bi-centennial, was February '76 [1976]. [HistoryMaker] David Driskell came and gave the dedicatory address and oh the people were just--it was, it was about the only black event in town of any significance during that bicentennial and we raked and scrapped and got the money. It was about like ten thousand dollars that we raised but we got (unclear) give a hundred dollars, hundred, everybody gave. It was a big day on that weekend. We had a weekend of activity and [HistoryMaker] Curtis King, whom you interviewed, Curtis was down in Fort Worth [Texas] over in Fort Worth, and we brought Curtis to town, with the Sojourner Truth Players, this was 1976 and then the next year Curtis came and set up shop here in Dallas. But he and his crew, the boys stayed at my apartment 'cause my wife was in school so they were in my apt- and the girls stayed in the dormitory and they performed that Sunday afternoon.

Dorothy Fields

Archivist Dorothy Fields was born on December 31, 1942 in Miami, Florida. She was raised as an only child in the African American neighborhood of Overtown, formerly known as Colored Town. The family then purchased property in the Brown Subdivision of Miami. Fields attended Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School and Booker T. Washington High School. In high school, Fields was a member of the concert and marching band, and excelled in journalism.

In 1960, Fields graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. The following year, she enrolled at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, as an art major. As a freshman, Fields participated in the 1960 march with Dr. King to desegregate Rich’s department store in downtown Atlanta. Upon completion in a student exchange program at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, Fields earned her B.F.A degree in art from Spelman College in 1964. After graduation, Fields worked as a school librarian, reading teacher and educational specialist for Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 40 years.

In 1974, Fields then received her M.A. degree in curriculum and instruction through a local outreach program out of the University of Northern Colorado. In that same year, in preparation for the nation’s bicentennial, Fields began a search for information from which curriculum materials could be developed on the black experience in South Florida. Fields was unable to find any information about South Florida’s black history in any school or public library. From this experience Fields established The Black Archives, History and Research Foundation, a photographic repository containing the legacies of Miami’s black community f South Florida in 1977. In the same year, Fields received a certificate from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in Archives Administration and Historic Preservation. Later, at The Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio, she earned a Ph.D. in 20th century African-American history, historic preservation, and public history.

Fields’ vision was to establish a manuscript and photographic repository for the African American community of Miami. She initially began collecting oral histories from older African American residents living in the communities of Overtown and the Brown Subdivision. From her efforts, the city of Miami later designated the community of Overtown as a National Trust “Main Street” community. Overtown is officially named the Historic Overtown Folklife Village. Fields is also responsible for the successful restoration of the landmark Lyric Theater located in Overtown. Renowned artists such as Nat King Cole, Marion Anderson, Etta Moten Barnett once performed at this theater.

Fields has received numerous honors and awards for her efforts in preserving African American history and culture. She serves a member of the advisory board for the Haitian Heritage Museum, and a board member for the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami. She was also a Woodrow Wilson Teacher’s Fellow at Princeton University. A life member of the association for the Study of African American Life and History she also holds membership in the Society of American Archivists and the Academy of Certified Archivists. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and The Links, Incorporated.

Fields has two daughters, attorney Katherine Fields Kpehyee Marsh and historian Edda Fields-Black, author of 'Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora.'

Accession Number

A2006.024

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/17/2006

Last Name

Fields

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Phillis Wheatley Elementary School

Spelman College

University of Oklahoma

University of Northern Colorado

Union Institute & University

First Name

Dorothy

Birth City, State, Country

Miami

HM ID

FIE02

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Manhattan, New York

Favorite Quote

Until The Lions Tell Their Story, Tales Of The Hunt Will Continue To Glorify The Hunter.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

12/31/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Archivist Dorothy Fields (1942 - ) founded The Black Archives, History & Research Foundation of South Florida. She has helped preserve the history of African American communities in Miami, and successfully restored the landmark Lyric Theater located in Overtown, Florida.

Favorite Color

Zeta Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:690,4:1380,13:1863,22:2829,38:3795,86:6370,102:17446,260:17826,266:21050,286:25858,323:30646,407:45690,658:46670,678:47230,689:47860,699:48490,709:73112,954:74417,974:81242,1075:85164,1140:88568,1215:100312,1323:100888,1333:104776,1569:108417,1591:115996,1710:116548,1724:135397,1961:135943,1971:137217,1991:138036,2002:147160,2098:147700,2105:152980,2147:153380,2153:159404,2234:167387,2312:182599,2491:184888,2514:185324,2519:195808,2689:210033,2944:220030,3074:225288,3141:233198,3230:246968,3520:264139,3804:265550,3824:267874,3890:273560,3930$0,0:8104,111:11632,200:20872,368:30302,441:41930,710:53816,795:54700,810:55176,819:55448,824:59688,875:59944,880:65982,969:66294,974:70974,1038:71676,1049:78305,1096:80255,1125:81305,1173:81830,1181:82280,1188:87670,1253:89000,1275:91890,1292:110032,1524:110761,1536:118010,1660:119510,1691:130310,1806:147288,2043:150403,2105:155832,2186:159024,2200:163324,2282:171522,2389:181025,2554:182725,2588:183915,2606:185190,2625:185785,2634:189435,2651:190260,2664:191085,2677:191910,2690:193035,2710:193635,2720:195510,2746:205380,2830:205716,2835:206640,2848:209076,2887:209664,2895:213600,2922
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorothy Fields' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorothy Fields lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorothy Fields talks about her maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorothy Fields talks about her maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorothy Fields talks about her paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorothy Fields talks about family names and her maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorothy Fields talks about the high school education of relatives on her mother's side at historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dorothy Fields talks about Miami's Colored Town

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dorothy Fields describes her family's move from Miami, Florida's Colored Town to Brownsville, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dorothy Fields talks about her childhood education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorothy Fields remembers the lesson she learned after earning an 'F' in physical education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorothy Fields shares her memories of her Aunt Bert

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorothy Fields talks about her close-knit maternal family, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorothy Fields talks about close-knit her maternal family, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorothy Fields talks about her experience at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorothy Fields describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorothy Fields talks about Bahamian-style homes and why her family settled in Miami, Florida's Colored Town

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dorothy Fields describes her childhood memories and her family's involvement in black fraternal organizations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dorothy Fields talks about formative figures and events as a student at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dorothy Fields remembers moving to Massachusetts and her experiences of Boston and New York

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dorothy Fields talks about her experiences at Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorothy Fields recalls formative experiences from her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorothy Fields talks about her experience at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorothy Fields talks about her involvement in an intergroup youth council, and segregation in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorothy Fields remembers Spelman College's policies and meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorothy Fields talks about her participation in the Civil Rights Movement as a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorothy Fields describes the response of Spelman College's president, Dr. Albert Manley, to student activism during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorothy Fields describes the environment of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and her experience there

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dorothy Fields describes why she did not go to graduate school in New York City, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dorothy Fields describes her experiences as an exchange student at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorothy Fields talks about her experience as an exchange student at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorothy Fields describes how she became a school librarian and reading teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorothy Fields talks about working in a federal color awareness program and her marriage to Eddie Fields

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorothy Fields talks about her experiences of racial discrimination while working as a teacher at Myrtle Grove Elementary School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorothy Fields describes meeting Thelma Peters and Arva Moore Parks McCabe through her search for the history of blacks in Miami, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorothy Fields talks about how she came to work at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the skills she learned there

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dorothy Fields discusses her findings about the founders of the City of Miami, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dorothy Fields talks about her graduate studies in the University of Oklahoma's outreach program in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorothy Fields describes the beginning of her research on blacks in Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorothy Fields talks about her studies in archives administration and historic preservation at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorothy Fields remembers being falsely told that Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, Florida could not become a part of the National Register of Historic Places

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorothy Fields talks about her research on black ancestry in Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorothy Fields talks about assembling a board of directors after establishing the Black Archives Foundation in 1977

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorothy Fields describes how Florida's I-95 expressway displaced black residents in Miami's Overtown neighborhood

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dorothy Fields compares Miami, Florida's Overtown and Downtown neighborhoods

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dorothy Fields remembers leading her board of directors into Miami's Overtown community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dorothy Fields describes how the thriving atmosphere of Miami's Colored Town was destroyed by the construction of I-95

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dorothy Fields talks about her discovery of Miami's Lyric Theater and her vision for the Historic Overtown Folk Life District

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dorothy Fields talks about the purchase of the Lyric Theater and buildings and its placement on the National Register of Historic Places

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dorothy Fields talks about working to preserve and restore the Lyric Theater

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dorothy Fields describes writing a last minute response to an RFP for Florida International University in Miami, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dorothy Fields describes her doctoral studies in her fifties through Union Institute & University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dorothy Fields talks about her two daughters

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dorothy Fields talks about her mentor, John Hope Franklin

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Dorothy Fields talks about her participation in the Civil Rights Movement as a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia
Dorothy Fields discusses her findings about the founders of the City of Miami, Florida
Transcript
But that was quite an experience then because as the movement [Civil Rights Movement] started, I mean when we started with him [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] in the fall of '60 [1960], it was a matter of helping to get Rich's Department Store to serve black people. One of the graduation presents that I got was a credit card to Rich's Department Store, one of the largest department stores in the southeast. And of course I would--wanted it so I could go for dinner and treat my friends for food.$$Right.$$I wasn't--and a few clothes, but then food. Not that the food at Spelman [College, Atlanta, Georgia] wasn't good but it was just a matter of being out and being able to do something someplace else. But we couldn't sit down. You'd have to get it and stand up. And so it started off a very small movement and then I remember I guess maybe--that was in the fall, maybe by spring he told us that they're going to start marching, actually walking from the AU Center [Atlanta University Center, Atlanta, Georgia] to downtown, to Rich's, and so we started doing that. And we made a human chain around Rich's, and you know how large Rich's is?$$Yeah, the one right Downtown--$$Downtown.$$--it's huge.$$That was the only one at the time.$$Okay.$$And--$$Yeah, there's no Lenox Mall and--$$Didn't exist. A human chain was made.$$Of Spelman [College, Atlanta, Georgia] and Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia] and Clark [College, Atlanta, Georgia] students?$$Yes.$$And Morris Brown [College, Atlanta, Georgia]?$$And students started coming from all over the country. And when we would get to--we would march quietly. You were not supposed to say anything--just and if anyone said anything to you, just you know turn the other cheek, don't say anything. When we would get to a corner, the Ku Klux--Klu Klux Klan in full regalia would come and run into us.$$Oh!$$And the guys from Morehouse would be--the Ku Klux Klan would do a counter march. The guys from Morehouse would run across the street through the traffic and try to catch us, hold their arms out like this so we wouldn't be pushed into the traffic.$$Wow.$$The Ku Klux Klan would also march with, do a counter march. We're going one way, there going another. They had bowling balls in shopping bags and they would swing the bowling--the shopping bag to try to hit us in the stomach, to try to give us you know, so we wouldn't be able to have children. It was not easy. And then we would--$$Bowling balls?$$Bowling balls in shopping bags that they would swing at us, try to hit you.$$Right, cause you're not going to punch a woman?$$Yes, yes, yes, yes, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.$$Wow.$$And then when we get back on campus there would be a cross-burning.$$So--$$So I don't know how we studied. I don't know how we studied and how we got through. And I know my mother [Dorothy Johnson Jenkins McKellar] was so, so afraid because she said, not only for my safety and the safety of my friends and the whole campus, but she was concerned that she was going to lose her job. She said if they see you on television, and recognize you I can lose my job.$$Wow.$$So she was always very afraid, yes, that she would lose her job. And she could have.$$To think, so that retaliation--$$Yes.$$--all the way down here--$$Oh, definitely.$$--because of--?$$Oh, sure, sure.$$Had that happened to anybody else that you knew around here or just--?$$No, but did [HM] Thelma Gibson tell you that her husband [Reverend Canon Theodore Roosevelt Gibson] was with, was president of the [Miami chapter of the] NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and they--the [Joseph] McCarthy people requested during the Red Scare, the membership roll and her husband refused to do it and they, yes.$$No, she didn't.$$She didn't tell you that story? Oh my, that was very important, yes, uh-huh. So we knew that that could happen. We knew that that could happen.$What continues to propel you along this path that's brought you here?$$Well, actually when I went home the day after, the day that I spoke with the women at the library, and she had said--so what she said, I went home and Uncle Sammy lived right across the street and I went, stopped home like my uncles and aunts would always do--$$Right, right.$$--and talked to him about it. So he said well Mrs. Fields, I guess you don't understand our history any more than the woman at the library. He's saying don't blame her. This is the kind of family, right? No nonsense.$$Okay.$$Okay, remember my mom [Dorothy Johnson Jenkins McKellar] and the 'F,' okay. Never, you know not any nonsense, loving family, but no nonsense. He said well you don't understand it any better than she. The fact is my generation has been too busy trying to survive. It's going to be up to you and your generation to write the history. No there's no written history. It's going to be up to your generation. He was very philosophical about it and always with stories to tell. He even told me that as a young boy, he remembers in Miami's Colored Town [now Overtown, Miami, Florida] the old men sitting around talking and playing checkers and laughing and boasting that they helped Miami become a city. So once I started on this, it opened new vistas, which was his, one of his favorite words. He said see if you can find any evidence of what they've been talking about.$$(Unclear).$$And sure enough I was able to get from the clerk's office a copy of the original charter for the city of Miami, and it just blew my mind because--$$What did it say?$$--that charter shows--we have that original copy. I mean we have a copy of that--the same copy that I got then, I have now and I want to bring it out for you to see it, shows that a third of the men who stood for the City of Miami's incorporation were black men. And my uncle really wanted see if the men could--who could read or write? He wanted to know which names he recognized and many of them had been in slavery.$$Wow.$$See, this was 1896--$$Right, right.$$--and so that was 19, I mean 1865 [sic, 1896], so many of them were old men but they were there. As it turns out all of the names were written in one hand, the hand of the clerk of the court at the time.$$Okay.$$But next to each man's name was his race, so that's how we knew.$$Oh, exactly.$$That's how we know who was black and who was white. That's why instead of people saying oh, you should have a museum. I say, well a museum is fine and you bring in collections and you interpret the collections. But when you identify, collect, process and make available to students and scholars and teachers and to the public at large, the primary source material that then is interpreted by a historian then for me that, that goes deeper than just showing something that's on the wall, and so I started collecting primary sources.

Walter Hill, Jr.

Walter Hill, Jr., was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 22, 1949. After finishing high school, Hill enrolled in the College of Wooster, earning a B.A. degree in history in 1971. From there, he attended Northern Illinois University, studying American history. Earning an M.A. degree in 1973, he returned to school to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1988.

After completing his master’s degree, Hill taught at St. Louis University from 1974 to 1977. He returned to school in the fall of 1977 to work towards the Ph.D. in U.S. History at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. He worked as a graduate teaching assistant and later as an instructor in the Afro-American Studies Program between 1982 and 1983. While working towards the Ph.D., he also worked at the National Archives and Records Administration as a graduate intermittent research student until 1983 in the Office of the Archivist and Office of Federal Records. From 1983 to 1984, he held a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Upon completing the fellowship in 1984, he returned to the National Archives and Records Administration as an archivist with the Office of the National Archives where he remained for seven years. In 1990, he left to work in the Office of Public Program, assuming the role of director of the Modern Archives Institute and subject specialist for Afro-American history. He remained with the office until 1995 when he departed for the new facility in College Park, Maryland, and assumed the position of senior archivist and subject area specialist for Afro-American history and federal records. In 1984, Hill became an adjunct professor of Afro-American history in the Afro-American Studies Department, Howard University, Washington, D.C., and taught courses in Afro-American history for the next two decades.

As a noted historian, Hill appeared in several documentaries, as well as on Good Morning America, Washington Journal and Fox TV. He served on the editorial board of the African American History Bulletin, the Executive Council of the Association for the Study of Afro-American History and on the advisory board of The HistoryMakers, among others. He has also written extensively, his work appearing in such journals as the Newsletter of the American Historical Association and the Journal of Minority Issues.

Hill passed away on July 29, 2008 at the age of 59.

Accession Number

A2003.254

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/11/2003

Last Name

Hill

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bowers

Schools

Dessalines Elementary School

Pruitt Elementary School

Vashon High School

College of Wooster

Northern Illinois University

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

HIL01

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/22/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti, Meatballs, Cornbread, Green Peas

Death Date

7/29/2008

Short Description

Archivist, historian, and african american history professor Walter Hill, Jr. (1949 - 2008 ) teaches at Howard University and was a senior archivist for the National Archives and Records in Washington D.C. As a noted historian, Hill appeared in several documentaries and has written for numerous publications including, 'Newsletter of the American Historical Association' and the 'Journal of Minority Issues'.

Employment

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Howard University

African American Civil War Memorial

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
370,0:796,8:1080,13:3352,58:4488,94:5340,109:5766,149:7612,176:8180,186:10807,252:11091,257:11872,277:12369,284:18110,314:21565,332:22645,341:28036,365:28612,372:32890,381:35890,439:36265,445:37540,469:37990,476:38365,483:39190,496:40765,522:43430,529:43910,537:44470,546:48230,616:48630,622:49030,628:49952,640:50276,647:50708,657:51086,665:54032,686:54640,695:55324,710:55856,717:57072,744:57604,753:57908,758:58364,765:58896,773:59352,780:60340,804:64116,847:64456,853:64932,861:65408,871:65884,879:66156,884:66904,897:67652,909:69352,941:69964,951:70576,964:70848,969:72480,994:72820,1000:73568,1018:77846,1049:82295,1127:83099,1142:83635,1151:84439,1170:84975,1180:85243,1185:85846,1196:86382,1208:86717,1214:86985,1219:89531,1270:89799,1275:90134,1282:94410,1302:94810,1307:96110,1322:96610,1328:97410,1337:99384,1351:100356,1361:100923,1370:104174,1408:111690,1509:112830,1543:113190,1550:113490,1556:113730,1561:114630,1587:115170,1605:115590,1613:115950,1621:116610,1635:117090,1644:122594,1715:123413,1733:123917,1742:124547,1753:126059,1787:126311,1792:126815,1802:127130,1808:130166,1827:131174,1853:132830,1899:133334,1907:133622,1912:134054,1919:136410,1932:138118,1947:138566,1956:139014,1964:139398,1972:142071,2002:144402,2047:145870,2063:148120,2109:152170,2186:155990,2227:156502,2236:161494,2357:162582,2380:162966,2387:163798,2407:164886,2438:165270,2446:165654,2453:166166,2464:166422,2469:166678,2474:167190,2484:167830,2498:168342,2511:168854,2524:169110,2529:172990,2536:174665,2567:175536,2585:176407,2599:177077,2615:177345,2620:177613,2629:178618,2654:179154,2666:179489,2672:181097,2698:187062,2753:187507,2759:189287,2778:189999,2790:190355,2795:190978,2803:191601,2811:195698,2834:196751,2850:197399,2859:198371,2874:199100,2885:199829,2896:200234,2902:200720,2910:203555,2946:207524,2990:209110,3000:209465,3006:210388,3022:210743,3028:211169,3035:211453,3040:217004,3088:217613,3096:218657,3114:219788,3142:220136,3147:220571,3153:222572,3186:227076,3219:227488,3224:228106,3233:228930,3243:229960,3255:233685,3280:234595,3296:235895,3325:238588,3359:239380,3374:239740,3380:240460,3396:241252,3409:242550,3414:242826,3419:243792,3440:244620,3456:245241,3467:247242,3543:247794,3549:250968,3603:251520,3612:251796,3617:254500,3634:254740,3639:254980,3644:255280,3650:256660,3681:256960,3687:258280,3712:258940,3727:259240,3733:260920,3778:261160,3783:261520,3791:262600,3817:263080,3826:263680,3867:263980,3873:267010,3878:273388,3974:273712,3979:274117,3993:276142,4034:278491,4071:278896,4077:281407,4127:281812,4133:282217,4142:283027,4157:283513,4164:283918,4170:284323,4176:284647,4181:284971,4186:292108,4278:293196,4293:293536,4299:294556,4322:295032,4331:295508,4340:298125,4352:298580,4361:298905,4367:299230,4373:299685,4383:301180,4412:301830,4426:304755,4513:305015,4518:306120,4537:308005,4583:314396,4648:315144,4661:315620,4669:315892,4674:318068,4724:318408,4730:318748,4736:321604,4785:322080,4794:322692,4806:323236,4815:323712,4824:324052,4830:328282,4885:328617,4892:331364,4960:332436,4979:333106,4990:334580,5023:335116,5032:335920,5053:337729,5095:338332,5106:338667,5112:338935,5117:339203,5122:340811,5169:341347,5183:346080,5214:349004,5240$0,0:1260,11:3852,28:4148,33:4962,45:7404,128:7700,133:8292,144:8884,154:9180,159:10364,183:10660,188:11252,199:11548,204:12140,213:13472,235:13990,244:14582,254:15100,263:15618,272:16358,283:16728,289:21448,308:23080,349:24032,369:26140,411:26684,421:27772,444:28180,451:29608,478:29948,484:30696,506:31852,533:32124,538:32532,545:33484,587:35660,615:36544,638:37088,648:37632,663:37904,668:43462,678:44701,706:44996,712:45232,717:45645,725:46294,744:47769,792:48064,798:49539,844:50188,856:52666,910:59358,987:59792,996:61094,1026:61590,1038:63078,1071:63388,1077:63822,1085:64070,1090:64504,1099:65062,1113:66984,1163:67294,1169:67604,1175:68472,1206:69650,1224:70208,1236:70518,1242:71138,1253:75154,1269:75538,1274:77170,1310:78226,1328:80260,1334:81594,1375:82406,1394:82812,1402:83044,1407:83392,1414:83972,1425:86531,1462:87014,1472:87773,1492:88118,1498:88739,1509:89084,1515:89567,1524:89912,1530:91568,1561:92258,1572:92534,1577:92948,1585:93638,1598:94052,1605:94604,1615:95984,1643:96812,1660:97364,1669:97640,1674:97916,1679:98537,1690:99641,1716:101435,1751:106679,1872:114430,1903:114780,1909:116390,1944:118700,1986:119050,1992:119400,1998:123155,2045:123530,2051:124205,2063:124880,2078:125405,2087:129230,2188:129980,2227:131030,2237:131330,2242:132305,2262:133730,2300:134030,2305:134330,2310:135455,2331:135755,2336:136205,2349:137030,2361:138155,2389:138680,2398:138980,2403:139730,2414:140030,2419:140705,2430:147693,2470:149019,2514:149376,2526:149784,2535:150345,2548:152025,2571
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Hill interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Hill's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Hill talks about his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Hill talks about his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Hill remembers his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Hill discusses living in the Pruitt-Igoe housing projects

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Hill tells of his immediate family members

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Hill describes his mother's involvement in Pruit-Igoe family councils

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Hill explains his childhood personality and interests

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Hill remembers influential school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Hill talks about his early study of black history

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Hill recounts his high school career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Hill recalls the presence of the Vietnam War during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Hill remembers his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Hill discusses his religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Hill details his transition from high school into college

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter Hill tells of his experiences at The College of Wooster

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter Hill names influential professors at The College of Wooster

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Walter Hill recounts student activism at The College of Wooster

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Walter Hill discusses his travels to Kenya

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Hill discusses his experiences in Kenya

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Hill talks about black participation in Olympic events

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Hill shares observations from his travels to Kenya

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Hill comments on black history scholars' writings

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Hill explains the social and political climate for young African Americans in the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Hill tells of his involvement in bettering black communities

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Hill talks about black student organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Walter Hill remembers influential black historians

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Hill explains his decision to attend University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Hill discusses his early involvement with The National Archives

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Hill talks about the history of black employees at The National Archives

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Hill tells of African American history included in The National Archives

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Hill describes popular areas of study on African American history at The National Archives

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Hill comments on The National Archives records pertaining to lynchings

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Hill discusses The National Archive's FBI records

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Hill talks about European scholars' interest in African American history

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Walter Hill talks about favorite discoveries during his career at The National Archives

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter Hill discusses various documents from black soldiers within The National Archives

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter Hill comments on feature films that attempt to document black history

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter Hill details African American military involvement during the Civil War

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter Hill recounts the history of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Walter Hill explains the connection of World War II and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Walter Hill shares his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Walter Hill comments on the importance of oral history

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Hill considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - How Walter Hill would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Walter Hill describes popular areas of study on African American history at The National Archives
Walter Hill talks about favorite discoveries during his career at The National Archives
Transcript
Give us some examples as to the kinds of records that are here, I mean--$$Well, I'll give you three top, hot topics--.$$They would surprise us about that.$$Yeah, I'll give you three hot topics, I think, in Afro-American history that everybody wants to talk about: Number one, United States Colored Troops, okay. Number two is the Tuskegee Airmen, okay. And, and number three is what I considered sort of, sort of, sort of the, the, the great individuals and the one person that I think is, is focused here is Robert C. Weaver when he comes to Washington [D.C.] in the 1930s in the New Deal, all right. Those are three areas that I have talked about and written about. And, and the Tuskegee Airmen and the United States Colored Troops, of, that's a very unique history 'cause they, they're no longer with us. And that's the fascinating thing about federal records. There's this breakdown in distinction between records that pertain to different groups. All this documentation of, of, of black people is sort of segregated and then you can go right to it. The records of the United States Colored Troops are there. The records of the Tuskegee Airmen and all the facets of that process is there. The whole fact that you had a segregated and--and I guess you can call that a fourth element--the fact that you had a black military dynamic where from 18-, from the Revolutionary War on to World, to the Korean War, you had this segregated--even though in the American Revolution the Continental Army was really integrated, a lot of black people don't know that. But a lot of black people don't even realize that we fought in the American Revolution (laughter). But by the time of the Civil War when--and, of course, after the American Revolution Congress designates that the, the Army should be white males. But in the Civil War when we get the creation of the United States Colored Troops, there's this debate about arming black men. So that's a history that is fascinating. And it's all in these records here. Now you get in the 20th century, and we have the Spanish-American War, World World I, World War II. You still have this segregated army that--and it's an amazing history, you see. And then you have the Tuskegee Airmen, the Tuskegee Airmen Association is still with us, and a lot of those men are dying out, and that history is very important. But it's a unique history. These are people, these are institutions that no longer exist, but they will always be studied. And I've written about all of this stuff, right. So this is what I mean about the immense documentation because you not only find the documentation of African American in paper documents we call textual records, but there's Afro-American history in the, the still pictures, the, the photos. We have over 10 million images in, in the, our holdings of the National Archives. And probably a quarter of those images, quarter, a million of them, 250,000 probably or 200,000 of those images contain images of black people alone or black people with other groups--amazing stuff, you know. Maybe a million more, but we have over 10 million images. We have black people documented, documented in motion on audio-visual. We have maps that, we have maps about slave populations, where slave populations are located in the slave-holding states. And even when the census began to count black people, we have census track maps that point to where black people lived in cities and rural areas--fascinating stuff.$$So you can track their migration.$$You can track migration. You can also track black families because remember what happened in 1977 when Alex Haley wrote 'Roots.' It changed the whole dynamics of genealogical research. And black people discovered, oh, we got a history that goes back to Africa! And I was in the National Archives [and Records Administration] in those days when that book came out, and I saw what happened in '78 [1978] and '79 [1979]--you couldn't get into that building because everybody was doing genealogical research, yeah. 'Roots' changed the whole dynamic.$$It did and it didn't on some level. We still don't, I mean, a lot of people still don't know much about or dig into where they, their origin.$$Well, it has a lot to do with their historical consciousness, quite frankly, you know--how much you think of history and what you think about history. Because there's still a bias about history because, you know, I, I, I teach at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] and I, and I have juniors and senior students in my--I teach 19th century and 20th century black social and political thought. And I ask, half the students who believe that American history is biased and tell too many lies about black people. Now this is in 2003, so you can imagine what was going on in people's minds in those days, in the '70s [1970s] and '80s [1980s]. But we've come a long way. And like I said I think it has a lot to do with our, the development of our historical consciousness and our historical thinking about who we are and what we are and what has happened to us. Because we don't know much about American history and we don't know a lot about our own history, yeah, in terms of, in terms of the masses, yeah.$What's the most, what's the most interesting thing you've discovered here in the National Archives [and Records Administration] that most of us would not know existed?$$Oh, boy, this goes back to my days with the project, Ira Berlin's project, because I began to read the letters of black soldiers and slave people. And just reading their thoughts about their--what's going on in the war--that opened up a lot because I began to see the slave agency that scholars had begun to write about and are writing about now that slaves were very active participants in their freedom. And I saw this stuff being documented because there were any number of letters that I came across in which black soldiers talked about what they're doing, why they're doing it, they're gonna get, they're gonna free their families, and this and that. And it was just fascinating stuff to me. That, you know, was one of the elements that attracted me to archives because I'm reading original stuff. You know, when you pick up a document and read a letter or a series of letters, you're really going back in time into the minds of that individual. And when I read all this stuff, what these black slaves and these Union troops, these black Union troops, and white commanding officers, I was just fascinated. I, you, and that's the fascinating thing about being an archivist and a, particularly a project archivist, because when you're processing records, you have a task to do. But when you, when you're reading these documents, these letters, these reports, whatever, you can get fascinated with them so much and you forget about you have a job to do, a task to complete. And I remember many days sitting in those stack areas down in archives going through these dusty boxes, reading these letters--oh my God, oh my God! And I'm forgetting what I'm supposed to be doing. But that was the really eye-opening thing to me about archives, black history, and black people. Reading the, the, the letters of these black soldiers and, and, and in, in those days, see, black people used people who can read and write to do, to, to say the things that they want to do 'cause we, we're talking about an illiterate people, you know. But they had minds, they knew what they wanted to say, what was going on in their lives. So from that point on, I realized that this is just fascinating work. And, and it was this story of this transition from slavery to freedom that really fascinated me. And that's why, one of the reasons why I stayed here at the National Archives and Records Administration.