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Toni Carter

Civic leader Toni Carter was born on June 29, 1954 in Bessemer, Alabama. She attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1971, and later received her B.S. degree in K-8 education from Concordia University in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2000.

Carter served as an IBM systems engineer in technical marketing in 1978 before leaving to teach at Crosswinds Middle School in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1990. Carter then spent twelve years as a marketing representative, systems support manager and communications and arts consultant.

Carter was elected to the Saint Paul Public Schools Board of Education, where she served as member and chair from 2001 to 2005. She was then elected Ramsey County Commissioner for District 4, in Saint Paul, becoming the first African American to serve on a county board in Minnesota and serving the following terms: 2005, 2010, 2014 and 2019. During her tenure, she focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of county services, eliminating disparities in outcomes for diverse populations, and raising grassroots awareness of county decision-making processes and systems.

Active in the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), she served on the board of directors and also as its president. A member of the board of directors of the National Association of Counties (NACo), she served as chair of NACo’s Healthy Counties Initiative. She also served as co-chair of the Minnesota Human Services Performance Council and the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Stakeholder Committee. Carter was also the chief local elected official on the Ramsey County Workforce Investment Board.

Carter has worked and volunteered in the Twin Cities arts community for over three decades, acting professionally with Saint Paul’s Penumbra Theatre, in television and radio commercials and industrials, as talent for print media, and as co-founder and founding director of ARTS-Us.

Carter has served on numerous community boards, including the Saint Paul Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Area Library Service Agency (MELSA), the Walker West Music Academy, the West Side Community Health Center, the Saint Paul YWCA and the Jeremiah Program.

Carter has received numerous awards for her work in the community and in the arts and arts education, including an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Concordia University – Saint Paul.

Her son, Melvin Carter, III was elected mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2018.

Carter and her husband, Melvin Carter, Jr. have three adult children including Anika, Melvin, III and Alanna, six granddaughters and two grandsons.

Toni Carter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.129

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/19/2018

Last Name

Carter

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Toni

Birth City, State, Country

Bessemer

HM ID

CAR40

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Rica

Favorite Quote

Love Many, Trust Few. Learn To Paddle Your Own Canoe

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Minnesota

Birth Date

6/20/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Civic leader Toni Carter (1954- ) elected to the Saint Paul Public Schools Board of Education where she served as member and chair from 2001 to 2005, the was the first African American to serve on a county board in Minnesota as the Ramsey County Commissioner for District 4, in Saint Paul. Her term of service were 2005, 2010 and 2014.

Favorite Color

Violet

Jack Whitten

Visual artist Jack Whitten was born on December 5, 1939 in Bessemer, Alabama to Annie B. Cross Whitten and Mose Whitten. He was a pre-med student at Tuskegee Institute before leaving the university in 1959. He then studied art at Southern University in Baton Rouge briefly, before moving to New York City and enrolling at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1960, where he earned his B.F.A. degree.

In New York, Whitten became influenced by artists such as Willem de Kooning and Norman Lewis, as well as jazz musicians such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Whitten had his first group exhibition in 1965 at Allan Stone Gallery in New York, which also hosted his first solo exhibition in 1968. In the late 1960s, he became an art professor at The Cooper Union and School of Visual Arts. He later taught at Manhattan Community College. Beginning in the 1970s, Whitten broke away from abstract expressionist influences and began to experiment with tools he created to apply paint to canvas, such as a twelve foot rake that he called the “developer.” In 1974, he participated in a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1983, a solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem celebrated his paintings from 1970 to 1980. In the 1980s, Whitten became interested in using paint as the base of a collage; and in the 1990s and the 2000s, he experimented with the casting of acrylic paint from molds and the construction of paintings as mosaics made from acrylic tesserae. His work was installed in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. His work was also featured in a fifty year retrospective exhibition in 2014. With Hauser & Wirth and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp as his representation, Whitten has shown his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Savannah College of Art and Design, Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium, Art Basel in Switzerland, Walker Art Center, Alexander Gray Associates, and Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.

Whitten has been awarded the 2015 National Medal of Arts, John Hay Whitney Fellowship, an Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the National Endowments for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Fellowship. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute and Brandeis University in 2014 and 2016, respectively.

Whitten passed away on January 20, 2018 at age 78.

Jack Whitten was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 3, 2016 and October 27, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.033

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/3/2016 |and| 10/27/2016

Last Name

Whitten

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver Elementary School

Carver Junior High School

Dunbar High School

Tuskegee University

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Cooper Union

First Name

Jack

Birth City, State, Country

Bessemer

HM ID

WHI21

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Crete

Favorite Quote

Shit Happens.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/5/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Death Date

1/20/2018

Short Description

Painter Jack Whitten (1939 - 2018 ) created abstract paintings for over half a century, exhibiting at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.

Employment

The Cooper Union

School of Visual Arts

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jack Whitten's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten recalls segregation in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten remembers his mother's first husband, James Monroe Cross

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jack Whitten remembers his younger brother, Bill Whitten

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jack Whitten talks about his upbringing in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jack Whitten describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jack Whitten describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jack Whitten describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten describes his father's job as a coal miner

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten recalls his childhood interests in the arts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten talks about his early jobs

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten recalls learning how to hunt

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten remembers influential people from his grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten describes his experiences at Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten recalls his difficulties in the Air Force ROTC at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten recalls meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten describes bus segregation during the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten recalls going swimming during his childhood in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten talks about his decision to transfer to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten recalls working in construction

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten talks about his summer jobs while attending Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten recalls a civil rights protest at Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jack Whitten remembers meeting Fats Domino in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten recalls his decision to study at Cooper Union in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten remembers the artists that he met at Cooper Union

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten recalls his interactions with Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten talks about his course of study at Cooper Union

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten describes the art styles that influenced him at Cooper Union

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten remembers attending music shows in New York City during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten describes how music and science influenced his artwork

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten recalls his experiences in New York City during the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten describes New York City's Lower East Side during the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s influence on his art

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten describes the autobiographical content of his art during the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten remembers his first marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten describes the start of his teaching career in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten recalls his exhibitions in New York City art galleries during the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jack Whitten talks about the difficulty of making a living as an artist

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jack Whitten describes his marriage to Mary Staikos Whitten

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten describes how his artistic style changed from the 1960s to the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten talks about his decision to work with acrylic paint

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten describes how he began to use collage in his paintings, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten describes how he began to use collage in his paintings, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten talks about his use of tesserae in his paintings

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten describes his Greek alphabet series

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten talks about the concept of opticality in his art

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten recalls showing his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten describes his college teaching career in New York City

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten recalls creating specialized tools for his paintings

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten shares his ideas about autobiographical content in art

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten describes his painting 'Dead Reckoning I'

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten talks about the concept of compression in abstract art

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jack Whitten describes his background in black history during his youth

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jack Whitten talks about the influence of scientific discoveries on his art

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten recalls his solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten talks about the fire that destroyed his home in 1980

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten describes his home and studio in Tribeca, New York City

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten describes the inspiration behind his artwork in the late 1980s

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten recalls incorporating tesserae into his work in the 1990s

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten talks about his love for undersea spearfishing

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten recalls fishing in Greece

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Jack Whitten describes his Black Monolith series, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten describes his Black Monolith series, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten talks about the process of making tesserae

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten recalls the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten recalls the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten talks about his painting, '9-11-01'

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten describes his 2007 solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art PS1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten talks about joining the Alexander Gray Associates gallery

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Jack Whitten reflects upon political messages in his work during the 2000s

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Jack Whitten describes his artistic interests at the time of the interview

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Jack Whitten talks about his American exhibitions during the 2010s

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Jack Whitten describes his European exhibitions during the 2010s

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Jack Whitten talks about his family's reactions to his artwork

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Jack Whitten recalls working with Hauser and Wirth

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Jack Whitten remembers meeting President Barack Obama

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Jack Whitten describes his plans for the future

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Jack Whitten reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Jack Whitten talks about his artistic processes

Tape: 11 Story: 10 - Jack Whitten reflects upon his life

Tape: 11 Story: 11 - Jack Whitten describes his hopes for the future

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$8

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Jack Whitten talks about his course of study at Cooper Union
Jack Whitten describes his painting 'Dead Reckoning I'
Transcript
You had had such a different experience in the South--well not even (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Totally different with white people.$$--not even having conversations with white people.$$Oh no, no you kept your distance. But coming to New York [New York], going to Cooper Union [Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, New York], that was the first time that I sat into a classroom with white students. First time I had sat next to a white kid in school. And of course, the first time I had white instructors. But my experience--$$(Unclear).$$--my experience. Well the worst thing was, nobody understood me. I mean I'm talking with this southern dialect and it was difficult to make myself--people to understand what I was trying to say 'cause my southern accent was so thick. But I had one professor at Cooper Union, his name was Robert Gwathmey. He was my first year drawing instructor, who was a southern white man. Gwathmey was a painter. His paintings--he did paintings of black people in the South. And Gwathmey loved me, boy he took me under his wing. The two of us would start talking in all the southern talk and the rest of the kids would just lay back, like whoa (laughter). And that helped. Gwathmey was a big help.$$How do you spell Gwathmey?$$Gwathmey, G-W-A-T-H-M-E-Y. He is the father to Charles Gwathmey, the great architect. I knew Charles too. But Charles was not like his father. His father was an old time leftist Socialist. The son was very different.$$So you were being exposed to a completely different type of relationship with art and with whites?$$Oh yeah, totally different. Totally different from anything I had ever experienced in the South. Not a little bit, totally.$$And then de Kooning [Willem de Kooning], where was he from?$$Oh he's Dutch.$$Well see so, it's also that he was not American.$$Oh no, he--it was hard to understand him. He still spoke with a thick Dutch accent. You know, de Kooning came to this country illegally. He was a stowaway on a boat and jumped ship. That's how he came here. Worked as a house painter.$$And by the time you met him, he was a very established--$$Oh by the time I met him he was known. He was showing in the galleries. I used to go to his opening of his shows here in New York, whenever he had a show.$$The art that you had been making, at least the utilitarian art had been signs and posters, and this kind of thing. When do you discover that--what your art is?$$Oh that became much later.$$Okay.$$I would say--well not too much later 'cause I was a--I'm a fast learner. I would say about the second year at Cooper Union I started getting there, picture of what this stuff was about. And another thing that I learned from the Cedar bar [Cedar Tavern, New York, New York] and the abstract expressionists, and I think it's very important, these people didn't take no shit. Like nothing stopped them. They spoke boldly about what they were and what they wanted to do. And they had this amazing degree of freedom about them. And that struck me as being, whoa, I've made the right decision. Like whatever this art thing is, that's what I wanna do. That convinced me. And that's from meeting people across the board both black and white. Like when you start seeing the commitment that people had who were much older than you, you started getting the picture, right, of what to expect and what it was about.$$And as you're figuring out what style of art is working for you, you're taking classes--are you learning each--like what are you learning?$$I'm learning primarily gestural abstraction. I'm taking from Bill de Kooning, I'm taking from Norman Lewis. Romare Bearden, I used to go to his studio. He had just started his collages with the black faces and black subject matter. So I'm learning about the notion of theme and style. I'm learning a lot from Bearden about the nature of collage. All Bill's work was about collage. Which is what I'm doing today, but I do it with paint. My--the paintings I do today are acrylic collages. They're not taken from media, they're just paint that's used as collage.$So in the '80s [1980s], how is it shown?$$The '80s [1980s]--$$How are you using the raw material?$$See, the '80s [1980s] was a big break. The painting that's on the cover of the Studio Museum catalogue, 'Dead Reckoning' ['Dead Reckoning I,' Jack Whitten], that was 1980. That painting was the first time after ten years that I could really stand up and do something (laughter).$$'Dead Reckoning.'$$'Dead Reckoning,' it's at the Studio Museum. My brother Billy [Bill Whitten] bought that painting, paid me for it and donated it to the Studio Museum in Harlem [New York, New York]. That's how they got it.$$And tell me about the painting?$$The painting is 'Dead Reckoning.' Dead reckoning is a term I had first heard when I was at Tuskegee [Tuskegee Institute; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama], when I was with the [U.S.] Air Force ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps], or--deals with navigation. I remember the instructor explaining, using that term. He says, "At a certain point," there--something happens--as he put it, "as some shit happens" (laughter), he says, "You have to make a decision, which is your best chance for survival? Do you continue on your present course, go forward, or do you have a best chance of survival to turn around and go back?" That was the first time I'd heard that term, dead reckoning. And then later I heard it in terms of celestial navigation in terms of how to plot by the stars. And it was my buddies in Crete [Greece], the fish captains who were good friends of mine in Crete that I learned that. At night when we are out on the sea and blue water fishing, or if you don't--if it's your first time you don't know where you are, you can't see nothing (laughter). But one--the great revelation for me though in blue water was that, whoa, I'm in the middle of a huge circle. It's amazing, in blue water you turn around you realize you're in the middle of a big circle and the circle's center is always changing. That's amazing. That is truly amazing. Now my buddies, the fish captains, Captain Yonni, in particular, Captain Yonni Baganakos [ph.] good, good buddy of mine. He knew exactly where he was, but Captain Yonni, father was a fisherman, his grandfather was a fisherman. The kid grew up on the boat since he was four, five years old, and he's still fishing today.$$See he had a sense of--he knew exactly where he was?$$He knew exactly where he was, always (laughter). So that was--I found that to be a sense of comfort.$$Of recognizing?$$So dead reckoning is a rich term, right. Another version is that you throw away all your navigational tools, get rid of all your tools, learn to plot, to navigate. No tools, just go by your heart, go by your feeling. It's a rich term, very complex, loaded.$$And this piece has a lot of circles in it, a lot of math in it?$$Yeah, those circles is gun sights, so that's like a targeting system, navigational gun sights, you know. It was by that time, I had located the target.$$And it was?$$Oh I knew where--what I had to hit. I had, I was going, I was pulled down into deeper into what I call the unit. This is where my theory of molecular perception comes from. I had narrowed it down to molecular perception, to go down deep into something. To go to a place where the naked eye cannot see. And for the painter, we can only do that through our mind. We feel our way by hard intuition, go through the mind. So at that point, we're talking about a combination of conceptual skills, intuitiveness, you know, the perceptual plus the conceptual I call it.

Carl Singley

Lawyer and educator Carl E. Singley was born in Alabama on March 21, 1946. In 1968, Singley graduated from Talladega College with his B.A. degree. He went on to receive his J.D. degree from Temple University in 1972 and his LL.M. degree from Yale Law School in 1974.

In 1974, Singley was hired as a law professor at Temple University and became a full professor at the age of thirty-three. He then served as dean of Temple’s law school from 1983 through 1987. At the time of his appointment, he was the first African American, the first Temple graduate and the youngest dean in the history of the law school. He retired as professor emeritus in 2004. Singley taught Civil and Appellate Procedure; Evidence; Jurisprudence; Legal Ethics; Municipal Finance; and State and Local Government Law. He has also authored and published numerous articles and essays on a wide variety of subjects, including legal ethics, criminal justice, jury trials, affirmative action, legal history, municipal finance, and leadership theory.

In 1987, Singley founded the largest African American law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which he managed for thirteen years before serving as a partner in two large Philadelphia law firms for eight years. Singley has been counsel to the law firm of Ciardi Ciardi & Astin since 2009. He has represented major corporations in litigation and transactional matters, and advised various local and state governments on a wide variety of federal, state, and municipal law matters. Singley has litigated and argued cases on employment law, contracts/business law, tort liability, libel law, constitutional law, and municipal law in various state and federal courts. He has also served in many public roles, including as the first deputy city solicitor for the City of Philadelphia, special counsel to the MOVE Commission, special counsel to the Philadelphia City Council, counsel to the Mayor of Philadelphia, special counsel to SEPTA, counsel to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and chairman of the Mayor’s Commission on Construction Industry Diversity. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and before the United States Supreme Court.

Singley’s civic and board memberships have included the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, North Star Bank, the Temple University Board of Trustees, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, PNC Bank Advisory Board, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Zoological Society of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Center City District, the Urban League of Philadelphia, and the Military Assistance Project. His recent awards include the A. Leon Higginbotham Award for Distinguished Service and the Thurgood Marshall Award; and he was named Diversity Attorney of the Year by the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2009.

Carl Singley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 11, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.167

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/11/2014

Last Name

Singley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Occupation
Schools

Red Ore Elementary School

Wenonah High School

Southern Normal School

Talladega College

Temple University Beasley School of Law

Yale Law School

First Name

Carl

Birth City, State, Country

Bessemer

HM ID

SIN02

State

Alabama

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/21/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Short Description

Lawyer and educator Carl Singley (1946 - ) Lawyer and educator Carl E. Singley (1946- ), of counsel to the law firm of Ciardi Ciardi & Astin, was a law professor at Temple University from 1974 to 2004, and served as dean of the University’s law school from 1983 through 1987. Singley also founded the largest African American law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and served in many public roles, including as special counsel to the Philadelphia City Council.

Employment

Detroit Urban League

Temple University Law School

City of Philadelphia

Singley & Associates Attorneys at Law

Blank Rome

Wolf Block

Ciardi Ciardi & Astin

Eddie Levert

Singer, and member of the famed O’Jays, Edward “Eddie” Levert, was born June 16, 1942, in Bessemer, Alabama. When Levert was eight years old, he moved with his family to the town of Canton, Ohio, where he attended McKinley High School. At a young age, Levert and childhood friend Walter Williams began performing as a gospel duo. As teenagers, the two were inspired to form a singing group after seeing a performance by Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers. Levert and Williams brought together fellow students Bobby Massey, William Powell, and Billy Isles, to form their first group, The Triumphs.

In 1960, The Triumphs signed with Syd Nathan, owner of King Records, and the group was renamed The Mascots. The next year, The Mascots recorded their first single, “Miracles”, which was deemed a local success, and drew the attention of famed Cleveland disc jockey Eddie O’Jay. Because O’Jay was an essential in the group’s managing and mentoring, The Triumphs decided to change their name to The O’Jays, as a tribute. That same year, the O’Jays began working with producer H.B. Barnum and Little Star Records. Shortly after, The O’Jays signed with Imperial Records, and released their debut single, Lonely Drifter, with the released their first album, Comin’ Through following in 1965. After a rocky start- including the withdrawal of Billy Isle from the group– The O’Jays met Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Then a part of the production team at Neptune Records, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff went on to create their own label, Philadelphia International, after Neptune shut down in 1971, taking The O’Jays with them. Under the new label, The O’Jays recorded their first big hit, Back Stabbers (1972). While with Philadelphia International, The O’Jays recorded nearly thirty charting singles, and several number one songs. Back Stabbersreached number one on the R&B charts, and number three on the Billboard Top 100 chart. In 1973, The O’Jays released Love Train, and the single became a number one hit on both the Hot 100 and R&B charts. In 1975, co-founder William Powell was forced to leave The O’Jays due to illness, dying of cancer two years later. After Powell’s death, The O’Jays released their fifth album, Family Reunion, which reached number seven on the Billboard Top 200.

The O’Jays have received the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award (1998), and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2005, they were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2009, BET awarded the group the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the group is still actively touring.

Eddie Levert is the father of three sons—Eddie Jr., Gerald, and Sean—all of whom are/were currently active in the music industry. In 2006, Gerald, an accomplished R&B singer, died at the age of 40. Two years later, son Sean, also an R&B artist, died at the age of 39. Eddie Jr. is currently the CEO of Levert Entertainment, a record label headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Eddie Levert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.242

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2013

Last Name

Levert

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Mckinley High School

J.J. Burns Elementary School

First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Bessemer

HM ID

LEV03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

6/16/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

R & B singer Eddie Levert (1942 - ) was a founding member of The O’Jays, one of the most prominent R&B music groups of the 1970s.

Employment

The O'Jays

Triumphs

Mascots

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4644,117:7396,160:8858,186:22808,394:23306,401:27452,446:39163,572:45656,627:46632,636:53815,726:54325,733:55770,752:56620,764:57555,778:58150,787:59765,815:60105,820:125030,1555:147536,1798:148193,1814:149507,1839:152135,1904:153741,1933:186470,2420:187445,2442:187970,2454:200250,2559:201020,2567:203390,2582$0,0:3946,156:39220,634:61540,866:76043,1083:76739,1101:79175,1168:79697,1175:80654,1184:81437,1196:92770,1323:116835,1621:117159,1626:124530,1777:145380,2032
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eddie Levert's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert talks about his relationship with his father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert talks about his relationship with his father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eddie Levert describes his upbringing in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eddie Levert talks about the importance of perseverance in the struggle

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eddie Levert describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eddie Levert talks about his brothers

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Eddie Levert describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Eddie Levert describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Eddie Levert remembers his abusive stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eddie Levert talks about his stepmother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert remembers his transition into his father's household

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert describes his community in Canton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert remembers singing in church, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert remembers singing in church, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eddie Levert recalls starring in 'The Ugly Duckling'

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eddie Levert describes the formation of The Triumphs

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eddie Levert remembers auditioning for Decca Records

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eddie Levert recalls signing a contract with King Records

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eddie Levert recalls changing his band's name to The Mascots

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert remembers the influence of Eddie O'Jay

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert remembers working with H.B. Barnum

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert recalls lessons from The O'Jays' time on the West Coast

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert remembers the West Coast lifestyle

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eddie Levert reflects upon the challenges faced by artists at Motown Records

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eddie Levert recalls The O'Jays' decision to return to the East Coast

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eddie Levert recalls the early years of his marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eddie Levert remembers the birth of his children

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eddie Levert remembers meeting Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert remembers reuniting The O'Jays in 1972

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert talks about the death of William Powell

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert talks about The O'Jays' repertoire

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert recalls the song selection process at Philadelphia International Records

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eddie Levert describes The O'Jays' relationship with management, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eddie Levert describes The O'Jays' relationship with management, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eddie Levert remembers Cholly Atkins

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eddie Levert remembers the pop star lifestyle

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert recalls his estrangement from his family

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert remembers helping Gerald Levert secure a record deal

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert reflects upon the impact of his decisions on his family

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert describes his strategy for success in the music industry

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eddie Levert remembers The O'Jays' achievements

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eddie Levert recalls The O'Jays' failed tour in 1977

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eddie Levert remembers The O'Jays' comeback in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Eddie Levert talks about 'Family Reunion'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eddie Levert talks about the production of The O'Jays' concerts

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert describes the appeal of The O'Jays' music

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert talks about racial expletives

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert talks about the rights to The O'Jays name

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert describes his relationship with Walter Williams

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eddie Levert talks about his leadership style

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eddie Levert remembers his fans

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eddie Levert reflects upon his experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Eddie Levert remembers his television appearances

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eddie Levert talks about the intersection of class and race

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert shares his views on the importance of history

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert reflects upon his success as a musician

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert remembers his initial feelings about his sons' music career

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert talks about the origin of the name LeVert

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eddie Levert talks about his advice to his son, Gerald Levert

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eddie Levert describes his relationship with his son, Gerald Levert

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eddie Levert remembers touring with his son, Gerald Levert

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Eddie Levert reflects upon his son's legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert remembers the death of his son, Gerald Levert

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert reflects upon his time with his son, Gerald Levert

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert reflects upon his sons' suffering

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert talks about his faith

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Eddie Levert remembers meeting and marrying Raquel Capelton

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Eddie Levert remembers his recovery from a broken foot

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Eddie Levert talks about his family's response to his second marriage

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Eddie Levert reflects upon his life

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Eddie Levert describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Eddie Levert talks about the emergence of white R and B musicians

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Eddie Levert talks about authentic rhythm and blues music

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Eddie Levert reflects upon his career and plans for the future

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Eddie Levert reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Eddie Levert describes the formation of The Triumphs
Eddie Levert remembers meeting Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff
Transcript
So you go to junior high school, right (simultaneous)?$$ (Simultaneous) Yes.$$And then what is that?$$ Junior high school is now Canton [Ohio], McKinley High School. That's the ninth grade (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So--$$Canton McKinley is known for--$$So elementary [J.J. Burns School, Canton, Ohio] went up to eighth grade?$$ Yes, absolutely, absolutely. As soon as you got out of eighth grade you went on up to the ninth grade. At that time, you know, that was an achievement. And so I went from there to ninth grade, me and Walter [Walter Williams]. And this is how we finally got to meet each other, through semester exams. We, we're--the exams--it's time to take the year end exams, and so you only go to school half a day. So we would go to school and we would do that. And so every now and then everybody would hang out in the hallways, you know, after the class was over. And so we're standing down there and, you know, people were just singing. And so the hallways had these--these big hallways would echo. It sounded like you were in an echo chamber. And so we started singing and we liked the way we sounded in those hallways--myself, Walt Williams, Billy Isles [Bill Isles], William Powell, and Bobby Massey. And we get to sing, and we like it. And we call ourselves The Emeralds. But then we find out somebody else is named The Emeralds, and so we call ourselves, now we call ourselves The Triumphs. But everybody, now everybody wanted to call us The Tramps (laughter). So, I'm, you know, it's like we go to--we go from there, we go from there to--we're coming from the park one day and we're singing. And there's this store in the neighborhood called Gervasis, and they're Greek. And we're singing coming past the store, and that's the neighborhood store where everybody shops at. And their son comes out and he hears us singing and he says, "Do you guys know anybody that sings?" And we look at him like, "Duh, what was we just doing? We sing, yeah." He said, "Well, I got some songs, and I want to see if you guys know anybody who could sing them?" We said, "Yeah we can sing them." So, he started--he invited us in the store and played the songs for us. And we started, and he started rehearsing us on this song.$$Now, who is this?$$ His name was Lee Gervasis [ph.]. He was, he was the son of the guy that owned the store.$$Now had he--$$ And everybody shopped at that store.$$--had he written the songs? Or what--$$ No. He and the guy was, his name was Andy Andretti [ph.]. And he and this guy was writing songs together.$--Theater [Apollo Theater, New York, New York], and we're with The Intruders, and Gamble and Huff [HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble and HistoryMaker Leon Huff] is coming up to see them. And The Intruders say, "Well, we want you to meet Gamble and Huff." So they introduced us to them, and they said they wanted to hear us. They wanted to see us perform in a nightclub. So we were performing in a place called the, in Akron [Ohio] called--I can't think of the club. But anyway, I'll think of it. We were performing in Akron. They decide they're going to come down and catch us in Akron. They see us in Akron and they decide that they like us, you know, and they want to record us, okay. We go down there and we make an agreement. They, they, we sign the contract and all of that good stuff. At that time, you know, I'm really, you know, I'm struggling, I got the kids. Me and Martha [Levert's first wife, Martha Levert], we're married and we got this house I'm renting. I'm almost what? So, you know, I'm paying--I'm making a hundred and twenty-five dollars a week. So, we do this song. We do this song, 'Deeper (In Love)' ['Deeper (In Love With You)']. It's pretty good, it gets on the charts. And then we do another one called Looky Looky Here ['Looky Looky'] or something like that. And what happens there is that Leonard Chess--now Chess Records [Chicago, Illinois] is now distributing Gamble and Huff's music. Okay, now Leonard Chess dies and now their contract runs out and nobody wants it. And so after Leonard Chess dies, they pay nobody. They don't pay Gamble and Huff, they don't pay The O'Jays. They keep all the money. And so, everybody's disgruntled now. Gamble and Huff is disgruntled, and we're disgruntled with them because we ain't getting no money. So, "Look, man, we're done. We're going back home, and until y'all get our money, we're done." Okay, we come back home. At this, during this time, though, the 'Deeper (In Love)'s and all of these things have been chart (hiccups)--chart records.

Paul Jones

Paul R. Jones was born Paul Raymond Jones on June 1, 1928, in Bessemer, Alabama, a company-run mining town, as the youngest of five children. Jones started off school in the South, but was sent by his family to New York to continue his education. By the time he reached high school, however, he had returned back home. Jones received a scholarship to attend the University of Alabama, where he was active in a variety of athletics and social organizations. After being told that he could not attend the law school of his choice due to his race, Jones went to Howard University, where he earned a B.A. degree in 1949 and an M.A. degree in 1950. Jones would later do doctoral work at the University of California and earned another M.A. degree from Governors State University.

Jones' involvement in politics began after returning home from Howard University in 1950. In the early 1950s, he remarked to a reporter that he might run for president and his outspokenness drew attention from political leaders in Washington, D.C. Heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Jones was also making political friends and by 1965 was working for the U.S. departments of Justice and Commerce. Jones continued to move around in political appointments, serving in a variety of posts throughout the South, as well as spending a year in Bangkok, Thailand, as a deputy director of the Peace Corps. In the early 1980s, Jones ran for Congress while continuing to grow Paul Jones Enterprises, a real estate holding firm, which he is still involved with to this day.

In addition to his long history with politics, Jones amassed a vast collection of African American artwork. The collection, which was recently given to the University of Delaware for display, is considered one of the largest and most complete collections of its kind. Jones also served on the boards of museums, historical societies and arts funding agencies, including the Atlanta History Center, the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Art Fund.

Jones passed away on January 26, 2010 at the age of 81.

Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 16, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.195

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/16/2003 |and| 6/24/2005 |and| 8/23/2005

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Raymond

Occupation
Schools

Governor's State University

University of California, Berkeley

University of Chicago

Yale University

Fisk University

Queens College, City University of New York

Alabama State University

Dunbar High School

Howard University

First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Bessemer

HM ID

JON07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Beauty Is A Joy Forever.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

6/1/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Leg of Lamb, Mint Jelly

Death Date

1/26/2010

Short Description

Civic leader Paul Jones (1928 - 2010 ) has held numerous political appointments and real estate holdings, and is an avid collector of African American art.

Employment

United States Department of Justice

United States Department of Commerce

United States Peace Corps

Paul Jones Enterprises

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:2025,44:3975,112:6375,152:6975,161:7500,170:8175,182:8475,187:8850,193:12150,258:12975,275:13650,297:19875,435:20175,440:22575,517:28630,527:40237,760:40675,771:41186,780:62970,1008:67815,1123:70280,1168:74445,1258:77845,1313:84848,1348:85604,1359:87220,1366:88750,1390:94031,1447:96418,1492:98882,1540:99190,1545:101192,1606:103348,1631:107198,1729:113158,1763:118490,1876:118920,1882:128783,2018:129305,2026:131045,2077:131567,2085:132437,2098:136004,2163:136352,2168:143609,2278:155528,2447:158784,2502:159488,2515:160808,2536:163960,2554$0,0:5285,33:6353,47:11782,138:18063,199:19714,214:29665,321:30340,340:41806,533:42716,563:70312,1039:82428,1205:86188,1281:100834,1440:110536,1872:142090,2140
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paul Jones describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paul Jones recalls stories about his family's tenant farming and visiting relatives on tenant farmland

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul Jones remembers visiting a maternal uncle's tenant farm

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul Jones describes how boxer Joe Louis influenced southern race relations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul Jones describes his father's race consciousness

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul Jones describes his father and his interests

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paul Jones remembers labor organizing in Bessemer, Alabama including a miner's strike that resulted in several deaths

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul Jones describes his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul Jones talks about how his parents met and African American cooking and nutrition in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul Jones describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul Jones recalls moving north to New York to an integrated school system and losing his southern accent

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul Jones talks about working as a community relations specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul Jones tells a story of quietly getting a segregationist sign removed from inside a building in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paul Jones recalls early childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paul Jones describes his childhood dream to attend West Point

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Paul Jones recalls running for president of the United States during the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Paul Jones talks about his childhood experience with church

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Paul Jones talks about learning to read and beginning school at age five

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Paul Jones talks about his schoolteachers

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Paul Jones talks about being sent to New York City to improve his educational opportunities

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Paul Jones talks about playing sports at the Boys Club in New York City as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Paul Jones talks about attending Alabama State Teachers College for his first two years of college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul Jones talks about Dunbar High School in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul Jones talks about attending Alabama State Teachers College in Montgomery, Alabama and being elected class president

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul Jones describes hog killings and dog fights

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul Jones talks about being barred from applying to the University of Alabama School Of Law in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul Jones describes his time as a student at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul Jones talks about visiting Ralph Bunche in New York and his arrival in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paul Jones recalls deciding to do graduate work at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Paul Jones describes his work for the Birmingham Interracial Committee of the Jefferson County Coordinating Council for Social Forces

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Paul Jones talks about the dissolution of the Race Relations Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul Jones talks about leaving the Interracial Committee in Jefferson County, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul Jones talks about starting a package store in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul Jones talks about Paul's Package Store

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul Jones talks about his relationship with the commissioner of public safety in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul Jones recalls the commissioner of public safety's predatory lending practices

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul Jones talks about being awarded a fellowship to the Yale Center of Alcohol Studies

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paul Jones talks about running a restaurant leased by businessman A.G. Gaston

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Paul Jones talks about moving to San Francisco, California for work

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Paul Jones talks about his role in Selma, Alabama during the Edmund Pettus Bridge incident in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Paul Jones recalls his work in Selma, Alabama while working for the Community Relations Service

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Paul Jones talks about being honored for his art collection

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Second slating of Paul Jones' interview

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paul Jones describes CREEP, the Committee to Re-Elect the President

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paul Jones talks about the Peace Corps and being hired to the Committee to Re-Elect the President

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paul Jones talks about G. Gordon Liddy and the Watergate scandal

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paul Jones talks about the presidential race between Richard Nixon and George McGovern

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paul Jones talks about black militants and political opportunism

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paul Jones talks about the National Black Political Assembly and political pragmatism

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paul Jones talks about how he secured money and black votes for the Committee to Re-elect the President

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Paul Jones talks about George McGovern's loss in the 1972 presidential election

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Paul Jones talks about high profile African Americans who supported Richard Nixon

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Paul Jones talks about President Richard Nixon's impact on the African American business community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paul Jones talks about the Model Cities Program

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paul Jones clarifies his professional timeline and talks about the Watergate scandal

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paul Jones talks about the Watergate hearings

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paul Jones talks about political patronage in Chicago, Illinois and in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paul Jones describes how he began collecting art

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paul Jones talks about his focus on buying artworks by black artists and an encounter with Herman Kofi Bailey

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Paul Jones talks about networking with artists and lending his collection out to help artists gain exposure

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Paul Jones talks about joining the board of the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, the 20th Century Art Society, and the Collectors' Club

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Third slating of Paul Jones' interview

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paul Jones outlines his political career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paul Jones talks about his congressional run in 1986

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paul Jones talks about his membership in the Collectors' Club at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paul Jones talks about damages to his art collection

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Paul Jones talks about lending his collection to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Paul Jones talks about loaning out his photography and other artwork

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Paul Jones remembers photographers James Van Der Zee and P. H. Polk

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Paul Jones tells the story of P. H. Polk's photograph 'The Boss'

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Paul Jones remembers James Van Der Zee and Roy DeCarava

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Paul Jones talks about high profile black photographers

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Paul Jones talks about the work of photographer Ming Smith and others

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Paul Jones talks about the overlapping work of painters and photographers

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Paul Jones talks about hosting a TV show in the 1950s and the lack of recognition for African American talent

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Paul Jones talks about artist Herman Kofi Bailey

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Paul Jones explains how the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware became the home for his art collection

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Paul Jones describes building a relationship with the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Paul Jones explains how he donated his collection to the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Paul Jones explains how he donated his collection to the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Paul Jones lists the conditions for the donation of his art collection to the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Paul Jones talks about neglect of African American art at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Paul Jones talks about the interest in contemporary black artists and beginning to collect P. H. Polk's photographs

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Paul Jones talks about the potential value in a university's investment in art

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Paul Jones talks about the business of art making, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Paul Jones talks about the business of art making, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Paul Jones explains what is meant by the term "naive" art

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Paul Jones talks about how trained and untrained black artists are evaluated in the art market

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Paul Jones talks about the need to support and sponsor more black artists

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Paul Jones explains how art patrons can make an artist

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Paul Jones talks about some collectors' preference for "naive" art versus the art of trained African American artists

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Paul Jones talks about the need to diversify the arts world as well as African American museums

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Paul Jones talks about the increasing value of black art in the broader American cultural landscape

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Paul Jones describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Paul Jones considers what he might have done differently

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Paul Jones considers his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Paul Jones talks about the value of his art collection

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Paul Jones talks about his family, his career and art collecting

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Paul Jones describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Paul Jones narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$6

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
Paul Jones describes how boxer Joe Louis influenced southern race relations
Paul Jones talks about his focus on buying artworks by black artists and an encounter with Herman Kofi Bailey
Transcript
Pretty soon what was so interesting with my father [William Jones] were the people that he'd worked with in the office at the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company, which was a U.S. Steel subsidiary, got to know each other very well. And they would go hunting with him down there, spend the night, and get up early in the morning, and all go out hunting out for birds or for small game, rabbits, squirrels, the like. And they'd come back and some would be cooked, and others would be cleaned, and they'd bring them back home. They'd gotten to know each other very well, these guys. What was so interesting was, I came along at a time when Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, was sort of on his way up the ladder as a fighter. He initially had been Alabama. Family had moved to Detroit [Michigan]. And in those days, everyone was very, very strongly racial conscious. And so we would sit often, when those fights came on, the neighborhood or the block, on a porch during those summer nights. And they'd open up a window, whoever had a radio, and not everybody did, and they'd plug it into one of the little holes, and stick the radio on the ledge of the window. People would sit at a (unclear), and on chairs, on the porch, the others there was on the steps. And they'd turn it up loud, and we'd listen to that fight. And it was if, for us persons of color, that everything hung on this guy fighting for the race. And these men that were working with my father, or vice versa, would always pick whoever his white opponent was, and he'd always have Joe Louis. It got so as they paid him so often, that little five dollars each would bet, to that whenever they started fighting again--I never will forget it. It was the first [Max] Schmeling fight--they just paid him the five dollars in advance. Well, as you know, Schmeling beat Joe Louis, and he had to pay their money back and the five that he owed each one of them. Luckily, in the second fight luck was reversed, and Joe Louis beat Schmeling, and the rest is history. But it was an interesting set of events, that in spite of the system in which we grew up, there were patterns of relationships that transcended those persons who would say often, you know, we don't abide the whole group of the race, but Will Jones is all right, or Paul Jones is all right. These are the kind of people at 12:00 high, or at 12:00 midnight, if there was a need for help, you could get people to respond to you and vice versa, you would respond. And that was the kind of circumstance that I grew up in.$So, that began to help shape the direction and focus of my collecting. I said if I'm gonna be serious about collecting: one, I need some original works of art; two, I'm not exclusively--I wanted to concentrate on works by African Americans who have been under-collected and needed exposure. And so I couldn't go to the museum that didn't have a curator of African American art to get any advice from there, couldn't go to any of the galleries who were less than expert in works by African Americans. So I put out word with people that knew and said if you run into artists you think are mature enough or good enough for me to look at, let me know. And got a call one day from a lady who's working in special collections over Atlanta University [later Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia], said this is a good time for you to get in touch with an artist named Herman Kofi Bailey, said he needs a roundtrip ticket from Atlanta [Georgia] to Los Angeles [California], where his parents live, for Christmas, and said he's willing to give art for a ticket. So he and I met on mutual grounds, and he said take any two of these canvases he unrolled for a roundtrip ticket. I said fine, I'll take any three. He said no, I said two. And I said three. He said two, and I said three. The last time I said three, he rolled his canvases up, put 'em under his arm, and left. And that was a big one that got away. And I determined after that I'd never miss anything I really wanted. I later bought some of his artwork, got to know him and befriended him, and paid more for what I think might have been lesser quality work than those original ones. Bailey incidentally was a guy who had become sort of SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] and, and SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] and others, artist in residence. You know, he'd do art for them and did prints that they could sell and raise money and things of that sort.$$About what year was it, this, when you approached Kofi Bailey?$$I'd say it was somewhere in the, between '65 [1965], '70 [1970], in the latter '60s [1960s].$$Okay, okay.$$Mid to latter.