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Cassandra Newby-Alexander

Award-winning historian and author, Cassandra Newby-Alexander was born on December 30, 1957 in Great Lakes, Illinois. She attended Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia and in 1980, she graduated with her B.A. degree in American government and African American studies from the University of Virginia. She went on to receive her professional teaching certificate from Norfolk State University in 1983, where she would later return to as an educator. That same year, she attended an international graduate summer school program at Oxford University. The following year, she completed her M.A. courses from Old Dominion University. In 1984, she was accepted into the Ph.D. program in history at the College of William and Mary, working as a graduate teaching assistant and earning a teaching fellowship. She received her Ph.D. in 1992. During that time, she also taught secondary school for Norfolk Public Schools in the subjects of AP history, psychology and foreign policy.

Newby-Alexander next became an assistant professor at Norfolk State University, teaching American Survey and Modern American and African American History. She also co-created televised courses for her classes. In 1995, she also became an educational consultant and annual contributor to Norfolk’s Afr'Am Festival, one of the largest African American community celebrations on the East coast. From 1995 until 2000, Newby-Alexander served as an educational consultant with the ETS for American History. Since 2008, she has worked as an oral historian for the Supreme Court of Virginia, documenting the history of retired justices and lawyers in the twentieth century.

Newby-Alexander has co-authored several books including Black America Series: Portsmouth and her latest Remembering School Desegregation in Hampton Roads, Virginia in 2009. She also co-edited the book, Voices from within the Veil: African Americans and the Experience of Democracy in 2008. Also, she created the interactive websites Waterways to Freedom based on Virginia’s Underground Railroad Network and Race, Time, and Place dedicated to African American history in Hampton Roads, Virginia. She has won multiple honors including in 2005 when she was chosen by American Legacy magazine as one of the nation’s top teachers in African American history at a Historically Black College or University.

Cassandra Newby-Alexander was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 10, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.017

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/10/2010

Last Name

Newby-Alexander

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Lindenwood Elementary School

Willard Junior High School

Matthew Fontaine Maury High School

Sherwood Forest Elementary School

Old Dominion University

University of Virginia

College of William and Mary

First Name

Cassandra

Birth City, State, Country

Great Lakes

HM ID

NEW03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

A Contented Person Is A Disciplined Person.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

12/30/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Norfolk

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

History professor Cassandra Newby-Alexander (1957 - ) taught African American history at Norfolk State University. She also wrote several books and created multimedia websites about segregation and the civil rights movement in Virginia.

Employment

Norfolk State University

Norfolk Public Schools

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cassandra Newby-Alexander's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander recalls her mother's education and teaching career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about black figures and organization during the Reconstruction era

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander recalls her paternal grandmother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about her paternal grandmother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers her paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about the influence of her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers her early understanding of the world

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers her early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers attending at Sherwood Forest Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander recalls experiencing racism at Sherwood Forest Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers a fight at Sherwood Forest Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes the treatment of African American students in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers the misappropriation of funds in Virginia's public schools

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander reflects upon the lack of reparations to African Americans

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander recalls Matthew Fontaine Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers her early career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her political activism in junior high school and high school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers her history teacher, Robert Davenport

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes the importance of learning history

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers the racism at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander recalls the racist faculty at the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her experiences at the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers her coursework at the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander recalls her postgraduate education

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers studying at Exeter College in Oxford, England

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander recalls her admittance to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about creating a pre-graduate summer history program

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers writing her Ph.D. dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her research on Norfolk African American history

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her research on government funded communities in Hampton Roads, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about George Latimer, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about George Latimer, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers Sheridan W. Ford, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers Sheridan W. Ford, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes the Henrietta Marie exhibit in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander reflects upon the complexity of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about her teaching experiences in Virginia, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about her teaching experiences in Virginia, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her students' reactions to her African American history course

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about her website

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about American Legacy Magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers John Hope Franklin

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander reflects upon the role of churches in the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes her hopes for American society

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about her husband

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Cassandra Newby-Alexander describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$3

DAStory

5$10

DATitle
Cassandra Newby-Alexander talks about her website
Cassandra Newby-Alexander remembers her history teacher, Robert Davenport
Transcript
Now, you, you launched a website I think in the late '90s [1990s]. What was it called the (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, it's called Race, Time, and Place: African Americans in Tidewater, Virginia. And, and it really is a website designed to feature some of these topics that I've talked about and to be a place where, where the voices of people who helped to frame our communities can be heard by, by people from, you know from the world. I've had people from different counties who've, who've--you know who were, who had moved to a different country, but they might have been from Virginia or from Hampton Roads [Virginia] who said, you know, "I saw a mention of my great-grandfather," and you know, "Do you have any more information about this person?" Because Hampton Roads and Tidewater [Virginia] in general was a crossroads. You had people from all over the world who seem to pass through this area in some form or fashion, and so these different, these different topics have, have actually helped to educate people. The City of Norfolk [Virginia] got very interested in our Waterways to Freedom project talking about the Underground Railroad and so much so that they, they sponsored the establishment of a website just on that looking, based on my research and looking at where some of these people escaped from and you know telling the story about these individuals who left from Norfolk and from the waterfront of Portsmouth [Virginia]. And, and that was extraordinary that Norfolk would, would actually support something like this. But, it's something that was missing, you know, I mean Norfolk has all of this history. But they didn't publicize it and that's also why the City of Norfolk is sponsoring the publication of this book. It's the first, it will be the first time a city has sponsored the publication of a book focusing on the history of blacks from their city. And so we're hoping that it will be out by next year.$And then I, I took this absolutely wonderful class. It was an ethnic history class taught by a man by the name of Robert Davenport. He was a graduate of Norfolk State University when it was Norfolk State College [Norfolk, Virginia], and he became my all time favorite teacher. He inspired me. He taught me about history. He introduced me to historical works that resulted in me sitting down, because they had a social studies resource center that you could go to, and I would go in there and I would actually sit there and read history books, I mean, just read them and read them and read them. And that's when I was first introduced to [HistoryMaker] Lerone Bennett's 'Before the Mayflower' ['Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America'] and Carter G. Woodson's book and, and 'From Slavery to Freedom' ['From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans,' John Hope Franklin].$$So, so was Robert Davenport a black teacher? Right, okay, right (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yes, he was a black teacher and he had two sons that I had the pleasure of teaching because he sent them here to Norfolk State, and they were both history majors and became lawyers. And so they--I, I was able to I guess return the favor so to speak to try to inspire them as he had inspired me. I read more books in that year in his class, and I'm, I'm not talking about just you know books for fun, because I--we read all the time growing up, but you know historical works. I read more in that one year than I would say I did probably in college [University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia], you know reading history books. I have lost track of how many I read. And, and of course a lot of biographies. I just fell in love with the subject, and he was such a disciplined, organized, and inspiring teacher that when I first started teaching at the high school level after--when I was working on my dissertation, I decided I wanted to teach during that interim period. I was nominated for a first year teaching award that was sponsored by the Sallie Mae foundation [Sallie Mae Fund], and he was my teacher who inspired me, and I actually won that award. But he was, you know he was just, he was the guiding force for me, how to deliver this information to teach- to students, what to pull out, what to emphasize. He was the one who introduced me to [HistoryMaker] Nikki Giovanni's poetry and to Eldridge Cleaver's 'Soul on Ice' and the whole controversy about whether he did or didn't write the book. He got me into a lot of local history as well because it was in his class that I learned about Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment. And in 1975 when they were having a bicentennial contest I entered it creating this play, this short play about the, the Ethiopian Regiment soldiers and what happened. And in fact, Tommy Bogger [Tommy L. Bogger] who is a professor of history here at Norfolk State and an archivist was actually on the committee I later found out that reviewed that particular entry. And he told me years later that no one believed that there was ever an Ethiopian Regiment. They thought I had fictionalized the whole thing, and he had to actually educate them that she knew exactly what she was talking about. Here I was this high school student writing about this. So, that kind of was my first taste into local history, and it's been my passion ever since, but it all started with Robert Davenport in high school [Matthew Fontaine Maury High School, Norfolk, Virginia].

Debra Martin Chase

Movie producer Debra Martin Chase was born on October 11, 1956, in Great Lakes, Illinois. Chase’s father, policeman Robert Douglas Martin, and her mother, teacher Beverly M. Barber Martin, moved to Pasadena, California, when Chase was six years old. Attending Copernicus Elementary School and Our Lady of Solace School in Chicago, and Washington School and Loma Alta School in Altedena, California, Chase graduated from Amherst High School in 1973. Chase earned her B.A. degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1977, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1981.

Chase practiced law at Houston’s Mearday, Day, and Caldwell firm, and wrote freelance articles for Houston City magazine. After serving as a lawyer for Tenneco from 1983 to 1985, Chase moved to New York City where she worked for Stroock, Stroock, and Lavan law firm, and eventually became in-house counsel for Avon Products. In 1988, Chase worked for the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign and David Dinkins’s successful mayoral campaign.

Interested in the film industry, Chase joined the legal department of Columbia Pictures, and by 1989, she was executive assistant to Frank Price. By 1992, Chase was heading Denzel Washington’s production company, Mundy Lane Entertainment, producing The Pelican Brief, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Preacher’s Wife, Courage Under Fire and the Academy Award nominated documentary, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. By 1995, Chase had become the executive vice president of Whitney Houston’s Brown House Productions, which produced the 1997 Emmy nominated television musical Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and The Princess Diaries. In 2000, Chase formed Martin Chase Productions; she went on to produce Fox-TV’s Missing and Disney’s The Cheetah Girls, Miracle (2004), and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005).

Chase volunteered for Friends of the Studio Museum of Harlem; the Heartland Film Festival; the Community Resource Advisory Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum; and served on the board of Chicago’s Columbia College. A producing mentor for the University of Southern California, Chase remained a resident of the Hollywood Hills.

Accession Number

A2005.091

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/31/2005

Last Name

Chase

Maker Category
Middle Name

Martin

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Amherst High School

Our Lady of Solace School

Langford Academy

Washington School

Loma Alta School

Washington STEAM Magnet Academy

Mount Holyoke College

Wellesley College

Harvard Law School

First Name

Debra

Birth City, State, Country

Great Lakes

HM ID

CHA08

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Columbia College

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Don't Jump Over The Dollar To Get The Dime.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/11/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Licorice (Red)

Short Description

Film producer Debra Martin Chase (1956 - ) served in executive positions in Denzel Washington’s and Whitney Houston’s production companies before forming her own company, Martin Chase Productions.

Employment

Brown House Productions

Mundy Lane Productions

Stroock & Strocok & Lavan

O’Melveny & Myers

Kirkland & Ellis

Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett

Butler & Binion

Day & Caldwell & Keeton

Tenneco

Avon Products, inc.

Columbia Pictures

Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Debra Martin Chase's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase describes her maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase describes her maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase describes her mother's education and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase describes how her parents met at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase describes her father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Debra Martin Chase describes how she resembles her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Debra Martin Chase describes her earliest childhood memory of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Debra Martin Chase describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Debra Martin Chase describes her elementary education

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Debra Martin Chase describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase describes her childhood love of movies and television

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase remembers her disillusionment with the Catholic Church growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase recalls her childhood interest in writing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase explains why she did not consider a career in film while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her social life during her elementary and high school years in California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase remembers encounters with a racist teacher and a racist advisor

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her experiences in Amherst, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase talks about spending the summer with her grandmother as a teenager in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her plans after graduating early from Amherst High School in Amherst, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Debra Martin Chase talks about attending Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her law school and journalism aspirations during college

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase remembers influential college professors and her internship at HistoryMaker The Honorable Edward Brooke's office

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working as a paralegal at O'Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her experiences at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase remembers the environment at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her early career as a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase talks about moving to Houston, Texas and working at Butler & Binion

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working as a freelance writer and as an in-house lawyer at Tenneco in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working for Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working for Avon Products in New York, New York and on Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase remembers deciding to pursue a career in film production

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her internship with Columbia Pictures in Culver City, California

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working for the legal department of Columbia Pictures in Culver City, California

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase details how she became a studio executive in Hollywood, California

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working with Denzel Washington and his production company, Mundy Lane Productions

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase talks about producing the documentary 'Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase talks about meeting Whitney Houston while producing 'The Preacher's Wife'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working on the remake of Rodgers and Hamerstein's 'Cinderella'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working on 'The Princess Diaries' and fulfilling a childhood dream of working with Julie Andrews

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase talks about the role of a movie producer

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase talks about 'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' movie

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her recent and upcoming movie and television projects

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase explains her process for finding material and scripts to produce

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase talks about the lack of African American films and screenwriters in Hollywood

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase talks about making a non-African American movie as an African American woman and her mentee, Shonda Rhimes

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Debra Martin Chase describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Debra Martin Chase describes her admiration for HistoryMaker The Honorable Barack Obama

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Debra Martin Chase reflects upon the challenge of longevity in the movie industry

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase talks about the biggest disappointment in her filmmaking career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her parents' reaction to her becoming a movie producer

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase describes the challenges of being an African American woman movie producer

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her aspirations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

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DATitle
Debra Martin Chase describes her childhood love of movies and television
Debra Martin Chase talks about producing the documentary 'Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream'
Transcript
Did you like music when you were growing up?$$Always liked music but I loved movies and television.$$Okay.$$My dad [Robert Martin] is the biggest, to this day; he's like the biggest mo- movie and television buff that I know. He knows, he's seen everything, he remembers everything (laughter), he, you know, so I grew up in a household where we watched movies all the time, we talked about 'em. I would go to the--I would, I truly was that kid who would go to the movies on Saturday and sit there 'til my mother [Beverly Barber Martin] came to get me and drag me out (laughter). I, I just thought they were, you know, there was--that was, you know, they were magical.$$Now did you watch a lot of old movies on television?$$(Nodding head) Uh-huh, uh-huh, yeah, no, the old, old black and white, the, you know, the big st- Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn and Bogie [Humphrey Bogart] and you know, my father to this day is like, "You know they don't make movies like they used to you know." So we--and my brother is actually--we've all--I'm--my brother Eric [ph.] manages movie theaters. I mean he's the vice president with Century Theatres and then my youngest brother started out in the movie business, I got him into the, the camera union on Rodgers Hammerstein [Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II], 'Cinderella' and he did that for a few years and he just decided it's too much of a hustle so he's moved on into, you know, business ventures. But we've all, you know, we were all influenced by it.$$Okay so did--did you have favorite movies when you were coming up, you know?$$Well, as a, as a child my favorite movie was 'Mary Poppins.' So, you know, for me to work with Julie Andrews was like unbelievable (laughter) it was like (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) This comes later, but it started with 'Mary Poppins' huh?$$I love 'Mary Poppins' I mean I, I would--I mean I think that I, you know, look, truth be told I really want--I didn't really want to be an actress and in fact when I was ten years old, and I remember this, I wrote, I hand, you know, hand wrote a letter to Walt Disney. And I say--and I you know--wish that you know we still had the response. And I, I just remember saying that I was a ten year old, you know, Negro girl (laughter) and that I very much wanted to be an actress and you know what did he recommend or whatever and I remember that I got this very nice typed response saying basically, stay in school and anything's possible. And I think, you know, I mean, I didn't know anybody anywhere near the movie business, God knows I didn't know anybody who was an actor, you know, it just was all very foreign to me, my people were, you know, teachers and, you know, lawyer or why don't you be a doctor, you know, education was like a big deal in my, you know, entire family. So, I--but--you know, I used to take--put the 'Mary Poppins' soundtrack on and over and over and over and dance in front of the mirror and sing and I mean I still to this day know all the words to all the songs in 'Mary Poppins.' I just thought that was the most amazing movie.$$Now did, did you watch, 'The Mickey Mouse Club' when it was on television?$$I don't remember 'Mickey Mouse Club,' I don't remember really watching that. I might have missed 'The Mickey Mouse Club.' Because I don't think it was on when I was com--'cause I would have watched it (laughter). But, I rem--you know, I just--I grew up on 'Father Knows Best,' and, of course, '[I Love] Lucy' and, what, 'My Three Sons' and all those good shows 'bout morals and values and '[The] Donna Reed Show.'$Our first company production was 'Devil in a Blue Dress' and then we did, we, we--the first thing that I hands-on produced was a documentary ['Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream'] on Hank Aaron for TBS and I did it with, he and I did it, you know, we produced it with Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins who had subsequently become like huge, this--they were starting out they hadn't done anything, they're like huge TV producers now and movies they just did 'Coach Carter.' And it was, you know, it was like a great experience it was really Mike and I, you know, day-to-day. And we interview--anybody who was alive at that moment who of any significance in the history of Major League Baseball, we interviewed. So, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, you know, Bobby Bonds, Stan Musial, I mean, everybody 'cause everybody liked Hank. And, the piece, you know--I was just proud of it 'cause, I, I, I, thought it turned out great and Hank was proud of it most importantly, I think, because he'd gotten a bad rap in the press about his attitude when he broke the record and the thing that made me--'cause I'm not, I'm not a sports person but then--I'm not a sports person, I don't really follow sports but to me there's nothing like a great sports drama because it's a--it's the individual whatever. And so the thing that made me wanna do it more than anything else it was a, a Sports Illustrated article about that time in Hank's life and (simultaneous)--$$(Off camera noise).$$--when he hit the ball that put him over the record, over Babe Ruth's record, his mother [Estella Aaron], as he's running around the bases his mother immediately ran onto home plate and so when he came around to home plate she embraced him in this bear hug and everybody was like, "Oh, isn't that fabulous, you know, his mother was so proud of her son." His mother was like, "If they were gonna kill him they were gonna have to kill me first." And it just, I mean it like brings tears to my eyes, just you know, and I'm like saying to myself, you know, this is what racism in this country is all about. Here's this man who embodied the American dream, you know, came up from nothing and you know, and is great, and is, is, is, trying to realize, you know, his full potential as a human being and he has to be worried about being killed, you know (emotional) sorry.$$And he received like thousands of threats (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) He received more individual mail than--more pieces of mail than any other individual in the history of the [U.S.] Postal Service at that time and most of it was negative. You know, "Nigger, what makes you think that you are better than Babe Ruth." Or you know, so the last year as he was pursuing the record he had a body guard twenty-four/seven they took his kids and put them, you know, they took him away from his family and kinda brought the daughter home from Fisk [University, Nashville, Tennessee] and, you know, you know. So, anyhow, so, and understandably he had been very bitter about all--just, you know, so I think, I know that what--that--through the documentary people started to understand why he had been bitter. And, it, it's like it, it took a weight off of him, you know, 'cause he's a proud man and he's not, he's not a, a, verbose--I mean he, you know, he would never have true--really ex--explained it fully, you know. So anyhow--and then, you know, to my surprise we got nominated for an Oscar [Academy Award], we got nominated for an Emmy [Award], we won a Peabody Award, I mean it turned out to be a really, just a great experience all the way around.