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Henry T. Brown

Chemical engineer Henry T. Brown was born on June 16, 1932 to Elias Brown and Martha Gentry Marks in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1950, and attended the University of Cincinnati, where he was the first African American to earn a B.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1955. Brown then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a National Science Foundation Scholar, and received his M.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1956.

Brown became a research scientist at Esso Research and Engineering Company in New Jersey in 1956; and, from 1957 to 1965, he was active with the NAACP as an executive board member, membership chairman, advisor to the youth group, publicity chairman, and member of the labor committee. The labor committee originated the bias fight at the Union County Court House annex in 1963, which was the largest non-violent demonstrations in the state of New Jersey. In 1967, Brown moved to Metuchen, New Jersey to work as a development engineer for the Squibb Institute for Medical Research. He joined the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 1968, where he helped develop a career guidance and minority affairs program. While a resident of Metuchen, Brown became the first African American in town government in 1970, serving as vice president of the education board in 1971 and 1972. In 1972, Brown left the board and Squibb when he accepted a managerial role at Polaroid. Residing in Weston, Massachusetts, Brown became the first African American town official in 1982 joining the town’s board of health and was Chairman for seven years. In 1983, Brown became the first African American director of AIChE, and the minority affairs coordinator; and, in 1984, he became the second African American fellow. He retired from Polaroid in 1996, having last served as plant manager of the Integral Coatings Division, and stepped down as the AIChE minority affairs coordinator in 2003.

Brown has received an array of awards for his work, which include: the Martin K. Simberloff Memorial Award in 1960, presented by the Urban League of Union County, New Jersey; the Big Brother Award for Outstanding Service to Youth in 1965, the Distinguished Alumni Award , presented by the University of Cincinnati in 1983; the F.J. and Dorothy Van Antwerpen Award for Service to the Institute, presented by the AIChE in 1996; an honorary doctorate of science degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2001; and the 2004 Grimes and 2015 Pioneer of Diversity Awards, both presented by the AIChE’s Minority Affairs Committee. In 2018, the AIChE renamed their Minority Affairs Committee Endowment Fund the Henry T. and Melinda C. Brown Minority Affairs Endowment Fund.

Brown was a Sunday school teacher at Myrtle Baptist Church in Newton, Massachusetts for thirty years, and a NAACP Diamond Life Member. He resides in Weston, Massachusetts, and has two adult children, Gregory and Mary Allyson, and two grandchildren, Ian and Camille.

Henry T. Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 11, 2019.

Accession Number
A2019.098
Sex
Male
Interview Date
9/11/2019
Last Name
Brown
Maker Category
Marital Status
Widower
Middle Name
Thomas
Occupation
Schools
Walnut Hills High School
University of Cincinnati
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
First Name
Henry
Birth City, State, Country
Cincinnati
HM ID
BRO70
Favorite Season
All Seasons
State
Ohio
Favorite Vacation Destination
Mexico
Favorite Quote

No Problem Is So Big Or So Complicated That You Can't Run Away From It and If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State
Massachusetts
Birth Date
6/16/1932
Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City
Boston
Favorite Food
Home Made Ice Cream
Short Description

Chemical engineer Henry T. Brown (1932- ) was the first African American to graduate with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati and the first African American fellow and director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Employment
Esso Research & Engineering Co.
E.R. Squibb for Medical Research
Polaroid Corporation
Favorite Color
Blue

Joe Madison

Radio host Joe Madison was born on June 16, 1949 in Dayton, Ohio to Nancy Stone and Felix Madison. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1967 in Dayton. Madison enrolled at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, in 1967, but received his B.A. degree in sociology in 1971 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

He worked in public relations at General Motors Corporation, in Detroit, Michigan from 1969 to 1970 and also worked as a statistician for the Saint Louis Cardinals football club, in St Louis, Missouri in 1970. He served as a communications associate for Mead Corporation, in Dayton, during the 1970s, and worked as associate director in urban affairs at Seymour & Lundy Associates, a public relations firm in Detroit from 1971 to 1974. Madison was selected to serve as executive director of Detroit's NAACP branch at the age of twenty four, the youngest person to be appointed to the position, serving from 1974 to 1978. Appointed by NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks, Madison then served as NAACP national political director from 1978 to 1986. He began his broadcasting career at Detroit's WXYZ-AM radio station in 1980, and later worked at FM talk station WWDB in Philadelphia. Madison joined WWRC-AM in Washington, D.C., from 1988 to 1989 where he developed “a crossover appeal” handling issues that included race, but were aimed at the station's multicultural audience. From 1989 to 2007, he worked as a broadcaster at Radio One. In 1998, Madison left WWRC-AM to start an online chat show. He joined urban talk radio station WOL-AM, in Washington, D.C., serving as broadcaster and program director from 1999 to 2013. He joined SiriusXM in 2007. A radio talk show host and civil rights activist, widely known as “The Black Eagle,” Madison can be heard on his SiriusXM Urban View titular weekday morning show, The Joe Madison Show

Joe Madison was elected to the board of directors for the NAACP, and served from 1986 to 1999 and he also was appointed chairman of the NAACP Image Awards.

Madison and his wife Sharon have four children including Michelle, Shawna, Jason and Monesha, and five grandchildren.

Joe Madison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 17, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2018

8/17/2018 |and| 8/14/2019

Last Name

Madison

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Roosevelt High School

Washington University in St Louis

Jackson Elementary School

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

First Name

Joe

Birth City, State, Country

Dayton

HM ID

MAD06

Favorite Season

Early Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

What Are You Going To Do About It?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/16/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United State of America

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Radio host Joe Madison (1949- ) joined SiriusXM in 2007, hosting SiriusXM Urban View’s weekday morning show, The Joe Madison Show, as “The Black Eagle.”

Employment

Seymour & Lundy

Mead Corp.

Detroit NAACP

NAACP

WXYT-AM Detroit

WWRC-AM DC

Radio One

Sirius XM

Favorite Color

Black

Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. was born on August 13, 1935 in Marshall, Harrison County, Texas to Joseph A. Sr., and Juanita George Pierce. He attended Oglethorpe Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia. Pierce graduated from Jack Yates High School, in Houston, Texas in 1952. He joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Beta Kappa Chi National Scientific Honor Society in 1955 at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas where he received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1957, and his father Joseph Pierce, Sr. served as dean of the graduate school in 1952; and later, president in 1967. He earned his M.D. degree in medicine in 1961 from Meharry Medical College of Medicine, in Nashville, Tennessee. Pierce completed his internship at GW Hubbard Hospital of Meharry College of Medicine.

Pierce entered the United States Army in 1962. He completed a residency in anesthesiology at Brooke General Hospital/Fort Sam Huston in San Antonio in 1967, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and he completed a tour of duty in West Germany from 1967 to 1970. Then, in 1970, Pierce received his Texas State medical license and entered into private practice with Anesthesia Consultants in San Antonio, and joined the American Medical Association.

Pierce and his wife, Aaronetta, co-founded the San Antonio Ethnic Arts Society in 1983 to increase the awareness and understanding of visual art of African American ancestry. They also started Premier Artworks, Inc., specializing in the marketing and sale of artwork and books by African Americans. Pierce amassed a collection of roughly 8000 books by African American authors, including mostly first editions. Pierce was also a part owner of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs basketball team from 1974 to 1988.

Pierce was a life member of the NAACP. His other memberships include the Texas Society of Anesthesiology, the San Antonio Society of Anesthesiology, Bexar County Medical Society and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Pierce was inducted into the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

Pierce and his wife, Aaronetta, have two sons, Joseph and Michael.

Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 8, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/8/2018

Last Name

Pierce

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Oglethorpe Elementary School

Jack Yates High School

University of Michigan

Texas Southern University

Meharry Medical College

First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

PIE04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

8/13/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. (1935- ) served in private practice for Anesthesia Consultants in San Antonio, Texas and was the co-founder of San Antonio Ethnic Arts Society in 1983, and Premier Artworks, Inc. in 1990 with his wife Aaronetta.

Employment

Anesthesia Consultants

U.S. Army

Favorite Color

N/A

Cal Williams

Community activist Cal Williams was born on November 30, 1941 in Monroe, Louisiana. A college graduate, Williams served in Vietnam in the United States Air Force during the early 1960s and participated in the historic March on Washington and was affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In 1965, he moved from Louisiana to Alaska, seeking job opportunities, racial integration and a better life. In Alaska, Williams continued his political and civic activism working with the AdHoc Democrats organization in Alaska. He was named President of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also served as a member of the Alaska Delegation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. In 2012, Williams ran for the Alaska House of Representatives District 17-serving the communities of Mountain View, Airport Heights, and Russian Jack in the Anchorage area, and was defeated by opponent Geran Tarr in the August 28th Democratic primary. Williams served as the Filipino choir director at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, and also as the Chappie James American Legion Post 34 chaplain in Anchorage. He worked as a photographer and also helped to exhibit the collection of the late Alaskan historian George Harper, who documented the history of African Americans in Alaska, including the black U.S. Army troops who worked on the Alaska Highway. Williams was elected to the board of directors for Anchorage Senior Activity Center in 2016.

Williams was named in the Anchorage Municipal Assembly for his contributions to the growth and strength to the State of Alaska. In 2017, Williams was the recipient of the St. Francis of Assisi Award. Williams has served as Grand Knight of the Council of Knights of Columbus at St. Patrick's Church in Anchorage, as well as in 2018, he served as the District 22 chair for the Alaska Democratic Party.

Cal Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.097

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/19/2018

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Grambling State University

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles City College

First Name

Cal

Birth City, State, Country

Monroe

HM ID

WIL84

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans

Favorite Quote

That's What I'm Trying To Tell You

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alaska

Birth Date

11/30/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Anchorage

Favorite Food

Cat fish

Short Description

Community activist Cal Williams (1941- ) named chair of the Alaska Democratic Party District 22 in 2018, had served as President of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Employment

Municipality of Anchorage

Alaska Housing

State Farm Insurance

Favorite Color

Yellow

Bob Lydia

Civic leader Bob Lydia was born on December 17, 1943 in Arp, Texas. Lydia graduated from Emmett J. Scott High School in Tyler, Texas in 1962, and received his A.A. degree from El Centro Junior College in Dallas, Texas and enrolled at the University of Texas at Dallas. In 1989, Lydia received certification as a Dallas County Reserve Deputy Constable and became a licensed private investigator. He then received a mediator certification from Texas A&M University in 2008.

In 1964, Lydia joined the U.S. Air Force and completed his basic training in San Antonio, Texas. He was stationed in Witchita Falls, Kansas as a weapons specialist and was released from service in 1966. After his military service, Lydia joined the NAACP Youth Council in Dallas, where he served as a poll watcher and deputy registrar. He was promoted to vice president of the Young Adult Council of the Dallas NAACP and was mentored by Juanita Craft. In 1974, Lydia co-founded B&L Electromechanical Service and B&L Central Electric. He then entered into a partnership of owning laundromats and car washes in 1985, and eventually founded his own company B&L Central Electric. The same year, Lydia joined the security at the National NAACP, and served in that capacity for eighteen years. In 2000, he became president of the Dallas NAACP. Lydia was elected as the first vice president of the Texas NAACP in 2008, and in 2015, Lydia helped to re-instate the Tri-Cities Branch of the NAACP in Texas. In 2017, he was elected as a regional representative member to the National NAACP Board of Directors.

In addition to his involvement with the NAACP, Lydia has been active in other community organizations, including in the city of Duncanville, Texas, where he served on the Sign Control Board, the Board of Adjustment, the Library Board, and the Planning and Zoning Board.

In 2013, Lydia received the NAACP Hero Award in Dallas, Texas. He was also named a “Peacemaker” for the Community Relations Service by the U.S. Department of Justice and received the Thalheimer Award from the NAACP

Bob Lydia was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/15/2017

Last Name

Lydia

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Emmett J. Scott High School

El Centro College

First Name

Bob

Birth City, State, Country

Arp

HM ID

LYD01

Favorite Season

N/A

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lake Tahoe

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/17/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Favorite Food

Oxtail

Short Description

Civic leader Bob Lydia (1943 - ) was first vice president of the Dallas NAACP and Texas NAACP. He also served as security for the National NAACP for eighteen years and co-founded B&L Electromechanical Serice and B&L Central Electric.

Employment

Central Electric Company

A Plus Services

Favorite Color

Light Blue

Charles Evers

Civic activist and political leader Charles Evers was born on September 11, 1922 in Decatur, Mississippi to Jess Wright and James Evers. Evers received his B.S. degree from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi in 1950.

Evers enlisted in the United States Army and served overseas during World War II. After his return to the U.S., he began working as the first African American disc jockey at WHOC Radio station in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1951. There, he worked for a family-run funeral home, operated a taxi service, a bootleg liquor business and operated the Evers Hotel and Lounge, which featured blues bands. Evers was active in the Mississippi branch of the NAACP and became the chapter’s state voter registration chairman in 1954. He also became involved with the Regional Council of Negro Leadership in 1952, and often spoke at its national conferences. In 1956, Evers moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he operated Club Mississippi, the Subway Lounge and the Palm Gardens nightclubs. After the assassination of his brother, Medgar Evers, he returned to Mississippi in 1963 and became the field director for the Mississippi branch of the NAACP. In 1969, Evers was elected as mayor of Fayette, Mississippi, the first African American to be elected to this position in the state of Mississippi during the post-Reconstruction era. Evers ran unsuccessfully for governor of Mississippi in 1971 and for United States Senate in 1978, each time as an independent candidate. He remained as mayor of Fayette until 1989. After losing the mayoral election in 1989, Evers became the store manager of WMPR 90.1FM in Jackson, Mississippi.

Evers has often been honored for his work in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1969, the NAACP named him Man of the Year. He was also selected as a Mississippi delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Evers, has also published two autobiographies, Evers, in 1971, and Have No Fear, in 1997. He has served as an informal advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson, George C. Wallace, President Ronald Reagan, and Robert Kennedy.

Evers has seven children; Patricia Murchinson, Charlene Evers-Kreel, Carolyn Crockell, Shelia Evers Blackmond, Yvonne Evers, Wanda Evers and Rachel Evers.

Charles Evers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 24, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.105

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/24/2017

Last Name

Evers

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Decatur Consolidated School

Newton High School

Alcorn State University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Decatur

HM ID

EVE02

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Birth Date

9/11/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jackson

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Anything

Short Description

Civic activist and political leader Charles Evers (1922 - ) the brother of slain civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, was the first African American mayor elected in Mississippi post-Reconstruction era.

Employment

WHOC Radio

WMPR Radio

Fayette City Government

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Evers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Evers lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Evers describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Evers describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Evers lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his community in Decatur, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Evers describes his relationship with his brother, Medgar Evers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Evers describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles Evers talks about his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles Evers describes his father's lumber stacking business

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charles Evers recalls his decision to enlist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Charles Evers remembers B.B. King

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Charles Evers recalls his start in the funeral business

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Charles Evers talks about his experiences during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Evers remembers picking pecans with Medgar Evers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Evers remembers his family traditions

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Evers recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Evers remembers his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Evers remembers the lynching of James Tingle

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his friendship with Jackie Robinson and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Evers remembers returning to Mississippi after World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles Evers describes his early involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles Evers remembers his reason for moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles Evers talks about his employment as a bootlegger in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Evers describes his brothel on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Evers recalls his confrontation with the mafia in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Evers talks about his daughters

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Evers remembers Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Evers remembers investigating the death of Emmett Till

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Evers describes the assassination of his brother, Medgar Evers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Evers remembers his role in the NAACP after Medgar Evers' death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Evers remembers the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles Evers recalls his decision to run for mayor of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charles Evers remembers the Selma to Montgomery March and the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Evers recalls his election as mayor of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Evers remembers his gubernatorial campaign in Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Evers talks about the acquittal of Medgar Evers' murderer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Evers talks about William Waller and Barack Obama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Evers talks about leaving the Democratic Party

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his campaign for U.S. Senate

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Evers describes his relationship with President Ronald Reagan

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles Evers remembers President Richard Nixon

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles Evers reflects upon his contributions to the City of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles Evers talks about joining the Republican Party

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Charles Evers talks about his work in the radio industry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Evers describes his management of WHOC Radio in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Evers talks about his support for President Donald John Trump

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles Evers reflects upon his legacy and message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles Evers reflects upon his family

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles Evers narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$8

DATitle
Charles Evers describes his early involvement with the NAACP
Charles Evers remembers the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
Transcript
So, when do you get involved with civil rights or the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]?$$Medgar [Medgar Evers] and I started NAACP, before I went, before I went to Chicago [Illinois]. Here's what happened. Roy Wilkins, Gloster Current [Gloster B. Current], the so called big shot darkies who's head of the NAACP, had heard and, and President Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] had heard about Medgar and I trying to get Negroes to do certain things. Let me tell you how got that, here I go again. One day Medgar and I was in Decatur [Mississippi] standing on the courthouse square. I like to tell this story. And an old white man, half bent over, walk by me and look at me and said, "Let me tell you niggers something." I flinched and Medgar said, "No, no Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers]." "You all niggers won't never be nothing. Until you all learn how to vote." I looked at him, "You hear me? Until you learn how to vote." I say, "What do you mean by that?" He said, "Who's the mayor?" I said, "I don't know." "Who the sheriff?" I said, "I don't know." "You see what I'm telling you? You see what I'm telling you niggers?" So, Medgar kept telling me, "No Charles, no Charles," 'cause he, he's always the peace maker. So, he said, "Until you all learn how to vote, you ain't gonna never be nothing." And that stuck with me. And I told her [sic.], I say, "You know what?" I went home and I asked my women, then they didn't know. And they didn't know, I mean I think they knew but they didn't know, they just knew of them. And from that day on, we went back, went back to Alcorn [Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College; Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi] and started getting our school mates to go back home in their neighborhood up in Delta [Mississippi Delta] and get our folks and go register and they had hell broke out. That's when we started. And John Kennedy was president and just become president. And he heard about the Evers boys. Course, I mean, 'cause at that time, for, for, for niggers trying to register in Mississippi was, that was headlines and he got up and he, and he called Medgar, President Kennedy called Medgar. And Medgar went and met with him and they became friends. And then when he was killed and Bobby [Robert F. Kennedy] and I were friends before when that sort of put the family together. Between Medgar and John and me and Bobby. And then when John was killed--they both came to Medgar's grave, and when John was killed I went up and Ethel [Ethel Skakel Kennedy] and we had, by that time we had gotten to be good friends, the Kennedys and, and me. And that's how it happened one of those kinds of crazy ways.$$All right.$$And then we, then after that I became--Medgar became head of the NAACP.$$Okay, well (unclear) let me see we're in 1948 now. So let's, let's before we go forward. You all start the NAACP, now was first chartered in, in Vicksburg [Mississippi] right? And then they had to recharter it again? But, do you know about the Misssis- Mississippi State Conference, which led a lot of the, the demonstrations and voter registrations (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Medgar was the head of that, yeah.$$--in Mississippi.$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$And Medgar was the one that lead that. 'Cause became Medgar took over it was quiet, it was very quiet. But, Medgar became the field secretary of the NAACP.$$Do you know these names like Aaron Henry?$$Oh yes indeed. Aaron was president of the branch up in Clarksdale [Mississippi]. He was the first black elected official in state--Mississippi State Legislature.$$Okay.$$My dear friend.$$And, and what about Winson Hudson?$$Oh yeah. The Hudson sist- big women they call them like they call them the big women, two sisters. And they all from--they were over Leake County, Carthage [Mississippi].$$Okay. And the C.C. Bryant?$$Oh yeah, C.C. them was down there in Hattiesburg [Mississippi].$$Okay, so they all these were all people who worked (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) All of them, part of--$$Now, C.C. worked with the--establishing the first Freedom School or what?$$Yeah.$$Tell me of what, what was a Freedom School?$$Freedom was just a school trying to teach us how to become citizens what to do, and what a citizen should do. And C.C. headed up in Hattiesburg. And he's gone too now. All of them gone, I'm the only one left. Isn't that something, and, and I look around all the time say, "Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers] are you next. Stop kidding yourself," I'm not kidding myself. Because all them old friends of mine, all my dear friends gone. 'Cause we were in there together. And I when I was in Philadelphia I started a movement in Philadelphia, Mississippi. With my funeral home [Charles Evers Funeral Home]. And I, and I, I'm black disc jockey ever worked in a white radio station [WHOC Radio, Philadelphia, Mississippi].$$Right, that comes next. I was just gonna ask you about one other person and that was Gilbert Mason [HistoryMaker Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr.]?$$Oh yeah Gilbert yeah from--he died a few years ago.$$Okay.$$Dr. Mason.$$And, and what did he do down in Biloxi [Mississippi].$$He was the pres- he was a doctoring, he was a doctor, he was president of the NAACP in the Biloxi branch.$$Okay, so they wanted to inte- integrate the beaches down there?$$Yeah, yeah we all inte- yeah he integrated, he lead the, I was there with him. He led the, the march on the beaches. We couldn't go on the beaches down there. But, Dr. Mason along with the rest of us. He led us and we followed him on the beaches. And they (unclear) but see, I ain't never turned the other cheek. And we weren't supposed to, but I'd fight them, I'd fight them rascals like nothing. And we all got fighting down there and totally, finally we totally integrated the beaches. Now we can go, you can go around there now. And slip on your, your bathing suit and sit down there as long as anybody else, there, whites all around you don't think nothing about it.$$Okay.$$Under Gilbert Mason, sure did.$After that, then Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] is killed, and--$$Oh god.$$--you talk about that you were friends, you know, with the, Medgar [Medgar Evers] was friends with John and you were very good friends with Bobby [Robert F. Kennedy]. So, tell me what, what that was like? And about your re- tell us about your relationship with the Kennedy family?$$Well, we just became like Evers family, Kennedy family, that's all, that's all I can say. I'm close to Ethel [Ethel Skakel Kennedy] and all them now. In fact, I was with Bobby when he was shot, I was there when he was killed.$$Were you?$$I was right there, I was right there, yeah. When he was killed. We were in Los Angeles [California], campaign, we'd won the election. And when, and the when he went down stairs to the big ball, down to receive it and greet the people. And he said, "Come on Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers]." "I'll watch you on TV." "Oh come on damn it." I said, "Okay I'll be on down." He and Ethel and the rest of family went on down before me. I said, "Well hell, I'll go on down." I know I like that cracker, used to call him old peckerwood cracker all the time. I knew that cracker (unclear). So, I went on down by myself and I always stand right in front of him because he spoke too long. I always, I always do this (gesture) to him, when time was up. And so, I, I was came in as I always do, stood right by in front of him. He was on the stage speaking. And when he got--kept going, I (gesture) he was always watch me 'cause, I knew he's, he's, "Well I see it's time for me to go, I guess I spoke too long," or something like that. And thanked the people for it over and over again. And he turned, I thought he was coming down and let's go out the front [of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California]. When he turned he went back through the ki- I never understood that to this day, why'd he go out through the kitchen. I guess that's the way he was supposed to go. Went back through the, that's where they shot him back in the door. And now I heard the shot. I thought it was balloon, had balloons everywhere. And so I heard, "They shot the senator." I broke on the stage he was laying I picked him up just held him. (Unclear), "Bobby please don't leave me, please don't leave me, please don't leave me us Bobby," and Ethel is screaming, I told Rosey Grier, "Hold Ethel." And, "Somebody call, call an ambulance, call a hearse quick, an ambulance." So, we got an ambulance I went with him to the hospital I stayed with him. He died I was right there. I, and we carried him back to New York [New York]. And that's another violated, then the men I saw going in to sit, I said no, they put in a casket, they, in there with the casket from New York, from California to New York. Right beside Bobby all the time. And then we left there on the train coming back from there. We had nothing but a stop, they brought him back to, to Washington [D.C.] to bury him. You know I couldn't go to that funeral. I just couldn't, I tried and I just couldn't. And that was the last time I saw him.$$Oh okay.$$I don't want to talk about it.$$Okay, all right.$$I'm sorry. We were so close and he believed in me and I believed in him. He, he would have made the greatest president. I'm sorry.$$No, that's, that's fine.$$And here gone, my brother and him. I have nobody left. So, but the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. That's what I have live by that. I'm sorry. But that, that's why I'm very remorseful about Bobby and Medgar so. And Ethel and I are supposed to go up there next month. She's down in Florida right now.$$Who is that?$$Ethel, Bobby's wife, Ethel Kennedy.

David Richards

Military officer David Richards was born on March 19, 1929 in Sedalia, Missouri to Christina Diggs Richards and David Richards. He attended Lincoln School and C.C. Hubbard High School in Sedalia. Richards then studied at the College of Mortuary Science in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating in 1951. Years later, Richards received his B.A. degree in business administration from Park College in Parkville, Missouri in 1975. Three years later, he earned his M.A. degree in human resources from Pepperdine University.

Upon graduating from high school, Richards joined the United States Army in 1946. He was stationed at Camp Stoneman in California, and deployed overseas to the Pacific Theater. Richards became a member of the U.S. Army band, and rose to head of the reed section. After completing U.S. Army service in 1948, Richards worked briefly as an apprentice mortician, and returned to the Army in 1954. He completed airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia and attended rigger school at Fort Lee, Virginia. He served ten years in the 612th Quartermaster Aerial Supply Company, and then transferred to the Artic Test Center in Fort Greenly, Alaska, where he tested airdrop equipment. Then, Richards was sent to the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts, where he helped develop expendable parachutes for the Vietnam War. In 1968, Richards became the Army’s first African American warrant officer, and remained the sole African American in that rank until his retirement in 1983. After his Army career, Richards worked at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department in staffing, and later as a crime prevention analyst. He continued teaching as an adjunct professor at Saint Leo University until 2000.

As the first African American warrant officer, Richards was inducted into the Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer’s Hall of Fame upon his retirement in 1983. Richards was also inducted into the Distinguished Order of Saint Martin within the Quartermaster Corps in the United States Army. He was a three time recipient of the Omega Man of the Year Award and the Superior Service Award. Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Inc. also honored Richards with the Salute to Veterans Award.

Richards was a member of St. Philip A.M.E. Church in Savannah, Georgia. He also served as an advisor to the director of the West Board Street YMCA, as president for the Mental Health Association of the Coastal Empire, as vice chair of human services for Chatham County and as chairperson of the superintendent advisory council for the Chatham County Board of Education. Richards was a board member for the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club, JHS of Savannah, the Meditation Center Board, the Martin Luther King Day Observance Committee and the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.

Richards and his wife, Swannie Moore Richards have three children: David Richards III, Yvette Richards, and Bonnye Richards Anthony.

Richards passed away on February 5, 2019.

David Richards was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 9, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.044

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/10/2017

Last Name

Richards

Maker Category
Schools

Pepperdine University

Park University

C.C. Hubbard High School

Lincoln School

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Sedalia

HM ID

RIC20

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Success Awaits At Labor's Gates.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/19/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

2/5/2019

Short Description

Military officer David Richards, Jr. (1929 - 2019) conducted over 11,000 parachute operations on behalf of the U.S. Army, and was inducted into the Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer’s Hall of Fame.

Employment

US Army

Saint Leo University

Savannah Tribune

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Richards' interview

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Richards describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Richards describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Richards talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Richards describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Richards remembers his community in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Richards describes his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Richards remembers the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Richards remembers the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Richards recalls his childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Richards remembers the faculty of the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Richards remembers his activities at C.C. Hubbard High School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Richards recalls the Taylor Chapel Methodist Church in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers his prom

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Richards describes his family vacations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers the businesses in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Richards recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Richards recalls the aftermath of World War II in the western Pacific

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Richards remembers joining a U.S. Army band, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Richards remembers joining a U.S. Army band, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Richards talks about his military promotions

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Richards recalls his training as a mortician

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Richards remembers his decision to return to the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers his paratrooper training

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Richards recalls attending parachute rigger school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers conducting parachute field tests

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Richards describes his work at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Richards remembers being denied a promotion

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Richards remembers his promotion to warrant officer

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Richards describes his duties as a warrant officer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Richards talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers his retirement from the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Richards recalls his career at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Richards describes his college education

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Richards remembers his career as a professor

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - David Richards describes his organizational activities, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Richards describes his organizational activities, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Richards shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Richards reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Richards describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Richards recalls serving as parade marshal for the Veteran's Council

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Richards remembers his students

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Richards narrates his photographs

The Honorable Edna Jackson

Political official and civic leader Edna Jackson was born on September 18, 1944 in Savannah, Georgia to Henry Reid and Georgia Branch Dillard. She graduated from Alfred E. Beach High School in 1962, and then earned her B.S. degree in sociology in 1968, and her M.Ed. degree in political science education in 1972, both from Savannah State University. Having joined the NAACP Youth Council as a high school student, Jackson became active while at Savannah State, travelling throughout the South for voter registration drives and sit-in demonstrations.

Jackson began her career as a social worker with the Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah-Chatham County Area, Inc. In 1971, Savannah State University President Prince Jackson, Jr. hired Jackson as the director of the university’s emergency school assistant program. During her time there, she also worked as the director of alumni affairs and coordinator of the Elderhostel Program before her retirement in 2001. Jackson then served as alderman at large on the City Council of Savannah for three terms, and mayor pro tempore of Savannah for two terms. In 2012, Jackson became the first African American woman to be elected as mayor of Savannah, serving for one term.

Jackson was the recipient of the A Working Woman in Need’s Top 10 Working Women of the Year Award. She was also named an Outstanding Alumnus by Savannah State University and one of the 2012 Power Women by GeorgiaTrend magazine.

Jackson also served as the southern regional vice president and national vice president of Savannah State University, as vice chairman of the Chatham County Democratic Executive Committee, as a member of the board of representatives for World Trade Center Savannah, and as a chairperson of the Chatham County Hospital Authority. She was also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., St. Phillip A.M.E. Church, the U.S. Selective Board, and the Georgia Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. U.S. Congressman John Barrow appointed Jackson to serve on the Military Academy Selection Committee and the Regional Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Savannah Regional Second Harvest Food Bank and on the board of the Equal Opportunity Authority.
Jackson has one son, Kevan Jackson.

Edna Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.043

Sex

Female

Interview Date

02/08/2017

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Florence Street Elementary School

Beach-Cuyler School

Alfred E. Beach High School

Savannah State University

First Name

Edna

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

JAC38

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

And This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/18/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Political official and civic leader Edna Jackson (1944 - ) served in numerous positions at Savannah State University from 1971 to 2001, before becoming mayor of Savannah in 2012.

Employment

Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah-Chatham County Area, Inc.

Emergency School Assistance Program

Savannah State University

City of Savannah

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Edna Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Edna Jackson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Edna Jackson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers her maternal grandmother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Edna Jackson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers her maternal uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Edna Jackson describes her home in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers her community in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Edna Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Edna Jackson describes her experiences at the Florence Street School in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Edna Jackson recalls joining the NAACP

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers the influence of W.W. Law

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about Cuyler Junior High School in Savnnah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Edna Jackson recalls the influence of Doris Pettigrew Little

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about her interest in science and math

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers her first protests with the NAACP, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers her first protests with the NAACP, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Edna Jackson recalls her involvement in drama and music

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers attending NAACP conventions with W.W. Law

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Edna Jackson describes her work as an NAACP field coordinator in Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers leading a group to the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers her friends from her time as an organizer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about the organizers of the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Edna Jackson recalls her time as an NAACP field organizer in Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers enrolling at Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about her marriage and son

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Edna Jackson describes her start at the Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah-Chatham County Area, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers working for the Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah-Chatham County Area, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about working in the Emergency School Assistance Program

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about the integration of Armstrong State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Edna Jackson recalls her roles at Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about her time as chair of the Chatham County Hospital Authority in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Edna Jackson describes her role in the Chatham County Democratic Party

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers her first elected office

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about Mayor Otis Johnson's town hall meetings

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Edna Jackson recalls the challenges at the start of her mayoralty of Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Edna Jackson recalls hiring Stephanie Cutter as city manager of Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers working with protesters following the shooting of Charles Smith

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about losing her reelection campaign, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about losing her reelection campaign, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers her health problems during her mayoral term

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Edna Jackson reflects upon her life after her mayoralty

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Edna Jackson reflects upon her civic contributions

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about her awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Edna Jackson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Edna Jackson talks about the need for social activism

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Edna Jackson narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Edna Jackson narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

3$2

DATitle
The Honorable Edna Jackson describes her work as an NAACP field coordinator in Florida
The Honorable Edna Jackson remembers working with protesters following the shooting of Charles Smith
Transcript
(Simultaneous) See what happened, when I graduated from high school [Alfred E. Beach High School, Savannah, Georgia] it was known that I was going to college [at Savannah State College; Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia]. Tuition was sixty-five dollars a quarter, and back then you didn't have financial aid and all that kind of stuff like our young people really don't realize. And they should appreciate now. So, my mom [Georgia Branch Dillard] would se- sent my sister's [Margie Reid Williams] and my tuition the first quarter, oh I went to school I didn't, you know, I was having me a good time too. And, but we had, my grandmother [Jackson's maternal grandmother, Sadie Royal Branch] decided she would take in a couple of college students. And my mother had sent the tuition for the second quarter, the winter quarter and my grandmamma went to get the money and there was no money. One of the students had stolen the money for my tuition and my sister's tuition. And they couldn't come up with tuition for me. Didn't bother me, you know. So, by that time Mr. Law [W.W. Law], they, the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] had chosen some young people to work all over the South and I knew, they asked me, I dropped out. And they sent me to North Carolina. This guy Edwards [James Edwards, Jr.] in South Carolina worked--'cause I came up around, with all these guys. Carolyn Quilloin [Carolyn Quilloin Coleman] stayed here in Georgia. But, it was my responsibility to organize civil rights workers across that State of Florida. The field director's office was right down the street from my mama's restaurant, Dillard's Restaurant [ph.]. We had arrived by then, my mother had re- remarried [to Mansfield Dillard] and she'd opened her restaurant. So, my assignment was a city called Live Oak, Florida. And we, my assignment was to go to meet with the ministers and all, remember now I was, I was just turned eighteen years old. That's September, so this was January. And there was another young man from Jacksonville [Florida], Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, not Bob Saunders [Robert W. Saunders, Sr.] was the field director. Robert, Robert, I can't think of his name it will come. But, he, we met in Live Oak, Florida to get people to teach them how to demonstrate. And you had CORE and you also had the Congr- see, you had the Congress of Racial Equality, another one of the groups there. But ours was teach them how to demonstrate. Send them down there, and we had to set up for the attorneys to be ready to get them out of jail. And the field director, the group out of Jacksonville was working with us and we were able to do that. And I had to teach them non-violence. Left there and went to Pahokee, Florida, to work there. And we had to do several things, the same kinds of things, that's down in what they call the black muck. But, you do the same thing, but it was my work in Tampa [Florida] where we were also demonstrating, when they decided that we were going to go to the March on Washington. So, we had an integrated group of kids in the Youth Council [NAACP Youth Council] in Tampa. So, my boss Bob Saunders said, "Edna [HistoryMaker Edna Jackson]," I said, "Mr. Saunders we want to go to March on Washington." So, he said, "But you know how you gonna get there?" So, we said, "Well y'all can get us some cars and we'll drive." Well, long story short, we had three station wagons. And that's the only time my sister ever participated in demonstrating. Her thing was, "Well when you get yours I'll get mine." By that time she had moved to Tampa, because she graduated. Remember she was a senior, so she had graduated and she moved to Tampa to start, to become a teacher in Head Start down there. So we went to the March on Washington with an integrated group of kids driving station wagons. And here I was, eighteen years old, leading the group. I couldn't drive, you know, I was eighteen, 'cause the insurance would not cover, so we had to have drivers--older people. And a couple of years ago I was telling this story to someone else and we found the white couple, they were brother and sisters, David and David Bob, Boffet [ph.], and, I can't think of his sister and we found the brother and we later the found the, the bro- we found David. He's living in Colorado now. But, the good part about it is that we integrated Florida. And from there, Carolyn by that time was out of college and she was moving about. And we worked, I worked all over Florida and we would come in and out of Georgia as well. But, my assignment specifically at that time was Florida.$Then we had a white officer [David Jannot] to shoot a young man [Charles Smith]. It was on my birthday, two years ago, September 18th. (Background noise) I'm getting ready, we, oh. I'm getting ready to you know, to have city council meeting [of the Savannah City Council]. We get a call in our pre council meeting, "Edna, there has been a shooting in West Savannah [Savannah, Georgia], and a young man's life has been taken." So, West Savannah was Van Johnson's area. So, I said, "Van [Van R. Johnson II] go out there and call me right back." He went out there to look out, he was an alderman. He said, "It's bad." So, I said, "Okay, I said, "you come back and I'm on my way." Stephanie Cutter, the chief of police [Julie Tolbert] and I went out there, three females. You never heard anything about it. When I got out there along with Stephanie and the chief, I wouldn't--I didn't want any policemen around me. I didn't even want to go, want to stand under the railing. I talked to my people. Someone said to me, he said, "Miss," he said, "mayor, you don't need to go out there." I said, "Why not?" I said, "These are my people. This is in the African American neighborhood. If, I can come out of here and ask them to vote for me, then I can stand out here and talk to them." And they listened to me. They did night marches. The, the, the Black Panther Party came in here. Pastor Brown [HistoryMaker Reverend Matthew Southall Brown, Sr.] and I went out there. I don't know if he mentioned it. We've, we were in a meeting, I said, "Pastor Brown I need you." We went out there to sit down to eat some chicken wings and I was ju- we felt, we made a conversation like we didn't know we were doing, who that young man was and he told us. And I said, "Oh I'm [HistoryMaker] Edna Jackson the mayor of Savannah [Georgia], thank you for coming." I said, "And this is Pastor Brown," and we went on and on and we talked. And I said, "Let me tell you everything that has happened and where we're going with this." He said, "Well, we got them coming in from Waynesboro [Georgia]." I said, "Waynesboro." He said, "Yeah, that's my hometown." I said, "Oh my people from Wayne. Do you know So and So and So? My cousin is on the police force," so you know, just to open up the thing. Well, long story short they came in here, that night they had, they were having marches. They weren't, but they wanted to see how they were gonna march. This young man and--decided that he, he used to be a member of the Panther Party in Savannah. And he went down and he used the bullhorn to talk about a man where the grocery store was. This man was Ori- Indian, Indian. "Y'all need to run him out of the thing. Y'all need to do this," I said, "Oh hell no." I was up, back up by the other area. I walked out in the middle of street and when I down they said, "Oh there go the mayor." So, when I was g- halfway, almost halfway, all of a sudden I saw the Panthers do their little turn. And you know how they (gesture) do their thing like that, you know. So, I said to the young man, I said, "Oh, is the, you know, the protest over?" He said, "Mayor we're satisfied you have this in order. We don't act like that. We're leaving your city." No one ever knew that they came through here to be a part of all the disruptions. When they the dec- the people in the neighborhood decided that they were gonna march that, you know, every day, we say, "Okay, just tell me, give me your schedule. We'll make sure that you are protected by the police." They marched--first march they had they had these little kids at the beginning of the line. I pulled the leaders aside I said, "Now let me tell y'all about the art of marching. You never put the babies in the front." "Oh," I said, "So now, if y'all are--." I said, "First thing, y'all need to have them in the march. But, if you make sure you protect them by putting them in the back you have a right to march. But, now the minute y'all throw something through somebody's stuff I'm going to put you in jail." You never heard about it. Savannah State [Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia] students laid out on the highway 80 [U.S. Route 80]. I was way up in North Georgia and they called me. I was at Georgia Municipal Association meeting. I got in my car, Lonnie [Alonzo Adams, Jr.] was with me. Got in my car and I said, "Tell them I'll meet them at twelve o'clock." Met them and I explained what my life was like. They never did it again. I said, "A fellow student was killed right out there on that street, for collecting scholarship money." I said, "So you need to know why you going, who's gonna get you out of jail? Y'all haven't done any of that." So, that was if you ask me of something that I was proud of, I was proud of that moment. When CNN came in here and said, "How did y'all do it? You are three women." We said, "That's how we did it. We're three women that can feel the pulse of the people. That can work with people. That are--," we do not antagonize people but they know w- they knew we were coming from. And they--so we worked together, that is what happened. It was all over the press. But, most of the time, it wasn't a covered story. Because we didn't have the outbreaks like they had out there, you know, in other areas.

Nancy Lane

Corporate executive Nancy Lane was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Gladys Lane and Samuel Lane. She received her B.S. degree in public relations and journalism from Boston University in 1962, and went on to earn her M.P.A. degree at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1975, Lane completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School in Boston.

Lane began her career at the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company. She then worked as a project manager for the National Urban League, where she developed the Black Executive Exchange Program. From 1972 to 1973, Lane was the second vice president and head of executive recruitment at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. She became the vice president of personnel at New York Off-Track Betting Corporation in 1973, before joining the administration department at the Johnson & Johnson Products corporate headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1975. The following year, Lane was named vice president of human resources and administration, making her the first woman to assume the role. She also served on the board of directors of Ortho Diagnostic Systems, a division of Johnson & Johnson. She was the first female vice president, and first African American, to sit on Johnson & Johnson’s management board. Lane served as vice president of government affairs at Johnson & Johnson’s corporate headquarters until her retirement in 2000.

Lane held several board positions, including on the board of governors at Rutgers University, the National Board of Directors for the NAACP. She also served as the lead NGO representative at the United Nations. She also served on the board of Bloomfield College, the board of trustees for Freedom House, the board of directors for the SEED Foundation, and the board of Studio Museum in Harlem. She was as an advisor for The International Review of African American Art, as well as a co-chair of the Stieglitz Society at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 1987, Lane received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University, which is the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus.

Nancy Lane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 28, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.041

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/28/2016

Last Name

Lane

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

Boston University

University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Harvard Business School

Roxbury Memorial High School

Henry Lee Higginson Elementary School

First Name

Nancy

Birth City, State, Country

Alexandria

HM ID

LAN10

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York City

Favorite Quote

It's Up To Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Almost Everything

Short Description

Corporate executive Nancy Lane (1944 - ) worked for Johnson & Johnson Products for over twenty-five years, and also served on the boards of Rutgers University, Bloomfield College, the NAACP and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Employment

North American Representative of the International Union of Students

National Urban League, Westinghouse Broadcasting Company

National Urban League

Chase Manhattan Bank

New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation

Johnson & Johnson

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nancy Lane's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nancy Lane lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nancy Lane describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nancy Lane describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nancy Lane talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nancy Lane describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nancy Lane remembers her neighbors in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nancy Lane talks about her parents' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nancy Lane describes her early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nancy Lane remembers her neighbors in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nancy Lane recalls working at the Boston Public Library

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nancy Lane describes her undergraduate education

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Nancy Lane talks about her early understanding of race

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Nancy Lane remembers studying abroad in Norway, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nancy Lane remembers studying abroad in Norway, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nancy Lane remembers her experiences in Austria

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nancy Lane describes the start of her business career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nancy Lane recalls working at an educational organization in the Netherlands

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nancy Lane remembers joining the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nancy Lane talks about the changes in her personality and aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nancy Lane remembers her master's degree program at the University of Pittsburgh

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nancy Lane remembers moving to Greenwich Village in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nancy Lane remembers creating the National Urban League's Black Executive Exchange Program

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Nancy Lane describes the National Urban League's Black Executive Exchange Program

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nancy Lane describes her career at the National Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nancy Lane recalls becoming an executive recruiter at Chase Manhattan Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nancy Lane describes her experiences in Chase Manhattan Bank's executive dining room

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nancy Lane remembers joining the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nancy Lane recalls the executive training program at Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nancy Lane remembers joining the board of the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nancy Lane talks about the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nancy Lane talks about the founding of the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nancy Lane remembers the directors of the Studio Museum in Harlem, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nancy Lane remembers the directors of the Studio Museum in Harlem, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nancy Lane talks about the leadership of Thelma Golden at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nancy Lane describes the Studio Museum in Harlem Gala

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nancy Lane talks about her role at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nancy Lane remembers joining Johnson and Johnson Products

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nancy Lane recalls becoming the first female vice president at Johnson and Johnson Products

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nancy Lane talks about her civic engagement in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nancy Lane describes the highlights of her career at Johnson and Johnson Products

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nancy Lane reflects upon her career at Johnson and Johnson Products

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nancy Lane remembers the Chicago Tylenol murders

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nancy Lane talks about her retirement from Johnson and Johnson Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nancy Lane talks about African American businessman H. Naylor Fitzhugh

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nancy Lane reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nancy Lane shares her advice to African American youth

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Nancy Lane reflects upon her life and plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Nancy Lane talks about her interest in art

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$6

DATitle
Nancy Lane remembers creating the National Urban League's Black Executive Exchange Program
Nancy Lane talks about her role at the Studio Museum in Harlem
Transcript
So you work as project manager for the National Urban League--$$Right.$$--for, for about two years?$$Well you know, it was supposed to be for a year. They gave me the job of the century. I had an assignment they called the Summer Fellowship Program, so we know that African Americans who taught at historically black colleges [HBCUs] often had to teach subjects where they might not have had corporate experience- experiences themselves. So, for example, there was a professor who taught applied mathematics at Grambling [Grambling College; Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana], and that was when they said it was harder to make the, the team, the, the music team, the band, than it was to make the football team at Grambling. And, so, anyway, I guess they had so much--$$They had great--yes, sure.$$--talent in football. You know, and so on. So, anyway, my job was to visit the college campuses, interview faculty, and talk to them about spending summers in industry, and then, during the fall, work with corporations that were tied to the Urban League and talk to them about hiring for a summer one of these faculty members; and the pitch was, hire this person. Help them expand the program and the curriculum at the college that they're at, and when you go back to that college to recruit, you've got your person on the campus who knows the students, who knows your corporation, and who will be your, your onsite recruiter for you. And so--and then what would happen, so my job was in the fall to go to the college campuses, in the winter to work with the corporations in terms of making matches; and then in the summer, visit the professors on assignment. How is it going? What did you like? What would you like to have that would be a different kind of experience? And to say to the companies, can we sign you up again for next year? So I did that for the Urban League, and I guess it was maybe after two years--you see, I couldn't leave the job. I mean, you would agree. That was a job. You're making a contribution to others. You're meeting faculty, et cetera, and so many areas. The head of the business department at Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] had never worked in industry at that time. He was an economist, wonderful man, Dr. E.B. Williams, wonderful. People who know Morehouse know him. And, and so anyway (background noise), what happened was that I said to myself, but when these professors come back to their campus, they're going to have new ideas about what should happen, but their ideas might meet some resistance. What can I do to make a difference for them and also to ensure that the programs are going to be effective? And so I thought about it, and in those days, executive in residence programs did not include black colleges, and so I created what became known--and ran for forty-five years--I created what became known as the Black Executive Exchange Program, and so with that program--it's the joy of my life--with that program, we would, you know, when I--when it was just an idea, I said to black executives I knew--of course, mostly males in those days in the '60s [1960s]--I said to them, "How would you like to spend some time on a college campus?" And they said, "Well, we'd like to, but I wouldn't dare leave my job for any period of time." "You wouldn't leave for a month?" "I wouldn't leave for a week," they'd tell me, "It might not be there when I got back." And so I then thought to myself, how do I get around that problem?$And so as a board member, what is your role in supporting the evolution of the museum [Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York]?$$So my focus has been in different areas. As I mentioned, I was chair of the board, and I think--and before that, too, my focus has been on recruiting talent for our board; and so people sometimes would give us names, and other times, it would be somebody I would see. So I don't want to say the name, but I was chatting once with someone, and, and they said, "Gee, have you ever recruited this person," and the guy was standing right there beside us, "for your board?" I said, "I'm embarrassed to say no, but we'll go after it now." A longtime board member now. And so we--so I was interested in, in recruiting people. [HistoryMaker] Carol Sutton Lewis heads our nominating committee, and I serve on that committee, so that's one of the areas that I'm focusing on. I'm focusing on the, the building campaign. Yeah. Master, master--major, major, major, major.$$When will the--will--when do you imagine that will come about?$$They tell us to say soon.$$(Laughter).$$(Laughter) But you know that our architect is David Adjaye, who's just done the--$$Yes.$$--Smithsonian [National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.], and we've had great support from a number of organizations and people here in New York City [New York, New York], and so we're very excited about it. And so we said, where should we be with our new building? And we said, where else but in our current location? So we'll be taking down the new--the current building; and at the suggestion also of [HistoryMaker] Theaster Gates, we are going to incorporate a work of art that's reflective of the old building, our current building in--as a piece of art--in our new building.$$Huh.$$Yes. And so that's going to be incorporated into the design and on exhibition permanently. And there are a couple of other pieces that I expect will always be up such as our 'Me/We' piece--that neon piece, beautiful piece that Glenn Ligon did; and so, so I'm focused on the building, and I'm also focused on the acquisitions for our collection. And I'm so proud of our committee. We have a great committee, and I would say we have about thirty-odd people on that committee; and the joy is that when Thelma [HistoryMaker Thelma Golden] and the museum staff present work to us to consider purchasing, and we always purchase one work from each of the artists in residence, by the way, so that we will always have their early days, like Kehinde Wiley. We have--$$Yes.$$--early purse--piece from Kehinde. And Kehinde, when he was an artist in residence--$$I remember.$$--and he also lived in the--in his studio because times were tough for Kehinde then, and now look at him, you know, international star. But, anyway, so, so my focus is also on building our collection; and the committee not only--the funds that they contribute each year are the funds that we use to purchase work, and then so often at our meetings--and we had one about three weeks ago--what will happen is, we don't have enough money to buy something, and someone will say (gesture), "Let me buy that and contribute it to the museum," and so that happens repeatedly at our meetings, and I think of our permanent collection, I've never asked Thelma, but I think it's fair to say--I'm a little biased--but I think it's fair to say a good 30 percent of that permanent collection has come through our acquisitions committee, so that's just been wonderful.$$And so are all purchases made by the museum approved by the board?$$Technically. And like other museums. You know, there's a meeting at which Thelma--when she does her annual report, she will then report to them on the acquisitions and what's the--additions to the collection, which includes not only those we purchase but work that have been donated to the museum by others who care about us, our mission, and who admire the artists that we do.$$Excellent.$$And so that's when we take an official vote.$$Excellent.

Billye Aaron

Nonprofit executive and television personality Billye Aaron was born on October 16, 1936 in Anderson County, Texas to Nathan Suber and Annie Mae Smith Suber. She attended Clemons School in Neches, Texas and later graduated from Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas in 1954. In 1958, she graduated from Texas College in Tyler, Texas with her B.A. degree in English. She received a fellowship to attend Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated with her M.A. degree in 1960. Aaron continued her post-graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

Aaron taught English in the Atlanta public school system, at Spelman College, Morehouse College, South Carolina State College and Morris Brown College. In 1968, she was hired as a co-host for WSB-TV’s ‘Today in Georgia,’ becoming the first African American woman in the southeast to co-host a daily, hour-long talk show. In 1973, she married baseball legend Hank Aaron and began hosting her weekly talk show, ‘Billye,’ for WTMJ-TV. In 1980, she served as the development director for the Atlanta branch of the United Negro College Fund. Throughout her fourteen-year tenure with the organization, she co-hosted the annual telethon, ‘Lou Rawls Parade of Stars,’ co-founded the Mayor’s MASKED Ball and became the second woman in the organization to serve as vice president of the southern region. After retiring in 1994, she and her husband started the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation to award scholarships to assist the education of low-income children.

A longtime member of the NAACP, Aaron chaired its premiere fundraiser, the annual Freedom Fund Dinner, for five years. She was named director emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and has been honored with numerous awards for her service, including the 2003 Martin Luther King, Jr. “Salute to Greatness” and the YWCA Woman of Achievement award.

Aaron and her husband, Hank Aaron's children include Ceci Haydel, Aaron’s daughter from her first marriage, and Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary and Dorinda, from Hank Aaron’s first marriage. They also have two grandchildren, Emily Jewel and Victor Aaron Haydel.

Billye Aaron was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 1, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.065

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/1/2016

Last Name

Aaron

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Suber

Schools

Lincoln High School

Texas College

Clark Atlanta University

University of California, Berkeley

Clemons High School

Mound Prairie Institute

First Name

Billye

Birth City, State, Country

Anderson County

HM ID

AAR02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Help Me To Do Unto Others As I Would Have Them Do Unto Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/16/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Nonprofit executive and television personality Billye Aaron (1936 - ) hosted 'Today in Georgia' and 'Billye,' and served as a regional vice president of the United Negro College Fund.

Employment

Atlanta Public Schools

Spelman College

Morehouse College

South Carolina State College

Morris Brown College

WSB-TV Atlanta

WTMJ-TV Milwaukee

United Negro College Fund

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Billye Aaron's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Billye Aaron lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Billye Aaron describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Billye Aaron describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Billye Aaron talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Billye Aaron lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Billye Aaron describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Billye Aaron describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Billye Aaron remembers her paternal grandmother's farm

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Billye Aaron describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Billye Aaron recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Billye Aaron describes her early interest in television

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Billye Aaron remembers her classmates at Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Billye Aaron recalls attending Texas College in Tyler, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Billye Aaron remembers enrolling at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Billye Aaron talks about her first husband

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Billye Aaron recalls her teaching experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Billye Aaron remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Billye Aaron recalls commuting to Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Billye Aaron describes the civil rights activities of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Billye Aaron recalls her first husband's relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Billye Aaron remembers the night of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Billye Aaron remembers the night of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Billye Aaron talks about the aftermath of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Billye Aaron remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Billye Aaron talks about the contention between the black church leaders in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Billye Aaron remembers the challenges of desegregating Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Billye Aaron talks about her first husband's religious affiliations

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Billye Aaron remembers joining WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Billye Aaron describes her experiences as co-host of 'Today in Georgia'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Billye Aaron remembers the death of her first husband

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Billye Aaron recalls her early relationship with Hank Aaron

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Billye Aaron talks about her life after marrying Hank Aaron

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Billye Aaron talks about her involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Billye Aaron describes her experiences in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Billye Aaron remembers working for the United Negro College Fund

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Billye Aaron describes her work with the United Negro College Fund

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Billye Aaron talks about Hank Aaron's philanthropy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Billye Aaron describes the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Billye Aaron talks about her scholarship endowments

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Billye Aaron describes her and husband's business ventures

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Billye Aaron describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Billye Aaron talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Billye Aaron describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Billye Aaron remembers the night of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, pt. 2
Billye Aaron describes the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation
Transcript
So anyway, Coretta [Coretta Scott King] was preparing to get the, get a flight to Memphis [Tennessee] and she invited us back, as I said. We talked. She said that Mayor Allen [Ivan Allen, Jr.] was on his way to pick her up and that he had called to get the--see if he could get the plane delayed because otherwise she would never make the flight. It was a rainy, nasty kind of night, drizzly night and she--well we stayed back there with her while she packed. Maybe, maybe ten minutes. It may not have been that long. When we were told that the mayor was there. So we went out. Mayor Allen came to me to ask if I would mind--if I knew the city. Of course I know the city. Said, "Would you mind riding with Louise [Louise Allen] to the airport [Atlanta Municipal Airport; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia] because she doesn't know the city," and the police cars they would be going as fast as they could go so of course I agreed. So I left my car there. I got in the car with Mrs. Allen who drove and we followed to a degree the police car. Of course they lost us and we about fifteen or so minutes maybe twenty minutes later, we got to the airport and when we got to the airport we found I mean we were told at the desk what am I saying? You know what I'm trying to say where the people were to put, to check in on the flight, we were told that they were in a bathroom. I can't remember whether it was a male bathroom or a female bathroom but when we got, when we opened the door to go into the bathroom and they were standing there in a huddle obviously crying because it was Coretta, Dora McDonald [Dora E. McDonald] who had gotten, who had arrived, Christine [HistoryMaker Christine King Farris], the mayor and, and I believe a policeman was in there but I'm not 100 percent sure. I might have that wrong. But anyway they were standing there in a huddle and Mayor Allen looked up at us and did kind of you know message, he didn't make it was the message that we got and surely enough he [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] had passed. So he asked Coretta after a while what she wanted to do. Because they had held the plane and she said, "Well I'll go back home and see about my children." So that was that. And we went back. I went back again and with Ms.--she went in the police car, I followed with Mrs. Allen in her car and I stayed for a while and I went on home too. But people had begun to arrive at her house so I don't, I don't know who they were. And I can't even tell you how many there were, but--there weren't many but they were there to, you know, to do whatever I guess they could do.$Now Chasing the--the Chasing the Dream Foundation that was founded by you and your husband, [HistoryMaker] Hank Aaron, tell us about it? In fact I asked him about it and he said ask you (laughter). He said you know everything about it and can explain it a lot better so we're depending on you.$$Well, I, I just had a conversation with him and, and asked him if he would consider doing a foundation that would help youngsters. I had seen the documentary that Mike Tollin [Michael Tollin] did on him and it was called or is called 'Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream' and that was what really gave me the idea. After seeing him in his early days running across the, whatever some kind of patch across from his home with bottle tops and a stick trying to hit a baseball and it just sort of brought home to me how many of us and particularly our kids come up with little or nothing but who somehow make something out of little of nothing. And I realized as I did when I was growing up, well having the desire to participate in various activities at school but they almost always require that you have some money. You even had to have money at least to buy clothes or to go to an event to showcase what little talent you might have. So we came up with the idea why not use the same name that Mike used for the documentary and just turn it into a foundation. So we call it the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation [Atlanta, Georgia] and we started raising money so we could help kids who just needed a hand really who needed in some instances they needed somebody to pay for the piano lessons. Their parents couldn't pay for piano lessons or they needed somebody to pay for tennis lessons or whatever their interest might be. So we agreed that we would start this little foundation and try to serve as that middleman to help get the kid to the person that can do the most for them to develop, help them to develop their talent. So that's it just kind of grew from that and we proudly recognized the talents of a few of our kids who are really, really outstanding now. We have a young man now who is, well I'll start with Mason. Mason went from Brown elementary school [Brown Middle School, Atlanta, Georgia] down here a few miles away from us and started taking harp lessons. There's a lady here who Roselyn Lewis who just has done marvelous things with a lot of our kids because you don't expect kids from the inner city to be playing the harp or the cello or whatever, whatever but she, she gets them involved, specifically the harp is her area of interest and she has started a foundation, but Mason Morton was one of her students and he of course started taking harp. Then when he got out of high school he went on to he got a scholarship to Michigan [University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan]. He followed his, his music teacher from Michigan to Rice University in Houston [Texas], graduated in Houston and we were helping him all along the way. Not--helping him is the key word here. We weren't--I don't wanna think want you to think that we were footing the bill because we couldn't possibly, we were not that large an organization or foundation but we were there to help him with those things that he really desperately needed that scholarship money and other funds did not take care of. Mason--today Mason, he's a member. I don't know if I--of a group called Serendip [Sons of Serendip] and they were on 'America's Got Talent' and they have cut two or three records now, he and a little group, but he also teaches harp in the public school system in Boston [Boston Public Schools]. So we are so, so proud of him. Then we have a young man who's working toward his Ph.D. at Juilliard [The Juilliard School] in New York [New York] and he's been, been in our program since he was ten or twelve or something like that so these are just two of the really, really outstanding ones and others some of we just made good, good citizens. We have a young lady who went to Fisk [Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee] who was a Phi Beta Kappa [Phi Beta Kappa Society] who is--who went to Yale [Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut] and got her master's degree. We stay in close touch with her and she is now in some field of healthcare. I can't remember what precisely but they come home generally at Christmas and we have them over for our big New Year's Eve and they perform for us and we, we just have a wonderful relationship with several of the kids who have had very good high school and college careers and who are now in the broader community and doing well.