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

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Bishop T.D. Jakes, Sr., was born on June 9, 1957, in South Charleston, West Virginia, to businessman and entrepreneur Ernest, Sr. and educator Odith. The youngest of three children, Jakes was known in his community as “the Bible boy.” However, due to his slight lisp, he was told he would never preach. When Jakes was ten years old, his father developed kidney failure. Jakes and his mother cared for him until his death in 1973. Jakes preached his first sermon in 1976 and was officially ordained in 1979. He met his wife Serita Ann Jamison while guest preaching at her neighborhood church. In 1981, the two were married. In 1980, at the age of 23, Jakes established the Temple of Faith Church in Montgomery, West Virginia, a storefront church with only ten members. Jakes worked simultaneously at the Union Carbide to keep his ministry afloat. Friends International Christian University awarded Jakes his B.A. degree in biblical studies in 1985, his M.A. degree in biblical studies in 1990, and his D.Min. in 1995.

In 1987, Jakes was ordained into the Bishopric, and in 1992, he first preached Woman, Thou Art Loosed, a sermon that addressed the pain of women. The next year, Jakes launched a weekly television broadcast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, catapulting himself into the world of televangelism. In 1994, he began his weekly broadcasts on Black Entertainment Television, and that same year, he initiated the first ManPower conference, designed to motivate men in their relational and community roles. In 1996, after moving his congregation from small town to small town in West Virginia, Jakes moved his family and fifty other church employees to Dallas where they established the Potter’s House. The first church service drew more than 2,000 people, and since then, the membership has grown to more than 30,000. In 1998, Jakes founded the Metroplex Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and established Clay Academy in the heart of Capella Park, a mixed-use, “new urbanism” community.

One of PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly’s “Top 10 Religious Leaders” in 2000, Jakes holds a place in the Black Americans of Achievement series, The Encyclopedia of African-American Christian Heritage, as well as the Who’s Who Among African Americans. In 2000, Jakes served as the keynote speaker at the annual conferences of the National Council of Black Mayors, the National Black Police Association, and the 2000 Congressional Black Caucus. In 2001, Time magazine and CNN distinguished Jakes as America’s Best Preacher, and the next year, Savoy magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Powers That Be.” In 2009, President Barack Obama asked Jakes to deliver the morning service before the historic Presidential Inauguration. Bishop Jakes, having spent over thirty years in the ministry, is also the author of more than twenty books and a Grammy-award winning gospel musician. Currently, Bishop Jakes lives in Dallas with his wife, Serita. They have five children and two grandchildren.

Jakes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 25, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.106

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/25/2010

Last Name

Jakes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Vandalia Elementary School

Weberwood Elementary School

First Name

T.

Birth City, State, Country

South Charleston

HM ID

JAK01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

You'll Win If You Don't Quit.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/9/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beef Stroganoff

Short Description

Bishop Bishop T.D. Jakes (1957 - ) was a leading televangelist and the pastor of The Potter's House megachurch in Dallas, Texas.

Employment

Greater Emmanuel Apostolic Faith Tabernacle

Greater Emmanuel Temple of Faith

‘Get Ready with T.D. Jakes’

The Potter's House

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:31403,450:32610,509:34101,600:36231,647:37012,670:37935,681:44751,783:45106,789:45603,798:56463,923:59004,970:65575,1081:66175,1088:66850,1099:71500,1172:72325,1188:72925,1195:73375,1203:75325,1263:77275,1299:89415,1427:93627,1483:95490,1510:108060,1646:113075,1733:131654,1955:132080,1962:138683,2103:142233,2196:146919,2290:149830,2353:165180,2533:190416,2838:194784,2935:198684,3033:199074,3039:199776,3044:202974,3098:204612,3123:214108,3386:222922,3522:235345,3637:238500,3666$0,0:816,20:2448,75:3672,97:3944,102:4352,109:7344,344:31527,564:32130,577:34658,612:36036,628:43738,725:57502,1075:67708,1211:69640,1264:72160,1298:73504,1324:76948,1395:77368,1401:80644,1464:80980,1478:82828,1537:83416,1546:84508,1562:98860,1689:99210,1695:99490,1700:102360,1765:118250,2242:131594,2341:139856,2537:140585,2657:162735,2941:163100,2950:177700,3209:197270,3526:199592,3579:200194,3587:200882,3596:202258,3624:205010,3718:210540,3845:217903,3928:219382,3956:220948,3990:223500,4007
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bishop T.D. Jakes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bishop T.D. Jakes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his paternal family's roots in Petal, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bishop T.D. Jakes talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bishop T.D. Jakes talks about his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his neighborhood in Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes the sights, sounds and smells of his neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Bishop T.D. Jakes talks about the coalmining industry in West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bishop T.D. Jakes recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers the black barbershops of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes downtown Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers his speech impediment

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bishop T.D. Jakes recalls the assassinations of the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers his father's illness, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers his father's illness, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes the impact of his father's illness

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bishop T.D. Jakes talks about his parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers his father's funeral

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bishop T.D. Jakes recalls his initiation to the Pentecostal church

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers his neighbor, Bobbie Tolliver

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers his calling to the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bishop T.D. Jakes reflects upon his early career as a minister

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes the structure of the Pentecostal church

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers the congregation of the Greater Emmanuel Temple of Faith in Montgomery, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bishop T.D. Jakes recalls the inspiration for 'Woman, Thou Art Loosed!'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bishop T.D. Jakes talks about his television show, 'Get Ready with T.D. Jakes'

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his family

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers the need for 'Woman, Thou Art Loosed!'

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Bishop T.D. Jakes reflects upon his success

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bishop T.D. Jakes recalls the growth of his ministry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers building The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bishop T.D. Jakes remembers the death of his mother

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bishop T.D. Jakes recalls his invitation to the White House

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bishop T.D. Jakes talks about his position as a megachurch pastor

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bishop T.D. Jakes recalls the creation of the ManPower conference

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bishop T.D. Jakes talks about MegaFest

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bishop T.D. Jakes reflects upon his relationship with his mother

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bishop T.D. Jakes reflects upon his career

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Bishop T.D. Jakes talks about his relationship with President George Walker Bush

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Bishop T.D. Jakes reflects upon his role in President George Walker Bush's administration

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Bishop T.D. Jakes describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Bishop T.D. Jakes reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

12$7

DATitle
Bishop T.D. Jakes describes his neighborhood in Charleston, West Virginia
Bishop T.D. Jakes recalls the inspiration for 'Woman, Thou Art Loosed!'
Transcript
Now, you, let's--you were describing the house that you grew up in. Can you describe the neighborhood?$$Absolutely (laughter), yeah, I can see it in my mind right now. We lived on, in an area called Vandalia [Charleston, West Virginia]. The main thoroughfare, if you were to call it that, would be Mountain Road. It was a two lane, winding road that brought up on the mountain on one side and back down on the other side. And there were several little alleys in between that people lived on. And one of them was Page Street and there were several others, Clinton Road [sic. Clinton Avenue] and others. And you'd walk around the road to the church. It was a very close knit neighborhood. Everybody knew everybody and everything about everybody (laughter). And, but it was a great place to raise kids. It really was. There was a white side of the hill and all the white people lived on one side of the hill. And there was, everything past the water tanks was black. Everything on the other side of the water tanks was white. And my brother [Ernest Jakes, Jr.] went to school during the first years of integration, and there was great conflict when he went to school. By the time I went to school, it was a little bit more normal, and we were on the school buses. The busing thing had existed, and we interacted with Caucasians in a way that at the time they fought more than we did. It was, it was a very, very interesting time in the community. Everything was very segregated and the residue still existed down to my generation. Residuals in terms of, very seldom did you see white families migrate beyond the water tanks. It started to happen, but not to a great degree. And it's still largely African American today. And gradually, some blacks would move on that side of town, but that was a slow process. It was just an unspoken line in the sand. But things were very simplistic. I can remember walking around Mountain Road on Sunday mornings and hearing a lady named Mrs. Dean [ph.] singing on Sunday morning. And it was something. She had this amazing voice, and I would love to hear, just walk around the road and just hearing her singing. And out of her screen door, you could hear her singing every Sunday morning. And I ended playing the piano for the church there. And as a little boy, at eleven years old, I was playing for the church and the choir. And it was just interesting to experience that neighborhood. There was a recreation center there that the kids began to play at. There was finally some federal funding for entertainment for minority communities. I can remember vividly big debates over, gosh, I can almost think of the name of the swimming pool. It might have been White Rock Lake pool, I think--no, not White Rock, Rock Lake Pool [South Charleston, West Virginia], when they first allowed blacks to come in the swimming pool, and there were big fights about it and all of that. So it was, even down there--as I think about it more and more, even down to my age, it was still some racial struggles there. West Virginia is less than 5 percent African American even now. So we were extremely minority. And I can remember, I can remember when we went to Detroit [Michigan], I was just astonished to see that many black people (laughter). I was just (laughter) was so fascinated because I grew up in an environment where I went to school around with and worked with and all I ever saw was white people. And I was awed to be in a city where there were really that many black people. I didn't know that many black people existed, existed, and it was just a very interesting perspective for a little boy.$And then I moved to Charleston [West Virginia]. And I moved to Charleston because I was drawing more people from Charleston who drove like maybe an hour away than I was drawing out of the community I was in [Montgomery, West Virginia]. I thought, the tail is wagging the dog and you're getting older, and you need to make a move. And I made that switch and went to Charleston and started preaching in South Charleston [West Virginia], actually, across from the Row City Cafeteria, the little building there. And when I came there, that's when I did the Sunday school class called Woman, Thou Art Loosed! and about forty-six women in the Sunday school class, and I didn't finish that Sunday and I carried--I didn't finish that Sunday and I carried it over a second week and twice as many women came. (Laughter) So after twice as many women came, I didn't wanna finish. I said (laughter), "Let me (unclear)." (Laughter) 'Cause this is going somewhere. And after a while there were women standing outside to hear me talk about this Woman, Thou Art Loosed! I didn't even call it that at the time. I didn't even have a name for it.$$That's what I'm wondering. How did it, how did it even come to you to do this or to speak--I mean I'm just--$$It was inspired because I counseled women who had secrets and suffered with secrets that I wanted to help. I related to their pain. I related to their suffering, and I thought there are biblical answers that would help you with this and I wanted to share it. And I thought if I brought them all together in one place and I started teaching on this, maybe I could really make a difference. And it was, it was amazing because I did it for about four weeks, and it was crazy. And I had these tapes, and I developed these tapes. And I called a friend of mine named Archie Dennis [Archie L. Dennis, Jr.] who lived in Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], and I told--actually, in Monroeville, Pennsylvania at the time, and I told Archie, I said, "Archie, I'm teaching this class for women and they're going nuts about this class." And he said, "Oh, tell me about it." So we're on the phone and I'm preaching all this stuff to him over the phone. And he said, "Well, you need to come up here and share that." And I said, "Really?" And I said, I said, you know, "I'll come." So I said--he said, "So what are you gonna call it?" I said, "I don't know." I said, "Let's call it Woman, Thou Art Loosed! 'cause that's what the Bible said, 'Woman, thou art loosed [Luke 13:12].' Let's just call it that." And he said, "Okay." So he did it, and he advertised it and so many women signed up he had to move it from his church to the hotel. And I went there, and, and taught on it and got four more tapes. Now, I had eight tapes to the series. Next thing I know, somebody was talking to me about doing a book. So they took all my tapes and they transcribed them and tried to make a book of it, but I hated it because between what the author was writing and you speak differently than you write. So it doesn't sound good when you write it. And then by the time he was rounding it off, it was like, "What women ought to do is, you know," and, "what's wrong with women today." And I thought, none of this, it's not in the spiritual. I went in there to try to fix it and ended up rewriting it all together to protect the brand of what I wanted to say. And then I couldn't get anybody to publish it. They wanted me to pay to publish it ['Woman, Thou Art Loosed!,' T.D. Jakes]. And I almost walked away from it because it was gonna cost fifteen thousand dollars to publish it. And that was all the money we had in the world. And we were trying to get a house. There wasn't church money. That's my money (laughter). And we were trying to get a house, but my wife [Serita Jamison Jakes] and I talked about it, and, and I did it. I went ahead and put the money into it, and the book exploded. I've never had a book ever do any better. And the rest was history.

Willie D. Davis

Broadcast executive and football player Willie D. Davis was born on July 24, 1934, in Lisbon, Louisiana to Nodie Bell and David Davis. Recruited to Grambling College (now Grambling State University) by football coach Eddie Robinson, Davis captained the football team and was a student on the dean’s list for two years. In 1956, he graduated from Grambling with his B.S. degree in math and industrial arts.

Davis was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the seventeenth round of the 1956 National Football League Draft. However, that same year, Davis was also drafted into the U.S. Army and was unable to begin his NFL career until 1958. After two years with the Browns, Davis was traded to the Green Bay Packers. For ten seasons, Davis played 138 consecutive regular season games and was a member of all five of Vince Lombardi’s NFL title-winning teams, playing in Super Bowls I and II. In his career with the Green Bay Packers, Davis recovered twenty-one fumbles, setting a team record, never missing any of the 162 games in his twelve-year tenure. Davis was awarded the Associated Press’ All-Pro honors in 1962 and from 1964 to 1967. During the last two years of his football career, Davis studied at the University of Chicago, earning his M.B.A degree in 1968. The following year, the Packers honored Davis’ retirement with Willie Davis Day. That same year, Davis purchased the West Coast Beverage Company and served as its president for eighteen years, while also working as a color commentator on the NFL telecasts for NBC in the early 1970s. Since 1976, Davis has been the president and chief executive officer of All Pro Broadcasting, Inc., a Los Angeles broadcasting company which owns radio stations in the Midwest and Southern California. In 1981, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Davis served as the director of the 1984 Olympics Committee in Los Angeles in 1984. That same year, President Reagan appointed him to the President’s Commission on the Executive Exchange.

Davis has served on the boards of the Sara Lee Corporation, the National Association of Broadcasters, Dow Chemical Company, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Johnson Controls, MGM Mirage, Manpower, Fidelity National Financial, Wisconsin Energy, Strong Management Fund, Mattel Toys, Schlitz Brewing Company, Fireman’s Fund Insurance, Bassett Furniture, Alliance Bank, the Green Bay Packers, the Kauffman Foundation, Occidental College and K-Mart. Davis is also an Emeritus Trustee for the University of Chicago and a Trustee at Marquette University. In 2001, Davis co-chaired and founded the Vince Lombardi Titletown Legends, a charitable organization created to assist various charities throughout Wisconsin. Davis was named the Walter Camp Man of the Year, was ranked 69th on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players and was given the Career Achievement Award from the NFL Alumni. Davis and his wife Ann have a son, Duane, and a daughter, Lori.

Willie D. Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 9, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.200

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/9/2007

Last Name

Davis

Middle Name

D

Schools

Washington High School

Grambling State University

University of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Willie

Birth City, State, Country

Lisbon

HM ID

DAV20

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

Early Start Beats Fast Running.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/24/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Collard Greens

Short Description

Broadcast executive, football player, and entrepreneur Willie D. Davis (1934 - ) played for the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers, winning Super Bowls I and II. In 1981, Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also the president and chief executive officer of All Pro Broadcasting, Inc.

Employment

All Pro Broadcasting

West Coast Beverage Company

NBC

Green Bay Packers (Football team)

Cleveland Browns (Football team : 1946-1995)

United States Army

Favorite Color

Blue, Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:7690,209:10927,253:12421,280:12753,285:36078,617:48870,733:58712,868:59370,876:59840,882:60404,889:66326,988:70650,1059:74410,1109:97300,1312:119392,1573:119966,1583:120950,1599:124148,1649:128904,1712:136940,1849:147044,1904:147434,1910:148058,1919:148370,1924:158267,2014:164591,2035:164939,2040:165287,2045:167562,2058:173488,2115:174734,2136:181042,2208:181978,2222:182602,2232:199722,2386:207701,2487:210350,2503$0,0:2511,55:6915,117:22440,344:23340,359:32126,447:32678,454:34150,509:34518,535:41754,590:53880,720:63346,790:64354,804:73426,971:106555,1343:114718,1408:118334,1454:120863,1495:122354,1500:123561,1531:132340,1600:135490,1646:137905,1682:138430,1688:139165,1698:143050,1747:167427,1983:168139,1992:172678,2055:173390,2064:177766,2087:179110,2101:185242,2183:185662,2189:187846,2214:188182,2219:188938,2233:189358,2239:193670,2251:203560,2335:204169,2343:207776,2373:214028,2462:214791,2472:216971,2504:226330,2614
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Willie D. Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Willie D. Davis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Willie D. Davis describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Willie D. Davis remembers his mother's religious involvement and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Willie D. Davis recalls his decision to play football

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Willie D. Davis describes his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Willie D. Davis recalls his relationship with his father as an adult

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Willie D. Davis remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Willie D. Davis describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Willie D. Davis recalls his early childhood in Lisbon, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Willie D. Davis describes his earliest memories of Texarkana, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Willie D. Davis recalls his family life

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Willie D. Davis remembers his community in Texarkana, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Willie D. Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Willie D. Davis describes his elementary school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Willie D. Davis recalls his personality in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Willie D. Davis talks about his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Willie D. Davis describes the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Willie D. Davis remembers his junior high school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Willie D. Davis recalls teachers and friends at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Willie D. Davis describes his high school activities and aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Willie D. Davis recalls the football team at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Willie D. Davis describes his decision to attend Grambling College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Willie D. Davis recalls meeting Coach Eddie Robinson

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Willie D. Davis talks about his hesitation to attend Grambling College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Willie D. Davis shares his first impressions of the Grambling football team

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Willie D. Davis recalls his attempt to leave Grambling College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Willie D. Davis remembers his college girlfriend

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Willie D. Davis recalls becoming comfortable at Grambling College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Willie D. Davis recalls a memorable football game at Grambling College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Willie D. Davis talks about being drafted by the Cleveland Browns

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Willie D. Davis remembers his service in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Willie D. Davis recalls playing for the Cleveland Browns

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Willie D. Davis remembers being traded to the Green Bay Packers

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Willie D. Davis describes his offseason job as a substitute teacher

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Willie D. Davis recalls playing for the Green Bay Packers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Willie D. Davis recalls winning NFL championships with the Green Bay Packers

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Willie D. Davis remembers earning his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Willie D. Davis talks about why he pursued his M.B.A. degree

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Willie D. Davis recalls working in the beverage industry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Willie D. Davis remembers his service on corporate boards

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Willie D. Davis talks about his work in the television and radio industries

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Willie D. Davis reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Willie D. Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Willie D. Davis describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Willie D. Davis recalls a memorable football game at Grambling College
Willie D. Davis recalls winning NFL championships with the Green Bay Packers
Transcript
Okay, Mr. Davis [HistoryMaker Willie D. Davis], the year is about 1956 now. You're getting ready to graduate from Grambling [Grambling College; Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana], and there are offers coming around now.$$After one of the greatest games we probably ever played, we were crowned the mythical like champions of the country. We beat Florida A&M [Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Florida] in what they call the Hollywood Bowl [sic. Orange Blossom Classic] or something down in Florida. I never will forget this as long as I live. The paper in Florida had the next day Paul Brown, the everything coach of the Cleveland Browns, came to Florida to see--or was in Florida and he came to see the game. It said he came to see Willie Galimore and a guy by the name of Adolphus Frazier [Al Frazier], and he went away talking about Willie Davis and Ed Murray [Edward Murray], which was my teammate at Grambling. I guess I had credit for about twenty-seven tackles that night and, you know, just one of those crazy nights where everything worked for me. And probably was really my entree into the National Football League [NFL].$$So, did you flash back over your career at Grambling that night? Did everything flash over for you?$$(Laughter) I, yeah, I--well, what had been interesting is we stopped on the way down to Florida, and their running back, Adolphus Frazier, said, "Well, hey you guys." We ate dinner on campus and he said, "Well, you guys, you better touch me now because you won't see me in the game." You know, I'm always up for a challenge. And when he said--what I remember from that game probably will stick with me for as long as I--what I remember about that game. I hit Frazier and knocked him out of his shoes, up out of his shoes. And I looked at him and said, "Well, is this you?" (Laughter) It was a night. Murray ran for about three or four touchdowns and it was our great moment. It's so interesting because as I've said to many people today, I have been very fortunate to play on teams that won the championship at every level I ever played, and the other one that I was either captain or defensive captain of every team, including the Green Bay Packers.$$Since junior high school?$$Since junior high. I say it all the time, not to brag, but I say it as an example of leadership that I think I have been blessed with all my life. Through every year in football and through today in dealing with the corporate world.$Okay, so you're in Green Bay [Wisconsin] now under the great Vince Lombardi. You're there, now can you give us some highlights or, maybe first of all, anecdotes of Vince Lombardi. Anything that he did or said that really shaped you into your maturity as a player and a person?$$There are so many Lombardi quotes, starting with, "How you play this game is a reflection of how you'll live the rest of your life." Something that resonates with me almost every day now in business. And I think Coach Lombardi said this was the example that we had to somehow live through. And, I tell you, that one in particular because he indeed hit something when he said the way you play this game is the way you'll live the rest of your life in some ways. But the Green Bay Packer [Green Bay Packers] situation was just a great experience to me. Today there're eight players off of that team that's in the Hall of Fame [Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio], and with Lombardi, nine people.$$Can you name some of those, including yourself?$$Well, it's Jimmy Taylor [Jim Taylor], Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg, Jim Ringo, Herb Adderley, Willie Wood, Ray Nitschke and Henry Jordan and--$$--and Willie Davis [HistoryMaker Willie D. Davis].$$Yes, and Willie Davis. One of the proudest moments of my life. Never will forget it. I'm in Canton, Ohio and I'm standing up there being introduced by Coach Eddie Robinson. The situation was emotional, and I look out at my mother [Nodie Allen Archie]. It was the last event, big event she saw in my life. And I'm thinking and I remember I looked out and I said, "Mom, this is a long way from Texarkana, and no one ever assured us that we were on the right road, but today (laughter) it was the right road." And at that, she blew up. And you're up there and they've already taken bets on whether you can get through it without breaking down. And I said, when I saw that, I said, "Aw, they got me."$$That's beautiful.$$But it was absolute one of the greatest moments in my life. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a personal achievement but what I resonate well with is the six championship games we played at Green Bay, and we were five times world champions, including the last team that win three consecutive championships. All of those things to me, I look at now and say, you know, and the thought that somehow in your mind the first thing Green Bay was gonna be was your downfall. So, you never know in life, and I said, the best thing I've ever done in my life is to try to make the best out of every situation where you have an opportunity. Because you never know.