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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

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

Rudolph Brewington

Broadcast journalist Rudolph W. Brewington was born on November 2, 1946 in New York City. He graduated from Cardinal Hayes high school in 1964 and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Brewington served two years in the Presidential Honor Guard at Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. before deploying to the Republic of South Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. Honorably discharged in 1968, Brewington worked in a number of jobs. After studying communications at the University of Maryland at College Park, Brewington transferred to Federal City College (University of the District of Columbia) and graduated with his M.A. degree in adult education. Brewington later studied business administration at Bowie State University and the College of Southern Nevada.

During the 1970s, Brewington held a number of broadcast positions in Washington, D.C. including news anchor at WUST Radio; news director at WOOK Radio; reporter and sportscaster at WWDC Radio; and, news anchor and correspondent at WRC/NBC Radio and WRC-TV. Brewington later co-founded “Black Agenda Reports,” a nationally-syndicated radio production company. He then accepted a position as talk show host at WOL Radio followed by a position as announcer with the nationally-syndicated television news program “America’s Black Forum.” Brewington joined the Sheridan Broadcasting Network in 1981 as a news anchor and correspondent where he covered politics and ten NASA space shuttle missions. Brewington was recalled to active duty in 1990 during the Persian Gulf War, where he served at the Pentagon as a spokesman for the U.S. Navy. He also served as assistant to the Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO).

In 1994, Brewington accepted a position as a public affairs expert with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; and, in 1995, he co-founded B&B Productions, which produced the award-winning “Marvin Gaye: Pride and Joy” and “King: Celebration of the Man and his Dream.” In 1998, Brewington was appointed communications administrator with the United States chapter of Amnesty International in Washington, D.C. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired with the rank of Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Brewington has been actively involved with community groups and organizations including the American Federation of TV & Radio Artists, the National Naval Officers Association, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and the Vietnam Veterans of America. He has garnered numerous awards and honors including an EMMY Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Chesapeake and Virginia AP Spot News Awards and other industry accolades. In 1990, Brewington was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for an investigative series entitled “Domestic Surveillance: America’s Dirty Little Secret.” His military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign and Service Medals, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Rudolph W. Brewington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.318

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/22/2013

Last Name

Brewington

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

William

Schools

Cardinal Hayes High School

University of Maryland

Federal City College

Bowie State University

College of Southern Nevada

P.S. 5

St. Charles Borromeo School

St. Thomas the Apostle School

St. Joseph's Elementary School

First Name

Rudolph

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BRE03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

You Never Lived Until You Almost Died.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

11/2/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Okra, Tomatoes, Rice, Chicken Feet

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Rudolph Brewington (1946 - ) was the co-founder of 'Black Agenda Reports.' He received a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1990 for his investigative series, 'Domestic Surveillance: America's Dirty Little Secret.'

Employment

Navy LIFELines Services Network

Amnesty International USA

National Naval Medical Center

Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service

United Press International

United States Marine Corps

WUST Radio

WOOK Radio

WWDC Radio (NBC affiliate)

WRC Radio

WOL Radio

WHUT-TV at Howard University

Radio-TV Monitoring Service

Association Personnel, Inc.

Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation

U.S. Navy Public Affairs Office

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rudolph Brewington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the St. Nicholas Houses in New York City

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

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington describes early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his Catholic schooling

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rudolph Brewington describes his experiences in foster care

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his relationship with his twin brother

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the community in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his early political consciousness

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his similarity to his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington recalls his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington remembers serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the conflicts between black and white troops in Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his deployment to Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington remembers soliciting prostitution in Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington recalls the start of his journalistic career

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his transition to civilian life

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington talks about working as a reporter for NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington describes the journalistic community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington talks about the development of black radio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the black news community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington recalls working for the Radio-TV Monitoring Service

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington recalls serving as the public affairs director for Association Personnel, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington describes his time at the Sheridan Broadcasting Network

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington describes the structure of the Sheridan Broadcasting Network

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington remembers being recalled to active duty with the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington describes his role as a public affairs officer

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon his career in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his public affairs work in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington talks about 'Domestic Surveillance: America's Dirty Little Secret'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington talks about the impact of his investigative report on surveillance devices

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his transition to Amnesty International

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his most challenging public relations cases

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his generation's legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon the legacy of the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Rudolph Brewington recalls his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps
Rudolph Brewington remembers the conflicts between black and white troops in Vietnam
Transcript
So how did you choose the [U.S.] Marine Corps?$$Well, to be honest I was walking, I was down in Times Square [New York, New York], 'cause Ron [Brewington's brother, HistoryMaker Ronald H. Brewington] and I used to have, I used to work for a UPS [United Parcel Service] subsidiary called, when I was a teenager, called Red Arrow Messenger Service. It's beautiful. I mean we used to wear riding spats and, and with, I'm sorry, the puffed out pants, are we okay? The puffed out pants and we'd ride bicycles and this was the thing that made it--it was, was good. This is all part of my upbringing. Because I didn't have a father, we'll get to that in a minute, but I had a chance to leave Harlem [New York, New York] and go into areas like Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, Sutton Place [New York, New York]. I saw wealthy white people that--and I was like, "Wow look at all this," you know, and, and some of them accepted me and some didn't. I met Irving Berlin. I met this one. I met that one, you know, and, and they were nice to me. Sarah Vaughan, I met, I met all these people on Park Avenue and Madison Avenue and that was a world of, that, that opened up to me. I, I, it broaden my horizons in terms of, there's Harlem but there's a bigger world like that; like mama [Mosetta Smalls] had told us. And so, but she said the key to getting into that bigger world, you know, was education. Ron, for example, worked for a woman who is--no let begin with me. I worked for a woman named Dea Carroll. She used to put on fashion shows in--which is why to this day when I hear people say, "I'm a model," I say "Well, do you, where do you model at?" Unless you're modelling in New York [New York] or Paris [France] you're playing at it. She put on fashion shows in The Pierre [New York, New York], in the Plaza [Plaza Hotel, New York, New York], in, in the St. Moritz [Hotel St. Moritz, New York, New York]. I mean I saw the best of the best, clothes wise, because girls admired me 'cause I was a teenager. They didn't look upon me as a man. So they didn't have a problem dressing in front of me and putting their, putting their clothes on. But it was an eye-opening experience for me. It was all part of my education and it broadened my horizons about the world and the reality of the world.$$So, but things are sort of brewing at the time that you're going (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--into--$$Yes.$$--into the Marines and they're brewing enough that they sort of crescendo a few years later with the, you know, the anti-war movement.$$Yes ma'am.$$So, but there are those who actually did, you know, and, and, you know, you--were you drafted?$$No. I, I volunteered.$$You volunteered.$$In fact, and now you talk about the reality of the world, a month before I went into the Marine Corps, in fact, in June, this is a part of the history, June of 1964 a young man [James Powell] was shot by a cop [Thomas Gilligan] in New York City six times. Little young man pulled out a knife like that, that big and he was shot and killed and the cop reloaded his guns after shooting him six times and shot him more times. Folks went off. This was the first urban riot in American history. You may recall it, in 1964, June of 1964, there was a major riot in Harlem. Harlem was closed off from the rest of New York City. Food wasn't brought in. Trains, subways didn't stop and that, I was also kind of like, "hm," to me. But no, but I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to go to college. And so I went down to Times Square one day and I saw this guy and he had this fabulous uniform on, dressed blue tops and he was looking sharp, he was looking kind of sharp. And I said, "I want to be that." And so I joined the Marine Corps. I didn't have any idea that, what all was entailed in joining the Marines, the Marines being the nine one one, the first force to go in. I was fortunate. The first year I spent down in Beaufort, South Carolina [Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort], and then I was at Camp Lejuene [Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina] for a minute. And then I was selected one of the first African Americans selected to serve on the Marine Honor Guard [U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard] at Marine Barracks, 8th [Street] and I [Street] Southeast in Washington, D.C. where I, I was one of the first blacks to be at White House ceremonies. And I was burying people at Arlington National Cemetery [Arlington, Virginia] and other places, Iwo Jima [United State Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, Virginia] and that was another great experience, eye opening experience for me as well. And then af-$$Okay--$$And then after that I went to Vietnam.$(Simultaneous) Now what did--how did Vietnam come about though?$$Oh boy.$$Because this is, you go off to Vietnam.$$Yes ma'am.$$So you go off in--$$Nineteen sixty-seven [1967].$$--sixty-seven [1967].$$Yes ma'am. My platoon commander said to me, I was hoping after my--two year tour, that was a two year tour. Vietnam [Vietnam War] was raging at that time and that was a two year tour, you were guaranteed to stay on the President's honor guard [Marine Presidential Guard] once you did you, once you got there, which kept me out of combat early. So I thought I would go to Quantico, Virginia [Marine Corps Base Quantico], and kind of skate Vietnam and kind of move on the rest of my life. But no, my platoon commander said to me one day, "Ah, Corporal Brewington [HistoryMaker Rudolph Brewington], you haven't had any combat," and he sent me to Vietnam. And that was an eye opener, I mean you know, to see people be around you and they die, they get killed and you're shooting at people and they're shooting back at you. It was a, it was a religious experience for me because it strengthened my faith in God. I mean, you know, everybody is scared. Everybody is afraid of dying and you see death around you and it doesn't touch you. But something did happen in Vietnam that was interesting. The day Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was killed, April 4, 1968, I was in Vietnam. I was serving this country, on patrol and we came back and we heard that Martin Luther King had been, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been killed. And so, us black Marines [U.S. Marine Corps] got together to hold a memorial service and all of a sudden we heard this clank, clank, clank, clank, clank and it was Marines on an armored personnel carrier pointing weapons at us telling us to break up this unlawful and treasonous, that was the word, treasonous assembly, like what? We're here to give respect to Martin Luther King, Jr. And they pointed rifles at us and for a few days black and white Marines was like, you know, they were like aiming rifles at each other, the shots were fired at each other; they don't say that much about it but it happened. You know, and I came back from Vietnam angry, politicized. I didn't want to deal with the [U.S.] military ever again in my life, ever. That changed later on.$$Well then it was a hard time in many ways--$$Yes.$$--and so you're there, 'cause emotions are popping over here but, I want to--so what other, can you describe--because you were there a year?$$Yes ma'am, thirteen months.$$Okay. So where were you? There are thirteen?$$Thirteen months (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.

Capt. C.A. "Pete" Tzomes

Navy Captain (Retired) C. A. “Pete” Tzomes was born on December 30, 1944 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He was the oldest of two children parented by James C. Tzomes and Charlotte Eudora (Hill) Tzomes, who instilled in him the value of hard work and discipline at an early age. Tzomes decided to pursue a career in the U.S. Navy during junior high school following a recruiting visit by a Naval Academy midshipman. Later, in 1963, Tzomes was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy after briefly attending the State University of New York at Oneonta. He graduated in 1967 and was commissioned as an Ensign.

Upon graduation, Tzomes completed submarine nuclear power training which was followed by submarine training. He was then assigned to the ballistic missile submarine USS WILL ROGERS in 1969 and served in various division officer billets before being transferred to the fast attack submarine USS PINTADO. After completing Engineer Officer qualification in 1973, Tzomes was assigned as engineer officer on board USS DRUM; and, from 1979 to 1982, served as Executive Officer on board USS CAVALLA. In 1983, Tzomes became the first African American to command a U.S. submarine when he was assigned as the Commanding Officer of USS HOUSTON (SSN 713). At the conclusion of his command tour in 1986, he was assigned as the Force Operations Officer on the staff of Commander Submarine Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and oversaw the operations of all submarines in the Pacific theater. In 1988, Tzomes was appointed as the Director of the Equal Opportunity Division in the Bureau of Naval Personnel and as the advisor to the Chief of Naval Personnel on equal opportunity issues; and, in 1990, he became Commanding Officer of Recruit Training Command Great Lakes (boot camp). Tzomes then served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Inspector General before he retired from the Navy in 1994.

Tzomes was an active member of the National Naval Officers Association, including two years as a regional Vice President, while on active duty. This is a professional organization that targets professionalism and development of sea service minority officers (Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard). After Navy retirement, Tzomes worked as a utility manager at Exelon Corporation until July 2012. He held various leadership positions while primarily assigned to the Quad Cities Generating Station located in western Illinois. He continued to keep abreast of Navy issues through his affiliation with the Naval Submarine League, the U.S. Naval Institute, the United States Submarine Veterans and the Navy League. His military honors and decorations include the Legion of Merit (with Two Gold Stars), the Meritorious Service Medal (with Three Gold Stars), and the Navy Commendation Medal (with Two Gold Stars) as well as various unit and campaign ribbons.

Tzomes married the former Carolyn Eason in July, 2007. Offspring from a previous marriage include a son, Chancellor A. Tzomes II, and a granddaughter, Mariana Tzomes.

Navy Captain (Retired) C.A. “Pete” Tzomes The HistoryMakers August 21, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.233

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/21/2013

Last Name

Tzomes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

United States Naval Academy

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

C.A.

Birth City, State, Country

Williamsport

HM ID

TZO01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth and teens

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Expect what you inspect.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/30/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Moline

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Captain and U.S. navy (retired) Capt. C.A. "Pete" Tzomes (1944 - ) became the first African American to command a U.S. submarine in 1983 when he was assigned as the Commanding Officer of USS HOUSTON (SSN 713).

Employment

Exelon Corporation

Bank One, Cleveland

United States Navy

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of C.A. Tzomes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his mother's personality and her emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his father's personality and his employment

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his adoption, and finding out that his adoptive father was his biological father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his parents getting married, and his biological mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - C.A. Tzomes describes his childhood memories of growing up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and talks about his brother, Pierre

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - C.A. Tzomes describes the geographical location of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - C.A. Tzomes discusses how his parents settled down in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes talks about the black population in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, while he was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes describes the segregated community in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes describes the neighborhood and community within which he grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes describes Christmas with his family

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes talks about Ebenezer Baptist Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his experience in elementary school in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his interest in sports in school and his academic performance

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes explains his career aspirations as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his brother, Pierre Tzomes

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - C.A. Tzomes talks about the undercurrents of discrimination and racism in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes discusses the racial climate in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and talks about his first direct experience with racism in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes talks about being biracial, and his observations of social perceptions of skin color

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about desegregated public services in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his desire to the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his graduating class and the few role models in the community who emphasized a college education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes talks about the importance of getting good grades

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his plans to attend college and his father's alcoholism

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes describes his application to the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes talks about attending the State University of New York at Oneonta, and his acceptance to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his first summer and plebe year at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the sociopolitical events of the early 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience during Plebe Summer at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his classmate, Calvin Huey, the first African American to play varsity football for the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience during Plebe Year at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience during Plebe Year at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes describes the racial climate during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes describes the racial climate in Annapolis, Maryland, during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes describes his social experience in the black community in Annapolis, Maryland while at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes describes his social experience in the black community in Annapolis, Maryland while at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his aspirations of joining the U.S. Marine Corps, and instead applying for the U.S. Navy's Nuclear Power Program

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the Vietnam War and his experience with racism while in the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes describes racial challenges that he faced in Norfolk, Virginia in 1964, and at the U.S. Navy submarine squadron in Key West

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about training for the Nuclear Power Program and his interest in submarines

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his interview with Admiral Hyman G. Rickover for the Nuclear Power Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience with racism in the Submarine Nuclear Power Program, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience with racism in the Submarine Nuclear Power Program, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience as an Engineer Officer on the USS Drum, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience as Engineer Officer on the USS Drum, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes talks about submarine officer ranks and recalls his colleague, Willie Wells, aboard the USS Will Rogers

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his assignment on the Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board and as the executive officer on USS Cavalla

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes talks about how he dealt with racial insubordination while on assignments in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his relationship with white and black officers and crew members on the USS Will Rogers and the USS Pintado

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes discusses Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's efforts to address racial tensions in the U.S. Navy, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes discusses Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's efforts to address racial tensions in the U.S. Navy, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the results of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's efforts to address racial tensions in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his selection as the commanding officer of the USS Houston in 1983, and describes the command screening process

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes talks about becoming the commanding officer of the USS Houston, and the U.S. Navy's Centennial Seven

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes talks about serving as a mentor in the National Naval Officers Association

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his experience as the commanding officer of the USS Houston, and the positive feedback from his mentees

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon his first marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes talks his assignment as the Force Operations Officer for the staff of the Commander for Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the advancement of African Americans in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his service on issues of equal opportunity and racial bias in the U.S. Navy, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his service on issues of equal opportunity and racial bias in the U.S. Navy, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes describes his assignment as the commanding officer of the U.S. Navy's Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes Naval Base

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes talks about meeting his second wife, Carolyn Eason

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1994, and the Navy's Centennial Seven

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the fall in the number of black submarine commanding officers since 2009

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his father's death, his funeral, and the changes in his hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

8$7

DATitle
C.A. Tzomes describes his social experience in the black community in Annapolis, Maryland while at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 1
C.A. Tzomes describes his experience as an Engineer Officer on the USS Drum, pt. 1
Transcript
So, here you are--$$But that's the town [Annapolis, Maryland]. I still got more to talk about the town. So, the black community--remember, Annapolis is the south--racially segregated, signs and everything, okay. So, the local community embraced the black midshipmen, totally embraced us. We had one woman while I was there, and we ended up having other women. Her name was Lillie Mae Chase. They now have a street named after her in Annapolis. And she was our mother away from home, okay. We were having times, hard times, racially. Now Plebe Year, I didn't get, I could not go out. I could not go out in the streets until starting my sophomore year, okay, except for special occasions, okay. And so, Lillie Mae adopted us. And about the time there was about--well, the whole time I was there, she probably adopted about twelve or thirteen of us. And we cried on her shoulders--anything--any problems we were having, any issues. And she did so much for helping us get through, especially when things were racially trying in Annapolis at the [U.S. Naval] Academy. And the rest of the older black community was sort of like her. So, they had the area, like I told you--not my freshman year, but like I told you about Annapolis and the black theater--I used to refer to it as the black belt, okay. That's, you know, no whites are going to go in the black belt. It's an area where, it's where a large black community exists, including a social club. And I used to, I used to go to this social club. I would take my uniform, and I would change clothes in the bathroom at the social club. And then I would go hang out there on weekends whenever I was allowed to go out in town. And then they would look out for me. For example, if they saw a police or something coming down the street they'd tell me, and I would go hide in the bathroom until the police would come in and go out, say. And then I joined a black church. We had what's called church parties. You could worship at the Academy, or you could go on church parties. The churches were the Baptist church, because I told you I grew up in a Baptist church--was a Southern Baptist. And Southern Baptists had racial issues with them. So, I went to the Academy and I said, "I am not a Southern Baptist. I'm a Baptist. I want to worship where I belong for my religion." And they let me, there was a senior at the time who was going to a Baptist church out in town. So, I went to his church. It was called--I can't remember the name of the church. I want to say Second Baptist, but I can't remember. So, we used to walk--on Sundays we had a two-person church party. Then I, for two years, it was me by myself. And then I'll never forget. My senior year, there was a plebe that I sort of introduced to the church. And we all have--each company has a company officer who was responsible for everything dealing with the companies--typically, a Navy lieutenant or a Marine Corps captain. And so, myself and Tucker were going to church one Sunday. And on Monday my company officer called me in the office and said he got a phone call from one of his contemporaries who said he saw me and Tucker straggling in the streets of Annapolis, and what were we doing, doing that? And he told me, he says, "But I stuck up for you. I told them that was you marching Midshipman Tucker to church." (laughter). So, when you talk about the racial issues, okay--although they had--the Academy--and I told you earlier about the rules at the Academy. So, all I had to do was go and say, "I'm not a Southern Baptist. I want to go to my church." And they said okay.$I had one commanding officer who tried to protect me. And I need to lead to a certain story about--. Because what got me on this, you were talking about my first wife. So, this is my--the submarine that I was assigned to be the engineer to--there's a separate qualification to get your engineer's certification, and then the assignment is nuclear. Not every nuclear trained officer is allowed to be an engineer. And there's another academic thing you got to go through. So, I'm on my, my submarine is the [USS] Pintado that I'm on. And I get certified to be an engineer. So I'm getting transferred to the Drum, to be the engineer officer on the Drum, the USS Drum. And my commanding officer calls the detailer. The detailer is the person in Washington [District of Columbia] that determines where you go and when. They're called detailers. And he says, "I think we're setting Tzomes up to fail." And that's because he was very familiar with the commanding officer of the Drum, who came from a very segregated, racist, deep rooted southern background, both him and his wife, okay. And he says, "With Tzomes being the first, you do not want to send him there under that guy." The detailer didn't listen to my captain. He says, "Does Tzomes qualify for the job?" "Yes." "Do you recommend him for the job?" "Yes." "He's going to the Drum." Okay. So, I get to the Drum, and there's a story here. Because I told you that frequently on the submarine I was the first exposure to a lot of people, as far as being next to a black person, okay. So, I'm coming here with his bias towards blacks, and I'm going to be his engineer, which is a very important job. We leave port, I report to the ship overseas. We immediately go in what's referred to as a Spec Op. That's secret missions that we did in the Cold War that you can't talk about. And you don't communicate, you're not allowed to communicate, okay, at all unless there's a disaster and you have an accident, okay. Then you have to abort your mission. So, we're underway, and the person I relieved did a terrible job, and they failed an inspection. So, the captain's got this stigma over him. And this black guy now is supposed to be able to clean it up. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, he has daily meetings with me. By the way this captain, besides the racist thing, he was so impersonal that the officers avoided him. In a wardroom, one of your favorite times of the day is to eat the meal together and socialize. In that wardroom, the captain and the oncoming, two oncoming watch officers, ate dinner together. No other officers ate dinner with them in the wardroom. So, besides this racial baggage, he's got other issues. So, he has me go to his state room every night, and we have about three hour meetings. And he gives me this list of things to do--typically thirty, forty, fifty things to do, okay. He would get up the next morning and summon me. And I'd get out of the state room about maybe ten o'clock. And then whoever worked for me that was on watch at the time, or who was going to come on watch at midnight--I would parcel out some of these things, okay. And, but I wouldn't give all the assignments out. So, he would summon me every morning about nine o'clock--eight or nine o'clock. We'd go over this list, and then he'd tear into me when I would not be able to tell him that half the list had been accomplished, okay. It went like that for two weeks. It went like that for two weeks and he told me, he says, "Engineer, I cannot deal with you." He says, "If I had the power, I would surface this submarine and take you back to port and fire you." Okay.$$This is your commanding--$$This is my commanding officer, okay. So, there's more to this.

Gen. James Boddie, Jr.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James T. Boddie was born on October 18, 1931 in Baltimore, Maryland. Boddie graduated from Fredrick Douglass High School in Baltimore in February 1949. Boddie received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Howard University in 1954, and his M.A. degree in public administration from Auburn University in 1975. In addition, Boddie completed military studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1971, and the Air War College in 1975.

Boddie received his U.S. Air Force officer’s commission through the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program at Howard University, and then earned his wings in 1956. His first operational assignment was with the 560th Strategic Fighter Squadron at Bergstrom Air Force Base that was equipped with the F-84 Thunderstreak fighter plane. Boddie reported to Nellis Air Force Base in 1957 for gunnery and weapons delivery training in the F-100 Super Sabre. Upon completion, Boddie was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Europe Weapons Center in Tripoli, Libya where he served from until 1961. After his return to the United States in February 1961, Boddie assumed responsibilities as commandant of cadets at the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program at Tuskegee Institute. In 1966, Boddie volunteered for combat duty in Southeast Asia, and was assigned to the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in the Republic of Vietnam. In addition to his duties as operations and scheduling officer, Boddie completed a total of two-hundred and one F-4 combat missions, fifty-seven of which were flown over North Vietnam. In 1980, Boddie was promoted to Brigadier General. He then served as aviation director in the Aircraft Management office, at NASA Headquarters, from 1991 to 1996; and, between 2006 and 2008, Boddie served as president of Texas Southern University.

Boddie’s experience as a command and combat pilot includes over five-thousand hours in jet fighter aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, thirteen Air Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon, the Combat Readiness Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. Boddie also wears the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff badge.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James T. Boddie, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.026

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/28/2013

Last Name

Boddie

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Timothy

Occupation
Schools

Auburn University

Harvard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

BOD02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It is five o'clock somewhere.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/18/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Brigadier general Gen. James Boddie, Jr. (1931 - ) has logged more than five-thousand hours and flown over two-hundred mission as a U.S. Air Force command pilot.

Employment

United States Air Force

Link flight Simulation Co.

Operational Technologies Services, Inc.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Texas Southern University

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Boddie's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Boddie lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his maternal grandfather, Reverend James Arthur Moore

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his mother's friendship with Alberta Williams King

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his mother's growing up in Atlanta, and her family's move to Chicago, Kansas City and Baltimore

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Boddie describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about his father's education and family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Boddie describes how his parents met and their service in the Baptist church

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Boddie describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Boddie describes how he met his wife, Mattie Dwiggins, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Boddie describes how he met his wife, Mattie Dwiggins, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Boddie describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore and Germantown, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Boddie describes his interest in airplanes, reading and photography

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Boddie describes his experience in school, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Boddie describes his experience in school, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis and the Hindenburg disaster

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Boddie discusses his and his family's political affiliations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Boddie describes why he chose to attend Howard University in 1949

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his siblings' education, high school, and his mentor, Lloyd N. Ferguson

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about the people he met at Howard University in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Boddie explains why he stopped playing football at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his classmates at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about being commissioned in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his assignment to primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about experiencing racism at primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about experiencing racism at primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his assignments to Bergstrom Air Force Base and Nellis Air Force Base for F100 training

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Boddie describes his experience at Nouasseur Air Base in Morocco and at Wheelus Air Base in Libya, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his experience at Nouasseur Air Base in Morocco and at Wheelus Air Base in Libya, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about getting married in 1962

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Boddie describes his combat missions in the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his experience in Vietnam, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his experience in Vietnam, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Boddie discusses the absence of racial problems in Vietnam, and his limited exposure to Vietnamese civilian life

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about returning to the United States from his service in Vietnam in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James Boddie talks about becoming a major in the U.S. Air Force, and his appointment to the 4457th Technical Training Wing

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - James Boddie describes his relationship to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about the March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about visiting Martin Luther King in Montgomery a day after his house had been bombed

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Boddie talks about working at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base in the late 1960s and early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Boddie describes his experience at the Air War College

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his assignments at Langley Air Force Base and Moody Air Force Base

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his experience at Osan Air Base in South Korea from 1978 to 1980, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his experience at Osan Air Base in South Korea from 1978 to 1980, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about his promotion to the rank of brigadier general, and his retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about the use of flight simulators in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his role as Director of Air Force Requirements for the Link Flight Simulation Division of the Singer Company

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about his service as Vice President of Operations and Business Development for Operational Technologies Services, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Boddie talks about his service as Director of Aviation for NASA's Aircraft Management Office, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his service as Director of Aviation for NASA's Aircraft Management Office, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his company, Genesys Industries, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Military Officers Association

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Boddie describes his decision to move to Plano, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his tenure as the interim president of Texas Southern University from 2006 to 2008

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about the Republican Party's control in Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about travelling with his wife, attending ighter pilot reunions, and being diagnosed with cancer

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James Boddie talks about being a member of the Tuskegee Airmen Organization

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - James Boddie discusses his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Boddie reflects upon the status of African Americans in the U.S. military

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Boddie reflects upon this life and career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Boddie reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about how he would like to be remembered

Everett Greene

Singer Everett Francis Greene, Sr. was born on February 16, 1934 in Washington, D.C. to Lillian and Lawrence Greene. He grew up in the Barry Farms section of the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. As a youth, Greene began performing in school quartets. He continued to perform with his quartet after entering the Marine Corps in 1952. Following a tour in Korea, Greene married and started a family in Indianapolis, Indiana. He worked as a mold maker and then in the melting department in Indianapolis’ industrial manufactories. It was not until after his retirement in 1982 that Greene focused on his professional music career.

Greene was a bass singer who trained himself to sing at a higher range. He performed in his church and regularly throughout the local Indianapolis music scene. He recorded his debut album, "At Last," in Chicago in 1994, followed by his release of "My Foolish Heart" in 1998 and "I’ve Got Love" in 2002. He was then featured with the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra on the album, Heart & Soul: The Music of Hoagy Carmichael.

Greene has co-starred with folk singer Odetta Gordon and Broadway star Jean DuShon in an extended run of The Little Dreamer: A Night in the Life of Bessie Smith at the Ivanhoe Theater in Chicago. In addition, Greene has portrayed "Joe" in Showboat. Greene received a local Emmy Award in Chicago for the nationally-aired TV special entitled Precious Memories: Strolling 47th Street. He has been in a number of television commercials for The Hoosier Lottery, the Indiana Pacers, H.H. Gregg and Cincinnati Bell. Greene has toured in the United States, Japan and Canada with the musical revue In the House of the Blues.

Everett Greene was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 12, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.327

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/12/2007

Last Name

Greene

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

James G. Birney Elementary School

Randall Junior High School

Cardozo Senior High School

Turner Junior High School

First Name

Everett

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

GRE14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern Italy

Favorite Quote

Keep Looking Up.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

2/16/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Indianapolis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potatoes

Short Description

Singer Everett Greene (1934 - ) recorded his debut album in 1994 called "At Last." His other albums include "I've Got Love" and "My Foolish Heart." He has also acted in musicals including "Showboat" and received a local Emmy Award in Chicago for the nationally-aired TV special entitled "Precious Memories: Strolling 47th Street."

Employment

United States Military

International Harvester Company of America

Delete

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Everett Greene's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Everett Greene lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Everett Greene describes his mother's family background and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Everett Greene lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Everett Greene remembers his father's musical performances

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Everett Greene describes his mother's influence

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Everett Greene remembers the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Everett Greene describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Everett Greene describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Everett Greene remembers moving to Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Everett Greene remembers attending baseball games with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Everett Greene recalls the start of his singing career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Everett Greene remembers James G. Birney Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Everett Greene describes his neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Everett Greene describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Everett Greene remembers celebrating the holidays

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Everett Greene describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Everett Greene describes his paternal grandfather, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Everett Greene describes his paternal grandfather, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Everett Greene remembers the Barry Farm neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Everett Greene recalls working as a grocery delivery boy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Everett Greene remembers the all-black theaters in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Everett Greene talks about his quartet, The Melodaires

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Everett Greene remembers Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Everett Greene recalls his teachers at James G. Birney Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Everett Greene remembers his stutter

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Everett Greene describes his experiences in junior high school

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Everett Greene talks about his aspiration to sing professionally

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Everett Greene remembers the home front of World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Everett Greene remembers the home front of World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Everett Greene describes his experiences at Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Everett Greene recalls working to support his family

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Everett Greene describes his social life at Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Everett Greene describes the alumni of Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Everett Greene recalls his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Everett Greene recalls his time in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Everett Greene describes his family's experiences in the U.S. military

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Everett Greene remembers visiting his brother in Korea

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Everett Greene recalls obtaining work at a foundry in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Everett Greene recalls the start of his singing career

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Everett Greene describes his work at the International Harvester Company

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Everett Greene recalls performing with Odetta Gordon

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Everett Greene describes the Kuumba Theater Company production of 'The Little Dreamer'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Everett Greene remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Everett Greene describes his family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Everett Greene describes the 25th Street Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Everett Greene talks about the 25th Street Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Everett Greene describes his mother's home in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Everett Greene talks about the relationship between gospel and jazz

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Everett Greene describes his perspective on secular music

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Everett Greene talks about preserving his voice

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Everett Greene remembers Wes Montgomery

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Everett Greene recalls his vocal training

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Everett Greene describes the community of Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Everett Greene talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Everett Greene describes his acting career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Everett Greene talks about his film auditions

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Everett Greene describes the musical community on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Everett Greene remembers the jazz musicians on Indiana Avenue

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Everett Greene talks about his musical interpretations

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Everett Greene describes his first album, 'At Last'

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Everett Greene talks about his recording career

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Everett Greene recalls his start as a cruise line singer

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Everett Greene describes his work as a voice actor

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Everett Greene recalls performing in 'Showboat' in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Everett Greene remembers performing in Cape May, New Jersey

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Everett Greene describes his style of performance

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Everett Greene talk about his vocal style

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Everett Greene reflects upon his musical career

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Everett Greene shares a message to future generations

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Everett Greene reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Everett Greene describe his values

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Everett Greene describe how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Everett Greene reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Everett Greene describes his work at the International Harvester Company
Everett Greene describes his first album, 'At Last'
Transcript
You were working at the steel mill, International Harvester [International Harvester Company] now Navistar [Navistar International Corporation] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Working in the steel mill.$$What was your position there?$$I--when I first went there I was a laborer that working in the heat and hard work. So they came to me I think the second day and took me over to a guy, to a unit where they were molding. You know, they were making manifolds and small parts and they told the guy, "Okay, if he can't do this then send him back to me." Well I was determined I was going to get out of that heat, so I started my career molding, you know, I guess the second day I was there. I went on to mold for many years and graduated to the big molder blocks. Then my last I guess ten, twelve years that I was in the melting department where they poured the iron and I would melt the iron and send it to the units, so.$$What years were you at--$$I left there--I was there from '55 [1955] to '82 [1982], '82 [1982]. Yes, I spent twenty-seven years there. And, you know, in the time that UAW [United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; United Automobile Workers] had signed a contract whereas you could--they would give you one year for every five years you worked so I--consequently I was able to retire with a full retirement at a very early age and then get involved in what I really wanted to become involved in, you know.$$Was that a good job for you and for African Americans in general, the foundry work?$$That's mostly what you found in the foundry the time I was there. You didn't find very many other than African Americans working in the foundry, because it was such a dirty, hot job, you know. I've seen some of the other races come in. They'd work a day and say, "No, no I'm getting out of here." But it was a very hot and very dirty job. I used to wear a kerchief over my nose and mouth, and all the guys would tease me about being the Lone Ranger, you know, but it was method to my madness. I wasn't thinking about--I just didn't want all the dust and so forth but through the years it was my filter because the filters that they'd give you was so hot and so heavy that I would just put a sponge under my kerchief and used it that way, as a--before I left there were like half of the foundry doing the same thing, you know, so (laughter). I've had guys tell me, "Oh, now I see why you were using that kerchief; you were trying to save your voice." You could come out of the foundry and you would have all that dirt and phlegm in your throat for the whole weekend, you know, trying to get rid of it.$$In some other cities such as Detroit [Michigan] and Flint [Michigan] the motor industry enabled the African Americans to achieve economic stability and to flourish.$$Yes, yes, yes.$$Was that the same in Indianapolis [Indiana] with the foundry?$$Yes it was. It was.$$That was a stepping stone into middle class stability for African Americans.$$So right, so right, so right, and I guess I must have--I did step out before it really escalated, pay wise. You know, I only had maybe about three of the good years when they had the big pay raises and things, you know, but I didn't care I was doing what I wanted to do.$In 1994, at age sixty, you record your first album 'At Last.'$$'At Last.'$$Yes. How did that come about?$$Well I was working around Chicago [Illinois] with a lot of the musicians, like I s- some of the guys who were in the theater, but I got a chance to meet so many of them and because I was doing a lot of work with a lot of the guys I decided that I wanted to do a recording. Since so many people thought I was too old to get involved in this, including the record company owner where I recorded. He told the engineer, "What is that old man doing trying to do this?" So anyway I just pulled some of the guys together, not knowing anything about the recording business per se, because the recordings that I'd done, I had done other people's recordings. You know, I had gone in the studio with other people and not knowing all the leg work that they had done before. So I just go into the studio with these guys and hear the songs I wanted to do. So luckily for me I had top notch musicians who knew the business well, and because of the fact that we had sang together many times, we didn't have to have all of the technical stuff together. We were able to go in the studio and record and, and get it over with in a short period of time, you know. And because I was footing the bill for that particular recording, I, when I got out the guys told me, "Don't listen to it for at least a month." Gee, yeah okay. As soon as I got in the car I popped it in and I wanted to cry. I said oh man I wasted my money (laughter). So I thought everything about it was wrong that I was doing that's what I was thinking. So I had a few people to--who were really in the know to listen to it Houston Person, Etta Jones and a couple of other people, and they loved it, you know. So after a while when I decided I would listen past my vocals and I said okay well it's not too bad, I guess maybe I'll get this published and make something out of it.$$And how did you do?$$It went well. It went well. We did about three pressings on it and so I think it was like the new kid on the block type thing. Because I didn't have a distributor, we did most of our own distributing with--through Amazon [Amazon.com, Inc.] and when we'd do festivals and concerts and things. So (unclear), in fact, I get lots of calls for it still so I have to go back and get another pressing. In fact, I talked to the people about that already so maybe we can get it finished before--after they get their Christmas rush done.