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Clayborne Carson

African American history professor Clayborne Carson was born on June 15, 1944 in Buffalo, New York to parents Clayborne Carson and Louise (Lee) Carson. He grew up near Los Alamos, New Mexico. Carson attended the University of California, Los Angeles where he studied history and graduated with his B.A. degree in 1967, his M.A. degree in 1971, and his Ph.D. degree in 1975.

Prior to academia, Carson worked as a laboratory assistant at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, an editor for Audience Studies, Inc., a staff writer for the Los Angeles Free Press, and a computer programmer in the Survey Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the faculty of the history department at UCLA as an acting assistant professor in 1971, before being hired as assistant professor at Stanford University in 1974. Caron was promoted to associate professor at Stanford University in 1981. In 1985, Coretta Scott King requested that Carson became senior editor of an ongoing multi-volume project, The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Carson was promoted to professor of American history in 1991, and became founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute in 2005. Carson’s academic appointments outside Stanford University include teaching and lecturing in Great Britain, France, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania; as well as visiting professorships at the American University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Emory University.

Carson contributions include works of fiction and non-fiction, documentaries, and other creative productions. His most notable scholarship includes, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1998) and In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960’s (1981). He served as senior advisor for the Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) fourteen-part documentary series “Eyes on the Prize”; and as historical advisor for the motion pictures “Freedom on My Mind” (1995), “Chicano!” (1996), and “Blacks and Jews” (1997). Carson, along with Roma Design Group, created the winning proposal in an international competition to design a national memorial for King in Washington, D.C.; and he authored “Passages of Martin Luther King” (1993), a docudrama.

As a member of professional organizations, Carson has been considerably active throughout his career. Those affiliations include: the American Historical Association (AHA), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the Social Science History Association (SSHA), the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASAALH), and the Southern Historical Association. In 1995, Carson received the OAH Frederick Jackson Turner Award for, In Struggle: . In addition, he served as an Andrew Mellon Fellow at Stanford University, the Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Race Relations at Duke University, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Carson lives with his wife, Susan Ann Carson, who until her retirement was the managing editor of the King Papers Project, in Palo Alto, California. They have two children: Malcolm Carson, an attorney; and Temera Carson, a social worker.

Clayborne Carson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 7, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.257

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/7/2013 |and| 12/12/2015

Last Name

Carson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of California, Los Angeles

First Name

Clayborne

Birth City, State, Country

Buffalo

HM ID

CAR27

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/15/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Stanford

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

African american history professor Clayborne Carson (1944 - ) served as professor of American history at Stanford University, senior editor of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., and as founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.

Employment

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Audience Studies, Inc.

Los Angeles Free Press

University of California, Los Angeles Survey Research Center

University of California, Los Angeles

Stanford University

University of California, Berkeley

American University

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, Stanford University

Emory University

L'Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales

Morehouse College

Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

Favorite Color

Blue

Robert Lee Harris, Jr.

Professor Robert L. Harris, Jr. was born on April 23, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois to Robert and Ruby Harris. Growing up in Chicago, Harris attended St. Finbarr Elementary School and St. Philip High School. He graduated with his B.A. degree in history in 1966, and then his M.A. degree with honors in history in 1968; both from Roosevelt University. Harris went on to receive his Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1974.

Harris was hired as a sixth grade teacher at Chicago’s St. Rita Elementary School in 1965. Then, in 1968 and 1969, he worked at Miles College in Birmingham, Alabama, as an instructor of social science. In 1972, Harris was hired as an assistant professor of American history at the University of Illinois, where he taught until 1975. He went on to work as an assistant professor of African American history at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University from 1975 until 1982, when he was promoted to associate professor. Harris also served as the director of the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University from 1986 until 1991, and then as special assistant to the provost of Cornell University from 1994 through 2000. He then was named vice provost for diversity and faculty development in 2000, and served in that position until 2008.

In 2004, Harris was promoted to full professor of African American history at Cornell University, and, in 2010, he was again hired as director of the Africana Studies and Research Center. In 2013, Harris was made both a graduate school professor of African and African American Studies and professor emeritus of African American history, American studies, and public affairs.

Harris authored Teaching African-American History, published by the American Historical Association, in 2001. He also co-edited The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939, which was published in 2006. In all, Harris has written thirteen individual book chapters, thirty scholarly articles, and eight dictionary entries. He has served on boards and committees of numerous organizations, including the De Witt Historical Society of Tompkins County, the New York Council for the Humanities, the American Historical Association, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for History Education, and the National History Center. Harris also served as the president of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History from 1991 until 1992. He has been awarded fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. Harris also received the James A. Perkins Prize in 2000 and the Cook Award in 2008 from Cornell University. In 2003, he was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Scholar’s Medallion for Distinguished Research, Writing and Activism from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Harris is also National Historian for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Robert L. Harris, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.287

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/22/2013 |and| 10/24/2013

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Roosevelt University

Northwestern University

St. Finbarr School

St. Malachy School

St. Philip Basilica High School

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HAR44

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

I Believe I Can Fly.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/23/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Meatloaf

Short Description

African american history professor Robert Lee Harris, Jr. (1943 - ) taught at Cornell University for over thirty-five years, and served as the director and vice provost of Cornell University’s Africana Studies and Research Center.

Employment

St. Rita Elementary

Miles College

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Cornell University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. narrates his photographs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Lee Harris, Jr.'s interview, session 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his maternal great-grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his paternal grandfather's pipe

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his parents' careers

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his father's shoe repair business

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his sisters

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his parents' decision to enroll him in Catholic school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the redlining of the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the wealth gap in the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the achievement gap in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his early work experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris Jr. recalls the political climate in Chicago, Illinois during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls his involvement in boys clubs

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his early interest in history

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls his activities at St. Philip Basilica High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his visits to the segregated South

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the death of Emmett Till

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his early aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his early experiences of religion

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the faculty of Roosevelt University, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the faculty of Roosevelt University, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his decision to pursue an academic career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls the start of his teaching career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his master's degree thesis

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the influence of Malcolm X

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the uprisings of 1968 on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his teaching experiences at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris Jr. recalls his graduate studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his dissertation

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Lee Harris, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls his graduate studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the findings of his dissertation

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls joining the faculty of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his teaching experiences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. reflects upon his time at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the regional differences in racial categories

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the historical accounts of the Civil War

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the Dunning School

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls joining the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the scholarship of Stanley M. Elkins

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the scholarship on slavery

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the changing perceptions of slavery

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. reflects upon the impact of Alex Haley's 'Roots'

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls writing the study guides for 'Roots'

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his scholarship on H. Ford Douglas

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his career at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers John Henrik Clarke

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his scholarship on African American historiography

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his article, 'The Afro-American Classics: The Essential Library'

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the contributions of historian George Washington Williams

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his anthology contributions

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his academic textbook, 'Teaching African American History,' pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his academic textbook, 'Teaching African American History,' pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. reflects upon the impact of President Barack Obama's administration

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the employment opportunities in technological fields

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his career at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his current scholarship, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his current scholarship, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about African American representation in the workforce

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his hopes for African American youth

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the changes to the Africana studies program at Cornell University, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the changes to the Africana studies program at Cornell University, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the field of Africana studies

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about 'The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his advice to aspiring historians

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his advice to African American studies scholars

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers attending international conferences

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$8

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his early work experiences
Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the changing perceptions of slavery
Transcript
The people who lived in the house before we purchased it left this buggy, it was like a twin buggy; and I used to go to the A and P [The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company] on Saturday and I would deliver groceries. And given that I had this twin buggy, I had this big--I mean most guys had the Red Flyer little wagon, I had this big buggy, put the groceries in, deliver them.$$So grocery delivery was kind of a job that the young boys, I mean boys would do in the neighborhood [North Lawndale, Chicago, Illinois] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, yeah you pick up a few dollars. I mean, you know, you get fifty cents, a dollar maybe to go with the woman who had bought her groceries. I mean these were black and white initially, but the neighborhood was, was pretty safe. I also had two paper routes. I--in a way in my family there was this go get them, entrepreneurial spirit. And so I had two paper routes. I delivered newspapers and at that time I delivered newspapers, I also picked up the money; you know, people paid each week for their newspaper. Sometimes you'd get tips. During the wintertime I would shovel snow, I'd go and I'd ask people, "You need me to shovel your--your sidewalk?" I, later when I was in about, where was I, I was about seventh grade 'cause I--I started working for my father [Robert Lee Harris, Sr.] in high school [St. Philip Basilica High School, Chicago, Illinois], or maybe eighth grade. But I worked in this grocery store, I stocked the shelves and what have you in the grocery store. And this was basically a Jewish neighborhood. The store owners were Jewish. There's one day of the year, I can't remember what it is where Jews are not supposed to handle any money. And so when I first started working at this store, or maybe I told my mother [Ruby Watkins Harris] about this, because he wanted me, that, the guy who owned the grocery store, he wanted me to handle all the money that day. But my--no, no, this--no, this was some--this was earlier when I first started working at the store, that's right. When I first started working in the store my mother said to me, 'cause my mother also did what they call day work sometime, housework, cleaned up white folk's homes, which also created problems in her retirement because there was no social security taken out, you know, from her--her pay. But my mother told me, she said, "Son, when you start working in that store," she said "maybe not the first day, but there's gonna be a day when he's gonna leave some money around you." She said, "Don't touch it." I was working for about three days and the guy--they lived in the back of the store. He said he had to go to the restroom, and so he went to the back of the store to go to the restroom. And so--let me also say, I should back up just a little bit, 'cause my mother said, "He's gonna leave some money around you, don't--don't touch it." I said, "Oh, momma, what are you talking about?" She said, "Boy," now I knew she's serious, she said, "don't touch any money." So he goes to the washroom. I look down by the cash register, there's a twenty dollar bill on the floor. My mother's words are, you know. I'm like afraid of that twenty dollar bill, I don't want to go near it. And when he came back, I immediately said, "There's a twenty dollar bill on the floor." He said, "Oh, it must've fallen from the cash register." I passed his test. And as I explain to students, I could've robbed the man blind after that. See you know, it was Langston Hughes who talked about the ways of white folk ['The Ways of White Folks']. We knew their ways more so than they knew our ways. But that was an important lesson that my, my mother taught me.$I know this is a big discussion, Eugene Genovese's 'Roll, Jordan, Roll' ['Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made']--$$Right.$$--and the writings of Leon Litwack and Ira Berlin and others--$$Yeah.$$--writing about slavery.$$Yeah.$$And I know John Clarke [John Henrik Clarke] said at one of the meetings [of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History] that, you know, Blassingame [John W. Blassingame] had the only book written by an African American about the slave experience at that time.$$Well, you know, this is something that puzzled me as a graduate student and then as a beginning assistant professor. We wrote more--and I was one who fell into this category as well, we wrote more about those African Americans who were free than we did about those who were enslaved. In part, that was to justify racial equality in a way; to show that we did have individuals of merit, of achievement, okay. We had very few novels about the period of, of slavery. It's only more recently like with Toni Morrison's 'Beloved,' and a, a number of other novels that have come out that have addressed, have dealt with--. It--it's, it's one of the things if you look at the Jewish American population, there's more work that has come out on the Holocaust I would say in the last twenty, thirty years then had been published before. It was something that, in a way, I--well, I'm just gonna be--speak for African American--I think we were shamed of enslavement. And we had to reach a point, the Civil Rights Movement freed us in a number of ways and one of the ways, with the Civil Rights Movement, with the notion that we had achieved, and I don't want to say that we had achieved racial equality, but we achieved some semblance of racial equality, that freed us up in many ways to look at our past, to look at the tragedies as well as the triumphs. Before the late 1960s, we wanted to look more at the triumphs. In fact, people talk about Carter G. Woodson basically writing contributionist history--showing the contribution that African Americans made to development of American society and again, justifying, saying that we deserve rights as citizens of the United States.$$Yeah, I think you're right. The name 'The Negro in Our History' [Carter G. Woodson] for instance?$$Yeah, yeah. So this was something that, I think, the Civil Rights Movement, the 1964--well, let's say '63 [1963], '64 [1964], '65 [1965] freed us up to really encounter our past in ways that we had not encountered our past before.

Earl Lewis

Foundation president, historian and academic administrator Earl Lewis was born in 1955 in Norfolk, Virginia. Lewis attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he graduated in 1978 with his B.A. degree in history and psychology. After graduating from Concordia College, Lewis enrolled in the University of Minnesota and received his M.A. degree in history in 1981. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of Minnesota.

In 1984, Lewis was hired as an assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Then, in 1989, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as an associate professor of history and African American and African Studies. One year after his arrival at the University of Michigan, Lewis was appointed as the director of the university’s Center for African American and African Studies. He became a full professor of history and African American and African Studies in 1995, and a faculty associate in the Program in American Culture. In 1997, Lewis was promoted to interim dean of the University of Michigan’s Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Shortly thereafter, in 1998, Lewis became the vice provost for academic affairs for graduate studies and dean; and, in 2003, he was appointed the Elsa Barkley Brown and Robin D.G. Kelley Collegiate Professor of History and African American and African Studies. Then, in 2004, he was hired as both provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and as the Asa Griggs Candler professor of history and African American studies at Emory University. Lewis was Emory University’s first African American provost and the highest-ranking African American administrator in the university’s history. In 2013, he left Emory University and assumed a new role as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Lewis has edited, authored or co-authored seven books. They include the 1991 monograph In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, 2000’s To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans, 2001’s Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White, and 2004’s The African American Urban Experience: From the Colonial Era to the Present. Lewis is also the author of more than two dozen scholarly articles and has served on several academic and community boards, including the American Historical Review, Council of Graduate Schools, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Science’s Board on Higher Education and the Workforce, and the Center for Research Libraries. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.

Earl Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.255

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/18/2013

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Concordia College

University of Minnesota

Indian River High School

First Name

Earl

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

LEW14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Favorite Quote

We Serve As, Rather Than We Are, Before Titles

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/15/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steamed Blue Crab

Short Description

History professor, academic administrator, and foundation chief executive Earl Lewis (1955 - ) , author of In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, was Emory University’s first African American provost and the highest-ranking African American administrator in the university’s history.

Employment

University of California, Berkeley

University of Michigan

Emory University

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

University of Minnesota

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2830,79:5755,178:11156,278:11462,285:11666,290:12125,300:15230,326:15830,335:17405,368:18230,380:21605,445:22055,452:22805,465:25955,543:31670,606:33830,654:34550,668:44249,779:47465,839:48671,865:48939,870:49542,880:50480,908:51552,929:60260,1083:61985,1123:62285,1128:63335,1145:63860,1156:65210,1190:69185,1276:80778,1453:91340,1561:92204,1578:93356,1600:107015,1921:123496,2158:125260,2179:130454,2258:144466,2448:146398,2492:146674,2497:149089,2558:153780,2580:154820,2598:190520,2964:190780,2969:191755,2985:193250,3021:194225,3037:195135,3064:196110,3097:196825,3116:197345,3125:199750,3190:200010,3195:200985,3221:208222,3311:209565,3328:212725,3395:225663,3577:228050,3656$0,0:510,3:3840,94:16320,257:25392,368:25896,375:26484,383:27576,418:30715,461:39563,626:50670,757:61683,815:63789,846:64275,853:66600,864:68620,890:69691,920:74048,1014:74744,1028:74976,1033:76310,1082:76774,1091:77006,1096:77238,1101:79874,1110:80914,1123:87858,1222:94774,1388:103842,1561:118956,1769:132644,1974:153400,2231:157254,2284:161774,2415:168360,2520:170110,2568:179366,2635:199046,2881:225040,3229:225715,3241:228565,3297:244945,3603:255914,3729:256570,3743:256898,3748:257472,3757:258046,3765:265590,3889:266984,3914:276445,4086:278600,4098:281716,4155:291704,4359:293015,4385:307538,4608:311438,4674:313388,4733:316560,4761
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Earl Lewis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis shares his memories of his father, Earl Lewis, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes how his parents met and his father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes the importance of education in his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his maternal grandmother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis describes his maternal grandfather's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about the churches his family attended

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis shares his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis shares his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis recalls the diversity of his childhood neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis reflects on the opportunities he had as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis describes how his mother took care of him and his brother after their father died

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood responsibilities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis describes his experience attending Crestwood Elementary, Junior High, and High School in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about his experiences of racism at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his experiences of racism at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes integrating the Key Club at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his mother's experience as a teacher at an integrated elementary school in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to attend Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his initial impressions of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the black community at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and why it has diminished

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes his experience studying psychology and history at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes his experience at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about overcoming his ambivalence about an academic career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about his friends and mentors in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis talks about being hired as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the reception of his doctoral thesis and his book, "In Their Own Interests"

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes what his dissertation taught him about the history of his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes the research methods he used on his dissertation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis describes the quantitative study of social history at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis describes interviewing at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his mentors at the University of California, Berkeley and publishing his first book

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about his conflict with Henry Lewis Suggs after the publication of his first book

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to leave the University of California, Berkeley for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to leave the University of California, Berkeley for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes the University of Michigan's Center for Afroamerican and African Studies in 1989

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about his experience directing the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about publishing "The Young Oxford History of African Americans"

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his interdisciplinary approach to African American studies

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the work of one of his students, Merida Rua, and how the study of African American history has changed

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about writing his book with Heidi Ardizzone "Love on Trial," pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis talks about writing his book with Heidi Ardizzone "Love on Trial," pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis talks about the response to "Love on Trial"

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the structure of "Love on Trial"

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about his approach to publication

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis talks about balancing his administrative obligations with his teaching, publishing, and family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis talks about his family and divorce from Jayne London

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis describes his role in the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his role in the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the importance of the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about the presidents of the University of Michigan during his tenure

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes becoming Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the diversity of staff and faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about leaving Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis talks about becoming President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis talks about becoming President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about the financial problems faced by universities

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his plans for promoting diversity and performing arts through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the future of African American studies departments, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about the future of African American studies departments, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis reflects on how race and his childhood affected his first book, "In Their Own Interests"

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes the problems facing African American historians in the academy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about other organizations that fund the arts, sciences, and humanities

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis shares his views on the future of the humanities

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis reflects on his life's journey, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis reflects on his life's journey, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis reflects on his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
Earl Lewis describes his experience at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Earl Lewis describes becoming Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004
Transcript
And when I got into the University of Minnesota [Minneapolis, Minnesota] right after I finished Concordia [College in Moorhead, Minnesota], so I left Concordia and went right to Minnesota with, to University of Minnesota, with a break in the summer where I worked for Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Company and I designed an attitude survey for the whole company and implemented that attitude survey using my psychology degree. And then a few months later I left there, they hired someone else to do the data analysis and I went to graduate school at the University of Minnesota, initially just to get a masters. I was gonna get a masters. And I got into graduate school and I discovered I still, if, if I have something to work on, it was actually finding my own voice as a writer because I realized undergrad and even early graduate school, you're reading so many different people and you're trying to figure out how to be like one of them. And then Russ [Russell Menard] took me aside one day and he said, "Earl, let me tell you a secret." I said, "Sure Russ." He says, "I started out thinking I was gonna be the next generation Perry Miller and only discovered I couldn't do the work in intellectual colonial history the way Perry Miller did. And then I became an economic historian and it refocused who I was and I was able to find by own voice." He says, "Just think about who you wanna be. Stop thinking about who all these other folks have been, and see if you can't find your own voice." That was actually quite valuable and-- So my second year of graduate school in the masters program I thought, "You know what? I may be able to get a Ph.D." Meanwhile Joe Trotter [Joe William Trotter, Jr.] was ahead of me. So Joe pulled me aside and he says, "Earl," and I said, "What?" He said, "I got a prediction." I go "What's that's, Joe?" He goes, you gone be the next African American to get a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in the History Department. I said, "Well there are people ahead of me." He says, "I know. But you will be." And, and, and I to this day I thank him 'cause it was at that point where he was telling me something that I was just discovering about myself. That yeah, I could do this. And, and so after getting the masters then I talked to the professors and applied to get into the Ph.D. and, and with an understanding and said, "And this is how long I plan to be in graduate school." So I, tell me now if I can, I don't wanna be here more than six total years. I've had enough Minnesota winters. I know exactly how many more I plan. And they all agreed they thought I could move at pace and Joe had been able to do it in five and I figured I could do it in six. He was on full scholarship the whole time and I wasn't. And, and I did. And, and even in, even at the university I ended up discovering that I could do a lot of things in that graduate program and so I ended up my, my major was, area was U.S. History. But I also had a heavy secondary major in African Peoples History. And so I used to always joke with my own doctoral students who would complain about exams, I'd say "Look, I took an eight hour written exam in U.S. History. I took an eight hour written exam in African History. And then I took a two hour oral exam. So that was sixteen hours of writing. And four hours I think, you can survive." And, and, and that was the sense and I remember talking, Allen Isaacman and Lansine Kaba and I said "Why are you guys making me take this eight hour written exam.? I'm not an Africanist. I mean it's not my major area." And they, they said, "because we know you can do it."$So what made you decide to go to Emory [University in Atlanta, Georgia] then? What was that, that decision?$$It was probably driven by three factors. One, several people had come to me several times and said "Earl are you gonna be the next provost of the University of Michigan?" And I said, "I don't know." And my friend and colleague, Paul Courant, had been the acting provost when Joe [B. Joseph White] was the acting president. When Mary Sue [Coleman] came in, there were some who believed then there was gone be a search process for the next president, I mean provost. And Mary Sue decided that she was comfortable with Paul staying in that role. So she lifted the title of "acting" and made him provost. I said "Okay. So my, not gonna happen here at this moment." I get a call from Spencer Stuart's search consulting firm and the search consultant called me and says, "Earl last time we talked was about five years ago, and you said to me call you back in five years when your daughter is about to graduate from high school. By my records your daughter is about to graduate from high school. Would you be interested in thinking about being the provost at Emory?" And I said to her, "Paula (ph.) that is really good. I have dealt with a lot of search consultants but I've never known anyone to maintain a five year tickler file." I said, "You got, at least you got my interest here." And she said, "Well things have changed at Emory." And I said (unclear) 'cause I, I knew a little bit about Emory. And I go, I'm not sure to what the new president and at least consider it. And then several other peoples said to me, "Just think about it Earl." So I went and had a conversation in, with the folks at Emory. I met [James] Jim Wagner, who years older than I am and had grown up in the other place. If I had been a Virginia boy, he's a Maryland boy. And so, and we hit it off. And I thought "Okay. I, maybe I could be provost." So I went back to Michigan and I explained to them, to Mary Sue here's my, here's what I'm thinking. They offered me two more jobs (laughter). They were making me vice president of research and the head of international if I stayed. And I started to laugh. I had, and by that time I had remarried and, Susan [Witlock] and I were married, and I said and, and Susan had lived in Ann Arbor longer than I had and, and, I said "Well I can stay at Michigan and have three jobs and get paid for one, or I can go to Emory and be a provost and have the title that goes with those, in some ways, the elements of those three jobs." And so, and I went back to Mary Sue and just asked a question, a little bit about her view of the tenure of the provost and when that may open up again and whether or not I, help me think about whether or not I'd be better off biding my time at Michigan or going and being a provost in the next few months. And I didn't get the answer I wanted. And, and, and so I left. Now irony of ironies, right, I get to Emory, I'm there a year and I get a call back because Paul's stepping down as provost and, and would I come back and I go, "No." It was a missed moment. I several, board members had thought I was gone be the next provost and several, much of the campus had thought I would have been, it didn't happen, that door is closed. I had made at least a five year commitment to Emory, and I try not to renege on those kind of pledges and promises.$$And so you this, you're coming in as provost is historic--$$Yeah.$$--for Emory.$$It's historic for Emory--$$--because there's no African American provost--$$I was the highest ranked African American in Emory's history, ever period. I mean, and to be honest if you look across the South there probably have only been two African Americans that have been into the level of provost or above, or certainly the level of provost at one of the major southern universities. The other person was Bernadette Gray-Little at Chapel Hill [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill]. And Bernadette and I were provost about the same time. And, but if you go through the history and, I mean, and truth, I mean sad truth is that right now and among the AAU [Association of American Universities] institutions, the leading research universities in the United States, there are no African American provosts. I mean in sixty-something institutions, there's one fellow who was African-born who I think has become a naturalized citizen who is provost at [University of Illinois] Urbana-Champaign [HM Ilesanmi Adesida], but when I stepped out of this role there is no one. So it's even more than Emory its, there's initial in my view, where the larger complex of American, higher education in particular at the major research universities.

Thomas C. Holt

Historian and scholar Thomas C. Holt was born on November 30, 1942 in Virginia. Holt attended and graduated from segregated schools in southside Virginia. He went to work for the SNCC during the Civil Rights Movement in his hometown, Danville, and in Cambridge, Maryland in 1965. He graduated from Howard University with his B.A. degree in 1965 and his M.A. degree 1966. Following that, Holt worked for a federal antipoverty programs trying to change the living and working conditions of migrant and seasonal farm workers until 1968. Holt began his teaching career at Howard University in 1972 and in 1973, he received his Ph.D. from Yale University.

Holt taught at Howard University, Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California, Berkley before becoming a professor at the University of Chicago in 1988. Holt is the University of Chicago's James Westfall Thompson Professor of American and African-American History. Over the course of his career, Holt has published the following books: Black Over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina during Reconstruction (1979), The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor, and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832-1938 (1992), and The Problem of Race in the 21st Century (2000). Holt also co-wrote Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Post-emancipation Societies (2000) with Rebecca J. Scott and Frederick Cooper.

In 1978, the Southern Historical Association awarded Holt the Charles S. Sydnor Prize for his work on racial politics in the post- emancipation American South in Black Over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina during Reconstruction. Holt also received the Elsa Goveia Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians for the same book. In 1987, Holt received the Presidential Initiatives Award from the University of Michigan under President Harold Shapiro. In 1990, Holt received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur "Genius Grant." President Clinton appointed Holt to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1994 to 1997. Holt worked as a fellow in the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In 2003, Holt was elected to be a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Holt sat on the editorial board of the Journal of Southern History from 1983 to 1986 as well as the editorial board for the American Historical Review from 1986 to 1993. In 1999, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and served until 2002.

Thomas C. Holt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 27, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.027

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/27/2010 |and| 5/1/2018

Last Name

Holt

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

C.

Schools

Yale University

Howard University

Southside High School

First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Danville

HM ID

HOL14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Normandy, France

Favorite Quote

Those Who Expect To Get Change Without Struggle Are Like Those That Expect Crops Without The Rain.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/30/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

African american history professor Thomas C. Holt (1942 - ) was the James Westfall Thompson Professor of American and African American History at the University of Chicago. Holt was most known for his work on race, labor and politics in post-emancipation societies.

Employment

University of Chicago

University of Michigan

Harvard University

Howard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas C. Holt's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt describes his father's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the conflict between his paternal grandfather and father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt describes his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his early interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his father's involvement in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his parents' small family

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt describes his activities at Southside High School in Blairs, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his early awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt remembers an influential teacher at Southside High School in Blairs, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his early exposure to black popular culture

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the black barbershop in his community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt recalls the debate team at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt describes his theater involvement at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his interest in literature at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the administration of Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his involvement in SNCC, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his involvement with SNCC, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the March on Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his arrests during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the March on Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his academic experiences at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the protests against the administration of Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt remembers President Lyndon Baines Johnson's commencement address at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the summer of 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his civil rights activism in Cambridge, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his master's degree program at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his Ph.D. degree program at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt describes his interaction with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt recalls the divisions within the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt shares his research on the black community in South Carolina during Reconstruction

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt remembers joining the faculty of Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt describes his research on emancipation in the British West Indies

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas C. Holt's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt describes the Morant Bay rebellion

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt talks about Afro-Jamaican activists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt describes the importance of support for newly formed independent countries

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt remembers being recruited to teach at Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt describes Howard University and Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case of 1978

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his contemporaries at Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt describes the emergence of African American studies departments

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Thomas C. Holt talks about student enrollment in African American studies courses

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Thomas C. Holt explains the mission of the African American studies discipline

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his research at Harvard University

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his research on the Freedman's Hospital at Howard University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his tenure appointment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt talks about African and African American studies professors

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt describes his courses at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt talks about disinvestment from South Africa at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt explains why he left the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt describes his research and other African American professors in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his research on Ida B. Wells and the history of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the biographies of historical black figures

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt explains his writing process

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt describes the historical context behind the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt describes the historical context behind the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the African American contribution to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his research assistants

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Thomas C. Holt describes his research on W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his grants and fellowship awards

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the reception of his book, 'The Problem of Freedom, Race, Labor and Politics in Jamaica and Britain'

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his appointment as president of the American Historical Association, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his appointment as president of the American Historical Association, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt talks about historical organizations

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt remembers William H. McNeill

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt describes his fellowship at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his publications

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the work of a historian

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon the image of African Americans in popular culture

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon race in the United States

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon race in a global context

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his book, 'Children of Fire: A History of African Americans'

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the work of John Hope Franklin

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon the work of past historians

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the organization of his book, 'Children of Fire: A History of African Americans'

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt reflects on the administration of President Barack Obama

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt speculates on how historians will receive the administration of President Barack Obama

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt talks about how accessibility to resources has changed over time

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the development of research and fact finding

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon his favorite work

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon the life and career of W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his favorite African American historical figures

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his family

Tape: 12 Story: 10 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his current projects at the time of the interview

Tape: 12 Story: 11 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 12 - Thomas C. Holt describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Thomas C. Holt remembers an influential teacher at Southside High School in Blairs, Virginia
Thomas C. Holt remembers President Lyndon Baines Johnson's commencement address at Howard University
Transcript
So, you know, you take that back to the public schools, there was a lot of caution on the part of teachers and the ones who didn't, stood out. Like my history teacher, who also taught civics, I remember very distinctly, took us, his class, and this was my senior year, to, you know, as part of our civics instruction, to see a trial in the court over in town, in Danville [Virginia]. And, you know, it's very interesting because the first time I've been in a courtroom, I hadn't gotten in trouble so I hadn't been in court and, of course, it's segregated because, you know, blacks sat on one side and whites on the other and I remember asking him, I said, you know, why, you know, why we all just sitting over here. I mean, it's interesting that I in fact posed the questions since I've lived all my life in a segregated society but somehow in the, it's like the [U.S.] Army thing, you know, in the court, somehow didn't expect it to be different and so I actually got up and walked over and sat in the white side and he was very nervous, but he was also very proud. I mean, he was an interesting guy and then, of course, the, the, what do you call them, the bailiff or whatever, came over to me and said, you know, you can't sit here, you need to sit over there. So I got up and went back but I was testing it and he was, you know, said, "I'm glad you tested it." But, you know, that was unusual. I mean, most of my teachers probably would have jumped out of their skin at that, you know, they get into trouble and be reported back to the principal and maybe the superintendent of the schools or something like that. He also took us to, I mentioned the, the suit about the public library, he took us to federal court to, you know, to observe one of the sessions of, where they, the case was being argued about this suit. So, so part of my education, that was part of my education more than, more than big assemblies or any more explicit kind of program in the school itself [Southside High School, Blairs, Virginia]. It's in these kind of, I don't know, you might call them insurgencies where, you know, especially around this particular teacher who would, you know, in the context of what would be ordinary, you know, field trips but, of course, they were, what was involved in them was the beginnings of the attacks against Jim Crow.$$Okay, was this a teacher, Hennet [ph.], the one you were talking about?$$Yeah, Hennet, and Hennet was interesting because, actually, yeah, another part of it is, as I think about this and I remember it, I had him early on, probably, I think, world history or something in which I remember one of the, his lectures that I remember most vividly was when he was describing Hannibal crossing the apps--Alps and he was, you know, very animated and, you know, this was just, I was just fascinated, you know, with this idea of, this black general, you know, attacking Rome and so forth. Then he went off, he got a Fulbright [Fulbright Scholarship] and went to Nigeria and while he was in Nigeria, he actually wrote me letters about his experience, very extensive letters about Africa and so forth and so that was a bigger part of my education than anything that was happening in the classes, you know, and I'm very sorry, you know, my, my family house burnt down some years later so a lot of that stuff is, is gone, but he wrote me these stories, you know, these, these accounts that he experienced and that led me to seek out, I can't remember the name of the guy, the author now but, a series of books that were done on different parts of the world and one was done on Africa, 'Inside Africa.'$$Oh, the John Gunther--$$Yeah, right, Gunther, that's exactly right, and I read Gunther's, 'Inside Africa' as a result of his experience in Nigeria in writing these letters and that was one of my reading experiences early on in high school.$$That's great.$$And then he came back, of course, and then I took other classes with him and that was in that context that, in teaching civics, that, you know, we, you know, encountered both the segregated courtroom on one hand and the, the federal suit against the segregated library [in Danville, Virginia] on the other, that was during my senior year.$$So your senior year seemed like it really was important, I guess, in terms of your outlook?$$Oh, yeah, no, he was, he was undoubtedly the most important single influence in my (simultaneous)--$So, you graduate in '65 [1965] then, right?$$Right, because I had to take an extra year because I changed my major and then in the summer of '65 [1965], and this is, of course, was right after, you recall, right after the Selma [Alabama] demonstrations which we had, demonstrations in Washington [D.C.]. I didn't go to Selma but we were, you know, ringing the White House day and night, protesting what was happening in Selma and we had, and then at the graduation, Lyndon Johnson [President Lyndon Baines Johnson], actually president, came and spoke, gave the commencement address at Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.] and my folks came up, of course, to my graduation, and my father [Grover Holt] was very proud, you know, he said the first time he'd ever seen a living president, you know.$$Is that the speech where he really just--$$Yeah, this was the speech that leads to, you know, that, "Freedom is not enough, that you need to make changes" [To Fulfill These Rights]. I mean, the speech that was actually influenced by the Moynihan Report ['The Negro Family: The Case For National Action,' Daniel Patrick Moynihan], which was, ironic, I write about this in my recent book was well received and my father said, "Best speech I ever heard a president give" 'cause he was saying, you know, if you read the speech, that we got to do more, the government has to, you know, invest in education and job training and so forth and so on and not just give people, you know, rights but give them really means to, to realize those rights and his famous image that he had that you can't, you know, knock off the chains of a person and expect them to run the race, just like somebody who's never been chained. So it was a very well received speech but it was, also the time he was escalating the Vietnam War and most people weren't paying much attention to that but a lot of students, especially the radical students or the more militant students and SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee], were already involved in antiwar activity even as the Civil Rights Movement was, you know, still in, you know, the sort of top of the agenda. And so many of us, you know, not many of us, a number of us protested at the, you know, had signs on our backs and stuff like that, protesting Johnson's speech. So, again, it's an irony that, you know, here's a speech that my father, lived his life to, you know, to hear a president say, and here I am, you know, protesting this guy because he's, you know, escalating what we were considering a racist war.$$So did, well did you find, did you and your father talk about it at some point?$$Yeah but, you know, not, you know, it was live and let live. I mean, I understood his position. I mean, I could, you know, could see, you know, precisely where he's coming from and I think by that point he began to understand, you know, that he had this militant son who was not always going to see things the same way he saw it, you know.

Charles Russell Branham

Historian Charles Russell Branham was born on May 25, 1945 in Chicago, Illinois to Charles Etta Halthon and Joseph H. Branham. Branham graduated from Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee in 1963. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rockford College in 1967 and earned his Ph.D. in history in 1980 from The University of Chicago where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow.

Branham has been a professor of history at various colleges in Chicago, including Chicago State University and Roosevelt University. From 1974 through 1985, he taught at The University of Illinois at Chicago where he was awarded the Silver Circle Excellence in Teaching Award. From 1985 through 1991, Branham was an Associate Professor at Northwestern University, and from 1991 through 1997, an Associate Professor at Indiana University Northwest. In 1984, Branham began working as an historian at the DuSable Museum of Afro-American History where he served as Director of Education and is now Senior Historian. Branham is the author of many publications on African American history and politics, including The Transformation of Black Political Leadership in Chicago, 1865 – 1943.

Branham is a member of the Organization of American Historians and the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. He served on the Board of Directors for The Chicago Metro History Fair, DuSable Museum of African American History, the Illinois Humanities Council and on the Executive Committee for the Chicago Archives of the Blues Tradition. From 1989-1990, he was the Chairman of the United Way of Chicago’s Committee on Race, Ethnic and Religious Discrimination. In addition, Branham has served as a consultant to the Chicago Board of Education for their curriculum development for a Black History study unit. Branham also sat on the Board of Trustees for Rockford College from 1990 to 1992. He won an Emmy Award as the writer, co-producer and host of "The Black Experience," the first nationally televised series on African American History. In 1983, Branham was an expert witness in the PACI case which forced the City of Chicago to give greater political representation to African Americans, and in 1990, his testimony before the Chicago City Council laid the foundation for the city's minority business affirmative action program.

Branham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 3, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.119

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/3/2008

Last Name

Branham

Maker Category
Middle Name

Russell

Occupation
Schools

Manassas High School

Lincoln Elementary School

Douglas Elementary School

Rockford University

University of Chicago

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BRA11

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tuscany, Italy

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/25/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

History professor Charles Russell Branham (1945 - ) was the senior historian at the DuSable Museum of Afro-American History and a professor of history at various universities, including Chicago State University, Roosevelt University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, and Indiana University Northwest.

Employment

Roosevelt University

Chicago State University

University of Illinois at Chicago

Northwestern University

DuSable Museum of African American History

Indiana University

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Russell Branham's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Russell Branham lists his favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Russell Branham describes his mother's life in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Russell Branham describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Russell Branham describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Russell Branham talks about Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Russell Branham talks about Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles Russell Branham describes his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Russell Branham describes his family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Russell Branham describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Russell Branham describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Russell Branham describes the sights of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Russell Branham recalls his parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Russell Branham describes his home in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Russell Branham remembers his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles Russell Branham recalls his influences during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles Russell Branham remembers Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Russell Branham recalls his speech at the American Legion Boys State

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Russell Branham recalls his activities at Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Russell Branham recalls working for the Memphis World newspaper

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Russell Branham remembers his teachers at Manassas High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Russell Branham describes segregation in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Russell Branham recalls civil rights efforts in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Russell Branham recalls applying to Rockford College in Rockford, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Russell Branham remembers his freshman year at Rockford College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Russell Branham recalls his experiences of racial discrimination at Rockford College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Russell Branham recalls developing his confidence at Rockford College

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Russell Branham recalls meeting gubernatorial candidate Ronald Reagan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Russell Branham recalls studying history at Rockford College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Russell Branham recalls winning a Ford Foundation fellowship

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Russell Branham recalls working in factories in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Russell Branham recalls his experiences at the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles Russell Branham describes his studies at the University of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Russell Branham recalls teaching African American history

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Russell Branham describes his activism in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles Russell Branham remembers the Communiversity

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles Russell Branham remembers 'The Black Experience,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles Russell Branham remembers 'The Black Experience,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles Russell Branham remembers 'The Black Experience,' pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles Russell Branham recalls completing his dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles Russell Branham remembers being hired at University of Illinois at Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles Russell Branham recalls working on Harold Washington's first mayoral campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles Russell Branham recalls testifying about disenfranchisement in Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charles Russell Branham reflects upon his interest in black history

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charles Russell Branham remembers working for the 1984 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charles Russell Branham recalls designing an exhibit about Harold Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charles Russell Branham recalls joining the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Charles Russell Branham describes the DuSable Museum of African American History

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Charles Russell Branham describes his publications

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Charles Russell Branham reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Charles Russell Branham recalls his exhibit on Provident Hospital, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charles Russell Branham recalls his exhibit on Provident Hospital, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charles Russell Branham describes his work on 'The Killing Floor'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charles Russell Branham recalls testifying about the City of Chicago's affirmative action policy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charles Russell Branham describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charles Russell Branham reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charles Russell Branham reflects upon his family and friends

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Charles Russell Branham describes his experiences of police harassment

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Charles Russell Branham recalls being threatened with a gun by a police officer

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Charles Russell Branham describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Charles Russell Branham narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Charles Russell Branham narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

5$9

DATitle
Charles Russell Branham describes segregation in Memphis, Tennessee
Charles Russell Branham recalls being threatened with a gun by a police officer
Transcript
Now I didn't ask you about high school, but did--was there any black history taught in high school in Memphis [Tennessee] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) No. I'm glad you asked that because, Johnny Johnson [John Johnson, Jr.] was the coach, a wonderful guy, showed a lot of newsreels, because we had to reel--the reel thing. We had one day when they mentioned black history and it was virtually all about Booker T. Washington, and he didn't know anything about Booker T. Washington. He just mentioned him. So there really wasn't any teaching of black history. Black history was displayed in ironic ways. For example, of course, when I grew up you had the black and white signs. There was the Malco Theatre [Memphis, Tennessee], which was the most prominent theater downtown, and African Americans and whites, of course, sat separately and you did not know from the sign where the colored entrance was. What you did was you went to the side, and when you went in, there was a picture of Booker T. Washington and you knew from that picture this is where black people were supposed to go, so we would go up to the balcony. I remember watching 'The Ten Commandments' at the Malco Theatre in the balcony, which probably was better seats than on the main level, but that was your way of knowing African American history. I mean, there were stores in Memphis when I was growing up where African Americans could buy clothing, but they couldn't try it on, and so you learned your African American history through reality. I remember coming back from college [Rockford College; Rockford University, Rockford, Illinois] my freshman year and I had a button, "Goldwater [Barry Goldwater] in 1864," and I remember my mother [Charles Hurd Branham Halthon] ripping that button off of me and screaming at me. I thought I was a wise guy, Barry Goldwater, 1864. I was obviously making fun of what I considered his retrograde ideas. My mother saw it quite differently. You see, my mother remembers when African Americans were run out of Memphis for practicing with whites, like Jimmie Lunceford, who was run out of Memphis. My mother knew that I was only a few years older than Emmett Till, and she remembered Emmett Till and so she was not gonna, she said that she screamed at me. She said, "Those white people will kill you. Take that thing off your--those white people will kill you." And, my mother was being cautious. She was being protective. She was afraid that I would say something or do something or wear a button in front of the wrong white person and that I could be killed and, of course, she had enough practical history to support that. I mean, I remember my first civil rights demonstration in Memphis and not telling my mother. My mother had been very--had made it very clear. "I am a school teacher. If you're arrested in a civil rights demonstration and your name gets in the paper, they can fire me for being your mother." Whether or not they could, I'm sure they had in the past, and so I actually was arrested but never printed or fingerprinted or anything. They just brought us all in and let us all go. Probably because there were too many of us and also probably because we weren't doing anything really but just walking up and down the street.$$What was the issue?$$Well, Memphis was a completely segregated city in 19--in the late 1960s. As I said before, the first whites I met I met in the summer after I graduated from high school [Manassas High School, Memphis, Tennessee]. There was a white lady who actually put together a little group of blacks and whites. We would meet at her home and we read 'Lord of the Flies' [William Golding] and we read a number of other books and we would discuss it and there were four African Americans, all of us going to white schools; one was going to Yale [Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut], he flunked out. He had an eight hundred out of eight hundred--no a sixteen hundred out of sixteen hundred on the SATs and he was very, very smart. He bought a smoking jacket and just got too popular and just didn't do any work, but I don't remember any of us, after having been introduced to the whites at this group, ever speaking to them and I don't remember any of us ever saying anything when the book discussion was going on. We just listened to the white kids talk and it was her attempt to provide some integration, and it didn't work. The white kids were very nice, and we all sat in the same room which was startling. It was in her home, but we didn't interact. We were scared.$And my worst experience actually was when I was doing my TV show ['The Black Experience']. I had been introduced to a young lady by John Tweedle, and I had just been interviewing Lorenzo Dow Turner and Lorenzo Dow Turner was the author of 'Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect,' and he taught at Roosevelt University [Chicago, Illinois], although he'd retired by the time I started teaching at Roosevelt, and he was just the most gracious of people. He lived in Hyde Park [Chicago, Illinois] and so I went to his home and he pulled out this old phonograph with a pine needle, which he stuck in the arm and then he brought out these big metallic records and put them on the turn table, and put the pine needle on the turntable, cranked it and I could hear the actual voices of the people he'd interviewed when he wrote his famous book and so I was on cloud nine, because this was something we could use on the show. We could photograph this and we could show him as a pioneer scholar and I was one to promote African American scholarship, and at the same time we're learning something about Africanisms. We're talking about perhaps the most African people in America and it's a culture as you know that has virtually disappeared and so I was driving down Lake Shore Drive and I ended up at 71st [Street] and I just happened to drop by this girl's apartment building and I knocked on the door and they, I mean I was buzzed in and so I get on the elevator and go up and as I get ready to knock on the door, the door opens, a guy comes out, pushes me against the wall, puts a gun to my head, and says he's going to kill me. Apparently, she had a boyfriend. Apparently she was breaking up with the boyfriend. Apparently he thought I was the cause. He held me there for what seemed like two hours. It was probably more like twenty minutes. He was a police officer. He explained to me that he was going to say that I was breaking in, and that he was going to say he had to shoot me as a robber. I, of course, basically said nothing, except I looked him in the eye, maintained eye contact, which of course, is the worst thing you can do, basically. You're not supposed to maintain eye contact if people actually have a gun to your head, and basically said, "You know, you don't want to do this. You'll never get away with it." And I apparently learned later that you're not supposed to say that. He kept telling me he was going to kill me. After twenty minutes, he decided he wasn't going to kill me. He puts the gun away, gets on an elevator and leaves. Later he tells her mother, he calls her mother and says, "I almost killed a guy." I called several friends of mine because I have a lot of ex-students who are police officers and I talk to them about it, and to a man they said--now remember this is the 1970s--they said, "Leave it alone." I mean, Wilbourne Woods, who was Mayor Washington's [Harold Washington] guard. Wilbourne Woods was a student of mine and we got to be friends because he would always reassure me that he was not an FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] agent when he was in my class, and he said, "Look. These guys will put drugs in your car. They will not let one of their own go down, so just leave it alone." So, I don't know how many people have ever had a gun put to their heads, but I was actually kind of proud of the fact that I didn't panic. We now know a little bit about what you're likely to do, whether or not you can remain calm, when you have a gun put to your head, but I never want that to happen again.$$Yeah, Wilbourne was one of the members of the African American Police League [Afro-American Patrolmen's League; African American Police League], yeah.$$(Nods head) And he told me, he said, "Leave it alone." He says, "I'll talk to the guy but don't turn him in because they'll end up putting drugs in your car."