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Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr.

Surgeon, professor, medical director, and contributor to community service, Asa G. Yancey, Sr., M.D. was born to Daisy L. Sherard Yancey and Arthur H. Yancey on August 19, 1916 in Atlanta, Georgia. Daisy was a housewife, and Arthur worked as a U.S. Post Office mail carrier. Mr. Arthur H. Yancey wrote an autobiographical book in 1959 entitled Interpositionulification: What the Negro May Expect. In 1933, Asa G. Yancey graduated as valedictorian from Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta. He earned his B.S. degree with honors four years later from Morehouse College. Yancey was one of four African American students in his class at the University of Michigan Medical School where his elder brother, Bernise, graduated from medical school in 1930.

Upon receiving his M.D. degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1941, Yancey first completed a general rotating internship from 1941 to 1942 at what is now Metropolitan General Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. It was from this experience that he decided to pursue general surgery training. He served as First Lieutenant in The United States Army Medical Corp. before he returned to complete his residency in surgery at Freedmen’s Hospital, Howard University, where he trained under the guidance of Dr. Charles R. Drew. In 1945, he was a surgical fellow at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Boston and then became an instructor of surgery at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Also about this time, Yancey started his involvement with the National Medical Association (NMA), the largest and oldest national organization for African American physicians.

Following his time in Boston and Nashville, he served as the Chief of Surgery at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama and then the Hughes Spalding Pavilion of Grady Memorial Hospital, Emory Univerisity where he established the first accredited general surgery training program for black surgeons. With his return to Atlanta in 1958, Yancey was invited to join the faculty at Emory University School of Medicine where he became an Instructor of Surgery in 1964. In 1972, Yancey was appointed medical director of Grady Memorial Hospital and associate dean at Emory University Medical School. He was appointed full Professor of Surgery at Emory University Medical School in 1975. He continued to work at the Emory University Clinic and Grady Memorial Hospital until his retirement in 1989.

Yancey has contributed numerous articles to the academic surgical community, and he has been recognized with many awards His article, “A Modification of the Swenson Operation for Congenital Megacolon," published in a 1952 issue of The Journal of the National Medical Association, describes a surgical procedure that preceded Soave’s publication by ten years. Yancey has also written articles exploring issues of medical care, health care, and poverty including "Medical Education in Atlanta and Health Care of Black Minority and Low Income People," and "The Challenge of Providing Health Care for the Poor: Public Hospital Perspective". His book Portrayal of a Lifespan describes life as it was for him in the 21st Century. Yancey received the Bennie Service Award, in 1990 and he receivedan Honorary Doctor of Science from Morehouse College and Howard University. . The Society of Black Academic Surgeons established a lectureship in the name of Asa G. Yancey, Sr., M.D. The Emory University Health System recognized his professional contributions over the years by naming a healthcare facility, The Asa G. Yancey Health Clinic, in northwest Atlanta.

Yancey was married to the late Carolyn “Marge” E. Dunbar and they have four children: Arthur H. Yancey II, M.D, Carolyn L. Yancey, M.D., Caren L Yancey-Covington (deceased), and Asa G. Yancey, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Asa G. Yancey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2012.

Dr. Asa Yancey passed away on March 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2012.056

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/19/2012

Last Name

Yancey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

G.

Schools

Edmund Asa Ware School

Booker T. Washington High School

Morehouse College

Michigan Medicine

First Name

Asa

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

YAN04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sea Coasts of Alabama, the Gulf of Mexico

Favorite Quote

Let's Get On With It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/19/1916

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Death Date

3/9/2013

Short Description

Surgeon, medical professor, and medical director Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. (1916 - 2013 ) served as the medical director of Grady Memorial Hospital and dean at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He also created the first accredited surgical training program for black doctors in Georgia.

Employment

Freedmen's Hospital, Howard University

United States Marine Hospital

Meharry Medical College

Tuskegee Veteran's Administration Hospital

Hughes Spalding Pavilion of Grady Memorial Hospital

Emory University

Grady Memorial Hospital

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:192,5:448,10:960,19:1344,28:1920,38:36183,256:36801,282:56328,440:61034,500:65130,529:65530,535:85077,741:86073,864:120544,1143:123662,1196:128954,1260:129626,1265:132398,1327:135674,1389:142086,1464:173124,1800:189730,1978:200483,2240:225028,2558:225398,2565:229838,2667:230282,2674:256470,2949$0,0:12464,144:20920,171:21640,179:22240,185:25372,194:26488,201:27852,217:28596,224:31696,260:32316,266:33060,274:33760,282:34080,287:39362,333:39946,342:46138,394:49490,415:66710,539:69135,551:71516,577:81731,675:94077,744:94698,755:96290,761:96990,773:97550,783:98320,796:98670,802:98950,807:99370,814:101641,827:103678,856:104842,871:107073,906:108237,923:108722,929:109110,934:128793,1299:129339,1306:131341,1339:132615,1356:139294,1399:148315,1468:149125,1475:154530,1513:161667,1588:166612,1718:166904,1723:169210,1742:170925,1753:172795,1781:175622,1807:176154,1812:188080,1872:191692,1908:194140,1939:205110,2045:211944,2099:238760,2275:239508,2291:244396,2354:246252,2399:246542,2405:249964,2422:250516,2431:254382,2513:264485,2644:274645,2713:275690,2724
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remembers his father's personality and book

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. talks about his early schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remembers his elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes his personality as a young child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls his family's home

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remembers Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes his relationship with his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remembers his childhood friends

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes the race relations in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remembers Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls enrolling at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remembers the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls his residency at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. talks about his salary as a medical intern

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes his experiences in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes his experiences in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls working as a surgeon in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes the community of Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes his role at the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remember the death of Charles R. Drew, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. remember the death of Charles R. Drew, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. talks about the Tuskegee syphilis experiment

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes Dr. William Montague Cobb

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls the history of Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls becoming the chief of surgery at the Hughes Spalding Pavilion in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. talks about the conditions at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls serving on the Atlanta Board of Education

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes the achievements of the Atlanta Board of Education

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls joining the staff of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. talks about the closure of black hospitals

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. shares his views on public healthcare

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$8

DATitle
Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. recalls enrolling at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr. describes the community of Mound Bayou, Mississippi
Transcript
Now, what happened when you graduated from Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia]?$$Well (pause), I caught the train (laughter) I caught the train and went to Detroit [Michigan] and I had a cousin there, a Mr. A.W. Prince [ph.] and I was just, my father [Arthur H. Yancey] wrote Mr. Prince and asked if I could live with him and Mr. Prince said, "Yes, I'd be glad to have him." So I was a roomer in Mr. Prince's home and I walked around Detroit and walked the streets looking for a job and that was in the days of, the Great Depression was still going on and a job was mighty hard to find, but I finally found a little job in a furniture store and my job was to keep the stock room straight with the furniture and keep it ready to place in the showroom to see. And, of course, while I was doing that I decided to go out to Ann Arbor [Michigan] and look around a little bit. My brother [Bernise A. Yancey] had finished medical school out there at the University of Michigan and, so I took the train or bus or whatever was moving at the time, and went out there and decided I'd go by the dean's office and tell him I wanted to go to medical school (laughter). He said, "You what?" He said, "You haven't even applied." I'm sure I realized that but that didn't make any difference. I'm here now and I want to go to medical school. He said, "When?" I said, "This September." That was maybe in July or August. He said, "No way. Just forget it." He said, "We took this class and decided who was going to be a member of this class last March and here you come in here in July and talk about you want to go to medical school. Just forget it." (Laughter) So I said, "Thank you very much," and left. And I knew I had a pretty good transcript at Morehouse and probably better than a lot that he had (laughter) so I went on home and wrote Morehouse and asked them to send my transcript to the dean there at, A.C. Furstenberg, at the University of Michigan school of medicine [University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan], which they did, of course, and when I figured my letter had time to get to Morehouse and Morehouse had time to send in a transcript, I went back out there to see the dean and he said, "Well, you're here again," and I said, "That's right, here I am." He said, "What do you want?" I said, "I want to go to medical school," (laughter). "When do you want to go?" "I want to go this July. I want to go this September," and here it is July. He said, "Forget it," (laughter). We took this class--I said, "Now wait a minute." I said, "I have my transcripts and you can see it." But when he got it, he realized it was better than a whole lot that he had and I knew it would be so he says, "Just wait a minute." He sat there a minute or two and I sat there a minute or two and he said, he reached into the drawer and pulled out a blank form, he said, "Fill this out and come on to school" (laughter).$Tell us about Mound Bayou [Mississippi].$$Mound Bayou--$$Yeah.$$--was an all colored town. The word colored was popular at the time. It was a small town and they had a, back in those days our people always joined a burial society and they'd pay twenty-five, fifty cents a week so that when they passed away, they would have enough money in that pool to get a decent looking casket and have a decent service. So, that was, and Mound Bayou was an all Negro town and that was a popular word at the time, and it had a Negro mail and it was just a, the people in the surrounding community and it was just houses here and there and farms and so forth, and the Mississippi Delta country, the land was just as flat as the top of that table, and the people put their nickels and dimes and quarters and fifty cent pieces together and built, and they had a burial organization. That was what it's for, it's a big house there, but after many years had passed, they found they had a lot of money, so they decided to build a hospital and they built the Taborian Hospital [Mound Bayou Community Hospital, Mound Bayou, Mississippi] and the idea was that the people who were members of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor [International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor] would continue to pay their yearly policy, but they could go to the hospital and get treatment free at the time of service, and they did that, but the chief surgeon that they hired to take care of people began to try to collect fees from the patients. Some of them would pay, some of them got mad and objected. So, they came to a parting of the ways and that's how they invited us from Meharry [Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee] to come down and help out, because he wouldn't treat the ones who wouldn't pay him. So, we went down and became chief in the hospital, so I was running the hospital and he built a little tent across the street and took his friends over there. We just ignored him and paid no attention. We just kept running the hospital.$$Sir, what was this doctor's name? What was his name?$$Dr. Howard [T.R.M. Howard]. He finally moved to Memphis [Tennessee] and practiced there for a while until he retired, I guess, I don't know.$$Okay. Is he any relation to the Dr. Howard that was involved in civil rights down there? Is he related to the Dr. Howard from Mississippi that was involved in civil rights?$$I don't remember anything about that.$$Yeah, there was a Dr. Howard from Mississippi that moved to Chicago [Illinois] who was involved in the Civil Rights Movement down there. Famous Dr. Howard.$$He did go to Memphis and then to Chicago, and I can't tell you about the other--I don't know anything about that.

William "Sonny" Walker

Civil rights activist, nonprofit chief executive, and management consulting entrepreneur William “Sonny” Walker was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and went on to teach in Arkansas public schools. In 1956, in the wake of the Brown vs. Board U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Walker helped to prepare the Little Rock Nine to integrate Little Rock Central High School. Walker went on to manage the campaign of T. E. Patterson, the first African American elected to the Arkansas School Board.

In 1965, Walker started the Crusade for Opportunity, one of the first Head Start programs in the U.S. and then began serving as director of the Economic Opportunity Agency of Little Rock and Pulsaki County. Throughout this time, Walker worked to promote integration of everything from television news anchors to the local chapter of the United States Junior Chamber. In 1969, Walker began serving as Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s head of the Arkansas State Economic Opportunity Office. He was the first African American to hold such a position in a Southern governor’s cabinet.

Walker moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1972, and began serving as a division director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal. In 1976, Walker became a member of the Board of Directors for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Walker eventually became Coretta Scott-King’ speech writer and in 1994, he served as interim director of the King Center. Walker went on to found the consulting company the Sonny Walker Group, which specializes in networking, marketing, and employee training.

Walker was a member of the board of trustees of Morris-Brown College, the board of directors of the Butler Street YMCA, the EduPac Action Committee, and the Georgia Partnership for Education Excellence. He was heavily involved with many other community organizations and received numerous awards, including the Community Service Award from the Atlanta Business League, the Distinguished Community Service Award from the National Urban League, the Outstanding Public Servant in the State of Georgia Award from the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Award from the National Association of Community Action Agencies.

William “Sonny” Walker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 21, 2011.

Walker passed away on June 15, 2016.

Accession Number

A2011.029

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/21/2011 |and| 3/18/2012

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

"Sonny"

Schools

Merrill Junior High School

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Arizona State University

University of Oklahoma

University of Arkansas

Federal Executive Institute

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

WAL15

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Indies

Favorite Quote

Out Of The Night That Covers Me, Black As The Pit From Pole To Pole, I Thank Whatever Gods May Be, For My Unconquerable Soul.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/13/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

6/15/2016

Short Description

Management consulting entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and nonprofit chief executive William "Sonny" Walker (1933 - 2016 ) fought for integration during the Civil Rights Movement, worked to promote increased economic opportunity through various federal agencies and programs. He also served as an important member of the board of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and worked as Coretta Scott-King's speech writer. Walker passed away on June 15, 2016.

Employment

Arkansas Public School System

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Arkansas State Government

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Office of Economic Opportunity

National Alliance of Business

Sonny Walker Group

Favorite Color

Cream, Crimson

Timing Pairs
0,0:1860,91:3060,110:10180,340:10900,350:11380,358:14660,454:14980,459:16820,490:17140,495:17460,500:17780,505:18340,514:19860,542:26730,563:27078,568:27948,579:28557,588:28992,594:29688,603:31515,631:32124,640:32472,646:33255,657:33777,664:39300,717:40110,725:41970,801:42635,809:43205,815:45770,859:49190,916:49855,924:52135,958:53940,1020:57265,1063:58405,1078:58880,1084:63364,1121:64138,1132:64740,1141:65772,1154:66202,1160:66804,1169:69642,1220:70760,1236:71706,1251:72394,1261:72910,1269:73598,1280:74630,1291:78782,1301:81057,1337:81694,1345:82240,1353:82877,1362:90234,1418:91560,1436:92184,1446:92574,1452:93354,1466:93744,1472:94134,1521:99594,1591:100218,1601:101544,1617:109124,1677:109388,1682:109784,1690:111104,1712:111368,1717:117309,1787:117617,1792:122699,1927:124932,1964:129642,1989:136266,2091:141117,2169:147170,2202:147600,2208:148374,2219:149750,2234:150524,2246:161488,2393:165466,2473:170547,2508:171789,2527:172065,2532:173928,2572:174204,2577:175170,2597:175722,2606:178758,2666:180690,2701:181035,2707:181794,2722:193979,2834:194441,2841:199650,2883:207256,2926:210512,2972:211480,2986:211920,2992:212860,2997:213140,3002:213490,3008:214400,3031:214820,3038:215100,3043:217628,3060:222847,3115:223441,3122:231810,3239:232326,3246:234390,3259:234670,3264:240398,3338:240814,3343:250160,3438:254240,3489:254900,3497:256440,3509:261953,3560:263006,3584:263897,3598:264221,3603:266886,3622:269930,3655:272140,3690:274095,3733:274690,3742:275455,3752:276135,3762:276475,3767:276815,3772:277155,3777:279195,3808:279535,3813:279875,3818:286388,3883:287126,3894:290078,3942:290570,3950:291964,3985:292538,3994:310648,4164:323868,4322:324323,4328:325779,4349:326689,4360:332470,4440:334318,4476:334846,4483:338048,4521:338714,4533:339602,4555:339972,4561:340712,4575:341378,4585:342414,4604:342858,4611:345670,4678:347150,4708:349148,4750:350258,4770:350554,4775:356640,4808:358992,4853:359940,4858$0,0:3884,54:4328,59:4994,67:11210,160:12875,178:13985,186:18980,249:27658,302:28362,311:29154,322:29594,328:32135,347:32810,365:33110,370:35210,409:35510,414:36035,422:36560,430:37310,440:38135,465:38510,471:46690,589:47491,603:47936,609:48381,615:56770,703:57970,717:59270,732:60070,738:63230,752:65431,790:65928,798:66425,807:71430,904:72054,913:73380,942:76098,980:77664,1009:79230,1016:80100,1027:83058,1039:83622,1047:84092,1053:86066,1078:91518,1166:100752,1268:102369,1289:102908,1297:110029,1378:111274,1396:111689,1402:114345,1444:115175,1455:115590,1461:116254,1472:117748,1499:118329,1506:127078,1539:128024,1554:129142,1570:129744,1578:130432,1588:138954,1705:139322,1710:143180,1730:145390,1753:147210,1770:148640,1792:154539,1829:155106,1841:155358,1846:155736,1856:155988,1861:156429,1870:156996,1880:157563,1890:160585,1926:161476,1941:161800,1946:163258,1965:163906,1974:165283,2000:166255,2013:168685,2034:169495,2046:170548,2061:177336,2121:177746,2127:179386,2197:184107,2271:185740,2300:186663,2338:189006,2381:194498,2418:199660,2472:200551,2486:202729,2552:206590,2622:209150,2695
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Sonny" Walker's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal great-grandmother's immediate relatives

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal great-great-grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers meeting his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his stepmother, Nettie Harris Walker

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his half sister

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the sights, sounds and smells of childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the influential people from his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his experiences during the Great Depression

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the end of World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls attending Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his early after school jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his decision to attend the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers attending Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his influences at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his connection to Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his former wife Loraine Tate and their children

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the racial climate in Arkansas during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls teaching in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the discrimination faced by the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about members of the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers Ozell Sutton

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his time as president of the Arkansas Teachers Association Department of Classroom Teachers

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers advocating for equal pay for teachers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the violence of the mid-1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls meeting President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his involvement with Crusade for Opportunity

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Sonny Walker recalls his role with the National Head Start Association

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his efforts to desegregate in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls disarming the Black United Youth group in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes Dale Bumper's gubernatorial campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Sonny" Walker's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the growth of Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his role with the Office of Economic Opportunity

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers affirmative action initiatives under the Richard Nixon administration

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls the changes in the Democratic Party during the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the changes in the national political landscape in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the political landscape of Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls Maynard H. Jackson, Jr.'s mayoral campaign in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls transitioning to the National Alliance of Business

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his support of African American owned banks in the South

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his work with the National Alliance of Business

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about working with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls improving Coretta Scott King's public speaking skills

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the formation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the activities created to memorialize Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about working with Stevie Wonder, Harry Belafonte and Nelson Mandela

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls becoming director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the historic Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls the leadership changes at The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the future of The King Center

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his decision to support Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker shares his views of President Barack Obama's administration

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his civic involvement in the Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his consultant work at Sonny Walker Group

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children cases

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker reflects upon his life

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker describes how he would like to be remembered

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DATitle
William "Sonny" Walker describes the discrimination faced by the Little Rock Nine
William "Sonny" Walker remembers Ozell Sutton
Transcript
Well, let's go back--$$Okay (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) before they actually get in, because you get to teach them [at Horace Mann High School; Horace Mann Magnet Middle School, Little Rock, Arkansas]. You said four of the nine?$$I taught five of the nine.$$Five of the nine. Tell me who they were, and how you were instrumental in preparing them to transfer to go to Central [Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas].$$Well, you know, it was more than just--the preparation was more than just what was occurring in the classroom, because the students were identified based on their academic excellence. So we tried to take the best, because we wanted them to succeed. A woman named Daisy Bates, who was head of NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], was the guiding force behind that, and a number of persons in the community, including [HistoryMaker] Ozell Sutton who was working with the Arkansas human relations commission [Arkansas Council on Human Relations]. I had been working as a sports writer for Mrs. Bates' newspaper, the State Press [Arkansas State Press], so she brought me into the process to a great extent. They had a number of other folks, especially NAACP related persons that helped in trying to chart a course for these nine kids. We also had to involve their families, because much of what was going on resulted in reparations, re- repercussions and resistance to the rights of those families. In other words, sometimes the father would lose his job. Sometimes the mother would lose her job, and that kind of thing, as a result of integrating the schools. So, those were the kinds of things that we had to deal with in addition to preparing them academically, mentally and emotionally, for going there. We tried to tell them, we were going to try to instill some of the King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] principles of nonviolence in them. Now, because they hit you, don't hit them back. But we didn't get across to Minnijean Brown [Minnijean Brown Trickey] very well, because some guy put some chili, threw some chili on Minnijean, and Minnijean took, threw chili back. And so, there were some who didn't accept well being abused and intimidated by some of the students who didn't want them there. So, it was quite a time in '57 [1957]. The crowds were jeering the students as they would come in. And I'm sure you saw the--I taught Elizabeth Eckford, and I'm sure you saw when she was isolated by herself, and there was this crowd jeering this young girl. She was frightened, didn't know what to do, she was isolated from the others. They usually tried to go in together, but somehow she got separated from the other eight, and was alone, and it wasn't a very pleasant kind of experience for her. But, Little Rock [Arkansas] in '57 [1957] was really something. But the thing that I think is unknown, or not, with very little emphasis placed on it, was not '57 [1957], '58 [1958], which was the first year that black students left to go to Little Rock Central, but the really tumultuous year was '58 [1958], '59 [1959], the school year of '58 [1958], '59 [959]. Do you realize that there is no such thing as a '59 [1959] graduate of a Little Rock public school? The high schools did not open in '58 [1958]. Rather than continue the integration that they had in '57 [1957], the board decided to close the high schools--close, which affected not just African American kids, but all students. And this is what really brought out white parents, especially mothers, who said, "We're paying the price for all this discrimination and resistance to integration." And they had a panel of American women that were formed, and they went around and spoke to audiences about the fact that they needed to go on and accept the fact that integration is real, it's here, it's the order of the court, and there's no point in us trying to further resist it. Let's just be supportive of it, and hope that we have the best environment for all of our children in the school system. But no graduate-- can you imagine, I want to reiterate it. I repeat it for emphasis. No graduate of the public schools in Little Rock in 1959 because the schools, high schools, did not open in the fall of '58 [1958]. So [HistoryMaker] Ernest Green, who was the first graduate, was in the graduating class of '58 [1958], because he was the only senior that was with the nine, the only one of the nine who was in the senior class, so he graduated and the others were put on hold. They had to go other places, go to parochial schools, go to the county schools, go to St. Louis [Missouri], Chicago [Illinois]--somewhere where there was a relative so they could continue to be in school. But they couldn't go to high school in their own home towns. What a crime, what a shame, but that was the case.$You mentioned [HistoryMaker] Ozell Sutton. And he, I know that he also wrote for one of the newspapers, as you did as well. Is he a friend of yours?$$Ozell I consider to be my longest existing and best friend. We are very, very close. We worked together in Little Rock [Arkansas]. He was with the Arkansas Council on Human Relations. But we also attended the same church, so we got a chance to see--and then with me working with Mrs. Bates [Daisy Bates] as a staff writer for her paper [Arkansas State Press]. And Ozell was on the staff of the Democrat [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette], which was the major white paper. Ozell was the first journalist to be hired by them. And together, we worked to integrate the television and radio industry. We almost singlehandedly, the two of us, working with the assistance of a guy named Lonnie King [Lonnie C. King, Jr.] from Atlanta [Georgia] who was under contract with the Community Relations Service, and who helped us to chart a course to get public, to get public television stations as well as radio stations to hire African Americans. And this required a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of energy, a lot of convincing, a lot of cajoling, and whatever. So Ozell and I worked very closely together. And Ozell became employed as a special assistant to Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. As a matter of fact, although I was designated as the first black cabinet appointee, Ozell was on the governor's staff when I was appointed, so he got there first, before I did. And Ozell was, of course, was an advocate for me because there was opposition. Some folks thought I was too militant to be part of the governor's cabinet, but the governor didn't buy into that, and Ozell, of course, was one of the strong advocates inside on my behalf. When we chose to come to Atlanta, we came at the same time. He came with the Community Relations Service in the [U.S.] Department of Justice, and I came with the Office of Economic Opportunity for the eight southeastern states. And we were offered the opportunity to occupy the home of a guy named T.M. Alexander, Jr., who was being assigned to HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] in Washington [D.C.], and so because he and Janis [Janis Alexander] had this home and they didn't want to sell it, because they didn't know how long they'd be gone. They asked Ozell and myself to occupy their residence for them. And so we moved into their home when we came.$$What year was that?$$This was '72 [1972].$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Nineteen seventy-two [1972].$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$So we'll talk more about that when we get to the 1970s, okay (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Okay.