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Rudolph Brewington

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

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2013.318

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/22/2013

Last Name

Brewington

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

William

Schools

Cardinal Hayes High School

University of Maryland

Federal City College

Bowie State University

College of Southern Nevada

P.S. 5

St. Charles Borromeo School

St. Thomas the Apostle School

St. Joseph's Elementary School

First Name

Rudolph

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BRE03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

You Never Lived Until You Almost Died.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

11/2/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Okra, Tomatoes, Rice, Chicken Feet

Short Description

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

Employment

Navy LIFELines Services Network

Amnesty International USA

National Naval Medical Center

Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service

United Press International

United States Marine Corps

WUST Radio

WOOK Radio

WWDC Radio (NBC affiliate)

WRC Radio

WOL Radio

WHUT-TV at Howard University

Radio-TV Monitoring Service

Association Personnel, Inc.

Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation

U.S. Navy Public Affairs Office

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$5

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

Derrick Pitts

Astronomer Derrick Pitts was born on January 22, 1955 in the Tioga-Nicetown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child, Pitts was fascinated by outer space and rockets. After graduating from Germantown Academy, he received his B.S. degree in geology from St. Lawrence University in 1978.

Pitts began working at The Franklin Institute as a young college student. He was hired as The Franklin Institute’s chief astronomer and planetarium director after completing his degree. In these roles, he developed and oversaw all of the Institute’s astronomy and space-related programs and exhibits, frequently hosted the live “Sky Tonight” planetarium show and interviewed John Glenn and Carl Sagan. Pitts also served as the original director of Tuttleman OMNIMAX Theater and as museum vice president. In 2002, he oversaw the renovation of The Franklin Institute’s Fels Planetarium and played an integral role in the design of the new astronomy exhibit, ‘Space Command.’ Pitts became the host of “SkyTalk” on WHYY Radio in 2008. One year later, he served as the United States spokesperson for the International Year of Astronomy. In 2011, Pitts was named a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solar System Ambassador. He has appeared on many national television shows as a science expert including the Comedy Channel’s “Colbert Report” and “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” Pitts served as a regular contributor on Current TV’s Countdown with Keith Olberman as well as programs on CNN International and MSNBC.

Pitts has held numerous positions in academic and community organizations including serving as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and on the Board of Trustees for his alma mater St. Lawrence University and Widener University. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Mayor’s Liberty Bell, the St. Lawrence University Distinguished Alumni Award, the G. W. Carver Medal and Please Touch Museum’s “Great Friend To Kids” Award. Pitts was inducted into the Germantown Historical Society Hall of Fame and selected as one of the “50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science” by Science Spectrum Magazine in 2004. He received the 2010 David Rittenhouse Award and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from LaSalle University in 2011. Pitts lives with his wife Linda in the Wynnefield Heights section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Derrick Pitts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 23, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.119

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/23/2012 |and| 3/25/2013

Last Name

Pitts

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

H.

Schools

Cleveland Elementary School

Elizabeth Duane Gillespie Junior High School

Germantown Academy

St. Lawrence University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Derrick

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

PIT29

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Lucia

Favorite Quote

Sure, Why Not.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

1/22/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb Biryani

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Derrick Pitts (1955 - ) was the chief astronomer and planetarium director for Philadelphia’s The Franklin Institute. As a noted scientist, he also appeared on national television programs.

Employment

Sackner Pharmacy

Sherwin Williams

Upholsters International Union

Franklin Institute

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts slates the interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts talks about his mother's career ambitions

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts talks about meeting his grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts talks about his father's life and career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about his father's military experience

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts talks about the similarities between him and his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts talks about his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts talks about his early appreciation for science

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts talks about what his father taught him about the moon

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about his scientific philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts discusses how astronomical events excited him about science

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts talks about his relationship with his brother

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts talks about the role of church in his life

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts discusses the conflict between religion and science

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts talks about his experience at Gillespie Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts describes how his neighborhood street helped him understand the sky

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts talks about his childhood role model and favorite television show

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about his junior high school mentors

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts describes one of his favorite science demonstrations

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts shares what inspires him to be a scientist and educator

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts talks about his experience at Gillespie Junior High School

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts talks about seeing the first moon landing

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts talks about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts talks about his experience at Georgetown Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts talks about the schools that he and his brother attended

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about his mentors in high school

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts talks about his favorite music teacher and his experience in the choir

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts talks about the first African American teacher at Germantown Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts talks about his academic struggles and social triumphs

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts talks about his best friend from Germantown Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts talks about his experience at Germantown Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts talks about his decision to go to St. Lawrence University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts talks about learning how to be a better student

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about his experience at St. Lawrence University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts reflects on his career ambitions prior to graduating

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts discusses why he never went to graduate school

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts talks about his career

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts talks about the effect he has on youth by being on TV

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Derrick Pitts interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts remembers his job offer at The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts talks about his first position at The Franklin Institute Science Museum observatory

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts describes the observatory at The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts explains the difference between observatories and planetariums

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts remembers his early career options

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts recalls his early years at The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts talks about his early roles at The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Derrick Pitts remembers the leading directors at the Fels Planetarium

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts remembers the Fels Planetarium's early directors

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about Benjamin Franklin and his interest in science

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts describes his role as show producer at the Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute Science Museum, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts talks about the influence of the television show 'Cosmos: A Personal Voyage' and its host Carl Sagan

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts remembers Carl Sagan

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts describes his role as show producer at the Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute Science Museum, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts remembers the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts recalls his press conference following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts reflects upon the impact of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about his interest in science and astronomy

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts describes the history of planetariums

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts explains the use of an observatory

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts talks about the black community's reception to his career success

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts talks about the impact of new technologies at The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts describes his typical workday and how it's impacted his personal life

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts remembers his promotions

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts talks about African Americans at The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts talks about African Americans in the field of astronomy

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts talks about the impact of IMAX technology

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts describes the organizational restructuring at The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts remembers developing the television program 'Neptune All Night'

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts describes the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI)

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts talks about the impact of the internet on astronomy

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts describes his work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts remembers considering leaving The Franklin Institute Science Museum in the late 1990s

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts recalls his work on a cruise ship to view a total solar eclipse, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts recalls his work on a cruise ship to view a total solar eclipse, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts remembers the hiring of Dennis Wint at The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts describes Dennis Wint

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts recalls his appearances on 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann'

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts talks about the renovations of the Joel N. Bloom Observatory at The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts talks about the developments at The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts talks about African American representation in the sciences

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts describes his work with the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts talks about his civic work in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts remembers Major General Charles Bolden, Jr.

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts recalls the star party at the White House

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts talks about the future of The Franklin Institute Science Museum

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts describes his work on national television programs as a science communicator

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Derrick Pitts describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Derrick Pitts reflects upon his life

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Derrick Pitts reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Derrick Pitts describes Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Derrick Pitts talks about his family

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Derrick Pitts reflects upon the state of STEM education

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Derrick Pitts talks about developing children's interest in science

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Derrick Pitts recalls the Chelyabinsk Event

Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Derrick Pitts describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Derrick Pitts describes how his neighborhood street helped him understand the sky
Derrick Pitts reflects on his career ambitions prior to graduating
Transcript
Okay, and I think I read also that you, when you discovered, I mean the layout of the neighborhood helped you to look at the sky.$$Oh, yes. So there were a couple of things I realized about the street that I lived on. After I started to read about astronomy and then understand about the motions of the sun, moon and planets and the sky and the orientation that we have on the planet and our relationship as, you know, living on the surface, looking at the sky and those sorts of things, I began to understand something about the orientation of the street I lived on. And the 1700 block of 17th, 1700 block Pacific Street, runs East-West. On the Eastern end of the street is Roche (ph.) Farm Market where we'd go to buy eggs, scrapple, bacon, chicken, stuff like that. Over hear on the Western end is 18th Street, and then the 1800 block and going up to 20th Street and beyond. But I recognize that this is an East-West street. Now, across from us is this "T" intersection that's just about two houses over to the East from us. So there's a street that's now running North-South that intersects with this East-West street. And what I notice is that the sun rises down here over Roche's Farm Market, passes high overhead and sets down here on this end of the street. And I notice that on Bovere (ph.) Street in the summer, when the sun is high in the sky in the middle of the day, the entire street is illuminated. But in the morning, the Western side of the street is illuminated and the Eastern side isn't. It's in shadow because the sun hasn't come across. And as the sun passes, the reverse happens. The Western side of the street is in the shade. The Eastern side is illuminated. So I'm beginning to recognize that at high noon in the summer, this street is fully illuminated, no shadows at all. So I can now read the motion of whatever it is, the earth or the sun. I'm reading one of these, and so I'm starting to think about mechanics, planetary mechanics. So I realize that in the, in the room that I have, in my room growing up, the room I sleep in, I can look out a window that looks to the West. But since we're a row house, there's another house right across from my window, not fifteen feet away. Looking at the wall of that house, of course, is the matching window on the other side. But above that window is a course of bricks, coming down from the roof, down to the top of the window. In the morning, what I can do is I can look out, and I can see this course of bricks. And depending on how many of the courses of bricks are illuminated, I can determine what time it is because of the rising sun. So now, this becomes a celestial clock for me. It's like a sundial or any other kind of, you know, solar clock because I can use the divisions to mark time. And that's what I do with it. I use those divisions to mark time. And I can put this together with the illumination of the street and all this other sort of stuff and have a much better grip or understanding on the motions of the earth on its axis and its motion through space during the course of the year because of the changing angle of sunlight through the course of the year. So now what happens is the world becomes a big solar clock for me because now I look at any building or any fixed object and say, hah, I can look at the shadow and figure out direction from that. And so that's what I begin to do. And so, now in my mind, I carry with me an image of any of these areas that I've lived or worked in that are fully illuminated and I can compare views of what they look like at different parts of the day with where I am to figure out direction.$$Okay.$$Just a fun little thing to play with.$$Now, did you watch the science TV shows like 'Watch Mr. Wizard' and--$$I did 'Watch Mr. Wizard'. I saw Mr. Wizard, not all the time, but I did see Mr. Wizard. Any other science programs that were on, I watched. So in, by 1966, 'Star Trek' is now available. And I begin to watch 'Star Trek' as much as I can. There are other science programs on, but they're pretty cheesy. You know, there's the 'Time Machine', and there's 'Lost in Space', and you know, 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' and these are all these, you know, sort of Irwin Allen, cheesy, you know, productions of all this stuff that happens. And I remember that there are two programs that I'm really enthralled with. One is 'Sea Hunt', starring Lloyd Bridges, Mike Nelson. He's a scuba diver. So, you know, I've also got this interest in scuba diving too because it's the undersea world. So I watch that all the time. And then once 'Star Trek' becomes available, I start to watch 'Star Trek' whenever I can. And 'Star Trek' really, now, begins to embody this fantasy about this future society that travels in space freely, has all the technological advantages that anybody would wanna have and is going around exploring the galaxy at warp speed. What could be better?$$Okay, we're gonna pause right here.$Okay, now, when you're on the verge of graduation, what are you thinking about the next step? Are you going to graduate school now?$$Well, on the verge of graduating I'm thinking, hum, I don't know what I wanna do in graduate school yet. So, let me take some time off and I'll, I'll get a job and do a little work and earn some money and figure out what I wanna do. So the catch here is that in the summer of 1976 and the summer of 1977, I'm back here in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]--well, 1976, I'm here for the whole summer. 1977, I'm here for part of the summer. So in 1976, I have a job, I've found a job. I apply to four places around Philadelphia. I can only remember two of them now. One of them is the Tasty Baking Company [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] that's in the neighborhood near where I live, and the other one is the Franklin Institute Science Museum [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. So I get a job. I'm hired at the Franklin Institute Science Museum. And I apply for a job as a, you know, I come in looking for a job as a science explainer. The head of security wants to make me a security guard because I'm a tall guy. And I explain to him, no, I'm not here for a security position. I'm here for a science explainer position. And he can't quite seem to get that through his head that I'm not here to do security. He automatically assumes that I'm gonna be a security guy. No, I'm not. So, I finally go to interview with the director of personnel for the museum at that time, a guy named Don Gates. And I say to Don, I'm here to be a science explainer. I'm not here to be a security guy. And he asked me about my education. And he says, yeah, you should be a science explainer. So I get a job in the summer of 1976 as a science explainer. And I worked the hours two to ten p.m. I come in at two o'clock in the afternoon. I work until ten o'clock at night. We're open that late because the expectation is that during the summer of 1976, there's gonna be a huge crowd of people coming to the Franklin Institute in the evening to celebrate the bicentennial. Hardly anybody comes. So I'm here with a great group of other college students who are also hired to be science explainers. And we all learn all kinds of skills from each other. This is where I learned how to juggle and all kinds of crazy things like that. But we also do incredible science demonstrations. The best I've ever seen were done during these times when I was here as a science explainer. And I also spend most of my time in the observatory working with two University of Pennsylvania graduate students in astronomy. Gopaul (ph.) Colaumbi (ph.) and Carol Ambrewster (ph.). They both graduated PhD from University of Pennsylvania. I do not know where Gopaul went to, but I do know that Carol Ambrewster ended up as a professor at Villanova [University, Villanova, Pennsylvania]. She's still there or has retired just recently. There was another PhD candidate called Tony Hull, who worked here. And I learned a tremendous amount from those three, just a tremendous amount from those three. And they really began to shape my career as a science explainer in astronomy. Tony Hull, I have heard from every now and then. He left the Franklin Institute, left Philadelphia, became an instrument designer for a group called 'Perkin-Elmer', an optical company. And I would hear from him every now and then; never heard from Gopaul Colaumbi ever again and occasionally heard from Carol Ambrewster now and then. So, I go back to school, finish out that year, come back to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] in the summer, work for half a summer here at Franklin Institute and then go do geology field, my geology field studies for the rest of that summer; go back and finish my senior year. One geology course and two physics courses and astronomy, some environmental studies stuff and some humanities stuff. And in about April, March--no, it was actually, it was actually March of that year, I get a letter from the Director of Education, the Assistant Director of Education, Charles Penneman (ph.) offering me a job at the Franklin Institute, a full-time position when I graduate. So I leave school. I know what I'm gonna do. I have a job, and it's gonna pay me $7,000.00 a year. Wow, fantastic. So I come to the Franklin Institute and start work here. And my plan is I'm gonna work for a year or two and then I'm gonna go to graduate school. I'm either gonna go in geology or astronomy. I don't know which one. But I get to Franklin Institute and I have the most remarkable experience. I have this fantastic job, explaining science to people, helping people understand how science works, how the process of science works and what science really is. And I've now learned a ton about this from my work as a geology student at St. Lawrence University [Canton, New York] and as a physics student at St. Lawrence University. I also learn a bunch of chemistry stuff because I'm also doing environmental studies on the side. So I learn all this stuff about the process of science from all these guys at St. Lawrence University. There's a whole bunch of other people I haven't mentioned, but they were all in there. And I bring that to bear here at the work that I start doing at Franklin. So I'm here for a year or two, and they offer me a higher position, more challenging with more stuff to do. One of those jobs is, we want you to concentrate on working in the observatory. I say, wow, great. I'd love to do that. So I figure I'll spend a couple of years doing this, and I figure I'm gonna spend five years, and then I'm gonna make a decision and get out of here. The end of the fifth year, I get an offer to do the next higher level thing. And my career here at Franklin has been exactly that. Every five years I've been offered something better and greater to do. And every, and every one of those five years, it has been a tremendous experience of new and better and greater stuff. And so I've never been able to leave because I've always had these new, better experiences.

Dr. James Williams

As a military officer and physician, Dr. James B. Williams has spent his entire career in public service. Co-founding the Williams Medical Clinic in Chicago with his two brothers, Dr. Jasper F. Williams and Dr. Charles L. Williams, he was also part of a handful of dedicated young men who enlisted and became America’s first black airmen, known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

In 1942, with a pre-medicine background, Williams was drafted into the military and given a position with the medical corps at Camp Pickett, Virginia, and was chosen to attend Medical Administrative Officers Candidate School. Wanting to become a pilot, however, he asked to transfer to the Army Air Corps. He was subsequently appointed an aviation cadet and sent to Boca Raton Club, Florida, for basic training. From there, he went to Yale University for technical training, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Corps. As a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Williams served as an Engineering Officer in the post war 99th Fighter Squadron. Also during his time in the service, Williams was among the 101 black officers who attempted to integrate a segregated officers’ club in what became known as the Freeman Field Mutiny.

Williams, a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico, was born on May 28, 1919 to Clara Belle Williams and Jasper B. Williams and was educated in a segregated grade and high school. He earned his B.S. degree in chemistry from New Mexico State University after finishing his military service, and with dreams of becoming a physician, he earned his M.D. degree from Creighton University School of Medicine. There, he met his future wife, Willeen Brown. Williams continued his medical education and was accepted into Creighton’s surgical residency program, earning his M.S. degree in surgery in 1956. With his various medical experiences, he and his brothers established the Williams Clinic on Chicago’s South Side. At its peak, there were more than twenty-eight doctors practicing at the clinic. Williams also worked at Chicago’s St. Bernard’s Hospital in 1957 as its first African American physician, becoming the hospital’s chief of surgery from 1971 to 1972. Williams combined his dedication to progress and medical prowess by meeting with President John F. Kennedy in 1963, as a member of a National Medical Association delegation to advance an amendment to the Hill-Burton Act that would prevent discrimination in hospitals built with federal assistance. Williams also served as physician to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when the civil rights leader lived in Chicago.

Williams and his wife lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The couple had two children: a daughter, Brenda Payton Jones, a former columnist for the Oakland Tribune, and a son, Dr. James B. Williams II, colorectal surgeon in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Williams passed away on November 23, 2016.

Accession Number

A2008.088

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/16/2008

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Middle Name

B

Schools

Booker T. Washington

Wiley College

University of New Mexico

Tuskegee University

New Mexico State University

Creighton University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

El Paso

HM ID

WIL47

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Brenda Payton

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/28/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

11/23/2016

Short Description

Surgeon and tuskegee airman Dr. James Williams (1919 - 2016 ) co-founded the Williams Clinic on Chicago's South Side. He also served as Dr. King's physician while Dr. King lived in Chicago. He was also a member of the Tuskegee Airmen as an Engineering Officer after World War II.

Employment

619th Bombardment Squadron

St. Bernard's Hospital

Williams Clinic

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:770,9:3465,78:4697,107:5390,118:8510,127:9336,136:21148,303:24820,332:25590,350:28180,402:40363,531:61068,739:62124,753:66500,846:68612,875:98250,1212$0,0:4704,73:5376,83:6048,94:27900,190:28300,196:28860,204:29180,209:33208,257:33856,266:35638,285:36043,291:45087,455:45719,466:48326,509:48958,518:49511,526:59952,631:60576,643:61122,653:61434,658:63618,702:69092,739:70555,762:72403,794:73096,806:74174,825:107438,1105:108030,1115:108992,1131:111212,1206:115758,1251:127762,1353:129556,1390:132832,1484:133924,1511:135250,1533:141234,1572:157722,1712:158182,1718:174220,1859:175721,1896:179987,1963:181014,1978:189360,2119
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. James Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams describes his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams describes his father's civil rights activities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams recalls Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. James Williams describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams remembers moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams recalls his family's dog

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams remembers the doctor who treated his brother's clubfoot

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams recalls the Booker T. Washington School in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams describes his parents' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams describes his family life

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams describes the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams describes school segregation in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams recalls meeting George Washington Carver as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams describes his high school education at the Booker T. Washington School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams remembers Wiley College in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams recalls the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams describes training in aircraft maintenance

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams recalls his promotion to engineering officer in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams remembers serving in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams remembers segregation at Freeman Army Airfield

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams recalls his arrest during the Freeman Field Mutiny

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams recalls his imprisonment during the Freeman Field Mutiny

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams describes his legal defense during the Freeman Field Mutiny

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams recalls serving at the Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams remembers Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams describes his and his brothers' early medical careers

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams recalls applying to medical schools

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams recalls his older brother's injury on the family homestead

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams remembers Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams describes his early medical career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams recalls becoming Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s physician

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams recalls treating an infant who suffered a gunshot wound in utero

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams remembers serving as a physician for prominent civil rights leaders

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams remembers Elijah Muhammad

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. James Williams remembers his patients in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. James Williams describes his family members' medical careers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams describes the healthcare system in Cuba

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams talks about health insurance in the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams describes his membership in professional organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams reflects upon the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams reflects upon the history of the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. James Williams describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

6$9

DATitle
Dr. James Williams recalls treating an infant who suffered a gunshot wound in utero
Dr. James Williams describes how he would like to be remembered
Transcript
We had a baby that my brother [Jasper F. Williams] and I operated, it was the first baby in the world--the mother was pregnant with the baby and she was shot. And the bullet went in the, the child's flank, went through the liver, the colon, collapsed the right lung and ended up behind the bone in the right upper arm. That's the first baby in the world to survive a gunshot wound to the abdomen and chest in utero, was the one that we did.$$Um-hm.$$I don't think anybody's changed that since then. And my brother delivered the baby, and he handed him to me, and when I got 'em he wasn't breathing, he had no heartbeat, and I started resuscitating him, and his heart started beating and the kid, we invited him to the conference at the University of Illinois, you know, my wife [Willeen Brown Williams] picked up the mother and the child, the little guy was interested in everything that was going on that evening. And the mother said he's the smartest kid she had, she had five other kids, you know, but he survived. And now, he was, that's when we celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary, and now we just finished our fifty-seventh, so he's, must be about twenty, he's probably twenty-seven years old now.$Our last question is similar to legacy but a little different. Sir, how would you like to be remembered?$$I hadn't thought of that (laughter). But, in my field of surgery I thought I was, could compete with anybody, of course I had good training, I had a master's degree in surgery, which very few surgeons have. And after that I went up to the Royal Vic [Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Canada], in McGill [McGill University, Montreal, Canada] and they had a Jewish surgeon up there who was taking the internal mammary artery and re-vascularizing the heart, that was the fir- I had an opportunity to be up there when he was doing that, which was very unusual. And now they can do bypasses, but what he was doing, he got collateral circulation and he got some mock-ups, you know to show that he was getting collateral circulation in the animals that he did 'em on. I hope we can get somebody in medical school down in Cuba 'cause I think that's a great opportunity that's being overlooked, and still don't know why that some of the black males who were in the program dropped out, I haven't had a chance to talk to the guy from Ohio State [The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio], you know, who takes the kids down there.$$But you wanna be remembered as a good surgeon?$$Oh yeah.$$And?$$And a good parent, yeah. I think that's important. I think that's important for all black parents. I mean, I agree with what Obama's [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama] telling the folks that they have to be responsible for their kids. Of course it's interesting, our kids, we had a motor home and we'd go to skiing in the wintertime, and in the summertime we'd go to Canada, fishing, and both of them liked those things even though they did 'em as kids and they--my son [James Williams II] has a motor home, he still likes to go fishing and skiing. And plus, the fact, I told you he was an excellent surgeon and has made well. Just like I told you, he was considered the best colorectal surgeon in the State of New Mexico.$$Okay, so you'd like to be remembered as a good surgeon and a good parent.$$That's right.

Alexander Jefferson

Alexander Jefferson was born on November 15, 1921, in Detroit Michigan, the first child of Alexander Jefferson and Jane White Jefferson. His great-grandfather William Jefferson White was born to a slave woman and a white slave owner in the 1830s. Jefferson’s grandfather became a minister, and in 1867, opened an all black school for boys in Augusta, Georgia, which trained its students exclusively for the ministry and pedagogy. Jefferson’s grandfather moved the school to Atlanta, Georgia, where the name changed from Atlanta Baptist Seminary to Atlanta Baptist College. Today, it is known as Morehouse College.

Jefferson grew up in a Polish neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Craft Elementary School, Condon Intermediate School, and Chadsey High School. While in school, Jefferson spent most of his time in the biology and chemistry laboratories, at home reading from his mother’s extensive library, and building model airplanes. He graduated from Chadsey High School in 1938 as the only African-American to take college preparatory classes. Jefferson received his B.A. degree in 1942 from Clark College in Atlanta. On September 23, 1942, he was sworn into the United States Army Reserves. He volunteered for flight training but was not accepted immediately. In the mean time, Jefferson went to work as an analytical chemist for three months before entering graduate school at Howard University.

In April 1943, Jefferson received orders to report to Tuskegee Army Air Field to begin flight training. He graduated as a second lieutenant in January 1944 and was classified as a replacement pilot for the 332nd Fighter Group. Jefferson continued his training at Selfridge Army Air Field Base, where he was under the instruction of First Lieutenants Charles Dryden and Stan Watson, who had flown in combat in 1943 in North Africa with the all-Black 99th Fighter Squadron. In June 1944, Jefferson’s orders sent him to Ramitelli Air Base in Italy, where Colonel Benjamin O. Davis was the 332nd Fighter Group Commander. Jefferson flew eighteen missions before being shot down and captured on August 12, 1944. He spent eight months in the POW camp at Stalag Luft III., and was eventually freed on April 29, 1945.

Jefferson returned to civilian life in 1947, received his teaching certificate from Wayne State University, and began teaching elementary school science for the Detroit Public School System. Jefferson received his M.A. degree in education in 1954. He was appointed assistant principal in 1969 and served the Michigan School System for over 30 years. In 1995, Jefferson was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was awarded the Purple Heart, and in 2007, he received the Congressional Gold Medal. Jefferson is one of the founders of the Detroit and National chapters of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Accession Number

A2007.192

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/29/2007 |and| 6/11/2010

Last Name

Jefferson

Maker Category
Schools

Chadsey High School

Craft Elementary School

Condon Intermediate School

Clark Atlanta University

Wayne State University

Howard University

First Name

Alexander

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

JEF04

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Everybody In The World Is Crazy Except You And Me, And Sometimes I'm Not So Sure About You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

11/15/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chops (Fried)

Short Description

Education administrator Alexander Jefferson (1921 - ) trained for World War II at Tuskegee Army Air Field and flew eighteen missions during the war. He was shot down and captured on August 12, 1944 and spent eight months in the POW camp at Stalag Luft III. In 1947 Jefferson returned to civilian life and worked as an education and administrator in the Detroit Public Schools for over thirty years.

Employment

U.S. Army Air Corps

Duffield Elementary School

Pattengill Elementary School

Halley Elementary School

Ferry Elementary School

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:347,12:12418,248:12783,254:13367,263:37750,644:39128,660:41036,686:59368,934:60096,946:61136,960:61968,969:62384,975:64672,1018:65504,1034:70920,1077:71228,1082:73692,1146:74077,1152:74539,1159:74847,1164:75232,1170:75617,1176:79698,1256:81469,1302:88344,1395:90544,1441:94296,1495:94890,1505:106930,1636:107390,1642:107758,1647:111990,1733:113830,1767:115026,1789:116430,1801:121730,1902:125330,1958:128050,2018:158138,2386:161320,2454:161836,2462:164700,2490:167670,2537:171430,2579:172746,2606:183556,2817:186910,2857:199483,3064:199978,3070:202936,3104:203640,3118:216530,3317:223880,3412:230095,3513:233315,3563:243738,3665:249114,3732:251680,3772:255001,3820:255973,3840:263558,3978:273842,4074:276806,4131:280238,4205:291465,4393:308898,4636:311952,4666:313650,4676:314362,4684:317833,4736:318723,4767:322801,4783:325144,4820:325570,4827:342355,5008:346068,5068:346779,5080:359290,5216$0,0:7634,151:13145,208:14897,307:17160,382:18109,404:18401,412:35105,632:42490,705:42780,711:47162,761:52260,827:52800,833:53556,841:56015,859:57183,882:59081,975:66320,1037:66696,1042:67166,1048:67824,1056:71599,1123:72270,1136:75180,1143:75530,1149:76020,1157:85134,1262:85422,1267:85710,1272:87870,1323:89094,1347:98336,1513:99106,1533:99491,1539:101801,1591:102571,1607:106030,1624:106550,1630:109977,1650:116538,1785:122266,1859:122550,1864:142470,2085:142820,2091:143450,2104:143730,2109:153066,2218:153402,2233:155838,2305:159470,2352:167350,2479:172150,2571:172470,2576:174150,2595:174710,2605:188746,2709:189530,2718:207900,2966:208308,2971:208716,2976:210730,2991:240396,3405:243876,3454:277078,3922:281730,3953
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alexander Jefferson's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson lists his favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson lists his favorites, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson describes his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alexander Jefferson talks about his parents' influence on his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alexander Jefferson describes his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his African American neighbors in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his grade school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson talks about building model airplanes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson remembers his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson describes the Scott Memorial United Methodist Church in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his decision to attend Clark University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson describes his experiences at Clark University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson describes his training as a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls lessons from his flight training in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his initial assignments in the U.S. Army Air Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson recalls leaving the air base to visit Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the racial confrontations at the Selfridge Army Air Base, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the racial confrontations at the Selfridge Army Air Base, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson describes his duties as an escort pilot

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his transfer to the Walterboro Army Airfield in South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson talks about his overseas deployment during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson describes the flight maneuvers of the 332nd Fighter Group

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson remembers Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon the racial discrimination in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alexander Jefferson remembers his role in Operation Dragoon

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the downing of his plane over France

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls being taken prisoner by German troops, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls being taken prisoner by German troops, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon becoming a prisoner of war

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson describes his interrogation as a prisoner of war

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson recalls being transported to Stalag Luft III in Germany

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his experiences at the Stalag Luft III war prison

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls escape attempts from Stalag Luft III

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson talks about daily life at the Stalag Luft III POW camp

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls how black officers were treated in German POW camps

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson recalls liberation day at Stalag VII-A

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson talks about how the Germans ran POW camps in World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his treatment by white prisoners of war

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the liberation of the German concentration camps

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his return to the United States after World War II

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his marriage and move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson remembers adjusting to civilian life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson describes his early teaching career

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his decision to become a school administrator

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson describes his civil rights activities

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson talks about serving as an assistant principal

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon his career as an educator

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls founding the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson remembers Detroit Mayor Coleman Young

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson remembers General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr.

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson describes the purpose of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson remembers receiving the Congressional Gold Medal

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson narrates his photographs

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Slating of Alexander Jefferson's interview, session 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson talks about his decision to join the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his trainee class at the Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson describes the training program at the Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his assignment to the Selfridge Army Air Base in Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson remembers segregation at the Selfridge Army Air Base

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the Walterboro Army Airfield in South Carolina

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his flight missions in Europe during World War II

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his fighter plane being shot down over France

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his encounters with German officers

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson remembers Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson talks about traveling in Europe after World War II

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson describes the Tuskegee Airmen's reputation during World War II

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the discrimination against black pilots during World War II

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his pastimes at the Stalag Luft III war prison

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Alexander Jefferson recalls the downing of his plane over France
Alexander Jefferson recalls the liberation of the German concentration camps
Transcript
All right.$$Back to (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) You--$$--mission number nineteen.$$Okay.$$332nd [332nd Fighter Group; 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group] had the job of knocking out radar stations on the coast of southern France. And these radar stations would detect ships coming across the horizon for the invasion. The 301st [301st Fighter Squadron] had the target of Toulon [France], radar station sitting right on the cliff outside the City of Toulon. The 99th [99th Fighter Squadron] had a different station. The 99th had Montpellier [France]. The 302nd [302nd Fighter Squadron] had another one, all along the coast. And I'm number sixteen, four flights of four. We took off in the morning, flight from Ramitelli [Ramitelli Air Base, Italy], across Italy, across the gulf [Gulf of Taranto], the Mediterranean [Mediterranean Sea], past Corsica, out at Capri [Italy], and turn into the coast of southern France. We start in at about fifteen thousand feet, four flights of four, one right behind the other. And the first guys turn in, fifteen thousand feet, push everything to the wall, try to get some speed, had to go in and start firing with their fifty calibers, you went and pressed the trigger on the stick, and the fifty calibers would, they told us, oh, by the way we didn't understand what in the heck radar was, we didn't know what radar was. They simply said some buildings, some great big long towers, you go over and you shoot 'em up, that's it. This is before ballpoint pens, before nylons, before TV, before 45s by the way, 45 records [45 rpm record] hadn't even come out, don't talk about LPs. The first four guys go in and when they turn in, the whole side of the cliff becomes red with little black, red specks, anti-aircraft, twenty men over here, twenty, and twenty men over here, and 37mm. And the radio is alive. Second guy has followed, the fourth, first four guys get through, the second guys get through, the third get through and last of all, when we turn in, by that time, we had gone out so far to port, when we turn in we have to push everything to the wall to catch up. Run everything, we're doing about 420, fourth, we're maximum, and everything is red lined. Oil pressure, heat, and prop, instead of running at 1700 or 1800 rpm, I'm churning 2600 and 2700 rpm trying to catch up. The needle is bumping, I'm doing 420, 420, red line, what I'm not supposed to do. And by the time we get, I'm in, back in position, I saw number two, which is Danny [Robert T. Daniels], he got hit approximately a thousand yards off, maybe five hundred yards, little black speck, and out the corner of my eye I see him go off to the side. And I'm concentrating on aiming at a target, great big long towers, see these towers, and as I come in I start pressing trigger, and as I fire, going right across the top of the target, oh, hell, treetop height, something said boom, look up and there's a hole right there in the top of the canopy. I said, "What the hell?" And fire came up out of the floor. And naturally, as I tell young people, out of the nine months of training, you have not one minute on how to get out of an airplane. Instinctively today, I say, you pull back on the stick to get some altitude because I know I'm too low to bail out. Plus if I'm going too damn fast, you know, 420, 420, 420. Pull back on the stick to get some altitude, and as I pull up, reach up and on the instrument panel pull the little red knob and the canopy went off. Now, I don't know how high I got although I know I had gloves, your face's covered with oxygen mask, helmet, goggles and but it got hot, gloves were scorched, and I pulled up and you have straps here, straps here with a big buckle, when you hit it, they come loose, well, when I turned the stick loose, the nose popped, when you go up like this, you turn the stick loose, the nose wants to go back, so when the nose popped, I hit the buckle and I came out, and when the nose, I came out, centrifugal force. I remember the tail going by and I pulled the D ring, big D ring, because it connected with a cable. The parachute, we're sitting on the parachute, the parachute came out with me. And I remember looking at it, somebody stole the silk, god damn it. There was a rumor that somebody was taking the silk out of the parachutes, selling it to the Italians and stuffing the parachute with paper, by the way they finally caught him, it was happening. He did, I forgot who he was, some enlisted man. But I remember looking at it and (claps hands) boom, the parachute popped, when it popped, I'm in the trees. Number one and number three they get through, and I found out about a year ago, I forgot who my element leader was. Now, Ballard [Alton F. Ballard] was leading, Robert Daniels was number two, I forgot who number three was, that's my leader. Virgil Richardson wrote a book and he died about a year ago, in his book he says, he remembers Jefferson [HistoryMaker Alexander Jefferson], he looked back and Jefferson was gone, that's me, Virgil Richardson. When he got back to the squadron, he reported me as dead, he saw Robert Daniels go down in the water because Daniels was, he was scared to bail out.$So where did you leave to go after that point (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Sat around, we sat around Stalag VII-A [Moosburg, Germany]. That's, the next day when I took a trip down I saw Dachau. Somebody said, "Hey, Jeff [HistoryMaker Alexander Jefferson], there's a place down there with a lot of dead people." "What in the hell are you talking about?" "Man, they got people down there stacked up like up cordwood." So I'm curious. We got a jeep, we liberated the jeep, didn't steal it, we liberated it, we requisitioned it, (laughter) midnight requisition. And we went down to see this place where they had a lot of dead people. You could smell it a mile before you got to it. The ovens were still warm. The odor of burned human flesh, I'll never forget it. I remember pictures where they opened the oven, had a table covered with hair because before they burned the bodies, they had somebody cutting off the hair, great big long table, fifteen or twenty feet long, piled with hair, they used the hair for seat cushions. Long table covered with rings, before they burned the bodies they took the rings off, diamonds and gold. Table covered with dentures, somebody with a pair of pliers pulling the gold and amalgam out of these dead bodies. So many dead bodies they couldn't bury them all, so they took a bulldozer and dug a big trench, then you took and shoved all these dead bodies, arms and legs all over in the trench, covered it up with lime. Man's inhuman, I saw it, and somebody's gonna tell me that Dachau never happened, then I have to use some expletive deleted words to really express myself. Man's inhumanity to man. When I relate this to high school kids, "Oh, Mr. Jefferson, the Jews, the Germans killed so many Jews." I say, "Hey, wait a minute." Back up baby. What's going on today? You sit here fat, dumb, and happy, what happened in Bosnia? The kids look at me real funny. I don't know. Why is Milosevic [Slobodan Milosevic] prosecuted? What did the Bosnians do to the Serbs? What happened in Darfur [Sudan]? What happened in Burundi? Black kids have no idea what happened in Burundi, Tutsis and Hutus. Man's inhumanity to man.$$What were your thoughts? How did you feel when you, when you saw this (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Horrendous. I had no idea, you know, we were fat, dumb, and happy. Nineteen forty-four [1944], nobody knew about Dachau. People in the United States didn't know about Dachau. Now, some of the officials did, but plain, ordinary common Joe, we didn't know about Dachau, how the Germans were being, killing the Jews, the Hungarians, the Serbs. Today, well, when I was there, it was mind boggling, literally mind boggling, I couldn't believe it.$$Who were burying the bodies?$$The German, whoever the Germans were, burning the bodies.$$Okay. Now, you said there were bodies stacked up?$$Yeah.$$Now, this was after--$$They had been gassed and the bodies thrown out there, literally just like cordwood. And before they could take 'em and put 'em in the furnace and, and burn the bodies and get rid of 'em, the Germans had left, quite naturally they had left. They weren't there when we got there. But it's all part of, part of the story. And somebody was trying to tell me Dachau never happened, Belsen [Bergen-Belsen], Auschwitz, Buchenwald, da, horrendous, horrendous, horrendous. We stayed at Stalag VII for about four or five days, waiting for transportation to take us by air, we, four or five miles away to an air field, being flown to, up on the Baltic [Baltic Sea] to Le Havre [France] for transportation back by boat. And we went C-47s [Douglas C-47 Skytrain], I was in the group, C-47s. We landed at Verdun [France], and I got off, went to Paris [France], stayed in Paris for two weeks, I was AWOL [Absent Without Official Leave], until I went up to Le Havre and turned myself in. When I got to Le Havre, he said, have a seat. Nobody knew I was there.

Hiram Little

Post office manager and Tuskegee Airman Hiram Emory Little, Sr. was born on March 31, 1919 in Eatonton, Georgia. When Little was young, his family moved from the rural town of Eatonton to Atlanta, Georgia where he attended David T. Howard Elementary and Junior High Schools. While in junior high school, Little was a charter member of Troop 94, the very first Boy Scout Troop in an African American school in Atlanta.

In 1941, Little enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was trained at the Chanute Air Force Base located in Rantoul, Illinois, as an aircraft armorer in the Tuskegee Aviation Program. Little also served as a part-time instructor at the Cadet Ground School of the Tuskegee Army Air Base in Tuskegee, Alabama. Little served at the Tuskegee Army Air Base until December of 1943, when he applied for flight training. In 1944, Little graduated from bombardier school and in January of the following year, he was assigned to the 477th Bombardment Group as a crew member on a B-25 bomber. By late 1944, the 477th Bombardment Group was assigned to conduct combat training missions, but winter conditions reduced their flying time. They faced constant instances of racism from white officers.

In March of 1945, the 477th Bombardment Group was moved to Freeman Field, Indiana. Although the 477th trained with both the B-25 and the P-47 aircraft, the war ended before the 477th could be deployed overseas into combat. At Freeman Field, tension between white and black personnel increased due to strict segregationist policies. When Little, along with other black aviators, entered the whites’ only officers’ club, they were arrested. They had defied an illegal order issued by the commander of the 447th Bombardment Group. The commander had classified all black officers as trainees and decreed they were not allowed to use the staff officers’ club. Instead, the trainees, who had already graduated from flight school, were required to use a second former NCO club, housed in a run-down building. This event became known as the Freeman Field Mutiny.

On December 1, 1945, Little was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Air Corps and enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia to complete his academic studies. While attending Morehouse College, Little was hired to work for the Atlanta U. S. Postal Service. In 1955, he became one of the first African American supervisors in the Atlanta area. Little worked for the U.S. post office until he retired in 1978 as a mid-level manager. In 2005, at the age of eighty, he received a certificate in carpentry from the Atlanta Technical College. Little, along with the remaining Tuskegee Airmen, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush in 2007.

Hiram Little was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 10, 2007.

Little passed away on February 18, 2017.

Accession Number

A2007.252

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/10/2007

Last Name

Little

Maker Category
Schools

David T. Howard High School

Morehouse College

Atlanta Technical College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Hiram

Birth City, State, Country

Eatonton

HM ID

LIT03

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Stay

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/31/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hotcakes (McDonald's), Sausage

Death Date

2/18/2017

Short Description

Post office manager and tuskegee airman Hiram Little (1919 - 2017 ) was a member of the 477th Bombardment Group. In April of 1945, Little was one of the African American enlistees who attempted to desegregate the officers’ club at Freeman Field. He along with the other surviving Tuskegee Airmen received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007.

Employment

United States Army Air Corps

Cadet Ground School of the Tuskegee Army Air Base

United States Army Air Force

Atlanta Postal Service

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:735,13:9450,173:18075,275:19500,362:42588,672:52865,782:54640,821:89480,1233:98302,1471:114408,1680:141589,2026:142147,2033:143440,2038:146359,2071:147054,2077:160414,2142:163406,2190:163846,2196:164286,2202:164814,2209:171000,2274:171500,2280:175150,2300:175434,2305:185180,2512$0,0:5185,122:5610,128:6290,138:11560,239:12155,246:27365,501:27705,506:33315,648:49258,798:54156,962:62925,1126:66638,1215:72689,1220:81144,1369:83814,1438:96180,1614:106980,1851:128900,2092
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hiram Little's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hiram Little lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hiram Little describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hiram Little describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hiram Little describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hiram Little describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hiram Little describes his birth

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Hiram Little describes the Spivey Plantation in Putnam County, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Hiram Little talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Hiram Little describes his family

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Hiram Little remembers the blacksmith on the Spivey Plantation

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Hiram Little describes his father's work on the Spivey Plantation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hiram Little describes his home in Putnam County, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hiram Little describes the workers on Spivey Plantation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hiram Little recalls picking cotton on the Spivey Plantation

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hiram Little describes his older brother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hiram Little remembers his schooling at Texas A.M.E. Church in Eatonton, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hiram Little remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hiram Little remembers joining the Boy Scouts of America

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hiram Little describes his neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Hiram Little recalls David T. Howard Colored Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Hiram Little remembers listening to the radio

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Hiram Little describes his parents' professions

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Hiram Little describes his pastimes as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Hiram Little recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hiram Little recalls his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hiram Little remembers Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hiram Little recalls joining the 99th Pursuit Squadron

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hiram Little describes his duties at Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hiram Little recalls becoming a bombardier

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hiram Little describes Sharpe Field in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hiram Little remembers the Freeman Field Mutiny, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hiram Little remembers the Freeman Field Mutiny, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Hiram Little describes his duties as a flight officer

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Hiram Little remembers the pilots he admired

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Hiram Little talks about the founding of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Hiram Little remembers receiving the Congressional Gold Medal

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hiram Little describes the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. organization

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hiram Little remembers returning to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hiram Little talks about his wife and children

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hiram Little describes his career at the post office

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hiram Little remembers the changes in the post office

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hiram Little describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hiram Little describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Hiram Little describes his work with the Cub Scouts

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Hiram Little talks about the speaker's bureau of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Hiram Little recalls earning a degree in carpentry

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Hiram Little reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Hiram Little reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Hiram Little shares his advice for future generations

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Hiram Little narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

11$5

DATitle
Hiram Little remembers the blacksmith on the Spivey Plantation
Hiram Little recalls becoming a bombardier
Transcript
Tell me more about the Spivey Plantation [Putnam County, Georgia] where you grew up.$$What I can remember about the Spivey Plantation was that it looked like everything you needed there, Mr. Spivey [John Greene Spivey] had it on his plantation. One of the things I remember most was he had a blacksmith shop, and the blacksmith shop was right across the street from his cotton gin, he had a cotton gin, where you gin the cotton, we picked the cotton, and you take it to this gin and they gin it and bale it up and send it to town and sell it. But, right, right across the street from his cotton gin was a blacksmith shop, and the blacksmith was named Anderson, his last name was Anderson, A-N-D-E-R-S-O-N, and his first name was Alex, A-L-E-X, Alex Anderson and I understand from talking to some of the people he was a native of Sweden. How he got to America I don't know, but he was--well mules and horses had to be shoed. He would shoe, shoe them horses and mules, and I remember watching him and how he would take these, he would start, I think he always started on the left side of the horse or the shoe, the mule he was shoeing, and he would cut trim and I would ask him, "Does that hurt?" I can remember asking him, "Does that hurt the horses?" He said, "Nah just like your fingernails. Say you cut your finger it don't hurt you. It's the same way with horse." And he would know how, how far to cut 'cause he would have to nail the shoes, all shoes on the, that foot and he, I said, "At least don't hurt these horses you never been kicked?" He said, "No I never been kicked." He said, "I know where to start and I know why, how far to go and I nail these shoes on this horse and the, the mules. They'll stay there until the, you know they wear off and they come back and I shoe them again." I can remember his wife was named Jenny, Jenny, Ms. Jenny [ph.], and the thing I remember about Ms. Jenny she is--and, I, I, I've thought about this a lot. Ms. Jenny didn't have any white friends. All of Ms. Jenny's people were blacks, and I found out that the white folks in that community since Ms. Jenny's husband did ma- manual labor and horse, shoeing houses it was a little below their social standing. So, all the, the visit that Ms. Jenny had were black, black women and she would talk about. She had a son, a couple of sons that lived somewhere in Florida. I think it was St. Petersburg, Florida. She used to talk about them a lot, but I, I can't remember what she used to stay about them.$And then I decided I wanna go into the flying end of it 'cause you got 50 percent more pay when you--on flight duty. So, after doing all this, all these times I said I wanna try out for flight training. But, to apply for flight training it's a whole new ball game. So, they sent me down to Keesler Field, Mississippi [Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi], which was a classification center. I must have spent eight or nine weeks down there, and they had some of everything. Had you doing some psychological things, psychomotor things, depth perception, all the color blindness. You could get out of there if you were color blind. You have to be able to recognize all of them lights by glancing at them, different colors what they mean. You can't stay with them all the time, but you have to, if you're color blind you had to wash out of that. But, anyway after they get through doing all these testing with you they, they had three categories of people. The guys who had in the top third of the class were designated as pilot trainees. These were potential pilots. That mean we set these guys aside. They, they in the top third of the class. The second tier of classes were guys who, these are guys they were gonna send to Hondo, Texas, and train them as celestial navigators where you can be out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and nothing but water, but you could shoot the moon or the stars or the sun and tell exactly where you are, celestial navigation; those are the guys. Well, the third bunch well I fell, these guys are not gonna be much of anything. We make, (laughter) we make them bombardiers slash navigators (laughter). That's the way I feel. That's all right I took it. So, yeah--$$So you were a bombardier.$$Yeah, sent me. I let there and went to Midland, Texas [Midland Army Airfield, Texas], and stayed down there in Midland, Texas for I don't know how many months, but anyway I left there with a ranking as a flight officer which is similar, similar to a warrant officer junior grade, same pay. Flight officer is a bombardier slash navigator.

Dabney N. Montgomery

Tuskegee Airman Dabney N. Montgomery was born on April 18, 1923 in Selma, Alabama to Lula Anderson Montgomery and Dred Montgomery. He attended the Alabama Lutheran Academy and then Selma University High School, graduating in 1941. After high school, he joined the U.S. Army and was sent for basic training at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi. After that, Montgomery was sent to Quartermaster Training School at Camp Lee, Virginia (outside of Petersburg), where he received special training in supplies.

In 1943, Montgomery of the 1051st Quartermaster Company of the 96th Air Service Group, attached to the 332nd Air Fighter Group was deployed to Italy. He served there until the end of World War II. In 1946, after returning to the United States, Montgomery entered Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. Montgomery became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and graduated with his B.A. degree in religious education in 1949. Between 1949 and 1950, he returned to Livingstone College and acquired thirty hours in economic study. He briefly studied economics at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University before going to Boston, Massachusetts, where he enrolled at the Boston Conservatory of Music, studying dance. Montgomery later studied dance with the New York City Metropolitan Opera Dance School before an injury forced him to end his career. In 1955, he began working for the city, first as a Social Service Investigator in the Department of Social Services and later for the Housing Authority. He retired in 1988.

Montgomery passed away on September 3, 2016.

Montgomery was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He participated in marches in New York City and in the 1963 March on Washington. In 1965, Montgomery was one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s bodyguards on the historic Selma to Montgomery march.

Since his retirement, Montgomery has worked as a Social Outreach Worker for Project FIND, a non-profit organization assisting older adults on Manhattan’s West Side. Montgomery is also very active with Harlem’s Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which is the oldest organized black church in New York, founded in 1796. Montgomery is also active on the Parks Committee and Harlem’s Interfaith Committee of the Tenth Community Board of Manhattan.

Montgomery has been married to his wife, Amelia Montgomery, for thirty-seven years (as of 2007). They have no children.

Montgomery was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 7, 2007.

Montgomery passed away on September 3, 2016.

Accession Number

A2007.226

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/7/2007 |and| 2/5/2008

Last Name

Montgomery

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

M.

Schools

Selma University

Concordia College Alabama

Livingstone College

Metropolitan Opera Ballet School

Boston Conservatory at Berklee

University of Michigan

Wayne State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Dabney

Birth City, State, Country

Selma

HM ID

MON06

Favorite Season

None

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles, California

Favorite Quote

If You Have A Problem, Look At Your Feet. You May Be Standing On The Solution.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/18/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potatoes, Greens (Collard)

Death Date

9/3/2016

Short Description

City government employee, tuskegee airman, and civil rights activist Dabney N. Montgomery (1923 - 2016 ) was a social services investigator in the Department of Social Services and for the New York Housing Authority.

Employment

U.S. Army Air Corps

New York City Housing Authority

Amsterdam Welfare Center

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:798,9:89842,1033:97616,1121:98240,1130:98942,1140:99332,1146:104293,1200:106810,1216:107310,1223:128620,1451:128960,1456:131160,1478:148861,1648:151322,1682:154810,1701$0,0:1391,18:2247,26:6422,57:6818,62:21226,239:25178,301:54784,576:55276,589:55768,596:62595,661:88030,933:92478,970:95610,1030:96045,1036:125686,1353:129557,1422:130031,1429:142500,1543:143300,1586:145140,1616:145460,1621:171264,1955:174232,2003:185955,2079:195222,2190:203654,2276:210124,2336:224734,2493:233492,2593:265754,2907:269665,2966:269965,2971:270265,2976:270565,2981:279859,3095:280294,3101:289634,3197:293089,3231:336260,3626:341920,3683
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dabney N. Montgomery's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his father's marriages

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his half-brother, Joe Montgomery

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his father's standing in his career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his brother, Mitchel Montgomery

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his sister, Fairrow Belle Montgomery Prewitt, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his sister, Fairrow Belle Montgomery Prewitt, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his two youngest siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the Clinton Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his mother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the holidays

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his neighborhood in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the black community in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his home life

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the Alabama Lutheran Academy in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his leadership at the Clinton Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls attending high school at Selma University in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the Clinton Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his decision to study religion

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes race relations in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls being drafted during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his assignments in the U.S. Army Air Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers his colleagues in the U.S. Army Air Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his experiences on segregated trains

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the formation of the 332nd Fighter Group

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers serving as a chaplain to the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his friends among the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the Claude B. Govan Tri-State Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the treatment of black soldiers in Europe

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the missions of the 332nd Fighter Group

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about the integration of the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his Congressional Gold Medal

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the end of World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his return from the U.S. military to Selma, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers studying economics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers studying ballet at the Boston Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his brief engagement in Spain

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his return from New York City to Selma, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his first civil rights protest in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the impact of the Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery narrates his photographs

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Dabney N. Montgomery's interview, session 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the civil rights march on Washington, D.C. in 1957

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers Paul Robeson

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the influence of Dean John H. Satterwhite

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers his father's friendship with A. Philip Randolph

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his decision to study economics

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his experiences as an economics student

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his ballet training at the Boston Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his interest in black history

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers traveling in North Africa

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls reconnecting with his Spanish fiancee, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls reconnecting with his Spanish fiancee, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers receiving a vision of angels

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his travels in Egypt

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his acquaintance wiht Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his start as an activist in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers staying at a hotel in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls speaking at the Clinton Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls drinking from a white water fountain in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers his decision to join the second Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his arrival at the second Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the second Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his sister's role in the Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about the decision to remain nonviolent during the second Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery recalls his experiences during the second Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery reflects upon his life

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers the Harlem community in New York City

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the changes in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Dabney N. Montgomery reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers joining the Tuskegee Airman, Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 10 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his membership at the Mother Zion A.M.E. Church in New York City

Tape: 11 Story: 11 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers meeting his wife, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Dabney N. Montgomery remembers meeting his wife, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. organization

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Dabney N. Montgomery talks about his great-grandfather's U.S. military service

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Dabney N. Montgomery describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Dabney N. Montgomery shares his memorabilia from the Selma to Montgomery March

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$10

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Dabney N. Montgomery remembers serving as a chaplain to the Tuskegee Airmen
Dabney N. Montgomery recalls drinking from a white water fountain in Selma, Alabama
Transcript
You see, what we did [as part of the 1051st Quartermaster Service Group Aviation Company], were to supply food and clothing, and that was it. We, we didn't have--for example, a chaplain of 332nd [332nd Fighter Group; 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group], because we were--we dealt with food and clothing. We needed a warehouse made out of brick. And they put us in brick warehouses, and we worked out of these warehouses. We tried tents, but tents would not do it. So we worked out of a brick environment. And because we worked out of a brick environment, we were isolated from the airfield. They had to come to us, and the chaplain seldom came to us. So I started, you know what? A Sunday school class, and every Sunday morning I would have service through my Sunday school class. I kept up with it a little bit too. And the lieutenant came to me one day and said, "You know, we haven't had communion in a long time. Since you teach Sunday school here, can you give us communion?" Well, I thought about it. I'm not a preacher, and I had no authority to give communion, to bless communion. However, in an isolated situation where there is no preacher, and I'm the one teaching Sunday school, I think that I also have the authority to give communion if the men want it. And on those grounds, I'll give you communion. And for the first time in my life, I went out and bought wine, went out and bought wine. And I knew the rituals. I came back, had the cook to cook me some bread that was without salt, broke it up, and had prayer over this. And then I served it to them, and we had communion (laughter). Maybe they'll put me in jail for being a preacher without license (laughter).$I went to the bus station which was three blocks or more away from the church, Clinton Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church [Selma, Alabama]. It was closed, locked, I couldn't go in there, but there was a Carter drugstore [Carter Drug Co.] on Broad Street [Selma, Alabama] that a good number of young white men just hung out there and I said, "I'll go there and sit at the counter and ask for ice cream, a Coke [Coca-Cola] or something and wouldn't move." I went there and they were closed. Okay. They're closed, I'll go to the jailhouse, the police headquarters, and that's where I went, to the police headquarters and asked to speak to the police in charge. And he came out with two other police, and I told them, "Sir, my name is Dabney Montgomery [HistoryMaker Dabney N. Montgomery]. I had come here to break segregated laws because it's wrong and it is the will of God that these laws be erased." And there was a fountain for white people only, for color peopled only, another fountain, I went and drank out of that fountain for white people only. He stood right there and said, "This man must be crazy," (laughter). "Take him out." Two cops came, grabbed me by the arm and took me out. I landed on the curb of the street at the jail. That's all. To show you how dangerous this was when the King's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] movement came to Selma [Alabama], two white men ate at a black restaurant two blocks from that jail and both of them were shot, one was killed.$$Two--$$One died from the wound. Two white men--$$Two white men ate at a black restaurant?$$At a black res--$$Okay.$$Two black from that jail and one was killed, the other received the shots. And I thought at the time that SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] was there. I went to a SNCC movement when King movement was there and they said, "Look, never go out alone and break a segregated law (unclear) and never go at night if you're with a group of people, don't go at night." And there I was at night and alone and the angels of the Lord protected me. Well, as I sat on that curb, a black fellow in an automobile came by and said, "What are you doing out here, son? You don't see people sitting on the curb at night, not in Selma. What can I do for you?" "You can take me home." "Where you live?" "Corner, corner of Green Street and 1st Avenue." So he took me in his car home. When we arrived in front of my house, I noticed a few cars parked out in front of the house and the lights on in the house. All those people in the church had gone to my father's house and told them that Dab is in town breaking segregated laws (laughter). I knocked on the door, my father [Dred Montgomery] came to the door, the old man. "There he is." He opened the door and fell on the knees. They had told him about the experience. "Son, whatever you do, don't do it again. They'll come out and burn the house down; they might kill you, they might kill--we don't know what will happen. Please, son," down on his knee. I never had seen my father on his knees before and he was a fireman for forty years on the Southern railroad [Southern Railway]. Strong man. And I listened to him, and the people all left and words got out that Dab was in town and he was mentally deranged, a little crazy. My father get in a car and he goes up to the police office and tell them that my son is World War II [WWII] veteran and he is shell shocked. He is in town now, don't pay him any attention because he's shell shocked. The police went, "Yeah, that boy was up here. We knew something was wrong with his brain." That's why, for that reason, they didn't whatever they had planned to do.

Herbert Carter

Academic administrator and Tuskegee Airman Herbert E. Carter was born on September 27, 1919 in Amory, Mississippi to parents Willie Ann Sykes Carter and George Washington Carter. He graduated from Tuskegee High School in 1941 and went on to join the United States Army in July of 1942 as a member of the 99th pursuit unit, which was one of the units that became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

While in World War II, he flew seventy-seven combat missions against the German and Italian Air Force in the Northern Africa, Sicilian Italian and European campaigns. The 99th Squadron achieved the outstanding record in Close Tactical Ground Support of the Allied Army. After the war ended, Carter went on to receive his B.S. degree in industrial education in 1955 from Tuskegee University and his M.A. degree in administration and supervision in 1969.

Carter retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force after twenty-six years of commissioned service in 1969. After his retirement, he served at Tuskegee University as Associate Dean of Student Services and Administration until 1985, and continued to visit troops who were deployed overseas.

On June 6, 2006, Carter received the Chevalier Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor and most prestigious award. The award was presented to him by Jacques Chirac, former President of the French Republic, for his outstanding service during the liberation of France during World War II. In March 2007, President George W. Bush honored the Tuskegee Airmen with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Carter passed away on November 8, 2012 at age 93.

Accession Number

A2007.097

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/18/2007

Last Name

Carter

Schools

Tuskegee Institute High School

Tuskegee Institute Middle School

Tuskegee University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

Amory

HM ID

CAR14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

9/27/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tuskegee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

11/8/2012

Short Description

Academic administrator and tuskegee airman Herbert Carter (1919 - 2012 ) flew seventy-seven combat missions with the 99th Fighter Squadron, against the German and Italian Air Force in the Northern Africa, Sicilian Italian and European campaigns of World War II. He received the Chevalier Legion of Honor, France’s highest and most prestigious award for his service during World War II. Carter also served as Associate Dean of Student Services and Administration at Tuskegee University, between 1969 and 1985.

Employment

United States Air Force

Tuskegee University

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:5040,71:9400,99:10388,113:11072,124:11604,132:26950,288:28006,301:30294,331:36217,377:36961,386:37891,398:38542,407:41536,422:42614,434:43104,440:45946,477:46730,487:50087,504:64668,772:65214,780:66493,831:66777,836:68126,859:74173,933:74997,943:79780,983:87535,1057:89830,1076:94920,1101:96207,1115:98599,1128:116836,1280:124248,1392:151085,1643:151904,1654:171294,1843:172005,1853:175370,1863:196650,2093:201992,2119:203216,2128:204100,2142:207308,2165:207998,2171:212570,2239:214370,2245:221274,2359:223120,2372$0,0:949,8:1752,22:2409,32:4380,70:8350,132:8750,137:9150,142:9650,148:12444,164:12960,171:13648,180:14250,189:37884,456:39710,464:40466,475:41474,490:42062,500:43238,520:54503,611:54947,616:55391,621:56168,629:60760,654:63170,676:64120,687:67342,723:67786,730:77600,820:78645,841:79785,855:83224,876:83880,886:84208,891:85438,910:86504,924:90768,982:96476,1018:97870,1036:98198,1041:111362,1141:111772,1147:112428,1157:116581,1189:117649,1206:118005,1211:118450,1217:121738,1247:122882,1263:123498,1274:132404,1361:132740,1366:137050,1383:137950,1393:138400,1429:138850,1435:147870,1620:148790,1629:155660,1675:157410,1701
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert Carter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert Carter lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert Carter describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert Carter describes his grandparents and ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert Carter describes his childhood in Alabama and Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert Carter describes his community in Amory, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert Carter describes his early family life

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert Carter remembers moving to Tuskegee, Alabama to attend high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert Carter remembers growing up during the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert Carter remembers Tuskegee Institute High School in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert Carter recalls his studies at Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert Carter remembers meeting his wife at Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbert Carter remembers joining the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert Carter remembers his flight missions during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert Carter remembers his flight missions during World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert Carter describes his career path after World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herbert Carter reflects on the brotherhood of his fellow Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert Carter remembers his fellow Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert Carter recalls Charles Edward McGee and Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert Carter remembers General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert Carter describes his duties in the U.S. Air Force after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert Carter recalls retiring from the U.S. Air Force to become a professor

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert Carter describes his work recruiting youth for aerospace careers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert Carter describes the operations of the 99th Pursuit Squadron

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herbert Carter reflects upon the honors he received as a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Herbert Carter shares his message to future generations

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Herbert Carter describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbert Carter describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert Carter narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Herbert Carter remembers his flight missions during World War II, pt. 2
Herbert Carter describes his work recruiting youth for aerospace careers
Transcript
Up to now the myth was that the black man didn't have the agility, the dexterity, physiological or psychological ability to operate something as complicated as an aircraft due to his birth heritage and his cultural background. But these men there over in Anzio [Italy] including myself, demonstrated that race, creed or color has nothing to do with one's ability, if they are properly trained and given an opportunity to demonstrate their training, and this we did. And as a result of that we now have three more squadrons that have been trained in America and they were sent to Italy, so we have the 99th [99th Pursuit Squadron], the 100th [100th Fighter Squadron], the 301st [301st Fighter Squadron] and the 302nd [302nd Fighter Squadron], and which made up the 332nd Fighter Group [332nd Expeditionary Operations Group]. Not only that, but we get a new airplane, the P-47 [Republic P-47 Thunderbolt], and we get a new mission, which was escorting long range bombers which were coming out of North Africa and southern Italy going into southern Europe, bombing logistical targets, oil refineries, manufacturing plants. One mission was 1600 miles from Burma to Italy, Italy to Berlin [Germany], and back, to escort bombers who were going to bomb the Daimler-Benz tank factory there in Berlin. And by now we're flying P-51s [North American Aviation P-51 Mustang], that's the Mustang that everybody fell in love with because it was a top-notch fighter. And in escorting those bombers, the men were so good at protecting them that the bombers started referring to them as the Red-Tail Angels, and that was because for identification we had decided to paint the tails of all fifty-two--all seventy-two of those P-51s red and we were--our symbol was the Red Tails so the bomber pilots called us the Red-Tail Angels. And by war's end, we had destroyed some four hundred German aircraft, 150 or so in the air, another 250 on the ground. We had lost sixty-six men, another thirty-three had been shot down but taken prisoners of war, but we got them back after the war [World War II, WWII] was over. The men had earned some 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, nearly seven hundred and something air medals and all other such type medals for their performance and proficiency in combat, and Colonel Davis [Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.], by now, had been promoted to a full colonel.$Besides working as an associate dean, I know that you visited troops, different troops. Want to talk about that?$$Well that's what I've been doing primarily, just before retiring from the university [Tuskegee Institute; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama] and since retiring, since '85 [1985] up until now.$$Until now, okay (laughter).$$I spend my time trying to inspire and motivate our young people toward aerospace careers, giving them examples of success stories of people who did make that choice and who have done well in it, and what are the advantages and some of the spinoffs. And then trying to help them prepare themselves to be able to make that decision by suggesting that they have to start at least by middle school and take their math and their science and stay academically active and involved if they are going to be successful in this life. And then trying to stay abreast of all the opportunities that are out there for them to help them financially with scholarships and whatever else they might need to get into college, or to get admitted to one of the academies where it won't cost them anything. And I get a great amount of satisfaction when I, four years from a date, see some young person that I know that I had something to do with their decision to, one, pursue an aerospace career and second, that they have finished, they have their degree and they have their rank, or they went to the Air Force Academy [United States Air Force Academy, Colorado] or they went to West Point [United States Military Academy, West Point, New York], and I influenced them in some way toward a [U.S.] military career. And that's what I do now, for my own satisfaction and pleasure.

Rusty Burns

Tuskegee Airman and flight instructor Rusty Burns was born Isham Albert Burns, Jr. on July 24, 1925 in Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. Burns developed his love for aviation in the fifth grade at Corpus Christi Catholic School. In 1939, he moved to Los Angles, California with his family where he studied aeronautics at Jordon High School. At age sixteen, he worked at Burbank Airport while learning about aircraft, theory of flight, navigation and meteorology. In 1942, Burns passed the federal aviation exam. After receiving his diploma in 1943, he was inducted into the United States Army at Fort MacArthur and was sent to Kessler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi. After completing basic training, he became a certified pre-aviation cadet.

Burns received his aviation training at Tuskegee Institute and Air Base where he graduated in 1944 as a single engine pilot making him one of the youngest of the Tuskegee Airmen. During his time at the Tuskegee Institute, he received twelve hours of college classes a day in addition to his training as a soldier. Burns trained on several aircrafts including the BT-13 and the AT-6. He successfully completed his training in September of 1944 and became a member of the 99th Fighter Squadron at Godman’s Field in Kentucky. Burns’ military career ended in June of 1945 as World War II ended. He returned to Los Angeles and joined the United States Postal Service where he worked for nine years.

Burns returned to aviation after buying and rebuilding his own airplane. In 1955, he opened Rusty’s Flying Service and began giving flight instruction, at Compton Airport. He became one of the only Tuskegee Airmen in Los Angeles to return to an aviation career. He trained over five hundred students before selling his business in 1971 to become an aviation consultant. He consulted for several companies in the private sector including Teledyne, Rocketdyne, Rockwell and North American Airlines. He retired in 1988 after developing a travel service program for the United States’ government.

Burns lives with his wife in California and has four children including author, Khephra Burns.

Burns was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 7, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.238

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/7/2005

Last Name

Burns

Maker Category
Middle Name

Albert

Schools

Jordon High School

Corpus Christi Catholic School

Valena C. Jones Elementary School

Fisk High School

George Washington Carver Middle School

David Starr Jordan Senior High School

Pepperdine University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Isham "Rusty"

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

BUR14

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tahiti

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/24/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Palm Desert

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Red Beans, Rice

Short Description

Flight instructor and tuskegee airman Rusty Burns (1925 - ) received his aviation training at Tuskegee Institute where he graduated in 1944 as a single engine pilot, making him one of the youngest Tuskegee Airmen. He later returned to Los Angeles, and opened Rusty’s Flying Service, giving flight instruction at Compton Airport until 1971, after which he became an aviation consultant.

Employment

U.S. Post Office

Rusty's Flying Service

Teledyne Technologies

Aeroject Rockedyne

North American Airlines

Favorite Color

Tan

Timing Pairs
0,0:666,8:1240,16:1978,109:4356,139:5176,151:5586,157:6406,170:11065,239:27468,437:28308,450:28728,456:29988,472:38810,600:44214,667:45294,687:45726,695:46518,709:47094,718:48246,744:49686,774:53718,864:54222,872:54582,878:54870,883:64828,1041:65360,1049:71212,1152:71592,1158:77512,1240:80944,1305:95676,1506:95964,1511:96468,1519:97260,1533:98844,1569:101220,1620:101508,1625:102012,1727:120228,1889:120802,1897:124820,1985:125722,1999:140560,2165:145750,2217:146200,2223:147190,2232:147820,2240:151281,2270:152100,2281:152464,2286:153192,2296:153556,2301:154284,2311:164710,2451:166070,2472:167910,2509:175082,2581:179920,2645:206982,3009:212377,3142:218486,3179:227850,3352:228130,3357:230650,3430:237720,3594:238210,3602:244220,3644:251874,3758:258790,3812:259070,3817:259350,3822:262220,3861:262500,3866:263270,3879:263550,3885:264460,3903:266070,3964:288470,4284$0,0:781,12:1491,73:1775,78:16140,444:28215,660:29370,688:29678,764:40304,946:40920,955:52100,1139:68030,1323:68516,1329:71189,1415:72809,1440:78479,1592:80342,1760:93356,1917:93820,1922:100332,2049:100628,2054:104624,2148:105290,2159:105808,2167:109804,2246:113208,2307:118638,2372:120682,2401:126842,2482:128834,2509:129249,2516:129830,2524:130162,2529:132154,2555:139182,2612:142361,2706:154606,2925:154890,2930:157610,2965:175564,3150:177010,3262
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rusty Burns' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rusty Burns lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rusty Burns describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rusty Burns describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rusty Burns describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rusty Burns describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rusty Burns lists the schools he attended

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rusty Burns remembers his parents separating

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rusty Burns remembers earning money as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rusty Burns remembers going to the theater on Saturdays

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rusty Burns remembers sneaking into New Orleans' segregated Saenger Theatre

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rusty Burns remembers a racist incident in the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rusty Burns describes Southern segregation in the 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rusty Burns recalls his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rusty Burns describes the racial makeup of New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rusty Burns describes his education in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rusty Burns remembers his early interest in aviation

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rusty Burns remembers moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rusty Burns describes his family's occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rusty Burns remembers deciding to enlist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rusty Burns remembers gaining weight to enter the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Rusty Burns remembers training at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rusty Burns describes his aviation training at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rusty Burns describes his aviation training at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rusty Burns remembers graduating from flight school in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rusty Burns remembers his idol, fighter pilot Wendell O. Pruitt

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rusty Burns remembers experiencing racism as a black Air Force officer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rusty Burns remembers going to Walterboro, South Carolina for fighter transition

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rusty Burns describes the Freeman Field mutiny

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rusty Burns remembers being discharged from the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rusty Burns remembers rebuilding his own airplane

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rusty Burns describes his instructors at Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rusty Burns remembers starting his own flight school, Rusty's Flying Service

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rusty Burns remembers working for Teledyne Technologies

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rusty Burns remembers working for Aerojet Rocketdyne

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rusty Burns describes his family

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rusty Burns remembers attending Pepperdine University in Malibu, California

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rusty Burns describes his marriage to Treneta Burns

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rusty Burns describes his social life

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rusty Burns reflects upon the progress of African American pilots

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rusty Burns reflects on missed opportunities to mentor black youth in aviation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rusty Burns describes his involvement with the Los Angeles chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rusty Burns talks about young African Americans in the field of aviation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rusty Burns reflects upon the history of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rusty Burns remembers the Watts Riots

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rusty Burns recalls his proudest moment

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rusty Burns reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Rusty Burns describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Rusty Burns reflects upon hip hop and youth culture

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Rusty Burns talks about his son, Kephra Burns' play, 'Tall Horse'

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Rusty Burns describes his plans for the future

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Rusty Burns describes his aviation training at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 1
Rusty Burns remembers starting his own flight school, Rusty's Flying Service
Transcript
We were talking about, you're at the institute [Tuskegee Institute; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama], you're taking twelve hours of classes and being trained as a soldier, or--continue.$$I would be remiss if I didn't relate part of this journey to you, because it's our--part of our history. Every airman knows the name Chehaw [Alabama], C-H-E-E-H-A-W [sic.]. When we got--when we were on the train going to Tuskegee [Alabama], there was no place there, no train station for us to go to. We didn't go to Montgomery [Alabama] like most people did and find another way. We went to a little, small outhouse-looking building somewhere in the middle of nowhere called Chehaw. And this is where all the Tuskegee Airmen came on the train, this is where you got off the train at. So if you say, "Chehaw" to any Tuskegee Airman, it's going to bring a chuckle, because we've made jokes about Chehaw for all our time. Anyway, we went to the institute. And I believe Dr. Carver [George Washington Carver] at the time. And we were taking college classes. We were going to classes much the same as the students that were. And we got a pre-aviation cadet training. We got ten hours in a Piper Cub [Piper J-3 Cub]. You don't solo. You just get ten hours of flight training. The instructors were all black. They were all CPT [Civilian Pilot Training] training people. And this was kind of to get an orientation or a feel for whether you had the potential for beginning a pilot or not. I don't know that anybody failed to get through there, but you either got a recommendation for or against. And if you got one that said, "I don't think this guy can make it," you weren't going very far, you know. But if you got one that said, "Oh, I think he'll make a great pilot," then you--the way was paved slightly for you. So we were there, and I'm not sure I'm gonna get the timeframes exactly right, but we were there in January, but we stayed there, and I'm gonna say January and February, and then in April, May, June--January, February, March, April--no, February, March. At one point in time, they took us out of this pre-aviation cadet program and put us into the Army Air Corps Cadet Training Program, the first phase of what is preflight. And if I remember correctly, each phase was like maybe six weeks or something of that nature. You had upper and lower phases. And the phases were preflight, primary, basic and advanced, and that's when you graduated. These were the phases. And it was a year all together the whole program was a year. In backing up I can go December, November, October for advanced; September, August and July for basic, which sounds about right; July, June, May, April for primary. So it was January, February, March for preflight. You go through the preflight, and then it was April, May, June for primary. Primary was done at--not the Tuskegee Air Base [Tuskegee Army Airfield; Sharpe Field, Tuskegee, Alabama]--primary was done at the institute. We had a field called Moton Field [Tuskegee, Alabama], and that's where we did our primary in PT-17s [PT-17 Stearman]. We were fortune in that the government had some airplanes called Fairchild 19s [Fairchild PT-19 Cornell]; Fairchild 26 [Fairchild PT-26 Cornell] (unclear). They went from the PT-17, which was a gorgeous airplane, beautiful airplane; for some reason they went to this low-wing, wide landing gear, and I think it was because of the landing characteristics of the PT-17 had a tendency to ground loop because of the narrow gear. So they went to this low-wing airplane with the main landing gear with an inline engine to improve the potential for--to minimize a potential for--for accidents. It didn't work. It wasn't a good airplane. So we go back to the PT-17. About the time I went to primary, they went back to the PT-17, which was--I can be most grateful for that, because it was--I just loved that airplane. It was a--it was just an airplane that, you know, the wind-in-your-hair type thing, you know; Gosport tubes, talk to the instructor; sitting in an open cockpit with that radial engine in front, you know, with the two wings; do anything you want. The airplane would just--it had no limitations. So we had--I had three wonderful--upper and lower primary.$So we're in L.A. [Los Angeles, California], you and Paul [Paul Anderson] have identical planes (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah. Yeah.$$Parked side by side.$$This goes on. I build a second airplane, I take it out to the airport, and Paul and I decide to go into business together, rent a hanger [at Compton/Woodley Airport, Compton, California], you know. This is unheard of in the--except in Chicago [Illinois].$$What year is this now?$$This is '55 [1955].$$Fifty-five [1955].$$So Woodley [Earl Woodley] agrees to give us--to rent us a hanger. We got a beautiful hanger. He and I went into business. B 'nAir Service [ph.], Burns and Anderson; and we stayed together for about a year. And it was kind of a complicated thing. We didn't have one business that we were partners in. We had two businesses competing in the same hanger, which is very difficult to do. So at the end of about a year, we decided it was best that we went our separate ways. So, since he had been there first, he kept this hanger, I went to Woodley and got another hanger, and I started Rusty's Flying Service two or three hangers down. And that went from '55 [1955] to 1970. And I had a very good career. I quit the post office when went into business on the airport. But I still worked some part time. I still worked somewhat at North American [North American Airlines]. I eventually had to quit North American and work full time at the airport because the business grew, you know. I had really a tremendous business, therefore (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Who were you teaching?$$--like ten years. Huh?$$Who were you teaching? Who were your students?$$Everybody. White, blacks, males, females. There was no--I had probably as many white students as I had black ones.$$Probably didn't start out that way, though.$$Yes. It did.$$Did it?$$Yes. It started out that way.$$Okay. Because '55 [1955] was a big year. Rosa Parks.$$Yeah. But we weren't having (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) You were removed from$$Yeah.$$But, I mean, like, because Rosa Parks was in '55 [1955]; also, Emmett Till. That stuff was happening in the South. Were you pretty far removed from that being in the West?$$Yes. Yes. We had black guys going to the white schools, and white guys coming to the black schools. It was either whose price or whose or who, you know, whoever you took a liking to, see. Well, I had probably all together, maybe probably around five hundred students, that's in my years there. So I did not have a problem with discrimination or bias in business that I know of. My instructors, I had three or four instructors, they were all white. The only black instructor I had took up next door and started his own business, see. So--and there weren't too many black instructors to begin with. Not a lot of our guys come out of Tuskegee [Tuskegee Army Airfield; Sharpe Field, Tuskegee, Alabama] took to aviation for some reason, you know. I was surprised that probably in L.A., and I'm sure this is in other--not another one of our guys that I know of ever had gotten in an airplane again, you know. There's a lot of ties there. I'm sure that may not be exactly true, but I don't know of any who did, you know. No guys who kept their license current.