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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.

Bob Butler, Jr.

Broadcast journalist Bob Butler was born on June 5, 1953 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Butler grew up in a Navy family, and, as a child, he travelled throughout the United States. Butler attended St. Joseph-Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California, where he graduated in 1971. Before graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served in Guantanamo Bay and Newport, Rhode Island before receiving an honorable discharge in Philadelphia in 1974.

In 1974, Butler moved to Washington, D.C. and then Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked for Bell Telephone as a directory assistance operator while moonlighting as a disco deejay. In 1977, Butler returned to Hayward, California and studied at Chabot College where he also filled hourly newscasts at the campus station. Upon graduating from Chabot College in 1979, he briefly worked at Soulbeat Television; and, in 1980, was hired as a general assignment reporter at KDIA radio in Oakland, California.

Butler transferred to San Francisco State University and interned at KCBS radio in 1981. Shortly after, he was brought on as a desk assistant and then was hired on staff in 1982. Butler worked at the editor’s desk and became a fill-in reporter during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake where he covered a wide range of topics throughout the United States, including local and national politics, natural disasters, and general news.

Butler became the weekend morning reporter in September of 1999 and covered international stories in Brazil, Europe, and countries in Africa such as Namibia, Tanzania, and Senegal. In 2005, Butler was promoted to diversity director for CBS Corp. where he recruited diverse candidates for positions with the company’s radio and television stations. He left full-time employment at CBS in 2006, and was a lead reporter on the Chauncey Baily Project as an investigative reporter from 2007 to 2011.

Butler’s career includes leadership roles in various professional organizations. In 2000, Butler became a member for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and began mentoring college students on the radio projects in 2002. He was elected president of the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA) in 2004, where he served for five years. In 2007 Butler was elected as NABJ’s regional director. He was promoted to vice-president of broadcast in 2009, and was elected the 20th President on August 2, 2013.

Butler joined the San Francisco board of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) in 1999. He became a member of the inaugural national board when AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) merged in 2012, creating SAG-AFTRA.

Butler lives with his wife, Lois Butler, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have one son, Robert Butler, III.

Bob Butler was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.303

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/6/2013

Last Name

Butler

Maker Category
Middle Name

Henry

Schools

San Francisco State University

Chabot College

St. Joseph Notre Dame High School

St Joseph School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Bob

Birth City, State, Country

Chelsea

HM ID

BUT06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

Hard Work, Low Pay or Hard Work, No Pay

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/5/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Oakland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Television news reporter Bob Butler, Jr. (1953 - ) served as 20th president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) from 2013 to 2015, and as president of the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA) from 2004 to 2009.

Employment

Chauncey Bailey Project

KCBC Radio

KCBS Radio

KDIA Radio

SoulBeat Television

AT&T

United States Navy

CBS

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4389,71:4754,77:6725,118:8039,156:8404,162:8696,167:9864,187:14560,234:15440,249:16960,278:17840,293:18720,307:19120,313:22880,378:23200,383:24320,400:25280,422:32595,502:35670,569:38595,630:38895,636:39495,646:39945,654:40470,662:43170,726:50090,746:50425,752:53212,793:55878,821:56308,827:63014,909:68790,1025:71298,1080:81920,1223:87020,1306:87615,1314:88040,1320:96430,1449:98250,1492:100630,1536:101540,1590:111515,1761:111847,1864:129590,2014$0,0:5502,133:6066,141:6536,147:7382,157:7758,162:14790,257:24592,363:24864,368:31574,424:32300,436:32762,444:34412,496:34676,501:37100,517:37780,533:38868,558:43829,642:44588,654:45278,668:46589,685:47279,719:47831,737:50453,802:53260,815:54044,827:55122,848:56788,869:66788,1044:67750,1068:70118,1119:74454,1162:80342,1333:80918,1345:81302,1355:81558,1361:82262,1373:82518,1378:83606,1406:83926,1412:84182,1417:84438,1422:94806,1535:95546,1546:96138,1561:96878,1605:97174,1614:97618,1714:117464,1961:118472,1976:123820,2012:126362,2107:132430,2241:140546,2369:143552,2395:144263,2405:145132,2427:145448,2432:146001,2441:146475,2448:155639,2631:157298,2654:164006,2706:165098,2729:165488,2735:171150,2828:178220,2982:183050,3033:184156,3063:185894,3113:187237,3146:191424,3262:200269,3375:216744,3638:219366,3707:220608,3735:221505,3753:221781,3758:223092,3797:224196,3816:224817,3830:225093,3835:227094,3873:234350,3930:234805,3936:241175,4074:241994,4084:251720,4212:253445,4269:255032,4347:258413,4395:259724,4424:262208,4483:268976,4597:276321,4683:281030,4758:281342,4763:281654,4768:282824,4786:284150,4812:284774,4821:285866,4842:286412,4850:287738,4879:288284,4888:290936,4934:302792,5058:304860,5077
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bob Butler, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bob Butler, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about moving during his childhood and teenage years

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bob Butler, Jr. recalls attending his paternal grandfather's funeral in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about moving and his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes the various houses he lived in as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his early experiences with media and watching HistoryMaker Belva Davis on television

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about being an altar boy

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his high school sports experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes his decision to enroll in the U.S. Navy in 1971

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bob Butler, Jr. recalls the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy and civil unrest in California

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes experiencing racial discrimination as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about the history of racial discrimination in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his parents' generation's attitude towards race relations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his responsibilities at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bob Butler, Jr. remembers working with Cubans on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bob Butler, Jr. recalls a defense training exercise at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes DJing parties in high school and in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about drinking and smoking during his service in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes various jobs he held after being discharged from the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about working for Bell Telephone Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about DJing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his decision to enroll at Chabot College in Hayward, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes his first newscasts at Chabot College in Hayward, California

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about working at Soul Beat in Oakland, California

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about black media figures in the late 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about the origins and growth of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Bob Butler, Jr. explains his reasons for leaving Soul Beat in 1979

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes Soul Beat's coverage of the Dr. Yusuf Bey case in Oakland, California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about Yusuf Bey's Your Black Muslim Bakery

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about the death of Chauncey Bailey and the reporting on the story

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about Chauncey Bailey

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about reporting on Chauncey Bailey's 2007 murder in Oakland, California

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bob Butler, Jr. recalls attending college part-time at San Francisco State University while working full-time at KCBS

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about stories he reported on at KCBS and the awards the station won

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about the unpredictable nature of news reporting

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about mentoring aspiring black journalists and becoming president of the National Association of Black Journalists in 2013

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bob Butler, Jr. recalls joining the National Association of Black Journalists and attending his first conference in 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about becoming a mentor for aspiring black journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about becoming diversity director for CBS in 2005

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bob Butler, Jr. recalls the death of a student journalist at the 2005 National Association of Black Journalists Convention

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about visiting Africa in 2005

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about the raid on Your Black Muslim Bakery following the 2007 murder of Chauncey Bailey

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Bob Butler, Jr. recalls the 2008 election of HistoryMaker Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his post-CBS projects

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about becoming a regional director for the National Association of Black Journalists board in 2007

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his role as vice president of broadcast for the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes his 2013 campaign for president of National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes new programs and his vision for the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bob Butler, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes a 2012 story he wrote about forced mortgage payoffs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes a 2012 story he wrote about forced mortgage payoffs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Bob Butler, Jr. recalls seeking treatment for his drug addiction

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Bob Butler, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Bob Butler, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

10$8

DATitle
Bob Butler, Jr. talks about his responsibilities at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Bob Butler, Jr. talks about the unpredictable nature of news reporting
Transcript
So well, how did things go in the [U.S.] Navy? Now, you--which one of those options did you--$$I ended up becoming a storekeeper.$$Okay.$$You know, and my first duty station was down in Guantanamo Bay [Cuba], and, you know, I mean I worked at--the department I was in was port services. And these are the folks that drive the boats, you know, the ferries, the tugs. I was in that department. And because I was in that department, you know, I mean I was the--we had two storekeepers. There was the first class, and there was me. So I'm the, I was what they call a striker, when you're an enlisted man, and you're going for a rate, until you reach a certain level, you are called a striker. So I was striking to become a storekeeper, Seaman First Class, storekeeper. And so I'm learning from, you know, the E6, the First Class storekeeper, and, you know, that's what you do, you know. So my job was to issue spare parts and conduct inventories, and when I stood duty, I stood duty at the port patrol tower. There's a picture of me actually standing up there at the tower, overlooking the [Guantanamo] Bay, you know, at Guantanamo Bay, and then, you know, my job--I was up there at the port control tower where they still use semaphore [ph.], I mean the signal lights. And so the people that stood duty up there were signal men. So I'm trying to learn Morse code and learn how to do--maybe I can do this instead of being a storekeeper, you know. And then eventually, they, I was, I would go from standing duty up there and so they go to bed at midnight. And I had to stay up all night, you know. That was some hard stuff, especially with the stuff I was doing during the day (laughter). But, you know, there are times when I would fall asleep, you know. You're not supposed to fall asleep, but that's--it's hard to stay up all night long. But I did that, and then I became a boat coxswain, you know, driving the small boats, you know. And that was, that was kind of cool to be out there doing that.$Now, how do you approach ra- how is delivering radio news different from delivering news on television?$$Well, I always tell, when I talk to young people, I talk about the difference between what I do, what a television reporter does, what a print reporter does, and what a public radio reporter does, public radio. So we all come out of the same newscast--same news conference at 10:30 in the morning. The TV reporter is complaining because they, they've gotta be on the air at 5:00, and they only have, you know, five hours, six hours to put their story together. And they have to go and gather tape and, you know--the print reporter is complaining because their deadline is 7:00 that night, and they got a lot of people they gotta talk to, you know. The public radio reporter will go back to the station, you know, think about it, maybe have lunch, produce their story. And it might get on this afternoon or tomorrow morning. I walked out of the same news conference, dialing the phone, pulling the sound bite and going on the air. My story has to be just as accurate as those who are taking several different hours to put their story together--several additional hours to put their story together. But mine has to be just as accurate. Now, mine's not gonna be quite--mine is gonna be sixty seconds in length. So you can only get so much into that, information into that. So the other stories might have more information, but my story is going to have the essence of the story. That's the difference between what I do in commercial radio and what television does, what, you know, what print does and what, you know, other folks do.$$Okay, thank you. So in a given day, then what's the typical--what would be a typical day? I guess, it's probably--I don't know if there is a typical day, but is there, I mean what would be a typical day for you--(unclear) (simultaneous)--$$So a typical day, let's say you're working ten to six. You come to the station at ten o'clock. You get your assignment. You're, they want you on the air in the noon, so you've gotta be on. You know, you've got two hours now to get your story and get the pieces to your story you need to get before you get on the air in the noon hour.$$So when you show up, you have to hit the ground running, right?$$Oh, yeah.$$Okay.$$Oh, yeah, you know, like--just say yesterday. I came to work at three. We had an interview that had already been done with the police about a kid that lit somebody on fire on a bus. The guy that got lit on fire was in the hospital, stable condition. The kid was arrested yesterday. So the story was, they arrested somebody for allegedly lighting this guy on fire on the bus. So I got the tape, and I started at three o'clock, had to be on the air at four. So that's what I did. That's what you do. You, you have to be--it's a very short turnaround many times. Now, that's a typical day. You'd go in, you'd do--and I'd do, I would write three versions of that story. Do the first couple of versions live. And then, you know, record all of three of them, and then work on the story for the next day. So in this particular case, the story was, what's happening in the City of Oakland, City Council meeting. I go in there, sit through the meeting, grab all my tape, and then go back to the station and produce it, get off at eleven o'clock. Any time, you're doing that, give you another, give you an example. In 1991, you know, I play softball. So we had a softball championship game at our league in the next city down, San Leandro [California]. I need to have a morning story. And I'm thinking, look, let me call the [California] Department of Forestry and find out about fire season. It's, we're now in October. How was fire season, and I'm talking to the PI, the Public Information Officer. She says this has been the mildest fire season we've had in recent memory, okay. I start getting these phone calls. Now, mind you, the game starts at six and I'm supposed to get off at four. So I wanna get this story in the can and I'm gonna do something else, and then, you know, I'll be there to get, be there in time to play my game. Start getting these phone calls about a fire over in Oakland [California], and eventually, the editor said, "You'd better get over there." I says, "Okay." Well, I've already got this story in the can about this very mild fire season that can run tomorrow morning. So I'm cool. I can do a couple versions of this story, then come back, drop the car off and head to my game. I come off, get off the [San Francisco-Oakland] Bay Bridge and I see a blanket of smoke that reminded me of Pearl Harbor. And I realized that, I may not be going to the game. This was the Oakland-East Bay Hills fire that killed forty-some people, wiped out several thousand homes and burned for several days, you know. So, any day that you might have all, the best made--your best laid plans, could be knocked awry by something like this.$$Nature is unpredictable.$$Nature is unpredictable, but so is the news business, you know.

Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr.

Rhythm and Blues Singer Merald “Bubba” Knight, Jr. was born on September 4, 1942, in Atlanta, Georgia. Knight’s mother, Elizabeth Woods-Knight, was a nurse’s aide, and his father, Merald Knight, Sr., was a restaurant supervisor. Knight’s parents were also singers in the Wings Over Jordan gospel choir. In 1952, at the young age of ten, he and his sisters, Gladys and Brenda, and cousins William and Elenor, formed the musical group the Pips. Knight would go on to graduate from Samuel Archer High School in Atlanta in 1960.

Performing as a singer, Knight and the Pips, along with new members Edward Patten and Langston George, began touring with Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke in the late 1950s as an opening act. In 1961, the Pips produced their first R & B Top-20 hit with a version of Johnny Otis’s Every Beat of My Heart. Then, in 1966, the Pips signed to Motown’s subsidiary, Soul records. The group released their major hit single, I Heard It Through the Grapevine in 1967. Hits that followed included 1968’s The Nitty Gritty, 1969’s Friendship Train, 1970’s If I Were Your Woman, 1971’s I Don’t Want To Do Wrong, and the 1973 Grammy Award-winning Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye). In 1973, the Pips left Motown and signed with Buddah records. Their first album with Buddah was Imagination, which would become their best-selling album. Imagination included the 1974 Grammy-winning song Midnight Train to Georgia. Gladys Knight and the Pips continued to produce hits until 1989, when Gladys decided to leave the group.

Knight has received many awards and honors while involved with Gladys Knight and the Pips. The group has been honored with four Grammy Awards and seven American Music Awards. In 1989, the Pips were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and in 1996, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Pips received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1998. In 2001, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and, in 2006, the Pips were inducted into the Apollo Theater's Hall of Fame in New York.

Knight is married to Kathleen C. A. Knight, and they live in Henderson, Nevada.

Bubba Knight was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.244

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2013 |and| 11/20/2013

Last Name

Knight

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Woodrow

Occupation
Schools

Samuel Archer High School

Las Vegas School of Real Estate

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

English Avenue Elementary School

Henry McNeal Turner High School

First Name

Merald

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

KNI02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

You've Gotta Wanna.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

9/4/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

R & B singer Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. (1942 - ) was a performer and founding member of Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. shares his childhood memories of his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls his childhood memories of his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his mother and her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his older sister, Brenda Knight

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about the places he lived during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his sister Gladys' performance on Ted Mack's "Original Amateur Hour"

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his school and the support his sister, Gladys Knight, received from his teacher's sister, Ruth Hall Hodges

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. shares his memories of his family singing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about listening to his sister's performance on "The Original Amateur Hour" and the formation of "The Pips"

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about forming "The Pips" and the prize his sister, Gladys Knight, received for winning "The Original Amateur Hour"

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about The Pips' first performance and winning a weekend engagement at the Royal Peacock in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls naming the group "The Pips" in honor of his cousin, James "Pip" Woods

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes performing at the Royal Peacock in Atlanta, Georgia when he was around eleven years old

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls The Pips' first performance and taking lessons from Maurice King in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls working with Maurice King and The Pips' first recording in 1958

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the changing lineup of The Pips in 1959

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls the solos that each member of The Pips sang in their original lineup

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about some of the songs The Pips performed and the groups that inspired them

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls recording Johnny Otis' "Every Beat of My Heart" in 1961

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes signing with Fury Records and recording a second version of "Every Beat of My Heart"

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls the success of "Every Beat of My Heart" and Glady's Knight's departure from the group

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes performing at the Apollo Theater in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the popularity of the Pips after their performance at the Apollo Theater in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about Gladys Knight's departure from the Pips

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes recording "Darling" after Gladys Knight's departure from the Pips

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about Gladys Knight's solo recording of "Come See About Me"

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the reunion of Gladys Knight and the Pips and recording "Giving Up"

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes preparing for Gladys Knight and the Pips' second concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about working with Charles "Cholly" Atkins and Charles "Honi" Coles

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes how Gladys Knight and the Pips decided to sign with Motown Records

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls negotiating their contract with Motown Records

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about the environment at Motown Records when they signed

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his frustrations with Motown Records

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes recording "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and its success

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about their financial situation at Motown Records

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about leaving Motown Records, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about leaving Motown Records, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Second slating of Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes performing with Moms Mabley at the Apollo Theater in New York City, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about the Jewel Box Revue and gay performers in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his experience working with choreographer Charles "Cholly" Atkins

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the Pips' early manager, Marguerite Mays

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his experience with Bobby Robinson and Fats Lewis at Fury Records

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about meeting Marshall Sehorn and Bobby Robinson of Fury Records and performing for the first time at the Apollo Theater

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about not getting paid royalties for his early records

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes meeting Floyd Lieberman and Sid Seidenberg while recording with Maxx Records, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes meeting Floyd Lieberman and Sid Seidenberg while recording with Maxx Records, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes leaving Maxx Records to record for Motown Records in 1966

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes how Floyd Lieberman and Sid Seidenberg protected their business interests

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his experience with Motown Records prior to working with Norman Whitfield

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about their booking agencies and performing at the Copacabana in New York City, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about rehearsing with Charlie "Cholly" Atkins at Motown Records

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his relationship with Charles "Cholly" Atkins

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about Charles "Cholly" Atkins' experience at Motown Records, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about Charles "Cholly" Atkins' experience at Motown Records, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls when Paul Williams created the "Temptation Walk

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his business role within Gladys Knight and the Pips

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes leaving Motown Records for Buddah Records in 1973

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about other artists who left Motown Records

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the group's decision to sign with Buddah Records in 1973

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls Motown Records' move to California in 1972

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls discovering the Jackson Five while performing at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes working with Norman Whitfield and the hit songs he recorded at Motown Records

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls recording "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" with Motown Records in 1967

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls receiving constructive criticism from HistoryMakers Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes appearing on the first syndicated episode of Soul Train in 1971

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls the songs that Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded for Motown Records

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes how Motown Records and Fury Records managed songwriting credit and ownership

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes recording "Where Peaceful Waters Flow" for Buddah Records and working with Jim Weatherly

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes recording "Midnight Train to Georgia" in 1973

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls the producers and artists at Buddah Records

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his experience at Buddah Records

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his managers and producers at Buddah Records

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes winning two Grammy Awards in 1974

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about the "Gladys Knight and the Pips Show" on NBC

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about Sid Seidenberg and the group's international success after 1974

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about the group's lawyer, Irwin Spiegel Osher

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the financial conflicts between Gladys Knight and the Pips and their second breakup in 1978

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes Gladys Knight's solo career and the reunion of Gladys Knight and the Pips at Columbia Records in 1980

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his experience recording for Columbia Records

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about working with Sam Dees at Columbia Records

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about recording "Hero", commonly known as "Wind Beneath My Wings", for Columbia Records, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about recording "Hero", commonly known as "Wind Beneath My Wings", for Columbia Records, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes leaving Columbia Records and signing with MCA Records, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes leaving Columbia Records and signing with MCA Records, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the third time that Gladys Knight and the Pips broke up in 1989

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his experience ending the group while at a high point in their career

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. reflects on the success of Gladys Knight and the Pips, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. reflects on the success of Gladys Knight and the Pips, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. reflects on his goals after Gladys Knight and the Pips broke up and his marriage to Kathleen Knight

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes how he met his wife, Kathleen Knight

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his first marriage to Kathleen Knight

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his divorce from Kathleen Knight, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes moving to Los Angeles and getting his real estate license after divorcing Kathleen Knight

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes reuniting with his ex-wife, Kathleen Knight, after fifteen years

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his second marriage proposal and wedding to Kathleen Knight

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his parents, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his parents, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes moving his extended family into a compound in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about introducing humor into his live performances

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls performing with his sister, Gladys Knight, at the White House

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes performing with his sister, Gladys Knight, on her solo tours

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about the importance of family

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes the musical directors who worked with him and his sister

Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. shares a story about his fellow Pip, Edward Patten

Tape: 13 Story: 10 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. shares a story about his fellow Pip, William Guest

Tape: 13 Story: 11 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about the loyalty of the Pips and the integrity of the Pips name

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls being offered a chance for the Pips to sing backup to James Brown

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about the career of HistoryMaker B.B. King

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. talks about his favorite venues in Las Vegas, Nevada and performing in "Smokey Joe's Cafe"

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his experience performing in "Smokey Joe's Cafe", pt. 1

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his experience performing in "Smokey Joe's Cafe", pt. 2

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. recalls recording "If I Could Bring Back Yesterday"

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. describes his plans for the future

Tape: 14 Story: 8 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. shares his thoughts on the music industry today

Tape: 14 Story: 9 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. shares his opinion about casual use of the "N" word

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. reflects on the contributions of African Americans to American music

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Merald "Bubba" Knight, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tanya-Monique Kersey

Magazine editor and magazine publishing chief executive Tanya-Monique Kersey was born on March 22, 1961 in New York City, New York to Cynthia and Al Smith Kersey. She earned her B.A. degree in political science and sociology from Douglass College at Rutgers University in 1983. Kersey began her entertainment career working as a model. She then transitioned into acting, performing in commercials, voiceovers and industrial films.

Kersey appeared on several soap operas such as, All My Children, Search for Tomorrow and The Guiding Light. In 1990, Kersey published the Black State of the Arts: A Guide to Developing a Successful Career as a Black Performing Artist. This book became a proverbial how to manual for African Americans who are launching a career in the industry. In 1994, she established the magazine Black Talent News that focused on news from film, television, theatre and new media industries. After two years of publication Black Talent News became the first African American trade magazine to be accredited by the Motion Picture Association of America and the Television Critics’ Association. In 1997, Kersey participated in the annual Infotainment Conference. In 1999, Black Talent News launched its website www.blacktalentnews.com, which shares information about the industry via the internet. That same year, Kersey began the Hollywood Black Film Festival, a six day celebration of African American cinema. In 2002, Kersey authored and compiled The Black Film Report and the Black Talent News Resource Directory. Kersey is also a frequent contributor and co-host on the Samm Brown’s for the Record radio, show delivering the Urban Entertainment Report on RPFK radio in Los Angeles, California. Kersey is the executive producer of the entertainment newsmagazine show, Inside Urban Hollywood with Tanya Kersey.

In 2002 Kersey was named a “Living History Maker” by Turning Point Magazine . In this same year, she was also named one of Hollywood’s Urban Movers and Shakers by Daily Variety for her work as publisher and editor-in-chief of Black Talent News , as well as for being the founder and executive director of the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Kersey serves on the marketing advisory board of the Independent Feature Project/West and the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou. She is also a member of the Media Industry Advisory Board at West Los Angeles College.

Tanya- Monique Kersey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 8, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.198

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/8/2007

Last Name

Kersey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Separated

Schools

St. Benedict Day Nursery

P.S. 41 02M041 Greenwich Village School

Haworth Public School

Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest

Douglass Residential College

First Name

Tanya

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

KER02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cancun, Mexico

Favorite Quote

Hell To The No.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/22/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

Short Description

Magazine editor and magazine publishing chief executive Tanya-Monique Kersey (1961 - ) was the founder and executive director of the Hollywood Black Film Festival in addition to being both publisher and editor-in-chief of Black Talent News.

Employment

Vibe Magazine

Comp USA

Author

Black Talent News

Infotainment Conference

Hollywood Black Film Festival

Favorite Color

White

Timing Pairs
0,0:826,27:1180,34:8732,180:8968,185:11505,236:12626,263:12862,268:13157,274:20608,374:25522,465:29188,522:33868,581:34258,587:49600,771:50045,777:61786,984:63729,1016:74072,1181:75312,1210:75994,1224:76366,1232:77792,1261:78846,1281:84240,1407:85542,1438:87464,1471:91795,1492:92344,1502:94967,1575:99664,1711:100213,1720:100457,1725:111449,1914:116340,2005:116608,2010:123107,2125:144320,2484$0,0:4242,54:4554,59:5490,97:6504,112:7518,136:8142,146:8610,153:11340,208:12198,224:12510,229:13602,247:17820,288:20595,354:22695,404:27870,518:29070,539:30795,569:32595,598:33045,605:34170,631:36870,688:42000,720:43488,755:47642,917:47890,922:48572,936:49192,945:49936,960:52044,1009:53036,1034:56812,1048:57208,1056:57538,1062:57802,1067:58462,1079:59056,1089:59914,1107:61168,1132:63148,1173:63478,1179:67042,1261:70870,1353:73114,1418:73378,1423:73708,1429:74104,1437:74434,1442:76348,1481:83758,1515:84202,1525:84646,1532:85534,1547:86126,1558:86718,1567:89530,1640:93452,1720:93748,1725:101474,1808:101978,1820:105947,1924:108215,2002:109853,2047:110483,2059:110924,2069:111365,2077:113759,2126:115901,2188:116153,2193:122450,2238:128540,2355:129240,2368:129660,2375:130290,2388:130990,2400:131480,2411:133230,2438:134070,2461:134420,2468:136030,2505:136380,2511:136800,2518:137080,2523:137360,2528:138270,2548:139040,2560:143738,2577:146554,2644:147258,2656:147898,2667:148154,2672:148474,2678:149178,2692:149818,2707:150394,2722:152122,2756:152954,2776:153658,2793:153914,2798:154298,2806:154746,2815:155066,2821:156090,2848:156538,2857:157242,2874:157562,2880:157818,2885:158650,2900:161018,2933:161850,2951:162106,2956:169618,3048:170002,3056:171026,3082:173458,3148:174674,3172:176730,3182
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Tanya-Monique Kersey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tanya-Monique Kersey lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes the sights, sound and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her mother's profession

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about her family gatherings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her mother's physical appearance

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her West Indian ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Tanya-Monique remembers her mother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her mother's surprise birthday party

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tanya-Monique Kersey remembers her paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about her father's discipline

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her paternal stepgrandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tanya-Monique Kersey recalls her relationship with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tanya-Monique Kersey remembers the community of Haworth, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her father's work with Clarence Thomas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Tanya-Monique Kersey recalls her parents' move to Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Tanya-Monique Kersey remembers her father's influence

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tanya-Monique remembers her family's vacations

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about her early education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tanya-Monique Kersey remembers the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tanya-Monique Kersey remembers the Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest in New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about her early modeling career

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tanya-Monique Kersey remembers Douglass Residential College in New Brunswick, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about her racial identity

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Tanya-Monique Kersey recalls working as a stand-in on 'The Cosby Show,' pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Tanya-Monique Kersey recalls working as a stand-in on 'The Cosby Show,' pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her early acting career

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about writing her book

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about upper middle class black culture

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about her book, 'Black State of the Arts'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about the Black Talent News

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tanya-Monique Kersey recalls developing the Black Talent News

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about the importance of computer literacy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes the Infotainment Conference

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about her daughters

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes her marriages

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about raising her daughters

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Tanya-Monique Kersey reflects upon her career

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes the Hollywood Black Film Festival, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes the Hollywood Black Film Festival, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about the success of the Hollywood Black Film Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes the Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tanya-Monique Kersey reflects upon the future of the black film industry, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Tanya-Monique Kersey reflects upon the future of the black film industry, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Tanya-Monique Kersey shares her advice for aspiring actors

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Tanya-Monique Kersey talks about the lack of roles for female actresses

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Tanya-Monique Kersey describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Tanya-Monique Kersey narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$11

DATitle
Tanya-Monique Kersey recalls developing the Black Talent News
Tanya-Monique Kersey describes the Hollywood Black Film Festival, pt. 1
Transcript
Early in the interview you talked about the Infotainment Conference.$$Um-hm.$$In 1997, after you had gotten be- let me stop for a second and go, because I can remember what it was like being in the office when you were putting together Black Talent News. Can you talk about what a normal day was for you, please?$$It was, I tell you, my friend, Shirley [Shirley Jordan] was working with me at the time and we, you know, we had no idea what we were doing. I mean, I really didn't. I was just really blessed. I had this old Macintosh computer that I got back in, I would say 1986 to start writing the book. It was an original PC [personal computer]. It was two 386K floppy drives. No hard drive. My father [Al Kersey] got it for me at ComputerLand, or something like that. Three thousand dollars for two 386 floppy drives. No hard drive, for three thousand dollars. That and a dot matrix printer--I still have the receipt for that and I remember my father, who obviously was not in the generation of computers. He was like, "I could buy a car for this." Because back in 1986, you could buy a Pinto [Ford Pinto] or a Honda or a Toyota for $3,600 dollars, but my father bought me this computer. That's how much he supported me, that he spent $3,600 dollars on this computer, which was unheard of at that time, and I basically wrote my book on that, and that's how I was able to do everything, because I had the tool to do it. You know, I was able to do Black Talent News. We would sit up and use Microsoft Word and we would lay it out and, you know, we didn't even have scanners back then. You had to take the pictures to the photo place and they would do it, it was totally different, and I think now is how do we ever put this publication together? But we did it and we printed it out and we took it to the printer and they printed it out. It was crazy and hectic and, you know, but it was so much fun. There was so much love around. We loved what we were doing. We were making a difference. People knew we were making a difference. You know, people would call even to this day. I run into people and they just hug me. They're like, "You don't know. That changed my life. That gave me hope, you know, hearing what you guys had to say every month," you know, and it did what it did, but yet it was just constantly, trying to get people to buy ads. Nobody wanted to buy any ads from us. You know, just it was tough, it was tough, but it was great fun; and I would do it again if I had to.$You started something a few years ago that, in a town like this [Los Angeles, California] it was needed, it was most welcome and it has become an annual pilgrimage, is what I call it. We're talking about the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Can you speak about that please?$$You know, that started out of Infotainment, with filmmakers saying they wanted a place to exhibit their films and, you know, I sat down and I looked at it and I said okay. Well, because of Black Talent News, I have an in to the power brokers in Hollywood; you know, people that I know are studio executives or agents, or the people that people are trying to reach. So I have a way to get them, to bring them to the festival. And then, in terms of starting the festival, I needed to figure out how could I do it so that the industry would pay attention, and USC [University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California], being the number one film school in the country, offered me the opportunity to launch the film festival on their campus. So, there was no better way to start a black film festival in Hollywood that wanted to be considered reputable and important and relevant, than to do it on USC's campus, and that's what we did and, you know, got Forest Whitaker as our honorary chairperson, Oscar [Academy Award] winner now, you know, so to have him there and we opened with a film by [HistoryMaker] Tim Reid, with Blair Underwood and some other people. Just really got the right people there, the right mix of people. And, I think that just having Hollywood as a part of my everyday life is what legitimized it, because people were starting film festivals every day all over the world, and it's not about just starting a film festival, it's about, for the panels that you do, who are you gonna get there that will give them access, the people who can get access to movers and shakers. Lots of people have film festivals and you look at the panels and you're just like, well, what are they gonna teach me. You know, so that was my thing, was to bring Infotainment Conference, which was already established and already had a long list of power brokers and important people, bring that in, so basically the film festival absorbed Infotainment. And then, in terms of the films, you know, coming up with an identity, 'cause we didn't want to be the booty shaking hip-hop film festival. We wanted this to be a festival of films that Hollywood ignores, meaning this is the black love story, this is the black drama, this is the black action film that could be on the big screen, but isn't. We didn't want to do low brow comedies. You know, we really wanted to have a programming philosophy that would appeal to the filmmakers who were out there trying to break through, and that would appeal to the industry, and we just came up with the right combination and, you know, over the years we've just grown from three days and twenty films to six days and 125 films, and now we have over one hundred panelists every year, as we have had heads of studios, and now--I mean the list of people who have spoken is just amazing and, you know, that's because I have a great team of people; and everybody's volunteer.

Adam Wade

Adam Wade was born Patrick Henry Wade on March 17, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Pauline Simpson and Henry Oliver Wade, Jr. Wade was raised by his grandparents in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood and graduated from Westinghouse High School in 1952. He went on to attend Virginia State College, but married his high school sweetheart and soon left school in order to support his young family.

Wade started singing while still in high school. In 1958, he got his first opportunity to record for the Coed Records label in New York City. Two years later, he moved to New York full-time, and within six months, he was singing at the city’s most prestigious club, the Copacabana. Wade’s first hit, “Ruby,” was released that same year. He had three top ten singles in 1961: “Take Good Care of Her,” “The Writing on the Wall” and “As If I Didn’t Know.” Wade had less success after moving over to Epic Records later that year. In the late 1960s, he shifted his focus to acting. Wade began doing commercials and voice-over work. In 1970, he starred in the film Wanderlove. Wade had a number of supporting roles in films in the early 1970s, and he began to be featured on television, in soaps like The Guiding Light and black-oriented sitcoms like Sanford & Son and Good Times.

In 1975, Wade began hosting the television game show Musical Chairs, becoming the first black game show host. In 1978, he restarted his recording career. Wade also starred in an all-black production of Guys and Dolls in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1983, Wade and his wife, Jeree Wade, started their own production company called SONGBIRD’S UNLIMITED PRODUCTIONS. They have produced many African American historical revues, including the off Broadway musical, Shades of Harlem which opened at the Village Gate in New York in 1983 and recently stopped touring in 2005. In the 1980s and 1990s, Wade continued to appear regularly on stage and screen including an episode of Hill Street Blues. In April of 2007, Wade began the national tour of the hit Broadway play, The Color Purple, playing the role of “Old Mister Johnson”. Wade has also taken turns as a director, writer and producer. He has received Audelco and Clio Awards for his work.

Over forty years after leaving college, Wade returned to school, earning his B.A. degree from Lehman College and his M.A. degree from Brooklyn College. He works as an adjunct professor of speech and theater at Long Island University and Bloomfield College.

Wade has been married to his wife, Jeree, for twenty-five years.

Adam Wade was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 27, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.168

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/27/2007

Last Name

Wade

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Westinghouse Academy

Lehman College

Brooklyn College

Virginia State University

John Morrow Elementary School

Larimer School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Adam

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

WAD01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Making Money Is A Habit And There's Nothing I Can Do About It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

3/17/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

East Orange

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Creamed Cauliflower

Short Description

Actor, singer, and stage producer Adam Wade (1935 - ) was the first African American to host a game show on television, "Musical Chairs." Wade recorded hit singles as a singer and his television acting credits included, "Sanford & Son," and, "Good Times."

Employment

'The Color Purple'

Jonas Salk polio research team

Kauffmann's

Coed Records

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:820,10:4145,57:4680,68:7150,79:9760,117:11152,145:12196,167:13327,183:19936,257:20440,265:25336,396:26704,424:48466,773:51476,812:56970,832:57795,846:73890,1050:74210,1055:75090,1070:75490,1076:81600,1154:84311,1191:92821,1301:106503,1559:115830,1705:116850,1719:137349,1954:138384,1978:140970,1983$0,0:1650,18:3525,46:3975,58:4425,77:4800,83:21995,370:23660,386:26213,417:28670,428:42878,601:43170,606:51635,709:52963,729:53710,739:54208,748:66310,830:66850,837:78884,943:79572,952:82760,1000:83210,1008:84335,1098:84785,1106:89477,1152:90045,1161:97074,1306:105630,1404
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Adam Wade's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Adam Wade lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Adam Wade describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Adam Wade describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Adam Wade describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Adam Wade recalls lessons from his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Adam Wade describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Adam Wade describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Adam Wade recalls racial discrimination in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Adam Wade describes his involvement in civil rights protests

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes his early pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Adam Wade recalls living in foster care

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Adam Wade remembers the entertainment of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Adam Wade remembers the Larimer School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Adam Wade describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Adam Wade describes the Negro League in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Adam Wade talks about basketball stars from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Adam Wade talks about basketball stars from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Adam Wade describes his athletic career at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Adam Wade describes his experiences at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes his works experiences at Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Adam Wade remembers his departure from Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Adam Wade describes his position on Jonas Salk's polio research team

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Adam Wade describes his early singing career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Adam Wade remembers his first records for Coed Records, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Adam Wade describes his early singles, 'Tell Her For Me' and 'Ruby'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Adam Wade describes his transition to acting

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Adam Wade recalls his first commercial role

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Adam Wade remembers his mentor, Adolph Caesar

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Adam Wade describes his stage acting career in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Adam Wade remembers his film credits, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Adam Wade remembers his film credits, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Adam Wade reflects upon his favorite acting roles

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Adam Wade recalls his audition for the host role on 'Musical Chairs'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Adam Wade remembers preparing for his role on 'Musical Chairs'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes the premise of 'Musical Chairs'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Adam Wade remembers acting in the 'Uptown Saturday Night' television pilot

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Adam Wade describes his acting career in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Adam Wade describes his decision to return to college

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Adam Wade describes the Chicago production of 'The Color Purple,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Adam Wade describes the Chicago production of 'The Color Purple,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Adam Wade describes the Chicago production of 'The Color Purple,' pt. 3

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Adam Wade talks about his interest in writing

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Adam Wade reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Adam Wade reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Adam Wade talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Adam Wade describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Adam Wade narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$1

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Adam Wade recalls his first commercial role
Adam Wade recalls lessons from his paternal grandfather
Transcript
And so, I worked all around the country and all over the world, you know. And, learning, and then I started studying acting, and then I got into commercials. With the commercials, at first, it was kind of redundantly bad, if that's an expression I can use. Because everywhere I went they would say, "Aren't you [HistoryMaker] Adam Wade the singer?" I would say, "Yes." They say, "Well, we're not looking for singers today." They would throw that in my face, you know (laughter). And, I thought, "Let me drag this guy down to the basement in the dark and see if I can dust him up or something (laughter)." But, finally, 'cause I was gonna qui- I was gonna, I was gonna quite, "That's it, I'm going to give this up." But, Vernee Watson [Vernee Watson-Johnson] who played the mother of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith, she was also studying with the Al Fann Theatrical Ensemble and she encouraged me to go. She said, "Just try one more week, and if nothing happens," and she said, "But, you should--don't give up today." And, I didn't. And, two days later I got my first commercial for Getty gasoline [Getty Oil].$$Okay.$$That was terrific, and the commercial was in the car in Central Park [New York, New York], late at night, kissing this girl in the backseat of the car. I said, "Man, this is wonderful, (laughter)."$$You got paid for it (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) You guy, you guys gonna pay me for this, you know. And, it was Laura Greene who is beautiful anyway (laughter). It was like, "Oh, my, my, my (laughter)."$$So, what year is this, is this--?$$That was in nineteen- I guess, '70 [1970].$$Nineteen seventy [1970]. So, you get paid to kiss Laura Greene in the back of a car.$$In the backseat of a convertible for Getty gasoline, my, my, my (laughter), life is grand. Yeah.$$Okay. So, this--did the rest, did more work follow?$$Yes. Actually, it's like anything else, once the door opens, you know, you step across the threshold and you're in the game, you know.$So, tell me this, when you think back on what people have told you, I guess, about your parents [Pauline Nelson Simpson and Henry Wade, Jr.] and reflect on your [paternal] grandparents [Helen Jones Wade and Henry Wade, Sr.], who do you think you take after the most?$$Probably my grandfather in a, in a lot of instances. My approach to work. My approach to business. My grandfather, he believed in independence. And, when I was eleven, he said, "I'm gonna show you what independence is." He said, "And, freedom in America, helps you become independent. But, you can only become independent if you can earn money." So, he said, "Starting now, this is what you gonna do." So, I got a paper route. I was able to shine shoes. I took groceries home for people. In the summertime, he taught me how to shape hedges, how to paint, how to change tires, change the oil in a car. And, it was just one, one thing right after another. But, I was twelve or thirteen years old, I always had money. And, when I went away to college [Virginia State College; Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia], it was just so much fun for me because right away I lined up people's cars that I would wash. I would babysit. I could wax the floors, wash the windows. I could sew on buttons. I could iron. You know, so, all these little things, my grandfather taught me along the way, you know, so I always made money, you know.

Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong

Actor and record executive Aki Aleong was born on December 19, 1934 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, to Henry Leong (Aleong), a cook from Hong Kong, and Agnes Vera Gonsalves from St. Vincent, British West Indies; he was originally called Assing Aleong by his father and Leonard Gonzales by his mother. Aleong attended Progressive Education Institute in Trinidad as a youth. After moving to Brooklyn, New York, with his mother in 1949, Aleong graduated from Boys High School; in 1951, he started taking classes at Brooklyn College while working in a hardware store.

Responding to a casting call for an Asian character, Aleong was cast as the Goat Boy in the 1954 Broadway production of Teahouse of the August Moon on Broadway. In 1956, Aleong made his first live television appearance in The Letter, an episode of NBC’s Producers’ Showcase. In 1957, Aleong was cast in the movie Motorcycle Gang. Throughout his career, Aleong performed in over than 200 different television programs, including: Ben Casey (1961); The Outer Limits (1963); The Virginian (1967); L.A. Law(1986); Babylon 5 (1994); Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1996); and Curb Your Enthusiasm (2001). Aleong’s movie credits include: Never So Few (1959); The Hanoi Hilton (1987); Farewell to the King (1989); Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993); Tidal Wave: No Escape (1997); A Breed Apart (1998); Missing Brendan (2003); House of Sand and Fog (2003); and Sci-Fighter (2004).

Also a musician, Aleong wrote the hit songs Trade Winds and Shombalor; in 1963 he formed Aki Aleong and the Nobles. Leaving the movie business in 1967, Aleong worked as the west coast R&B sales and promotion manager for Capitol Records; an assistant vice president of promotion for Polydor Records; an assistant vice president of sales for Liberty/United Artist Records; the president of Pan World Records and Pan World Publishing (BMI); and a record producer for VeeJay Records. Aleong worked with The 5th Dimension, The Ojays, and Bobby Womack, and produced the Roy Ayers album Red Black and Green. Aleong also managed Norman Connors in 1976, and produced Connors’s gold record You are My Starship.

Onetime chairman of the Fraternity of Recording Executives, Aleong returned to acting in 1983. Aleong served on the boards of the Screen Actors Guild and the Media Action Network for Asian Americans and was the executive director for Asians in Media.

Accession Number

A2005.108

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2005

Last Name

Aleong

Middle Name

Leonard Gonzales

Schools

Boys High School

Brooklyn College

First Name

Aki

Birth City, State, Country

Port of Spain

HM ID

ALE01

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/19/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

Trinidad & Tobago

Favorite Food

Peas and Rice

Short Description

Television actor and music executive Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong (1934 - ) appeared in numerous television and film roles in a career that spanned almost fifty years. In addition to his accomplishments in the realm of visual media, Aleong also served in a variety of executive roles within the recording industry, and released hit records as an artist.

Employment

Capitol Records, Inc.

Polydor Records

Liberty/UA Records

Pan World Records

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers immigrating to Brooklyn, New York City from Trinidad

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers his childhood in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes how his father processed opium

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about his exposure to opium

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his father's family background and the history of Chinese immigration to the Americas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers moving to Brooklyn, New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the culture shock he experienced upon immigrating to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers attending Boys High School in Brooklyn, New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers joining a street gang

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers gang activity and policing in Brooklyn, New York City in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers being involved in a street fight in Brooklyn, New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about his friend, Bolero Martinez, from Brooklyn, New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls dancing at Brooklyn College in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls his focus on dancing at Brooklyn College in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his dance studies at Henry Street Settlement House in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his audition for 'Teahouse of the August Moon'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the jobs he held while attending Brooklyn College in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers watching a Broadway play for the first time

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his role in 'Teahouse of the August Moon'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his friendship with Marlon Brando

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers his time in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes acting in the television production of 'The Letter'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong shares an insight he gained from acting in 'The Enemy'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls housing discrimination in California during the 1950s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes working with Frank Sinatra

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls disputes in Hollywood that impacted his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the legacy of Bill Cosby and HistoryMaker Berry Gordy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about the relationship between Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the limited roles for actors of color

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the Asian community in Hollywood

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recounts his efforts to increase diversity in advertising

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about record companies' exploitation of the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls record companies' exploitation of black employees and musicians

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the systemic discrimination against black disc jockeys and black record labels

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes big record companies buying out black labels

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about why he quit acting

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his promotional work with Liberty UA Records and PolyGram Records

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about his friendship with HistoryMaker Reverend Al Sharpton

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about leaving the record business and working as an ambulance driver

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes managing jazz musician Norman Connors

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about promoting jazz musicians Norman Connors and Pharaoh Sanders

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his presence in the doo wop scene

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his sales and promotional work for Capitol Records

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes working with Ray Charles

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes working as an ambulance driver

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers his return to acting

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his TV roles and joining the National Board of Screen Actors Guild

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about promoting diversity in Hollywood

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes promoting diversity with the SAG Ethnic Minorities Committee

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong explains the need for writers and producers of color

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong reflects upon his work as an activist

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong reflects upon the challenges of representing Asian Americans in the media

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes undermining stereotypes of Asians in his roles

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about being perceived as Asian rather than black

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong reflects upon his life

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his film, 'Chinaman's Chance: America's Other Slaves'

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the need for more diverse stories

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about his relationship with his children

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers gang activity and policing in Brooklyn, New York City in the 1950s
Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recounts his efforts to increase diversity in advertising
Transcript
So, where I used to live, there's Prospect Park [New York, New York], you've heard of Prospect Park, right? And you have heard of the famous Empire roller rink [Empire Roller Skating Center, New York, New York], we integrated the Empire roller rink, that was my first confrontation with the law and with whitey. Now the roller rink was on the other side of the park which was heavily Jewish, so Bolero [Martinez (ph.)] and I and three of the guys used to go skating there. And Bolero was my idol, man; he was like 5'10" about a hundred and sixty pounds, thin, wiry, good looking man, looked like Romeo, man. And this guy man could skate, he did this you know wow, man. After a while all the girls used to come over to him, right, and then I was skating so then you know now and then I wouldn't ask anybody to dance but they would come over and grab me you know so I was, hey man, I was starting to integrate, right? Lo and behold, one day I'm skating, all of a sudden the girls coming over and they're passing me, we used to call it the knives were called shivs or putting--they were passing me these shivs, I put it in my pocket, what's going on? They had called the cops so there's only three black guys, man you know myself, right so what they did was they stopped Bolero and everybody and they frisked them, right? They frisked them you know to see what they had, right? I walked right by the cops, they never bothered with me (laughter) I walked right by, man. I (laughter) you know, so I used to carry this shivs whenever there was any problem, I would separate myself because I would be carrying either a marijuana cigarette or I'd be carrying the knives in my pocket you know what I'm saying? And smiling at the cops (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They didn't think you were black?$$No, no, they never thought I was black, which is another story why I peep whitey and we'll talk about that later (laughter). But--so that-so---but Bolero man we used to--as a matter of fact I remember when Cher went to the Empire roller rink it was a big volt thing about how she went there skating blah, blah, blah. It was tough, man, so when I used to go to Brooklyn College [New York, New York] about six--about twelve blocks up, was the natural boundary. The natural boundary and it's always the train, Atlantic Avenue was there the train would come in from Long Island [New York] and I never went passed that boundary, I lived in my little ghetto, I never went. However, to go to Brooklyn College, I had to take the bus and everytime the bus would pass Atlantic Avenue I would get paranoid (laughter) because I was going into foreign territory. Now isn't that a shame, isn't that a damn shame to think about that? The college was in the other side, but because of this, we couldn't go past, I mean it was like an unwritten code. I used to feel scared but I had to go to school, right, so we used to take the Nostrand Avenue bus and go past that way to go to school. Anyways, so at Brooklyn College and at that point, with the gang activity you know what I'm saying, I was starting to fine my--a little bit of acceptance. I remember one night Bolero and I went down to Greenpoint [Brooklyn, New York, New York] to go to this party, I'm going to a party man, man I'm feeling good man, I'm going to this party. It's an all black party, man and you know and I can't dance, man (laughter) so I'm sitting down you know some guys come and say, "Hey what's the matter, don't you want to dance Bro?" "No, no, no, man I can't dance you know." So finally Bolero comes to me and said, "Hey man you in a lot of trouble." I said, "What are you talking about a lot of trouble?" "Man, these guys they don't like you man, they think you stuck up." I said, "Man but I want to dance man, I wanna get with the ladies but I can't dance, I'm embarrassed." So well we got a problem, I had to climb out from the second floor out of the bathroom window (laughter) and hang out and get out because they were going to kick my ass (laughter) because they thought I was stuck up, man. Imagine that man, had to climb out the back window.$And the percentages which will tell you because sitting on the board--in 1982, blacks represented four percent, four percent, man, four percent, okay? As the national chair of Screen Actors Guild [SAG; Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)], co-chair of the [SAG Ethnic] Minorities Committee, Minorities Committee [Ethnic Equal Opportunities Committee], right? I found that there were like--while I was in New York [New York], I organized the program and I got over four hundred kids of color, blacks, mostly blacks, Asians some Native Americans, some Latinos. And I went to Madison Avenue and I said you know what, they're not in commercials, we were in even fewer commercials back then. I said we need a program, so being on the board of SAG, they said oh fine, well he can't do nothing. So I arranged the--a program wherein they would come in and audition these four hundred kids over a period of five months. And what it would be after they negotiate that they would--the kids would come in and they would already have a commercial they can read. But at the night of the audition, Madison Avenue, which controls everything, would then bring in a commercial in and then they can read and we'll tape it. So what I did was that I got some of the members of the board then I--then we videotaped. And I interviewed each kid, you know and most people--most actors you know they have--they don't even know what they look like their pictures don't represent them, it what they think it would be you know. Their hair is out of place, the whole nine yards, so I school them for like two months, then I put them on camera, and then I had them do commercials and they got in sync with what themselves would be, and then eventually Madison Avenue came in. Now during that period of time, we were negotiating contract for commercials. They said, the Madison Avenue said, you know what, we're not gonna pay you on a hundred percent of a commercial because you already lost 25 or 30 percent of the market. Because VCRs were coming in, people were taping; they were knocking out the commercial, so why would we pay you a 100 percent of the commercials? So being the chair of the Minorities Committee and I understood that, what was interesting was the fact that if you took 75 percent of the target audience now right, and most of that 25 percent that slipped away were mostly white--$$That had that kind of VCR.$$That's right that had that money, right? So now we're at 75 percent looking at it, right? Now if you have at that point 30 percent, okay, you had Latinos you had blacks, you had Asians, right, which could represent 25 percent, right? Now that 25 percent out of 75 percent, pretty healthy chunk, how much is that, 30 percent, right? So now you have 30 percent so your target audience is now 30 percent. All of a sudden SAG didn't do anything, so Madison Avenue--so my program was just coming in place. When they came and saw these kids, kids were doing Tetley Tea commercials, right, the brothers would pick up the cup, yo brother man, hey man, this good Tetley Tea, and they, they didn't one like traditional Tetley Tea, you know I mean they brought so much pizzazz and a different way of doing things. They brought their own soul to these different things that people were blown away, right? So what happened is that we started to get more jobs in commercials because, not because SAG was doing anything, but because they were targeting at 40 percent of the market. Interesting, it was nothing to do with anything else, except pure dollars, okay? So now today African Americans are 18 percent from '82 [1982] to today 18 percent of the jobs at Screen Actors Guild, 18 percent and rising rapidly. Latinos, a year ago, were 5.7 percent and they represent almost the same as African Americans. They've now risen 6.7, Asian Americans were 2.2, 2.4 percent for the last four years. And Native Americans had one slight gain last year from like 0.1 percent because they had a TV series that ran three days, a miniseries, there were more actors, so that's why it raised. They're microscopically out of the picture. Now, there are reasons why we can talk about why this increase and whatever, whatever. But it wasn't because of Screen Actors Guild; it was because of the fact that the demographics and the money and what you're looking at is the fact that they were targeting certain markets.