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Art Norman

Broadcast journalist Art Norman was born in New York City, New York. Norman graduated with his B.S. degree in math and physics from Johnson C. Smith University, where he was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He has also received a first class F.C.C. engineer’s license.

Norman began his broadcasting career in 1969 when he was hired as a television engineer at WCCB-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina. Throughout the 1970s, he worked as a reporter at WPCQ-TV and WSOC-TV, both located in Charlotte; and, in 1976, he served as a writer and photographer on the George Foster Peabody Award winning edition of NBC's "Weekend Magazine." Norman was then hired as a reporter and weekend anchor for Baltimore, Maryland’s WMAR-TV in 1979. In July of 1982, he joined WMAQ-TV NBC5 in Chicago, Illinois as a general assignment reporter. At WMAQ, Norman went on to cover breaking news, anchor broadcasts and cultivate community-oriented feature segments, including the popular “Art Norman’s Chicago.” He retired from WMAQ in 2009, but returned on a part-time basis as a special contributor in 2012.

Norman has received many awards throughout his career. He won North Carolina's RTNDA Award for his coverage of a fatal air balloon crash in 1975, and his documentary on the plight of poor children won a 1978 School Bell Award from the National Association of Educators. He received a 1984 International Radio and Television News Directors Award and a 1987 Wilbur Award; his hosted series, "Cops and Robbers," was honored with two prestigious awards: a national Investigative Reporters and Editors Award and an Associated Press Award for "Best Investigative Reporting." Norman was an integral part of NBC5's coverage of the Beirut hostage crisis, which earned him a 1986 Emmy Award. He also received Emmys for his contributions to NBC5's coverage of the Laurie Dann spot news story; his spot news coverage of the Fox River Grove Bus Crash; and his contribution to NBC5's coverage of the Chicago Auto Show. In all, Norman has earned six Emmy Awards.

Norman's involvement with the Chicago community has also been extensive. In addition to hosting numerous community events each year, he is a spokesman for the United Negro College Fund and serves as an on-air host of their telethon. He is also a frequent NBC 5 News ambassador.

Norman is married and lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Art Norman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.258

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/21/2014

Last Name

Norman

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Johnson C. Smith University

P.S. 186 Harlem

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. School,

J.H.S. 43

Brooklyn Technical High School

Samuel Gompers Career and Technical Education High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Art

Birth City, State, Country

Harlem

HM ID

NOR07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Precious Lord Take My Hand

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/6/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, Collard Greens

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Art Norman (1947 - ) worked as a reporter, anchor and special contributor for Chicago’s WMAQ-TV station for over thirty years. He received six Emmy Awards for his news coverage.

Employment

WCCB-TV

WPCQ-TV

WSOC-TV

NBC

WMAR-TV

WMAQ-TV

Favorite Color

Blue, Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Art Norman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Art Norman lists his favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Art Norman lists his favorites, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Art Norman describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Art Norman talks about his parents' move to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Art Norman describes his mother's life in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Art Norman remembers growing up in the Harlem community in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Art Norman describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Art Norman remembers his father's combat injuries from World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Art Norman remembers visiting relatives after his parents' separation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Art Norman describes his half-brother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Art Norman remembers his twin brother, Lionel Norman

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Art Norman talks about his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Art Norman describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Art Norman remembers his father's mindset about his war injuries

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Art Norman remembers his interests during grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Art Norman talks about the influence of his mentors at Camp Minisink

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Art Norman describes his experiences at Samuel Gompers Vocational and Technical High School in Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Art Norman talks about his time as a television repairman

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Art Norman remembers building the WJCS Radio station at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Art Norman remembers the criticism of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Art Norman recalls the aftermath of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Art Norman remembers his first professional broadcasting experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Art Norman talks about changing his accent

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Art Norman talks about Steve Jobs' approach to interface design

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Art Norman describes how he became a reporter at WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Art Norman remembers declining Ted Turner's offer to work at CNN

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Art Norman recalls covering a fatal air balloon crash in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Art Norman remembers his investigative coverage of a nuclear power plant in North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Art Norman remembers his experiences at WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Art Norman talks about the founding of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Art Norman remembers joining WMAQ-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Art Norman describes how Oprah Winfrey came to WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Art Norman remembers the election of Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Art Norman talks about Mayor Harold Washington's relationship with the press

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Art Norman remembers the aftermath of Mayor Harold Washington's death

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Art Norman reflects upon the connections between Harold Washington and President Barack Obama

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Art Norman recalls the National Association of Black Journalists' research on the media representation of African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Art Norman remembers covering a shooting at a family court in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Art Norman remembers his journalistic mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Art Norman talks about his coverage of Andrew Wilson's trial

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Art Norman recalls covering the Laurie Dann shooting

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Art Norman remembers his interactions with Mr. T

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Art Norman talks about covering unlawful searches by Cook County sheriff's deputies

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Art Norman remembers an investigation of racial profiling in the Highland Park Police Department

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Art Norman reflects upon his journalistic philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Art Norman remembers Barack Obama's first campaign for the U.S. Senate

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Art Norman remembers the proposal to hire Jerry Springer at WMAQ-TV

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Art Norman talks about his news segment, 'Art Norman's Chicago'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Art Norman remembers John H. Johnson

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Art Norman remembers the death of his first wife

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Art Norman talks about his friendship with President Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Art Norman talks about his relationships with his mentees

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Art Norman remembers covering a Ku Klux Klan rally in Concord, North Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Art Norman reflects upon his experiences as a black reporter in the South

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Art Norman reflects upon his experiences of racism in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Art Norman talks about his favorite news stories

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Art Norman reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Art Norman talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Art Norman remembers meeting Terri Diggs Norman

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Art Norman reflects upon his mentorship of young journalists

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Art Norman describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Art Norman talks about covering unlawful searches by Cook County sheriff's deputies
Art Norman remembers covering a Ku Klux Klan rally in Concord, North Carolina
Transcript
Let's, let's talk about the Cook County [Illinois] sheriff's deputy story--$$Yeah--$$--department story, rather.$$Yeah that's in Dixmoor, Illinois and one of the things that, every year I used to emcee the NOBLE [National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives] banquets, which is a black police officers organization, and I got a call from a group of police officers, sheriff's police officers, and they said, "Something is going on, is rotten in Denmark." "What do you mean?" And he says, "We're having raids in communities and they are strip searching women inside clubs for no apparent reason." I said, "What?" So what we did we got our camera crews out there and we started following the Cook County Sheriff's Office and I was no big fan of Sheriff O'Grady [James O'Grady] for doing this, but they went into a club in Dixmoor with a warrant for--marijuana warrant for someone who was in there, and they strip searched everybody in there including the sister of the mayor [David Johnson] of Harvey [Illinois] who was in there watching the Bulls [Chicago Bulls] game. And the point we were trying to make in our story is the fact that if you had marijuana cigarette in Schaumburg [Illinois], should everybody in that nightclub get strip searched? That only happened in the black community and here's another thing that was very upsetting according to the black police officer that approached me about it he said all the white officers were inside this club, the black police officers were on the perimeter, why? And these police officers were mad and they started leaking documents, I'm not going to use names but they started leaking documents to me showing everything. I got a copy of the warrant, I got everything. They're looking for an outstanding warrant for a guy named John Doe for marijuana, why are you strip searching in plain view of everybody in the nightclub in Dixmoor? Ah, that crossed the line. It was at the time when--$$So they did this in public? People were strip searched--$$Right in public. And at the time O'Grady was running for office and I was on the radio talking about it on WGCI [WGCI Radio, Chicago, Illinois] and V103 [WVAZ Radio, Chicago, Illinois] talking about my story, "Be sure and watch it that night," and who should I get a call--calls in Sheriff Michael Sheahan calls in and he says, "O'Grady ought to be ashamed." I said, "Mr. Sheriff Candidate I can't have this conversation with you. You have to be a listener like everybody else because you're running for office, and let the community talk this out." That's what I said on the air to him. I said, "Listen Michael Sheahan I appreciate you calling in, that means a lot but I need you to back off," (laughter) and he did. He did because it was--he was trying to politicize it. I think it was a fact of life that you can't strip search everybody in a nightclub. And they--they had everybody up against the wall then they started taking mug shots of everybody there in this black club watching the Bulls game that night. You couldn't do that in Schaumburg, no. So I did the investigative report on that with a lot of documents and won the investigative reporter of the year award for that series of reports. It was not just one report, it was over five straight days of these reports. And so it won a lot of accolades from IRE [Investigative Reporters and Editors], the investigative reporters organization (simultaneous).$When you look back on everything you've done to this point in your career is there anything major you would do differently?$$No because even your mistakes you learn from your mistakes. I remember going to a Klan rally--yeah I can't believe that either, but it was one of those things that--I'm in North Carolina and I'm going to a Klan rally and the speaker is David Duke the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan [KKK]. So I'm a wise bud and I said, "I'm going to call the Klan and say, can I do an interview, I'm not going to tell them I'm black." So I say, "Hello David Duke." "Yeah how you doing," he's coming in from Louisiana. I say, "Okay I'm in Charlotte, North Carolina. We are going to come over and meet you Concord [North Carolina] and we'll do a sit down interview where you're going to have the rally." He said, "Oh great, great, what time are you going to get there?" I said, "Two o'clock." "Beautiful." I said, "Oh man," I hang up the phone and said, "Whew what have I done?" See these are the kind of stories I put on my video tape resume that in the next bigger market--love. "What the hell did this Negro--?" Anyway I get, I'm getting to go to their rally and so my camera lady is a camera lady and she's white female. So I said, "Listen Marsha [ph.] when we get up there let me carry the bag." "No, no, that's not your job," and I said, "It's going to look kind of weird." "I don't care, my job is to be a camerawoman." She was trying to make a statement that she didn't want anybody to take--I said, "All right, okay, okay." So I'm getting ready to leave the station then I get a call from the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation]. They said, "Mr. Norman [HistoryMaker Art Norman]," I say, "Yes," he says, "You're going to be out there at the Klan rally today, we got a--this is the FBI and we got a feeling that your civil rights are going to violated." I said, "For real?" He said, "Yeah I just want to let you know if you hear any gun shots immediately fall to the ground, immediately, and tell your camera lady the same thing. We have agents and they've infiltrated the Klan and the Klan rally." So I said, "Okay." "So you just go out there and do the interview like you're going to do it but if you hear shots immediately go to the ground." I said, "Okay." He said, "We'll be out there but you won't see us." I said, "Okay," I hung up the phone I said, "Marsha that was the damn FBI." "Get out." So I called the station manager over there and he said, "Well should we do anything?" And I said, "No, they're going to be out there." So I get out there and as soon as I walk out there, get to the car everybody is like--it's a Klan rally. Everybody's got their sheets on and stuff like that and they're like, "Hey nigger." So I said, "Water on a duck's back, I'm not going to let it bother me," said, "I'm going to walk through this." I walked through all those name calling things and I felt like Jackie Robinson, I know what he felt like all right. So I went through it, got to David Duke he said, "I didn't know you was colored." I said, "Yeah you got me; I'm the same guy you talked to on the phone. You didn't ask me what color I was." He said, "You know what you're absolutely right, and you've got balls to come in here," I said, "Absolutely." So we sat down and did the interview. We did an interview for about a twenty minute interview. They gave me all kinds of awards for that interview but the point is I walked right into the lion's den and wasn't afraid and he had a lot of respect for me. We did a good job--good interview and no easy questions, no powder puff questions. I think I felt a little brave 'cause the FBI--I knew the FBI was somewhere nearby (laughter). But these guys they were drinking, they were drinking liquor, they were getting liquored up and it was getting late. I wanted to get out of there before it got night but the point is it was a hostile environment and I got out of there and I said, "Whew." There are other times--I've seen some (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Did Duke provide any escort for you to leave or (unclear)?$$No just, "Thanks for coming by to see me, can we walk you to the car?" And I said, "No I'm fine I know where, I know where it is." He took a picture with Marsha the lady, he wanted to take a picture of all three of us together, we took a picture of them together, they took a picture and I said, "Fine." I'm still alive (laughter) just one of those things you have to go through you know, it's North Carolina. Wow, it's--things are different in North Carolina, so--but you bring that to the table to your next city or your next town, to your next assignment that you can do that--that you can do that, you can talk to anybody.

Robert Tutman

Cameraman and producer Robert Tutman was born on October 15, 1946 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tutman initially worked as a still photographer until 1968, when he was hired as a cameraman for NBC’s WBAL-TV in Baltimore. In 1970, Tutman moved to CBS Network News in Chicago, Illinois, becoming the company’s first African American cameraman. For the next twenty-five years, Tutman covered national and international news stories for CBS. He also taught as an associate professor at Columbia University in 1973 through the Michelle Clark Minority Fellowship.

From 1995 to 1999, Tutman served as a senior cameraman for Chicago’s WBBM-TV, where he worked on breaking news stories, from hard news to feature pieces, documentaries, special projects and long format programs. In 1996, Tutman established his own production company, and, from 1999 to 2001 he produced fifty half-hour programs and twelve three-hour specials for the Chicago Public Schools. He went on to serve as a producer for Monument City Films in Baltimore from 2001 to 2002; and, in 2003, became a producer for WYCC-TV, a PBS station based in Chicago. Tutman later worked as director of photography for The Africa Channel and as a producer at Chicago Film Works. His film credits include The Providence Effect and Common Enemy.

Tutman’s honors include Emmy Award nominations as well as the Gold Camera Award, which he received during the 1996 Chicago Industrial Film Festival for his work on Common Enemy. He has also served as president of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Robert Tutman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 22, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.261

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/22/2014

Last Name

Tutman

Maker Category
Schools

Coleridge Taylor Elementary School

P.S. 111, Frances Ellen Harper Elementary School

Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts

Baltimore City College

Coppin State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

TUT01

Favorite Season

Any Time I'm Alive

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

Stuck On Stupid.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/15/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Photojournalist and producer Robert Tutman (1946 - ) was the first African American cameraman hired by CBS News, where he served from 1970 to 1999.

Employment

WBAL-TV

CBS Network News

WBBM-TV

Monument City Films

Robert Tutman Productions

WYCC-TV

The Africa Channel

Chicago Film Works

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3116,64:3496,70:4104,77:8588,193:9044,200:25874,548:34031,632:34339,637:34801,645:35109,650:41202,726:44800,772:45448,783:66350,1159:68305,1177:71365,1224:78068,1368:78416,1373:78938,1381:81026,1427:87572,1594:87940,1599:96905,1741:111182,1965:111922,1984:115412,2017:116088,2042:125222,2183:126916,2213:127840,2228:135165,2291:141188,2376:145933,2486:149021,2499:150897,2540:155380,2638:158740,2738:162100,2827:162500,2833:162900,2839:171261,2947:173718,3007:184297,3174:190213,3274:192301,3308:199996,3393:202350,3416:202863,3429:203946,3488:208065,3541:220142,3717:227996,3896:233190,3942:243404,4086:252110,4210:252455,4216:253973,4249:260424,4324:262452,4364:263700,4395:264090,4401:265182,4423:265572,4429:266274,4441:272490,4573$0,0:10415,129:10829,135:11312,146:11588,151:14969,213:15452,221:18737,240:19295,248:25004,307:29247,347:31235,391:31590,398:32513,420:33649,448:55228,762:55543,768:61053,839:77638,1108:82670,1221:84076,1248:93577,1418:94003,1425:96062,1473:105822,1564:109078,1644:119730,1778:120738,1794:121026,1799:124698,1902:126354,1944:130272,1979:133540,2042:143288,2142:143820,2153:144124,2158:145390,2267:166445,2531:172748,2665:183465,2777:184375,2875:190950,3176:230808,3568:233200,3599:262973,3986:266111,4042:266580,4051:266915,4087:277555,4179:278910,4185:289830,4539:302960,4768:303196,4773:303550,4780:305615,4833:308430,4892
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Tutman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Tutman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Tutman describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Tutman talks about his mother's upbringing in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Tutman describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Tutman talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Tutman describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Tutman talks about his brother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Tutman describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert Tutman describes his earliest memory of school

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert Tutman remembers his neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Robert Tutman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Robert Tutman remembers his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Tutman talks about the development of social policies

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Tutman recalls his early frustrations with school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Tutman remembers his influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Tutman remembers learning about Frances Watkins Harper

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Tutman describes his experiences as a Boy Scout

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Tutman describes how he became interested in photography

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Tutman remembers his first professional photography lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Tutman remembers his high school photography club

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert Tutman talks about Baltimore City College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert Tutman recalls his introduction to the photography community

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Robert Tutman remembers working at a Chinese restaurant

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Robert Tutman recalls his decision to attend Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Robert Tutman talks about his decision to complete two extra years of high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Tutman remembers his family's reaction to his delayed high school graduation

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Tutman recalls his decision to leave college and work in a steel mill

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Tutman remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Tutman talks about the African American community in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Tutman recalls his start as a professional cameraman

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Tutman recalls the opportunities for black reporters during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Tutman remembers covering the assassination of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Tutman remembers his hiring as a cameraman for CBS News

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Tutman remembers covering the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Tutman describes Emperor Hirohito's visit to the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Tutman remembers meeting Nelson Mandela

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Tutman recalls his conversation with Rosa Parks

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Tutman talks about his colleagues at CBS News

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Tutman talks about his friendship with Ed Bradley

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Tutman talks about the private personalities of television reporters

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Tutman remembers the election of Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert Tutman recalls covering Walter Mondale's vice presidential campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robert Tutman describes his interviews with Walter Mondale

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Robert Tutman remembers Walter Mondale's intervention on behalf of his grandmother

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Tutman reflects upon his friendship with Walter Mondale

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Tutman describes his involvement with the National Association of Black Journalists, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Tutman describes his involvement with the National Association of Black Journalists, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Tutman talks about DeWayne Wickham

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Tutman remembers leaving the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Tutman talks about the physical demands of newsreel videography

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Tutman reflects upon the changes in management at CBS News

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert Tutman remembers being captured while reporting overseas

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Robert Tutman talks about the dangers of working as a news cameraman

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Robert Tutman talks about challenging the prejudice of white reporters

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Robert Tutman reflects upon his passion for newsreel videography

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Tutman describes his travel schedule as a cameraman

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Tutman talks about balancing his career and personal life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Tutman talks about minimizing his exposure to danger

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Tutman describes the risks of covering events like September 11, 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Tutman talks about his involvement in education

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Tutman describes his work on feature and documentary films

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Tutman remembers his awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Tutman describes his work with The Africa Channel

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert Tutman remembers joining Chicago Film Works

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Robert Tutman reflects upon the changes in video technology

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Robert Tutman talks about his camera preferences

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Robert Tutman describes his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Robert Tutman reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Robert Tutman reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert Tutman reflects upon his relationship with DeWayne Wickham

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Tutman describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Tutman shares his concerns for the future of black journalism

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Tutman talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Tutman reflects upon the importance of practice

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Tutman describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Robert Tutman describes how he became interested in photography
Robert Tutman remembers being captured while reporting overseas
Transcript
Now did you have any particular talents you were cultivating in those days? Were you--were you artistic then?$$Yeah--a photographer, that's the only thing I wanted to do.$$Okay, I mean in, in middle school [Booker T. Washington Junior High School; Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts, Baltimore, Maryland]? I mean, I mean when did photography? I know, I know you did, did you have a camera (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I got hooked on photography, I got hooked on photography in 1954, when I was eight years old.$$Okay.$$And the reason that I got hooked on photography is my cousin Reggie [ph.] was a con man and he's also my best friend at the time but he was older than me and he knew all of these tricks that we did not know. I learned how to count because my cousin Reggie hustled me out of a dime, he came up to me and he showed me a nickel and I had a dime and he said, "Look, I'll trade you the big one for the little one," and so I traded him a dime for a nickel and I came back in the house and I showed my grandfather [Tutman's maternal grandfather, Claude Allen] my nickel, he said, said, "Buck where did you get that from?" I said, "I got this from Reggie." He said, "Well how how'd you get this from Reggie?" I said, "We traded it." He said, "Minnie [Tutman's maternal grandmother, Minnie Magee Allen], the boy can't count," and the next thing I knew I was sitting down learning how to count money.$$So, in terms of the can- photography (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Photography?$$Yeah, how did Reggie--?$$Do you know what sun pictures are by any chance?$$Some pictures?$$Sun, S-U-N.$$Sun, oh--$$Sun pictures.$$--with a pinhole camera?$$No. Sun--well that is another way of sun pictures, but what they used to sale was a little pack of paper than had photosensitive paper in it and negatives. And they would cut black and white negatives out of 35mm movie film, old movie film that they didn't use and stick this in a little package and they'd sell this for a dime. And you'd take this little pack of paper and you take this negative and put it on this pack of paper and sit it out in the sun and you'd make a picture, sun picture. Well, my cousin Reggie knew about this because he was older and so, he said to us, "You give me a dime," back to the dime again, "and I'll show you a magic trick." I said, "Okay," so we go down in the basement he's got this thing setup in the basement and he's got these three trays of magic water setup in the basement and he's got a light and he's got some magic paper and he said, "Now come here, give me your money," everybody give him, everybody gives their money out to Reggie, he said, "Now give me your hand," so he'd put your hand on this piece of magic paper and he'd turn the light on and turn the light off real quick and then he said some magic words over the pap- (makes sound), I don't know what he said, magic. And now you're looking at this paper in the dark, he says, "Now," he says this magic over the water and takes the paper and he sticks it in the water and, and the hand comes up, and I'm, man that was it, done, I was hooked, that's it, I had it, that's what I want to do, magic. So I go back and I try it and it don't work, I take a piece of paper and it just, it, man I said the same words, I did--don't work, he said, "I'm not gone show you my trick." And what had happened is, my uncle Milton [Milton Allen], which was my mother's [Theresa Allen Tutman] brother was a professional photographer and Reggie had found a box of his photo paper back in the basement and Reggie had gone to the store, he got thirty-five cents somewhere and what was called a tri-chem pack, which were three chemicals for thirty-five cents which were photo chemicals 'cause that's how you used to buy chemicals back in the '50s [1950s], you just buy a pack of chemicals, go and mix them up, print a picture--most people that were in photography did their own work. You had your own dar- darkroom, you printed your own pictures, you developed your own negatives, and so that's what he did. And, it was magic and I just, I wanted to take pictures after that so I had a little Brownie Hawkeye and I ran around shooting pictures every chance I could get. That's all I wanted to do was take pictures. I spent hours in the darkroom, hou- I mean every day I was in the darkroom. That's just what I did: I didn't care about school, I didn't care about anything; I just wanted to be in the darkroom taking pictues (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So this is from age eight?$$Oh yeah.$$Okay.$$Magic.$They do it, they did--we had a guy get captured overseas in Iraq, Iran, somewhere, I don't know where it was, might have been in South America, I just forgot where it was and they were being held prisoner and CBS network television hired a team of mercenaries to go in and get this guy out and they went in shooting and got this guy out who was a reporter that was being held prisoner. And when I heard about it, I had just come on board with the company and I got indignant, "How dare you go into a foreign country and, and (unclear) you shouldn't do any, that you don't have any right to do any--wha- what? Are you people--who do you think?" And a guy turns to me, "Hey, if you got captured, we'd come and get your black ass too, so what do you have to say about that?" "Hey man thanks, appreciate it." So, we never had any fear of getting in trouble, we never had any fear of anything happening because we knew that the company would bail us out.$$Now did, did you cover a story at any time, you know, whether it be in the Middle East or Asia, or Central or South--South America, or Africa where you thought you were going to get kidnapped?$$Oh got kidnapped, got captured.$$Okay.$$Yeah, oh sure, that's happened before. I got captured in Cairo [Egypt] when Ansar--Anwar Sadat got killed and when Anwar Sadat got killed he--we went to cover his funeral, so I'm out, I'm taking pictures and I walk out and I'm taking pictures and this guy said, "We told you not to take--." They grabbed us, took the camera, took all our gear, they're holding us--man, I'm like, (makes sound), and now, you know, now they holding us, shit, nobody knows where we are, we don't have any credentials, we don't have any passports, they're holding us, like, shit. So, guy comes in, "Okay, I told you not to take pictures so you're going to be here." "Wait a minute, you didn't tell me anything." "Yes, I did." I said, "Have you ever met a black American before?" He's like, "Well no." I said, "Then if you've never met a black American before, I'm a black American, how could you have told me anything?" The guy was like, "Where are you from?" I'm like, "I'm from Chicago [Illinois]." "Chicago?" He said, "This is--Al Capone," he says, "Al Capone is a friend of mine." I said, "Well he's a friend of mine too." He said, "Man this is friends here, my friend here," and all of a sudden, he and I and Al Capone became friends and he let us go. I said, "Well can I get my camera?" "Yeah, take your camera man that's, we're friends," so because we fr- all friends with Al Capone, I got to go. Now I'm in Nicaragua and we get captured in Nicaragua, so we get captured in Nicaragua, they're holding us and then they're getting ready to let us go, right?$$Now you're being held by the Contras or the Sandinistas [Sandinista National Liberation Front] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Sandinista got us.$$Okay.$$So the Sandis got us and now they going to let us go, they ain't keep us but for two, three days that's all, not a long time. So the guy says, "Okay, strip, take your clothes off." I said, "Take your clothes off? Man, I'm not taking my clothes off." Said, "You got, man it's like--we need everything, we need shoes, we need clothes, we need socks, we need everything you've got and you're going back to your hotel but we gotta have your--." It's about eight of us they had, and, "Strip naked and get outta here." I'm like, "Man, you cannot, you cannot take my clothes, now what--," I said, "let me explain something to you man, six white guys, black guy, if we walk out the jungle naked, the only person's picture that's going to be on the front of Newsweek magazine is me, they're not going to put the naked white guys, they going to put the naked black guy with the camera." The guy looked at me, he looked at them, and he looked at me and we come walking out the jungle, I got all my shit, and walking with six naked white boys (laughter).$$What a story, that's--so now, wa- those the only two times that you got--?$$Those are the only two times that I got captured by people that I didn't think were going to let me go.$$$$Okay, okay but it's, it's, it's then it's a usual thing to be detained or, or (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh man, you get detained--I've been detained by all the ti- I was in Wounded Knee [South Dakota] when they took over the post office at Wounded Knee, the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] grabs us sneaking out and they hold us and questioning you and stuff, "Man go away," you know, "free press," you know, they keep you for two hours, cops will hold you, happens all the time, you don't ev- you know, like they're gonna let you go, I mean like, you're not doing anything, you're not trying to hurt anybody, you know, free speech means a lot to members of the press sometimes. Well used to twenty years ago, I don't know what it's doing now.

John E. Davis

Broadcast journalist and media executive John E. Davis was born on November 3, 1947 in Wichita Falls, Texas to Tommy Christian and Myrtle Donaldson. Davis was raised in Wichita Falls and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1966. He went on to attend Henderson County Junior College in Athens, Texas before transferring to Washington State University, where he received his B.S. degree in broadcast communications in 1970.

Upon graduation, Davis was hired as a news reporter for Fresno, California’s KMJ-TV. In 1977, Davis moved to KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon, where he served as a news reporter and anchor until 1982. Then, for the next twenty years, he worked as a general assignment reporter and later as a weekend anchor for Chicago, Illinois’ WBBM-TV. During his time at WBBM, Davis became the first United States news reporter to interview Nelson Mandela after he was released from prison in 1990. In addition to his work on television, Davis served as a news director and anchor for WVAZ Radio, and has hosted a real estate show on WLS-AM Radio and WIND-AM Radio.

In 2003, Davis founded and served as president of John E. Davis Media, a firm that serves politicians, corporate executives, celebrities and athletes by providing them high-end political consulting, media crisis management and public speaking coaching. Through his media company, Davis has worked on numerous political campaigns, including Scott Lee Cohen for Governor of Illinois; the Terrence J. O’Brien Campaign for Cook County Board President; Howard B. Brookins, Jr.’s Campaign for Cook County State’s Attorney; and Dorothy Brown’s Campaign for Mayor of Chicago.

Davis has earned many honors throughout his career, including a 1988 local Emmy Award for his coverage of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington’s death; an Ada S. McKinley Youth Services Mentor of the Year Award; the Better Communicator Award from the League of Black Women; and a Monarch Award for Outstanding Communicator. He has served as a board member of the Harold Washington Library and of the Greek-American Rehabilitation and Care Centre, and as a charter member of the Saltpond Redevelopment Institute and member of the We Care model program of the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Police Department.

John E. Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.259

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/21/2014

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Edward

Schools

Booker T. Washington Elementary School

Booker T. Washington Junior High School

Booker T. Washington High School

Henderson County Junior College

Washington State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita Falls

HM ID

DAV36

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Thessaloniki, Greece

Favorite Quote

Can't Nobody Hurt You Like Them that Supposed to Love You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/3/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans and Rice

Short Description

Broadcast journalist and media executive John E. Davis (1947 - ) , founder and president of John E. Davis Media, is best known for his Emmy-winning twenty-year career as a reporter and anchor for Chicago’s WBBM-TV.

Employment

John E. Davis Media

WVAZ Radio

WBBM-TV News

KGW-TV News

KMJ-TV News

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John E. Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John E. Davis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John E. Davis talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John E. Davis describes visiting his maternal great-grandmother in Cooper, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John E. Davis talks about his maternal great-grandmother's spirituality and the segregation in Cooper, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John E. Davis talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John E. Davis describes living with his maternal grandparents as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John E. Davis describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John E. Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John E. Davis talks about his stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John E. Davis describes his two childhood homes in Wichita Falls, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John E. Davis talks about his school experience in Wichita Falls, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John E. Davis talks about his decision to attend Washington State University on a football scholarship

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John E. Davis talks about racial dynamics at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington during the late 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John E. Davis recalls conversations with black student union members at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John E. Davis describes studying broadcast journalism at Washington State University during the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John E. Davis talks about reuniting with his father in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John E. Davis describes his and his father's disparate aspirations for a professional football career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John E. Davis talks about the broadcast communications department at Washington State University in the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John E. Davis recalls the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John E. Davis talks about joining the broadcast team at KMJ-TV in Fresno, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John E. Davis talks about working at KMJ-TV in Fresno, California from 1970 through 1977

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John E. Davis describes reporting on the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John E. Davis describes reporting on the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John E. Davis describes interviewing for CBS in Chicago, Illinois in 1982

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - John E. Davis talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John E. Davis details his wife's family history

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John E. Davis talks about the early years of his marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John E. Davis describes the cross-cultural interaction in his home in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John E. Davis talks about working as a reporter for CBS in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John E. Davis recalls one black cameraman's positive reaction to his hiring by CBS in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John E. Davis describes covering Harold Washington's 1983 mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John E. Davis talks about Harold Washington's relationship with black journalists and the media

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John E. Davis talks about the death of Harold Washington and winning an Emmy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John E. Davis describes traveling to South Africa to report on the end of apartheid in 1990

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John E. Davis describes reporting on a February 1990 incident of police violence in South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John E. Davis recalls meeting Nelson Mandela the day he was released from prison in 1990

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John E. Davis describes a series of interviews in South Africa after Nelson Mandela's release from prison

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John E. Davis recalls the end of his career for CBS in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John E. Davis talks about working as a media consultant for Chicago politicians

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John E. Davis talks about the election of HistoryMaker Barack Obama as president of the United States in 2008

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John E. Davis talks about his radio work in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John E. Davis reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John E. Davis talks about lessons he has taught his children and the regrets in his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John E. Davis talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John E. Davis talks about his annual visit to Greece

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John E. Davis narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John E. Davis narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
John E. Davis talks about joining the broadcast team at KMJ-TV in Fresno, California
John E. Davis describes reporting on a February 1990 incident of police violence in South Africa
Transcript
So, in 1968, which is the same year that [Reverend] Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] is assassinated, President [Lyndon Baines] Johnson created the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders [Kerner Commission], which was really indicting the broadcast community for not having, for excluding African Americans in the newsroom and not covering black life. So, this is at the same, so this indictment comes down in the midst of all the other things that are happening in our country while you were in school [at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington] preparing to, to move into broadcast. Were you aware of that and--$$Not at the time no.$$And when it comes time for you to graduate what are the opportunities available to a young black male graduating in broadcast journalism?$$I really didn't think that there was any opportunity. I never even sought it. I was, I had a little group in, in college and we were singing. We had a good time, didn't make much money of course. When I graduated, I went over to Seattle [Washington] in the summer, and I was pursuing a singing career. And we went over to American Recording and we slapped egg cartons against the wall for acoustics and we sang and we sang and we sang and we sang and nothing happened, so I was, was visiting Washington State, the campus, and this guy, [Eugene] Pat Patterson, who was a real mover and shaker in the legislature in Washington state. He asked me to, if I would give a call to a guy in Fresno, California. They were looking to hire an African American their first, but give them a call. This is something that, that you may be interested in. So I did and they agreed to fly me down to Fresno, California, on the hottest day of the world. I was picked up at the airport by a wonderful brother who was the only black cameraman at the time in all of central California named Earl Bradley. Earl Bradley picked me up in a station wagon with no air conditioning, took me to KMJ-TV, channel 24 [later KSEE] in Fresno, and I was interviewed there, went through all the departments, and I was interviewed and came back to the general manager's office after the interviews with the news director and others and his name was John Edwards, a diminutive little man, wonderful human being, knew Chet Huntley, Tippy Huntley, Chet's wife at NBC, and he said to me, "What do you think?" I said, "I like it, I like the place and I like the people. They seem nice." He says, "Well would you take the job?" I said, "Well I don't, I don't know." "Here's what I'mma promise you, said I'mma promise you that we will not embarrass you, ourselves, or the black community if you take this job. We will train you and you will be ever as professional as anybody else. Would you take the job?" I said, "Yeah, oh yeah I'm taking this job," (laughter).$And we, we took off and we went to, to South Africa and we get there and on the very first day that we're in Johannes- arrived in Johannesburg [South Africa], went over to the Carlton Hotel, checked in, went to over to the CBS bureau, got to meet the people there Larry Doyle who was a bu- bureau chief, great guy, and he says, "You guys wanna go out on the streets at all or?" "Well sure." So we, we went out, and he says, "There's a little celebration going on at St. Mary's Church [St. Mary's Anglican Cathedral] in downtown Johannesburg. It's an announcement that they're, they're celebrating the unbanning of the ANC [African National Congress] and other outlawed, you know, organizations." So Randall [Blakey] and I went over there and the people were coming out and they were so joyous, very peaceful, very orderly, but doing the toyi toyi, a little dance that they do--within seconds it seems there was a huge presence of South African police and one guy stepped forward and reading from this little booklet indicating that they were in violation of this particular, this particular law and you have two minutes to break up this illegal assembly, and I'm talking about less than thirty seconds he unleashed holy hell upon these people and a, we have footage of a, a young guy, tall strapping young man in South African police uniform, with the most cherubic face you've ever seen and he turned to be one of the most violent people you have ever seen. He took the barrel of his rifle upside, and he hit this man and killed him. There were three people killed that day in front of us on the first day that we were there for--(simultaneous)--$$Did you film it?$$--doing nothing more than celebrating coming out of a church to cel- celebrate peacefully.$$Did you get all that on film?$$We got it all on film, and when they came to confiscate our footage Randall popped the, the, the housing on the camera where the tape was and gave them the tape and I was incredulous. I said, "Randall why did you do that?" He says, "Just be cool, be cool," and he had actually dropped the original in the trash can and so they had a blank, and when we got back to the bureau Larry Doyle says, and [HM] Carole Simpson was there with ABC. Carole's producer had run off somewhere, but I had pinned her against the wall of the church. I pinned her--$$To protect her.$$--to protect her. She was just totally stunned. She says, "I'll never come back." Of course that mellowed after a few days, but we got back to the bureau and Randall was sitting in his chair and he was just numb and Larry Doyle says, "Well what did you guys see over there?" And we started describing you know how these people came out of the church peacefully and they were just celebrating and then all of a sudden the police came and just unleashed upon them this, this torrent of hate and Larry says and, "So that's not what you saw." And we said, "What do you mean that's not what we saw. We got it on tape." He says, "Look I'm not arguing here. I'm just saying that what you saw is the truth. What the rest of the world will either hear or be reported from the South African government as to what happened," he says, "Read this." He tore off the South African press wire and it says three police office- officers were slightly injured today by a rock and bot- a bottle-throwing mob outside of St. Mary's Church. He says, "That's what, that's the importance of what you shot today. That will negate what they are just saying here. Your footage will offset what they have been saying." No police officers were ever injured. Those people didn't throw anything. They ran. That was our introduction to South Africa and almost every day after that there was some violent occurrence, incident. There was bombings. There were bombings at, at, at bus stations. There were bombings at the ANC building, bombings every single day.$$And were you able to run that footage?$$Oh absolutely, every day.$$And each day?$$I did, I did two stories generally a day from South Africa.$$Did you fear for your life as you were do, running these counter-stories?$$I only, only one time. I made friends with--my father [Felley Donaldson] and mother [Myrtle Donaldson] as domestics always taught us to, to be nice to the people who bring the service. Oh you'll get to meet the kings and the queens, but you'll get to meet them maybe even faster if you're nice to the people who bring the service. So, when we'd had checked into, to the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg, I met these, these bus, these bellmen and these, these, these young guys who carried our luggage up to the room and we invited them to stay and of course they couldn't stay. They were not allowed. So, but they said if you want to talk to us you know come after work and catch the jitney with us to go to Soweto [South Africa]. So, I did one day and it was a great experience. Riding on these jitneys, overcrowded, going to, to Soweto and not knowing how the heck I was gonna get back into Johannesburg at night. That was kind of frightening because I was dropped off probably about six blocks or so from the hotel and I had to walk and of course I got stopped, I got thrown against the wall, all of my belongings were taken out, and when they saw the American passport they called me kaffir and of course I scraped all my stuff and went back to my hotel.$$And you were by yourself at this point?$$By myself. That was the most fearful.

Byron Pitts

Broadcast journalist Byron A. Pitts was born on October 21, 1960 in Baltimore, Maryland to William and Clarice Pitts. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood and was raised by a single mother. Pitts graduated from Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore in 1978 and went on to attend Ohio Wesleyan University, where he received his B.A. degree in journalism and speech communication in 1982.

Pitts first interned at WTVD in Durham, North Carolina. From 1983 to 1984, he reported and served as the weekend sports anchor at WNCT-TV in Greenville, North Carolina. He worked as a military reporter for WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia from 1984 to 1986, and as a reporter for WESH-TV in Orlando, Florida from 1986 to 1988. Pitts then moved to Tampa in 1988, where he became a reporter and substitute anchor for WFLA-TV until 1989. He then joined WCVB-TV in Boston, Massachusetts as a special assignment reporter. His final local job was as a general assignment reporter for WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia from 1994 to 1996. In 1997, Pitts moved to Washington, D.C., where he was hired as a correspondent for CBS Newspath, the 24-hour affiliate news service of CBS News. He was made a CBS News correspondent in May 1998, and was based in the Miami, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia bureaus before moving to New York City in January of 2001. Pitts later became a chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News and a contributor to the newsmagazine 60 Minutes. As a CBS News reporter, Pitts covered the September 11th attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the war in Afghanistan, the military buildup in Kuwait, the Florida fires, the Elian Gonzalez story, the Florida Presidential recount, the mudslides in Central America, and the refugee crisis in Kosovo. In 2013, Pitts left CBS News and was named chief national correspondent and anchor for ABC News, where he covers national news stories and in-depth features for the network, reporting for all broadcasts and platforms including Good Morning America, World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, This Week and 20/20.

Pitts received national Emmy Awards for his coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks and the Chicago train wreck of 1999. His other honors include the 2001 Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, as well as four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards. His book, Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges, was published in 2009.

Pitts lives in New York, New York.

Byron Pitts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 6, 2014 and July 14, 2016.

Accession Number

A2014.210

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/06/2014 |and| 07/14/2016

Last Name

Pitts

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Aubrey

Organizations
Schools

James Mchenry Elementary

St Katharine School

Archbishop Curley High School

Ohio Wesleyan University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Byron

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

PIT33

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

Work hard, pray hard and treat people right good things will happen.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/21/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate Cake

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Byron Pitts (1960 - ) was a chief national correspondent and anchor for ABC News, and earned multiple national Emmy Awards for his work as a CBS News correspondent. He was the author of Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges.

Employment

ABC News

CBS News

Favorite Color

Black

John E. Oxendine

Media executive and entrepreneur John Edward Oxendine was born on January 20, 1943 in New York City, New York. He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1959 and then received his B.A. degree in political science and sociology from Hunter College in 1965. Oxendine went on to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967 to 1973, and, in 1971, earned his M.B.A. degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was awarded the John Hay Whitney Fellowship.

Oxendine worked first as a teacher for the New York City Board of Education, and then as a management advisor for the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. In 1971, he became a management consultant for Fry Consultants in San Francisco, California, and in 1972, was hired as a senior associate by Korn Ferry Associates in Los Angeles, California. From 1974 to 1979, Oxendine worked as an assistant manager at the First National Bank of Chicago, and from 1979 to 1981, served as assistant chief in the Finance Assistant Division of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation. Then, in 1981, Oxendine was named president and chief executive officer of Broadcast Capital Fund, Inc., a venture capital organization that provided assistance to minority controlled communications businesses.

In 1987, Oxendine founded and became chairman and chief executive officer of Blackstar Communications, Inc., a company that acquired, owned and operated commercial television stations. He then formed Blackstar, LLC with Fox Broadcasting in 1994, and purchased Broadcast Capital, Inc. in 1999. Oxendine went on to serve as chairman, president and CEO of both Blackstar, LLC and Broadcast Capital, Inc.

Oxendine served as interim CEO and a member of the board of directors of Equity Media Holdings Corporation from June 2008 until January of 2009. He also served on the boards of Paxson Communications Corporation; Lockhart Companies, Inc.; Medlantic Healthcare Group; Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C.; the Interracial Council for Business Opportunity; the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council; the Monterey Institute of International Studies; the National Capitol Area YMCA; HSN, Inc.; Black Student Fund; the Palm Beach International Film Festival; Adopt-A-Classroom; and the Palm Beach County Film and Television Institute. In addition, he has authored several articles on venture capital and media investing that have been published in the Bar Association Law Journal, Duke University Law Review, Journal of Minority Business Finance, and Sound Management.

Oxendine was inducted into the Hunter College Alumni Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Hall of Fame in 2001. He lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

John E. Oxendine was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 9, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.207

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/9/2014

Last Name

Oxendine

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Edward

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 46 Arthur Tappan School

Jhs 123 James M Kiernan

Bronx High School of Science

Hunter College

Harvard Business School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Harlem

HM ID

OXE01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

1/20/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boca Raton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Media executive and entrepreneur John E. Oxendine (1943 - ) was founder, president and CEO of Blackstar, LLC, and owner, chairman and CEO of Broadcast Capital, Inc.

Employment

Blackstar

Broadcap

Federal Home Loan Bank

First National Bank of Chicago

Korn Ferry

Fry Consultants

Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John E. Oxendine's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his older brother, James Oxendine

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine recalls his childhood with his twin sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes his two younger siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes New York City's Harlem community, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes New York City's Harlem community, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine talks about skipping the fifth grade

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his experiences at P.S. 46 in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine describes his involvement in New York City's Sportsmen gang, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes his involvement in New York City's Sportsmen gang, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes the role of religion in his family

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine describes the role of television and movies during his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes The Bronx High School of Science in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his childhood in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine recalls his enrollment at New York City's Hunter College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John E. Oxendine describes his coursework at Hunter College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his jobs upon dropping out of college

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon his decision to return to college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine remembers studying political science at Hunter College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine recalls his Peace Corps training in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes his time in Chile with the Peace Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his reasons for leaving the Peace Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine describes his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his U.S. Marine Corps training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine remembers the 20th Interrogation and Translation Team, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine remembers the 20th Interrogation and Translation Team, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine recalls interviewing for a position at the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine recalls joining the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine describes his role at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his experiences at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his position at Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine recalls his mentor at Harvard Business School

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon image of African American entrepreneurs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine describes his corporate apprenticeships

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine remembers joining Broadcast Capital Fund Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine talks about the Minority Tax Certificate Program

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his experiences at Broadcast Capital Fund Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon his investments in media properties

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon the impact of Broadcast Capital Fund Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine describes his decision to found Blackstar Communications Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine recalls buying his first two stations for Blackstar Communications Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes the stations acquired by Blackstar Communications Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine recalls his purchase of Broadcast Capital Fund Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine remembers the financial collapse of 2008

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon the future of black entrepreneurs in media

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon his career choices

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine describes his positions at Fry Consultants Inc. and Korn Ferry

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - John E. Oxendine shares his plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - John E. Oxendine describes his business philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - John E. Oxendine describes his hopes and concerns in relation to African American access to media

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - John E. Oxendine shares his thoughts on the sale of BET

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - John E. Oxendine reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - John E. Oxendine talks about his children

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - John E. Oxendine describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - John E. Oxendine describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - John E. Oxendine narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - John E. Oxendine narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
John E. Oxendine describes his experiences at the Harvard Business School
John E. Oxendine recalls buying his first two stations for Blackstar Communications Inc.
Transcript
I want to go to Harvard [Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts] now. Who was, what was your, what was your reaction at Harvard? Who was there? Who were the, how many African Americans were involved in the M.B.A. program at Harvard when you got there and, you know?$$Well it was the beginning of us being at Harvard in any big numbers. I think there were seven hundred and fifty in a class at Harvard. I was the Class of '71 [1971]. I mean, you got there in '69 [1969], two years we graduate in '71 [1971]. So there's Section A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, I was in Section I, one of ten and I suspect out of the seven-fifty, maybe we had thirty or forty blacks and a good percentage of us graduated but it was an extraordinary experience because it was brand new. Yeah, when you first arrived there, instead of having one drink at a cocktail party, they gave you three. Wait a minute, you know. We didn't have to do the reverse, you know. We weren't invited at all and now we're over-invited, you know, and I think, and the attitude was, even among, I think, the faculty, we'll give them a gentleman C and that's it and we're going like, eh, you know what? We are the bell curve, most of us are probably okay, some of us are very bright and some of us are at the end. So our grades ought to reflect that. Don't, we're not looking for a gentleman grade C, and so that had to be changed, you know. Those of us who don't belong and others, those who are doing great, let us know, and those who are in the middle, let us know but don't--$$Just so you think, there's a preconceived notion--$$Yeah.$$--that you're all the same?$$Yeah, so that changed over the years.$$Okay.$$And I was fortunate enough to work for Larry Fouraker [Lawrence E. Fouraker], a Texan, dean of the school of business, took me under his wing. He was a mentor, too, and when he invited me up there, "Well young man, how you going to, where you going to sleep because we're pretty much full in terms of enrollment." I said, "Well in the Marines [U.S. Marine Corps], sir, I could sleep anywhere," and I really meant that. So he liked that, and he kind of took me on his own, he made me his bartender. So whenever there were any events where he had deans of all the schools come, I'd be tending bar, with a couple of other people, and I'd throw the football with his son and I'd get there early and stay late. When you go, "So John [HistoryMaker John E. Oxendine], what you think about today," (laughter) he'd be asking me all these questions. It was almost like 'The Butler,' I swear (laughter), I mean, because he didn't need me as his bartender, you know. He didn't need me to stay late but, but he meant to me, you know, and he was always a great guy. I felt very fortunate and I would ask him to speak to certain events that we had, the, you know, African American Student Union, stuff like that.$$So did the African American students form the student union?$$Um-hm.$$I've heard about that before and--$$Yeah, but sometimes we got a little bit too militant, I'm going like, you know what? You guys are going to have to be a little bit more respectful of Dean Fouraker. Now I'm going to get him to come here but this is not a time for you to be saying, "Yeah, right on brother and I want to," you know, give a plaque for this one for making the discus. Why do we, you know, you got, we got to honor the dean for even coming here, doing this. We can party later on our own, we don't need that here, but this is an opportunity, so it was a whole learning experience. And then, you know, the second year we started to boycott, you know, well that was the first year we decided. We were supposed to take, we played this game and there were like, as I said, ten classes, ten sections, and it'd be like thirty students to a section and so we created an all-black corporation to go against all the rest. We came out number two, though, out of all of them, and the dean's going like, "John, I don't know, man, you changed, you guys are changing things up here, I mean, this is really crazy, you know." The few blacks that are in Section A should stay in Section A, B, B and C, but we did make a difference. He said, "You don't have to do this, man, because your grades are good enough that even if you didn't take a final exam, you're going to be okay," but some of these people, if you mess up, you're not getting your M.B.A. So it was an extraordinary experience and now that I think about it, Dean Larry Foraker was, you know, one of the great mentors I had.$Now the first one, let's, let's start with the first one and just, just walk us through what happened with the first station.$$Okay, two stations (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) How you got it.$$Okay, Bud Paxson [Lowell "Bud" Paxson] had some television stations. He had one in Portland, Oregon, was really, then he wanted to sell it to me for five million [dollars] and he had another one, right up the street from here, WMOD [sic. WBSF-TV; WOTF-TV, Melbourne, Florida], that he wanted to sell for five million dollars. And I think he owned WMOD and he had the ability to, or he was, he could assign the other one in the Portland area to me. So we started a company called Blackstar [Blackstar Communications Inc.] and I started Blackstar and I said, let's name it after Marcus Garvey's steamship lines [Black Star Line] 'cause that's what we did to take us to freedom, even though it came out of New York [New York] port and sank, I liked the symbolism. So this is going to take me to freedom, and Don Thurston [Donald Thurston] said to me, "John [HistoryMaker John E. Oxendine], it's always good to have, row your own boat. You can go on a cruise ship, fantastic, got a lot of fun, the problem is that when the cruise is over, you've got to go home but if you row your own boat, you meet somebody you like, you stay and you say to the big, who are those people, bye, how you going to get home?" I said, "Well, it'll take me a little longer but I'll get there when I get there." Well, I like to paddle my own canoe and so this was a chance to paddle my own canoe and I thought that Marcus Garvey was showing us that with a big boat that sank. So, I put up $55,000 and he put up $45,000. I had 55 percent of the company, he had 45 [percent] and said, "What are we going to do now?" He said, "Well I'm going to put $5 million in as preferred stock, we got common stock, preferred stock is like common stock but it's preferred, it gets paid first. Preferred stock, 5 million at 14 percent, that's 700,000 a year, hm. If you get 10 television stations, only 70,000 per station, 10 times 70,000, so let's shoot to get 10 television stations but I'm going to give you this preferred stock, that's what you're going to pay me plus my 5 million back." "Okay, let me," I didn't like that number, 14 percent and I changed it eventually down to about 9 but I wanted to get in the game. So we had a company, 55, 45, I had 55, he had 45, we had 5 million. Then he said, "You need to get $5 million, 'cause this first $5 million I will buy, you can buy, the company will buy 1 of my stations but you need another 5," so, I said, "Why? Where am I going to get $5 million?" He said, "Go borrow it." "And why would they even lend me 5 million?" I said--he said, "Well 'cause, you're going to have $5 million that you own in one station and if they lend you 5, you can buy another. The bank will have 2 stations, 10 million bucks [dollars], and they only put up 5 million, and I, Bud Paxson, will give you a loan, I will give you an affiliation agreement for 5 years at X number of dollars that will cover your debt service, operations, et cetera." "Let's dance, that's a good deal." I went to the bank and I said, "Banker, could I have 5 million." They said, "Why would I want to give you 5 million?" And I told them the story, he said, "Okay." So I closed on one in '88 [1988] and shortly after the second one and then in '89 [1989], there was an opportunity to get one in Ann Arbor [Michigan]. The first two, WMOD, made that WBSF for Florida, Channel 43, and those in Daytona Beach [Florida] really covers Orlando [Florida], which is a bigger market. And then the one I got in Oregon was for $5 million. That was, you got a--that's a K, KBSP [KBSP-TV; KPXG-TV, Salem, Oregon], for Portland, for 5 million. I didn't think either one of them was worth 5 million when I looked at it but when I got the affiliation agreement from Bud, then it made it all right.

Debbye Turner Bell

Broadcast journalist and veterinarian Debrah Lynn Turner Bell was born on September 19, 1965 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Gussie Turner and Frederick C. Turner, Jr. Raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Turner Bell graduated from Jonesboro High School in 1983. She went on to attend Arkansas State University, where she received her B.S. degree in agriculture in 1986. In 1991, Turner Bell obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In 1989, Turner Bell won the Miss Missouri pageant title. Later the same year, she became the first delegate from the State of Missouri to win the Miss America crown. After winning the title of Miss America, Turner Bell became the national spokesperson for Ralston Purina’s Caring for Pets Program. In 1995, she was hired as a host of the Public Broadcasting Service animal show, “The Gentle Doctor”, and as co-host of KSDK’s entertainment magazine show, “Show Me St. Louis”, where she was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards. From 2001 to 2003, Turner Bell worked as an on-air contributor to CBS networks’ “The Early Show”, and from 2003 until 2012, she served as a staff correspondent for CBS News. In 2013, she was hired as an anchor for Arise News.

Turner Bell has hosted “48 Hours on WE” and appeared on Animal Planet's “Cats 101” and “Dogs 101” series. She has also hosted the Miss Missouri, Miss Florida, and Miss Georgia pageants, and was a Miss America Pageant judge in 1997 and 2011. Turner Bell has appeared as a guest on numerous television programs including “The Late Show with David Letterman”, “Oprah”, and the “Today” show. In addition, she has served as a motivational speaker for over twenty years.

Turner Bell’s honors include the University of Missouri - Columbia, Black Alumni Organization's Distinguished Alumni Award; the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the College of Agriculture, Arkansas State University; Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and the First Place award for Outstanding Reporting from the New York Association of Black Journalists. In 1998, she was named a Distinguished Alumna of Arkansas State University, where she established the Debbye Turner Scholarship and the Gussie Turner Memorial Scholarship. Turner Bell received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in October of 1994.

She has served on local, state and national boards, including the Children’s Miracle Network, the National Council on Youth Leadership, the Missouri Division of Youth Services, the Mathews-Dickey Boys Club, and the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council as part of the National Institutes of Health. She served as director of the Consortium of Doctors from 1994 to 1995.

Turner Bell lives in the New York City area with her husband and daughter.

Debbye Turner Bell was interviewed by “The HistoryMakers” on August 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.229

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/12/2014

Last Name

Turner Bell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lynn

Schools

University of Missouri

Arkansas State University

Jonesboro High School

Douglas MacArthur Junior High School

East Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Debrah

Birth City, State, Country

Honolulu

HM ID

BEL07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Hawaii

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/19/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pepperoni pizza and thanksgiving dinner

Short Description

Broadcast journalist and veterinarian Debbye Turner Bell (1965 - ) is a motivational speaker and anchor for Arise News. In 1989, she became the first delegate from the State of Missouri to win the title of Miss America.

Employment

Arise News

CBS News

Self Employed

DOGS 101/CATS 101 Television Shows

48 Hours on WE

CBS Networks' "The Early Show"

"ShowMe St. Louis"

PBS "The Gentle Doctor"

Ralston Purina's Caring for Pets Program

Miss America 1990

Dillard's Department Store

Safeway Food Store

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Debbye Turner Bell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her mother's effort to find her biological father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her great aunt, Gussie Lee Jones Turner's, domestic work in Kennett, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her paternal family ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell describes spending time at her paternal great-grandparents' farm in South Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about the history of Juneteenth and her great-great grandparents' freedom

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Debbye Turner Bell talks briefly about the farmland her uncle inherited from her great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Debbye Turner Bell describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell describes growing up with a parent in the military and her father's teaching appointment at Arkansas State University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers staying with her aunt while her father was serving in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her father's experience in the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her parents' divorce and co-parenting

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell describes home life, including her mother's taking in of mental health patients and Thursday night Bible study group

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about competing for her mother's attention as a girl

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood neighborhood in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about developing a relationship with her older sister after the death of their mother in 1990

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Debbye Turner Bell explains the unconventional spelling of her name

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Debbye Turner Bell describes wanting to be a veterinarian and volunteering in a veterinary clinic

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her houseful of pets

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her grade school years in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell describes growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers discussing race and current events at home

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her racially integrated friend group

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her experiences in both St. Paul A.M.E. Church and Carter Temple CME Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her acceptance of Christianity and learning to read the Bible

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell describes how she first got involved in pageants

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her experience in the Southern pageant circuit

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell describes entering the Miss Arkansas pageant three times and placing first runner-up twice

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about Vanessa Williams winning the Miss America title in 1984

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers the statement she made about her racial identity at her first press conference as Miss America

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers an article written about her by HistoryMaker Lynn Norment for Ebony magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about being the first brown-skinned African American winner of the Miss America pageant

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell describes attempting to address a controversial statement she made at the Miss America press conference

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about differences between Miss America and Miss USA and describes how she financed pageant competitions

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about body type and typecasting in beauty pageants

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell describes the Miss America pageant scholarship prizes

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell describes differences in the contemporary Miss America pageant

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about controversy in the Miss America and Miss USA pageants

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Debbye Turner Bell describes winning the Miss America title in 1990, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Debbye Turner Bell describes winning the Miss America title in 1990, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell describes Miss America's yearlong responsibilities

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell remembers appearing on the David Letterman Show

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her platform as Miss America and finishing her degree in veterinary medicine after giving up the title

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about her first job out of veterinary school as the spokesperson for Ralston Purina's Caring for Pets program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell explains how she got started in broadcast television anchoring 'Show Me St. Louis,' an entertainment show in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell describes meeting her husband and getting married, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Debbye Turner Bell describes meeting her husband and getting married, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Debbye Turner Bell explains how she got to CBS Networks' 'The Early Show' as an on-air contributor and resident veterinarian

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Debbye Turner Bell explains why she left the CBS network in 2012

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Debbye Turner Bell explains how she was hired as an anchor for the global cable network, Arise News

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Debbye Turner Bell describes the mission of global cable network, Arise News

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Debbye Turner Bell considers her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about parenting

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Debbye Turner Bell considers her regrets

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Debbye Turner Bell shares her advice for the up-and-coming generation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her experience as an anchor-reporter on 'Show Me St. Louis'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Debbye Turner Bell describes learning to be a broadcast journalist at 'Show Me St. Louis'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Debbye Turner Bell describes her experience on CBS', 'The Early Show' and talks about the advantages and disadvantage of its number three time slot

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Debbye Turner Bell talks about traveling as a reporter for Arise News

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Debbye Turner Bell describes lessons from her career in broadcast journalism

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Debbye Turner Bell narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Debbye Turner Bell describes her experience in the Southern pageant circuit
Debbye Turner Bell remembers the statement she made about her racial identity at her first press conference as Miss America
Transcript
So the journey of being in these pageants as a smart young women who didn't necessarily buy into the pageantry of it, what was your journey? How did you experience going from contest to contest?$$What you first have to understand is not only was I in a pageant, The Miss America System, I was in the Miss America System in the South. And pageants to this day are a big, you know, bouffant business. And there were girls who were born, bred, and burped to be Miss Somebody, so I entered the system with, you know, no preconceived notions of a it would be like and no investment really in whether or not it affected my life. It was just something fun to do, win some scholarship money. And I entered with these girls who had been raised for this. And so first it served as a challenge because now in some ways, I'm in a foreign land. So now, I've got to learn a new language and a new way of being. You know, I didn't wear makeup, I barely wore dresses and I wasn't really a tom girl, just wasn't bothered with those things. So it was a challenge for me just to sort of figure out the game and to beat the others who had been playing it for a long time. So at first that's sort of what it was, it was just a game to me. And it took I believe three tries for me to win a local. I went to the Miss Arkansas pageant for the first time, again, this is a big hairy deal. And most girls on their first time don't do anything. I made the top ten and that got people's attention. And I remember one of the pageant people saying, "You really have potential. If you would actually apply yourself, you could do very well." So that was the first time it ever entered my mind that maybe I could excel at this, maybe I could be Miss America. So I set about to win another local to take me back to Miss Arkansas. It took a couple tries, went back to Miss Arkansas the second time and I got first runner-up, which again, big deal for a second try. And then I was told, if you can just win a state pageant, you will be Miss America. And that was when I set as my sight to be Miss America, it was no longer just about the scholarship. I'd learned more about the system; who this organization is; who Miss America is, what she does. I was like, oh that would be kind of cool.$I will tell you though, my aspiration to be Miss America was not connected to Vanessa [Williams] in any way, I was already involved in pageants by the time she won and I already had my own reasons for wanting to be there and wanting to win. So much so, that when I won, the first thing that Miss America does as Miss America, is goes into her first official press conference. There were dozens if not more than a hundred members of the press from around the world in the pressroom. And I remember after I walked the runway and waved and, you know, all the girls surround the winner and, you know, was congratulated and hugged by all my fellow contestants. The head of the Miss America Pageant at that time, Leonard Horn said, "I'm gonna walk you to your press conference. They're gonna ask you all kinds of things. We don't limit what you can talk about. You can say whatever you want to say; you can talk about whatever you want to talk about, but as an attorney"--because he was---"let me just caution you, what you say can and will be held against you." And I was so high on just winning Miss America, "Okay." And I, you know, I walk in, the flashbulbs go off. And it's important to understand, a part of competing for Miss America is preparing for a private, job-style interview. The most rigorous questioning I've ever endured. And so I knew how to answer questions. That's a part of what helped me win the pageant. So I didn't feel any intimidation, I felt like I was fully prepared for this because that's part of the competition. They want to know can you handle this. I was not prepared for the very first question. Second question, the first one was how did--what were you thinking when you walked down the runway? Second question. "How does it feel to be a representative for little black girls out there as the new Miss America?" I'd never thought of myself in that way. I was just this veterinary kid who wanted to pay for her education, from Arkansas. And while I was very aware of my ethnicity growing up, it didn't define me and I was caught of guard and I gave a poor answer. I said, "Being black is not everything that I am, it's just a part of who I am." And I went down, "I'm a veterinarian--or I'm a veterinary student, I play the drums, I was raised by a single--"I mean I went down this list of the things that define me and again I said it, "It's just part of who I am." And the next question came. As you might imagine, that didn't go over well with many members of the African American community, because what I didn't get in my youth at that time, was the significance of the achievement coming after Vanessa. We had a shot, didn't go so well, I was the next shot. And I only saw it as it related to me, not as the significance in society. And I spent a lot of my year explaining that statement.

Sandra Hughes

Journalist Sandra Hughes was born on October 18, 1946 in Durham, North Carolina. While her biological father was Alexander Cotton, she was raised by her mother Alice Marie Amis Daye, a housekeeper, and her stepfather Charlie Alfred Daye, an auto mechanic. Hughes graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1964 and went on to attend North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she earned her B.S. degree in English education in 1969.

Hughes worked briefly as a technical publications editor for Western Electric upon graduating, but was hired in 1972 as a general assignment reporter by WFMY-TV in 1972. She became the first African American woman to host her own daily talk show in the Piedmont, in 1974, with Sandra and Friends. In 1976, she was the first female broadcaster invited to participate in the European Communities’ Visitors Program. Hughes was the first African American woman in the Southeast to host the nationally syndicated PM Magazine, in 1978. She joined Lee Kinard in hosting the Good Morning Show in 1985. That same year, Hughes was appointed manager of WFMY-TV’s community affairs department, where she started the “2 Those Who Care” initiative in 1989. In 1990, Hughes returned to the newsroom as the 6 p.m. evening news anchor. She spearheaded the Minority Broadcast Development Program in 1992. Hughes retired from WFMY-TV in 2010, and began teaching at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University the following year as an adjunct professor of journalism.

Hughes received the Edward R. Murrow award for news reporting from the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce in 1981, and was the first African American in the Piedmont to receive the award. She was recognized by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1995 as a Distinguished Alumnus. In 2002, she received the North Carolina Governor’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine, and July 24th of that year was proclaimed “Sandra Daye Hughes” Day by the Guilford County Commissioners. She has won multiple “Best of Gannett” awards for news anchoring and specific programs, and was named an “Unsung Hero” by the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in 2006. Hughes was given the Sojourner Truth Award by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. in 2009, and the newsroom at WFMY-TV was renamed “The Sandra Daye Hughes Information Center” the following year. Also, in 2010, The National Academy of Television Art & Sciences inducted Hughes into the Silver Circle, the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters inducted her into the Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame, and she received an honorary doctorate of humanities from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, her alma mater. Hughes received the Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists in 2014.

Hughes lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband. She has two children and two grandchildren. Hughes had a third child who passed away in 1984.

Sandra Hughes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 13, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.181

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/13/2014

Last Name

Hughes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Marie

Schools

Our Lady Of The Miraculous Medal School

Notre Dame High School

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sandra

Birth City, State, Country

Durham

HM ID

HUG07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

The Beach

Favorite Quote

Never Give Up.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

10/18/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Greensboro

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tomatoes

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Sandra Hughes (1946 - ) was the first African American female talk show host in the Piedmont region and the first African American woman to host PM Magazine in the Southeast.

Employment

North Carolina A&T State University

WFMY-TV

Western Electric Company

Kmart

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sandra Hughes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sandra Hughes lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sandra Hughes describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sandra Hughes remembers her mother's personality, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sandra Hughes describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sandra Hughes describes her stepfather's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sandra Hughes describes her early family life

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sandra Hughes remembers her mother's personality, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sandra Hughes lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sandra Hughes describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sandra Hughes describes the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal School in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sandra Hughes recalls her early experiences of bullying

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sandra Hughes describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sandra Hughes remembers her favorite television shows

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sandra Hughes recalls her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sandra Hughes remembers the sit-ins at Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sandra Hughes describes the segregation of Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sandra Hughes remembers the sit-ins at Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sandra Hughes remembers witnessing discrimination against her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sandra Hughes describes her experiences at Notre Dame High School in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sandra Hughes describes her experiences at Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sandra Hughes recalls her audition for the Richard B. Harrison Players

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sandra Hughes recalls her husband's conscription into the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sandra Hughes describes her position at the Western Electric Company

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sandra Hughes remembers the Greensboro uprising of 1969

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sandra Hughes talks about her husband's military service in Vietnam

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sandra Hughes describes how she came to work for WFMY-TV in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sandra Hughes describes her role as a reporter at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sandra Hughes recalls the threats against her as a black woman broadcast journalist

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sandra Hughes talks about balancing her career and family

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sandra Hughes describes her talk show, 'Sandra and Friends'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sandra Hughes recalls the celebrity guests on 'Sandra and Friends'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sandra Hughes describes the WFMY-TV show, 'PM Magazine'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sandra Hughes describes the European Community Visitors Program

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sandra Hughes remembers the Greensboro massacre

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sandra Hughes recalls the death of her youngest son, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sandra Hughes recalls the death of her youngest son, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sandra Hughes remembers the WFMY-TV helicopter crash

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sandra Hughes talks about her position on WFMY-TV's 'Good Morning Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sandra Hughes recalls becoming an evening news anchor at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sandra Hughes describes her awards and honors

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sandra Hughes talks about the Minority Broadcast Development Program at WFMY-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sandra Hughes remembers the stories she covered at WFMY-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sandra Hughes reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sandra Hughes describes her hopes for the African American community in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Sandra Hughes reflects upon her career

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Sandra Hughes talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Sandra Hughes talks about the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Sandra Hughes describes her teaching position at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Sandra Hughes describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Sandra Hughes talks about her award from the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sandra Hughes narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sandra Hughes narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$2

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Sandra Hughes describes her talk show, 'Sandra and Friends'
Sandra Hughes recalls her early experiences of bullying
Transcript
So I went into the TV station [WFMY-TV, Greensboro, North Carolina] after about two years, and I told the general manager, I said, "I, I just don't think I can do this anymore." I said, "I need to have a nine to five [o'clock] kind of job, in an office," da, da, da, da, da, da. And he says, "Well, what do you want to do? If you--we want you to stay here. What do you want to do?" And I said, "I'd like to do a talk show." And he said, "A talk show?" I said, "Yeah." And he said, "What kind of talk show?" He said, "Go, go do one, show me what it looks like." I was so excited. So I went and put together this little thirty minute show. I invited a lady that I know that has a modeling agency and all this kind of stuff and we set up a little set there in the studio and I interviewed her and I was just, I mean, I'll tell you, it was like somebody says, you can have Christmas every day. And I went back and showed it to him and he said, "Okay, we'll do that," and I thought, god, are you serious? And so, every day, from 1:00 to 1:30 'Sandra and Friends' was on the air and that's the most fun I ever had in TV. For one thing, I could do anything I wanted to do. I could interview the mayor, I could interview the homeless guy, I could, anything, it was all up to me. Now I had to do all the work. I had to do the producing and the writing and, but, but I just, I was having a ball and I'd bring my little girl, by that time she was toddling around, you know, and she'd stand and look at the lights and I was saying, "Look at the camera, honey, look," and she'd be looking all over, and--the one whose husband [Christopher Harris] was just here a little bit ago. And that's when the real ugliness started. That's when the bomb threat started, when people would call in and say there is a bomb in that studio and it's going to go off, you know, such and such a time. Well, of course, they'd call the police and here come the police and the bomb squad and the drug sniffing and bomb sniffing dogs and they'd take all of the guests out of the studio, everybody in the whole TV station had to evacuate but I said, you know, doggone it, I've gone this far, I'm not going to leave. So I would sit there, like this in front of the camera and I would say, "Well, today is Wednesday and we're going to be talking, sometime this week, to a lady who's having a community event and that money's going to raise money for children who have, don't have money to buy school supplies." And I would just talk for thirty minutes, until the show was over. So after about a year and a half of that, I think the people who were calling in the threats thought, lord, if we have to sit and listen to her talk again for thirty minutes--let's not call in anymore bomb threats. Then they started threatening my daughter. That got me. They would call and say, and would wait 'til I got on the show at one o'clock, they'd call in and say that, Tiffany [Tiffany Hughes Harris] is her name, that Tiffany had been hurt in a fieldtrip accident and that she was at the hospital and I need to get there right away. And then, you know, it's that she's been in an accident, it was all kind of horrible things that they would call and say about her. Well at that, after me--$$Just trying to disrupt the show, trying to get you to leave (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, trying to get me to get off that TV, and I went the first time, but it was nothing. So after that, when those calls would come in, other people in the TV station now, two or three of 'em in particular, would take, they would take the call, they'd take off to the daycare, which was only about a mile down the street from where we were to see if she was there or find out what was going on and then when I'd get off the air at 1:30, they'd say, "Well, got one of those calls today." I said--you know, but they, they were trying to help me stay, stay on there, but that's when I said, that's it, you know, hurt me, scare me, attack me but not my little baby. So I said, I just won't do this anymore. My husband [Larry Hughes, Sr.] and, you know, I was telling you all my family was here, he's from here so his parents and his brothers and sisters, and he had nine of them, and my mother [Alice Amis Daye] and brothers and sisters, everybody came and said, "Do you like what you're doing?" I said, "Yes, I have a--now I have a passion for TV." They said, "Do you want to keep doing it?" "Yes, I want to keep doing it." "Well, this is what we're going to do. We're going to develop a safety net around you so you can't fall. We're going to keep our eyes on the baby, keep our eyes on your house, your car, you, your husband, everybody. So if something happens, really happens, you'll get a call from me, mommy, auntie or whatever, cousin, that says, 'Yeah, you need to come home' or, 'You need to do whatever.'" And they said, "So, go, go do it." And that, it's almost like that put wings on me. Then I just really started enjoying what I was doing because I thought I've got these people who, who've got my back. And the people in the TV station had started rallying too. You know, like I said, they would go run and see about something that they heard and wouldn't, wouldn't tell me about it. When we'd go, let's say if a bunch of us went out to lunch or out to dinner or something, it's, the guys almost treated me like they were bodyguards, you know, watching (laughter) and making sure nobody did anything. So from that point on, you know, I just, I just, I fell more and more and more in love with television.$I liked to write poems and stories and I used to love to tell stories. I mean that was just, I'll never forget coming home at night and we'd all gather in the kitchen because that was the warmest room in the house and my mother [Alice Amis Daye] was cooking and I'd sit there and just tell--I'd entertain the family, telling stories, telling jokes, making up things to tell and my dad [Hughes' stepfather, Charlie Daye] would laugh so hard, tears would run down his face and he said, "This girl, I'll tell you, I'm going to drive her to California so she can be on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'" (laughter).$$When 'Ed Sullivan' was in New York [New York].$$Yeah, but he said California and I thought, I believed him.$$What a waste of gas. So, what were some of your stories? (Unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, I'd tell stories about things that happened in school [Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal School, Greensboro, North Carolina] that day and I'd always try to make them funny. We had a lot of bullies in school and that wasn't funny but I would try to turn it into a funny story about how one day two of the girls, the head bullies, told my sister, who was about fourteen months younger than I am, they says, "Today, we're going to beat you up and so you meet down in the park," there's a park next to the school, "meet us at the park so you can get your beating this afternoon." Well, I was sort of a timid child and I was just scared to death and I said to my sister, "You're not going." She says, "Oh, yes, I am." She was almost, a lot braver than me. And so, all day long, I kept thinking, gosh, I can't let her go by herself because then mother's going to get me when I get home for letting her do that. So, my best friend, Ann Mitchell [ph.], says, "Why are you so upset?" And I said, "'Cause Faye's [Hughes' half-sister, Faye Daye Kahn] getting beat up today down in the park." And I said, "And I don't know what to do." And she says, "Well I don't either but I'll go with you." And so then, Ann's cousin was there and she said to Ann, "What's wrong with you?" And she said, "Well, Sandra's sister, Faye, is going to get beat up at the park today and I've got to go with her 'cause Sandra's [HistoryMaker Sandra Hughes] scared to go." And so then the cousin says, "Well, okay, I'll go with you." And so then the cousin told her best friend, Vicky Adams [ph.], "Faye's getting beat up at the park today, so I'm going to go with Ann and Ann's going to go with Sandra and Sandra's going to think--." And so Vicky said, "Well, I'll go with you." And so, when we showed up at the park that afternoon, we had this big entourage of people and the two girls, who didn't expect that, said to my sister, "Well, we'll just get you another day." So (laughter) (makes sound), thank goodness. And my, my baby brother, the youngest one, was in a nursery school across the street from our school and we'd have to go and pick him up and, and run home with him, run, because, since we lived in the housing projects [Morningside Homes, Greensboro, North Carolina], we wore uniforms. We had a navy blue jumper with a white puff sleeved blouse, white socks and brown tie up shoes, the Buster Brown shoes, and my brothers [Hughes' half-brothers, Charles Daye and Michael Daye] had to wear navy blue trousers, a long sleeve shirt and a blue necktie. Well, if we walked down through public housing in that getup, we'd have rocks thrown at us, sticks, we'd get pushed and, you know, because we were weird. We just looked weird to them. So we got out of school about ten or fifteen minutes before the public schools got out so, I, we'd run across the street, grab my little brother, I'd put him on my hip and we'd take off home as fast as we could to get home to take these uniforms off, and that was tough. And my sister did get in lots of scrapes 'cause she'd get home and her sleeve was torn off and (laughter), and she would drag her toes of her shoes on the sidewalk as we're walking so her shoes were all scuffed up, but I'll tell you, when we woke up the next morning, those shoes would be shined, standing tall, sleeves sewn back onto the shirt and my mother said, "'Cause you're going to that school" (laughter), okay, that was that.

Ed Gordon, III

Broadcast journalist and talk show host Edward Lansing Gordon III was born on August 17, 1960 in Detroit, Michigan. His father, Edward Lansing Gordon, Jr., was a school teacher and a gold medalist in the 1932 Summer Olympic Games; his mother, Jimmie, was also a teacher. Gordon graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1978 and received his B.A. degree in communications and political science from Western Michigan University in 1982.

Gordon first worked as a production assistant for WTVS in Detroit, Michigan from 1983 to 1985. In 1986, he was hired as host of the weekly talk show, Detroit Black Journal. That same year, Gordon became a freelance journalist for Black Entertainment Television (BET) and in 1988, was named anchor of the weekly program BET News, which covered African American social issues and popular culture. In 1996, he joined NBC News as a contributor to Dateline and Today and hosted the MSNBC talk show Internight. Gordon also became the first journalist to interview former National Football League star O.J. Simpson since Simpson was acquitted of murder in 1995. In addition, he has interviewed Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, R. Kelly, Jamie Foxx, Halle Berry, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Senator Trent Lott, Steve Harvey, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson, among others.

In 2001, Gordon took over as host of the nightly news program, BET Tonight. He became a correspondent for the CBS News program 60 Minutes II in November 2004, and began hosting a daily public affairs program on National Public Radio called News & Notes in 2005. Gordon was then named host of the syndicated talk show Our World with Black Enterprise in September 2006, and returned to BET in 2010 as host of Weekly with Ed Gordon. He subsequently founded Ed Gordon Media, a multi-service production company, where he serves as president, and became host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated Conversations with Ed Gordon and Weekend with Ed Gordon.

Gordon has received an Emmy Award, the Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, and an NAACP Image Award. He was named to People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” list in 1996, and was nominated to the Alumni Academy of the Western Michigan University School of Communication in 2006. Also, in 2009, Gordon established Daddy's Promise, a nonprofit that celebrates the bond between African American men and their daughters.

Gordon is married to Leslie Gordon. He has one daughter, Taylor, and two stepchildren, Stephen and Landon.

Ed Gordon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 24, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.149

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/24/2014

Last Name

Gordon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lansing

Organizations
Schools

Cass Technical High School

Western Michigan University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

GOR07

State

Michigan

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

8/17/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Short Description

Broadcast journalist and talk show host Ed Gordon, III (1960 - ) was president of Ed Gordon Media and host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated Conversations with Ed Gordon and Weekend with Ed Gordon. He has also hosted numerous other shows, including BET News, BET Tonight, NPR’s News & Notes, Our World with Black Enterprise, MSNBC’s Internight, and BET’s Weekly with Ed Gordon.

Employment

WTVS

"Detroit Black Journal"

Black Entertainment Television

BET News

NBC News

BET Tonight

CBS News

National Public Radio

"Our World with Black Enterprise"

Ed Gordon Media

"Conversations with Ed Gordon"

"Weekend with Ed Gordon"

Lyne Pitts

Television executive and journalist Lyne Johnson Pitts was born on December 12, 1954 in Washington, D.C. She attended the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and graduated from Stanford University with her B.A. degree in communications in 1976.

Upon graduation, Pitts was hired as an editor for the Ravenswood Post in East Palo Alto, California. From 1977 to 1978, she worked as a writer at KPIX-TV, the CBS owned station in San Francisco. Pitts went on to serve as a writer and producer at KTLA-TV from 1978 to 1980 and at CBS’s KNXT (now KCBS-TV) from 1980 until 1984. She was then hired by CBS News in 1984 as a broadcast producer for the CBS Morning News. She served as a producer for CBS News Sunday Morning and the CBS News weekend broadcasts in 1987, and then as senior producer and producer of 48 Hours from 1987 to 1996. In 1996, Pitts was named executive producer of "The Class of 2000", a four-year ongoing project of CBS News. During this period, she also served as executive producer of "Before Your Eyes," a series of critically acclaimed CBS News primetime specials. Pitts was then appointed as executive producer of the CBS Evening News weekend broadcasts in 1997, and was promoted to executive producer of CBS’s The Early Show in December 1999. In 2003, she moved from The Early Show to senior broadcast producer of CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.

Pitts left CBS News in 2004 and was hired as executive producer of NBC News’ Today, Weekend Edition in February of 2006. In 2007, Pitts was named vice president of strategic initiatives for NBC News, where she worked until 2009. Then, after briefly serving as head of U.S. operations for Nduka Obaigbena’s Arise News, she was named The Root’s interim managing editor in September of 2013. She took on the permanent role of The Root managing editor in February of 2014. Pitts also serves as chief executive officer of BLP Productions LLC and of Maltese Productions, Inc.

Her honors include several national Emmy Awards and the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. She is married to ABC News chief national correspondent Byron Pitts. Together they have six children.

Lyne Pitts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 19, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.209

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/19/2014

Last Name

Pitts

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Emma Willard School

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lyne

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

PIT32

State

District of Columbia

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/12/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Short Description

Television executive and journalist Lyne Pitts (1954 - ) was managing editor of The Root, served as NBC News’ vice president of strategic initiatives from 2007 to 2009, and worked as a producer at CBS News for over twenty years. Her honors include several Emmy Awards.

Employment

Ravenswood Post

KPIX-TV

KTLA-TV

KCBS-TV

CBS News

NBC News

Arise News

The Root

BLP Productions LLC

Maltese Productions, Inc.

Art Fennell

Broadcast journalist Art Fennell was born and raised in Bennettsville, South Carolina. One of twelve children, he graduated from South Carolina State University with a communications degree.

Fennell began his broadcasting career as a radio announcer in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He went on to work in on-air positions at The South Carolina Educational Television Network; WBTW-TV in Florence, South Carolina; WCBD-TV in Charleston, South Carolina; WSAV-TV in Savannah, Georgia and WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia. Fennell then moved to WCAU NBC-10 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he served in various roles, including as anchor, reporter, host and producer. He was subsequently named principal anchor and managing editor for CN8 News on the Comcast Network based in Philadelphia, and hosted the nightly 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. From 2006 to 2014, CN8-TV aired “Art Fennell Reports,” where Fennell was executive producer and anchor.

Fennell has also served on special assignments for TV-ONE and led the network’s live national coverage of “The Michael Jackson Memorial” from Los Angeles, “The Democratic National Convention” from Denver, “Election Night 2008” from Chicago, and the historic “Inauguration of President Barack Obama” from Washington, DC. In addition, he taught as an adjunct communications professor at Delaware State University.

Fennell served as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) from 1995 to 1997. He also served on the boards of UNITY: Journalists of Color and the NABJ, as well as president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, and founding president of the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals. In 2001, he founded The Arthur Fennell Foundation, which is committed to raising funds and awareness to assist community based organizations dealing with disease, education and prevention in diverse, under-served populations.

Throughout his career, Fennell has been honored with more than seventy-five awards, including the prestigious Vanguard Award presented by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. He also received the 2009 “Journalist of The Year Award” for his work in the Philadelphia region and the 2006 Emmy Award for “Outstanding News Anchor” in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Art Fennell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.173

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/12/2014

Last Name

Fennell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Blenheim High School

South Carolina State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Arthur

Birth City, State, Country

Bennettsville

HM ID

FEN01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa, The Caribbean, West Coast, South

Favorite Quote

I Hope The Good News Is Yours.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

1/10/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Art Fennell (1961 - ) was a principal anchor and managing editor for CN8 News, and served as executive producer and anchor of CN8-TV’s 'Art Fennell Reports' from 2006 to 2014. He was president of the National Association of Black Journalists from 1995 to 1997.

Employment

Comcast NBC Universal

WCAU

WAVY

WSAV

WCBD

WBTW

SC ETV

Fennell Media

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Art Fennell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Art Fennell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Art Fennell describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Art Fennell describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Art Fennell talks about his maternal grandparents' life in South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Art Fennell describes his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Art Fennell talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Art Fennell describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Art Fennell describes his paternal grandfather's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Art Fennell talks about his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Art Fennell remembers his family's ghost stories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Art Fennell talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Art Fennell describes his father's occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Art Fennell describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Art Fennell lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Art Fennell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Art Fennell remembers the tornado that destroyed his home, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Art Fennell remembers the tornado that destroyed his home, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Art Fennell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Art Fennell remembers Blenheim High School in Blenheim, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Art Fennell remembers the ginger ale factory in Blenheim, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Art Fennell remembers the integration of Blenheim High School in Blenheim, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Art Fennell describes his early interests

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Art Fennell recalls his decision to attend South Carolina State College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Art Fennell recalls his start in the broadcasting industry

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Art Fennell remembers working at WDIX Radio in Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Art Fennell talks about Max Robinson

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Art Fennell recalls the newscasters of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Art Fennell talks about his influential professors

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Art Fennell remembers studying under Eloise Usher Belcher

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Art Fennell recalls his start as a photographer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Art Fennell talks about the civil rights history of Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Art Fennell remembers his training at SCE-TV in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Art Fennell describes the lack of African American politicians in South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Art Fennell remembers Armstrong Williams

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Art Fennell describes his experiences at WBTW-TV in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Art Fennell remembers anchoring at WSAV-TV in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Art Fennell remembers moving to WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Art Fennell talks about the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Art Fennell recalls founding the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Art Fennell talks about being recognized in public

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Art Fennell remembers joining WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Art Fennell talks about the change in network affiliation at WCAU-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Art Fennell describes his experiences as a talk show host

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Art Fennell recalls becoming president of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Art Fennell remembers hosting President Bill Clinton at the NABJ national convention

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Art Fennell recalls President Bill Clinton's arrival at the NABJ national convention

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Art Fennell talks about the speakers at the NABJ national convention

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Art Fennell recalls the founding of the NABJ Media Institute

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Art Fennell talks about his time at WCAU-TV

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Art Fennell remembers founding a media consulting company

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Art Fennell remembers his awards and accolades

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Art Fennell remembers developing 'Art Fennell Reports'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Art Fennell recalls his special assignments with TV One

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Art Fennell remembers the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Art Fennell talks about 'Murder in Memphis: Timeline to an Assassination'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Art Fennell recalls the acquisition of NBC Universal by the Comcast Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Art Fennell remembers the cancellation of 'Art Fennell Reports'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Art Fennell describes his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Art Fennell talks about his interest in photography

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Art Fennell reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Art Fennell talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Art Fennell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Art Fennell reflects upon his professional legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Art Fennell describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Art Fennell remembers the tornado that destroyed his home, pt. 1
Art Fennell remembers joining WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Transcript
The most vivid childhood memory came in April of 1969 I think it was. It may have been '68 [1968] or--I think it was '68 [1968] or '69 [1969]. We had just gotten off the school bus coming home from school. And the weather was ominous, and it was just starting to rain very lightly. And me and my brother Dennis [Dennis Fennell] were the only ones on the bus. My other brothers--they had done an experiment. And I won't digress too far with this, away from the story, but they were doing an experiment back then in, in, in Bennettsville [South Carolina] and Blenheim [South Carolina], another small town, where they wanted to test integrating the schools. But for that year, they were asking for volunteers from families, to volunteer children to see if this would work in rural South Carolina. So my next two brothers, Jeffrey [Jeffrey Fennell] and Tommy Lee [Tommy Fennell], were volunteered by my parents [Sarah McLeod Fennell and James Fennell], because they were bigger and older, and they could probably deal with it better than Dennis and myself, who were much younger. So we were still in the segregated school. We were coming home from, from, from school this day, Dennis and I. We get off the bus, and we're walking down the dirt road. And it was this--clouds were getting a little dark. And as we got to the house, my mother was taking in the clothes, 'cause it was obviously just starting to rain. And she said, "Children, help me with these clothes to get 'em off the clothesline, because bad weather is coming." And as we were taking in those clothes, the winds began to pick up more and more and more. And, and it, it became fun for me and my brother because this was an adventure. But I remember going out on probably the last trip to the clothesline. And I looked across the cotton field, and I saw a tornado coming. It was as clear as day, and it was happening now, and it was coming right for us. And so we gathered the last bit of clothes, and we rushed into the house. And as we closed the door, because the winds were very strong, it took all three of us by the way to push and close that door from the force of the wind. But we did close it. And it stayed closed for about five to ten seconds before it exploded open, because at this point the tornado was right on top of us, and we couldn't close that door again. Windows began to explode, and air was all through the house. The tornado was on top of us. And so my mother grabbed me and my brother. And on a, a small little sofa--and I have a picture of us on this small sofa, and it was in the corner of the room by the stove--and she huddled us together like a mother hen gathering her biddies. And she said, "Pray children pray." And we started praying while that tornado sat down upon us. It destroyed our whole house. When it was over, there was nothing left in the house. The roof was gone. All of the other furnishings in the house were gone. The wall behind us was still there, but on the other side of the wall was nothing. But that sofa with myself, my brother, and my mother was still intact with us on it. And I remember looking up at as small boy, and I could see the sky. And I looked around, and we were in a daze, but we were unharmed, not a scratch. So I knew right then about the miracle of God. Because we were there praying and--you know, small children, you know, we were praying. But I was peeping, 'cause I wanted to see this phenomenon happening around us. But we were un- we were unhurt. And so that was--that was a very vivid moment for me, for everyone. The community--once the story had passed, people were rushing to our aid to see if we were okay, if anyone had been harmed, and to see how they could help, 'cause that's what communities do in those types of times.$$That's quite a story.$$Yeah.$$I mean--did you close your eyes while it was going? Did you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Some of the time. I have to admit I was peeping. I remember peeping. But we had an old iron stove that was no more than five feet away from where I was. That was where we put the, the wood in and you know to warm the house. And I saw that old iron stove with the, the tin pipe that went up to the chimney started to bounce and rock as it was sitting there. It bounced like this, 'cause I was praying and peeping. And then I saw that stove lift off. I've never seen that stove again. It was five feet from me.$$Yeah, that's--$$So, yeah, I think after I saw that, I, I started praying harder than ever because I, I didn't wanna follow the direction of where that, that--where that stove had gone.$Nineteen ninety [1990] now, how, how did the op- opportunity come to--come to--come, come about to come to WCAU-TV in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]?$$Well, I, I was doing the news one night and I got a phone call. And it was from a gentleman named Paul Gluck, who had been visiting his mother who lived in the Hampton Roads [Virginia] area. Paul Gluck I didn't know from a can of paint, but he was the news director in Philadelphia. And he said, "I've watched you; I, I like what I see; when is your contract over in Virginia [WAVY-TV, Portsmouth, Virginia]?" It just so happens that my contract was coming to an end in the next couple of months, and I told him. And so he said, "I'd like to bring you to Philadelphia to take a look around and to see what we do here, and to see if it's something that you and I can come to terms with." And so I do, came to Philadelphia and, and loved it. This was big time TV. This was a completely different animal than anything that I had been accustomed to up until that point. But at least for me by then I'd already worked in several other TV markets. I was used to moving around. I was used to starting from scratch, and so that experience helped me to, to get acclimated in Philadelphia early. I was brought on as the, the five o'clock evening news anchor. I was young, but didn't carry myself in a young way. It became clear that I knew my way around a story in the field, and I knew my way around the anchor desk in the studio, 'cause I'd--by that point I was seasoned. And I wasn't intimidated, but yet, again, I didn't present myself in an arrogant type of way. One thing about Philadelphia that I learned very early, and it's--was true then, and it's true now. In this town, if people like you they will let you know. And if they don't like you, they will let you know. And if they don't like you, you are not long for this city. I'm fortunate that they like me, and so I was able to survive. And as they say, the rest is history. I've had a very good tenure here.