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William A. Hawkins

Program director and math professor William Anthony Hawkins, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. in 1947. His father, William Anthony Hawkins, Sr., was a postal worker; his mother, Amanda L. Hawkins, a dental hygienist. After graduating from Archbishop Carroll High School in 1964, Hawkins briefly attended Merrimack College before transferring to Howard University. While there, he studied under Dr. Louise Raphael, Professor James Joseph, and Dr. Arthur Thorpe (physics) and went on to graduate with his B.S. degree in mathematics in 1968. In 1970, Hawkins received his M.S. degree in physics from Howard University and his M.A. degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship while attending the University of Michigan where he studied under Dr. James S. Milne and graduated from there with his Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1982.

Hawkins has dedicated over forty-three years to the education of minority students. In 1968, Hawkins was hired as a teacher at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C., soon discovering his passion for teaching. In 1970, Hawkins was appointed as an instructor at Federal City College (University of the District of Columbia). He went on to serve as chair of the mathematics department of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) for five years. In 1990, Hawkins took leave from his position as associate professor at UDC and became director of the Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement (SUMMA) Program at the Mathematical Association of America. SUMMA has raised more than $4 million to increase the representation of minorities in mathematics, science, and engineering and to improve the mathematics education of minorities. In 1995, Hawkins returned to UDC as an associate professor in the mathematics department while simultaneously directing the SUMMA program.

Hawkins authored Attracting Minorities into Teaching Mathematics 1994, and Constructing a Secure Pipeline for Minority Students 1995. Hawkins is a member of the Mathematical Association of America, the National Association of Mathematicians, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He received the 2006 Benjamin Banneker Legacy Award from the Banneker Institute of Science & Technology, and the 2013 Gung and Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics from the Mathematical Association of America.

William Anthony Hawkins, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 17, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.159

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/17/2013

Last Name

Hawkins

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Anthony

Schools

University of Michigan

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

HAW03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Ignorance is never bliss.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/15/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Rice (Curried)

Short Description

Program director and math professor William A. Hawkins (1947 - ) , former director of Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement (SUMMA) at the Mathematical Association of America, received the 2013 Gung and Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics.

Employment

University of the District of Columbia

Mathematical Association of America

Cardozo High School

Federal City College

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:1496,53:2464,71:4840,116:6072,170:11792,287:12408,295:18640,486:31437,671:31923,679:38160,813:39780,845:40347,855:44640,932:45693,947:49824,1022:61720,1116:62995,1145:63295,1150:63595,1156:63895,1161:64195,1166:66070,1203:69295,1242:70420,1269:71095,1281:71395,1287:74020,1343:91506,1601:92298,1614:93882,1651:100864,1723:108220,1860:109155,1872:109665,1879:122346,2111:123136,2129:123768,2140:124242,2148:125901,2178:126217,2183:127876,2219:128192,2224:134029,2302:134345,2307:138374,2402:139006,2414:143049,2472:144019,2500:154815,2631:156020,2657$0,0:11068,201:36192,397:36780,406:60720,730:63714,735:70334,863:79889,1048:80435,1055:94030,1250:100798,1364:113400,1553:115320,1592:115880,1600:116840,1616:118440,1644:119720,1669:120040,1674:124760,1787:137835,2012:149841,2277:150189,2282:159288,2324:160296,2341:160716,2347:171796,2499:204220,2961
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Hawkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Hawkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Hawkins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Hawkins describes his mother's growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Hawkins talks about his mother's church, education and employment in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Hawkins describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Hawkins describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about how his parents met and were married

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Hawkins describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about his father's service in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Hawkins talks about his parents' education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Hawkins talks about his paternal aunt, Sarah Bray

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Hawkins describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Hawkins talks about his father's employment at the U.S. Post Office

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Hawkins talks about the neighborhoods he lived in and the schools he attended in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about his experience in school, and his interests and activities as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Hawkins talks about how Washington, D.C. was while he was growing up, and its evolution over the years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William Hawkins talks about his experience in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about his high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about the 1960 presidential elections and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Hawkins describes his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Hawkins describes his experience at Merrimack College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Hawkins describes being in a car accident in Washington, D.C. and his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Hawkins describes his experience at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Hawkins describes his involvement with the SNCC in the summer of 1966, meeting Stokely Carmichael, and returning to Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about graduating from Howard University in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Hawkins talks about getting a deferment on the draft, and his decision to pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about his involvement with the National Technical Association (NTA)

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about pursuing his master's degree in physics at Howard University and his master's degree in math at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Hawkins talks about mathematicians, Euphemia Lofton Haynes, Evelyn Boyd Granville, Marjorie Lee Browne, and David Blackwell

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Hawkins talks about his involvement in political activism at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Hawkins talks about the Ishango Society of Mathematics and Abdulalim Shabazz

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Hawkins talks about his mentors at the University of Michigan - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Hawkins talks about his mentors at the University of Michigan - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about his doctoral dissertation in the area of algebraic geometry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about his interest in teaching

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about his involvement in the Mathematical Association of America (MAA)

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Hawkins talks about the need for a public university such as the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Hawkins talks about the demographics of the faculty at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Hawkins discusses historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Hawkins talks about the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the department of mathematics there

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Hawkins reflects upon the higher education system in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about his involvement with the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) and its SUMMA Program

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about pre-college programs for underrepresented minorities in mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about the Mathematical Association of America's (MAA) National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP)

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Hawkins talks about the importance and impact of summer undergraduate research programs and summer programs in math and science

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Hawkins talks about the administrative process for running the National Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (NREUP)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Hawkins discusses minority Ph.D.s in mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Hawkins talks about HistoryMaker Luther Williams and other minorities at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William Hawkins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William Hawkins describes his experience at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference march in Grenada, Mississippi in 1966

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Hawkins talks about the importance of access to math and science

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Hawkins talks about the importance of being able to read and comprehend information

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Hawkins reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Hawkins reflects upon undergraduate education and its role in facilitating economic equality

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Hawkins talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William Hawkins reflects upon religion and science, and the importance of fairness

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William Hawkins talks about his parents and his mother's apprehension towards his visit to the South during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William Hawkins talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$4

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
William Hawkins talks about his interest in teaching
William Hawkins talks about his mentors at the University of Michigan - part one
Transcript
Your Ph.D. dissertation [at University of Michigan], like, plunged you deeper into math, even though it was nothing groundbreaking--$$Oh, sure. Well, I mean--$$--but it really.$$Oh, it certainly. I mean, because you have to do something original to get your Ph.D. So, I mean it was a problem that my advisor had thought of, you know. He said, he would think about something for me to work on. And if he had came up with something good to me--this was sort of the situation. If he could come up with something good, then he would, you know, he might take me, 'cuz he didn't promise to take me on as a student. And anyway, he was gone. He was going to be gone. He went to France for a year. He liked to climb mountains, too. I was always worried that he wouldn't be able to come back, you know, wouldn't continue. But anyway. So, you know, the idea was that--and I liked, you know, what is--I liked algebra. Some people like analysis, which is sort of calculus and its derivations, you might say. And I liked that a lot, but I liked algebra more so. Like, I say, you know, group theory and things like that, I just ended up liking that more, much more than I liked even geometry. I liked geometry in high school and stuff, but this--. So, you know, and people, you know, what I guess students don't realize, basically, you are paid to do something you enjoy when you're, especially a graduate faculty member. I mean, you know, you, if you can get it, you can get it published. Now, I know things are changing, but if you can get it published, you know, get your peers to say this is something of significance, then you are basically paid to do what you want. I mean, you know. I mean, you have to teach classes, but, you know the research institutions, they teach the subjects that they want to teach. You know, they teach about their own research or things that they're interested in. So, I mean, nothing like higher education for a job. I mean, you're just paid to do what you want to do, you know. So I--that's one thing I've--I mean, I've enjoyed. I've enjoyed teaching. I haven't always taught. I left to go back to graduate school. So that was five years I was away. Then I came here full time, five years to the MAA [Mathematics Association of America]. And then I went back, you know. And I've actually included--took me a long time to realize. You know, I like teaching an awful lot, you know. And that's what I've certainly done most of my life. I've been doing it--so, I mean, I first started teaching, in terms of professionally, in 1969. That's a long time. That's 40, you know, 44 years, 45 years, you know.$I can say someone whom I thought was--what's his name? What's Ullman's last name? I mean that's his last name. What's his first name? Anyway, the person who was on my committee was someone I found that, underneath a rough, very rough surface exterior was someone who cared about students. He was actually--let see if I can get the name. (pause). I can't think of his name. He was at--'cuz when you went to Baton Rouge [Louisiana], right, to see Lovenia [DeConge-Watson, also a HistoryMaker], a Rogers Newman was on the faculty. I don't know if you spoke to him. He was a student at Michigan. His advisor was someone on my committee and was someone who was very hard to convince, even though he had had a black student, that things needed to change. Let's put it like that. I'll just, you know, he thought. But he was very--he had a very, very rough exterior, but really helpful to me. And I would not have finished probably graduate school without him, right. Even though he didn't teach me or anything, but he made contacts for me that I didn't know I needed to make, you know. He and I argued for an whole hour one day. Back and forth, back and forth, in his office; back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. At the end of that argument, he said, "Okay. Now, how are things going with you?" I mean, you know. I told him what my plans were and the person I had thought about taking on as my--actually to be my advisor. And he told me, "Well, this person is getting ready to go on sabbatical." And what he did, he set up a program for me where I could work with someone else on--for my preliminary exam while this other person I wanted to work with is gone. And I--well, what happened, I would have gone the beginning of the next semester looking for this person, he would have been gone, and I would have been at a total loss. I wouldn't have known what to do. And he--so he set it up. And the person he got for me to work with--not my advisor--is the person who is now in the National Academy and a really good guy, you know. And let me see if I can get his name. I can't think of his name right now. I know who he is. I'll think of it. But he would---he supervised me on my prelims. Very, very helpful. He wasn't my advisor, but the idea that someone with whom you don't actually agree on things, cared enough to do something like that, that was--he was very--can't think of Ullman's--U-L-L-M-A-N. That was--that was his last name. I can't think of his first name. He's deceased now. But he was Rogers Newman's--Rogers Newman's, right, advisor. Right. And Rogers was on the faculty at Southern [University, Baton Rouge]. And he was a big--he was a very--he was the president of NAM [National Association of Mathematicians] for--executive secretary of NAM or president, I think, for a while. So, anyway--Dan. No, that's the guy who's at GW [George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia] now.

Jacqueline Sales

Environmental engineer Jacqueline White Sales was born on May 8, 1946. She graduated from Howard University with her B.S. degree in microbiology in 1968, and her M.E. degree in environmental engineering in 1975. Upon graduation in 1968, Sales served as Chief Technician of the Georgetown University Rheumatology Laboratory at the District of Columbia General Hospital.

In 1979, Sales became the first African American woman environmental engineer hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Toxic Substances. While there, she worked at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and was assigned various scientific and public policy roles that involved writing and implementing federal regulations that protect human health, participating in congressional hearings, and chairing national and regional waste forums. Sales’ efforts at the EPA between 1979 and 1988 helped safeguard the environment from the improper disposal of toxic and infectious materials, and hazardous wastes. She led the pioneering effort in development of the Land Disposal Restriction Regulations that governs how hazardous and toxics waste can be disposed and received national recognition for her role in developing federal guidelines for management of medical wastes. Sales also served in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) where she managed and directed the development of policy guidance documents for DOE Headquarters and field offices. In addition, she worked closely with the assistant secretary of Environment, Safety, and Health where she developed strategies for regulatory compliance and environmental restoration at radioactively contaminated sites.

In 1988, Sales became the founder and president of HAZMED, Inc. While there, Sales focus was on helping clients develop and implement strategies, plans, and programs to manage their specific environmental risks and to protect the public from toxic hazards. She led the effort with EPA to conduct the first study on Environmental Justice. Sales also served as Chair of the Foundation Board of Bowie State University and a National Trustee of the Arthritis Foundation. She served on the Foundation Board of Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham, Maryland, and the Prince Georges Economic Development Corporation Board, She is the owner of the Johnson Browne Business Center for new and emerging businesses.

Sales was recognized by the EPA, who honored her with both the Bronze Medal and the Women in Science and Engineering Award. She was also recognized by the United States Congress as an Outstanding Woman in Scientific and Technical Careers. In 2003, The Network Journal:

Black Professionals and Small Business News named Sales as one of the “Top Twenty Five Influential Women in Business.” Under her leadership, HAZMED was named “Maryland Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise” and U.S. Small Business Administration “Minority Small Business of the Year 2000.

Jacqueline White Sales was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 24, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.170

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/24/2013

Last Name

Sales

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Jacqueline

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SAL03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

You Pay The Cost To Be The Boss.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

5/8/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jacksonville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Health Food

Short Description

Environmental engineer Jacqueline Sales (1946 - ) was the first African American woman environmental engineer hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Toxic Substances, and the founder and president of HAZMED, Inc., an environmental engineering and information technology firm.

Employment

HAZMED, Inc.

United States Department of Energy

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Bristol Laboratories

New Life Insurance Co. Fairfax General Office,

Rheumatology Laboratory, Freedman'.s Hospital

Georgetown University at D.C. General Hospital,

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:2280,29:19684,276:20474,289:20869,295:22923,331:23239,336:25759,371:26416,383:27000,393:27365,399:27876,409:28533,419:31408,440:33664,480:37518,520:37894,525:38552,533:45226,627:45978,637:46354,642:47388,661:48140,670:58776,778:62500,848:62892,853:72860,966:74017,985:74462,991:75263,1001:76331,1014:79550,1023:81196,1034:82132,1048:85732,1116:89044,1170:90484,1215:91348,1230:99898,1360:105149,1549:124320,1726:125233,1738:125648,1744:135157,1828:137929,1881:139007,1898:139700,1908:140085,1914:141163,1936:143011,1964:147115,1983:147375,1988:147700,1994:148090,2006:150170,2060:153550,2134:157450,2214:162671,2254:176678,2473:177062,2478:184919,2610:185556,2618:186193,2623:187012,2633:193746,2755:194383,2763:195293,2778:195657,2783:203410,2898:203860,2905:210385,3082:216130,3181:217670,3239:219070,3285:222430,3355:226151,3382:236526,3592:242586,3635:248195,3755:250723,3781:253640,3791$0,0:204,4:1564,32:2788,90:3264,98:3604,104:8370,158:9070,169:9420,175:12318,205:14256,219:14816,226:15264,231:18110,282:18460,290:19010,304:19710,328:20010,335:20610,349:23514,376:25437,401:26901,416:27169,421:27705,431:28174,439:29447,462:32127,525:32864,539:33266,547:34070,565:34740,578:35343,588:38157,663:40502,712:41306,726:43718,790:44589,807:45661,826:51380,860:53970,909:54266,915:55006,928:55746,939:56634,954:56930,959:57892,978:58336,986:61888,1058:62332,1065:68727,1111:69417,1124:69831,1132:73500,1173:73860,1178:76228,1244:77773,1252:78065,1257:79671,1287:83882,1336:84718,1349:92765,1457:100374,1527:101382,1541:101970,1549:102390,1555:104658,1586:105246,1594:109866,1683:113205,1699:113610,1709:113835,1715:114015,1720:114195,1725:116238,1749:116618,1756:116998,1762:117454,1770:117834,1776:118138,1781:118974,1803:120114,1819:123550,1851:125230,1864:125650,1870:126238,1878:128422,1918:129682,1936:130270,1944:130942,1954:137110,2055:137466,2060:138356,2080:138712,2089:139157,2095:142539,2166:146498,2198:148626,2238:151134,2285:152198,2302:152654,2310:156015,2340:156315,2345:159953,2410:160682,2420:162900,2449:163530,2464:165000,2486:166050,2508:166540,2517:166960,2525:178470,2719:178718,2724:179524,2740:179772,2745:180206,2754:183058,2860:185228,2956:205712,3142:206128,3147:207376,3162:210392,3194:214200,3283:214480,3288:215110,3299:215460,3305:215740,3310:216160,3317:222426,3374:222972,3383:226420,3442:226780,3447:228040,3462:230020,3492:230830,3503:231640,3513:232540,3524:237014,3606:247919,3753:248374,3759:249011,3768:249375,3773:250558,3791:259790,3971:261260,4001:261610,4007:262030,4014:263150,4056:264900,4097:265180,4102:265530,4108:269170,4189:270570,4220:272110,4256:282060,4403:282300,4412:285204,4449:286700,4467
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jacqueline Sales' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jacqueline Sales lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jacqueline Sales describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her mother's growing up in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jacqueline Sales describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jacqueline Sales talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her father's time in the Army during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jacqueline Sales describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jacqueline Sales describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Jacqueline Sales describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jacqueline Sales talks about living near military test sites

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jacqueline Sales describes her schools in Copiague, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her love for the outdoors

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her middle and high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jacqueline Sales talks about how entertainment played a role in her life

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jacqueline Sales talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her father's key to the Playboy Club

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jacqueline Sales talks about high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her time at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jacqueline Sales talks about being on the pre-medical track at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jacqueline Sales talks about Stokely Carmichael and his assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her first marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jacqueline Sales talks about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her father's death in 1966

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jacqueline Sales describes her decision to attend Howard University for graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jacqueline Sales talks about studying environmental engineering at Howard University in graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jacqueline Sales talks about the Environmental Protection Agency

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jacqueline Sales describes being hired at the Environmental Protection Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jacqueline Sales describes working for the Environmental Protection Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jacqueline Sales talks about changes in the Environmental Protection Agency changed under different administrations

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jacqueline Sales describes writing hazardous waste regulations for the Environmental Protection Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her time at the Department of Energy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jacqueline Sales describes starting HAZMED

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jacqueline Sales talks about the difficulties of running a STEM-oriented business

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jacqueline Sales describes the early years of HAZMED

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jacqueline Sales talks about the Anne Burford scandal during the Reagan administration

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jacqueline Sales talks about some of HAZMED's consulting projects

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jacqueline Sales talks about the 1993 National Security Seminar

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jacqueline Sales talks about past HAZMED projects

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jacqueline Sales describes HAZMED's expansion into national defense

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jacqueline Sales describes HAZMED's records management service

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jacqueline Sales talks about being on the board of Bowie State University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her favorite HAZMED project

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jacqueline Sales talks about HAZMED's facilities

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jacqueline Sales talks about HAZMED's partnerships

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jacqueline Sales describes her volunteer activities

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jacqueline Sales describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jacqueline Sales reflects on her life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jacqueline Sales offers advice to people interested in STEM fields

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jacqueline Sales reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jacqueline Sales describes her management philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Jacqueline Sales talks about her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Jacqueline Sales describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Jacqueline Sales describes working for the Environmental Protection Agency
Jacqueline Sales describes starting HAZMED
Transcript
As an environmental engineer with EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], 1979, what projects were you working on in--$$Well, let's fast forward a little bit to 1980 'cause I have a better sense of that 'cause '79 [1979], I was in a group in the Office of Toxic Substances and they weren't quite sure where they were going. It was very clear to me. And so I transferred over to the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. And I was working in the hazardous waste. It was called RCRA, the RCRA division. And we were writing regulations for the management of hazardous waste. And hazardous wastes are basically wastes that come from industry, that are industry generated. So your manufacturing paint--and at that time, paint had solvents in it. Now, paints are water based, thanks to our regulations. But paints had solvents in it, and then they were taking paint, the unused paint, the waste paint and throwing it out in the landfills, just throwing it anywhere. And all those chemicals were leaking into the ground and contaminating groundwater. And then the plants, the plants that manufactured the paints, you know, you can imagine the byproducts from that production and the chemicals, the waste chemicals were being disposed of the best way they knew how, but not in a way that would protect the environment. So I wrote a reg [regulation] that addressed the disposal of solvents, and I had to do all these studies. I had to go out to all these facilities--I did a lot of traveling, a lot, and go out to these facilities and do studies. And you can't regulate something you don't know anything about. And then we had to come up with concentrations that weren't gonna be safe, and then we had, you know, contractors doing studies for us. And so the result was, we wrote--I wrote a listing that said these chemicals are listed and they have to be disposed of according to the hazardous waste regulations. And the regulations lay out how you manage it. So you just can't take it and just throw it in a landfill. You have to put it in a certain pack, and it has to go to a hazardous waste facility, and then we worked on how that facility has to be designed, right, so that the waste can be contained. So that's the land disposal restrictions, and I also worked on that. So, it was, I mean it was extremely interesting. I learned so much, and I had so much autonomy. I mean I could just do, go in and do stuff, you know, and it was--I don't know that people get that kind of autonomy anymore. But I was like a GS-9, and [GS-]11 [General Schedules, government job levels], you know, meeting with attorneys from major corporations 'cause all the major corporations, the DuPont's, Dow's, they all came to EPA and walked the halls because they wanted to make sure that we knew what we were doing. We were writing these regs, so they wanted to have input. And there was no formal process for them to have input in those days. Now, there is, but back then, there wasn't. They just walked the halls. They'd walk into our--$$They could come over to EPA and just haunt EPA?$$Yeah, they walked, they would come in my office, and they would say, what are you working on? And what are you doing? And then, you know, tell them, and they would say, okay, well, we have some data. We'll send this data. So most of our data came from industry, like it or not. That's the way--who had the data. Same thing with the pharmaceutical companies.$$Did EPA do any of its own research to provide its own data?$$Some, some, yeah. We had a research arm, but they couldn't do the research like the industry was doing. So, because the research arm had to do research for the entirety of EPA where, you know, the big Dow's and DuPont's and all that, I mean they had the resources.$But medical wastes, which I was doing at EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], I was the medical waste person for EPA, and I put together the 'EPA Guide for Infectious Waste Management.' And that was my project. And when I went over to DOE [Department of Energy], I kind of took medical waste with me because I was still the person everybody was calling. So I was kind of working it out of my hip pocket. Well, what happened, medical waste washed up on the shores of New Jersey, and they were start--$$And those are the stories where bags of syringes and--$$I have all the newspaper articles where I'm--$$--pills.$$--I'm cited and quoted, and they're in the information I gave you.$$I remember that scare.$$Everybody was coming to me, you know, "What do we do? What do we do?" And I think one of the articles even says that I was at DOE, and I was, had left EPA, but they still come to me for advice. Well, when the big consulting firms realized that they were gonna be able to make money now off of medical wastes. It was no longer gonna be my hip pocket project, they started coming to me at DOE and asking me to come to work for them. And I shook hands with a lady from SAIC [Science Applications International Corporation], and I said, I will work for you but under my own company name. And I shook hands with her over a cocktail and quit my good GS-15 [General Schedule level 15] government job and started HAZMED.$$Now, this is 1988?$$As a subcontractor to SAIC.$$Okay, HAZMED originally stood for, I think--$$Hazardous and Medical Waste Services. And I saw where the medical waste part of it would be about a two-year ride. I figured I could get two years out of that. And then everybody would know what they needed to do. And then I would just go right into what I knew best, the hazardous waste regulations and help, you know, industry and other federal agencies 'cause, believe it or not, the government is the biggest polluter, still is. So that's how I started HAZMED.$$Okay, now, I read out in the lobby that you started with five thousand dollars of your own money because you couldn't get any backing from the banks.$$Oh, there was no bank, money from any bank. No, that was, that was pre-banks. I got an American Express Gold card 'cause it had a ten thousand dollars line of credit on it. Also, I needed some money to, for whatever I needed it for, for business. I went to Household Finance, and I borrowed some money to go on vacation.$$And I read that you couldn't get money to start a business, but you could get ten grand to go on vacation?$$Go on vacation. Yeah. I knew if I would--'cause I always had good credit. I knew if I went in there and told that lady that I wanted some money to put in some company, that lady was gonna look at me and say, "Ms., you have lost your mind." But I know that folks understand about going on vacation. And I knew I had good credit. So I said, "I need some money to go on vacation, going to Hawaii." And she said, "Well, we'll check and you come back tomorrow." And I came back tomorrow, and she gave me the money, and I paid my little loan off.$$Did this have anything to do with racism at all or just bank policy as a--$$Ah--$$--or a loan company (simultaneous)--$$I think there might have been some people who could have gotten money for their business, but I didn't expect that I was gonna be able to get money for my business. And I want to tell you that when I did get money for my business, it was through my husband's Republican connections 'cause, you know, it's all who you know.$$And I've heard it said, you know, that you can get a bank to loan you--if you're black, you can get a bank to loan you enough money to buy a Cadillac, but if you try to buy a truck with the same money, to do some work, you would, you know, they would really scrutinize you a lot harder.$$Oh, yeah, yeah, 'cause I now, people understand vacations. See, when I was at EPA, they were--EPA was a young agency, it had a lot of young people working there. And they were single, and they were all into the environment. And they would tell me, oh, you know, we're going--they would go on these big vacations for two weeks. And they'd go trekking around the mountains and stuff like that, and they would borrow money. And that's when I found out, I said, these kids are borrowing money to go on vacation. And that's when I knew that the banks understood that. And this was Household Finance.

Grant Venerable

Chemist, artist, and author Grant D. Venerable was born on August 31, 1942 in Los Angeles, California. After receiving his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1965, Venerable enrolled at the the University of Chicago and graduated from there with his M.S. degree in physical chemistry in 1967, and Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry in 1970. He completed the research for his doctoral dissertation as a Resident Research Associate in the Radiation Chemistry Section of the Argonne National Laboratory. Upon graduation, he was awarded the United States Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship for postdoctoral studies in radiation biology at UCLA’s Laboratory of Nuclear medicine.

In 1971, Venerable was appointed as a high school chemistry and biology instructor with the Duarte Unified School District. He then taught chemistry at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo from 1972 to 1978, and the University of California, Santa Cruz in Oakes College from 1978 to 1980. During the 1980s, he was as a systems scientist in the Silicon Valley industry. From 1982 to 1989, Venerable served as the executive vice president of Omnitrom Associates while simultaneously serving as a partner in the Coral and Courtland Groups. From 1992 to 1999, he was president and CEO of Ventek Software, Inc. Venerable has also consulted for several other California companies including Banks Brown, Inc.

From 1989 to 1996, he served on the faculty at San Francisco State University in the College of Ethnic Studies where he developed and taught a new field blending history of science and ethnic studies. Venerable was also integral to the development of the “Step To College.” In addition, Venerable served at Chicago State University as the Associate Provost and as a professor of chemistry and African American studies (1996-1999), at Morris Brown College as the Dean of Faculty, interim Dean of the College, Provost, and professor-at-large of science and civilization (1999-2002), as chair of the Council of Chief Academic Officers for the Atlanta University Center (1999-2002), and as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs (2010-2011) and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (2002-2010) at Lincoln University (Pennsylvania). He held adjunct teaching appointments at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the MBA degree program in information and technology, and in the chemistry departments of Laney College of Oakland and California State University, Los Angeles.

His publications include six books, forty commissioned oil paintings on molecular structure, dozens of academic articles and editorials in such places as the San Francisco Examiner and the Wall Street Journal. Venerable’s honors and awards include the National Educational Leadership Award from the JGT Foundation, the Step To College Distinguished Teaching Award from San Francisco State University, the California Alliance for Arts Education Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity Molecular Art Appreciation Award, and the Distinguished Teaching Award of Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.

Grant D. Venerable, II was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/9/2013

Last Name

Venerable

Middle Name

D

Schools

James A. Foshay Learning Center

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Chicago

First Name

Grant

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

VEN02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

To Everything, There Is A Season.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/31/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Stir Fry Vegetables, Rice, Salads

Short Description

Chemist and academic administrator Grant Venerable (1942 - ) taught chemistry and cultural studies in California universities, worked in Silicon Valley industry, and served as senior academic officer and as professor-at-large of science, technology, and civilization higher education institutions in Illinois, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Employment

Argonne National Laboratory

United States Department of Energy

University of California, Irvine

Omnitron Associates

Coral Group and Courtland Group

Step To College/ASCEND

San Francisco State University

Ventek Software, Inc.

California Institute of Integral Studies

Morris Brown College

Lincoln University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Grant Venerable's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes his maternal family's migration to Kansas and later to California

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his mother's life in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about his mother's education and employment in Los Angeles, California, and the Sugar Hill neighborhood in Los Angeles

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Grant Venerable describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable discusses his paternal family's cultural lineage, and the name "Venerable"

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his father's education in Kansas City, Missouri and San Bernardino, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his father's experience attending college in California - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes his father's experience attending college in California - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes his father's trip to Chicago to meet chemist, Lloyd Hall

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes how his parents met and married in the late 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable talks about his father's career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his siblings, his mother's death, his step-mother, Ida Walls Lee, and his paternal aunt, Neosho Venerable Tatum

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about the neighborhood where he grew up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about attending Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Grant Venerable talks about learning music, his interest in painting, and his lack of race consciousness as a young boy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and its influence on his racial consciousness - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and its influence on his racial consciousness - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his early interest in science

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about his scientific curiosity in high school and college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes his experience in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about his teachers in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable talks about his leadership roles in high school and his relationship with James S. Cantlan at Pacific Telephone

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable talks about his experience as a senior in high school, and about applying for college

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his mentors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable talks about his mentors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes how he created oil paintings based on chemical molecules

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about hearing prominent political and cultural figures speak at UCLA and in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about meeting historian, John Hope Franklin, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement and the socio-political climate in the United States in the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his decision to pursue graduate studies at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about the African American scientists who graduated from the chemistry department at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his experience as a graduate student at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about organic, inorganic and physical chemistry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his master's degree advisor, Mark Inghram, at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes his doctoral dissertation research at Argonne National Laboratory

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his doctoral dissertation research and its implications

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about the Manhattan Project

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable talks about his postdoctoral work at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about his involvement in the Black Students Alliance at the University of Chicago in the 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his experience looking for university faculty positions in 1971

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes his experience at Duarte High School and his recruitment to California Polytechnic State University

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$7

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Grant Venerable describes his early interest in science
Grant Venerable talks about his involvement in the Black Students Alliance at the University of Chicago in the 1960s
Transcript
Now, you were also drawn to science, of course, and were you--is there a place in your elementary school experience where you really focused in on science or did it occur at home?$$It started right at home. It started with my becoming nearsighted at the age of seven. This 'Book of Knowledge' collection--there were about twenty volumes of the 'Book of Knowledge' sitting in my parents' [Thelma Lorraine Scott Venerable and Grant Venerable] bookcases flanking this big fireplace in the living room; other volumes of literature, which they purposely placed there for their children's curiosity, to lead them there. And once I got hold of the 'Book of Knowledge' around age five--I really learned to read from Grandmother Venerable, who would just drill us, just read to us. Parents would read to us, and then I would learn to read; all of us learned to read. Then it was accelerated in school. We had out loud reading sessions in school. But, anyway, I could pick up and read anything that was drawing my attention, whether it was how the food is processed in the body and goes in the throat to the stomach, passes through the colon to how does the moon go through eclipses? And I would get so excited with what I would learn, I would further ask my father [Grant Venerable] for further clarification. And he was full of ways of demonstrating things. He could demonstrate the eclipse. We had a little globe, a model globe, and he would have a light bulb and a lamp without the shade, and he would have a little baseball that would be the moon, and show how this baseball would cast a shadow on this little globe from the light. I got so excited by things like that. I would have to share it now. Here's where the teaching instincts start to come out. I'd go up to the fifth grade and tell my teacher, "Can I show the class how an eclipse works?" That was the only male teacher I had in elementary, but he was also focused on science. And he said, "Sure." So that's how he encouraged--you can imagine it if he had said, "Oh, well, not today." No, he said, "Sure. Can you do it tomorrow?" And so I brought a little--a little duffle bag with all these things in it and showed the class. So when we reached geography of California, and we were making a papier-mache topographic map of California showing the mountains, the bays, the coastline, and I said, "The mountains are not high enough. The coastal mountains are lower than the Sierras." And I--so I was the one who oversaw the correction of the mountains' heights because I was keyed into that. Maybe that happened in the fourth grade--I don't know. But that's really what got it started.$You realize, again, you acknowledge this was the 1960s of turmoil. And I had done some innocent things that did not look innocent to certain people. In applying for my Argonne [National] Laboratory [near Chicago, Illinois] Fellowship and my AEC Fellowship, there's questions on race, which they've always been. And there was a box to check for "Negro," and I averted it and went--and then there's a box for "Other," and I wrote "Black" and checked that. And I dare say I was probably investigated as a possibly risky black radical, because nobody used black then other than the Black Panthers [black revolutionary socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982].$$In those days, now, these are the days in Chicago [Illinois]--$$This is 1967.$$Yeah. '67 [1967], '68 [1968], '69 [1969]. These are the days you had a Black Panther Party in Chicago. You had the Communiversity going on at the (unclear) studies, a lot of--$$So I realize--and then I was also the convener of the Black Students Alliance on the campus; all made me eligible for FBI [Federal Bureau of Intelligence] surveillance. And so I know there's video footage of me in the university archives, because one of the professors told me he had watched some of it after he had met me. Yeah, I was a figure to keep track of on the campus, but they also found me quite clean, as they say in those days, so.$$Yeah. So this is also the time when Dr. [Martin Luther] King--you were working on your Ph.D. when Dr. King's assassinated.$$Yes, I was.$$Though, the Chicago riots took place on the West Side (simultaneous)--$$I was.$$There was--$$Yeah. Half of the Black Students Alliance took over my apartment with my three other roommates, one of whom was a black Panamanian from Brooklyn [New York]; the other two were white upper middle class from America. So that was quite an interesting experience we all had, 'cause these students--I was their convener there, like, their chairman, and they were mainly undergraduates. There was a woman there--have you heard of Leath Mullings (ph.)? Yeah. Leaf was in that group. She was one of the undergrads there then. Roscoe Giles [also a HistoryMaker] was there. Roscoe was--he was an undergrad in physics, then, who went on to MIT [Massachusetts Institute fo Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. But these were some of the smartest kids--$$Yeah. Leath Mulligan--$$--you've ever saw in your life. They were in the first large group of black students admitted by the University of Chicago as a prestige Ivy League caliber institution. Sharp as a tack. And they're the ones that felt they wanted me to be the convener of the alliance as a buffer between them and the black graduate students, most of whom were in sociology and political science, who had two different agendas. The undergrads had a more practical, immediate agenda; was like in the--when the West Side went up in flames after the King assassination, they wanted to be free to get out there to take food and clothing to people. The black graduate students were more interested in theorizing about the coming revolution, the black revolutions. The undergrads weren't interested particularly because it was too abstract for them. The university actually curfewed all the students in the dorms where a lot of the undergrads lived. So that's why the thirty to forty undergrads deposited themselves at my apartment so they would not be hemmed in, and they could have access to things they felt they needed to do. So that was an interesting moment. They disappeared. The administration didn't know where they were. If you were a president of a college and you could not account to the parents of your students where they were, that's a difficult situation. So it took me and one of my chemistry professors to be able to establish a communication with the administration so that they were assured that all was well, and then all was well. Edward Levi was president then. Do you remember who he was? Well, he was also--had been dean of the law school, a very careful legal thinker, but he was [President] Gerald Ford's--President Ford's Attorney General. He handled student--shall we say, uprising in a whole different way than Governor [Ronald] Regan did in California. So when the students took over the administration building at Chicago, Levi simply moved out to another building and said, let him know when you're done, but just stay as long as you want to (laughs). So they eventually came out on their own. California--Regan's technique was "Teargas them." And it just radicalized all the students on the--well, a lot of the students everywhere in the system. So, it was two different administrative approaches that also affected me (laughs), my development.$$Okay. So, this is--so you were involved in a lot of political activity during the time you were doing intense research as well.$$Very deeply, but not as aware of them as I am now in hindsight.$$Okay.$$I said, "Geez, you were lucky you got your Ph.D."

Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr.

Astronaut, medical scientist, and management executive Bernard A. Harris was born in Temple, Texas on June 26, 1956 to Bernard A. Harris, Sr. and Gussie Emanual Harris. During his youth, Harris lived on the Navajo reservations of Arizona and New Mexico, where his mother found employment as a teacher. At the age of thirteen, Harris watched the first landing on the moon, and he knew that he wanted to become an astronaut. Harris’s family returned to Texas shortly after, and he graduated from Sam Houston High School in San Antonio, Texas in 1974. During high school, Harris decided he wanted to be a medical doctor and so attended the University of Houston, where he earned his B.S. degree in biology in 1978, and the Texas Tech University Health Science Center of Medicine, where he received his M.D. degree in 1982. He then completed his residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Never forgetting his aspirations to become an astronaut, Harris followed a career path that would enable him to realize this dream. Upon completing his residency, Harris pursued research opportunities at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, and later the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, specifically taking up projects that would appeal to the interests of the astronaut selection committee. After his first application to the NASA Astronaut Corps. was declined, Harris reapplied and was invited to join the elite training group in 1990. Following the completion of intensive training, Harris was given his first assignment as a mission specialist of the Space Shuttle Columbia in the spring of 1993, just a few months after the birth of his daughter, Brooke Alexandria. Two years later, Harris returned to space and made history as the first African American to walk in space, where he and crew member Michael Foale tested the temperature resilience of their spacesuits.

Following his career in astronautics, Harris became an entrepreneur, working first as vice president of Spacehab, Inc. in 1996, where he worked on the commercialization of space exploration. After earning his M.B.A. degree from the University of Houston Clear Lake, Harris became executive director of Versalius Ventures in 2001.

Harris has received much recognition for his work as astronaut, entrepreneur, and as a community developer. In addition to becoming a fellow of the American College of Physicians, he is also the winner of The Challenger Award from the Ronald E. McNair Foundation, and recipient of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award. The Dr. Bernard A. Harris Middle School was named in his honor in 2006. That same year Harris established the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp and the Dream Tour, two STEM programs to encourage minority students to pursue an interest in the sciences.

Bernard Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.034

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/6/2013 |and| 3/4/2014

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Sam Houston High School

University of Houston

Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Medicine

University of Houston-Clear Lake

University of Texas Medical Branch

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Bernard

Birth City, State, Country

Temple

HM ID

HAR39

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Triple Creek Ranch, Montana

Favorite Quote

Dreams Are The Reality Of The Future.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/26/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Corn

Short Description

Astronaut and medical scientist Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. (1956 - ) was best known for being the first African American to walk in space.

Employment

Mayo Clinic

National Research Council (NRC)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Astronaut Corp.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Space Lab, Inc.

Space Media, Inc.

Vesalius Ventures, Inc.

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his mother's upbringing in Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his parents, and his family's early life in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about the year following his parents' divorce

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his sister, Gillette Emmanuel

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his family's experience on the Navajo reservation in Greasewood, Arizona

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his cultural experience on the Navajo reservation in Greasewood, Arizona

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks his childhood interests while living in Greasewood, Arizona

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his experience in Tohatchi, New Mexico

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his introduction to science and the space program

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about astronauts Ed Dwight and Robert Lawrence

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about the 1969 moon landing

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his interest in playing the saxophone

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his childhood personality, and his teachers and mentors in school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his brother, Dennis Harris

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about being in a band named 'Purple Haze'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his experience at Sam Houston High School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his role models in medicine and astronautics

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his senior year of high school and his summers with his band

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his father attending his high school graduation

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Houston

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers pledging to the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his early mentors

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers applying to medical school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes the medical program at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers applying for his medical residency

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his early aspiration to become an astronaut, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes the impact of space travel on the human body

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. recalls his work at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his early aspiration to become an astronaut, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. recalls his early career at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers the NASA Astronaut Candidate Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about the types of astronaut positions

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. recalls his space flight training in Russia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers his first NASA mission

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about the zero gravity simulation training at NASA

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes the preparations for space flight, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about the demographics of NASA

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes the preparations for space flight, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. recalls his experiences of the space shuttle launch

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes the adjustment to zero gravity

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his experiences of space travel, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his experiences of space travel, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about the space shuttle intra-crew dynamics

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes the daily life of an astronaut

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his second mission with NASA

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers his first spacewalk

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes the space shuttle reentry process

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about the findings of his NASA space missions

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. remembers his decision to leave NASA

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his graduate studies and his work with Space Media, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes The Harris Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. recalls the start of Vesalius Ventures, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his medical career

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about the American Telemedicine Association

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his company, Vesalius Ventures, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his memoir, 'Dream Walker: A Journey of Achievement and Inspiration'

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. recalls bringing the Navajo Nation flag into space

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. talks about his daughter

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. reflects upon his life and spirituality

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. reflects upon his experiences as an astronaut

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Bernard Harris talks about his introduction to science and the space program
Bernard Harris talks about his role models in medicine and astronautics
Transcript
Now, did you--now, was it in Tohatchi [New Mexico, on the Navajo reservation, where Harris' mother, Gussie Lee Burgess, worked as a teacher] that you first were, you know, were exposed, I guess, or became cognizant of the space program?$$Um-hum, yep--$$Okay.$$--because I was, that would make me about eleven, twelve. Now, you know, the space program is heating, you know, it's kind of heating up. We have put a man into orbit, and now we're into the Apollo [space] program. And so I watched that develop, and when I was thirteen, '69 [1969] was when it really all kind of came together for me. But, yeah, that's when I--and I also got involved in science. You asked the question earlier. That's, now, you're into--you know, you've gotten out of kind of out of the basic elementary, and now you're getting into biology and then in junior high and high school, chemistry. Now, I'm being exposed to science. I'm being exposed to, you know, chemistry, to aviation. I belong to the Rocket Club where we built rockets, Estes rockets [model rockets]. We even built a flying saucer that left a, you know, real big impression on me because I was also, now, I've got television reception, right? So then I'm watching 'Buck Rogers' and I'm watching 'Star Trek' and, you know, I'm watching sci-fi [science fiction] shows. It's just feeding the imagination of this kid.$$Now, how--I'm tempted to ask, and when you mentioned the flying saucer--$$Yeah.$$--how close Tohatchi is to Roswell [New Mexico].$$(Laughter) I know, I know. Well, this is one of those plastic flying saucers, right? And it was, what made it interesting is when the teacher introduced this concept of a flying saucer, of course, you know, I was all into it. And it had a fan. And he introduced it at the beginning of the year which is in, kind of the late summer, fall, so it was hot. So I distinctly remember taking it outside, turning the thing on, and it didn't lift off the ground, and then the teacher explaining why it didn't lift off the ground. First of all, it was hot, and our altitude--I can't remember were we at 5,000 feet, 4,000 feet, just under 5,000 feet. So the altitude, there was not enough air to get lift. So when we had our first snow, the exciting thing about it was that we all went outside, and I remember this like it was yesterday, outside of his classroom, and the snow is falling. It's cold outside. We turn the flying saucer on and it rises. So now, he's got, you know, these kids just mesmerized. Now, why did this happen? Now, he's teaching us about, you know, aerodynamics and density of air and all that sort of thing. And I was soaking it up, you know, as a kid.$$So you're about thirteen when this--$$Yeah, probably, probably twelve at this point--$$Okay.$$--I'm trying to think about it, though, probably twelve.$$Let me ask you, now, you were aware of John Glenn's [first American to orbit the Earth, and the fifth person in space] orbiting the--$$Um-hum.$$--earth when you're a kid?$$Yeah.$$And did you, were you aware of Ed Dwight [first African American to be trained as an astronaut; also a HistoryMaker] and Robert Lawrence [first African American astronaut] when you were coming up?$$No, no, not at all. I didn't learn about those two until I actually started working at NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], you know, many years later, you know, in about '87 [1987] is when I first started working at NASA.$$Okay.$$And we can get to that. That's a story--I have a story around that too, of course.$$Now, in terms of information too, coming into the household, did your mother subscribe to 'JET' [magazine] or 'Ebony' [magazine] or anything like that?$$Of course, yeah. 'Ebony' and 'JET' were the main magazines and 'LIFE' [magazine] at the time.$$All right, so I'm just thinking the information flow of what you were getting, and, you know.$$So, you know, the information flow I was getting was, now, getting a lot more because we're closer to, you know, to the city. And so I'm able to follow the space program and what's happening in the newspapers that we've got and the magazines. But more importantly, now, we've got a television that has four channels. Can you imagine that? Four channels (laughter).$$That was good for 1967.$$It was (laughter).$Another important person from what I've read is, Dr. Frank Bryant.$$Dr. Frank Bryant, yeah. Yeah, so Dr. Bryant was our family physician. And, you know, in high school, he wasn't as big an influence as later on when I would come back during college [University of Houston, Texas] and during the summers and began to think, you know, that I wanted to become a medical doctor and pre-med and then start chatting with him about next steps. You know, so how do I get into medical school? How do I do that and him taking the time to introduce me to other medical students and to let me come into his office and invite me over to his home. That was, that was very important. But I think the other thing is that early on I saw him as a prominent African American doing great things for his community. And so he became a role model. I have these two types of role models. There are role models that are hands-on, that work with you, and there are role models from afar. So I would say in high school, he was a role model from afar because all--my only contact with him was when we'd go and see him as a physician. But I saw what he did. I watched what he did. I watched how he interacted with the family. And then he became this hands-on role model. If I was to back up to, you know, the inspiration I got from the early space program, those were role models from afar that I saw. So when I got into thinking that I wanted to be an astronaut, you know, Neil Armstrong and Buzz [Aldrin; American astronauts; the first to walk on the moon] were these guys that I had never met, but I watched what they did. Joe Kerwin who was the first American physician to go into space, I watched what he did. And it's been kind of interesting being an astronaut, being able to talk to these guys, you know, as a colleague and growing up seeing them, you know, and now being able to sit down and talk to them and going, "Wow, did you really go to the moon?" (laughter) And have them say, "Yes, I was there and this is what it was like." (laughter)

Allen Sessoms

Physicist and education administrator Allen Lee Sessoms was born in 1946. He attended Union College in New York where he graduated with his B.S. degree in physics in 1968. He then attended the University of Washington, where he obtained his M.S. degree in physics the following year. Sessoms went on to Yale University where he earned his Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree in physics in 1971 and his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1972. Following his graduate school work, Sessoms became a postdoctoral research associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) where he wrote computer programs and studied the production of quarks by high-energy protons at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

In 1973, Sessoms was hired to work as a scientific associate at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN), where he researched quarks and similar particles. While at CERN, Sessoms became an assistant professor of physics at Harvard University. Sessoms moved to the U.S. State Department in 1980 as a senior technical advisor for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. From 1982 to 1987, Sessoms served as Director of the Office of Nuclear Technology and Safeguards in the same Bureau before becoming a Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs at the United States Embassy in Paris, France. Sessoms then traveled to Mexico, where he was a Minister-Counsel for Political Affairs at the United States Embassy before serving as its Deputy Chief of Mission, then the largest United States diplomatic mission in the world. In 1993, Sessoms left the United States State Department and began working as executive vice president at the University of Massachusetts system and also became its vice president for academic affairs. Following his time in Massachusetts, Sessoms was named president of Queens College, part of The City University of New York. Sessoms then spent time at Harvard University, first as a visiting scholar and then as a fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and as a lecturer in public policy. From 2003 to 2008, Sessoms served as the ninth president of Delaware State University prior to his appointment as president of the University of the District of Columbia. He is also a consultant to the U.S. intelligence community.

Sessoms has received a Ford Foundation Travel and Study Grant and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He has been bestowed two honorary doctorates from Union College and Soka University in Japan. Sessoms also received the Medal of Highest Honor from Soka University and the Seikyo Culture Award in Japan. In 1999, the Yale University Graduate School Association awarded him the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal and he was named the Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (“Officer of the Order of Academic Palms) in France.

Accession Number

A2012.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2012

Last Name

Sessoms

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Yale University

University of Washington

Union College

First Name

Allen

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SES01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Skiing In Switzerland

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/17/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Physicist and university president Allen Sessoms (1946 - ) served in many areas of the State Department before being hired as president of Delaware State University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Employment

University of the District of Columbia

Delaware State University

Harvard University

Queens College

United States Department of State

United States State Department

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Bureau of Oceans & International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Favorite Color

Magenta

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Allen Sessoms' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his mother's migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the African American migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about working at Lincoln Hospital, New York, during high school

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father's service in the military during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes how his parents met and his father's musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes the apartment where he grew up in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes the neighborhood where he grew up in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his childhood summer activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's entrepreneurial activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his musical experience at Walter J. Damrosch Middle School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Walter J. Damrosch Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about his involvement with running track

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about his brother

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the demographics of Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to attend Union College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Brookhaven National Labs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father being his hero

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the reactions to Dr. Martin Luther King's death, and the political climate of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his decision to return to the east coast to attend Yale University for his doctoral studies

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon race relations in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about his early days in New Haven, Connecticut in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Yale University, and talks about his first advisor, D. Alan Bromley

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about the poor science preparation at some HBCUs

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis advisor, Bob Adair

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis research on the structure-function of the K meson

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the lessons he learned at Yale University

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms talks about his post-doctoral experience at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and his opportunity to go to work at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as a scientific associate at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his work in experimental particle physics on the Intersecting Storage Ring Collider (ISR) at CERN

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to accept an assistant professorship in the physics department at Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about physicist, Richard Feynman

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Harvard University, and his interaction with notable scientists and faculty

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience as a Sloan Foundation Fellow, at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA)

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience with racial stereotyping while working at the U.S. State Department

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience while serving as a nuclear science advisor at the U.S. State Department in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the difference between the Carter and Reagan administrations' approach to nuclear weapons

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment of Scientific Affairs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms discusses the deficiencies in STEM education in schools today

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in mediating the argument between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier, on the discovery of HIV

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as the Minister and Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his transition from politics into higher education administration

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his work for the U.S. Foreign Service, and his experience at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about leaving the University of Massachusetts, and his decision to become the president of Queens College, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the long hours that are required to become a successful experimental physicist

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in establishing dormitories on the campus of Queens College, New York, while he was the president

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience in trying to establish a cancer and HIV research center at Queens College, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the merits of Queens College, and the diverse community of Queens, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about his departure from Queens College, and his decision to return to Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the Belford Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, and recollects the 9/11 attack

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his role as president of Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in strengthening the football and basketball teams at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his role in increasing funding for Ph.D. programs at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the shooting tragedy at Delaware State University in 2007

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about his efforts to increase the diversity of the student body and faculty at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms describes the problems faced by the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks his work at the University of the District of Columbia, and the politics in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about the history, the diverse demographics, and the affordable tuition rates at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about STEM education efforts at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the focus on international studies at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his tenure as the president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his life's choices

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise
Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations
Transcript
Seemed like I had a note about a French class that you were taking in college or something but is that--?$$Well I--$$You took German, I know that.$$I took German when I was in college. I taught myself French when I was in graduate school because in order to get a Ph.D., actually you had to, in order to be qualified to take a qualifying exam you know you had to be fluent in a second language, more or less fluent and you had to be able to read a third language. So I had English, my German was pretty good, I could read and write in German and I taught myself French so I could read in French. And that allowed me to pass the language qualifying exams so I could actually take the physics qualifying exam so I had the three languages. Nowadays you get by with computer programming or something which is kind of ridiculous but that preparation really was fantastic cause then I went to Geneva and I could speak French. And in two and a half years my French got pretty darn good and it was very helpful to me later on cause then when I joined the foreign service I went to the U.S. embassy in Paris [France], I didn't have to learn French, I knew French. But those things, that's a part of the scientific intellectual environment that I think that's somewhat missing in a lot of places. I mean the language piece is crucial. Science is international by definition. There's nothing that happens here that doesn't happen somewhere else and our collaborators are global. I mean when I was working in Geneva [Switzerland] for example, we had collaborators from thirty countries. When I was working at Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut], we had collaborators from maybe twp. Now if you're working at the LHC [Large Hadron Collider, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland] you had collaborators from fifty! You know it's just the way it is. If you don't have the language facility and you don't sort of appreciate some of the different cultures you're not going to be successful in those environments because science now is such a global enterprise, certainly the big science of particle physics is that it's really a social enterprise. It's not the scientific enterprise where somebody back in the old days sits at a table with two or three graduate students and does something and those days have been long gone in physics. And you have to be in some sense the social sciences as well you have to understand social dynamics and being broadly cultural allows you to do that.$And the experience in Mexico--Mexico is the most important country in the world to the United States and I say that for a lot of reasons. One is what happens in Mexico happens here. I mean you take a look at what happened with the drug war. I think that reinforcing the border was one of the stupidest things we've done. But worst than that, creating this drug war where you--we do so well with interdicting and freezing assets that these guys who are doing the trafficking can't pay the porters who go through Mexico in cash. So what do they do? Pay them in drugs. And what do they do? They sell the drugs to the kids in Mexico. The whole thing just blows up. It just blew up and that's what we have now. We have this incredible mess on our hands cause nobody thought through the dynamics. What's also true is that if there's a catastrophe in Mexico which is now less and less likely than it used to be, you got 50 million Mexicans crossing the border all at once. What are you going to do about it? Nothing. They're just going to be over there. They're going to cross and that's going to be it. It is in our interest to make Mexico in every way we can a stable, prosperous country, period, cause nobody can affect us like Mexico can affect us, nobody. It's a country of 110 million people. Half the Mexicans, at least when I was there, half of them had U.S. passports or green cards. I mean they have families on both sides of the border. So the idea is to integrate, not to block and we're doing an incredibly bad job of that now. It's just a fiasco and you get this mess. You get--El Paso [Texas] being one of the most murderous places in the world. You got these other places on the border just like Durango [Colorado] and other places. You can't go out at night. You know you got, it's just horrible. It's horrible and that's what we're doing to ourselves.$$Okay.$$You'd never do that in the Canadian border. Why do you think? (Laughter).$$(Laughter). So, any other stories from Mexico? Now, a lot--, I know there are massive protests concerning NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] back in '93 [1993], '94 [1994] I guess.$$There were a lot of protests, I mean I remember when a certain congressman would sneak across the border and try to--with a camera crew show, all the bad stuff that was happening along the border in (unclear) and all the pollution, it's just kind of crazy stuff, and how it was going to take and (unclear) U.S. jobs. Well it turns out that it's produced 2 million jobs in the United States. It's been so successful the cost of labor in Mexico has gone up because of the standard of living going up. So the U.S. companies that were exporting jobs to Mexico are bringing those jobs back to the United States because Mexico is more prosperous and most of the costs of manufacturing a refrigerator for example is in the transportation so if you can manufacture the stuff close to the home and the wages are the same, you save more money. So NAFTA has worked, I mean it just had worked enormously well on the trade side. We need to try to do it more on the social side with--the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] for example for the first time we have, at Division II, agreed to have the Canadian and Mexican universities participate in U.S. intercollegiate athletics. It would have been unthinkable without having some significant integration. But still this is one place. North America is Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, that's North America. I mean it's geographically and culturally the same. Remember the, Mexico used to be Texas too and California, you know New Mexico and we don't seem to appreciate that as much as we should and I think it may have something to do with you know the language and the fact that a lot of these folks are dark skinned. I mean you know just, I don't mean to be pejorative but it's almost always something like that, something stupid. We need to embrace the Mexicans. When I was there we were doing interesting research in the Gulf of Baja, California looking at the--they just discovered these really hot vents at the bottom of the Baja. They would go down and they would find these animals, this fish life, this plant life that lived without sun, period. You know and it was just on the sulfur vents, then we found new kinds of metabolisms just by doing a collaborative research with the Mexicans, volcanic research when you know the Popocatepetl [volcano, Central Mexico] used to pop its cork. The collaborations between us and the Mexicans have been extraordinary and we got to really reinforce that. But it's, we'll see. I mean it's all politics. It's all driven by in some sense a lack of understanding of each other.$$Okay.

Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr.

Aerospace engineer and major general (ret.) Charles F. Bolden, Jr. was born on August 19, 1946 in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in 1964. Both of his parents, Charles and Ethel Bolden, were teachers and stressed the importance of education. Bolden received his B.S. degree in electrical science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968, and earned his M.S. degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. He then accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation from the Naval Academy and underwent flight training at Pensacola, Florida, Meridian, Mississippi, and Kingsville, Texas.

Between June 1972 and June 1973, Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions into North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the A-6A Intruder while stationed in Nam Phong, Thailand. After returning to the United States, Bolden served in a variety of positions in the Marine Corps. He was then assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, where he completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft until his selection as an astronaut candidate in 1980. Bolden’s NASA astronautical career included technical assignments. He served as pilot on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986. In the wake of the Challenger disaster, he was assigned as the chief of the Safety Division. In 1990, he piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery during its mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. Bolden served as the Mission Commander for Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1992 and the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994. He logged more than 680 hours during these four flights. Bolden left NASA and returned to the U.S. Marine Corps in 1997, and was assigned as the Deputy Commandment of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy. During Operation Desert Thunder-Kuwait in 1998, he was assigned as the Commanding General of the Marine Expeditionary Force. He was promoted to Major General in 1998. In 2003, Bolden retired from the Marine Corps and served as president of the American PureTex Water Corporation. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Bolden as the top NASA administrator, making him the second astronaut and the first African American to serve in this position.

Bolden’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. NASA awarded him the Exceptional Service Award in 1988, 1989, and 1991. In May of 2006, he was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Bolden and his wife, Alexis Walker, live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have two children: U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Anthony Bolden, and Michelle Bolden, M.D.
Charles Bolden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 28, 2012 and February 3, 2017/

Accession Number

A2012.229

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2012 |and| 2/3/2017

Last Name

Bolden

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Schools

United States Naval Academy

University of Southern California

C. A. Johnson High School

Naval Air Test Center

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Columbia

HM ID

BOL03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Japan

Favorite Quote

Do The Best You Can.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/19/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Aerospace engineer and major general Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. (1946 - ) served in the United States Marine Corps and was a pioneering astronaut with NASA, where he also served as administrator.

Employment

United States Marine Corps

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

American PureTex Water Corporation

TechTrans International Corporation

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden. Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his mother's Episcopal upbringing, and her career path

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects on his similarities to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about Charles Drew

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his brother and their childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the neighborhood where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the house where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. continues to describe the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest encounters with math and science

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest memories of watching sports on television

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his favorite science program on television

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his experience in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest memories of the civil rights movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his experiences with segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his memories as a high school football player

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes experiencing segregation as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his interest in the U.S. Naval Academy and the Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his high school achievements

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the influence of his mentor at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the academic rigors at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the tension following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the influences that shaped his decision to join the Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes serving in the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the A-6 Intruder attack aircraft and A-6 missions

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. discusses the new rules of war

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his thoughts on being an astronaut

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls 1969, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the time during and after the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. obtains his master's degree at the University of Southern California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he became a test pilot with the Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes Dr. Ronald McNair's role in wanting to be an astronaut

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the first African American astronauts in space

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his acceptance into NASA's Space Program in 1980

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his early days at NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. discusses America's waning interest in space

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his first project at NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes preparing for his first mission into space

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes being aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers seeing Earth for the first time from space

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he came to join the NASA space flight program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. lists the crew aboard the STS-61-C mission

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the various roles aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the reasons for Space Shuttle Columbia's extended flight

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the landing procedures of the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the debriefing process following a space flight

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger's failure

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the crew lost aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his position as chief of the Safety Division at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers his second space mission to launch the Hubble Space Telescope

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the Hubble Space Telescope

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the different views of space

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes NASA's Shuttle Transportation System

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his flight aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls the experiments aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his position as the assistant deputy administrator of NASA Headquarters

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the members of the Congressional Black Caucus

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers his Russian crew mates aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the Russian space program

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the scientific experiments aboard STS-60

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls an incident aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the influence of the Russian space program upon NASA

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers travelling to Belgium and Russia

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his return to the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his promotions and various positions within the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about Operation Desert Thunder

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the U.S. military actions leading to the Iraq War

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the Iraq War

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the regime of Josip Broz Tito in Yugoslavia

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the highest ranking African Americans within the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his positions immediately following his retirement

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the creation of Jack and Panther LLC

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his presidential appointment to NASA administrator

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the support of NASA within the U.S. government

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the debates concerning global warming

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his goals and objectives as NASA administrator

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the need for diversity within NASA

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his hopes for the future of NASA

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects upon the state of STEM education in the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the effects of space travel

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his advice for younger generations

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares the advice he received from Robert L. Gibson

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DATitle
Charles Bolden recalls his experiences with segregation
Charles Bolden describes being aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia
Transcript
Okay. Now do you remember segregation vividly--$$Very well, yeah.$$--in growing up?$$Yeah, that was all I knew.$$Yeah, well, what was it like going into downtown Columbia--$$I've--it was okay 'cause you knew where you, you knew where you could go and where you couldn't. And you knew where you better not go. And, and so you just kind of governed your life that way. It was, in many ways it was a lot easier than when I got to the Naval Academy where, you know, Baltimore and other places were recently integrated to be quite honest, but they weren't. And so even then there was de facto segregation. And you could really get yourself in, in, in a bad way going into some places in and around Annapolis, for example, and not know that you weren't supposed to be in there. You went in there because that's where all the other midshipmen went. But they made it very clear when you came in that, you know, you were not welcome. And that, that lasted all the way--I graduated in 1968. And I remember one of the, the worst experiences I had at the Naval Academy was, was just before my graduation when we were told we couldn't--there were, there were three of us, three, three of my friends got in--Buddy Clark, who turned out to be my best man in my wedding and was from Chicago; Frank Simmons, who was from Birmingham, Bessemer, Alabama; and, and me. And we went into a, a place in, on the outskirts of Annapolis in Maryland and, and we were told that they wouldn't serve us, that, you know, we had to go around the back. And we, we were not inclined to do that so we (chuckle), we, we finally left after some time. But it was not, it was not nice, yeah. So I, I've, I remember segregation very, very, very vividly, yeah.$Alright. Now, okay, as you were ready to fly then this is, this is January you said of '86 [1986]?$$When I flew?$$Yeah.$$It was January--well, we started in December. We were scheduled to fly in December. And we went to the launch pad--I can't remember the date. But we got down to fourteen seconds, no, no, no, yeah, we got down to fourteen seconds and, and the system aborted because it detected a, some problem in the right-hand side rocket booster. And they, they didn't know whether it was real or not. And so it, it was in the hydraulic power unit that, that moves the nozzles around. And so they decided that we would scrub for the day. And as they got into it, they realized they had to get in and actually change out a box. And so that caused us to slip completely through the Christmas holidays and into the new year. So then we came back, I want to say we came back down on the 3rd of January and attempted to launch and didn't. We got down to thirty-one seconds and didn't get off because we had a problem with one of the main engines. Then the next time we went out we got down to thirty-one seconds and this time not only did we, did--well we had problems with a, with a main engine valve and it wouldn't close properly. And when they, when they did the troubleshooting after we got out of the vehicle and it turned out as they were detanking the time before a, a thermal probe had broken off. And it jammed one of the, one of the valves. So, turned out to be a good day not to fly because couple of things could have happened, the, the worse being the back end of the shuttle would have blown off because it would have gotten an uncontrolled shutdown because the valve couldn't close carrying the liquid oxygen, liquid oxygen. And the motor, the engine would have over spun and (indicates explosion)! So, so it was a good thing we didn't fly that day. Then the fourth time we went out, we, we laid out there on our backs for two hours in a thunder storm, in a driving thunderstorm with lightening and stuff going on. And we finally talked our way out of the vehicle. We, we started talking among ourselves and--because we knew the flight surgeon was listening in on the, on the intercom. And so we started talking about being worried about getting hit by lightening, laying out there on the metal, on, on top of four million pounds of propellant. So they finally said, okay, we're gonna scrub for the day, and they came and got us. And, and then the next day we went out, which was the 12th of January--flawless. Everything, I mean, everything went like clockwork. And we launched and then came back. Originally we were only gonna fly four days and then the weather at, at the Kennedy Space Center [on Merritt Island, Florida] just kept getting worse and worse and worse. So, so we got an extra three days tacked on. So we ended up with a seven-day mission, but we landed in the middle of the night out at Edwards Air Force Base [in East Kern, California] because the weather just never improved at, at Kennedy [Space Center]. And so that was the 18th of January and in--$$Now what was the flight like? I mean, what--$$It was awesome. I mean it was, you know, my first time in space. Just getting, just getting yourself adapted to being weightless and moving around and, and, and that kind of stuff. And then we had a lot of work to do. We had a lot of, we had a lot of very small experiments plus we had, we had one satellite, one RCA satellite, communication satellite called SATCOM KU-3, KU-2, that serves today. It's a, it's a KU band satellite that's used to get television imagery down. I think it had--HBO was one of the channels it was gonna be on this particular satellite. And then we did a lot of medical experiments, which I enjoyed quite a bit. And then we had the infrared imaging camera on that, that I got a chance to play with quite a bit with Bob Cenker.$$Okay.$$And then, you know, we landed, like I said, on the 18th of January. And we're in the closing phases of our debrief on--what was to have been the last day of our debrief we were sitting in, in, in a debriefing room at, at the Johnson Space Center when we took a break to go watch Challenger launch. And, and seventy-three in sec-, seventy-three seconds in the flight it just disintegrated. And so life changed after that.

Roosevelt Calbert

Physicist and education administrator Dr. Roosevelt Calbert was born on November 13, 1931 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. After graduating from Cameron St. High School, Dr. Calbert attended Jackson State University, where he earned his B.S. degree in science. He went on to receive his M.A. degree in science for teaching from the University of Michigan.Then, he attended the University of Kansas to study plasma physics. He earned his M.S. degree in physics (1969) and his Ph.D. degree in physics (1971).

Early in his career, Dr. Calbert served as director of the Cooperative Academic Planning (CAP) Program at the Institute for Services to Education where he developed curriculum change in black colleges. In 1975, Dr. Calbert began his long career at the National Science Foundation (NSF), joining NSF's Directorate for Science and Engineering Education. Dr. Calbert held many positions over his twenty-four year career with NSF, including senior program analyst in the Office of Planning and Resources Management, agency representative for the White House Initiative of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), section head of Minority Programs and deputy director of the Division of Human Resource Development.

Dr. Calbert's role at NSF was based on his commitment to improving educational opportunities for minority students. He established several programs that are geared toward science, engineering, and mathematics education for underrepresented students. In 1992, he became a member of the Senior Executive Service. Calbert retired as NSF’s director of the Division of Human Resource Development in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) in 1999. In addition to his work at NSF, Calbert has served on the faculty at both Alcorn State University and Alabama State University. He published more than fifty academic articles and presented at professional conferences.

Dr. Calbert received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the National Science Foundation Director's Equal Opportunity Achievement Award and the Senior Executive Service Performance Award. In 1986, he received a Presidential Citation Award from Jackson State University as an outstanding alumnus. In 2007, he was inducted into The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. In addition, he was awarded the Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award, the agency’s highest non-monetary honor. This award is given for exceptional leadership, program development or improvement, service in the public interest, or similar contributions that substantially benefit science or engineering, science or engineering education, NSF, or the general public.

Dr. Calbert lives in Reston, Virginia, with his wife Thelma. He has four children, eight grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Calbert passed away on June 7, 2018.

Dr. Roosevelt Calbert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers<\em> on June 12, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.153

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/12/2012

Last Name

Calbert

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Jackson State University

University of Michigan

University of Kansas

Public Elementary School

Cameron Street High School

First Name

Roosevelt

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

CAL03

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Massanutten, Virginia

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/13/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Death Date

6/7/2018

Short Description

Physicist and academic administrator Roosevelt Calbert (1931 - 2018) led a twenty-four year career at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where he established many minority science education programs.

Employment

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Institute for Services to Education

Alabama State University

Alcorn State University

Jim Hill High School

Clarksdale High School

Favorite Color

Royal Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert slates the interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his family and childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about growing up in Canton, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert describes the sights, sounds and smells of his growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his interests in television and music whilegrowing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his parents' disinterest in religion and education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his memories of his childhood schools

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his preparation for college and his experience at Jackson State College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his experiences at Jackson State College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his photostatic memory

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about teaching and his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his wife and his experience teaching

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roosevelt Calbert

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about an event during the Civil Rights Movement and his experience at the University of Kansas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his dissertation and experience at the University of Kansas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his professional activities

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his work to improve resources available to black colleges

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about science funding and career at the National Science Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about science programs at HBCUs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his career at the National Science Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert reflects on his career and talks about his retirement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his work ethic as well as his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his family and hopes for the future of science education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

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DATitle
Roosevelt Calbert talks about his photostatic memory
Roosevelt Calbert talks about his wife and his experience teaching
Transcript
So you had really a photographic memory in terms of--$$I had a photostatic memory, and I could just remember things. I could just, the teacher would sit and look at me 'cause I could--he asked me a question once when I was a freshman. It was in the biology class. And the biology teacher asked me a question. Nobody knew the answer, and he finally called on me. And I still don't know why. I find myself reading out of the book in my mind. I was going from word to word out of the book. I didn't have the book. I had, you know, I had read it earlier. And he stood there with his mouth open (laughter), said, you know, what is going on? And I didn't know what a photostatic memory was. I found out later, of course, that's what was going on. So that happened. Now, I don't wanna jump ahead of you, but I just wanna tie the story together. When I went to graduate school, the same thing happened in taking physics. I'd take an exam and I could hear, get a question so clearly that he was, the teacher would sit and look at me and ask me how did I do that. Of course, he knew how I did it, but I mean he, it was a rhetorical question. And so that, my mind got me through, having that photostatic memory. When I got ready to get a, choose someone to be my advisor for my dissertation, I went to the department head. And I had a course under him, in a course in physics. And he'd give an open-book exam. He said, okay, everybody come in, and he would question you and we open book. I didn't use the open book. I could state back to him every formula that I had, and he stood there with his mouth open because he did not believe I was doing what I was doing. I didn't know what I was doing. I, all I know, I would study very hard. And the next thing I know, he said, yeah, you, (unclear), you know, I'll be your mentor. And that's how I got my PhD is, you know, by his, he was head of the department of physics. He realized the ability I had to do that.$$Now, that's something. That's quite an ability.$$Well, let me give you one other story. And I hope I relate it because I don't wanna forget it. When I took my comprehensive, my written comprehensive, I went into the class. And you have these ten people sitting around you, a board. One guy told me, whom I liked very well, and he liked me, he asked me a question about potential and kinetic energy. And he said how do you know you can convert, you had a conservation of energy, think of a formula where you have potential and tell me how you convert it to kinetic energy. And for the life of me, I had never done that problem before, but something told me what to do, and I need to do this. And, there I was, you'd have to see this. This board, going from side, the board, from side to side of the board. And all of my professors sitting around had their mouths open. They don't believe that I'm doing what I'm doing. And working the problems, when I got to the end, I started out with MGH [MGH = mass, gravity acceleration, and height], all at once the kinetic energy fell out at the end about three blackboards, the answer fell out. Well, at that time, I knew then I was gonna be able to go ahead and continue. So it was those kind of events--I was discussing with my wife now, at the time, I didn't realize what was going on fully.$$That's--$$I don't mean to cut you off, but--$$No, no, that's interesting.$$--I wanted to tie that in a little later on if I forget to mention it to you.$$So, now, did they--you graduated '54' [1954], right--$$Yes.$$--from Jackson State [College].$$Yes.$$And that was the year of Supreme Court decision, "Brown vs. Board [of Education]".$$Yes.$Okay, so when you graduated though, you taught high school first, right?$$Yes.$$You taught high school, oh, now, were you valedictorian of your class in, at Jackson State [University] as well?$$Yes.$$Okay, all right. And, now, I didn't ask you this. But did the school bring speakers to campus to speak to the students, to motivate them and that sort of thing? Did you have a series--$$Yes, yes, we, they would bring some of the top poets. I don't remember all their names at this point, but I remember that--$$Was it Langston Hughes--$$Yeah, Langston Hughes, and there were two or three others they would bring. I just don't remember off the top of my head. And some of the top singers. For example, Leontyne Price played for my eighth grade graduation. (Unclear) that was eighth grade. She was a senior. I met her again when I finished college and I'd been teaching, my first year teaching. I came back and my wife and I met up at a concert of hers. Now, Leontyne, the one thing I wanted to do was to hear her on the stage in an opera, and I never had that opportunity to do that. And I really hate that.$$Leontyne Price, Langston Hughes, other people did come to campus. As the top student, did you have any role when the--$$Oh, (unclear) now, I wish my wife would find that picture, at that time, Marion Anderson came to our campus. And my wife, they appointed several of the top women students to work with Ms. Anderson, you know, to help her, you know, press her dress. She wouldn't let them press it, but they had to do so. But you see that picture, my wife had a pose, you would think that she was Ms. Anderson (laughter), and (laughter) (unclear), but that's another story. But we had a chance to meet people like that on the black campuses. And that's something that was different, that if you had gone to a predominantly white school. I may have met some people. I'm not saying I wouldn't meet anyone, but the opportunity to meet people like that.$$Okay, yeah, I thought I'd ask because of that. Now, you mentioned you met your wife at Cameron Street School.$$Sixth grade.$$And I know you all didn't get married then so--$$No.$$--when was it that you all finally got married?$$Well, we finished Jackson State in 1954. We were married in 1955.$$Okay.$$And we've been married since then.$$Okay, now, were you in love with her all through grade school and all the way up through--$$Were we what?$$Were you in love with her all through grade school and all the way up through--$$I, we were good friends, but, no, we thought we were in love when we were about, I think about juniors in college or something. We (laughter), my other girlfriend I had during the rest of the time was her roommate. But that's another story (laughter). You don't wanna put that in your (laughter).$$No, no, you have to, when this interview's over, we don't have to--I don't wanna get you in trouble (laughter).$$(Laughter) No, no, we were, we became serious when we, I guess we were actually juniors in college when we became serious.$$Okay, so, all right 1955, you're teaching at Jim Hill High School. Now, where is that? Where is Jim Hill?$$That's Jackson, Mississippi.$$Jackson, okay. And you teach--$$I taught in Clarksdale in 1954, '55' [1955], Clarksdale, Mississippi.$$Oh, that's right. That's the first one, Clarksdale, Mississippi, okay.$$Yeah, and then I went to, I came to, went to Jim Hill in 1955, and I stayed there, I think about four years, something like that.

Woodrow Whitlow, Jr.

Aerospace engineer and federal government administrator Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. was born on December 13, 1952 in Inkster, Michigan. A quick-learner, he excelled at math and science. Whitlow aspired to be a chemist until space missions in the 1960s captured his imagination, changing his career goal to astronaut. Whitlow received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, 1975 and 1979, respectively.

Whitlow's long career with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began in 1979, when he was hired as a research scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. At Langley, he specialized in fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and aeroelasticity. He rose quickly to become a senior research scientist and headed various specialty branches in astrophysics and aeronautics. In 1994, Whitlow became the Director of the Critical Technologies Division in the Office of Aeronautics at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He then moved to the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998, where he served as the Director of Research and Technology, among other positions. Whitlow was made Deputy Director of the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center in 2003 and oversaw launch-related services and activities until 2005 when he was appointed to Director of the NASA Glenn Research Center. In 2010, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named Whitlow the Associate Administrator for the Mission Support Directorate at NASA Headquarters. He retired in August of 2013 and later became Executive in Residence at the Cleveland State University Washkewicz College of Engineering.

Throughout his career, Whitlow has written over forty technical papers, most in the areas of unsteady transonic flow, aeroelasticity and propulsion. His awards include NASA’s Distinguished Service Honor Medal—the Agency’s highest honor; the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive—the highest award for federal executives; Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive; U.S. Black Engineer of the Year in Government; the NASA Exceptional Service Honor Medal; the NASA Equal Opportunity Honor Medal; the (British) Institution of Mechanical Engineers William Sweet Smith Prize; the Minorities in Research Science Scientist-of-the-Year Award; and the National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished Engineer of the Year Award. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics elected him as a Fellow in 2010. He also holds an honorary doctor of engineering degree from Cranfield University.

Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 3, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/3/2012

Last Name

Whitlow

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Carver Elementary School

Fellrath Junior High School

Inkster High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any, with sufficient notice

First Name

Woodrow

Birth City, State, Country

Inkster

HM ID

WHI17

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

College students, adults, STEM faculty and students, technical companies and organizations

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $3,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

Highlight a player when you see him in the street.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/13/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Aerospace engineer and federal government administrator Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. (1952 - ) has worked for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for over thirty years serving as Associate Administrator for Mission Support at NASA Headquarters and director of the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) John H. Glenn Research Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory John F. Kennedy Space Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:11440,223:12960,248:13360,254:13920,263:24904,395:26416,418:28936,453:29356,459:33220,528:38092,616:48610,690:51256,757:56254,813:57332,822:57920,829:66638,911:67310,921:69662,957:75762,1048:91468,1231:91880,1236:100108,1388:108398,1507:114036,1619:125322,1701:144300,1852:144895,1860:156237,2016:176614,2214:179370,2245:209080,2490:225996,2660:228445,2708:229788,2731:239854,2863:244508,2930:245218,2941:283976,3389:298035,3534:333124,3914:341010,3967:343850,3997:344312,4004:344851,4013:345467,4026:349968,4067:357066,4224:357430,4229:361522,4242:368816,4352:385824,4560:386209,4570:386517,4575:386825,4580:387364,4588:387749,4594:388211,4653:398070,4732:401558,4832:405236,4867:410780,4946:419380,5042$0,0:3960,56:8190,106:11520,139:14130,169:14850,179:26390,275:28090,297:30555,327:30980,333:31575,341:32510,354:40118,377:40558,383:41262,392:43814,432:83452,962:84124,973:84460,978:84880,984:86056,995:86980,1004:89920,1049:90256,1054:90676,1060:100188,1118:100892,1127:103004,1151:109956,1258:110660,1267:115017,1281:128470,1418:128870,1423:134329,1491:135590,1507
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Woodrow Whitlow's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his mother, Willie Mae Whitlow

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes the history of Inkster, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes how the space race inspired him

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his childhood interest in sports

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his interest in science and in space

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Inkster High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the 1967 Detroit riots

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his exposure to Detroit-area museums

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his family's educational pursuits

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the 1969 moon landing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his and others' reactions to Dr. King's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Star Trek

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his first impression of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the role of church in his life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his doctoral research on unstable transonic flow

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his hiring at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the influence of Katherine G. Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Harriett Jenkins

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the importance of space exploration in 1979

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about transonic flow and aircraft safety

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Guion Bluford's space flight

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about wanting to become an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work on computer models and his desire to become an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about NASA's Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the politics of space exploration

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his efforts to attract minority students to science

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about becoming the U.S. Black Engineer of the Year

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Charles Bolden and Mae Jemison

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about greater acceptance of minorities at NASA

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work as the Director of the Critical Technologies Division

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work at the John Glenn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the future of aircraft engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his work at the Glenn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about honors that he has received

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes a typical day at work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his contributions as a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the end of NASA's shuttle program

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Woodrow Whitlow shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Woodrow Whitlow talks about his work at the Glenn Research Center
Transcript
Tell us your study schedule. You just told it to me off camera but--$$Oh, I would--of course I'm not an early morning person so I would try not--and the institute would open at nine o'clock so I'd try not to get 9 o'clock classes. But you know I would take the classes during the day and if there were breaks I would study. But then when I get back to my dorm room at night I would typically study to you know two, three, four o'clock in the morning every night. So it was--worked hard. But then on Thursday nights I would just study all night, wouldn't go to bed and because I knew if just make it through the classes on Friday then I had you know the weekend without having to go to classes to, you know to recover. So make it through Friday, study some. Friday evening then you know just kind of take a break on Friday nights and you know maybe go to a movie, go somewhere. You know we had the movie series on campus, go to a movie just rest and relax and then sleep late Saturday. And we'd go to the soul food, normally we'd go to the soul food restaurant on Saturday in Boston, Bob the chef. So we'd go down there. That was the big thing, we'd go to Bob the chef on Saturday, get you a good soul food meal and then come back and maybe, and start picking up the routine. If not Saturday night then first thing Sunday morning because--depending on you know what you had to turn in on Monday, you know maybe pick it up Saturday night. If not, maybe rest a little bit Saturday and then get up Sunday and start running again.$$Okay. Now who are some of your instructors there and yeah who are some of the instructors that you remember and what were they teaching you?$$I can remember of course Wes Harris was--he you now he taught fluid dynamics in the aeronautics department. But when he came I was--he came in my junior year and so we started working together. And so he ended up being my Masters Thesis supervisor and my Doctoral Thesis chairman. And so he's someone who really--he's the one who really taught me about academic excellence and so I remember him. And then people like Eugene Covert who taught aerodynamics, Judd Baron taught gas dynamics, Jack Kerabrock (ph.) taught propulsion systems, Jim Marr (ph.) taught structures. So these are all the professors in the aero department. And then there was Professor Orzag in the math department taught the advanced calculus courses and then the other--there was one guy, I did a concentration, under--humanities concentration in psychology. And there was one, Professor Hans Torber (ph.) I can remember. And I did it, I picked, I had to pick some humanities concentration and the reason I picked psychology is I had heard about this Hans Torber, this psychology professor. And I said well maybe he can make humanities interesting. So I--and he did. So I took--and he taught brain science. Then I took learning theory and then another, some other psychology courses. But those are some of the ones, you know--and then all the guys in the aero department, Professor Widnall and--Sheila Widnall [Sheila Marie Evans Widnall]--she actually became secretary of the air force for a while before she went back to MIT. And I talked about Professor Marr and instructors and just a great group of guys in the aero department who were Course 16 as we affectionately refer to it as. We don't do names at MIT, we do numbers.$$Really? You--$$Yeah, a course--$$People have numbers?$$Yeah, I can tell you the courses I took like my math course, I took 8--physics course is 801, 802, 803. My--because physics is Course 8. My math courses I took 1801, 1802 and 1803. And then I took advanced calculus, 18075, 18076. And then I took in Double E, a course 6.14 and the office is in Building 37 and the other aero is Building 35 and some was in Building 9. And so I don't know the names of a lot of stuff at MIT but I can tell you the numbers associated with it.$$Okay. Now what was--now was it exciting being around so many people with the same kind of focus of you know--?$$It was motivating, exciting and you know and you know it--and it, it really was. I'm at MIT, you know, you heard--I didn't know what MIT was but you know when you hear people talk about bright people, say oh yeah, he's going to go to MIT. Or you watch, you see it on TV, even now you say oh yeah, well this person's from MIT. And so yeah to be there in that environment--and at first it was a little intimidating. And you know the one thing, my freshman year you know these, hear these students at the other table and they were talking about some math thing and then they pulled out, a napkin out and they start writing on this napkin and then they left. And we were all sitting around and I picked the napkin up and I looked at it and I said this not even writing. Even I know that this is not correct what's on this napkin. So I said well, yeah well I can make it through here. So I went from, I'm going to go to MIT for one year and transfer to ended up staying there for nine years.$Okay. What were some of the highlights of your term as director of the NASA Glenn Research Center?$$Well when I became center director we really, the agency made a big change in direction and to be a viable center, we had to make a big change in direction. So leading that change to make us, to increase our emphasis on more space systems research and development to--we won major roles in what was then the Project Constellation which was the program to--Program Constellation to put people permanently on the moon and to go to Mars and so our work in developing a service module which would be the power, propulsion and communications for the capsule that the astronauts would ride in. Our role, went in a role there, went in a role and developed and upper state simulator for a test vehicle and that vehicle actually flew. So to be at the Kennedy Space Center when that thing lifted off with that upper stage that had been built by Glenn employees on it, that was a very proud moment and securing roles in things like electric propulsion for deep space missions and while continuing to excel in our traditional areas in aeronautics. And those were really high points is to see the center make this big turn and do it successfully and to increase the business base you know from less than 400 million to near 800 million dollars a year, that's--those are highlights.$$Okay. Now you were there until, for about five years, right?$$Yeah, I was there nearly years again and that was as center director.

Shirley Malcom

Education administrator and science education advocate Shirley Malcom was born on September 6, 1946 in Birmingham, Alabama to ¬Lillie Mae and Ben Mahaley. From an early age, she wanted to be a doctor because of her love of biology. At George Washington Carver High School, Malcom was a top student and graduated in 1963. She then attended the University of Washington and received her B.S. degree in zoology in 1967. Malcom went on to attend the University of California at Los Angeles where she graduated with her M.A. degree in zoology in 1968. She taught high school biology in Los Angeles before attending Pennsylvania State University where she obtained her Ph.D. degree in ecology in 1974.

After completing her education, Malcom joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as an assistant professor. In 1975, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she began working as a research assistant in the Office of Opportunities in Science (OOS) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She co-published “The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science” in 1976. Then, Malcom served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science Education Directorate. She became head of the AAAS Office of Opportunities in Science in 1979 and head of the AAAS Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs in 1989. In 1993, Malcom was appointed to the National Science Board by President Bill Clinton and in 1995, she became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was also named to the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology from 1994 until 2001. Malcom has authored several reports on engaging women and minorities in science and is considered a pioneer in the field.

Malcom has served as co-chair of the Gender Advisory Board of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development and has chaired many national committees on scientific education and literacy. In 2006, she was named co-chair of the National Science Board Commission on 21st Century Education in STEM. Malcom serves as a trustee of California Institute of Technology and a regent of Morgan State University. She has sixteen honorary degrees, received the University of Washington’s Alumna Summa Laude Dignata Award in 1998, the university’s highest honor and in 2003, was given the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Shirley Malcom is married to Horace Malcom and they have two adult daughters.

Shirley Malcom was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 9, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.060

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/8/2012

Last Name

Malcom

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

M.

Schools

University of Washington

University of California, Los Angeles

Pennsylvania State University

George Washington Carver High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Shirley

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

MAL06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/6/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Education administrator and science educator Shirley Malcom (1946 - ) is head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs. She is a pioneer of minority science education serving on the National Science Board and the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Employment

Los Angeles Schools

University of North Carolina, Wilmington

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

National Science Board

President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:17052,345:19488,384:37940,556:40550,598:43070,634:45950,667:46310,672:46760,678:56786,777:59555,829:60407,857:64250,873:64712,880:65559,895:66714,908:67253,916:71180,984:84415,1146:86740,1216:87190,1223:91990,1306:92815,1318:93790,1333:95815,1377:102198,1408:104466,1444:105390,1457:108834,1500:117234,1603:122022,1660:122862,1675:123450,1683:128786,1696:131048,1736:133076,1780:137210,1837:137834,1847:138614,1858:138926,1863:144721,1894:145568,1908:152040,1987:153600,2004:154224,2013:178950,2373:188249,2459:188785,2468:194568,2528:195279,2538:197412,2559:198044,2568:198913,2580:202942,2619:203574,2628:206260,2665:207366,2681:218635,2763:223290,2843:229650,2878:230175,2886:230850,2900:231450,2910:233775,2950:234150,2956:236025,2984:238800,3020:243300,3105:245850,3159:250050,3218:250800,3229:251100,3234:257170,3254:261331,3346:263229,3382:263667,3393:264689,3407:270894,3511:276305,3543:282028,3638:282804,3648:283677,3659:295300,3767:295932,3776:300988,3849:302963,3870:303990,3886:309204,3975:312759,4037:313154,4043:315524,4078:316156,4087:317025,4101:332854,4273:333565,4285:334750,4309:335066,4314:340966,4352:345544,4396:345989,4402:347947,4426:354622,4527:356580,4566:368184,4709:368658,4716:377706,4853:378066,4859:382386,4941:382674,4946:390432,5012:393958,5054:397740,5067:398760,5076:399780,5091:400205,5097:403990,5131:406100,5155$0,0:14512,157:18649,190:18965,210:22678,280:24258,298:24969,308:28445,375:28919,386:40192,519:40850,527:43012,558:44610,583:47430,622:67090,755:83698,1003:86050,1047:86722,1059:89662,1109:105236,1277:106628,1288:107585,1308:108281,1318:118275,1408:118660,1414:126976,1554:129363,1629:129748,1635:136310,1681:138920,1692:139892,1704:140459,1713:140783,1718:146534,1793:146939,1799:151070,1876:155760,1893:156296,1904:156765,1912:161857,2004:162527,2015:174674,2144:175089,2150:176002,2169:196608,2406:196940,2411:199264,2449:209196,2550:209916,2562:215028,2645:215604,2655:216540,2669:221360,2689:222480,2707:223040,2716:228000,2788:242784,2940:250854,3018:257956,3081:259573,3109:260266,3124:261575,3152:262191,3162:279294,3379:279606,3384:285144,3473:312514,3806:314257,3835:314838,3844:316664,3877:317079,3886:331865,4013:338707,4053:342894,4068:346988,4145:347344,4150:349836,4171:351438,4198:352150,4211:352595,4217:357395,4233:358105,4245:362152,4335:376850,4566:377106,4571:377490,4578:377938,4590:378898,4693:396491,4851:397415,4862:408560,4954:409980,4994:410548,5125:424852,5469:426246,5492:426574,5497:427394,5509:428542,5520:430264,5544:431248,5558:431740,5565:432150,5571:432642,5579:441663,5681:459466,5909:459868,5920:460471,5932:461342,5946:472230,6028
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shirley Malcom's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her mother's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her father's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom talks about the demographics of Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shirley Malcom talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shirley Malcom describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about her childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom talks about her high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about her experience at Lewis Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about the significance of Sputnik to aspiring scientists

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom talks about her teachers at Lewis Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shirley Malcom talks about her interest in television, radio and football

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Shirley Malcom talks about her grandmother registering to vote

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about voting challenges for black people during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom talks about the bombing of Bethel Baptist Church and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom reflects on her experience of being a student during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her decision to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom talks about the civil rights disparities that women face

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shirley Malcom talks about her experience at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about the disparity of educational resources between minority schools and white schools

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom talks about innate scientific ability

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about her decision to forego medical school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her social life at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about her experience at the University of California in Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her studies at the University of California in Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom reflects on the challenges in her personal life during her graduate studies

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about Pennsylvania State University, where she received her Ph.D. degree in ecology

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom describes her dissertation on the factors that relate to the termination of imprinting in birds

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about football at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her professional activities with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the NAACP

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about the book she published called, 'The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her work at the National Science Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about her work with the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom talks about her professional activities and the importance of STEM education

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about her work with the United Nations (part one)

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her work with the United Nations (part two)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about women's access to science education

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her professional activities with the AAAS

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Shirley Malcom talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about society's perceptions of scientists and celebrities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom reflects upon her life choices

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom reflects upon how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Shirley Malcom talks about her professional activities and the importance of STEM education
Shirley Malcom talks about the book she published called, 'The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science'
Transcript
Early 90s [1990s] you're saying--?$$Yes, it would be, it would have been kind of the early 90s [1990s]. And so we had a number of places apply and we had independent selection process and the people came here for training cause we wanted them all to do something that related to building math skills, whatever they happened to be. And then we basically sent them computers and they established community computing centers. We were trying some of everything. The notion is that we saw, we found holes we wanted to plug you know. We were trying to help communities, trying to build awareness to start with and then trying to build strategies so that you would get some sense that you weren't at, you know you weren't hanging out there by yourself. I mean there were things that you could do to try to move this. At the same time that you're trying all these projects, you're also trying to establish or support policies that you knew in the long run would likely provide federal resources or something for undertaking these efforts. You were protecting disaggregated data because you know if you lose it you're not going to be able to keep score and know how, know if you're making any kind of difference. So you're working on various fronts you know all at the same time, building, trying to build capacity in organizations, trying to build awareness in the scientific community, trying to get other organizations within the scientific community to take on some of these issues. So you have lots of different stuff going on at any one time. In 1989, there was a reorganization that pulled not only office of opportunities but also the general issues that relate to science education as well as public understanding of science into the same unit and I became the head of that unit. And again this was a situation where you are coming to understand that this is a system's problem and you've got to figure out how to take on different parts of a system be it K-12, be it higher education, be it graduate education, be it community engagement and community literacy that you've got to build partnerships, that you've got to reach out beyond yourself. You have to engage the media, the technology and what have you in order to make a difference. I had the opportunity too to kind of do more in the policy world and around the policy, and the policy area to effect things as well. I served on the National Science Board, the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation and participated in their efforts around strategic planning, around the systemic initiatives that they undertook. I instigated the activity that eventually led to the change in criteria at the foundation that--around broader impacts to try to get people to focus on the fact that it was great to be able to do your research but maybe we should be able to expect that you would do things to support education, do things to support diversity, do things to support other kinds of worthy efforts and initiatives within the sciences and engineering. And I served on President Clinton's counsel of advisors se science and technology at the same time and so trying to lift the discussion to the numerous agencies, trying to help people understand that this was an area of national need. We had once again returned to the Sputnik [1957] moment. It might not look like it but we were there again and that if we didn't really understand that the demographics were headed in one direction but we really weren't capitalizing on the need to build talent out of all those groups that had been marginalized in the past and we had a real problem. And so we were trying to change the discourse and tried to get the science community to own this problem at the same time that we could get the national policies to own all of this as an issue that had to be addressed. And I think that to a very large extent we look at, we look today and we listen to President Obama and his remarks, he's there. He gets that in fact that we--that stem education is critical to being able to move ahead in terms of our national security, our defense, our health, our economics but also that we have to be very smart about talent development and talent utilization. But you, when I think about kind of the odyssey that it has taken to kind of get to that point it's really amazing that we can still be having this conversation this many years later. You know I have these regular moments of deja vu all over again. I was you know I undertake on a--I can get an open slice of time every once in a while to start trying to attack the mess in my office and I'll find a speech that I gave in 1980 something and I read the presentation. I shouldn't, I should just go on and file it. But I read it and I thought oh my goodness this is too fresh. I could have given this speech last week. And I think that as much progress as we have made and the numbers tell us and we have in fact made progress, as much progress as we have made, the movement has been glacial. I mean it's so slow but we have just, we are just not taking hold of these things with the speed and urgency that is really required.$Okay. Now in '76 [1976] you wrote, you published 'The Double Bind'--$$The Double Bind.$$--The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science.$$Yes.$$Okay.$$And that was, it was interesting how that happened. The person with home, for whom I worked said at that time, what's it like basically to have these two things hitting you at the same time? She had gone to a meeting of people who were writing projects that related to minorities in science. There had been no women there. Then she went to a meeting on women in science projects and there had been no minorities there. And I said to her, I said what it is like is that you're in no person's land because if you--for example you go into a living room and you have a lamp that's there and there's a switch on the lamp and there's a switch on the wall. The switch on the lamp can be on but the wall switch isn't. The wall switch can be on but if the lamp switch isn't on the lamp still won't light. Essentially the light, the wall switch has to work and the lamp has to be on in order for anything to happen. I mean it's similarly that you know this notion of following slavery when the amendment was put in place giving blacks the right to vote, black women couldn't vote. You know so women were arguing at the time that women should, white women should be allowed to vote before these illiterate black men who had been slaves. But until both of those things happened, we weren't going to get the vote. So it didn't matter who you told, who you tossed your hat in with, nothing was going to happen for you until both of those things happened. And that's really the major issue that we began to understand as women of color that early on we might be more affected by the issues of being members of minority groups in terms of our early education. But at some point we were also going to be hit by sexism and the realization that there were certain things that women were expected to do and not do. And that we, until both of those sets of conditions were addressed that we weren't really going to be able to progress. And not having being able to put those ideas, to articulate those ideas and begin to understand what might a pathway be for women of color, I mean that was the first time that that had actually been discussed as an issue. And trying to help people understand what that was like was a really hard thing to do and it was a hard thing to do in terms of putting it to words. One young woman who wrote me at the time kind of--after she found 'The Double Bind', she was looking for something that spoke to her to the situation that she felt at the time. And I was trying to help her sort through it and make suggestions about what she should do as she was trying to map out her life, is now the Dean of the College at Harvard [University], Evelyn Hammonds. She was at Spelman [College] when she wrote to me after that book. And it means a lot that she felt that for the first time that someone understood, someone was articulating her reality. And unfortunately while a lot of things have changed from that reality, a lot of things haven't changed from that reality. There's a recent piece that I did with my daughter for Harvard Educational Review that kind of brings it, this up to date at the thirty-fifth anniversary you know of 'The Double Bind.' And we entitled it, 'The Double Bind-The Next Generation,' you know looking at how now younger women are experiencing some of the same issues that their mothers did and how, what is likely--what we now understand is likely to be necessary in order to really address these things.$$Now culturally, did you get more, I mean for those who were aware of what you wrote, did you get more pushback form the black community or the white community?$$Did we get pushback?$$No, from those who actually read what you wrote, did you get more pushback from the black community or the white community or did it make any difference?$$Okay, that's a hard one. We got probably more pushback from black males. White females didn't like it either because in a way when you're kind of in the middle of a women's movement the idea that you're going to call out that our separate needs aren't being addressed. And largely our separate needs weren't being addressed, partly our separate needs weren't being addressed because there was this in some corners kind of a condemnation of what, of the behavior of all men. And what we were trying to say is, hey wait a minute. Our brothers have issues, have had issues trying to move ahead as well. So even though they aren't necessarily being the most supportive people right now by saying we, you know we're calling out things that we need to keep in the family--I mean you think about it. You think about the civil rights movement and you think about the fact that the women in many cases were organizing things and they got pushed to the side. You don't hear about the women who were critical in the civil rights movement.$$Like Ella Baker [Ella Josephine Baker, African American civil rights and human rights activist].$$Yeah. You don't hear about Ella Baker. You don't hear about Diane--$$Nash [Diane Nash, student leader and strategist of the 1960s civil rights movement].$$You know, you don't hear about them. You may hear about Dorothy and I think that Dorothy Height [Dorothy Irene Height, administrator, educator, social activist: former head of National Council of Negro Women] who was a great supporter of our work because she understood this science/technology connection to really being able to take hold of one's future moving forward. I think that she, they gave her some props because she was senior to them all you know. And, but you know how that worked. It was, there was the expectation that you provided the coffee, you provided the support, you made the signs, you did whatever, but you were not out in front and that was a part of the reality. Did people like to be called on it? No. And I think that that's just the way it was.

Reatha Clark King

Chemist and corporate executive Reatha Clark King was born on April 11, 1938 in Pavo, Georgia. She moved with her mother to Moultrie, Georgia after her parents separated when King was in elementary school. The daughter of poorly-educated sharecroppers, King joined her family in the cotton fields throughout her childhood. King began her education in a one-room schoolhouse where she excelled in school. In 1954, King graduated as valedictorian from the Moultrie High School for Negro Youth. She then obtained a scholarship to Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia, earning her B.S. degree in chemistry and mathematics in 1958. King received a Woodrow Wilson fellowship to continue her studies at the University of Chicago. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physical chemistry in 1960 and 1963, respectively. Her Ph.D. thesis was entitled "Contributions to the Thermochemistry of the Laves Phases."

After earning her Ph.D. degree, King was hired by the National Bureau of Standards, becoming the agency’s first African American female chemist. As a research chemist, she won the Meritorious Publication Award for her paper on fluoride flame calorimetry. In 1968, King moved to New York City where she became an assistant professor at York College of the City University of New York in Jamaica, Queens. There, King quickly advanced her career, becoming associate dean for the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics in 1970, and associate dean for academic affairs in 1974. In 1977, King left York College to become the second president of Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota. Prior to her departure from New York, King received her M.B.A. degree from Columbia University. After eleven years at Metropolitan State University, King was hired at General Mills in Minneapolis, Minnesota as executive director of the General Mills Foundation and vice president of the General Mills Corporation. She retired in 2002, but remained with General Mills for one additional year as chair of the board of directors. Since 1979, King has served on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards, including the Exxon Mobil Company, H.B. Fuller Company, Wells Fargo & Company, Minnesota Mutual Insurance Company, University of Chicago, American Council on Education and the Council on Foundations. In 2011, she began her service with Allina Health Systems as a corporate director. Currently, King also serves on the board of the National Association of Corporate Directors and is Emeritus Trustee of the University of Chicago.

She has received many awards for her achievements including National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Director of the Year, Defender of Democracy Award from the Washington, DC. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. and Exceptional Black Scientist Award from the CIBA-GEIGY Corporation and 14 honorary doctorate degrees. She is married to N. Judge King and they have two children, N. Judge King, III and Scott King.

Reatha Clark King was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 01/16/2012.

Accession Number

A2012.001

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/16/2012

Last Name

King

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Clark

Occupation
Schools

University of Chicago

Colquitt County High School

Clark Atlanta University

Columbia University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Reatha

Birth City, State, Country

Pavo

HM ID

KIN17

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved. A worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. - Bible verse, second Timothy 2:15.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Minnesota

Birth Date

4/11/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard)

Short Description

Chemist Reatha Clark King (1938 - ) served as the president of Metropolitan State University, executive director of General Mills foundation and vice president of the General Mills Corporation.

Employment

National Bureau of Standards (NBS)

City University of New York

Metropolitan State University

General Mills

Exxon Mobil

Alina Health Systems

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King slates the interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King shares her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about her great grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about her grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks about her mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about her grandmother's view of race relations in Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King describes the similarities between she and her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King describes the sights, sounds and smells of her growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about working in the fields

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reatha Clark King talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about her parents' separation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about how her parent's separation affected her

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about why her sister chose to attend Dillard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks about how her mother struggled to make ends meet

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about black professionals in her town

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reatha Clark King talks about the newspapers of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reatha Clark King reflects on her experience as a high school student and her interest in science

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her high school education and why she chose to attend Clark College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about attending college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about why she changed her major

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about her professors at Clark College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about her summer employment

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks about her experiences in New York

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about being homecoming queen at Clark College

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reatha Clark King talks about graduating from Clark College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her experience at the University of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King continues talking about her experience at the University of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about working in the chemistry lab

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about her dissertation and the value of materials science to the economy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about her research

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about how she met her husband and graduating from the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about Dr. Benjamin Mays

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about her publications

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about her transition from doing research to teaching

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about race relations at York College of CUNY

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks about her accomplishments at York College

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King explains why she decided to pursue her M.B.A degree

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about being hired as President of Metropolitan State University

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about being President at Metropolitan State University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about her proudest moments as President at Metropolitan State

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about being recruited by General Mills, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about heading the General Mills Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks her experience at the Minnesota Council on Foundations

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about her civic activities

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about being selected as one of Minnesota's most influential citizens

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about her experience as a Fellow in Philanthropy at the Herbert Humphrey Center

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King describes her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her immediate family

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about some of her post-retirement endeavors and interests

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about she and her husband's philanthropy and interests

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about family and the importance of continuing education

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about what she likes to do in her spare time

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King describes her current interest in chemistry

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King describes her family photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Reatha Clark King talks about how her mother struggled to make ends meet
Reatha Clark King talks about being recruited by General Mills, Inc.
Transcript
I know I've heard that some black communities had shorter school years than the white schools, I mean they would only go to school certain when there was nothing to be done in the fields.$$Yeah, no, no. We, our system wasn't that way.$$Okay.$$Moultrie [Georgia] had a population of 25,000 then. And the population has since dwindled to 17,000. So Moultrie was the county seat for Colquitt County [Georgia]. And it was a little more progressive than those schools, than those systems that would do something like that. No, it was family choice that that happened to us to make ends meet, to cover the bills. The, I heard my mother [Ola Mae Watts Clark] say a number of times that, what she was most proud of was ability to put food on the table. She really agonized over, about not having enough food to eat. And sometimes, the families we helped would send her back peas and beans and share stuff that they had raised, that they were raising on the farm, tomatoes. We called those crops, truck crops, we called them, and okra, greens. She loved getting these contributions because it helped to make ends meet. And she was pretty frugal, but that was the help. But she actually worried about not having enough to eat. And, and you couldn't often, you couldn't see her worries. Well, there's much more to this story about her caring for herself and her not getting her healthcare, healthcare that she needed because of not having the money, some painful stories there during this time.$Okay, okay, and the enrollment had been increased from 1,600 to 5,000 graduates per year, six Bachelorette programs added, a graduate program in management, you know, just--so, General Mills [Inc.] calls one day, and then what happened? Tell us what happened.$$Oh, it was July of 1988, I received a call from the then CEO of General Mills. His name is Bruce Atwater. And Bruce called to let me know that the head of their foundation, their philanthropic foundation was retiring. And they planned to replace him, and the trustees of the foundation wanted them to start with me and ask if I could come for an interview or to talk with him about the position. They had, by that time asked a search firm to give them some names of people from, who might--that they might consider to meet certain criteria. They had had that done quietly. So they had my name on the list, and Bruce said the trustees wanted him to start with me. So he was calling to ask if he could come to my office and tell me a little more about the position. And that was a Friday morning--he said, I'd like to come over today. That was in the morning and about eleven, and he came over at about three o'clock to my office in St. Paul. My office was downtown St. Paul. And, oh, he just told me a little about their situation, the company, the--he brought their statement of corporate values and asked me to think about it. I was going to Wichita [State University, Kansas] to give a talk, and to--I told him I wanted to think about it over the weekend. I wanted to talk with my husband. He asked me if I would keep it confidential and I asked him if I could talk with my family about it. He said, oh, sure. So I talked with my husband about it, and he wasn't sure. I was very happy at Metropolitan State [University]. So, he said, oh, Reatha, I don't know. But then I talked with our two sons. One wasn't sure. The youngest one--the oldest one said, mom, you should take that job. He thought it was exciting. So I did go for the interview, and I talked with other trustees and after about a week and a half, I decided that I would go, accept the job at the foundation. One of the things I considered was I had been at Metropolitan State, I was in my twelfth year and the average tenure, what was considered a good tenure for a university president, of a public university was seven years. So I thought to myself, these jobs can be political and they can be volatile, and, you know, I'd better take a serious look at how long I should stay here. And to the disappointment of the faculty and the board members, I decided to go into philanthropy and go to General Mills. That's the way it happened, and it was, and I stayed there fifteen years. Fourteen years as president and one year as chair of the board of the trustees. I retired in 2003. So that was, that's the way it happened. But Bruce was, became--he was chair of the board of trustee for the foundation over there. But they appointed me as vice president of the company and also president and executive of the foundation. So it was a double role that worked exceptionally well for me.$$Okay.$$But there again, my business, that M.B.A., gave me quite a bit of comfort- ability with companies, and I didn't realize that at the time, but even in my work as president of Metropolitan State, I felt very comfortable in and out of companies when I would seek support from them or talk with them about their recruiting and what have you. So that's the way it happened, and--