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Helen L. Stewart

Management consultant and academic administrator Helen L. Stewart was born on May 21, 1943 in Lynchburg, Virginia to Lucy Juanita Hampton and James Edward Woodson Stewart. She graduated from Poitiers American High School in Poitiers, France in 1960. Stewart obtained her B.A. degree in sociology in 1965 before earning her M.A. degree in sociology in 1967, both from Boston University. She later received her Ph.D. in sociology from Brandeis University in 1980.

In 1965, Stewart began working as an independent management consultant, arbitrator, mediator, and interpreter. She began studies for her Ph.D. at Brandeis in 1967, the same year that she worked as an instructor at both Emerson College and Boston University. Stewart also taught at Brandeis in 1969 before becoming a French interpreter for the U.S. Department of State, Language Services Division. From 1971 to 1972, Stewart served as a rural sociologist with the United Nations Development Program in West Africa. From 1972 to 1974, she worked as an associate at Community-University Research Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She subsequently taught at Harvard University Extension, Wellesley College, and Brandeis University, earning her Ph.D. in 1980. Stewart joined San Francisco State University in 1981 as associate dean for faculty affairs where she worked until 1988 when she was promoted to dean of faculty affairs and professor of sociology at Sonoma State University in California. In 1990, she became vice president for academic affairs and provost of Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. In 1999, she was then appointed president of the University of Metaphysical Studies, a position she remained in until 2004. In 2013, Stewart published her book, Seven Seconds or Less: From Gut Feeling to Bottom Line in Challenging Areas of Business.

Stewart has affiliations with numerous organizations, including the American Council on Education, Scientific and Medical Network, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the American Association of University Women, Brandeis Alumni Association of Northern California, Harvard Alumni Associations of Northern California and Honolulu, the Organization of Women Leaders in Honolulu, and the World Future Society, and is a member of the Phi Beta Delta and Omicron Delta Kappa Societies. She has also served on the boards of the New Jersey Institute for Collegiate Teaching and Learning, Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management, Desert Academy, the National Urban League, The Women’s Foundation, The Chapin School, and Cambridge Montessori School.

Stewart resides in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Helen L. Stewart was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.139

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/11/2019

Last Name

Stewart

Maker Category
Middle Name

Langhorne

Organizations
First Name

Helen

HM ID

STE25

Favorite Season

Late Spring and Early Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Austria and France

Favorite Quote

What Goes Around Comes Around and I Live In A Safe Universe

Speakers Bureau Region State

Hawaii

Speakers Bureau Region City

Honolulu

Favorite Food

Pork Chops and Spinach

Short Description

Management consultant and academic administrator Helen L. Stewart (1943- ) was dean of faculty affairs and professor of sociology at Sonoma State University and vice president for academic affairs and provost at Rider University before co-founding and becoming president of the University of Metaphysical Studies.

Favorite Color

Neon Blue, Emerald Green, and Fuchsia

Leon Richards

Academic administrator Leon Richards was born on June 7, 1945 in Autauga County, Alabama to Carrie Richards and John Richards. One of twenty-two children, Richards and his family moved to Montgomery, Alabama soon after his birth. After graduating from George Washington Carver High School in 1964, Richards received his B.S. degree in history from Alabama State College in 1968. He went on to receive his M.A. degree in political science in 1970, his Ph.D. degree in political science in 1974, and his second M.A. degree in teaching English as a second language in 2000, all from the University of Hawai’i.

In 1968, Richards joined Wai’anae High School as a social science teacher in Wai’anae, Hawai’i, where he worked for two years, before joining the Wai’anae Research & Planning Center’s Model Cities Project for one year. After receiving his M.A. degree, Richards worked as a research assistant for the University of Hawaii department of political science’s Dimensionality of Nations Project for two years. After receiving his Ph.D. degree, Richards joined the East-West Center Communication Institute and the advisory council on international relations at the University of Hawai’i, as a researcher. In 1977, he joined Kapi‘olani Community College, where he served as assistant dean of instruction and title III grant coordinator from 1977 to 1987, acting provost from 1981 to 1984, and dean of instruction from 1982 to 1999. In 2000, Richards was promoted to senior academic dean and executive director for international education for the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges system and served there until 2002, when he was once again appointed acting provost of Kapi‘olani Community College. He returned to his positions as senior academic dean and executive director for international education in 2003. In 2005, Richards was promoted to vice chancellor for academic affairs and international education, continuing to serve as executive director for international education until 2016. He was promoted to interim chancellor in 2005, before becoming chancellor of Kapi‘olani Community College in 2007. Richards resigned in 2016 and went on to found the Mid-Pacific International Higher Education Consultancy, LLL in 2017, serving as a senior consultant.

Richards has written numerous scholarly works, including Island Roots, Global Reach: A Case Study of Internationalizing Kapiolani Community College in International Reform Efforts and Challenges, published in Community Colleges: New Directions for Community Colleges in 2007, and Elevating Developmental Education at Kapiʻolani Community College: Thoughts on Our Past, Present, and Future, published in the Journal of the Japan Association for Developmental Education in 2009. He also wrote Education and Youth Unemployment: Answering a Challenge in Emerging Countries - An Asia Pacific Perspective, published in 2015, and Community Colleges in America: Creating Economic, Human Capital, and Social Development for Today and Tomorrow, published in 2016.

Richards and his wife, Pauline Sakai Richards, reside in Honolulu, Hawai’i. They have two children: Kayin and Kalera.

Leon Richards was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 10, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.136

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/10/2019

Last Name

Richards

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Lomax School

George Washington Carver High School

George Washington Carver Junior High School

Alabama State University

University of Hawaii at Manoa

First Name

Leon

Birth City, State, Country

Autauga County

HM ID

RIC25

Favorite Season

Hawaii All Year, Springtime in Alabama and Japan

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

The World

Favorite Quote

There Are Two Things No One Can Take From You: Education And Family

Birth Date

6/7/1945

Birth Place Term
Country

USA

Favorite Food

Collard Greens with Neck Bones, Sukiyaki

Short Description

Academic administrator Leon Richards (1945- ) worked at Kapi‘olani Community College for thirty nine years, serving as chancellor from 2007 to 2016.

Employment

Mid-Pacific International Higher Education Consultancy, LLL (MPIHEC)

Kapi'olani Community College

University of Hawaii Community Colleges System

Wai'anae High School

Wai'anae Research & Planning Center

University of Hawaii Department of Political Science

Model Cities' Research and Planning Program

East -West Center Communication Institute

Favorite Color

Blue and Black

Kevin Willmott

Filmmaker and screenwriter Kevin Willmott was born on August 31, 1958 in Junction City, Kansas. After he attended Junction City High School and St. Xavier Catholic High School, Willmott received his B.A. degree in drama from Marymount College in Salina, Kansas in 1981. He went on to receive his M.F.A. in dramatic writing from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts in 1988.

Willmott worked as a peace and civil rights activist in Junction City, Kansas in between college and graduate school. After receiving his M.F.A. degree, he returned to Kansas to begin working on his first film, Ninth Street, which he directed, wrote, produced, and acted in. Ninth Street, which starred Martin Sheen and Isaac Hayes, premiered in 1999; and, in 2000, Willmott joined the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of Kansas, teaching screenwriting, the history of African American images and film, anti-war and Blaxploitation films. The same year, he served as a writer for the NBC miniseries, The 70s. Willmott went on to direct and write the mockumentary C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, which was released in 2004, and direct, write, and produce the film Bunker Hill, which was released in 2008. His film The Only Good Indian, which he directed and produced, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. In 2013, Willmott’s films Destination: Planet Negro! and Jayhawkers were both released. He also served as a writer on Spike Lee’s film Chi-Raq and as a screenwriter on Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman, which premiered in 2015 and 2018, respectively. In 2019, Willmott began working on the film Da 5 Bloods with Spike Lee, the film The 24th, and the documentary I, Too, Sing America: Langston Hughes Unfurled.

In 2009, Willmott was named Best Director at the American Indian Film Festival for his work on The Only Good Indian. In 2019, he received an Oscar and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman.

Willmott and his wife, Becky Willmott, reside in Lawrence, Kansas.

Kevin Willmott was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/8/2019

Last Name

Willmott

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lamar

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Junction City Junior/Senior High School

St. Xavier Catholic High School

Marymount College

New York University Tisch School of the Arts

Lincoln Elementary School

First Name

Kevin

Birth City, State, Country

Junction City

HM ID

WIL95

Favorite Season

Summer and Fall

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Spain

Favorite Quote

You Know

Birth Date

8/31/1958

Birth Place Term
Country

USA

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Filmmaker and screenwriter Kevin Willmott (1958- ) began filmmaking in 1991. He co-wrote the 2015 film Chi-Raq with Spike Lee and received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work as a screenwriter on Lee’s 2018 film BlacKkKlansman.

Employment

Ninth Street

University of Kansas

The 70s

C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America

Chi-Raq

High Tech Lincoln

Bunker Hill

The Only Good Indian

Destination: Planet Negro!

Jayhawkers

BlacKkKlansman

Favorite Color

Khaki

Leonard Graham

Engineering executive Leonard J. Graham was born on December 12, 1949 in Kansas City, Kansas to Leonard A. and Alma James Graham. He attended Kansas City, Kansas public schools and graduated from Southeast High School in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1974, Graham earned his B.A. degree in liberal arts and sciences from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and his B.S. degree in civil engineering in 1975, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He went on to obtain his M.A. degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1978.

While in college, Graham worked as an application engineer at Fairbanks Morse Pumps, in Kansas City. Following his undergraduate studies, he went to work as an engineer for the regional office of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1976, Graham joined the Kansas City-based consulting engineering firm Schlup Becker & Brennan as an engineer. Named partner in 1984, he worked there for sixteen years. In 1992, Graham joined and purchased the land surveying and civil and structural engineering services firm Taliaferro and Browne, Inc. as co-owner. He has served as president for twenty-seven years, where his role and area of expertise has been general civil engineering and project management including site development, storm water and wastewater engineering, roadway and transportation planning and design.
The firm has been recognized for “engineering excellence” to being “one of the top 25 largest engineering firms in Kansas City”.

From 2001 to 2002, Graham served as Honorary Chairman, Port Authority (now PortKC). In 2004, he received the Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City College of Engineering. Graham served as a member of the Mid-America Regional Council from 2012 to 2013, and board member for The Main Street Corridor Development Corporation from 2012 to 2018. He was the recipient of the Lucille H. Bluford Special Achievement Award from the Kansas City NAACP.

Graham has held memberships in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi, Midwesterners and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was recognized as a member of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni Members at the University of Missouri.

Leonard J. Graham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.124

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/8/2019

Last Name

Graham

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

James

Schools

Keiling Elementary School

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Northeast Junior High School

Southeast High School

University of Missouri, Kansas City

University of Missouri

First Name

Leonard

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

GRA20

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe and Africa

Favorite Quote

None

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

12/12/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Tacos

Short Description

Engineering executive Leonard J. Graham (1949- ) served as co-owner and president of land surveying and civil and structural engineering services firm Taliaferro and Browne, Inc.

Employment

Fairbanks Morse Pumps

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Schlup Becker and Brennan

Taliaferro and Browne

Favorite Color

Green

Maurice Watson

Lawyer Maurice Watson was born on January 13, 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri to Christene and George Watson. He attended Barstow School and was the first African American to graduate from there in 1976. Watson then attended Harvard University where he graduated cum laude and received his B.A. degree in social studies in 1980 before earning his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1984.

After graduating from Harvard University in 1980, Watson worked in the legal department at Hallmark Cards, Inc. until 1981 when he entered Harvard Law School. Upon receiving his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1984, Watson was hired as an aide for Senator John Danforth (R-MO) where he worked with civil rights, healthcare, and education issues. He remained here until 1987 when he returned to Kansas City, Missouri to serve as an associate at Blackwell Sanders, working on civil rights and education issues. Here, he would later become partner and relationship manager for the Kansas City Public School system. In 2012, Watson was named chairman of the board of Husch Blackwell, making him the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri and the third to do so in the country. He remained as chairman until 2018 when he co-founded Credo Philanthropy Advisors and became of counsel to Husch Blackwell.

Watson has served on numerous boards throughout his career, including as president of the board of trustees for Barstow School from 1989 to 1996, chairman of the board of directors for Children’s Mercy Hospital from 1993 to 2007 and vice chair of ther board of trustees from 2002 to 2007, and secretary of the board of trustees for the National Association of Independent Schools from 1995 to 2003. He has also been a member of the African American Managing Partners Network, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

Watson also received numerous awards, including the 2007 Missouri Hospital Association Excellence in Governance Award, the NAACP Kansas City, Missouri Chapter’s Velma E. Woodson Outstanding Leadership Award in 2012, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City Difference Maker of the Year Award in 2012, Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 recognition from 2014 to 2017, the Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2018 Law Firm Leader Award, and the African American Managing Partners Network’s 2018 Managing Partner of the Year Award.

Watson resides in Kansas City, Missouri.

Maurice Watson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 4, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.120

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/4/2019

Last Name

Watson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Alvin

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver School

George Melcher Elementary School

Southwest High School

The Barstow School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Maurice

HM ID

WAT21

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

London

Favorite Quote

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

1/13/1958

Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Lawyer Maurice Watson (1958- ) was the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri and the third to do so in the country after being named chairman of Husch Blackwell in 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Employment

Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Blackwell Sanders Matheny Weary & Lombardi

Lord Lloyd & Bissell

Senator John Danforth (R-MO)

Blackwell Sanders

Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP

Husch Blackwell

Credo Philanthropy Advisors

Favorite Color

Purple

Mary Yearwood

Archivist Mary Yearwood was born on January 14, 1954 in Barbados to Frederick and Una Yearwood. She attended St. Mary’s Infant School, St. Mary’s Junior School, and St. Leonard’s Girls Secondary School. Yearwood moved with her family to Brooklyn, New York in 1969. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1972, Yearwood received her B.A. degree in literature from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1976. She went on to receive her M.L.S degree from Columbia University School of Library Service in 1981.

In 1975, while attending Brooklyn College, Yearwood worked as a page in the music division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. In 1977, she joined New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture as a technical assistant in the manuscripts, archives and rare books division. Upon receiving her M.L.S. degree, Yearwood was promoted to librarian in the manuscripts, archives and rare books division. From 1993 to 2017, she served as curator of the photographs and prints division, working extensively with the Morgan and Martin Smith, Austin Hanson, and Richard Saunders collections. She then became director of collections and information services in 2017. During her forty-three year career at the Schomburg Center, she curated the “St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Bicentennial Exhibition” in 2009, “President Barack Obama: The First Year” in 2010, “Harlem Views/Diasporan Visions: The New Harlem Renaissance Photographers” in 2011, and “Curators’ Choice: Black Life Matters” in 2016. Yearwood also stewarded collections from Malcom X and Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. She retired from the Schomburg Center in 2020.

In 2017, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Yearwood to the Archives, Reference and Research Advisory Board. Yearwood is also a member of the American Library Association. In 2016, Yearwood received the Leadership Award from the New York Public Library.

Yearwood resides in New York City.

Mary Yearwood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 24, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.116

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/24/2019

Last Name

Yearwood

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

St. Mary's Infant School

St. Mary's Primary School

St. Leonard's Girls Secondary School

Abraham Lincoln High School

Brooklyn College

Columbia University School of Library Service

First Name

Mary

HM ID

YEA01

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Work Hard, Aim High, Keep Pure

Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/4/1954

Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Barbados

Favorite Food

Okra and Lamb

Short Description

Archivist Mary Yearwood (1954 - ) worked at New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for forty-three years, as a librarian, curator of photographs and prints, and director of collections and information services.

Employment

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Favorite Color

Red, Magenta and Orange Hues

Benny Turner

Musician Benny Turner was born on October 27, 1939 in Gilmer, Texas to Ella Mae King and Ben Turner. He attended Lake Providence School, Bruce Junior High School, and Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School.

Turner joined The Kindly Shepherds gospel music group and also played in his brother’s band, The Freddie King Band. During this period, he met Dee Clark and was invited to tour with his rhythm and blues band. Turner then became the bass player for the American gospel music group, The Soul Stirrers. He later rejoined The Freddie King Band and toured regularly with the group, performing with musicians like Eric Clapton, John Fogerty and Grand Funk Railroad. At The Montreux Jazz Festival in 1973, Turner played bass on the live recording of Memphis Slim’s Very Much Alive and in Montreux. After his brother’s death in 1976, Turner joined the band, Mighty Joe Young; and, in 1981, Turner appeared in the film Thief, while performing at the Wise Fools Pub in Chicago. In 1986, Turner moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and became the bandleader for Marva Wright. He also sang vocals and played bass on several of Otis Clay’s albums including, The Blues Is… in 1991, The Gospel Truth in 1993, and When the Gate Swings Open in 1994. Marva Wright later released, Born with the Blues in 1996, featuring Turner on bass. The following year, Mighty Joe Young released Mighty Man, featuring Turner on guitar. In 1999, Turner played bass on Marva Wight’s album, Bluesiana Mama, followed by Do Right Woman: The Soul of New Orleans in 2006, and After the Levees Broke in 2007, where Turner served as the producer, arranger, guitar player and background vocals on the album. Throughout his career, Turner was also featured on a number of his brother’s albums including, Gives You A Bonanza of Instrumentals, Larger Than Life, Freddie King (1934-1976), Takin’ Care of Business, Live in Antibes, 1974, Let the Good Times Roll.

In 2011, Turner released his solo album, A Tribute to My Brother Freddie King. In 2014, Turner released an original solo album entitled, Journey. Two years later, he released, When She’s Gone dedicated to his mother. In 2017, Turner published his autobiography, Survivor: The Benny Turner Story. That same year, he released the album, My Brother’s Blues. In 2019, he released, Going Back Home.

Turner has also received a number of awards, including the 2017 Best Blues Song Award at the fifteenth annual Independent Music Awards and the Little Milton Lifetime Bluesman award from Jus’ Blues Awards. Turner was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2017 and October 27th was proclaimed Benny Turner Day in Turner’s hometown of Gilmer, Texas. In 2018, he was voted Most Outstanding Musician (Bass) by Living Blues magazine, and received the Silver Medal at the Global Music Awards and the Bronze Medal by the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards.

Benny Turner was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 27, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.035

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/27/2019

Last Name

Turner

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School

Lake Providence School

Bruce Junior High School

First Name

Benny

Birth City, State, Country

Gilmer

HM ID

TUR08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago

Favorite Quote

Right On Top

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

10/27/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cornbread

Short Description

Musician Benny Turner (1939- ) played bass with The Soul Stirrers, The Freddie King Band, and Mighty Joe Young. He performed with Eric Clapton, John Fogerty and Grand Funk Railroad and was featured on albums of Otis Clay’s and Marva Wright’s.

Employment

Marva Wright

Mighty Joe Young

Kindly Shepards

Freddie King

Soul Stirrers

Favorite Color

Red

Gerald B. Smith

Investment banker Gerald B. Smith was born on September 28, 1950 in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas in 1968, and received his B.B.A. degree from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas in 1972.

After graduation, Smith became an assistant buyer for men’s sportswear at Foley’s department store. In 1974, Smith was hired at the investment banking firm of Hibbard, O’Conner & Weeks in Houston, Texas, where he completed the check training program and worked as a trader. In 1979, Smith moved to New York and joined Dillon, Read & Co. as the first African American hired by the firm, where he worked in the fixed income sector, trading and advising in portfolio management. In 1980, Smith became a founding member of the New York Futures Exchange (NYFE), which was established for the trading of futures contracts of financial products. Smith later worked for the Westcap Corporation, where he was responsible for national sales and trading with institutional investors. He also served as senior vice president and director of fixed income securities for Underwood Neuhaus & Co. In 1990, Smith co-founded Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors, L.P. in Houston, Texas, along with Ladell Graham.

Smith served as a trustee of various funds of The Charles Schwab Family of Funds and became director of Cooper Industries. He was also a director of Northern Border Partners, L.P. as well as the lead independent director and presiding non-management director of Cooper Industries PLC. From 2009 to 2013, Smith served as director of ONEOK, Inc.; and, from 2011 to 2016, Smith served on the board of The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – Houston Branch. In 2012, he became director of New York Life Insurance Co. and independent director of Eaton Corporation PLC. He was also chairman of the Texas Southern University Foundation.

In 2007, Black Enterprise magazine named Smith one of the 50 Most Powerful African Americans on Wall Street. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate degree from Texas Southern University. Smith and his wife, Anita were recognized as Excellence in Education Honorees at the Annual United Negro College Fund’s Gala in 2015, and are both founding donors of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. He was also inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame and received the United Way Volunteer of the Year Award, the National Black MBA Association’s Leadership Empowerment Award, YMCA Annual Tribute to Leadership Award, and the Community Partner’s “Father of the Year” Award. In 2015, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce and The National Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurship Award from The 100 Black Men Association of America.

Gerald B. Smith was interviewed The HistoryMakers on April 26, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.034

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2019

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Occupation
Schools

Dodson Elementary

James D. Ryan Middle School

Jack Yates High School

Texas Southern University

First Name

Gerald

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

SMI37

Favorite Season

Spring and Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Favorite Quote

We've All Been Blessed To Be A Blessing

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

9/28/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Grilled Salmon with Vegetables

Short Description

Investment banker Gerald B. Smith (1950 - ) was a founding member of the New York Futures Exchange (NYFE) and co-founded Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors, L.P.

Employment

Foley's Department Store

Hibbard, O'Connor & Weeks

Dillon Read and Company

Westcap Corporation

Underwood Neuhaus and Company

Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors, L.P.

Favorite Color

Blue for clothes, Black for cars

Elgin Charles

Hairstylist Elgin Charles was born Charles Elgin Williams on February 27, 1960 in San Antonio, Texas to Charles Etta and Edgar Willis Williams. After graduating from Southside High School in 1978, Charles attended St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. He went on to attend CCC School of Ministry and Marinello Schools of Beauty in Los Angeles, California.

Charles worked at the Marathon Battery Corporation factory in Waco, Texas and EG&G Automotive Research in San Antonio, Texas, before moving to Los Angeles, California in 1981, where he worked at Crocker National Bank and Smith Barney, Inc. Upon graduating cosmetology school, he joined The Blue Salon in Inglewood as an assistant hairstylist. He was later hired by The Adrian Houghton Hair Salon in West Hollywood as an assistant hairstylist, eventually being promoted to stylist. In 1986, Charles moved to Char Salon as a stylist; and, in 1991, he opened The Elgin Charles Salon. He launched his own line of custom hair units in 1995, while serving as educational director for Elasta Hair Care Products. In 1996, The Elgin Charles Hair Salon moved to its Beverly Hills location. Charles launched his EC Classic line of hair care products in 1999, and the EC Platinum line in 2007. Charles’ clients included Lala Anthony, Drew Barrymore, Joy Behar, Natalie Cole, Joan Collins, Diahann Carroll, Estelle, Jackée Harry, Star Jones, Gabrielle Union, Verdine White, Serena Williams, Baroness Monica von Neumann, and the Kardashians. His talent in the hair industry has earned him the title “Emperor of Hair.”

Charles appeared in Chris Rock’s critically-acclaimed documentary Good Hair and the Style Network’s Split Ends. He has also appeared in countless talk shows, including Oprah, The View, The Talk, and The Wendy Williams Show. In 2011, he starred in the VH1 reality television show, Beverly Hills Fabulous, which aired for one season.

Charles founded the Diversity in Business Summit. His book, Believe It, Conceive It, Achieve It was published in 2002, and his memoir, By The Way was published in 2018.

Charles was married to Jackée Harry from 1996 to 2003. He resides in Los Angeles and has one son: Frank DeVanique Brown.

Elgin Charles was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 18, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.129

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/18/2019

Last Name

Charles

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Organizations
Schools

Southside High School

Marinello Schools of Beauty

St. Mary's University

First Name

Elgin

Birth City, State, Country

San Antonio

HM ID

CHA13

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

London

Favorite Quote

It Doesn't Cost To Look Beautiful, It Pays

Birth Date

2/27/1960

Birth Place Term
Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cheeseburgers

Short Description

Hairstylist Elgin Charles (1960- ) has worked as a hairstylist for over thirty years and owns The Elgin Charles Hair Salon. His clientele includes Natalie Cole, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union and Verdine White.

Employment

Marathon Batter Corporation

EG&G Automotive Research

Crocker National Bank

Smith Barney, Inc.

The Blue Horizon

The Adrian Houghton Hair Salon

Sunset Plaza

Char Salon

The Elgin Charles Salon

Elasta Hair Care Products

Beverly Hills Fabulous

Favorite Color

Blue

Gayle Holliday

Transportation executive, business consultant, and political activist Gayle Holliday was born on May 18, 1944 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Helen and George Smith. She graduated from Fredrick Douglass High School in 1962 before attending Howard University and ultimately graduating from Oklahoma City University with her B.A. degree in political science in 1968. Holliday later earned her M.P.A. degree from Central Michigan University in 1978 and her Ph.D. in management and applied technology from Webster University in 2004.

From 1969 to 1971, Holliday was the assistant dean of students at Federal City College in Washington D.C. She subsequently became a reporter and writer for Kansas City, Missouri’s CBS affiliate, KCMO-TV. In 1975, Holliday was hired by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority as the personnel and equal employment opportunity manager. She was later promoted to the director of human resources; and, in 1986, she became deputy general manager. She left the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in 1996 upon founding and becoming president and CEO of G&H Consulting, LLC where she monitored minority and women business enterprise compliance on the renovations of Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, the Kansas City Zoo, and a new police crime laboratory. G&H Consulting has also been a major consultant on five disparity studies for women and minorities, including for the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the State of Missouri; the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority; Jackson County, Missouri; and Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools.

Holliday has served on numerous committees throughout her career, including appointments to Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team in 1992; Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II’s task force on race relations in 1996; the Sixth Circuit Judicial Commission of Kansas City, Missouri in 2006; co-chair of Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James’ Charter Commission in 2016; co-chair of Jackson County, Missouri’s Jail Task Force from 2016 to 2018; and Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II’s Black/Brown Coalition in 2017. She was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Links, Inc., and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In 2019, Holliday was named co-president of Freedom, Inc.

Holliday has received many awards, including being named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Black Women in Kansas City, Missouri in 1983; the Thomas G. Neusom Founder's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Growth and Development of Minorities presented by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials in 1989; the 1992 Service Award from the National Conference of Black Mayors; the 2005 Congressional Black Caucus’s Unsung Hero Award; and the 2018 Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award. She was also recognized by the 109th Congress for Outstanding Service in the State of Missouri and working to promote economic and political empowerment for African Americans and other minorities.

Gayle Holliday resides in Kansas City, Missouri, and has two children with her late husband, Harold Holliday, Jr.: Holli and Harold Holliday, III.

Gayle Holliday was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.132

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/6/2019

Last Name

Holliday

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Patricia

Schools

Dunbar Elementary School

F.D. Moon Junior High School

Frederick A. Douglass High School

Howard University

Oklahoma City University

Central Michigan University

Webster University

First Name

Gayle

Birth City, State, Country

Oklahoma City

HM ID

HOL26

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

5/18/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Any American Dish

Short Description

Transportation executive, business consultant, and political activist Gayle Holliday (1944- ) began working for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in 1975 before founding and becoming president and CEO of G&H Consulting, LLC. in 1996, and president of Freedom, Inc. in 2019.

Employment

Federal City College

KCMO-TV

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

G&H Consulting, LLC

Favorite Color

Pink