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Skip Cunningham

Entertainer Skip Cunningham was born on April 24, 1936 to Geneva Davis and William Henry Cunningham in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Morgan Park High School and attended the University of Illinois at Navy Pier, before transferring to Woodrow Wilson Junior College where he received his A.A. degree in 1956.

In 1941, at the age of five, Cunningham started tap lessons at the Sadie Bruce Dance School in Bronzeville, Chicago. Starting at the age of eight, he performed throughout the city and won several dance competitions. He visited California in 1956, where he won a talent contest that earned him a week-long engagement performing at the Moulin Rouge on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. In 1957, while still in Los Angeles, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and completed basic training at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington. He was stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia and Fort Banks in Winthrop, Massachusetts, where he found a talent agent and joined the American Guild of Variety Artists. In 1959, Cunningham completed his military service in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He returned to Chicago, where he secured a role performing in the Billy Williams Revue. Over the next two years, they toured Canada, New York, New Orleans and Las Vegas, where they established a residency for six months, before returning to New York City in 1961. Cunningham left the group and secured General Artist Corporation as his agent. During this period, he made appearances on television shows like On Broadway Tonight, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As an entertainer, he performed with Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Richard Pryor, and Frank Sinatra. He was also a recording artist for such labels as Kapp Records, Coral Records and Motown.

In 1968, Cunningham moved to Los Angeles, where he began performing on the cruise ship circuits and making various television and movie appearances. Cunningham was featured on episodes of Sanford and Son and The Richard Pryor Show. He also performed briefly in Eubie! on Broadway and in a production of Evolution of the Blues at the Drury Lane Theater at the Water Tower Place in Chicago in 1980. In 1984, Cunningham worked on the films, The Cotton Club and later Taps, in 1989.

Cunningham also worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District to teach performance arts and African American history. In 2002, Cunningham was cast in the David Whitfield production of Forgotten Treasures with Marla Gibbs and Lou Myers. Cunningham was then selected to perform for the 2003 Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, along with Fayard Nicholas, Arlene Kennedy and Arthur Duncan. He later taught and performed at the Herrang Dance Camp in Stockholm, Sweden and at the International Feet Beat Tap Festival in Helsinki, Finland in 2005. Cunningham appeared with Century Ballroom Presents The Masters of Lindy Hop & Tap, before retiring from the stage in 2009.

As a tap master, Cunningham was awarded the Chicago Human Rhythm Project Juba Award, Rhythm Tap Hall of Fame Master Tapper Award, and the Los Angeles Tap Festival Leonard Reed Longevity Award.

Skip Cunningham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 7, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.013

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/7/2019

Last Name

Cunningham

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Morgan Park High School

University of Illinois at Navy Pier

Kennedy–King College

First Name

Skip

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CUN03

Favorite Season

Chicago - Four Seasons, California - All Year

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

United States

Favorite Quote

Got dammit! (When things go wrong)

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/24/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Entertainer Skip Cunningham (1936 - ) toured with the Billy Williams Revue and made numerous appearances on The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He was featured in Eubie! on Broadway and in Evolution of the Blues.

Employment

U.S. Army

American Guild of Variety Artists

Billy Williams Revue

Genderal Artist Corporation

Los Angeles Unified School District

Favorite Color

Blue

Virgil Roberts

Lawyer Virgil Roberts was born on January 4, 1947 in Ventura, California. He attended Ventura College in Ventura, California and transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received his B.A. degree in 1968. After doing graduate studies for a year, Roberts earned his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1972.

In 1968, Roberts helped found the first African American studies program at the University of California, Los Angeles, and established the Center for Afro-American Studies, later known as the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. In 1972, Roberts joined the Los Angeles law firm of Pacht, Ross, Warne, Bernhard and Sears as an associate and civil litigator. There, he handled business litigation and did pro-bono work for civil rights organizations. In 1976, Roberts left the firm to found his own practice, known as, Manning, Reynolds & Roberts, where his clients included Associated Booking Corporation, Norman Whitfield and the Whispers. He also continued his pro-bono work and represented the NAACP from 1978 to 1981 in the Los Angeles school desegregation case, Crawford v. Board of Education. Years later in 1981, Roberts served as executive vice president and general counsel of SOLAR Records, the company known as “the Motown of the 80’s.” Roberts was named president and general counsel of SOLAR Records in 1990, where he was instrumental in creating Death Row Records. In 1996, Roberts founded the law firm of Bobbitt & Roberts along with Leroy Bobbitt, where their clients have included SOLAR Records, Gospocentric Records, Slip ‘n’ Slide Records, Blackground Records, Usher, Chaka Khan, NATPE International, Paramount Pictures, Black Entertainment Television and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

Roberts was a founder and serves as a director of Community Build, he also serves as chairman of Broadway Financial Corporation and Broadway Federal Bank FSB. In 2005, he founded and served as co-chair of Alliance for College Ready Public Schools; and, the following year, Roberts joined the Claremont Graduate University Board of Trustees. He joined the board of directors of The James Irvine Foundation. He founded and serves as chair of the African-American Board Leadership Institute and as director of Great Public Schools NOW. In 2018 a middle school, the Alliance Virgil Roberts Leadership Academy, was named in his honor.

Roberts and his wife, Brenda, have two adult married children, Gisele Simone (Roberts) Wilson and Hayley Tasha Roberts.

Virgil Roberts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 6, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.011

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/6/2019

Last Name

Roberts

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Ventura College

University of California, Los Angeles

Harvard Law School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Virgil

Birth City, State, Country

Ventura

HM ID

ROB39

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Tens - Audit

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

So good to be seen.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/4/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Peach Cobbler

Short Description

Lawyer Virgil Roberts (1947 - ) worked as an entertainment lawyer for over forty years and served as president and general counsel of SOLAR Records and founded the entertainment law firm of Bobbitt & Roberts.

Employment

Pacht, Ross, Warne, Bernhard & Sears

Manning, Reynolds & Roberts

SOLAR Records

Bobbitt & Roberts

Favorite Color

Blue

David A. Wilson

Journalist and media executive David A. Wilson was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1977 to Vernon and Beverly Wilson. One of ten children, he was raised in the Georgia King Village housing projects in Newark. Wilson went on to attend Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. In 1997, during his sophomore year in college, he was hired as an intern at WABC-TV in New York City, where he worked on the show Like It Is and was mentored by Gil Noble. Wilson received his B.S. degree in communications from Rowan University in 1999.

Upon graduation, Wilson worked at the assignment desk for local news outlets. In 2000, he was hired at Network News Service (NNS), where he served as lead producer and oversaw newsroom operations. Wilson went on to research and develop content for the award-winning CBS News program 48 Hours. In 2005, he left his job at CBS, co-founded the film production company Three Part Media LLC, and began work on the film Meeting David Wilson, a documentary that chronicles Wilson’s personal journey to find answers to today's racial disparities in America, where he served as director and writer. Meeting David Wilson premiered on MSNBC in 2008, and won the Radio-Television News Directors Association/UNITY: Journalists of Color Award.

In 2009, following the success of Meeting David Wilson, Wilson and Three Part Media founded NBC News’ TheGrio.com, the first video-centric news community site devoted to providing African Americans with stories and perspectives that are underrepresented in existing national news outlets. Wilson first served as managing editor of TheGrio, and was named executive editor in 2011. In 2013, TheGrio became a division of the MSNBC cable channel.

Wilson has been honored as one of The Network Journal‘s 40 Under 40.

David Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 19, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.063

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/19/2014

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Andre

Organizations
Schools

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

Milton Hershey School

Arts High School

Rowan University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

WIL71

Favorite Season

May, September

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahia, Brazil

Favorite Quote

You Are The Best You That Anyone Can Be. Don’t Forfeit That One Advantage In Life By Trying To Be Someone That You’re Not.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/15/1977

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thai Chicken Red Curry

Short Description

Journalist and media executive David Wilson (1977 - ) wrote and directed the film Meeting David Wilson and cofounded TheGrio.com.

Employment

Network News Service

CBS News

Three Part Media LLC

TheGrio.com

WABC-TV

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Wilson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Wilson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Wilson lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Wilson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Wilson remembers the hardships of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Wilson remembers the Georgia King Village housing project in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Wilson describes his home in the Georgia King Village projects

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Wilson describes his family life

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - David Wilson talks about his father's abuse

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Wilson reflects upon his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers growing up with ten siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Wilson talks about the 13th Avenue/Dr. MLK, Jr. School in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Wilson describes the quality of the education system in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Wilson talks about the 13th Avenue/Dr. MLK, Jr. School in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Wilson describes his decision to enroll at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Wilson recalls his family's response to his enrollment at the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Wilson describes his decision to leave the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Wilson remembers returning to Newark, New Jersey to attend Newark Arts High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Wilson describes his early interest in art

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the alumni of Newark Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers his interests during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Wilson remembers his friends at Newark Arts High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Wilson recalls his decision to attend Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Wilson remembers developing an interest in documentary film

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Wilson remembers the influence of Gil Noble

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Wilson talks about his experiences at Rowan University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Wilson recalls the influence of Professor Ned Eckhardt

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Wilson talks about his internship with Gil Noble

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - David Wilson remembers covering the assault of Abner Louima

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - David Wilson recalls covering the death of Betty Shabazz

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Wilson describes his short film 'Hidden Heroes: African American Women in WWII'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers his first job as a production secretary for '48 Hours'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his experiences of racial discrimination at CBS

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about 'The Ananda Lewis Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Wilson remembers the production tactics on 'The Ananda Lewis Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Wilson describes the beginnings of the 'Meeting David Wilson' project

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Wilson remembers the production of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Wilson talks about the release of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the creation of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Wilson reflects upon the documentary filmmaking process

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Wilson remembers the premiere of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Wilson recalls lessons from the making of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Wilson talks about the reception of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Wilson remembers launching TheGrio

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Wilson describes the process of creating TheGrio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David Wilson talks about TheGrio's early competitors

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - David Wilson describes the challenges of building an online news source

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - David Wilson talks about his plans for TheGrio

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the racial gap in digital entrepreneurship

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Wilson describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about the legacy of TheGrio

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Wilson reflects upon his generation's legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Wilson reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
David Wilson remembers the influence of Gil Noble
David Wilson describes the beginnings of the 'Meeting David Wilson' project
Transcript
And, you know, are you familiar with Gil Noble?$$Yes.$$A legend--TV legend.$$We had wanted to do his interview and didn't get a chance.$$Oh. He, he changed my life. He changed my life. I was a bumbling, super stuttering, under confident kid. And the ritual with Gil was that, I would get there at WABC [WABC-TV, New York, New York] around eight o'clock in the morning. He would have me read the newspapers, and he would then have me come into his office and have me talk about what are the top stories and to explain and to articulate my views on those stories. And that did more for me than anything else. And he said, "Well," and he would give me exercises, you know, because at that time, I thought--I flirted with the idea of actually being on air. So he said, "Okay. Take a newspaper and you read the newspaper and you do it as if you're reading the news--the teleprompter." And I'll go home, read, you know, as I practiced. And it--you know, what it really got me comfortable with doing is being able to talk in public, and being able to be opinionated and share my thoughts in public. And he would have me sit down and watch interviews of--with, you know, Adam Clayton Powell [Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.]; interviews with Betty Shabazz. Every morning I would get a call, and, you know, I would answer his phone and I'll hear this voice, like, "Hello, David [HistoryMaker David Wilson]. Is Gil there?" I was like, "Who is this?" "It's Charlie Rangel [HistoryMaker Charles B. Rangel]," every, every morning. And, you know, calls from Charlie Rangel, Nipsey Russell, Percy Sutton; you know, giants. And, you know, they'd come by. Dr. ben-Jochannan [HistoryMaker Yosef ben-Jochannan], you know, the Egyptologist. These were his friends. And it was just really good. And that summer was really important because it's also--two big stories broke that summer. The Abner Louima case? And then also the, the death of Betty Shabazz. And so that was important that summer. I learned a lot that summer. And he taught me one thing that was really important, because, before I was not one who wanted to--you know, I come from Newark [New Jersey], and I didn't want to--I always wanted to distance myself from being the (gesture) black guy. The guy who did the black things. And I had an opportunity at NYABJ [New York Association of Black Journalists] when they were honoring Gil Noble, and his daughters were there, and I was so happy they were there, 'cause I got the opportunity--I was being--we received--TheGrio [thegrio.com] received an award, and I got to say something to his daughters, which was, "Look, you know, Gil taught me that it was no less of a virtue to cover news that impacted my community." You know, I had always wanted to be--do mainstream stuff and just stay mainstream, and he taught me that there was no shame and it was just as virtuous to cover black topics and to be a black journalist. And that--I can tell you right now with 100 percent certainty that if I had not encountered Gil Noble in my life, we wouldn't be here right now, because I certainly wouldn't be doing TheGrio [thegrio.com]--I don't know where I would be. And then, you know, my first student documentary project, when I got back to school [Rowan College of New Jersey; Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey], was a documentary called 'Hidden Heroes: African American Women in WWII.' And I that doc--it was about a ten minute doc--and I got Gil Noble to voiceover, do the voiceover on it. And we won several awards. The documentary was inducted into the women's memorial [Women in Military Service for America Memorial] in Arlington, Virginia.$$So let me ask you, did he ever tell you what he saw in you? Because he died when?$$Just maybe two years ago (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Two years ago.$$Um-hm.$$'Cause--his collection, you know. What happened to his collection?$$Oh, he had all of, you know, tons of foota- he has the largest--$$I know but what happened to it?$$I don't know. I mean it's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That was the thing, I think, people were questioning.$$Oh. He owned that, and he, he, he--$$He owned that--$$--and that was the pride of his life, his collection.$$Right. I just don't know what had happened to it. But 'cause he had gotten ill, right?$$Yeah.$And so, as, you know, I left and, and I--just so happened that, November, I'd done a little gig to help make ends meet for Victoria's Secret Fashion Show shoot, and I ended up meeting my, still business partner today, at that shoot. And had I never left that, you know, 'The Ananda Lewis Show,' I would have never met my current business partner. And we started doing some things. We had a business that we had started doing TV pilots. That didn't go anywhere. And then we launched another business doing sort of CD business cards. We had these business--CD business--CD business card CDs--business sized CDs that we would then go out and produce content for different corporations for, and put them on these cards. Somebody forgot to tell us that the Internet existed, and the business failed. But we did have some good clients. We had Penguin Books, was one of our clients. We had some other folks. And we got a lot of press coverage. We were in Newsweek, Black Enterprise, you know. We got some good coverage. And then it--$$Now did you ever come across [HistoryMaker] Clayton Banks and Ember Media in the--and that--'cause he had been doing that too? But he's older than you.$$No. Not that I--$$Okay. Okay.$$No.$$All right.$$No. No. I don't recall ever meeting him or that name.$$So your business partner, say his name again.$$Dan Woolsey.$$Dan Woolsey.$$Um-hm.$$Okay. And can you tell us about Dan?$$Dan is from Chevy Chase, Maryland. Sort of, you know, just a very white bread sort of guy, all-American white guy. We come from sort of completely different backgrounds, you know. He grew in middle of, you know, Chevy Chase, Maryland. His father is R. James Woolsey [R. James Woolsey, Jr.], former head of the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency]. And we still to this day have a very contentious relationship, but it's always good, you know. I always say that we're always on the same page, but never on the same paragraph or we're least, we're always on the same page, but not reading the same line. And--but we work well together because we're always making each other better. And so, at this particular time, doing the business, I just started to get interested in my family history. I always had an interest in my family history, because I always was curious about how did, you know, how did we end up in Newark [New Jersey], and you know, all of this. I always had this awareness of, well, how did I end of here? And so I started doing research, and I, obviously, worked at '48 Hours,' and so now I knew how to actually do research and find people and dig up information. And so I used that sort of skillset and knowledge from doing investigative reporting to start looking into my family's history. And I would tell Dan some of the things that I found out about my family. I told him that I found out about this white guy in North Carolina who was a direct descendant of my family's former slave owners, and, you know, his name is the same of mine, David Wilson, and that he owns this plantation--the--still the plantation--the plantation that used to be the plantation where my family was enslaved on, the land. So Dan was like, "Oh, you have to do a documentary. You got to do something with that." And I'm like, eh, I wasn't motivated by it. I never wanted to be on camera. And, you know, I had had my time where with the idea of being an on camera reporting, and I just knew that it wasn't something for me, and I didn't want to do it. And he kept on convincing me, and so eventually I relented. And at this particular time, I had gotten a--I had started working at CBS again. They had called me back to be--for a job at CBS in--Network News Service [Network News Service, LLC], which is an ABC, CBS, and Fox News conglomerate. And I eventually rose up the ranks and became lead producer there. It was never anything I was interested in. It was just a job. But Dan convinced me, he said, "Okay. Let's do this documentary." And I called my other buddy, Barion [Barion Grant], who went to high school with me [at Arts High School, Newark, New Jersey], and I said, "Well, Da- Barion, we're about to do this documentary ['Meeting David Wilson']. You should come." Barion had worked on 'Tupac Resurrection' documentary for MTV [Music Television; MTV]. And we, we started working on it.

David Wilson

Academic administrator David Wilson was born on November 2, 1954 in McKinley, Alabama to Minnie and Henry Wilson. He graduated from Marengo County Training School in Thomaston, Alabama and went on to attend the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama where he received his B.S. degree and M.Ed. degree in 1977 and 1979, respectively. He later received another M.Ed. degree and his Ed.D. degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1984 and 1987, respectively.

In 1984, Wilson served as director of the Office of Minority Programs and as a program officer at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey. He then became a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Administrative Fellow, serving as an executive assistant to the vice president for business affairs and finance at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. After graduate school, Wilson became associate provost at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and was later promoted to assistant provost in 1990. In 1995, Wilson became the first African American vice president for university outreach and associate provost at Auburn University. He was also the first African American to hold a senior administrative appointment at a predominantly white university in the State of Alabama. In 2006, Wilson was hired as the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the University of Wisconsin Colleges, as the first person in Wisconsin to serve as chancellor of two statewide institutions simultaneously. In 2010, Wilson was appointed the tenth president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2013, Wilson helped launch Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication. He also oversaw the completion of the university’s Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management Building in 2016. In 2018, Wilson announced Morgan State University’s collaboration with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Wilson to serve on the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs. He also served on the Hall of Records Commission, the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center Governing Board, Greater Baltimore Committee, United Way of Central Maryland, Inc., the Northeast Maryland Higher Education Advisory Board, the Student Transfer Advisory Committee, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and in 2018, Wilson was elected to the board of directors for the Lumina Foundation.

Wilson is the recipient of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Fellowship and was named one of the nation’s top 100 leaders in higher education by the American Association of Higher Education in 1998. In 2010, the reading room at UW Center for Civic Engagement at UW-Marathon County was named in his honor. He was also selected as one of The Daily Record newspaper’s Influential Marylanders and was honored by the University of Alabama with an award for outstanding leadership in engaged scholarship in 2011. In 2018, Wilson received the First Citizen Award by the Maryland Senate.

Wilson has one son, Nyere.

David Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 18, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.004

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/18/2019

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Tuskegee University

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Uniontown Negro Elementary School

Amelia L. Johnson High School

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

McKinley

HM ID

WIL89

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Beach

Favorite Quote

In the Vernacular

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

11/2/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Academic administrator David Wilson (1954 - ) was chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the University of Wisconsin Colleges and became the tenth president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Employment

Kentucky State University

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Auburn University

University of Wisconsin-Extension

Morgan State University

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Rutgers University

Favorite Color

Blue

The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Political leader Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was born on March 17, 1970 in Baltimore, Maryland to Nina Rawlings and Howard Rawlings. She graduated from Western High School in Baltimore, Maryland in 1988 and received her B.A. degree in political science from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio in 1992 and her J.D. degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland in 1995.

In 1990, Rawlings-Blake served on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee and as a member of the Young Democrats of Maryland. In 1995, Rawlings-Blake was the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council at the age of twenty-five. She was admitted to the Maryland State bar in 1996, and the federal bar the following year. She then served as an administrative law attorney with the Baltimore City office of the Maryland Legal Aid bureau and later as a staff attorney for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender in its Southern District. In 1999, Rawlings-Blake was elected to serve as vice president of the Baltimore City Council until 2007 when she became president. In 2010, Rawlings-Blake became Mayor of Baltimore after then-Mayor Sheila Dixon resigned. The following year, Rawlings-Blake was elected Mayor of Baltimore. In 2013, she became secretary of the Democratic National Committee and in 2015, she was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In 2016, Rawlings-Blake stepped down as the Mayor of Baltimore and founded SRB & Associates, a government relations firm. In 2017, she became a senior advisor of Dentons, a multi-national law firm.

Rawlings-Blake received the Shirley Chisholm Memorial Trailblazer Award from the National Congress of Black Women, Washington, D.C. Chapter in 2009. In 2010, she received the Fullwood Foundation Award of Excellence and was voted “Innovator of the Year” by The Daily Record. She was also voted among “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” by The Daily Record in 2007 and 2011. In 2012, she received the National Leadership Award in Public Service from the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. The following year, Rawlings-Blake received the ICONS We Love Award from Baltimore Black Pride, was voted among the “50 Women to Watch” by the Baltimore Sun and received the First Citizen Award from the Maryland State Senate.

She also served chair for the Baltimore City Board of Estimates as well as chair and vice chair for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council Board of Directors. She co-chaired the UniverCity Partnership Initiative and served as a member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; the Maryland Association of Counties Legislative Committee; the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore; the Maryland Municipal League; the Baltimore City Board of Legislative Reference; and the Maryland African American Museum Corporation. Rawlings-Blake also served on the board of trustees for the Walters Art Museum and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, as a delegate for the Democratic Party National Convention and as secretary for the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.

Rawlings-Blake has one daughter, Sophia.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 22, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.008

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/22/2019

Last Name

Rawlings-Blake

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Western High School

Oberlin College

University of Maryland School of Law

First Name

Stephanie

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

RAW03

Favorite Season

N/A

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

3/17/1970

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Favorite Food

Cheese

Short Description

Political leader Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (1970 - ) served as the 49th Mayor of Baltimore from 2010 to 2016, and was the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council, where she also served as vice president and president.

Employment

Baltimore City Council

Maryland Legal Aid Bureau

Maryland Office of the Public Defender

City of Baltimore

Dentons

Democratic National Committee

United States Conference of Mayors

SRB and Associates

Favorite Color

Pink

Sheryll D. Cashin

Professor Sheryll Cashin was born on December 15, 1961 in Huntsville, Alabama to Joan Cashin and John L. Cashin, Jr. She received her B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1984, her M.S.c degree in English Law from Oxford University in Oxford, England in 1986 and her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989.

In 1989, Cashin served as a law clerk for Judge Abner Mikva for the U.S. Court of Appeal, D.C. Circuit. The following year, she served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. In 1993, Cashin served as director of community development for The White House during the Clinton administration. She also worked as an advisor on urban and economic policy with a focus on community empowerment programs. As director of community development for the National Economic Council, she oversaw urban policy and community development initiatives and advised on community development in inner-city neighborhoods. As staff director for the Community Empowerment Board in the Office of Vice President Al Gore, Cashin worked on community-based revitalization strategies for urban and rural communities. In 1996, Cashin left public service and joined the faculty at Georgetown University Law Center where she has taught Constitutional Law; Race and American Law; and other subjects. In 2018 she was installed as the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice.

Writing and public speaking are her platform for advocacy. In 2004, Cashin published The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining The American Dream. Then, in 2006, Cashin published The Agitator’s Daughter: A Memoir of Four Generations of One Extraordinary African American Family which chronicles her family history from slavery to the post-civil rights era. In 2014, she published Place Not Race: A New Version of Opportunity in America and in 2017, Cashin published Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy. She has also written commentaries for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, The Root, and other media. Additionally, her book, The Descendants, focuses on the role of segregation in subordinating African Americans.

In 2004, her book, The Failures of Integration was an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review. Cashin is also a three-time nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for non-fiction in 2005, 2009, and 2018. In 2014, her book Place Not Race was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction. She served as vice chair of the board of the National Portrait Gallery and is an active member of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council.

Sheryll Cashin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 21, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.006

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/21/2019

Last Name

Cashin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Occupation
Schools

Vanderbilt University

University of Oxford

Harvard Law School

First Name

Sheryll

Birth City, State, Country

Huntsville

HM ID

CAS04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Morocco

Favorite Quote

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand, Never Did Never Will.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/15/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Cuban

Short Description

Professor Sheryll Cashin (1962 - ) served as a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and published The Failures of Integration, The Agitator’s Daughter, and Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy.

Employment

U.S. Court of Appeals

U.S. Supreme Court

The White House

National Economic Council

Office of the Vice President of the United States

Georgetown University Law Center

Favorite Color

Aqua

W. Paul Coates

Publisher W. Paul Coates was born on July 4, 1946 in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Edna Coates and Douglas Cryor. Coates enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. He later received his B.A. degree in community development from the Homestead Montebello Center of Antioch University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1979 and his M.L.S. degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1980.

After Coates returned from Vietnam, he settled in Baltimore, Maryland and began volunteering for the community breakfast program organized by the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party. In 1970, Coates became defense captain of the Baltimore Black Panthers. There, he was in charge of managing all Panther activities in Maryland, including implementing free clothing and free food programs and housing assistance, before leaving the organization in 1971; and, establishing the George Jackson Prison Movement to bring Afrocentric literature to inmates. By 1978, the program had transition into the Black Classic Press (BCP), which Coates founded in order to publish books by and about people of African descent. After receiving his M.L.S. degree, Coates joined the staff at Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. In 1990, Coates was a contributing editor for the published work, Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History along with Elinor Des Verney Sinnette and Thomas C. Battle. In 1991, Coates retired from the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center; and, in 1995, he launched BCP Digital Printing to specialize in short-run printing. In 1997, author Walter Mosley granted Black Classic Press domestic and foreign rights to publish his novel Gone Fishin’. The book sold more than 100,000 copies, making it one of the biggest books ever published by Black Classic Press.

Black Classic Press republished several works including Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton by Bobby Seale in 1991; Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing by Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka in 2007; and, in 2012, it also published A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s “Malcolm X,” by Jared A. Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs.

Coates is the father of nine children; Kelly, Jonathan, Malik, Menelik, Ta-Nehisi, Darius, Jared, Damani and Kristance, including two additional adult children through marriage.

W. Paul Coates was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 20, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.005

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/20/2019

Last Name

Coates

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Paul

Occupation
Schools

Sojourner-Douglass College with Annapolis High School

Clark Atlanta University

First Name

W.

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

COA02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

7/4/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Publisher W. Paul Coates (1946 - ) former Black Panther and founder of Black Classic Press (BCP) and BCP Digital Printing.

Employment

Black Classic Press

Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

BCP Digital Press

U.S. Army

Favorite Color

Blue

Argelia Rodriguez

Nonprofit executive Argelia Rodriguez was born on May 12, 1959 in Havana, Cuba to Argelia Velez-Rodriguez and Raul Rodriguez. In 1962, Rodriguez immigrated to the U.S. with her mother and brother. She later graduated from the Ursuline Sisters Academy in Dallas, Texas in 1976 and went on to receive her B.S. degree from Stanford University in Stanford, California in 1980, and her M.B.A. degree from the Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1984.

In 1980, Rodriguez worked for the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) as an engineer and later for Texas Instruments, Inc. She then went to work for Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. in New York City, where her worked focused on strategic planning technology and mergers and acquisitions. After Rodriguez received her M.B.A. degree in 1984, she returned to Booz Allen Hamilton, before starting her own independent consulting firm in Washington, D.C. There, she worked for the District of Columbia Public Schools to increase STEM education among minority students. In 1997, Rodriguez served as the deputy director of product marketing and educational outreach for President Bill Clinton for the 1997 Presidential Inauguration. Then, in 1999, Rodriguez was appointed president of the D.C. College Access Program (DC-CAP), which partnered with D.C. schools to provide counseling and financial assistance to underserved students in the D.C. area. In 2007, Rodriguez launched the Alpha Leadership Program (ALP) for DC-CAP, an initiative that relies on community volunteers who serve as mentors to young men in five D.C. public and charter high schools. The following year, DC-CAP held their first annual DC-Capital Stars Gala Competition which showcased the artistic abilities of college-bound students from the D.C. area.

Rodriguez served on the board of trustees at Trinity Washington University and was elected to the Harvard University Board of Overseers in 2013. In 2010, she delivered the Commencement Address at Trinity Washington University and received an honorary degree. That same year, she received the Bert King Award for Service from Harvard Business School and was named a Murdoch Community Hero by News Corp in 2014.

Argelia Rodriguez was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 21, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.002

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/21/2019

Last Name

Rodriguez

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Ursuline Sisters Academy

Stanford University

Harvard Business School

First Name

Argelia

Birth City, State, Country

Havana

HM ID

ROD07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Cuba

Favorite Vacation Destination

London, England

Favorite Quote

Results Without the Drama

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/12/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Roasted Pork

Short Description

Nonprofit executive Argelia Rodriguez (1959 - ) served as president of the D.C. College Access Program (DC-CAP).

Employment

International Business Machines (IBM)

Texas Instruments, Inc.

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc

D.C. College Access Program

Favorite Color

Red

Gail Berry West

Lawyer Gail Berry West was born on September 29, 1942 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Johnnie Mae Newton and Theodore Berry. She received her B.A. degree in history from Fisk University in 1964, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, her M.A. degree in history from the University of Cincinnati in 1965, and her J.D. degree from Howard University School of Law in 1968.

In 1969, West began her career in the New York office of the general counsel for the International Business Machine Corporation (IBM). Upon moving to Washington, D.C., she transferred to the data processing division and also served as an attorney in litigation analysis. In this position, she assisted with outside counsel in the preparation of litigation between IBM and the federal government.

In 1977, West joined the Carter administration as special assistant to Patricia Roberts Harris, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She went on to work for Sarah Weddington, assistant to President Jimmy Carter, in the White House and served on the White House Task Force on Sex Discrimination. In 1980, West became deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of the Air Force in Reserve Affairs and Installations. She was responsible for policy, program guidance and executive direction for all matters pertaining to compliance with equal employment laws and regulations. She then worked as an attorney and consultant for several companies seeking contracts with the federal government.

In 1983, she became executive director of government affairs for Bell Communications (Bellcore), where she served for twelve years until 1995, when she became director of government relations for Armstrong World Industries (AWI). From 2003 to 2007, West served as a consultant for AWI until her retirement.

West has served on the board of trustees for the Corcoran Gallery of Art, WETA, Meridian International Center and the Fisher House Foundation. She was also a board member of Arena Stage, the Decatur House Council, the D.C. Commission on Fine Arts, and the National Museum of American History. She served as the vice regent for the District of Columbia to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. She also serves on the board of the White House Historical Association, the Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens, and is a member of the dean’s council for the Washington National Cathedral.

West is the recipient of numerous awards including; IBM Regional Manager’s Merit Award for Outstanding Contribution, Air Force Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, Bellcore President’s Recognition Award and the Armstrong General Manager’s Award for Team Excellence.

West and her husband, the late Togo D. West, Jr., have two daughters, Tiffany West Smink and Hilary Carter West.

Gail Berry West was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 17, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.001

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/17/2019

Last Name

West

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Berry

Occupation
Schools

Fisk University

University of Cincinnati

Howard University School of Law

First Name

Gail

Birth City, State, Country

Cincinnati

HM ID

WES15

Favorite Season

Summer/Fall/Spring

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

South of France/Italy/Greece

Favorite Quote

Be Still And Know That I Am God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/29/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chili

Short Description

Lawyer Gail Berry West (1942 - ) was general counsel for IBM and served as executive director of government affairs for Bell Communications and was director of government relations for Armstrong World Industries.

Employment

Armstrong World Industries

Bell Communications Research

Howard University School of Law

Department of Defense

Government of Washington, D.C.

U.S. Air Force

Department of Housing and Urban Development

International Business Machines (IBM)

White House Public Liaison Office

Favorite Color

Rose/Pink

Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs was born on August 8, 1949 in Springfield, Massachusetts. After graduating from Classical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1967, she earned her B.A. degree in political science from Whittier College in Whittier, California in 1971.

After graduation, Boone Isaacs worked as a flight attendant for Pan American Airways. In 1977, she moved to Los Angeles, California and began working in publicity at Columbia Pictures, where she served on the publicity team for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The following year, Boone Isaacs was hired as coordinator of marketing and publicity at Milton Goldstein’s Melvin Simon Productions, where she served for five years and was eventually promoted to vice president. In 1983, Boone Isaacs was named director of advertising and publicity for The Ladd Company, where she worked on films such as Once Upon a Time in America, The Right Stuff, and the box office hit Police Academy. In 1984, she was named director of west coast publicity and promotion for Paramount Pictures. Later, she became executive vice president of worldwide publicity for Paramount Pictures, and orchestrated the marketing campaigns for Best Picture winners Forrest Gump and Braveheart. In 1997, Boone Isaacs was named president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema, and became the first African American woman to head a studio marketing department, where she promoted Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Wedding Singer and Boogie Nights. In 2000, she founded CBI Enterprises, Inc., and worked on publicity for The King's Speech and The Artist. In 2013, Boone Isaacs produced the multi-award-winning documentary Tough Ain't Enough: Conversations With Albert S. Ruddy, which highlighted the life and career of the two-time Oscar-winning producer. That same year, she was elected the thirty-fifth president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served in that position until 2017. Boone Isaacs was reelected in 2015, launching the initiative A2020 to increase the number of women and minority members to the Academy by 2020. In 2017, Boone Isaacs oversaw the development of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Since 1987, she served as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was named representative of the public relations branch in 1992.

Boone Isaacs received Essence Magazine's Trailblazer Award in 2013. In 2014, she was inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, received the African American Film Critics Association Horizon Award, and was named the Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts O.L. Halsell Filmmaker-in-Residence.

She is also the sister of film marketing and distribution executive, Ashley Boone, who passed away in 1994.

Cheryl Boone Issacs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.228

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2018

Last Name

Boone Isaacs

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Springfield

HM ID

ISA02

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rome, Italy

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/8/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Chips and Ice Cream

Short Description

Public relations executive Cheryl Boone Issacs (1949 - ) served as the 35th president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 2013 to 2018, as the first African American in the position.

Favorite Color

Blue