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The Honorable Sandra A. Simms

Judge Sandra A. Simms was born on July 26, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois to Vera and Gerald Nuckolls, Sr. She graduated from Hyde Park High School before attending and graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago with her B.A. degree in political science and sociology. Simms later obtained her J.D. degree from DePaul University College of Law in 1978.

Simms worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines from 1972 until 1977 when she entered DePaul University College of Law. After graduating with her J.D. degree in 1978, Simms and her husband, Hank, moved to Hawaii. In 1980, Simms was hired as a clerk for Yoshimi Hayashi, chief judge of the newly created Hawaii State Intermediate Court of Appeals. She remained here until 1982 when she was made deputy corporation counsel for the city and county of Honolulu. In this capacity, she served as legal counsel to various city agencies and commissions including the police commission, the civil service commission, public works, the fire department, and the family support division. Simms was also hired as a staff attorney for the department of the Attorney General’s Office of Information and Practices. In 1991, Simms became the first African American female judge in Hawaii upon her appointment to the District Court of the First Circuit. Three years later, she was appointed Circuit Court Judge for the First Judicial Circuit by Governor John David Waiheʻe, III. Simms retired as a circuit court judge in 2004. In 2009, she became an adjunct lecturer in the criminal justice program at Chaminade University. She published Tales from the Bench: Essays on Life and Justice in 2012.

Simms is a member of Soroptimist International of Waikiki, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the African American Lawyers Association of Hawaii, and Links Incorporated, of which she was president. She also received a number of governmental appointments, including to the State of Hawaii’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council and to the board of directors of Mental Health America of Hawaii.

Simms and her husband reside in Hawaii and have two adult children, Sharon and Richard.

The Honorable Sandra A. Simms was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.138

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/11/2019

Last Name

Simms

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Arlene

Schools

Hyde Park Academy High School

University of Illinois at Chicago

DePaul University College of Law

William W. Carter Elementary School

Betsy Ross Elementary School

Haven School

First Name

Sandra

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

SIM15

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Don't View Today Through The Lens Of Yesterday

Speakers Bureau Region State

Hawaii

Birth Date

6/26/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Honolulu

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Judge Sandra A. Simms (1948- ) was the first African American female judge in Hawaii upon being appointed to the First Circuit’s District Court in 1991.

Employment

United Airlines

Hawaii State Intermediate Court of Appeals

City/County of Honolulu

Attorney General; Office of Information & Practices

Hawaii First Circuit District Court

Hawaii First Circuit Circuit Court

Chaminade University

Favorite Color

Red

Verdine White

Musician, songwriter, composer, and producer Verdine White was born on July 25, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois to Edna and Dr. Verdine Adams. He attended and graduated from Crane High School in 1969.

White began his career performing as a bassist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and later played electric bass at local jazz clubs. In 1970, he joined the band Earth, Wind & Fire, which was founded by his brother, Maurice White, in 1969. In 1971, the band released their self-titled debut album, the soundtrack for the film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, and the album The Need of Love. Their album, Open Our Eyes rose to the number one spot on the Billboard Top Soul Albums in 1974. A member of the band for more than four decades, White was bass guitarist, percussionist, songwriter, composer, vocalist and producer, contributing to all twenty-one albums released by the group. Earth, Wind & Fire toured internationally, with White helping to produce many of their performances. He also collaborated with musicians such as Ramsey Lewis, The Emotions, Jennifer Lopez, and Solange. In 2012, White co-authored the book, Playing the Bass Guitar Edition: A Beginner's Guide to the Electric Bass; and, in 1994, he was featured in the video, Rhythm of the Earth-Advanced Bass Techniques. He also co-founded the Verdine White Performing Arts Center, a non-profit organization providing music lessons, scholarships, and grants to underserved youth.

Earth, Wind & Fire was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003. They also received eight Grammy's, four American Music Awards, The NAACP Image Award, and NAACP and BET Lifetime Achievement Awards. The band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1995 and has recorded more than fifty gold and platinum albums.

White won six Grammy Awards and received seventeen Grammy Award nominations. He also ranked number twenty-seven on Bass Player's list of The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time. White was inducted into the Boys and Girls Club's Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

White and his wife, Shelly Clark, reside in Los Angeles.

Verdine White was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 13, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.108

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/13/2019

Last Name

White

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School

Birney Elementary School

First Name

Verdine

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WHI28

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

You Know What I Mean

Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/25/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Musician Verdine White (1951- ) was a founding member of the band Earth, Wind & Fire as bass guitarist, percussionist, songwriter, composer, vocalist and producer, contributing to all twenty-one albums released by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Employment

Earth, Wind & Fire

Favorite Color

None

Ronald A. Williams

Corporate chief executive Ronald Williams was born on November 11, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois to Dorothy Portwood and Henderson Williams. Williams received his B.A. degree in psychology from Roosevelt University in 1970, and his M.S. degree in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1984.

In 1978, Williams joined Control Data Corporation as group marketing executive, before serving as president and co-founder of Integrative Systems. From 1984 to 1987, Williams served as the co-founder and senior vice president at Vista Health Corporation. In 1987, Williams joined WellPoint Health Networks as group president of its Large Group and president of its Blue Cross of California subsidiary. He later joined Aetna Insurance Company in 2001 where he assumed the role of executive vice president and chief of health operations. Williams focused on creating innovation in the industry, especially through health information technology. In 2006, Williams became chairman and chief executive officer, making him the first African American CEO in the company’s 200 year history. In 2011, Williams retired as chairman of Aetna.

In 2007, Williams joined the board of the American Express Company; and, in 2010, he was elected to The Boeing Company board of directors. In 2011, he joined the board of directors of the Johnson & Johnson Company. From 2011 to 2017, Williams served on President Obama’s President's Management Advisory Board; and, in 2016, he served as chairman of the board of Agilon Health. He has also served on the board of Lucent Technologies, Inc. and Envision Healthcare. Williams was named a trustee of The Conference Board and the Connecticut Science Center Board, and was a member of The Business Council and Business Roundtable.

Williams has written on specific health care industry reforms, with pieces published in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and The Financial Times. Williams has been the recipient of numerous accolades including being named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s The 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America in 2010.

Williams and his wife, Cynthia Williams, reside in Delray Beach, Florida. They have one son, Christopher.

Ron A. Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 14, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.036

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/14/2019

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Roosevelt University

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL91

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Assume Positive Intent

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

11/11/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Corporate chief executive Ron Williams (1950- ) was the first African American chief executive officer of Aetna Insurance Company.

Employment

Aetna, Inc.

WellPoint Health Network, Inc.

WellPoint Health Network, Blue Cross of California

Blue Cross California

Vista Health Corporation

Control Data Corporation

RW2 Enerprises, LLC

Favorite Color

Blue

Dr. Georges C. Benjamin

Healthcare executive Georges C. Benjamin was born on September 28, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois to Tessie and George Benjamin. After graduating from Lindblom Technical High School in 1970, Benjamin received his B.S. degree in biology from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. He went on to receive his M.D. degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1978, and complete his internal medicine residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in 1981.

In 1981, Benjamin joined Madigan Army Medical Center as chief of the Acute Illness Clinic in the department of emergency medicine; and, in 1983, he was reassigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center as chief of emergency medicine. From 1987 to 1990, Benjamin served as chair of the department of community health and ambulatory care at the District of Columbia General Hospital. From 1990 to 1991, he served as acting commissioner of the District of Columbia Department of Health; and, in this role, he also served as interim director of the District of Columbia Fire Department’s Emergency Ambulance Bureau. From 1991 to 1994 he practiced emergency medicine and worked as a health policy consultant. He returned to the Emergency Ambulance Bureau from 1994 to 1995, serving again as interim director. In 1995, he was appointed deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and, four years later, he was promoted to secretary of the department. In 2002, Benjamin stepped down as secretary to join the American Public Health Association (APHA) as executive director. In this position, he also served as publisher of the nonprofit's monthly publication, The Nation's Health, the association's official newspaper, and the American Journal of Public Health. Benjamin authored more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as the book The Quest for Health Reform: A Satirical History, a history of health care reform shown through political cartoons.

In 2001, Benjamin served as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health. In 2016, former President Obama appointed Benjamin to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. He was a Master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians, an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

In 1998, Benjamin received the Noble J. Swearingen Award for Excellence in Public Health Administrative Management from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. He was named one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Health Care by Modern Healthcare Magazine in 2008, 2014, and 2016. In 2017, Benjamin received the Hidden Figures of Public Health Award from Black Caucus of Health Workers of the APHA and the Meritorious Achievement Award from the National Medical Association. He also received an honorary Doctor of Science from Meharry Medical School.

Benjamin and his wife, Yvette Benjamin, have two daughters: Stephanie and Kali.

Dr. Georges C. Benjamin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 24, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.104

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/24/2019

Last Name

Benjamin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Curtis

Organizations
Schools

Illinois Institute of Technology

University of Illinois College of Medicine

Perkins Bass Elementary School

Juliette G. Lowe Upper Grade Center

Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School

Brooke Army Medical Center

First Name

Georges

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GEO05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Aruba

Favorite Quote

Never Start A War Until You Count Your Guns

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/28/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Bacon and Eggs

Short Description

Healthcare executive Georges Benjamin (1952- ) served as executive director of the American Public Health Association. He previously served as secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Employment

American Public Health Association

Madigan Army Medical Center

Walter Reed Army Medical Center

District of Columbia General Hospital

District of Columbia Department of Health

District of Columbia Fire Department, Emergency Ambulance Bureau

Holy Cross Hospital

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Health Policy Consultant

Self Employed

United States Army Medical Corps

United States Army Medical Service Corps

City University of New York, School of Public Health at Hunter College

The George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services

Georgetown University

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

University of Maryland College of Medicine

Howard University

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians

American Heart Association

American College of Surgeons

Favorite Color

Blue

Jory Luster

Hair care manufacturer Jory Luster was born on August 20, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois to Blondell and Fred Luster, Sr. After graduating from Mendel Catholic Preparatory High School in 1971, Luster received his B.S. degree in business administration from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, in 1975. Luster went on to attend Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where he received his M.B.A. degree in 2000.

In 1978, Luster was appointed vice president of his family’s hair care company, Luster Products, Inc., founded in 1957, with his father, Fred Luster, serving as president and his mother, Blondell Luster, working as chairman of the board. In 1989, he helped create Luster Products, Inc.’s philanthropic branch, the Luster Foundation, dedicated to supporting community-based organizations that promote positive values and community service. That same year, he was voted chairman of the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute, a national trade organization representing the leading Black manufacturers of ethnic hair care and cosmetic products. Luster was promoted to his role as president of Luster Products, Inc. following the passing of his father in 1991. His brother and sister were also directors in the company, with Fred Luster II serving as vice president and director of research and development, and Sonja Luster-Munis serving as vice president and director of systems administration. In 2012, Luster’s daughter, Resa B. Luster, joined the company as assistant brand manager; and, in 2018, she was promoted to brand manager at large. Under Luster’s leadership, Luster Products, Inc. expanded product sales to over seventy countries internationally.

Luster served as the founder of the Leadership Education Advancement Program, or Project L.E.A.P., and served on the boards of the Near South Planning Board Executive Committee, The Luster Foundation, and Seaway National Bank. Luster was also a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) from 1993 to 2004, and served on the City of Chicago Circulator Board.

In 2018, Luster received the WDB Marketing L.E.G.A.C.Y Award. Luster Products, Inc. was honored at Black United Fund of Illinois Inc.’s first annual "Living Legends/Passing the Torch" awards benefit in 2001. The company has been featured in Essence magazine, Allure Magazine, Elle Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Jet Magazine, Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine, the Chicago Sun-times, The Chicago Defender, as well as WLS-TV Channel 7, WTTW-PBS Channel 11, and on the T.L.C. show, “Beauty Spaces.”

Luster resides in Chicago, Illinois and has three adult children.

Jory Luster was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 10, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.047

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/10/2019

Last Name

Luster

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F.

Schools

St. Dorothy School

Mendel Catholic Preparatory High School

Bradley University

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business

First Name

Jory

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

LUS01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Always Inspect What You Expect

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/20/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

Hair care manufacturer Jory Luster (1953- ) served as vice president of his family’s hair care company, Luster Products, Inc., since 1978, and as president since 1991.

Employment

Luster Products, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue, Silver, and Black

Gary E. Gardner

Hair care manufacturer Gary Gardner was born on August 22, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois to Edward and Bettiann Gardner. He graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago with his B.A. degree in pre-law in 1975, and then attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned both his J.D. and M.M. degrees in 1982.

In 1964, at age ten, Gardner began working for the family business, Soft Sheen Products, Inc., packaging hair care items with his younger sister in the family’s home in Chicago. After graduating from Northwestern in 1982, Gardner rejoined Soft Sheen Products, Inc. and transitioned to president in 1985, succeeding his father, Ed Gardner, who remained as chairman. He served as president until 1996, when he stepped down to pursue his own ethnic hair care company in Chicago called Namaste Laboratories, with his wife, Denise. In 1999, Gardner and his wife launched their own philanthropic organization, the Gary and Denise Family Foundation, which focused on youth participation in the arts. Namaste Laboratories was later bought by the Indian consumer goods producer, Dabur India Ltd., in 2010, and Gardner remained with his management team to continue running the laboratory. In 2014, Gardner co-founded a private equity firm based out of Chicago called P.F.G., LLC, where he also served as president. The following year, Gardner and his wife established the Denise and Gary Gardner Scholarship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 to assist undergraduate students’ education at the Art Institute, primarily those from the South Side.

Gardner has been a member of the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute, and during his time as president of Soft Sheen, the company received several awards, including being ranked sixth on Black Enterprise’s top 100 service industry companies in 1987 and, two years later, receiving the title of the Company of the Year by Black Enterprise.

Gardner and his wife reside in Chicago, Illinois, where they run the Gary and Denise Family Foundation and maintain a private art collection. The couple was awarded the Art Alliance of Illinois’ Citizen’s Advocate Award in 2018.

Gary Gardner was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.060

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2019

Last Name

Gardner

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Schools

Northwestern University

University of Illinois at Chicago

First Name

Gary

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GAR07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern Florida

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/22/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken Wings

Short Description

Hair care manufacturer Gary Gardner (1954 - ) served as president of Soft Sheen Products, Inc from 1985 to 1996, before founding hair care company, Namaste Laboratories, in 1996 and private equity firm, P.F.G., LLC, in 2014.

Employment

Soft Sheen Products, Inc.

Namaste Laboratories

P.F.G., LLC

Favorite Color

Blue

Antonio Dickey

Photographer Antonio Dickey was born on July 6, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois, to Ceasar and Josephine Dickey. He attended Holy Angels Catholic Elementary School and St. Leo the Great Catholic School, graduating in 1966 and 1969. He went on to attend high school at De LaSalle Institute in Chicago, graduating in 1973. Later, Dickey attended Columbia College Chicago and Kennedy-King College in Chicago, where he studied photography and business.

Dickey began his career freelance photography career working with the photo bureaus United Press International and Associated Press. Covering sports and breaking news, he was also a stringer for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. From 1978 to 1980, he served as principal photographer and photo editor for the Chicago Daily Defender newspaper, where he covered news and sports. Dickey served as campaign photographer for the Harold Washington mayoral election team from 1982 to 1983. In 1983, he was named the official photographer for Harold Washington, the first African American to be elected mayor of the City of Chicago. He served in this role for four years, through 1987, when he was appointed chief mayoral photographer for the City of Chicago. In that capacity, Dickey served for the subsequent administrations of Eugene Sawyer, the second African American to serve as mayor of Chicago from 1987 to 1989, and six terms for Richard M. Daley, from 1989 to 2011. During his career, Dickey also photographed well-known figures including heads of state President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, South African President Nelson Mandela and China’s President Hu Jintao. Additionally, he covered a range of key events such as the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls’ six championships, the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks’ Championships, the Chicago Marathon and several Democratic National Conventions.

Dickey’s photographic works are on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. He has been a member of the City Club of Chicago, the City of Chicago Alumni Network, and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Dickey received industry recognition for his work including the Best Photo of the Month Award from the Illinois Press Photographers Association in 1978, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Best Photo of the Year Award in 1980.

Antonio Dickey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.059

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/9/2019

Last Name

Dickey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Brodrick

Occupation
Schools

Holy Angels Catholic School

St. Leo Elementary School

De La Salle Institute

Kennedy–King College

Columbia College Chicago

First Name

Antonio

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DIC06

Favorite Season

Summertime

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

California, Puerto Rico

Favorite Quote

Don't Let Anyone Stop You

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/6/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cheeseburgers, Steak and Potatoes

Short Description

Photographer Antonio Dickey (1955 - ) served as the City of Chicago’s chief mayoral photographer from 1983 to 2011, including the mayoral administrations of Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer, and Richard M. Daley.

Employment

Draper and Kramer

Chicago Defender

Harold Washington for Mayor

City of Chicago

Favorite Color

Brown

Naomi Beckwith

Art curator Naomi Beckwith was born on March 9, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois where she grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood. She graduated from Lincoln Park High School in 1994. She attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and graduated from there in 1998 with her B.A. degree in history and African American studies. Beckwith then graduated with distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London with her M.A. degree in 1999.

From 1999 to 2000, Beckwith was awarded one of the six critical studies fellowship positions at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York. She then worked at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as an art project coordinator from 2000 to 2005. Beckwith was selected as the 2005-2006 Whitney Lauder curatorial fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Contemporary Art. In 2007, Beckwith joined the Studio Museum in Harlem as an associate curator, where she curated one of her first major exhibits, “30 Seconds Off an Inch,” under the leadership of museum director and chief curator, Thelma Golden. In 2011, she returned to Chicago, Illinois when she was hired as an associate curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2017, she was awarded both the Visionary Initiatives in Art Art Fund Curatorial Fellowship and the Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellowship. Beckwith was promoted to Manilow Senior Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2018. She has worked with artists from all over the world to produce both solo and collaborative works at the museum. She also served as the curatorial advisor of a staff of three, for the featured exhibition at the biennial celebration of a nonprofit contemporary arts organization called SITElines, in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2018. The event featured twenty-three artists and the highest number of commissioned works presented in SITE’s history.

Beckwith resides in Chicago, and serves on the boards of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Art Table, and the Laundromat Project in New York, an organization that supports artists and their neighbors to serve as agents of change in their communities. Her exhibitions and writings have been featured in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Ebony magazine, where she also was listed as a Top 100 Leader in Arts and Letters.

Naomi Beckwith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.046

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/8/2019

Last Name

Beckwith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Regina

Occupation
Schools

University of London

Northwestern University

Lincoln Park High School

Ogden Elementary School

William H. Ray Elementary School

Beasley Academic Center

First Name

Naomi

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BEC03

Favorite Season

Indian Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hydra, Greece

Favorite Quote

I Arise In The Morning Torn Between A Desire To Improve The World And A Desire To Enjoy The World. This Makes It Hard To Plan The Day. - E.B. White

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/9/1976

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Maki Rolls or Bruschetta

Short Description

Art curator Naomi Beckwith (1976- ) was associate curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem prior to becoming associate, and then senior curator, at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Employment

Internet Cool Music Guide

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia

Studio Museum of Harlem

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Favorite Color

Burgundy

Terri Gardner

Hair care manufacturer and advertising executive Terri Gardner was born on February 21, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois, to Edward and Bettiann Gardner. She attended and graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago where she received her B.A. degree in photography and film in 1979. She later earned her M.S.W. degree in social work from Loyola University of Chicago in 2007.

Gardner started working with the family business, Soft Sheen Products, Inc., in 1965, packaging hair care products in her family’s Chicago home. She continued working at the company through college, and after graduating, she launched an advertising firm called Brainstorm Communications in 1981, which served as Soft Sheen Products, Inc.’s in-house advertising and publishing company. Brainstorm Communications’ clients also included the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute, Advance Parking Technologies, Inc., Chicago’s 1992 “Project Vote!”, and Chicago’s New Regal Theatre Foundation. Brainstorm was also the lead agency that created “Come Alive Oct, 5” campaign that registered hundreds of thousands of voters in Chicago. In 1996, Gardner stepped down from her position as president of Brainstorm Communications when she was appointed president of Soft Sheen Products, Inc., succeeding her older brother, Gary E. Gardner, who resigned to start his own ethnic hair care company, Namaste Laboratories. L’Oreal bought Soft Sheen Products, Inc. two years later in 1998, and Gardner remained there as its president. In 2000, she was hired to work with U.S. Representative Bobby Rush on his “Cease Fire” campaign, aimed at addressing violence and crimes against women on Chicago’s South Side. That same year, L’Oreal acquired hair care company, Carson Products, out of Georgia, which had previously acquired Chicago’s Johnson Products. Gardner led L’Oreal’s merger of Carson Products with Soft Sheen Products, Inc., creating a single brand, Soft Sheen-Carson, which she remained to serve as president of for one year. In 2001, after thirty-six years with the company, she retired from Soft Sheen-Carson.

Gardner has served on the board of directors for the Social Venture Network, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Trinity Hospital Community Board, and was also part of the leadership at a spiritual center in Chicago.

In 1987, Soft Sheen Products, Inc. ranked number six in Black Enterprise magazine’s industrial/service sector top 100 companies; and, in 1989, they were named the Company of the Year. They were selected for the top 100 again, ranking number eleven in 1995.

Terri Gardner was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.058

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/8/2019

Last Name

Gardner

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

University of Illinois at Chicago

First Name

Terri

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GAR06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Mexico or Alaska

Favorite Quote

Be Who You Is

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/21/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

French Fries

Short Description

Hair care manufacturer and advertising executive Terri Gardner (1957- ) founded her own advertising firm, Brainstorm Communications, which was the in-house advertising and publishing agency for her family’s hair care company, Soft Sheen Products, Inc., where she later served as president.

Employment

Brainstorm Communications

Soft Sheen Products. Inc.

Soft Sheen-Carson

Favorite Color

Green

The Honorable Terry J. Hatter

Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. was born on March 11, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois to Gloria E. Wilson and Terry Hatter, Sr. He graduated from Hyde Park High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1950 and received his B.A. degree in government from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 1954. Hatter then earned his J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School in Chicago, Illinois in 1960.

In 1960, he served as an adjudicator for the United States Veterans Administration in Chicago and maintained a private law practice. The following year, Hatter was hired as an assistant public defender in Cook County, Illinois and later became an Assistant United States Attorney of the Northern District of California in 1962. He was then appointed Special Assistant United States Attorney of the Eastern District of California in 1965; and, the following year, Hatter served as the regional legal services director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in San Francisco. In 1970, Hatter served as executive director of the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles, and as an associate clinical professor of law at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. In 1973, Hatter was hired as professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He later served as special assistant to the Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, and was director of criminal justice and urban development in Los Angeles. In 1977, Hatter was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown as a judge of the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles; and, in 1979, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the United States District Court for the Central Division of California. In 1998, Hatter became chief judge, serving until 2001. He assumed senior status in 2005.

Hatter served as a member of the Just-the-Beginning Foundation and on the board of directors for Mexican-American Legal Defense, the American Judicature Society, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the NAACP, the Constitutional Rights Project, the National Senior Citizens Law Center, and the National Health Law Program. He also received honorary doctorate of law degrees from the University of San Fernando Valley and Wesleyan University.

Terry J. Hatter, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 7, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.012

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/7/2019

Last Name

Hatter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Schools

Wesleyan University

University of Chicago Law School

Forrestville Elementary School

Hyde Park Academy High School

First Name

Terry

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HAT03

Favorite Season

Daylight Savings Time

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

That's Ridiculous!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/11/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ribs, Fried Fish, Chili Con Carne

Short Description

Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. (1933 - ) was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Central Division of California in 1979, later serving as chief judge from 1998 to 2001, and assuming senior status in 2005.

Employment

Veteran's Administration

Cook County Public Defender's Office

United States Attorney's Office, San Francisco

United States Attorney's Office, Sacramento

San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation

Office of Economic Opportunity

City of Los Angeles

California Superior Court

University of Southern California

Loyola University of Los Angeles

National College of the State Judiciary, Reno

Western Center on Law and Poverty

United States District Court, Central District of California

Favorite Color

N/A