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Craig Watkins

Lawyer Craig Watkins was born on November 16, 1967 in Dallas, Texas to Richard Watkins and Paula Watkins. Watkins graduated from David W. Carter High School in Dallas, Texas in 1986. He earned his B.A. degree in political science from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas in 1990 and received his J.D. degree from the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, Texas in 1994.

Watkins began his legal career working in the Dallas city attorney and public defender’s office. He subsequently left the City of Dallas office and formed his private practice, Craig Watkins Attorney at Law, PLLC, where he worked mainly as a licensed bail bondsman. Although he campaigned and lost a 2002 election for district attorney, Watkins won the election in 2006 and became the first African American district attorney elected in the State of Texas. He served as district attorney from 2007 until 2015, during which time he was credited with securing a 99.4% conviction rate with a focus on prosecuting cases of child sexual abuse. Watkins also worked to resolve cases of wrongful conviction through the use of DNA testing and the review of evidence illegally withheld from defense attorneys. Watkins ran for re-election as district attorney in 2014, but was defeated by former Judge Susan Hawk.

As district attorney, Watkins attracted state and national recognition for his work. He was featured in Texas Monthly, Jet, and Ebony magazines in 2007. In 2008, Watkins was named Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News. During the same year, he was featured on an episode of 60 Minutes. Watkins also appeared on PBS NewsHour in a live interview with journalist Ray Suarez for his office’s 2011 exoneration of Cornelies Dupree, who was previously convicted of armed robbery in Texas.

Watkins’ involvement in the community included Friendship-West Baptist Church, Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, the Circle 10 Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Prairie View A&M Alumni Association.

Watkins and his wife, Tanya, have three children: Chad, Cale, and Taryn.

Craig Watkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.166

Sex

Male

Interview Date

09/14/2017

Last Name

Watkins

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

David W. Carter High School

Adelle Turner Elementary School

Prairie View A&M University

Texas A&M University School of Law

William Hawley Atwell Law Academy

First Name

Craig

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

WAT18

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving, Christmas

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

11/16/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Lawyer Craig Watkins (1967 - ) was the first African American District Attorney elected in the state of Texas.

Employment

Dallas County Public Defender's Office

Dallas County District Attorney's Office

Craig Watkins Law Firm, PLLC

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Craig Watkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Craig Watkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Craig Watkins talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Craig Watkins describes his motivation to pursue a career in law

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Craig Watkins talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Craig Watkins describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Craig Watkins talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Craig Watkins talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Craig Watkins describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Craig Watkins describes his community in Dallas, Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Craig Watkins describes his community in Dallas, Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Craig Watkins remembers his early interest in politics

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Craig Watkins describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Craig Watkins talks about his involvement on the swim team

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Craig Watkins talks about his grades in high school and college

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Craig Watkins describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Craig Watkins talks about reconnecting with his elementary school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Craig Watkins recalls his decision to attend Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Craig Watkins talks about his education in African American history

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Craig Watkins describes the history of black political leadership in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Craig Watkins remembers the influential figures of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Craig Watkins talks about his experiences of discriminatory policing in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Craig Watkins remembers his employment prospects after college

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Craig Watkins remembers applying to law school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Craig Watkins recalls his first year at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Craig Watkins describes his interest in constitutional law

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Craig Watkins talks about Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Craig Watkins talks about the communication skills of Mayor Ron Kirk

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Craig Watkins recalls his experiences in the Dallas County Public Defender's Office

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Craig Watkins talks about the changes to the justice system in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Craig Watkins remembers starting his private practice in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Craig Watkins recalls his decision to run for district attorney of Dallas County, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Craig Watkins remembers the Democratic Party sweep in Dallas County, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Craig Watkins describes the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Dallas County District Attorney's Office

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Craig Watkins talks about the unreliability of eyewitness identification

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Craig Watkins talks about criminal justice reform, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Craig Watkins talks about criminal justice reform, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Craig Watkins describes the use of DNA evidence in Dallas County, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Craig Watkins recalls his media exposure as district attorney of Dallas County, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Craig Watkins talks about exonerating thirty-eight inmates in Dallas County, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Craig Watkins recalls the criticism he faced as district attorney of Dallas County, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Craig Watkins talks about his reelection campaign in 2014

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Craig Watkins talks about his campaign considerations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Craig Watkins reflects upon the success of the Conviction Integrity Unit

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Craig Watkins talks about his private law practice in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Craig Watkins reflects upon the current political climate in the State of Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Craig Watkins reflects upon his career, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Craig Watkins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Craig Watkins reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Craig Watkins describes his opposition to the death penalty

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Craig Watkins reflects upon his career, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Craig Watkins talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Craig Watkins shares his advice to aspiring black law professionals

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Craig Watkins describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

12$5

DATitle
Craig Watkins remembers his early interest in politics
Craig Watkins describes the use of DNA evidence in Dallas County, Texas
Transcript
So where, where did you start school--I mean?$$I started school at Adelle Turner, A-D-E-L-L-E, Turner [Adelle Turner Elementary School, Dallas, Texas].$$Okay, this is elementary school, right?$$Yes; then I went on to, I went on to Atwell--W.H. Atwell [William Hawley Atwell Middle School; William Hawley Atwell Law Academy, Dallas, Texas].$$Is this a middle school or junior high school?$$Yes, middle school.$$Middle school, okay.$$Then I went on to the health magnet [School of Health Professions at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center, Dallas, Texas] because I had in my mind that I wanted to be a doctor. It was a magnet school but then I quickly decided no, this is not what I want to do; and then I went to Carter High School--David W. Carter High School [Dallas, Texas].$$Okay. Now what were you interested in, in grade school?$$You know I was always interested in law. In--surprisingly, one individual, although he was not a lawyer, that impressed me was Ronald Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] because he was a great communicator. And going into law, I saw that most people in [U.S.] Congress, most people in the [U.S.] Senate are lawyers; and so once I started figuring out where I wanted to be in life, it was leading me to politics. And so that's how I got into politics eventually after I had been a successful lawyer for some time.$$Now was your father [Richard Watkins] involved in a political organization in Dallas [Texas] at all?$$No but my family was always involved in politics. They had their finger on the pulse of what was going on in the country. But they were not involved in politics--none whatsoever. I don't think they had the stomach for it.$$Okay. Now it's kind of surprising your admiration for Ronald Reagan. Because there weren't--in the '80s [1980s] there weren't very many black people that admitted such an admiration, but (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) No. No I mean but that's why I say it's surprising because I saw him, and I really studied him and I saw that you know being a politician is not just being smart and having a law degree. You have to be able to communicate with individuals, and he was great at that. That's why I looked at him--you know Reagan and Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] they were both good at that. Now Clinton was a Rhodes scholar [Rhodes Scholarship] so he had the mental capacity to be the president, and he was a great communicator; and so you know those are the two individuals that you know I saw. And I was thinking to myself wow, I can do that.$Your term as a, as a prosecutor from twen- 2007 to 2015, that's eight years, right?$$Yes.$$I mean is--you have a lot of--I mean you start gaining national support. I mean Eclipse Magazine named you as a Super Lawyer. You won the NAACP Texas Hero Award in 2007, so people--I mean Texas Monthly did a feature on you; you're featured on '60 Minutes.' So, well tell us about a case where the DNA evidence or how that really works--just walk us through a case where the DNA was used.$$Okay so this is how we did it. What we would do is, we have a lab here in Dallas [Texas] and we would go and--once the case is brought to our attention, we had a lot of cases from the Innocence Project in New York [New York], got a lot of cases from the public defender's office [Dallas County Public Defender's Office], we got a lot of cases just from individuals writing us a letter to say, can you look at this case. So what we do if there was DNA then we would go get that DNA, but that's not the be all and end all. We would actually reinvestigate the case from start to finish to make sure you know that we were right when we exonerated these individuals. Think about it: if we made a mistake on exonerations, they will never happen again. So an exoneration took at least a year before we got to that point to where we were ready to exonerate someone; and that's where people get it confused, they think that it should be quick--there's DNA, go test it. No. We reinvestigate the case, and then we try to find out who actually the case--committed the crime; and we did that in a couple of cases. There was one guy who was called the North Dallas rapist, and the individual that was in prison didn't do it. So we actually went and found this man who did it and we prosecuted him. Because the law in Texas, you would think about the statute of limitations but if there is DNA evidence that is stored and saved, the statute doesn't run. So we were able to go back twenty years and put on a successful prosecution of the individual that committed this case.

Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III

Religious leader Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III was born on November 10, 1960 in Dallas, Texas to Reverend Frederick D. Haynes, Jr. and Lynetta Haynes-Oliver. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California. Haynes earned his B.A. degree in religion and English from Bishop College in Dallas, Texas in 1982, his M.Div. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his D.Min. degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2005. He also studied at Christ Church Oxford University in Oxford, England.

In 1983, Haynes accepted a position as senior pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the Friendship-West Baptist Church adopted churches in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. With a great amount of assistance from Friendship-West, the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe built a worship facility, school, and health clinic. In 2010, with the earthquake in Haiti, Haynes and Friendship-West adopted a village in Haiti and helped construct wells to provide the village with water. Haynes is also involved in the radio industry. He hosted Freddy Haynes Unscripted on Radio One’s 94.5 KSOUL, in addition to delivering the closing “Inspirational Vitamin on K104’s Skip Murphy Morning Show for seven years. He currently delivers the “Praise Break” message for the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

Haynes helped organize the Faith Summit on Poverty, which consisted of Dallas community leaders and city officials who were dedicated to reducing domestic violence and poverty. Haynes has also used donations from Friendship-West to fund historically black colleges and universities with over $1 million, as well as scholarships to HBCU students to over $2 million. He serves as chairman of the board of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, board member of the Conference of National Black Churches and the National Action Network, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for Paul Quinn College.

Haynes authored two books, Healing Our Broken Village and Soul Fitness. He was named to Ebony magazines “Power 100 list of influential African Americans," and was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, both in 2012.

Haynes and his wife, Debra Peek-Haynes, have a daughter, Abeni Jewel Haynes.

Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/13/2017

Last Name

Haynes

Maker Category
Middle Name

Douglass

Occupation
Schools

Ventura Elementary School

Aptos Middle School

Abraham Lincoln High School

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

First Name

Frederick

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

HAY15

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town SA

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

11/10/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III (1960 - ) served as pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church and delivered the “Praise Break” message for the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

Employment

Friendship West Baptist Church

Sumitomo Bank

Favorite Color

Black and gold

The Honorable Marvin Pratt

Political leader Marvin Pratt was born on May 26, 1944, in Dallas, Texas to Leon Pratt, Sr. and Mildred Joyce Pratt. He moved with his family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1959, where he attended North Division High School. After high school graduation, Pratt enlisted in the United States Air Force and served for three years. In 1968, after he received an honorable discharge from service, Pratt enrolled at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he obtained his B.A. degree in political science in 1972.

After graduation, Pratt began his political career working as an intern for Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier. Pratt ran for his first political seat as alderman on the Common Council, in 1984; he lost that election to Roy B. Nabors. Pratt ran again in a 1986 special election for the same seat and won. Upon his election to alderman, Pratt was appointed to the Finance and Personnel Committee. As a committee member, one of the initiatives that Pratt worked on was the Residents Preference Program, which helped to create employment opportunities for City of Milwaukee residents. In 1996, he was elected as chairman of that committee, a position he held until 2000. In 2000, Pratt was elected as the Milwaukee Common Council president. Pratt remained in that position until 2004. In 2004, when Mayor John Norquist stepped down, Pratt was appointed as the acting mayor of Milwaukee, the first African American to hold that position. However, Pratt lost the mayoral election in 2004 to Tom Barrett. In 2006, Pratt began his own consulting firm, Marvin Pratt and Associates LLC, which specialized in consulting and government relations. In 2011, he was elected as interim Milwaukee county executive, making him the first person to hold both the position of mayor and county executive in Milwaukee.

In 2016, Milwaukee Public Schools named a school in honor of Pratt; the Marvin E. Pratt Elementary School. Pratt also holds the rank of major in the United States Army Reserves.

Pratt and his wife Dianne, have two children, Michael Pratt and Andrea Pratt-Ellzey, and five grandchildren.

Marvin Pratt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 20, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.056

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/20/2017 |and| 02/24/2017

Last Name

Pratt

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Marvin

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

PRA03

Favorite Season

October, football season

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans

Favorite Quote

Civility is not a sign of weakness.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

5/26/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Political leader Marvin Pratt (1944- ) was the first African American acting mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Favorite Color

Blue, and also green

Norma Adams-Wade

Journalist Norma Adams-Wade was born in Dallas, Texas to Frank and Nettie Adams. She attended public schools and graduated from Lincoln High School in South Dallas, Texas. Adams-Wade went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin in 1966 with her B.S. degree in journalism. She also pursued graduate studies at Amber University in Garland, Texas and completed the Institute for Journalism Education’s summer editor training program at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

In 1966, Adams-Wade was hired by Collins Radio Company as a copyeditor for technical equipment manuals in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Apollo Space Program. From 1968 to 1972, she worked for Bloom Advertising Agency as an advertising copywriter and production assistant. From 1972 until 1974, she served as a reporter and editor’s assistant at The Dallas Post Tribune. Then, in 1974, Adams-Wade was hired as the first African American full-time general reporter for The Dallas Morning News, where she has served as a senior staff writer and columnist. As a senior staff writer, she covered general assignments, federal courts, consumer affairs, ethnic affairs, and neighborhood news. Adams-Wade created The Dallas Morning News’ Black History Month series in 1985, and, in 1988, helped launch The News’ Metro South Bureau. She retired from her position in 2002, but has continued to work as a contract columnist.

Adams-Wade was a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) in 1975. She was also the founding director of NABJ’s Region VII, a founding coordinator of Blacks in Mass Media of Dallas and Fort Worth, and served as scholarship chair for the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators. Adams-Wade is a lifelong member of Mt. Horeb Missionary Baptist Church in South Dallas, where she has served as a chair soloist, Sunday School and Baptist Training Union pianist, Junior Church director, and member of the church Scholarship Committee. She also founded the church’s Save the Children family organization that offers parent training seminars.

Adams-Wade’s many awards and honors include the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators’ Lifetime Achievement Award, the Bronze Heritage Award for preservation of African American history, Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas’ “She Knows Where She’s Going” Award, the NAACP Dallas Chapter’s Juanita Craft Award, the Dallas Urban League’s Legacy Award, The Dallas Morning News Joe Dealey Publisher’s Award, the Southeast Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club’s “Dreammaker” Award, the Top Ladies of Distinction’s Humanitarian Award, the St. Phillip’s School and Community Center’s Destiny Award, and the Maurine F. Bailey Cultural Foundation’s first outstanding community service award.

Adams-Wade lives in Dallas, Texas.

Norma Adams-Wade was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 6, 2014 and March 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2014.083

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/6/2014 |and| 3/14/2017

Last Name

Adams-Wade

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

H S Thompson Elementary

Lincoln High School

University of Texas at Austin

University of North Texas

The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

Amberton University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Norma

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

ADA13

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Country Setting

Favorite Quote

As you leave this place remember why you came

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/14/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti and Cornbread

Short Description

Journalist Norma Adams-Wade (1944 - ) was the first African American full-time general reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She was a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), as well as the founding director of NABJ’s Region VII.

Employment

The Dallas Morning News

Institute for Journalism Education

The Dallas Post Tribune

Bloom Advertising Agency

Collins Radio Co.

The Daily Texan Student Newspaper, U TX

Dallas Post Tribune

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:4214,27:10192,73:10894,85:11206,90:12610,118:17050,171:19515,204:21045,228:21555,235:22235,244:28015,322:30055,352:30565,360:35325,433:45584,464:55534,540:56371,550:56836,557:57580,566:80840,816:81650,824:83810,851:92998,920:107920,1042:127684,1231:128260,1241:137107,1337:157320,1559:157905,1571:160706,1589:163444,1605:167056,1655:167476,1661:171172,1710:171508,1715:176464,1766:177220,1777:178228,1791:178564,1796:186246,1826:186902,1835:187640,1847:188460,1858:192530,1885:193608,1907:198074,2004:198536,2012:206025,2114:206631,2122:212287,2188:222506,2294:240561,2447:249065,2556:252040,2608:252805,2618:259950,2681:260510,2690:261470,2712:267550,2828:272830,2914:273710,2928:279518,2983:283934,3054:288596,3079:288924,3084:292122,3135:293270,3153:297944,3232:299994,3253:310250,3329$0,0:4407,45:13360,175:14192,185:18913,242:19197,247:23486,279:32310,364:33010,372:33910,384:36510,420:46800,554:47520,564:47880,569:48420,576:55711,646:55995,651:58196,687:59474,709:59829,715:73445,876:73785,881:74805,899:75230,905:84183,1011:93678,1120:94231,1128:95416,1152:110792,1306:112616,1345:113300,1355:127990,1544:135896,1606:136400,1614:136688,1619:136976,1624:137264,1629:137912,1639:138416,1648:139064,1662:139856,1674:140432,1685:140864,1693:145472,1776:145832,1785:150944,1903:167190,2058:168100,2073:170410,2116:172790,2173:173350,2181:173770,2190:176640,2243:177550,2263:185797,2326:187337,2355:188800,2394:189416,2403:189955,2417:193343,2461:193651,2466:194190,2477:200480,2514:202929,2570:204588,2592:205141,2601:209091,2661:233160,2966
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Norma Adams-Wade's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Norma Adams-Wade lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her family's roots in East Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the Juneteenth tradition in Mexia, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the history and genealogy of black families in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the significance of the Juneteenth tradition

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Norma Adams-Wade describes her mother's upbringing, and the traditions of her mother's family, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Norma Adams-Wade describes her mother's upbringing, and the traditions of her mother's family, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her mother's job at a beauty parlor in an affluent white neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Norma Adams-Wade compares the personalities of her mother, aunts, and grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her father's opportunity to play baseball in the Negro League

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Norma Adams-Wade gives a summary of her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her father's military service during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her father's education and career with the U.S. Postal Service after World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Norma Adams-Wade describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her sister, Doris Adams Serrell

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Norma Adams-Wade describes her childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Norma Adams-Wade describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her family moving out of her grandparents' home into their own home

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Norma Adams-Wade describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the role of the church in her community

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her experiences in elementary school, and early influences in literature and writing

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about a pivotal moment that shaped her character and influenced her writing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about television shows in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about what influenced her to become a reporter and meeting her mentor, Julia Scott Reed, in the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her experiences at Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Norma Adams-Wade recounts running for Ms. Lincoln at Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about a childhood friend who had polio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her father's reaction to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about race relations in Dallas, Texas and the arrest local civil rights leader Ernest McMillan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the black press in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about race relations and her experiences at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her decision to attend the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Norma Adams-Wade describes her experiences with integration at the University of Texas at Austin seeing Marian Anderson perform

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about being a black student at the University of Texas at Austin in the late 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the professors who influenced her at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Norma Adams-Wade compares courses at the University of Texas at Austin with those at Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her first attempt to work for 'The Dallas Morning News'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her summer internships at the 'The Dallas Post Tribune' and her first job at Collins Radio Company

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the Charles Whitman shooting at the University of Texas, Austin, and President Johnson speaking at her graduation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about her personal philosophy as a reporter

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about working for The Sam Bloom Agency

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about working at The Dallas Post Tribune

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Norma Adams-Wade talks about the news article that got her hired at 'The Dallas Morning News'

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$9

DATitle
Norma Adams-Wade talks about the professors who influenced her at the University of Texas at Austin
Norma Adams-Wade talks about the news article that got her hired at 'The Dallas Morning News'
Transcript
Alright. Okay so you said that you were--who were some of your favorite teachers or role models at the University of Texas [Austin]?$$Well, the one that comes to mind is Professor Gardiner, I forget her last name but she was a former military person and that's the way she lived her life. Very, very authoritative and I remember one of her rules was that no matter how good your writing was, if you misspelled one word, you got an automatic F. She was a little person about my size, an Anglo but very authoritative. And boy she ran her classroom like a military operation and we were terrified of her and terrified of misspelling a word because nobody wanted to get an automatic F. And, so she really sticks out in my mind because it really taught me to be at my best and I was always a very perfectionist type person, that's a syndrome, I guess perfectionist syndrome. And I don't thing I ever got an F but I was terrified of getting an F and she's just a-professor Gardiner is just a real big memory. Now, oh gosh I'm embarrassed, I just forgot his name but one of the deans of the journalism school and I'm embarrassed that I've forgotten his name but he sticks out because he was a person I could--I went to, I guess, a couple of times and--for just kind of counsel on what to do about difficult subjects that I was wrestling with. I remember I wrestle with government and never made good grades but I managed to get out of government and--oh I'm embarrassed I can't remember his name.$$He was the dean of journalism?$$Right, and he was big in my life at the time and he was a very empathetic person, Anglo. But he was a good listener and he would just listen and he was not judgmental and he was very helpful to me and so I had an emotional tie to him because he helped me. I felt that he was a life line and I remember when it was graduation time, I wasn't sure, I was sweating one of those courses and it was something like a government course. I was sweating it and whether I would be able to graduate and I mean it was eleventh hour. My parents [Frank McLeod Adams and Nettie Ivory Adams] had come to town and my dad had told me, chief I don't know if I'd be able to economically do this--continue to do this. You're really going to have to come out and so I was sweating graduation. And, so they were already in town and I went to the dean and he did tell me that I made it and I remember going back to the co-op house and when I told my dad, he went out on the porch and he walked to the balcony of it and he looked up and I could just see him--my dad was not really a demonstrative religious person, my mom was. But I could tell that he was thanking God that his daughter was going to graduate and I just remember this scene of seeing him standing there, his back was turned to me and he just had his quiet time there on the porch. And I could tell that it was a load off his shoulders because I can imagine he was saying if she doesn't come out of here, what are we going to do. I guess whatever finances in the family were going on he knew that he just couldn't financially do it anymore. And so when I graduated, it was just a big relief and I remember the scene of him out there on the porch and I graduated. It was a close call but the dean was the one who gave me the news that I had made it.$Now Buster Haas who was he now?$$He was over hiring in the newsroom. He was an exec in the newsroom.$$This was in Dallas [Texas]?$$'The Dallas Morning News.' So there was a series of murders in the black community. Convenient store owners were being murdered and it was a big story. So this would have been the early '70s [1970s] and it was affecting the city because whites were being killed too but it was largely happening in a lot of stores in the black community but white store owners were being killed. 'The Morning News' wanted to cover the story and they needed someone within the community--they wanted to do a piece that told how this series of murders was affecting not only the city but the black community as well. Somehow Buster--I guess--well I had applied for it so Buster Haas knew of me and he really did have my interest at heart. Buster Haas was a good person. He was a great person. He reminded me of my dean back in school, same personality and I think he really did look for an opportunity to get me in. So anyway they wanted to do this story and so, you know, the story is opportunity doesn't knock on your door, you have to go out and get it. Opportunity came to my house, Buster Haas came to my house where I lived and knocked on my door and told me they wanted to do this piece and that I could do it as a freelance writer and I went out and interviewed a lot of people in the community, store owners and neighborhood people and put the story together and did it and submitted it and it ran banner across page one and I was hired that week and that's how I got hired because they were very impressed with the story and the perspective that I was able to bring to it. The value of being an African American reporter was that I could get into the community, I knew where the bodies--well not the literal bodies were buried, bad pun but I knew where all the players were and I could get to them and that's what I did. So they saw my value and I was hired and that's how I got on, that's how I got hired.$$Did the police ever solve the case?$$I don't remember who it was but the case was ultimately solved. That's a good question, I'd like to back and research that but it took--I remember it took awhile because when it was happening, I mean nobody had a clue and I did not do the final story, whoever did the final story I don't know it would be good to research that. But my story was to give the inside view, the view from inside the community which is what I did.$$Okay what did the community think about that?$$Everybody was terrified, mystified, baffled, terrified, scared. It was a scary situation because nobody knew where they would strike next. People were serious; they were killing the store owners, the clerks. They were killing clerks not store owners but the clerks. A lot of owners did clerk their own stores.$$Were they being robbed or just killed?$$They would rob them and shoot them, fatally shoot them.

Mollie Belt

Newspaper CEO and publisher Mollie Finch-Belt was born on August 7, 1943 in Dallas, Texas. Finch-Belt’s mother, Mildred, was a mathematics instructor; her father, Fred J. Finch, Jr., founded the Dallas Examiner in 1986. But after publishing only one issue, Belt’s mother and father were murdered in their home. In 1961, Finch-Belt graduated from Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas. After briefly attending Spelman College, she enrolled at the University of Denver where she graduated with her B.A. degree in sociology and psychology in 1965.

Upon graduation, Finch-Belt began working as an employment counselor for the Texas Employment Commission. She then held positions in the Harris County Manpower Program and for City of Dallas where she administered the Title IV program. Between 1977 and 1997, Finch-Belt was a branch chief in the Civil Rights Compliance Department for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 1997, Finch-Belt and her husband, attorney James C. Belt, Jr., invested their personal resources to revitalize the Dallas Examiner. In 1998, with a grant from AT&T, she started Future Speak, a publication aimed at developing young minority journalists. Finch-Belt has also used the Dallas Examiner to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention by publishing numerous articles and supplements, including “PROBE,”  “Battling AIDS in Our Communi ty” (2003) and “Innocence Lost” (2004). Finch-Belt also hosted public programs such as an HIV/AIDS town hall meeting at the Inspiring Body of Christ Church in Dallas, Texas. She also co-hosted the Youth Angle luncheon on World AIDS Day with Paul Quinn College. Since assuming editorial responsibilities of the Dallas Examiner, Finch-Belt has continued her father’s dream of providing the Dallas African American community with its own news service.

Finch-Belt is a member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has led the the Dallas Examiner to win numerous national, state and local awards, including the prestigious Katie Awards. The Dallas Examiner was named “Best Weekly Newspaper” in 2002 by the Texas Publisher’s Association awarded; and, in 2004, it received twelve awards from the regional chapter of National Association of Black Journalists, including “Best Newspaper” and “Best Practices.”

Finch-Belt lives in Dallas with her husband, attorney James C. Belt, Jr. They have two children, James C. Belt, III, advertising manager at the Dallas Examiner, and Melanie Belt, M.D.

Mollie Finch-Belt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 29, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.023

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/29/2013

Last Name

Belt

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Finch

Schools

George Carver Elementary

Lincoln High School

Spelman College

University of Denver

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Mollie

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

BEL06

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Padre Island, Texas

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

8/7/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive Mollie Belt (1943 - ) , daughter of Dallas Examiner founder Fred J. Finch, Jr., has been CEO and publisher of the Dallas Examiner since 1997.

Employment

Texas Employment Commission

Harris County Manpower Program

City of Dallas

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Dallas Examiner

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:9492,147:22830,287:31062,420:34572,462:35188,515:79008,1180:85318,1338:129168,1816:134064,1922:147420,2030:156827,2230:160185,2300:165076,2573:179154,2729:204910,3017:213385,3193:213685,3275:237428,3517:246050,3594:246589,3602:248437,3649:248745,3657:253558,3720:254244,3728:278430,4094$0,0:5025,94:5718,104:10312,172:27168,531:27424,536:45702,832:47014,866:47342,871:48654,895:50048,928:50868,942:51196,947:51524,952:56386,1045:64028,1116:64538,1123:71372,1249:79534,1355:88840,1530:89800,1550:92920,1602:93320,1608:98040,1755:111698,1989:140249,2342:141118,2391:143567,2604:144278,2612:144752,2661:176720,2949:186320,3092:189920,3183:194940,3196
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mollie Belt's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mollie Belt lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mollie Belt describes her mother's family background, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mollie Belt describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mollie Belt talks about her mother's experiences growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mollie Belt describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mollie Belt describes her father's work for the Department of Defense and his joining the Air Force

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mollie Belt describes her childhood experiences in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mollie Belt describes her experience in Cambridge, Massachusetts while her father attended Harvard Law School

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mollie Belt describes her similarities to her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mollie Belt describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mollie Belt describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mollie Belt talks about attending school in Tuskegee, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mollie Belt describes going to the library with her mother and meeting Eleanor Roosevelt in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mollie Belt describes her mother's teaching school and her attending schools in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mollie Belt talks about the integration of schools in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mollie Belt talks about her experience at Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mollie Belt describes her reasons for attending Spelman College

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mollie Belt describes her reasons for not wanting to return to Spelman College after her freshman year

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mollie Belt describes the atmosphere at Spelman College in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mollie Belt describes her experience at the University of Denver

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mollie Belt describes her post graduation search for employment in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mollie Belt describes her experience in Harlingen, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mollie Belt describes her experience living and working in Houston for the Manpower Program and her move to Dallas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mollie Belt describes the changes in Dallas from the 1960s to the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mollie Belt describes working in Dallas for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mollie Belt describes how her father started The Dallas Examiner

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mollie Belt talks about her father's role in starting The Dallas Examiner

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mollie Belt talks about the murder of her parents during a home burglary

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mollie Belt describes taking over ownership of The Dallas Examiner after her parents' death, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mollie Belt describes taking over ownership of The Dallas Examiner after her parents' death, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mollie Belt describes the demographics of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mollie Belt describes the changes she made to The Dallas Examiner after her father died

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mollie Belt talks about Future Speak program for area youth, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mollie Belt talks about Future Speak, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mollie Belt describes the key issues covered by The Dallas Examiner Newspaper

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mollie Belt talks about The Dallas Examiner's coverage of HIV/AIDS, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mollie Belt talks about The Dallas Examiner's coverage of HIV/AIDS, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mollie Belt describes The Dallas Examiner's coverage of the arts, and its editorial section

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mollie Belt reflects upon her legacy and the legacy of The Dallas Examiner

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mollie Belt talks about what she might have done differently

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mollie Belt describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Mollie Belt talks about the future of The Dallas Examiner

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mollie Belt talks about the relevance of print media

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mollie Belt talks about her children

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mollie Belt describes the state of Texas politics, pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mollie Belt describes the state of Texas politics, pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Mollie Belt talks about The Dallas Examiner's freelance employees

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mollie Belt talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Mollie Belt describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Mollie Belt describes taking over ownership of The Dallas Examiner after her parents' death, pt.1
Mollie Belt talks about The Dallas Examiner's coverage of HIV/AIDS, pt.2
Transcript
So you're working at this time and you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--I'm working at the federal government.$$So you could have, you know, kept working and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--I did for a while; I did continue working for a while and I'd come over here to the office at night and we'd--well, no. When that happened, you remember, I took a year's leave of absence, so I was over at the paper every day; that was kinda like my therapy. My whole thing was my father's vision, he'd worked so hard to start this paper that I just had to see it continue, and so it was at it's very infant stages. In order to join like NNPA [National Newspapers Publishers Association] or API [Amalgamated Publishers Incorporated], you had to join--you had to print 52 issues, so I had to make sure that 50--that--and it's hard printing 52 issues. I know advertising. And it was hard then and it's hard today to get advertising in black newspapers. So I stayed there at the office, I wasn't a publi--I wasn't a publisher that was going out; I didn't even put my name on the pa--on the (unclear) of the paper. I owned the paper but I didn't--Charles was the editor. And so I sat there and we worked, made sure we joined API, NNPA and, you know, I would help assign stories and things. We had freelance writers and, you know, stuff like that, but I did not go out to events and things; I just kinda stayed locked up in that building like--go there to--so after--I guess I took a leave maybe a year, a year and a half, may have been two years and--that I went back to work, and it was just--my son was here, you know, going to college, and he was like distributing the paper part time; you know, distribution's a part-time job, and he would run over there to my office downtown and, you know, I'd have--to get me to sign stuff and do stuff. And I loved the work that I was doing; I'm very interested in health care but I just could not continue to do the paper and that job. And because I supervised people, it's very difficult when you supervise people for the federal government; you can't fire 'em (laughter). You know, you can't fire them, so you know, you have to develop them. And, and, and I guess they thought I was a good manager because they always gave me some really hard employee to deal with, so that meant you gotta work--do the employment development plans and all that kinda stuff, you know? They don't have satisfactory evaluation; it just was a--so that stress plus, you know--my supervisor would say things to me like, 'Well Mollie, do you realize that you want off just about every Friday?' 'So-what? I'm the highest performer in the office; so-what if I take off every Friday, I have the leave.' At that time, when I was taking off every Friday, my kids were in college and so my, my, my husband and I--he--I had a good friend and a little boy got him put out of his home; he was a high school student at Desota (ph.) High School, so she called me and asked me did I know of some family that could take him in and he could live with 'cause he was living with the coach and his coach's wife was pregnant and he was sleeping on the sofa in the living room and that just wasn't good. And I told my husband, I said, 'Do you know somebody?' And he said, 'Well how come he can't come stay with us?' Well, I guess he could, you know. We had plenty of room, so we took him in and he ran track, so we'd go to track meets every Friday, you know. But I just got tired of that, you know, that, that structure of having to ask somebody can I be off on Friday. And I just decided that, you know, the best thing for me to do is just to work at the paper full-time, so I took an early retirement and started working at the paper. My husband and I had contributed just--I don't even wanna add up the money that we put into the paper from the time my father died because the paper, it just--it was not sustaining itself.$$Now was your husband a partner with your father before?$$No.$$Okay.$$Well, no--yeah, a law partner--$$Yeah.$$--in the law office, but not with the paper.$It's not just gay men disease.' He say, 'Okay,' he say, 'you can have it here.' It was on a Wednesday night. He say, 'You can have it on one condition.' I say, 'What's that?' He said, 'I wanna meet Danny Glover.' I say, 'Okay.' I say, 'I'm supposed to go out there and meet him at the airport at 6:00.' And I told him the morning I'm gone' meet him and--because with--I took--arranged to take him to all the radio--black radio stations so that he could go on and tell people to come to the Town Hall meeting, you know, and talk about AIDS. So Rickie [Reverend Ricky Rush] met me out there at the hotel and he ended up riding with me to all the venues to take Danny [Glover] so he could get out and go in and talk. And he asked me, he said, 'Well, what you gone' do about feedin' him?' He say, 'I'll have my people at the church fix dinner.' I say, 'Well that will be wonderful.' He said, 'And I'll get my people to help park the cars that night.' I said, 'That's fine.' He said, 'Well Mollie, what do you think I oughta wear?' I said, 'What you oughta wear? I don't know, whatever you wanna wear.' He's a real little man, you know. So--then I thought; he had been wearing fatigue wear with boots, to fight drugs, you know, in the community. And he wore the fatigue like a war on drugs. I say, 'It's a war on AIDS so wear your fatigue tonight,' and he say, 'Okay.' So he wore his fatigue and he stood up there in the pulpit and he told--we had about a thousand people in the church and he told them to go get tested. We had the County Health Department; all these AIDS agents had their testing stuff, we had rooms inside the church and mobiles outside. He say, 'Go get tested now,' and they went and got tested; we tested about 200 that night, and then a lotta people got tested after then. I would go in a restaurant, and I'd see people and they'd say, 'I want you to know I heard it on the radio and I went and got tested,' 'cause we had it broadcast live on the black radio stations. So then the next year we did PROBE, you know. We did--that was another health--AIDS supplement. You know, it's kinda like--and you know when I think about it, we never got money to publish the--to, to, to pay for the printing--The Dallas Examiner, we incurred those costs. Because it is so hard getting advertising. The thing that helped me with the first supplement was one company and one man I met who worked for Pfizer and he was in governmental affairs, and he got it; he called the people up in New York at Pfizer and told them to buy a full-page, full-color ad and, and, and I had that in there. But it's--we did the supplements. We've done other supplements, too--$$Okay.$$--we do.$$So when you deal with a story, you rally the community around--you do education forums and all, you know (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Yeah, with AIDS we did; we, we had several programs with AIDS; we had one out at Paul Quinn College, with a nurse, to get--we did the same thing, had the mobile unit out there to get those students tested. We don't do that with everything; it just depends on what the issue is--$$Okay.$$--you know. I don't wanna say we're known for those events.

Harry Elston

R&B singer Harry James Elston was born on November 4, 1938 in Dallas, Texas to the musical family of Ernestine Cooksey and Leonard David Elston, Sr. Elston grew up in San Diego, California and attended Midway Elementary School and Point Loma High School. Elston began his career in the music industry around the ages of sixteen or seventeen with the Johnny Otis Caravan. Elston and the group he was in, Cel Foster and The Audios, came to San Diego to a talent search. The group was chosen for the Johnny Otis Caravan, which included other musical acts like Etta James and Jacki Kelso. By age twenty-five, Elston began working as the limousine driver for The Temptations. In 1963, Elston formed a R&B group called the Hi Fi’s with Lamonte McLemore, Floyd Butler and ex-Miss California Bronze Talent Award winner, Marilyn McCoo. As a member of the Hi Fi’s, Elston sang at local night clubs while taking lessons from a vocal coach. The Hi Fi’s came to the attention of Ray Charles in 1964, and the following year, he decided to take the group on tour with him. Ray Charles went on to produce the group’s single “Lonesome Mood”. In 1966, due to internal disagreements, Elston and Floyd Butler decided to depart from the Hi Fi’s and along with Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love they formed the Friends of Distinction.

Originally, Elston came up with the name Distinctive Friends, but Barbara Jean Love decided to reverse the words. In 1968, Hall of Fame football player Jim Brown met the group and introduced them to the staff at RCA Records. In 1969, Friends of Distinction released their first album entitled Grazin’ on RCA Records. The album included the songs “Grazing in the Grass”, of which Elston wrote and sang lead on, and “Going in Circles.” Grazin’ peaked at number five on the R&B charts. “Going in Circles” preceded the album, and it landed at number three on the charts. Friends of Distinction also released the songs “Love or Let Me Be Lonely”, “Time Waits for No One” and “I Need You.” When Barbara Jean Love became pregnant in 1970, Charlene Gibson replaced the vocalist, and the Friends of Distinction released Real Friends on RCA Records. Another change in Friends of Distinction occurred when Jessica Cleaves decided to leave the group and joined the R&B group Earth, Wind and Fire.

During the 1960s, Elston was also a prominent figure in the urban night life. Alongside, Jim Brown and John Daniels, Elston was instrumental in opening the Mavericks Flat, a well-known L.A. night club that is often referred to as the Apollo Theater of the west coast. In addition, Elston was instrumental in the formation of the N.I.E.U. (Negro Industrial and Economic Union). In 1992, Elston was co-writer of “It’s Over,” a single for Friends of Distinction. The current members of the group are Dorian Holley, Wendy Smith Brune, Berlando Drake and Harry Elston.

Elston lives in Studio City, California and Henderson, Nevada.

Elston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.325

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/6/2007

Last Name

Elston

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Point Loma High School

Midway Elementary School

Dana Middle School

First Name

Harry

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

ELS01

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Idlewild, Michigan

Favorite Quote

Ain't Nuttin'.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/4/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

R & B singer and songwriter Harry Elston (1938 - ) co-founded the R & B group, Friends of Distinction. Some of the group's hits include "Love or Let Me Be Lonely," "Time Waits for No One" and "Going in Circles." Elston also co-founded the Mavericks Flat, a well-known L.A. night club, and the Negro Industrial and Economic Union.

Employment

US Air Force

Kaiser Permanente

The Friends of Distinction

The Hi-Fi's

The Magic Cookie Company

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:19888,302:20293,308:20617,313:22561,362:29203,516:30904,550:37523,577:37911,582:54355,782:61831,895:70946,1036:71474,1043:73938,1094:74906,1110:96998,1466:100100,1513:100570,1519:107560,1601:108596,1615:113026,1664:139320,2051:147379,2180:153355,2328:153853,2336:159078,2341:160706,2353:163996,2375:164512,2385:168038,2498:170876,2606:171220,2615:173940,2623$0,0:2812,55:3420,63:4028,93:33500,467:34605,487:37356,515:44046,631:49707,726:64481,911:65225,921:66248,944:69368,966:69748,972:72870,1009:73320,1019:74130,1032:74580,1038:87194,1191:96302,1302:97226,1318:102686,1453:103274,1461:155081,2281:155437,2286:161118,2331:162918,2371:163278,2377:164214,2398:167382,2465:167814,2472:168102,2477:171440,2504
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harry Elston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harry Elston lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harry Elston describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harry Elston describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harry Elston describes his stepmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harry Elston describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harry Elston describes his stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harry Elston describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harry Elston describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harry Elston lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Harry Elston describes his neighborhood in San Diego, California

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

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Harry Elston remembers Midway Elementary School in San Diego, California

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Harry Elston recalls his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harry Elston recalls playing sports as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harry Elston remembers the Bethel Baptist Church in San Diego, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harry Elston describes Dana Junior High School in San Diego, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harry Elston recalls his early singing experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harry Elston describes the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harry Elston describes his peers at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Diego, California

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harry Elston remembers performing with The Belvederes

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harry Elston remembers recording with Cell Foster and the Audios

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Harry Elston remembers the music community in California

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Harry Elston remembers the popular hairstyles of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harry Elston remembers straightening his hair

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harry Elston describes the Five Four Ballroom in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harry Elston recalls joining the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harry Elston remembers being stationed in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harry Elston recalls his assignment to Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harry Elston recalls his arrest in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harry Elston describes his discharge from the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harry Elston remembers Oakland, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harry Elston recalls working for Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harry Elston remembers living with Lamonte McLemore

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harry Elston recalls his friends in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harry Elston remembers founding the Hi-Fi's

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harry Elston recalls singing in Los Angeles Clubs with the Hi-Fi's

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harry Elston remembers touring with Ray Charles

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harry Elston describes The Hi-Fi's vocal training

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harry Elston recalls being arrested with his bandmates, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harry Elston recalls being arrested with his bandmates, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harry Elston remembers the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harry Elston describes the formation of the Versatiles

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harry Elston recalls founding The Friends of Distinction

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harry Elston describes the Negro Industrial and Economic Union

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harry Elston recalls serving as a driver for The Temptations

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harry Elston describes the Maverick's Flat club in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harry Elston remembers his experiences at Maverick's Flat

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Harry Elston describes his return to The Friends of Distinction

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harry Elston remembers writing the lyrics to 'Grazing in the Grass'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harry Elston recalls signing a contract with RCA Records

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harry Elston talks about The 5th Dimension

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Harry Elston recalls The Friends of Distinction's early hits

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Harry Elston remembers meeting Miles Davis

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Harry Elston talks about working with RCA Records

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Harry Elston remembers Earth, Wind, and Fire

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Harry Elston recalls leaving RCA Records

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Harry Elston describes the Magic Cookie Company, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Harry Elston describes the Magic Cookie Company, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Harry Elston remembers Floyd Butler's death

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Harry Elston describes The Friends of Distinction reunion

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Harry Elston reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Harry Elston describes his advice to aspiring entertainers

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Harry Elston reflects upon his future

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Harry Elston describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Harry Elston reflects upon his values

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Harry Elston describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Harry Elston narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Harry Elston recalls founding The Friends of Distinction
Harry Elston recalls signing a contract with RCA Records
Transcript
So it's 1965 and you've decided to put another little group together, you and Floyd [Floyd Butler] and, and some- who else was in this band?$$Well Clarence McDonald was there, he was our, he was our keyboard player and vocal arranger, and Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Love [Barbara Jean Love]. So thi- about this time this is when we were living over on, on 9th Avenue and Ron Townson [Ronald Townson] was around the corner they was sneaking and singing. And we said, "What they--you know what they doing?" But we just kind of got our little stuff together and, so, so about this time, Jim Brown, Jim had been on the scene. So Jim would come by the house, and he'd hear us singing, and he'd bring Bill Russell would come by there, Fred Williamson, all these cats you know played ball and stuff so Jim would say, "What you gona do man?" I said, "I'm trying to do this." He said, "Well don't just try," he said, "Do it." So okay and Jim said--I said, "Hey (unclear) you gonna have to pay to Clarence McDonald for rehearsal," and we didn't take no money. Okay man, so he would pay Clarence fifty dollars a week.$$So now did Jim Brown decided to be the producer or the?$$Yeah, yeah our manager.$$The investor, okay.$$Yeah, he was, he was checking it out to see how far you know if we was really serious, but you know when you start paying this money (laughter) and you know and I'd have to hound him down to, to get this money you know every now and then, but he would pay, and matter of fact Jim bought me my first Cadillac.$$Okay.$$(Laughter) So--so and then pretty soon he explained that he was starting this production company called the BBC. It stood for Brown, Bloch and Coby. Now Coby [Richard Coby] was a lawyer, a big time lawyer there 9255 Sunset [Boulevard], I'll never forget it. Rogers, Cowan, Paul Bloch was--worked for Rogers, Cowan and Brenner at that time and then of course Jim Brown. So man hey hooked this stuff up and, and we had instant publicity because he worked for Rogers and Cowan, and we would, we would fart and it would be in the papers you know.$$So was there a name of the group at this point? Was there a group name?$$We, we were--once we started P- Paul said, "Well you guys gotta have a name." So I'll never forget we was with Paul's big ole house in Beverly Hills [California] and I came up with Distinctive Friends and then they tossed it around and Barbara came up, "No, we should say Friends of Distinction [The Friends of Distinction]." Bam. That just clicked (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) It rolled better, huh?$$Yeah, it rolled better, and that's how that got started.$So th- there was this club called The Daisy, it was in Beverly Hills [California], and this, this club was the bomb. I mean Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, the Rat Pack and all them cats, Sammy [Sammy Davis, Jr.] and so Jim [Jim Brown] and Paul [Paul Bloch] they set it up for our, our showcase. So we had on these little, we had some bad little outfits some little vests and white shirts and the girls had on what they had on. So we went down and threw down. Man, they loved it. The next day I'm talking to six record companies, and Jim sent me out by myself. Not Floyd [Floyd Butler], and I, I don't know what to say to these people, man. So it was just a vibe thing, it was a vibe thing and after that maybe it was the second, I got a little chesty you know I kind of, yes, uh-huh and (laughter). Hey, we done had six record companies, you must be saying something. So went up to RCA [RCA Records] and there was this guy, his name was John Florez, he was a staff producer, but John was laid back and quiet and stuff, and I liked that demeanor about him. So I--so later on that evening Jimmy said, Jim--his, his favorite word, "What's up big baby?" And I said, "Well man I like, I like RCA. I like John over there." He said, "Hey." So we signed with RCA, now dig it, we--and here's--now at this time Jerry Peters and Clarence McDonald and Greg [Greg Poree] and all these people, you know Skip [Skip Scarborough] we're writing songs, they're writing songs for us and of course 'Grazing' ['Grazing in the Grass'] and man we go (laughter)--this is the scary part. We go--been singing with just the keyboards right, so we go into the studio. It's a booth, and what we're doing is, is you know just laying down stuff so the band you know how it is, get the feel for the stuff, but there's a hundred musicians. Man my little booty tightened up so tight boy, man (laughter) and you know these (demonstrates playing violin) you know what I'm saying and the French horns and the oboes and you know--hey, we did it.$$And they're on the clock.$$On--yeah, aw man a hundred musicians you know.$$And they're on the union clock.$$Hey man, now the arranger, his name is Ray Cork, Jr., and matter-of-fact I, I was gonna look him up in Phoenix [Arizona], 'cause both John and Ray are from Phoenix and I never met him. Never met him, nobody had met him. We never heard his music until we went in the studio, and did that album, and he th- he threw down. To this day people talk about his arrangements man.

The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr.

Andrew Leon Thomas Jefferson, Jr. was born on August 19, 1934, in Dallas, Texas, to Bertha Jefferson and Andrew Jefferson, Sr. After Jefferson and his family moved to Houston, Texas, in 1936, he attended Jack Yates High School which he graduated from in 1952. Jefferson received his B.A. degree from Texas Southern University in 1956, and his J.D. degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1959.

During his first year out of law school, 1960, Jefferson worked as a partner for Washington & Jefferson Attorneys at Law. In 1962, Jefferson worked as an assistant criminal district attorney for San Antonio County, and later in the year served as the chief assistant to the U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Texas.

In 1968, Jefferson was hired as a trial and labor relations counsel for Humble Oil & Refinery Company, which was renamed Exxon Corporation. From 1970 to 1973, Jefferson presided as a judge for the Harris County Family District Courts in conjunction with the Harris County Domestic Relations Office, before serving as a judge for the 208th District Court in Harris County until 1975.

In 1975, Jefferson worked in private practice with Jefferson, Sherman & Mims. During this time, Jefferson became the president of the Nu Boule’ chapter of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, an association considered to be the first African American Greek letter organization. Between 1986 and 1987, Jefferson served on the Presidential Search Committee of Texas Southern University and the Merit Selection of Judges Committee. In 1996, Jefferson became a member of the International Society of Barristers, a society of outstanding trial lawyers chosen by their peers on the basis of excellence and integrity in advocacy.

In 2001, the Andrew L. Jefferson Endowment for Trial Advocacy was established at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas. The endowment seeks to preserve the jury trial in order to consider issues of ethics and excellence in advocacy and the role of litigation in society. Jefferson was a member of numerous professional and civic organizations including the American Bar Association, the Houston Lawyers Association, the Houston Area Urban League and the NAACP.

Jefferson passed away on December 8, 2008 at the age of 74.

Accession Number

A2007.231

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/10/2007

Last Name

Jefferson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Leon

Schools

Frederick Douglass Elementary School

Jack Yates High School

Texas Southern University

University of Texas at Austin School of Law

First Name

Andrew

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

JEF03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Pebble Beach, California

Favorite Quote

If You Can't Explain It To Your Mama, Don't Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

8/19/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Death Date

12/8/2008

Short Description

Federal district court judge and trial lawyer The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. (1934 - 2008 ) served for the 208th District Court in Harris County, Texas, until 1975. He was also the the president of the Nu Boule’ chapter of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. In honor of his contributions to the legal profession, the Andrew L. Jefferson Endowment for Trial Advocacy was established at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas.

Employment

Washington and Jefferson, Attorneys at Law

Bexar (San Antonio) County

The Western District of Texas

Humble Oil and Refining Company

Court of Domestic Relations in Harris County

208th District Court in Harris County

Jefferson Sherman and Mims

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:240,3:720,11:1040,16:1600,25:34660,511:36635,543:44914,627:54756,711:55836,721:64590,907:65374,923:81846,1084:83222,1104:85028,1134:92294,1251:95033,1307:97794,1341:104025,1391:123140,1556$0,0:4916,53:10995,147:34476,581:37250,682:52357,864:74092,1119:79188,1320:81788,1379:89928,1461:92550,1472:112710,1684:113478,1691:116250,1708:116887,1723:117615,1732:118434,1742:128284,1931:139040,2087:143542,2135:145474,2163:152720,2248:153196,2257:153672,2265:156256,2318:156732,2326:157276,2339:172879,2513:181457,2642:189774,2738:207813,3084:208257,3089:224666,3524:232920,3603
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes how his parents met and their education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his childhood in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. talks about his early role models

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his early knowledge of African American history

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers his influential teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes the entertainment of his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his early work experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers his interest in architecture

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. talks about John S. Chase

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his mentors at Texas Southern University

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers Barbara Jordan

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his employment during college

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his decision to pursue a law career

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes the Sweatt v. Painter decision

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his ink spot painting

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his experience at Texas Southern University

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers the University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his experiences of discrimination at the University of Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his experiences of discrimination at the University of Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his law professors and courses

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his graduation from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers Washington and Jefferson, Attorneys at Law

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls becoming an assistant district attorney

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his early law career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his work with the Freedom Riders

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. talks about the Black Panther Party in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers Ovide Duncantell

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes the changes in the U.S Department of Justice

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his experiences of discrimination at the district attorney's office

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls becoming the chief assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his recruitment to Humble Oil and Refining Company

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers working at Humble Oil and Refinery Company

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers the Petroleum Club in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls joining the Harris County Family District Court

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his most notable legal decisions

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes the black community's relationship with the police in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his first election as a judge

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his consideration of running for mayor

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his private legal casework

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his legal philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. talks about his involvement with Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

18$12

DATitle
The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas
The Honorable Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr. remembers the Petroleum Club in Houston, Texas
Transcript
So when it came close to graduation time had you--was your path laid out for you, did you know you were going to Texas Southern [Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas]?$$No, it was kind of an awkward situation as it developed. Because, I'd had these conversations with my friend Reverend Moore [John D. Moore]. And I had--something he had said somewhere along the way that led me to believe he was gonna see to it that I went to Yale [Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut]. And I had no idea what the mechanics were, or could be for that arrangement. But I had my heart set on that. And then it came time to go to college, nobody was saying anything about Yale. And I had all these little weekend jobs, you know, cutting grass, and painting houses, and painting the church [Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, Houston, Texas] on the weekends, and all of that but I didn't have any real, you know, resources accumulated to pay any college tuition, or even transportation for that matter. And that's important as I'll demonstrate in a minute. So, the closer September came, the more concerned I became about where I was going to school. And at some point I broached the subject with Reverend Moore, and I don't know what he said but he made it clear that I, well was not going to Yale. But we had a member of the church, Mrs. Pearl Saunders [ph.], who was just a wonderful lady. And she--I guess Reverend Moore must've persuaded her--however it came about she loaned me seventy-five dollars to pay my tuition at Texas Southern.$I get a call one day from a friend of mine who was a member of the Petroleum Club [Houston, Texas]. Petroleum Club is, you know, the drinking and dancing club located on the top of the Humble [Humble Oil and Refining Company; Exxon Company, U.S.A.] building, and the, the guy who called me was Pete Schlumberger [Pierre Schlumberger], Pete of the Schlumberger family, and he was piping hot, he said, "Jeff [HistoryMaker Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr.]." I said, "What's up, Pete?" He said, "I had a lawyer visiting with me from Michigan the other day and he happened to be an African American and so I took him to lunch at the Petroleum Club and they wouldn't let us go to the grill. They ushered us off to a little private room," and he says, "I'm so pissed off about it, I don't know what to do." I said "Well, what do you wanna do about it?" He said, "Well you work for Humble," and he said, "I want to invite you to lunch and see if they'll treat you the same way they treated my friend from Michigan." I said, "Well, let's give it a shot." I--I don't supposed I'd been invited by anybody in the company up until that time to go. I might've been there at some private room meeting type arrangement. Anyway, Pete and I went and they wouldn't let us on the floor, and I came back to my office boy, and I wrote the damage letter. I said, look you people are put me in this situation and, and, and now you put me in a situation where I've been embarrassed because my employer won't let me eat lunch in my employer's cloth--club and that's not acceptable. Well, all hell broke loose, cause I'm one of the country--company lawyers, I mean, I'm just not, you know, anybody so, the letter goes to the, the manager of the employer relations department. A guy name Ed Dekorsha [ph.] and Ed calls me in the next couple of days and he said, "I think we worked this thing out. I've been in contact with the board of directors." And part of the problem is that, Humble didn't own the Petroleum Club, the club was a separate entity. Humble owned the building. The entity leased the space from the Humble Company. Part of the rent, the compensation for using this space was fifty memberships that were parceled out amongst various Humble employees, plus one special membership that was available for anybody with--at a certain level in the corporation you could just sign off on that special account with no questions asked and--but the club was actually run by a bunch of East Texas oil men and Ed was calling to tell me that he'd smooth the waters and--so he and I was going to lunch on--in the grill the next couple of days, so this is the manager of the employees' relations firm for the whole company, so he and I hit the door in the grill, and boy the teds--heads were turning and the tongues were wagging, so it went well, no problem, you know, and of course the waiters and everybody was just tickled to death to take care of it (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well, the waiters were black, right? At the Petro club.$$Yeah. To take care of it, yeah, to take care of us and the next night or two Ed called me back and said, "Well, let's go to dinner in the dining room," which is a different room on the other end up on, so, I said, "Okay, let's, let's do it" (laughter) so we go to the dining room and Ed called me in the next couple of days and said, "I got a call." I said--he said (laughter) I said, "What was the call about?" He said, "They said don't rub it in our faces," (laughter). So that's how we turned that corner (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) (Laughter) Okay. We have to stop--

The Honorable Alphonso Jackson

Cabinet appointee Alphonso Jackson was born on September 9, 1945 in Marshall, Texas to Henrietta and Arthur Jackson and grew up in South Dallas as one of twelve children. Jackson learned the value of education and the importance of strong work ethic from his parents. He attended both Lincoln University in 1965 and A&M Commerce in 1966 on track scholarships before receiving his B.A. degree in political science from Northeast Missouri State University in 1968. In 1973, Jackson received his J.D. degree from Washington University School of Law.

Jackson's career began in 1973 as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. From 1977 through 1981, Jackson became the Director of Public Safety for the City of St. Louis, Missouri. He also served as a director of consultant services for the certified public accounting firm, Laventhol and Horwath in St. Louis. Jackson was then appointed as Executive Director of the St. Louis Housing Authority. He held this position until 1983 and became the Director of the Department of Public and Assisted Housing in Washington, D.C. in 1987. In 1989, Jackson became president and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas, Texas. Jackson’s executive title marked him as the first African American to head the agency, saving the Housing Authority from the racial discrimination law suits that had been mounting against it. During Jackson’s tenure, he worked to improve the dilapidated buildings and unsafe conditions that had become standard in the city’s neglected public housing units.

In 1996, Jackson left the public sector when American Electric Power-TEXAS hired him as President. There, Jackson ran the $13 billion company for the next five years, until he was appointed as the Housing and Urban Development’s Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer under the George W. Bush Administration. Working under then secretary, Mel Martinez, Jackson managed the daily operations of the $32 billion agency and its 9,300 employees. In 2004, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Jackson as the nation’s thirteenth United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This distinction marked Jackson as the third African American in the Bush Cabinet after Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell and Rod Paige, the Education Secretary. He resigned from this position on April 18, 2008. Since 2008, Jackson teaches at Hampton University as a professor and Director of the Center for Public Policy and Leadership. Jackson also serves on numerous national and state commissions including the General Services Commission of the State of Texas and the National Commission on America’s Urban Families.

Alphonso Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 3, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.225

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/3/2007

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

St. Anthony Academy

Lincoln University

Texas A&M University - Commerce

Truman State University

Washington University School of Law

H.S. Thompson Elementary School

St. Peter Academy

First Name

Alphonso

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

JAC26

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

There's No Place Like America.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

9/9/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Cabinet appointee The Honorable Alphonso Jackson (1945 - ) served as the nation’s thirteenth United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Employment

City of St. Louis

St. Louis Public Housing Authority

Department of Public and Assisted Housing

City of Dallas Housing Authority

Texas Southern University

United States Senate

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Alphonso Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his mother's personality and accomplishments

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon his memories of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers the murder of his neighbor by a white policeman

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his role among his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his community in South Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers suffering from asthma

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his experiences of discrimination in his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about his education in Catholic schools

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his early writing talent

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers joining the track team at St. Peter Academy in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his track and field competitions

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his decision to attend Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls joining the Philadelphia Pioneer Club

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls transferring to the Northeast Missouri State Teachers College in Kirksville, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his transfer to East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his experiences of discrimination on the track team at East Texas State University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his experiences of discrimination on the track team at East Texas State University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers Coach Kenneth Gardner

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls the death of his father

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his undergraduate degree program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his graduation from Northeast Missouri State Teachers College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers earning a master's degree

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his acceptance to law school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his experience at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his activism at the Washington University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the community of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his political activism in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers the Selma to Montgomery March, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers the Selma to Montgomery March, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his focus as a lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers Frankie Freeman

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers Margaret Bush Wilson

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about his hometowns

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his position at the University of Missouri - St. Louis

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his work with John Danforth

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls being selected as public safety director in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the political climate of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers working for James F. Conway

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his role at the St. Louis Housing Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers running for comptroller of the City of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his role at the District of Columbia Department of Public and Assisted Housing

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about his start in public housing administration

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the history of public housing in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon the Model Cities program

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his work for the Dallas Housing Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers the integration of public housing in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his activism in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his relationship with President George Walker Bush

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his work at the Central and South West Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his role at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his experiences at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about public housing programs

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his hopes for the future of public housing

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about housing policy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon his personality

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

10$3

DATitle
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his track and field competitions
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his work at the Central and South West Corporation
Transcript
You're--you know, you're active in, you know, in the track team, you're competing. You compete--do you--do you compete statewide at that point?$$Statewide.$$Okay. And you're developing a name for your--you know, yourself. Now, was your track team one of the best track teams in the state? No?$$(Shakes head) No, I was one of the--I ended up being the, the best sprinter in the State of Texas in '67 [1967], '68 [1968], public or private. There were three of us and you--one was George Aldredge who was at Highland Park [Highland Park High School, Dallas, Texas], a very rich community. The other was Warren McVea who you've heard about from San Antonio [Texas] and myself. And Mr. Lark [ph.] got me a chance to, to participate in the public school track meets, which was rare because at that point in time, they were segregated. So you couldn't run against--the black high schools could not run against the white high schools in Dallas [Texas], but I had a chance, opportunity to run and beat George Aldredge in high school, and to beat Warren McVea. Now, you have to understand how things were in Texas. If you were in south Texas, San Antonio and south, schools were integrated, but if you were in north Texas starting with Waco [Texas] above, schools were totally segregated. And so Warren McVea was in an integrated environment down in San Antonio at Brackenridge [G.W. Brackenridge High School] and I was--I was not. And so when I ran against George Aldredge, it was because I was at the Catholic high school [St. Peter Academy, Dallas, Texas] that they permitted that. Because the bishop at that time talked to the athletic director in the Dallas public school system [Dallas Independent School District] and he permitted me to run in the meet. And I was the only black to, to run in a white meet at that time and that was '67 [1967] and '68 [1968]. So, I knew there was a difference. Now, we could compete against all the Catholic high schools even though they were white all over Texas, but we didn't compete necessarily against public schools. So half of our, our--plus, plus I played football, too, my sophomore, junior, and senior year. We would play Catholic high schools in Texas, but when we played public schools, we would play segregated public schools like in Ennis [Texas], Waco, Tyler, Texas.$You decided to leave public sector and go and seek--you know, have your real first, you know, business, non-public sector job?$$By accident again. I was on the board of the Boy Scouts [Boy Scouts of America] and the chairman of Central and South West Corporation named Dick Brooks [E. Richard Brooks] was the chairman of the metropolitan area, Fort Worth, Dallas [Texas], Boy Scouts, and he was also on the executive board of the national Boy Scouts. And he was very concerned that we did not have enough blacks and Hispanic Boy Scouts. So, he asked the executive director, he said, "Who can we get to help us get more black and Hispanic kids in the Boy Scouts?" So, Earl [ph.] recommended me and I became vice chair for urban scouting. But what Dick didn't understand and no one understood, they wanted to have three hundred black and Hispanic boys within the next two years. Well, I ran public housing. All I had was black and Hispanics. So, what occurred is within six months, I had like 310 people signed up. It took them about another four months to get all the uniforms. So, after I did that, Dick said, "That is just wonderful." And he called me, he said, "Let's have lunch." So, I said--I told my wife [Jackson's second wife, Marcia Jackson], I said, "Well, probably he's gonna ask me to go on his board." And so I had lunch with him and we talked for a few minutes and he says, "What do you expect to do after you leave the housing authority [Dallas Housing Authority]?" I said, "Well, I hadn't thought about that because I don't plan to leave." He said, "Well, we have a division called Central South West International," and he said, "I really need someone to come in as the vice president to negotiate all of our deals." I said, "I don't want to be a human rights--I mean, a human resource person." He said, "No," he said, "I'm talking about negotiating deals around the world." I said, "Well, what does that mean?" He says, "Just what I said." And he says, "I think you've got the right skills." So, I said to him, I said, "Well, let me talk to my wife." And I talked to my wife and she said, "Well, pursue it further and see what." So, I ended up going back, having an interview a couple of weeks later and after talking, I said, "That sounds great to me." And what I did at that point in time was I said, "What is this job going to pay?" He never answered the question. But in the end when I went for the final interview, it was--it was quite a lot and I became a corporate executive, which means you're a principal in the firm. And so I ended up going there. And it was easy transition because I really didn't have to know anything about the utility business. I had to negotiate deals for us. And as an attorney, it was easy to negotiate deals. So, I negotiated our deal in India, China, Brazil, England, and around the country. And after negotiating those deals, a couple of years later, he comes to me and said, "Why don't you become president and chief operating officer of Central South West, Texas," which was our major corporation in Texas. I said, "I really don't know anything about the regulating side of the business." He said, "That's no problem." And so what he did for a week, he got me a tutor, a very--expert in regulatory affairs and for ten hours a day, I stayed with that tutor and learned it and became president and chief operating officer. And then we merged with EP [American Electric Power (AEP)] and I stayed there until I came here with the president [President George Walker Bush].

William Blair, Jr.

Baseball player and newspaper publisher William Blair, Jr., was born on October 17, 1921. A former Negro League baseball player turned newspaper publisher, Blair has been a community voice in Dallas for over forty years. Blair attended Booker T. Washington High School and Prairie View A&M University. After six months at Prairie View A&M, Blair enlisted in the United States Army and became the youngest black first sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.

Blair, a Negro League Baseball Museum inductee, pitched from 1946 to 1951 for the Indianapolis Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams. His baseball career included pitching a no-hitter in the Denver Post Tournament, playing with the late Winfield Welch, Jesse “Hoss” Walker, and Buster Haywood, and touring with Jesse Owens and the Harlem Globetrotters. Blair was instrumental in the development of the African American Museum’s Texas Sports Hall of Fame and serves on its advisory board. He was inducted in 1996 as a member of its inaugural class.

Blair founded the Highlight News (1947-1957). He also later founded the Southwest Sports News, a newspaper that specialized in publishing scores from Black college games throughout the United States. The paper was renamed The Elite News in 1960. One of the most influential black newspapers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Elite News created “The Elite News Awards Night,” which was the first African American awards ceremony in Dallas when it began in 1975.

Blair had been a civil rights activist for more than six decades. In 1986, Blair launched the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade, and this parade is now an institution in Dallas. Blair was a major force in local and state politics and was also an advocate for the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. In 2004, he founded the Religious Hall of Fame to honor African American ministers.

Blair lived in Dallas, Texas with Mozelle, his wife of sixty-three years. All of his children were involved in the family business.

Blair passed away on April 20, 2014 at age 92.

Accession Number

A2006.085

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/2/2006

Last Name

Blair

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Prairie View A&M University

B.F. Darrell Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

BLA10

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Kleberg Foundation

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

If I Can Help Somebody.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/17/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peas (Black-Eyed)

Death Date

4/20/2014

Short Description

Baseball player and newspaper publisher William Blair, Jr. (1921 - 2014 ) pitched for the Indianapolis Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams during the late 1940s. He also founded Elite News, an important Dallas-Fort Worth area black newspaper, and launched in Dallas the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade.

Employment

U.S. Army

Negro League Baseball

Elite News Religious Hall of Fame

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Blair, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. describes his childhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. remembers celebrating holidays with his family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. describes Benjamin Franklin Darrell Elementary School

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. describes a lesson from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Blair, Sr. remembers his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Blair, Jr. remembers Munger Avenue Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Blair, Jr. describes his first job in the newspaper business

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - William Blair, Jr. remembers his friends at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - William Blair, Jr. describes the Moorland YMCA in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - William Blair, Jr. describes his mentors at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - William Blair, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - William Blair, Jr. describes his aspirations in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - William Blair, Jr. describes his neighborhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Blair, Jr. recalls developing a fear of snakes in rural Powell, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. describes his U.S. Army service during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. remembers becoming a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. describes his family

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. remembers his career with the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. recalls his baseball teammates in the Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. talks about the impact of Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. reflects upon the changing role of sports teams

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. talks about the importance of the Negro Leagues' history

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Blair, Jr. remembers founding Elite News

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. describes the finances of the Elite News

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. talks about his book, 'The Dallas I Know'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. describes the Elite News Religious Hall of Fame

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
William Blair, Jr. talks about the impact of Negro Leagues
William Blair, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Dallas, Texas
Transcript
Tell me some more stories. I mean, what do you want to tell me about the Negro League?$$Well, the Negro League should have been a viable league now, like I was telling you at first. You see any time you turn your, turn something over to other folks, people do what they want to with it. The Negro Leagues should be have been, should have been a good farm system for ball players. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. They started Major League Baseball in 1976 [sic.], Negroes didn't get in it until 1947. Every major record that they had in there, it took them seventy-five years to achieve it. Negroes broke it in fifty. Every one of 'em. You name, they broke 'em. Like I was telling you, they never thought nobody never break Babe Ruth's record. It was four or five Negroes could hit that many home runs. If we had got a chance to plan. If Willie Mays had played in a park where, where, like some of these ball parks these 325 foot fences, he'd a hit a thousand home runs. Just that, and they wasn't looking for Willie Mays when they found him. They was looking for that big old boy name Alonzo Perry, a good friend of mine, boy name Alonzo Perry, but a man had sense enough to see, see what he looking at and tell 'em about it. That's how they got in. They wasn't looking for him. Whole lot of ball player. The greatest, the best ball player I played with though was an older man. He was forty-eight years old. Him and Satchel [Satchel Paige] 'em come along together. I know you heard 'em talk about Cool Papa Bell [James "Cool Papa" Bell]. He's, he's the best I ever seen. He could run, do everything, and a wonderful man. And the thing that sticks our more about me and more about Cool, I don't care where we were on Sunday, he was going to church before he come to the ball park. Did it religiously. Wonderful man. He died in 1991.$$What changes would you have made to the Negro League?$$Well, the first thing they did, the first thing you needed to do with the Negro League is to control your own destiny. You see when people can come and take your folk from you for just a little bit of money, they should have money enough to keep 'em to do what they needed to do. Here's a ball player like [HistoryMaker] Ernie Banks, you get twenty-five thousand dollars for him. Hall of Fame ball player, to give a little bit more money for, for Willie Mays. So a lot of ball players they got for nothing. And for what they got 'em for, they didn't, they didn't do nothing with 'em. They take people's word, I was reading in the paper this morning about Denzel Washington's son played football down at Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia]. They gone give him an opportunity play in the NFL [National Football League] now. Now you know good and well, he ain't never played in that type of competition. I said he ain't that kind of football player 'cause I don't, I never seen him, didn't know he had a son, but this is the kind of stuff that they do, they'll run and grab some Negro for name, but it's some boys that got ability, that they'll never give a chance. I know good and well he wasn't the best back over there. I know he wasn't 'cause I never heard of him. It's a whole lot of that. But that's what happened to us in a lot of ways. And then we do ourselves wrong, like I was telling you. It's so many great ball players I seen. I seen so many ball players, just like you hear 'em talk about Satchel, Satchel was a great pitcher, no doubt about it. Never heard him say about (unclear), did you? It wasn't no difference than Hilton and Satchel. One was promoted and the other wasn't. They didn't promote Hilton Smith. Ball players will tell you, "Well if you can get Satchel out of there, they get Hilton," say, "you might get some runs in there." I said man, "You ain't got none off Satchel, you ain't get none off of Hilton." That's the pitchers they had. They had pitchers over there like Connie Johnson who died a couple of years ago. Connie Johnson, Booker McDaniels, Shape Alexander [ph.], Jim LaMarque, Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith. These people pitched nine innings every day. (Unclear) these people got twenty-five ball players on their team. We didn't have but fifteen, and all of them could play different places, different places and if you got hurt, three or four could probably take your place and play that. That's the way they was. And they didn't have all this, like you hear 'em talking about people doing throwing (unclear), well that was known fact in the Negro League. You gone get throwed at just like you hit a home run in front of me, if I come up I knew I was gone have to lay down. They called it laying down. We could forget and the manager gone fine you. They want to fine the pitcher now hitting the ball, for throwing at 'em. They just, these people they take the game, they want to take it and make out of it what they want to. They never played it so what they want to do, they want to change it around. You can't do that.$So the newspaper [Highlight News; Elite News], once you got with the churches, you put in church news also. And it took off (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Claps) Been going ever since. Been going ever since.$$So every denomination?$$Anybody, everybody.$$And you just talk about their church? Tell me what a normal paper would--$$What I do, whatever they had, just like they have a, anything they have in their church, the things that worthy of news, they bring it to me. Just like they have their anniversary, they invite me, I go over to their anniversary, speak at their anniversary and this kind of stuff. I do all this then. I've done all this. I done it for years. I give to my kids now. I let them do it. That's the reason, most folks around here know me by what I did in the community, see I worked for politicians, I don't duck 'em. Politicians in this city here that elected in this city now, they elected on account of the work that I done for them, 'cause they couldn't get in places that I could take 'em. Just like, they don't let politicians go to no churches. William Jr. [HistoryMaker William Blair, Jr.] can take 'em. I started that. President Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton], before he ever was president, I was in a meeting right downtown at Jess Hay's office, the biggest, the biggest money-raising Democrat in the United States. I set up there and I told Reverend Raditz [ph.], there's five us in there, I told him, I say, he gone be the next president of the United States. You know how come I said that? 'Cause the man could talk. And you could understand exactly. He was right down to earth with what's he's doing and that's what he did. And all these local politicians, I don't have no trouble with none of 'em. I know all of 'em. One of the biggest mistakes we ever made in our life though, some of 'em, you put 'em in office, but you know, you have to live with it, so time will take care of that.$$So what other civic organizations do you work with?$$Oh, any of 'em. They come for all kinds of stuff here. Anything they want, they'll come here. They want me to help 'em with it. Especially when it comes to dealing with people. See I'm a people person. See all this stuff, talking about big shots, I don't believe in big shots. It's more average people than it is big shots, and that's what I deal with. I deal with average everyday people. I can go anywhere, I can take you right now, and I bet if it's fourteen people there, I bet ten of them there know me. And if I ever know your name, I don't never forget it. See I don't look down on nobody. It's one thing I guess I just learned that from people. I'm not no better than you, and you not no better than me. I don't care what your circumstances are. See, you may have all the money in the world, but we still a human being, and I don't look down on nobody that away. And that's the way I been all my life. Anybody that know me will tell you, say whatever he tell, say he ain't gone, ain't gone mince no words with 'em. I'll tell you exactly what it is. And I ain't trying to make no friends. Me and you can be friends, but I'm a tell you right. I said Denise [Denise Gines], that's wrong. Now you do whatever you want to about it, but I'm a sure tell you.

Vicki Hallman

Vicki Hallman was born in Dallas, Texas on October 20, 1954. She grew up in the Hamilton Park neighborhood in Dallas, attending public schools there. After graduating from Hillcrest High School in 1972, Hallman attended East Texas State University, where she earned her B.A. degree in pre-law and psychology in 1976.

After graduating, Hallman was hired by the Paris Outreach Clinic in Paris, Texas, and in 1977, she joined the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Over the ensuing years, Hallman rose through the ranks, and by 1989 she was a parole supervisor. In 1995, she was named the assistant regional director for Dallas, and on August 1, 2002, she became the region II director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Parole Division. There, she managed the development, implementation and planning of all parole-related functions for thirteen offices. She also instituted programs such as Females, First and Foremost (F3), Cognitive Restructuring, African American Male Survival Skills, Hispanos Survival Skills and anger management courses for parolees, all of which have been highly effective.

Hallman has received numerous honors and recognitions over the years, including the Governor’s Award, Outstanding Woman of the Year and the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Award. She is a member of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice and serves as a board member of EXODUS Ministries.

Accession Number

A2004.215

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/26/2004

Last Name

Hallman

Maker Category
Schools

Hillcrest H S

Hamilton Park Elementary School

Richardson H S

Texas A&M University - Commerce

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Vicki

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

HAL08

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Would accept honorarium, though not required

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/20/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Short Description

State government appointee Vicki Hallman (1954 - ) has served as the Assistant Regional Director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and was later named Region II Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Parole Division.

Employment

Paris Outreach Clinic - Paris, Texas

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vicki Hallman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vicki Hallman lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vicki Hallman describes her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vicki Hallman talks about her mother's childhood in Arthur City, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vicki Hallman describes her father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vicki Hallman talks about her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vicki Hallman describes her mother's work and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vicki Hallman describes her childhood household in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vicki Hallman describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vicki Hallman describes the Hamilton Park neighborhood where she grew up in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vicki Hallman recounts the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vicki Hallman recalls her temperament as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vicki Hallman describes the African American middle-class community of Hamilton Park, Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vicki Hallman remembers Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vicki Hallman recalls transferring to the majority-white Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vicki Hallman remembers playing a joke on her classmates

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vicki Hallman explains how she began to feel accepted at Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vicki Hallman remembers a difficult decision to participate in a walkout at Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vicki Hallman describes her role as a mediator during the integration of Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vicki Hallman talks about her favorite school subjects

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vicki Hallman remembers influential teachers from her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vicki Hallman describes her younger sister

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vicki Hallman describes the impact of her late sister on her family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vicki Hallman talks about her decision to attend East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vicki Hallman describes the strong African American community at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vicki Hallman talks about her academic interests and habits while attending East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vicki Hallman talks about the importance of her sorority advisor

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vicki Hallman talks about her lack of political involvement during her time at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas at college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vicki Hallman recalls her first post-college job as an intake officer at Paris Outreach Claim Clinic in Paris, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vicki Hallman describes her experience at Paris Outreach Claim Clinic at Terrell State Hospital in Paris, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Vicki Hallman describes meeting her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Vicki Hallman recalls her hiring at Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 1977

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vicki Hallman talks about her job as a parole officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 1977

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vicki Hallman describes challenges she faced as a young woman parole officer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vicki Hallman describes her promotion at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vicki Hallman remembers the challenges of being a regional supervisor at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vicki Hallman describes her work as assistant regional director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vicki Hallman recounts holding a job fair for ex-offenders, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vicki Hallman recounts holding a job fair for ex-offenders, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vicki Hallman talks about opening a Day Resource Center in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vicki Hallman describes implementing changes as Region II director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, parole division

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vicki Hallman talks about her community outreach as a parole officer for the Department of Criminal Justice

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vicki Hallman describes her innovative approach to countering recidivism among ex-offenders

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vicki Hallman talks about her promotion to regional director for Region II of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, parole division

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vicki Hallman talks about the cultural programs she implemented for parolees

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vicki Hallman talks about the support of her staff at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vicki Hallman describes an influential experience with a client, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Vicki Hallman describes an influential experience with a client, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vicki Hallman describes the success celebrations for parolees organized by the community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vicki Hallman describes the contributions of her support staff

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vicki Hallman describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vicki Hallman talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vicki Hallman reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vicki Hallman reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vicki Hallman describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Vicki Hallman talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Vicki Hallman narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Vicki Hallman narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$4

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Vicki Hallman describes an influential experience with a client, pt. 1
Vicki Hallman describes her promotion at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Transcript
And then I get a card like I got today through the mail that says thanks for your support. This is from a female client who I was about to send back to prison a year ago. I was so fed up with her addiction. And I really don't have, most directors [in Texas Department of Criminal Justice, parole division] don't have anything to do with clients one on one. They don't have that time. I can't get away from them because they're, they're in my blood, and they're what keeps me going. And so I do a lot of intervention counseling. When all my staff have done all that they can do before, in a lot of instances I wanna send 'em back to prison. I say send 'em to me. I either do one thing, have my come to Jesus meeting, close the door, or we sit down and we really talk. I'm going to get through a street game, 'cause they're gonna bring the game to, to, to me at first. But even though I wasn't from the streets, I've been educated. I got a Ph.D. in the streets because I spend so much time with my clients, so they teach me. I know the game. And this individual lady, so special to me, because I was about to give up. It was one of those days. It was a Friday evening. I'd been doing intervention counseling all day. Here she comes at 4:00 full of game, all the excuses, wanting to blame everything, the white man, the job situation. Broke it down, wasn't gonna deal with it. I'm real up front. I learned that that same negative connotation that, placed on me as a parole office became my strength. I'm an in-your-face, upfront individual. If I'm wrong I'm the first to apologize. That's what I like about me. And in this case, she and I were battling. I was tired. I was ready to go home. I was about to give up, and my spirit wouldn't let me do it. And so I said look, you're gonna go back to prison. She says I'm (unclear). I said you're gonna go back to prison, or you're gonna die on the streets, 'cause she was doing cocaine really bad. Her attitude was I'm going to die anyway. I'm HIV [human immunodeficiency virus] positive. Wow, diffused all that anger. I had immediately, instantaneously diffused me. I was at a loss for words. I am never at a loss for words. I was at a loss for words. So I said a silent prayer: God, with the words in my mouth, meditation in my heart, be acceptable in your sight, let me say something to this lady that's gonna cause her to think and feel, didn't even ask that he allow me to change her, just allow her to think and feel. And so I shifted, went from one hip to the other, had a whole new wind.$The biggest was believing in a system that I was working for. Man, people were coming out, going right back, because we had nothing. And I really just thought, I'm working; I'm doing a job, but it's not working. It's not impacting recidivism. It's not doing anything. And I will tell everybody around me: one of these days, if I'm an opport- in a, in, in a decision-making position here, if I'm ever--at the time the title was regional supervisor [at Texas Department of Criminal Justice]--if I'm ever regional supervisor, I'm gonna change some things. Everybody laughed at me. It's not gonna happen, [HistoryMaker] Vicki [Hallman]. You're black, girl. Did you look in the mirror? You're black, and you're a female, plus you got a big mouth, and you talk too much. You're so unorthodox, you make people mad; you piss 'em off. You're not, it's not gonna happen and lo and behold. I prayed about it. I kept saying, God, make me the person you'll have me to be. I told you earlier I come from a very spiritual family. And whereas we're not Bible toting evangelists that evangelize to people, this is within, and I know that I can do anything. That's why my favorite saying and scripture is, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," [Philippians 4:13] because he took me through a lot. I had a supervisor that could not stand my, the air that I breathe, and he gave me a really hard time. He tried to run me away. And I would have run. My daddy [Curtis McCarty] wouldn't let me (laughter). He was like you don't run away from anybody or anything, you know that. You stand there, and you fight, and you do the best you can. And so I went through several years of really being treated really bad by this guy. And I continued to do my job, and I continued to have trouble. But--(unclear)--things worked out. He was transferred out, and I prama- I applied for a unit supervisor's position probably about twelve times, never could go from this level. And he would tell me in an interview. I'd be one on one. As long as I'm regional supervisor, you're never gonna get promoted. And I'd leave out that interview, and I would cry, big crybaby. And I'd call my daddy, and he'd say shut up that crying, girl. (Unclear) go do better; next one come up, you apply again. And I'd go back in there. So the last time we were gonna be smart. We're take a recorder, a little bitty mini cassette recorder. We're gonna tape this guy telling me that I'm never gonna get promoted. It had nothing to do with my job performance or my abilities. It had to do he just didn't like me. Lo and behold, the one time I was ready, just as tickled pink. Well, the personnel person from Austin [Texas] sat in on the interviews, and so, of course, I didn't get that type of feedback from this guy. He was really sweet. I didn't get the job either, but I didn't that, to get a chance to record him. And so after he was transferred out, I got promoted the first time with the new regional supervisor. So that's my entrance into management, didn't really like it.$$Now what year is this when you finally get promoted?$$In 1987.$$Okay.