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Dorothy Height

Social activist Dorothy Height was born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 24, 1912. At an early age, she moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania. While in high school, Height was awarded a scholarship to New York University for her oratory skills, where she studied and earned her master's degree.

Height began her career working as a caseworker with the New York City Welfare Department, but at the age of twenty-five, she began her career as a civil rights activist when she joined the National Council of Negro Women. She fought for equal rights for both African Americans and women, and in 1944 she joined the national staff of the YWCA. She remained active with the organization until 1977, and while there she developed leadership training programs and interracial and ecumenical education programs. In 1957, Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held until 1997. During the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Height organized "Wednesdays in Mississippi," which brought together black and white women from the north and South to create a dialogue of understanding. Leaders of the United States regularly took her counsel, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Height also encouraged President Dwight D. Eisenhower to desegregate schools and President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint African American women to positions in government.

Height has served on a number of committees, including as a consultant on African affairs to the secretary of state, the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped and the President's Committee on the Status of Women. Her tireless efforts for equal rights have earned her the praise and recognition of numerous organizations, as well. She has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom From Want Award and the NAACP Spingarn Medal. She has also been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. Height passed away on April 20, 2010.

Accession Number

A2003.245

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/13/2003

Last Name

Height

Maker Category
First Name

Dorothy

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

HEI01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

African American women are very special women. We seldom do what we want to do, but we always do what we have to do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/24/1912

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potatoes

Death Date

4/20/2010

Short Description

Nonprofit chief executive and social activist Dorothy Height (1912 - 2010 ) was the president of National Council of Negro Women for over forty years. Leaders of the United States regularly took her counsel, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Employment

Little Red Schoolhouse (NYC)

Negro World

New York Department of Welfare

Greater New York Federation of Churches

Harlem YWCA

National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3256,46:4928,77:8536,133:26810,256:28175,288:28500,294:40314,378:40666,383:43620,401:46184,415:46832,422:49889,448:53824,494:56991,530:62441,583:66263,657:71270,696:73142,703:75446,752:78572,800:79166,815:79628,824:79892,829:88814,904:91182,948:91922,961:92218,966:92588,972:115475,1198:116344,1210:116976,1219:131770,1329:132350,1341:133278,1365:133626,1372:141315,1459:141979,1469:150529,1590:150984,1606:168440,1779:170414,1787:170710,1792:174423,1835:175133,1848:177689,1897:178186,1905:180310,1911:187220,2002$0,0:2604,32:2940,37:29230,396:29890,411:30330,420:49517,644:50166,682:52925,714:53370,720:56450,767:56754,772:57058,777:57438,783:62474,838:66105,885:70552,930:70888,935:71392,942:71980,950:79602,1011:88469,1073:88980,1082:91978,1101:93298,1118:98750,1181:101342,1199:101774,1206:107090,1254:121265,1398:122063,1414:122519,1423:125458,1442:126142,1455:126522,1461:130342,1516:130726,1521:131790,1527
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorothy Height interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorothy Height's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorothy Height describes her parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorothy Height recounts her childhood Rankin, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorothy Height describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorothy Height reviews her childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorothy Height details her pursuits during her school years

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dorothy Height describes her parents' affiliations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dorothy Height recalls a racial encounter from her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorothy Height remembers her mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorothy Height recalls an episode from her early oratorical career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorothy Height discusses her college choice

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorothy Height details her extra-curricular endeavors in New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorothy Height describes her affiliations while in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorothy Height remembers an artist community in 1930s Harlem

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorothy Height recalls her social service work as a student

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorothy Height discusses her involvement with the National Black United Front

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorothy Height describes her involvement in various organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorothy Height recalls meeting Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorothy Height describes her early work with the Harlem YWCA

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorothy Height discusses her advocacy efforts during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorothy Height remembers Eleanor Roosevelt

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorothy Height recalls a threat from the Ku Klux Klan, part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorothy Height recalls a threat from the Ku Klux Klan, part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorothy Height discusses the aims of the National Council for Negro Women

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorothy Height illustrates the employment opportunities for African Americans post-World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorothy Height discusses the Mary McLeod Bethune Monument, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorothy Height reflects on the legacy of the Brown v. the Board of Education decision

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorothy Height reviews black women's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dorothy Height remembers U.S. presidents

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dorothy Height remembers the United Civil Rights Leadership

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dorothy Height recalls law enforcement's abuse of black women during the Civil Rights Movement, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorothy Height recalls law enforcement's abuse of black women during the Civil Rights Movement, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorothy Height discusses black women's participation in Civil Rights activities

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorothy Height recalls Civil Rights efforts in Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorothy Height remembers the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorothy Height considers the legacy of the National Council for Negro Women

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorothy Height reflects on her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Dorothy Height remembers an artist community in 1930s Harlem
Dorothy Height recalls meeting Mary McLeod Bethune
Transcript
Harlem [New York] was, was alive with art and creativity, and some of it was popular art and some of it was fine art. Now, who were some of the musicians in Harlem that you knew or--?$$Well, first there was Duke Ellington, Sy Oliver, Cab Calloway. For a while, I lived next door to the Mills Brothers, and there was Lena Horne, Count Basie. The interesting thing is that, at that time, many of the musicians had little work, but they would work downtown and then come to Harlem--there was a restaurant on Seventh Avenue, where sometimes the peo--they would be helping and waiting tables and singing with three (unclear). And, you know, it was, it was a remarkable kind of experience. It was also a time when Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen and John [Oliver] Killens and all of them were very much a part of life and Paul Robeson, of course. So, and I worked for Paul Robeson on what he called a Housing Coordinating Committee cause he was trying to do more about housing for the poor, as well as doing his singing. So it's, Harlem was just a marvelous place for me to grow up.$$Now, I read that one of your--that you lived close to W. C. Handy?$$I lived next door to W. C. Handy. And we would spend holidays together. His daughters, particularly, Catherine [Handy Lewis] and, and they--we were friends together. And whenever we were with Mr. Handy, he always played the 'St. Louis Blues.' I do have to say that it was his song, but other people played it better, but he certainly was the creator. And we always--I always loved to hear him tell about it.$$Okay, did he have a story about it, about the 'St. Louis Blues'?$$Well, he would just, you know, he would just say how he took the feelings of people and put them into music, and say "I hate to see the sun go down". It's almost, it's, it's almost like saying, the close of day makes me sad. And he would, he had all kinds of stories about some of his work that he did. And he loved to play the, the saxophone and stuff like that.$Also in 1937, and this is a big year because you meet Mary McLeod Bethune and Mrs. [Eleanor] Roosevelt in '37 [1937], am I right?$$Yeah, 1937 was quite a year for me because when I came back, and I was working there at the Harlem Y [YWCA, Young Women's Christian Association], I had the assignment to escort Eleanor Roosevelt into a meeting Mrs. Bethune was holding. And it turned out to be the meeting of the National Council of Negro Women [NCNW]. And as I was leaving to take Mrs. Roosevelt, I--Mrs. Bethune asked me my name, and when I told her, she said, come back. We need you. And I've been back ever since. And even then, before I could get back, she had put me on the resolutions committee. And the first resolution that I ever wrote in my life had to deal with child welfare for the National Council of Negro Women.$$Now, what was Mrs. Bethune like? Tell us something about her.$$(No audible response).$$What was Mary McLeod Bethune like?$$She was a magnificent human being, a deeply spiritual person; a person who was both no-nonsense and had a very good sense of humor. She had an understanding of issues and it was she who came up with the idea, "Leave no one behind" cause she really felt that we needed to organize our efforts and that, as a--as, as really a basic purpose, more than a slogan. In 1935, she founded--she had founded the National Council of Negro Women as an organization, a national organization. And this was two years later that I met her. But I've been very active in it ever since.

Thelma Daley

Thelma Daley was born on June 17th, in Annapolis, Maryland. Attending Bowie State University in Maryland, Daley graduated at the age of nineteen with her B.S. degree. She went on to New York University, earning her M.A. in counseling and personnel administration. More recently, she has received her Ed.D. in counseling from George Washington University.

Daley began her career at the Baltimore County Board of Education, serving as the coordinator for guidance and counseling services. She has also served as a visiting professor at North Central Western Maryland College, the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University. Daley has been active with a wide number of organizations over the years, beginning with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. She served as the national treasurer from 1963 to 1967. Daley became national vice president in 1971, and in 1975 she became national president, holding the position for four years. Daley also served as the national president of the American School Counseling Association from 1971 to 1972 and as president of the American Personnel & Guidance Association from 1975 to 1976. She has been active with the United Negro College Fund. Daley is also the national director of WIN, the Women in the NAACP. Currently, Daley and WIN promote knowledge of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and AIDS prevention within the African American community.

By presidential appointment, Daley became the first woman to chair the National Advisory Council on Career Education. She has appeared in Who's Who Among Black Americans and has served on the board of directors of the National Testing Service. Daley and her husband, Guilbert, live in Maryland.

Accession Number

A2003.164

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/22/2003

Last Name

Daley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Lothian Elementary

Bates High School

Bowie State University

New York University

George Washington University

First Name

Thelma

Birth City, State, Country

Annapolis

HM ID

DAL01

Favorite Season

Spring, Winter

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

The World Is As Big As You Make It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

6/17/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Social activist, school counselor, and foundation executive Thelma Daley (1927 - ) was the director of Women in the NAACP (WIN), and became the first woman to chair the National Advisory Council on Career Education.

Employment

Baltimore County Board of Education

North Central Western Maryland College

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Harvard University

National Advisory Council on Career Education

Favorite Color

Hot Pink, Tangerine

Timing Pairs
0,0:17935,418:18275,423:20485,458:39116,676:53245,978:65540,1139:66520,1154:66800,1159:71490,1265:73800,1316:75760,1360:76110,1366:78988,1380:90151,1637:110150,1915:116550,2059:119110,2098:121510,2143:121910,2149:132094,2299:133189,2322:133554,2328:137204,2417:138372,2434:148785,2552:149625,2569:150045,2574:153615,2610:156580,2616:159561,2646:167405,2728:171695,2861:172410,2883:172735,2889:179092,2932:179920,2944:184796,3016:186360,3038:192083,3071:196925,3132:198725,3159:199625,3184:199925,3189:210510,3313:210984,3320:211379,3326:213117,3362:232174,3643:250270,3926:251386,3960:252688,3992:261120,4091:261392,4096:263500,4145:267580,4219:270300,4280:271592,4306:272068,4375:272612,4384:292460,4640$0,0:3811,144:7210,204:33064,438:33376,443:33844,450:36808,504:40474,553:50404,666:51692,683:56731,707:70533,839:71471,856:73930,868:75478,893:75908,899:78674,917:80654,956:81182,965:82106,982:103860,1297:104520,1311:110460,1466:111660,1493:112020,1500:112980,1526:113820,1543:116780,1556:123762,1666:124543,1678:127454,1745:130152,1806:148586,2048:148970,2055:150698,2093:154602,2140:157098,2213:159786,2269:160362,2280:172252,2432:172728,2441:186262,2648:186558,2653:188112,2682:197577,2775:198225,2785:199683,2804:202518,2850:202842,2855:203652,2860:205029,2892:205839,2903:211070,2935:212490,2959:214975,2997:215685,3009:226910,3181:244926,3478:245286,3484:245934,3494:251478,3599:253854,3650:260650,3695
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thelma Daley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thelma Daley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thelma Daley describes her maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thelma Daley talks about her grandparents and her United Methodist upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thelma Daley describes her mother, Hattie Virginia Randall Thomas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thelma Daley talks about how her parents may have met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thelma Daley talks about her five siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thelma Daley talks about her father's background, and her family's history of land ownership, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thelma Daley talks about her father's background, and her family's history of land ownership, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thelma Daley talks about her paternal grandfather, John H. Thomas, a funeral director

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thelma Daley describes her father's personality and his charter bus business

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Thelma Daley talks about how she learned to be an entrepreneur from her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thelma Daley remembers selling vegetables at her family's market stand

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thelma Daley recounts family road trips as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thelma Daley remembers her grade school years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thelma Daley talks about her social life in grade school as well as a "catastrophic" moment in Latin class

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thelma Daley talks about her favorite subject and her decision to attend Bowie State College in Bowie, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thelma Daley describes her father's charter bus company which also bused elementary school children in Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thelma Daley describes influential teachers during her grade school years

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thelma Daley tries to recall some of her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thelma Daley talks about why she attended Bowie State College in Bowie, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thelma Daley recounts her experience at Bowie State College in Bowie, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thelma Daley talks about her activities as a student at Bowie State College in Bowie, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thelma Daley describes how she became a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thelma Daley describes her family's influence on her civic involvement and personal development

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thelma Daley compares Bowie State University and New York University, and talks about the distinguished professors at NYU

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thelma Daley talks about why she waited to pursue a doctorate and her marriage to Guilbert Daley

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thelma Daley makes a quick comment about her marriage to Guilbert Daley

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thelma Daley talks about how exercising kindness was important to her

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thelma Daley talks about her acquaintance with Fannie Lou Hamer, her friendship with HistoryMaker Dorothy Height, and her philosophy as a leader

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thelma Daley talks about the Wednesdays in Mississippi project led by HistoryMaker Dorothy Height and Polly Cowan

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Thelma Daley talks about the establishment of the Pig Bank in Mississippi by Fannie Lou Hamer

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thelma Daley remembers Fannie Lou Hamer's funeral

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thelma Daley talks about her contributions to the American School Counselor Association and the American Counseling Association

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thelma Daley describes her work to combat racism and sexism in the American School Counselor Association and the American Counseling Association

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thelma Daley talks about how she worked to effect change from within different organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thelma Daley talks about the highlight of her professional career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thelma Daley talks about her leadership roles in the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thelma Daley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thelma Daley talks about the strength of counseling in the schools

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thelma Daley talks about the role that school staff can play in systemic issues in the community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thelma Daley talks about her involvement in various organizations

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thelma Daley talks about her love of cooking and her personality

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thelma Daley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thelma Daley talks about what she would do differently

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thelma Daley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thelma Daley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Thelma Daley talks about her acquaintance with Fannie Lou Hamer, her friendship with HistoryMaker Dorothy Height, and her philosophy as a leader
Thelma Daley talks about her contributions to the American School Counselor Association and the American Counseling Association
Transcript
Now your engagement of social change activities--(simultaneous)--$$Yes.$$--seems to be through most of the traditional black organizations, right? But what I heard you say, I guess, not too long ago, you said you met Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi.$$Yeah.$$Was it--in what capacity were you in Mississippi dealing with Fannie Lou Hamer?$$Well, I was with the National Council of Negro Women with [HM] Dorothy Height very early it was down there with her. Right now, I serve as vice chair of the board for the National Council of Negro Women, which I never thought I'd get to that position, you know. But very early, she invited me on one of those tours to Mississippi and working with the women and with their head start program and it was all--$$Had you known Dorothy Height a long time before--$$Well, Dorothy was the president of Deltas [Delta Sigma Theta Sorority] and I met Dorothy Height through the, through the, you know, through Delta. You know everybody who is a president in Delta. And in Delta, I've served in several roles in Delta. I've served as national treasurer. I served as national projects chair. I served as national first vice president and chair of the scholarship and standards committee and then as president of Delta and then on some other committees and things, so. But you know everybody who, who's a president. You know those people. Does that make sense to you? So--(simultaneous)--$$Can you tell us about Ms. Dorothy Height? I mean, she's, she's really a legend now--(simultaneous)--$$Oh, she's wonderful.$$What are some of your reflections on (unclear)?$$On Dr. Height? She--there's no one like her. She has the most acute mind I've ever seen of anybody. She can recall dates and moments and hours and you can be relating something and she'll sit there and she'll say--you'll think maybe she's sleeping or crocheting or something--she say, no, no, no, it's not like that. They went down this street and that street and this street. And it was 5 o'clock in the morning on January the 12th, 1963 and it was in Lebanon. And it was not in some other place. And she--very, very brilliant. I've never heard her talk about anybody. I've never ever heard her say negative things about anybody and her ability to conceptualize and she's moving from one thing to another. You think that this big event, well the next day she had something else going out there--blooming, blossoming, like that; and the whole thing of wisdom and the whole thing of the ability to see the global and the ability to relate to people. And I'm very fortunate. I am very honored that, that, that she considers me to be a friend. We sometimes she--well sometimes I get a call from her every day. Isn't that interesting? Sometimes I get a call from her every day and sometimes two and three calls from her a day. And she'll say, well what about this, what about this, you know. And I'm honored that it's because she feels she can trust me. And I want to come back to trust. I feel that trust and loyalty are very, very key, okay. And that, that if you ask me to do something and I accept, then I feel that you should be able to trust me. And then if I feel that you're not worthy of my trust then I would sever, okay. And so that is my whole philosophy there. So I feel that Dr. Height feels that she can trust me. I think she also likes my creative ability. She likes my creative thinking 'cause a lot of times I do training for the Board. And she'll always say the Board has come in, can you do something to help them in the leadership development and so forth. So, and I don't mind doing it. The other thing is whatever I do for people--I mean the speeches I make, the workshops I've given across the country, I don't charge. If somebody would like to give me a gift, that's fine. Pay my airfare, pay my hotel but I'm not out there so say, give me $1,000, give me $2,000 in terms of that but if you want to give me a gift, that's fine but you don't have to stretch to do it, okay, all right 'cause I feel in some way that I'm supposed to share and help people to grow. And when everybody can grow and grow no matter how old they are and we grow from each other and that's my whole philosophy. That's my philosophy with my students. I teach part-time at Loyola College [now Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland] in the graduate school. And I say to them, and I start teaching Thursday. I have to teach classes this week and next week, okay. And I say that we learn from each other. And I learn from you and you learn from me and that's a part of the sharing process in here, okay.$But ma'am, can--what, what has been for you the highlight of your career of service? You've been involved--I mean--(unclear) (simultaneous)--$$Well, let me just tell--(simultaneous)--$$You, you've had a career as an educator (simultaneous)--$$Yeah, but let me just tell you a couple things for me. As a counselor--and the whole counseling profession has been major--has been mainly white males, okay. And for me, at that time, I was a high school counselor, chair of a department in a basically white school in Baltimore County [Maryland]. They had eighteen black kids and 1,800 students. But when I moved through and became the president-elect of the American School Counselor Association, okay. And that was in the '70s [1970s]. And let me tell you how institutionalized I was. Because I was elected to the board of the American School Counselor Association which I possibly was the first person of color. First, I was appointed to the board of American School Counselor Association and, and it was mainly male and we, we were--the building was located at 1607-1609 New Hampshire Avenue in Washington for the American Personnel and Guidance Association and the division was the American School Counselor Association, which was the largest division. After being on the board, the board members said, you're gonna become president. And I said, oh, no, not me. They said, you're gonna become president and they signed the petition for me to run to become president and I emerged to become president of the American School Counselor Association, which was breaking history. Our overall big, big organization was called the American Personnel and Guidance Association which is now--the name has been changed to the American Counseling Association. The American Counseling Association represents school counselors, mental health counselors, rehab counselors, college ed counselors, college supervisors. There fifteen divisions in it, okay. Are you not following me exactly in terms of the structure there, okay. I was first elected to become president of a division, the American School Counselor Association at that time. At that time, the division had 15,000 members but we represented all of the school counselors in the country but later I emerged to become the president of the overall organization, the American Personnel and Guidance Association of the American--now called the American Counseling Association, which is made up now fifteen division, represents all forms of counseling in the country; mental health counselors, you name it, there's a--the government counselors, whatever form of counseling there is, okay. And it's always been a male-dominated group and I broke the barriers to be the second female to emerge as president; and the first person of color to emerge in that organization. And not a year has passed that they have not asked me to be in some leadership role in the American Counseling Association. This past year for their convention in Anaheim, California, they asked me to keynote the convention. And I keynoted the very large convention of about, well, I guess by 7,000 people. I keynoted the convention in March in Anaheim, California. I've served as national treasurer twice. I've served as parliamentarian so many times. I've chaired every task force. I've chaired the foundation. I've chaired whatever major part--I was one of the persons to help set up the National Board for Certified Counselors and became the first secretary treasurer of the certifying body which is now a separate body of it, so that's been my involvement in my field, in my field itself and I'm very proud of my involvement in my field, which is counseling.

Father George Clements

The fourth of six children, Father George Clements was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 26, 1932. After attending Catholic elementary and high schools, Clements went on to St. Mary of the Lake Seminary School, first earning a B.A. degree and then an M.A. degree in 1957.

Clements began his ministry in 1957 in the archdiocese of Chicago. He aligned himself with various social causes, especially the Civil Rights Movement. In 1968, while Chicago’s African American Catholics were calling for a black pastor, Clements was in the front running for the position. When the position of pastor was given to Father Rollins Lambert, many in the community were angry, including the Black Panthers, who Clements had served as group chaplain. When parishioners of St. Dorothy’s, Lambert’s former parish, began demanding Clements be appointed pastor, Cardinal John Cody instead placed him under Lambert. Following this, Clements went on a speaking tour at black colleges across the nation. In 1969, he was named pastor of Holy Angels Church, and while there, he harbored many Black Panthers wanted by the police.

Clements is the founder of the One Church-One Child, One Church-One Addict and One Church-One Inmate initiatives. In 1981, he became the first priest to adopt a child, and later adopted three more. His One Church-One Child program subsequently resulted in the adoption of more than 100,000 children nationwide. He has worked to help students from Africa secure higher education in the United States and has been active in the war on drugs. During the Million Man March in 1995, Clements announced plans for the One Church-One Addict program, wherein communities would provide aftercare for individuals who have been incarcerated. More than 1,000 churches in thirty-five states now belong to the program.

Father Clements has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Kentucky State Senate, which issued a resolution praising his deeds. A film starring Lou Gossett, Jr., The Father Clements Story, was produced and broadcast by NBC in 1987.

Accession Number

A2003.043

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/13/2003 |and| 4/23/2003

Last Name

Clements

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CLE01

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

God will provide.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/26/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish

Short Description

Social activist and priest Father George Clements (1932 - ) adopted black children as Rector of the Holy Angels Church and School in Chicago, Illinois.

Employment

Holy Angels Church

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Clements interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Clements lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Clements remembers his mother and shares her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Clements describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Clements shares memories from his family life

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Clements recalls his childhood environs, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Clements describes his family values

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Clements remembers an influential teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Clements recalls his experience at Archbishop Quigley Prepatory Seminary, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Clements recalls a racist encounter in his early seminary years

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Clements shares reflections on attending Archbishop Quigley Prepatory Seminary, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Clements describes his experience at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake's Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Clements reviews information on the priesthood

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Clements shares memories of Saint Ambrose Church, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Clements remembers his ordination

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Clements shares early memories from the priesthood

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Clements recalls radical changes in Chicago churches, 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Clements recalls raising funds for Holy Angels Church, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Clements describes his involvement with the Blackstone Rangers gang and the Black Panther Party

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Clements recalls his thiry-two year career at the Holy Angels Church, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Clements remembers Cardinal John Cody

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Clements criticizes Chicago's Mayor Richard J. Daley

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George Clements shares reflections on the Black Catholic Church

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George Clements details how he became an adoptive father

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - George Clements details his involvement with Chicago's Afro-American Police League

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - George Clements discusses his One Church, One Addict and One Church, One Inmate initiatives

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Second slating of George Clements interview

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - George Clements details his involvement with Chicago's Afro-American Patrolman's League

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - George Clements remembers Renault Robinson

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - George Clements describes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination as life-altering

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - George Clements remembers priests involved in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - George Clements describes his relationship with John Cardinal Cody

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - George Clements confronts racism in the Catholic Church

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - George Clements reflects on Catholicism and issues of race

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - George Clements discusses sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - George Clements details the development of the One Church, One Family initiative

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - George Clements shares reflections on fatherhood

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - George Clements discusses 'The Father Clements Story,' a made-for-television movie

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - George Clements recalls re-building Holy Angels Church, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - George Clements explains his advocacy efforts

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - George Clements discusses the early development of his son, Joey

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - George Clements discusses Minister Louis Farrakhan

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - George Clements remembers Dick Gregory

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - George Clements considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$2

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
George Clements recalls re-building Holy Angels Church, Chicago, Illinois
George Clements remembers an influential teacher
Transcript
Now when the church, you know, burned down, was that--what, how did you--I mean that was--?$$I, my whole world crumbled. I just--that was something that was never in the equation as far as I was concerned; never in my wildest dreams did I think that Holy Angels Church would ever not be there. For one thing, it was really an architectural gem, you know. It was a church that seated over 2,400 people cause it had a double balcony, you know, it was huge, Greco-Romanist edifice. And when that thing was put up by those Irish, they--it was built to last forever, you know. So I just could not fathom that it had happened, but I also realized that if I did not rebuild it, in all likelihood that whole parish would just evaporate because at that time--kind of ironic when you think about it today, at that time, that was the most--that was the lowest socio-economic area of Chicago. That was the pits. I mean down there, nobody wanted to go down, down there, you know, Ida B. Wells, Robert Taylor, Stateway Gardens, Washington Park Homes, Darryl Homes and all that, you know. We were surrounded by all these housing projects, all these gangs, Black Stones Rangers, Conservative Vice Lords, all, all of this stuff--Jeff Fort, that whole bit, you know. And it was somewhere that you wanted to be away from, you know, and not that you wanted to be at. And so I just really felt that if we did not do it, it was not gonna be done because the diocese wasn't gonna put any church up there, and, and with the--the school was in tact. And the school was still going strong, so I just decided well, and that's what we got to do. We got to use the mechanism of the school to rebuild the church.$$Did the building either test you or exhaust you or--?$$It exhausted, drained me. I have no experience in my life that drained me like that because it was so demeaning, you know, to go to these people, and begging for money, constantly begging, people run when they see you, you know, and, oh, here comes Father Clements again. You know, going to all these different organizations and groups and foundations and just begging, begging, begging all the time. And that's why when it was--January, I mean I'm sorry, June 9, 1991 was emancipation day for me, freedom. What did Dr. King [Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.] free at last, free at last (laughter). We dedicated that church. I got up in that pulpit, and I said, "You got a wonderful, beautiful church, a church that has made the Guinness Book of Records. It's the first church in the world to be heated and air conditioned with solar energy. Bye." And I left.$$Was the congregation, were they, were they surprised, you think, or did they--?$$They were shocked, they were shocked. Not just the congregation, but a lot of people in Chicago, cause they felt like I was one of these emperors, you know, and now I've built my Taj Mahal or whatever and, and so I'm gonna sit on it and glory in it, you know, sit on my laurels, you know, and, and all that. And that was not the--'cause they'd, many--oh, that was one of the things people said, "Oh, you just doing that to, cause you're glorifying yourself, that's all--you, you're doing that out of self satisfaction cause you want, you want to be able to say that you're the pastor of this grand", and I, and I kept telling them that wasn't true. Nobody believed me. They believed when I said, "Bye," cause he thought I would be there for the rest of my life.$First, Corpus Christi [Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois]. When you were there, were there any particular teachers that influenced you?$$Yeah. My seventh grade teacher. Sister Mary Felician (ph.) She took a real liking to me. She was in charge of the altar boys. And she made me the head of the altar boys. And she was just a very, very kind person who would always tell us about how important we were. And she would even go down the line and say, "Now you're gonna be the governor. And you're gonna be the mayor of Chicago. And you're gonna be a movie star," and all this, you know. She'd do all that stuff. And, you know, 'cause we--just made us feel like we were on top of the world. And when some kid did something that he shouldn't do, she would--tears would come. And oh, we would be so angry with that kid. You know. She wouldn't hit him or anything. But she would just--she was so disappointed. And there were some guys in the class who would actually grab that kid. And when he got outside he'd kick his butt. 'cause, you know, "You did that to Sister Felician, you know how she is, you know. We don't play that shit in here," (laughs). You know. And she was just a very, very interesting lady. Then she told me. towards the end of the year, before I was going into eighth grade she said, "You're gonna become a priest." And I said, "Yeah? You think so?" She said, "Yeah." I said, "Oh great." So then I got in eighth grade and she was making all these plans and everything. And then all of a sudden I couldn't see her. She would--every time I'd see her and I'd call her, she was always busy. She didn't have any time for me and I couldn't figure what had happened. So then I graduated from eighth grade and as I said, I found out later about Quigley. Because these--they were Franciscan priests at Corpus Christi. And of course, I did--those were the only priests I knew. So, I figured I'd become a Franciscan. I had been at Quigley [Seminary] about two years and I'd talked to a priest about it, about Sister Felician. And he got all serious. And his face got all drawn and everything. And he said, "I know what happened", I said, "What?" He said, "The Franciscans do not accept blacks," or coloreds or whatever it was he said. And he said--and that's what happened with her. And I didn't believe him. I said, "Oh I don't, I don't think you know what you're talking about, Father." And I went to Sister Felician and she started crying and everything. And she said, "Yeah, that's what happened, George. That's exactly what happened." She said, "And I didn't know how to tell you." You know.$$But she's the one who influenced you though?$$Mm-hm.$$And do you think--You know, you said you like all the ceremony. You know, and--right? Didn't you say, you know, that that's what you liked about you know (unclear)--?$$I liked more than the ceremony, I like the fact that the priests helped people. That they were there for us. They weren't off somewhere. They would come into the neighborhoods. They would see to it that--somebody died they were right there and they were--They were always around and being helpful and I liked that. I liked that very, very much. And I wanted to imitate them. That's the reason I became a priest because of the good example of those priests that were there at Corpus Christi.

Harold Rogers

Distinguished professor and international activist Harold Rogers was born on December 25, 1942, in Cleveland. He attended John Adams High School in Cleveland before completing a B.A. at Kent State University in 1967. Rogers went on to study at the University of Chicago and earned his M.A. in 1973.

Rogers began his career in education at Antioch College, where he taught in the early 1970s. In 1973, he joined the faculty of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he has served as the chairman of the African American Studies Department for Olive-Harvey College since 1980.

Throughout his life, Rogers has been active politically. He served as a labor adviser for the state of Illinois for a number of years. And from 1987 to 1992, he worked as the district administrator for Congressman Charles Hayes. Rogers has been involved as well in numerous progressive organizations such as the Black Panther Party, the NAACP and Operation PUSH. He has served as an executive board member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists since 1975.

Rogers’ political career has been international in scope. From 1972 to 1993, he was the Chicago spokesperson for the African National Congress of South Africa. He was also instrumental in bringing Nelson Mandela to Chicago in 1993 and helped raise funds for Mandela’s election the following April. Rogers participated in the U.S. delegation to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.

His areas of expertise include global trade and economics, multiculturalism in education, African history and African American history. Rogers is a much sought-after speaker and participant in international conferences, congressional panels and university symposia. In addition, he is a collector of traditional African art.

Recognized nationally for his gifts as an educator, Rogers has been president of Black Faculty in Higher Education since 1980, a member of President Bill Clinton’s Committee on Higher Education, and a National Advisory Board member for the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation since 1990. He presided over the African American Studies Program that conducts educational trips to Africa and Cuba since its inception in 1980. He has also served on numerous boards including the Jazz Institute of Chicago and The Vivian G. Harsh Collections. Rogers received an honorary degree from Oxford University in 2008.

Accession Number

A2003.067

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/7/2003

Last Name

Rogers

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

John Adams High School

Kent State University

University of Chicago

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, weekends, afternoons

First Name

Harold

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

ROG04

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Havana, Cuba; South Africa

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/25/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Grape Leaves

Short Description

Social activist and african american studies professor Harold Rogers (1942 - ) teaches at City Colleges of Chicago and is the Chicago spokesperson to the African National Congress.

Employment

City Colleges of Chicago

Olive-Harvey College

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:12081,255:31570,678:32816,724:51540,1130:58328,1221:60410,1259:83532,1647:87501,1745:106042,2073:119081,2290:119649,2299:128684,2385:143140,2616:175710,3033:186510,3167:188142,3206:209155,3478:223680,3624$0,0:1685,20:4779,81:5143,86:14891,264:16831,297:28002,479:39490,575:48110,738:55790,808:56150,813:57590,841:59390,881:59930,921:71010,1045:81328,1194:81712,1199:96460,1431:96740,1436:103499,1577:128924,1883:146732,2319:152902,2474:156950,2526
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harold Rogers's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harold Rogers lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harold Rogers describes his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harold Rogers describes his father's occupation and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harold Rogers describes his mother's occupation and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harold Rogers describes how his mother motivated him to get an education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harold Rogers describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harold Rogers describes how he avoided the Vietnam War draft in 1960

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harold Rogers describes his experience with SNCC in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harold Rogers describes joining the Peace Corps

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Harold Rogers describes his experience of racism in childhood and college

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Harold Rogers describes his disrespect for authority in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Harold Rogers describes his experience in the Peace Corps, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harold Rogers describes his experience in the Peace Corps, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harold Rogers describes returning from the Peace Corps and his experience with the SCLC in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harold Rogers describes how his scar resulted from crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday in 1965

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harold Rogers describes his experience crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the Selma to Montgomery marches in March of 1965

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harold Rogers talks about joining the Black Panther Party in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harold Rogers describes his experience meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harold Rogers describes his experience with the Black Panther Party in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harold Rogers describes the relationship between the Chicago Black Panther Party and the gangs in 1968

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Harold Rogers talks about the assassination of Chicago Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in 1969

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Harold Rogers reflects on the positive image of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Harold Rogers describes becoming disillusioned with the Black Panther Party and relocating to Tanzania in 1971

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harold Rogers describes his involvement in Tanzania with the African National Congress and other African liberation movements

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harold Rogers describes his experience as spokesman for the African National Congress in the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harold Rogers describes his experience in Egypt in 1972 and 1973

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harold Rogers describes his experience teaching at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harold Rogers describes his experience as chairman of the Department of African American Studies at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harold Rogers talks about the decline in youth activism from the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harold Rogers talks about teaching African American history to his students

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harold Rogers describes his experience in the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Harold Rogers talks about his organizational involvement with Black Faculty in Higher Education and the African American Studies Program

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harold Rogers talks about his experience with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, HistoryMaker Congressman Charles Hayes, and Illinois Governor Dan Walker

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harold Rogers describes the role of the African National Congress in ending apartheid in South Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harold Rogers describes Nelson Mandela's eleven city U.S. tour in 1990

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harold Rogers describes Nelson Mandela's personality and his 1993 fundraising trip to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harold Rogers reflects on Nelson Mandela's resolve and a later visit to the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harold Rogers describes South African President Thabo Mbecki

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harold Rogers describes his experience with the administration of City Colleges of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harold Rogers reflects on the progress South Africa has made since the end of apartheid

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Harold Rogers shares his thoughts on Mali, Timbuktu, and Brazil

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Harold Rogers describes his experience of racial progress in Cuba

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harold Rogers describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harold Rogers reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harold Rogers narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Harold Rogers describes his involvement in Tanzania with the African National Congress and other African liberation movements
Harold Rogers talks about teaching African American history to his students
Transcript
So tell me, we, we were talking about the group in Tanzania.$$Yeah. I mean, I, I left there to do work on my Ph.D [University of Chicago in Illinois], but really to collect material for my dissertation and so forth, 'cause I was kinda disillusioned with what was happening in the United States. I mean, SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] is falling apart and so forth after [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther] King [Jr.] died. And then the Panthers [Black Panther Party] were falling apart. And the government was on the Panthers, the party. And so, I thought it was like a cooling out period, so to speak. But then, I got hooked up with the little racial movements because Dar [Dar es Salaam. Tanzania] was the center for FRELIMO [Mozambique Liberation Front] of Mozambique; the ANC [African National Congress] of South Africa; ZAPU [Zimbabwe African People's Union] of Zimbabwe; and MPLA [People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola] of Angola; and, and SWAPO [South West Africa People's Organization] in Nimibia. So they were there, and they had training camps there. So then I became a reporter for left-wing magazines in this country on the liberation movements, okay. So I got to know many of the people in the liberation movements at that time, okay. I would go into Northern Mozambique with FRELIMO in terms of their fight against the Portuguese. So, I would write correspondence. So I for-, kinda forgot about my dissertation. I collected some stuff and blah, blah, blah, but, see, I had a grant, so I had to justify doing something. I had a grant from the University of Chicago, okay.$$What, what was your initial research on, I mean, what--$$What my dissertation was going to be on?$$Yeah.$$Oh, east capitalist relationships in East Africa before the fifteenth century--$$Okay.$$--and its relationship between East Africa and India because it was a lot of trade--$$Okay.$$--okay, between the two.$$Oh, it was down trade (simultaneous).$$Right, right. But I kinda lost interest, but I had to do something in terms of kinda justifying this grant and so forth. But nevertheless, I got involved with the liberation movements. Now, once I left Tanzania, then I went to Egypt because I had to do some Arabic stuff in Egypt. And I was able to get a part-time teaching position at the American University in Cairo. Anyway, when I got back, I was given a charge by the ANC to try to financially establish a presence in the United States because the ANC was banned by the U.S. government as being a terrorist organization, okay. So I went to the UN [United Nations], and they sent over from Tanzania to South Africa in the ANC. And the UN granted them observer status, okay, the ANC. But they could only--they could not leave twenty-five miles outside of New York [New York City, New York]. They had to stay within twenty-five miles in New York 'cause they were banned and so forth. I mean, the U.S. government was supporting apartheid and all this kind of stuff. So this, this kind of activity in helping them financially and other kind of ways, kinda got me in close with the ANC. Well, it did. This is reality and so forth, so that led to a lot of things around the world including international conferences and so forth. It led to me being the co-sponsor of the Free Nelson Mandela Committee when he was released in February 2nd, 19-, 1990 from jail. I became the treasurer of the organization of his eleven city tour when he was that first tour when he came and so forth. We raised close to $50 million for the ANC. And then, I had him here in Chicago--$$Now--$$--in '93 [1993].$Now, when you teach students in this generation, I mean, what have you found, or what have you found to be effective, you know, to get students to raise the kind of money it takes for this Black Students Conference and do other things?$$Once you let them know the history and the importance, they respond. But look, you have--take the City Colleges of Chicago [Illinois], for an example. There are 100 and--they say there are 165,000 students in various programs and so forth, scattered into seven different campuses, okay. Of the blacks that are in the City Colleges, 68 percent are black female, okay. So right away, that changes the whole pass because that means that black female was already happening--are being the ones who are getting the jobs and making the money. That's the reality out here. Last year, in every professional field, whether it was lawyer, engineer, doctor, black females suppress--surpass black men, the money, in every professional field out here. So you're talking about a student body that's different, okay, that is female driven in terms of (unclear). Secondly, the skills are poor. I'm talking about--basic reading and writing skills are poor, okay, so that means a lot of remedial stuff. It's not that they're stupid. They just don't know, all right. But once they do know, and you explain to them, then they will participate. I mean, you know, we have people coming from Paul Robeson High School. They don't even know who Paul Robeson was. They (unclear) graduated from Paul Robeson High School.$$It seems strange that, that we have a situation like that.$$You would think so, yeah. So, it's a different, it, number one, it's a different kind of teaching thing, in terms of how you relate, and so forth. Most of my, most of the students I know, they all want to get ahead. I mean, there are very few bad apples, if you want to say that. They want to get ahead. They got a lot of problems. Most of the women got babies. They want to get ahead and want to get a good education. That's the best--that's why I'm teaching because most of them want to get ahead. So, and they're not stupid. You usually got to teach them in a different kind of way. That's all, and so forth. But, and, and many, many of them do very well. I mean, in terms of going to a four-year school and, you know, this kind of thing, and so forth. I mean, they got money problems but everybody got money problems, and so forth. But, no, I enjoy teaching. I can easily retire but I enjoy teaching.

Reverend Dr. Calvin Morris

Minister, historian and human rights advocate the Reverend Dr. Calvin Sylvester Morris was born March 16, 1941, in Philadelphia. He attended Meade Elementary School and Vaux Junior High School. Morris was awarded a partial scholarship to Friends Select High School, a private Quaker school known for its high standards. One of two black students in his class, Morris graduated with honors in 1959. He then went on to Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania graduating cum laude in 1963 with a B.A. in history. At Boston University, he earned an M.A. in history in 1964 and an S.B.T. in theology in 1967. Morris was also ordained in the United Methodist Church.

Later in 1967, Morris moved to Chicago to work on his Ph.D., but was asked by the Reverend Jesse Jackson to become the associate director and national coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Operation Breadbasket, now the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. He served from 1967 to 1971, through the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fred Hampton. Breadbasket attracted activists and celebrities like Fannie Lou Hamer, Bill Cosby, Julius "Cannonball" Adderly, Rosa Parks, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Mahalia Jackson and Sammy Davis, Jr.

From 1971 to 1973, Morris was coordinator of the African American Studies Program at Simmons College in Boston. As executive director of Atlanta's Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change from 1973 to 1976, Morris was again associated with SCLC as he worked directly with Coretta Scott King. In 1976, he began a sixteen-year professional association with Howard University's School of Divinity during which he worked as director of ministries to church and Society, director of field education and associate professor of pastoral theology. Morris earned his Ph.D. in American history from Boston University in 1982. He was executive vice president of Academic Services and academic dean at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta from 1992 to 1998. Chicago's Community Renewal Society (CRS) hired Morris as executive director in 1998. At CRS, Morris presides over two publications, a staff of forty-seven and a budget of $4.5 million.

Morris is a board member of the Golden Apple Foundation, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Theater Company, Sojourner and the Wieboldt Foundation. He is a co-convener of the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago and is a co-chairman of Jobs for Justice Clergy Committee. Morris was elected treasurer of the Board of Trustees of Lincoln University, his alma mater. He lives near his daughter in Chicago.

Accession Number

A2003.053

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/21/2003

Last Name

Morris

Maker Category
Middle Name

S.

Organizations
Schools

Friends Select High School

Lincoln University

Vaux Junior High School

Friends Select School

Gen. George G. Meade School

Boston University

Boston University School of Theology

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Calvin

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

MOR03

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

Hold Fast To Your Dreams, For When Dreams Die, Life Is A Broken-Winged Bird That Cannot Fly. - Langston Hughes

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/16/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard)

Short Description

Social activist, nonprofit chief executive, minister, and theologian Reverend Dr. Calvin Morris (1941 - ) was affiliated for many years with Howard University's School of Divinity and was active with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Operation Breadbasket (Rainbow/PUSH Coalition), and a number of other civil rights organizations.

Employment

Rainbow/PUSH

Simmons College

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Howard University School of Divinity

Interdenominational Theological Center

Chicago Community Renewal Society

Favorite Color

Maroon, Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Calvin Morris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Calvin Morris describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Calvin Morris talks about the African United Methodist Protestant Church

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Calvin Morris describes the entrepreneurial background of his paternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Calvin Morris describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Calvin Morris describes the lessons he learned as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Calvin Morris describes family dynamics during his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Calvin Morris talks about his mother's occupation and his family's love of music

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Calvin Morris describes how newspapers influenced his upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Calvin Morris talks about the role of the church during his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Calvin Morris describes why his father moved from North Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a young man

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris describes his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Calvin Morris describes his experiences living with his father as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Calvin Morris describes the foods he ate growing up Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Calvin Morris describes his childhood neighborhood in North Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Calvin Morris describes his childhood recreational activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Calvin Morris describes his grandmother's role in the family

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Calvin Morris describes his father's pride in his accomplishments

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Calvin Morris talks about his mother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Calvin Morris describes the type of student he was

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Calvin Morris talks about the teachers that influenced him as an elementary school student

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Calvin Morris talks about attending Vaux Junior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris describes his experiences attending Vaux Junior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris describes how he was selected to attend Friends Select School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Calvin Morris describes his experiences attending Friends Select School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Calvin Morris talks about being mentored and tutored by the custodian at Friends Select School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Calvin Morris talks about Reverend Dennis Fletcher, his mentor

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Calvin Morris describes why he enrolled at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Calvin Morris describes his experiences attending Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Calvin Morris talks about the professors that influenced him at Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Calvin Morris describes the lasting impact of his time at Lincoln University and Friends Select School

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Calvin Morris describes his activism and awareness of current events as a high school student at Friends Select School

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Calvin Morris describes activist culture on the campus of Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris describes activist culture on the campus of Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris describes his first experience with discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Calvin Morris describes his aspirations upon graduating from Lincoln University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Calvin Morris talks about the impact of receiving a Crusade Scholarship from the United Methodist Church

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Calvin Morris describes why he enrolled at Boston University School of Theology in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Calvin Morris describes how he became involved with Operation Breadbasket

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Calvin Morris describes the growth of Operation Breadbasket

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Calvin Morris talks about well-known individuals who supported Operation Breadbasket

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Calvin Morris describes Operation Breadbasket's Political Education Division

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Calvin Morris describes his role as associate director of Operation Breadbasket

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris describes the impact of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination on Operation Breadbasket

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris describes the impact of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination on the leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Calvin Morris describes the impact of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination on the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Calvin Morris describes how Operation Breadbasket became Operation PUSH

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Calvin Morris describes how he was hired as the Executive Director of The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Calvin Morris describes his experiences as the Executive Director of The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Calvin Morris talks about the Marcus Chenault shooting at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and the King Family tragedies

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Calvin Morris comments on God and tragedy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Calvin Morris describes why he left his position as associate director of Operation Breadbasket

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Calvin Morris describes leaving his position as Executive Director of The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris describes the challenges he faced as the Executive Director of The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris describes the challenges he faced as the Executive Director of The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Calvin Morris describes his experiences serving as Director of Field Education and Howard University School of Divinity

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Calvin Morris describes his experiences working as an associate professor at Howard University School of Divinity

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Calvin Morris talks about Howard Thurman

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Calvin Morris describes two books by Howard Thurman, "The Negro Spiritual Speaks of Life and Death" and "Jesus and the Disinherited"

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Calvin Morris describes Howard Thurman's religious philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Calvin Morris describes his religious philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Calvin Morris talks about Reverdy Cassius Ransom, the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris talks about persuading HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. to speak at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris talks about Bishop Desmond Tutu speaking at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Calvin Morris reflects upon his experiences teaching at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Calvin Morris talks about working as a dean for the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Calvin Morris talks about the history of the Community Renewal Society

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Calvin Morris describes the programs and services the Community Renewal Society offers

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Calvin Morris talks about the community organizing efforts of Community Renewal Society offers

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Calvin Morris talks about the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Calvin Morris talks about "Catalyst Chicago" and the "Chicago Reporter," publications of the Community Renewal Society

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Calvin Morris describes the Community Renewal Society's stance against the War in Iraq

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris describes his concerns surrounding the criminal justice system and young people, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris describes his concerns surrounding the criminal justice system and young people, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Calvin Morris comments on the public's lack of interest in the political process

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Calvin Morris reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Calvin Morris reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Calvin Morris talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Calvin Morris narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris narrates his photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Calvin Morris narrates his photographs, pt. 4

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Calvin Morris narrates his photographs, pt. 5

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$7

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Calvin Morris describes how newspapers influenced his upbringing
Calvin Morris describes the programs and services the Community Renewal Society offers
Transcript
My mother [Dorothy Lee Morris] was a very public-spirited person. She was interested in what was going on in the community, and while I grew up in a household that did not have books--and I'll tell you why I have all these books. I collect books now. And there's no room in this house that doesn't have bookcases. But we were a family of newspapers. And so we, we had, we got the Philadelphia morning paper which was called the "Enquirer". We got the evening paper which is called the "Philadelphia Bulletin". The "Enquirer" is still existence. I think the "Bulletin" is not. We got two black newspapers, weekly newspapers in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], one called "The Philadelphia Tribune", which is one of the oldest black newspapers in the country. "The Philadelphia Independent" and we got a black newspaper called "The Pittsburgh Courier". And we read the newspaper after dinner. And then we discussed what we read in the newspaper. And so I had my time to talk about what I read--$$So this was organized?$$It was organized. Now, I did not understand the process at the time, but later on, as I would go to high school--and I went to a Quaker school in downtown Philadelphia, where I was exposed to passivism and nonviolence and all that kind of stuff long before I joined SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] and got to know Martin Luther King, Jr. So we, we did all that kind of discussing of current events, what was going on in the world. I remember the "Pittsburgh Courier" had a column by Benjamin E. Mays, the President of Morehouse College [Atlanta, Georgia], who was the Dean of the School of Religion at Howard University [Washington, D.C.] where I would go to be on the faculty for sixteen years and actually Dr. Mays suggested that I go to Howard because he was the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change during the three years I was executive director down there. And Langston Hughes who I would meet three years before his death, also had the simple column. And so Lester Grainger of the Urban League and you learned about, you know, Mary McLeod Bethune and Mary Church Terrell and all these significant African American people who were very much involved in the world of politics and Civil Rights and things of that type. That was a part of my upbringing as a little boy in North Philadelphia.$$Did you ever read J. A. Rogers' column, "Your History"?$$Yes, I do. I remember J. A. Rogers [Joel Augustus Rogers], and I know I remember, I think Lester Granger may have had a column for a while. I remember reading about W.E.B DuBois and Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, later, Bayard Rustin who I met, and I knew. So, yeah.$We continue to be concerned that the, the moral voice be applied to issues that face our communities. We are committed to fighting racism and poverty. That's a part of our mission statement. And we do so several ways, education and information. We have two publications. "The Chicago Reporter", which is an investigative journal around issues of racism and poverty and "Catalyst, Voices of Chicago's School Reform" that looks at the whole issue of education. And we recognize that education in our culture and in this city is very much related to black and Hispanic, Latino youngsters. We also have an interfaith network of ministers that has worked recently, the last four or five years around the issues of public housing and we have fought to assure that the transformation plan that CHA has with the federal government and the city will, in fact, provide the 25,000 new or rehabbed units for CHA [Chicago Housing Authority] residents. We have co-convened the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago. And we look at issues of criminal justice system and justice reform, where the death penalty issues or whether expungement legislation with some of our legislatures, particularly, Constance Howard [HM] and Danny Davis [HM] are looking at those kind of issues. And we involve ourselves with efforts to help strengthen community-based organizations so that they can be self-determining, and they can work to enhance the local communities in the City of Chicago. We are a staff of about 40 with a budget of $4 million. And I'm the tenth Executive Director of the Society and the first non-UCC [United Church of Christ] Executive Director, although I have, since I've arrived done what we call dual standing in the church. So I am considered a bona fide UCC minister who happens to be initially ordained as a United Methodist. And we, it's a wonderful organization with all kinds of roots in the community. And those roots allow me an opportunity to be involved in a lot of issues, most recently, of course, a lot of work around the anti-war effort. Although the war has begun, we have felt that it's important to continue to say that we ought to be advocates for peace instead of war.

Junius "Red" Gaten

Junius Gaten was born February 28, 1900, in Smithdale, Mississippi. He was called “Red” because of his thick red hair. At age five, Gaten moved with his aunt to Chicago. He attended Haven Elementary School and Chicago’s oldest black church, Quinn Chapel A.M.E Church. At sixteen, Consumer’s Ice Company in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood hired him. His horses knew the route, which wound through the Black Belt and down integrated Grand Boulevard (now King Drive).

As “Iceman Red,” Gaten delivered ice to black activist Ida B. Wells and former black Congressman John Roy Lynch. He resisted and survived the violent Chicago Race Riot of 1919 and the Palmer House Riot of 1924. In the 1920s, Gaten frequented the Dreamland, Royal Garden, Sunset Café and Grand Café. Able to earn extra money by playing the piano for rent parties, Gaten was advised by businessman Jesse Binga to open an account in his Binga Bank. Running errands for Al Capone, he earned $10 dollar tips and Cuban cigars. Gaten knew the Gordon family of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and heard Marcus Garvey speak at Chicago’s Liberty Hall. He talked with Carter G. Woodson, who stayed with Gaten’s uncle during his frequent visits to Chicago. During the Depression, he was assigned to work in Haiti by the Works Progress Administration. “Washington Park Red” aired his political views publicly. He was a union man seeking better wages and equal rights.

Gaten was associated with the Communist Party in the 1940s, joining Margaret Burroughs and Ishmael Flory. In this context, he helped sponsor an appearance by Paul Robeson. Gaten retired more than thirty years ago as operations manager for the Jefferson Ice Company. He bought a house for himself and his late wife, and bought real estate in what is now called the Bronzeville community. In his later years, Gaten served as Sunday School Director at St. John Church - Baptist on Chicago’s southside.

Gaten lived to be 105 years old. He passed away on November 30, 2005.

Accession Number

A2003.037

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/6/2003

Last Name

Gaten

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Haven School

Moseley School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Junius

Birth City, State, Country

Smithdale

HM ID

GAT01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine, Oh, What A Foretaste Of Glory Divine, Heir Of Salvation, Purchase Of God, Born Of His Spirit, Washed In His Blood. This Is My Story. This Is My Song, Singing His Praises All The Day Long

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/28/1900

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish

Death Date

11/30/2005

Short Description

Social activist Junius "Red" Gaten (1900 - 2005 ) was a former iceman, piano player, and socialist. Born in 1900, Gaten remembered Ida B. Wells and the Chicago Race Riot of 1919.

Employment

Jefferson Ice Company

St. John Church - Baptist

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Junius "Red" Gaten's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Junius "Red" Gaten lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes his family's history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about his enslaved grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about his grandfather, who was deeded land from his slavemaster

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes his mother, Myrtice Turner Perkins

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about his father and his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes Grand Boulevard before the installation of traffic lights

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about his grade schools, Haven School and Moseley School, and the Chicago Coliseum

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes his grade school classroom

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes his experience at CB&Q railroad in North Dakota

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes learning to play piano and hearing Little Brother Montgomery

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes working with the ice company as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about working with horses as an ice delivery man

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, pt.3

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about Chicago gangs, Prohibition, and women's suffrage

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about the Chicago mafia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about life during the 1920s and boxers like Jack Dempsey, Harry Willis, Jack Johnson, and James Jefferies

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about Jack Johnson and Bill Bottoms and the boxing world of the 1920s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes meeting Marcus Garvey, the founder of UNIA, and church bombings

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes the desegregation of elevators at the Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes joining the Communist party and ethnic tensions in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about Mayor Harold Washington and the Council Wars led by Edward Vrdolyak and Edward M. Burke following his election

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about the desegregation of Walter Powers' restaurant and his various jobs as a contractor

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes how he got a job at Lincoln Ice Plant as the engineer's chief helper

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes the process of making ice and how it changed

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about his activities in the Communist party getting Paul Robeson and HistoryMaker William Warfield to speak

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about FBI oversight and the murders of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about Paul Robeson and influential civil rights activists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about Two-Gun Pete and Mayor William Hale Thompson

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about buying a house

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes changes in his neighborhood and his jobs

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about Bronzeville in the 1920s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes the inability of black business owners to organize

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about how political power in the black community changed over the years

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about Al Capone, the Chicago political machine, and working as a union steward

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about the injustice on poor families and black families

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes influential women in his neighborhood

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Junius "Red" Gaten describes his neighbor, Ida B. Wells

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Junius "Red" Gaten reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Junius "Red" Gaten talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Junius "Red" Gaten narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Junius "Red" Gaten describes the desegregation of elevators at the Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois
Junius "Red" Gaten talks about the Chicago mafia
Transcript
And that's the way it was. We had a big riot downtown in the Palmer House. Nobody never wrote about that too much.$$So what happened? And when, when was it?$$Twenty, in twenty--rioted in '27 [1927]. They had elevators then. Girls was running, the Dolly Models (unclear) a lot of 'em working down there then, them girls, Dolly Models working at Marshall Fields, I think. It was two of them girls that worked in the Palmer House. And they didn't want no Negroes to ride the front elevators. You had to ride the back, with all the help, Palmer and them didn't want nothing--no help, all the help was counted as what, you know, and beneath the bosses and things and other folks. They didn't want you to go--they didn't want you to walk, didn't want no Negroes walking through the Palmer House from Wabash and State Street. And that's where I got into it at. I was going through there one day and the man told me, said, "If I catch you in here again, I'm gonna--," and I knocked him down and stomped him. I caught him by the, I hit him one of them hard rights, 'cause I could box. I was pretty good, pretty good in the dukes. And I let him have one, and down he went. And I put my, buried my feet right in his belly. "I helped to build this damn joint. Don't you tell me where I can't walk." So they sent the guards and told the guard to, I said, "Look, I helped to build this place, and don't you or no damn body else tell me where I can't walk or can't do. I don't give a damn about the mayor and no damn body else. I helped to build it, dammit, to hell, and I'm a walk in it when I get ready." They took me to jail, but they turned me a loose right away. Potter Palmer was running it for his daddy, and he told him, "Leave him alone, let that man alone, leave him alone. He did work here. He helped, worked here and helped build the place. You don't mess with him." Well, anyway, they wouldn't let these two, the politicians go up on (unclear) to [Mayor William Hale] Thompson. Thompson was having a meeting up there. Oscar DePriest and Louis B. Anderson--$$So, this is Thompson, the mayor.$$Yeah, Thompson had got the mayor back.$$He (unclear).$$Yeah, he went back in in '27 [1927]. Oscar DePriest, Louis B. Anderson, Bob Jackson [Robert R. Jackson] and somebody, one or two, three others, big Negroes in there, Dan Jackson, I think. He wasn't an officer, but he was a Negro who had some money. They went, they was gonna meet up there. So the bell captain said something to Oscar DePriest and Oscar DePriest knocked him down and kicked him, stomped him. They called the police. Oscar DePriest said, "Well, you gonna take anybody to jail, you take me to jail, but you gonna catch hell when you do. You put them handcuffs on me, we gonna be--we gonna do some fighting in here. And you ain't the only son of a bitch got a gun. What the hell you think I carry this one for? For just some son of a bitch like you. Take your hands off me before I blow your damn brains out." Well, they got to arguing, and somebody got the news upstairs. Thompson come down and got, said, "Turn them men a loose. Leave 'em alone. I've been waiting on these fellows a hour, and you got 'em down here," said, "what the hells the matter with y'all?" That broke up all of that mess. You could ride the front elevators after that day. The next day, you could ride 'em. White folks quit they jobs 'cause Negroes riding the elevators. They want you to ride the freight elevator. I don't care who sent you here, the florist or whatever shop, whatever, you got to ride that back elevator. You see, you had all of these kind of things happening and folks didn't put too much attention on it because the man didn't want you to know that he was that rotten. They still didn't want you to go, through--especially, no Negro, they didn't want no Negro walking in there, through to go from State Street to Wabash through there, looking at all that stuff they got in there, didn't want you in there. What you looking for? You ain't gonna buy nothing. Well, most wasn't gonna buy too much, 'cause they didn't have nothing (laughter). Palmer wasn't paying that much for you to buy anything. Mostly, before the unions got going, Palmer House didn't even have a union. You worked on tips, little fifty dollar a month salary they give you wasn't nothing, worse than the Pullman. So, you see, you made progress slow, and you only made progress where you began to stretch out and fight. If you fight, don't demand nothing, you don't get nothing. And that's the way it was through all of Washington Park [Chicago, Illinois].$But anyway, that made the bootleggers famous. That's why Al Capone and all of 'em got rich, selling whiskey and beer. They didn't bother nobody now, but only the folks who stood in their way. And they didn't go round meddling with other folks, bothering other folks, didn't bother nobody but people in their way. We had a gang over here, Jimmy Colosimo, had a restaurant at 22nd Street.$$Oh, yeah, [James] "Big Jim" Colosimo.$$Big Jim, Big Jim Colosimo. And he was the boss 'til they sent Al Capone here to get him. And they told Al Capone not to kill him himself, but have somebody to kill him. And that's what he did. But I was in the midst of a killing by the gang- by the gangsters on Van Buren Street in 1924. Dean O'Banion, the next man to Colosimo, he was a florist. He had two florist shops downtown. I was carrying some milk cans--I was working for Joe R. Thompson's restaurant, some milk cans to be sorted. I think I was taking 'em over to (unclear) Hardbest over there, somewhere on Van Buren Street, 'til them gangsters come in there. And I could hear 'em when they shooting, shot the man down, and they said they went in there to ask him when he'd be making some wreaths, said, "Well, you make one for yourself now." Dean O'Banion, that's Colosimo's right hand man. They killed him in there, and that's when Al Capone really got famous. But I met him through a mistake. He had one of them boys, skid row back--like any street you see was bad, they called it skid row. And he would take his laundry up. On Saturday, I was working the laundry the Saturday evening, so the people could come there and get their bundles and get their (unclear). So this guy didn't show up to carry Al Capone's clothes, shirts and things to him. I did. I went on and carried 'em, and I was smoking my cigars, and I went in there. And so he--Al Capone's kind of short, stubby. He wasn't much taller than me, about like me. He said, "What kind of cigar that you got, boy?" I told him. He said, "I'm gonna give you some of mine. Now, go on." Said, "Well, have the girl--if you like 'em, you tell her, well, she gonna send you a box next time." So he'd always leave ten dollars on the dresser for you. And I got my ten dollars and six cigars. He was a very nice kind of guy to deal with. He didn't have too much talking to do. He gave me two shirts he didn't like, classy shirts and things. He just liked ordinary shirts. And he didn't want no white shirts. He wanted all them blue shirts. So I married my first wife in one of them shirts. I also married my second wife thirty years later in one of them shirts.$$Those were good shirts, I guess.$$Yeah, well, you know, when you don't wear nothing, like, you know--I got some stuff in there I been had over thirty years (laughter). When you got a whole lot of stuff, you don't wear it too much. See, you will pick out something you like every day and wear it every day. You know, how that--until you wear it out. That's what happens to you, why you keep stuff so long.

Maulana Karenga

Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University—Long Beach, was the holder of two Ph.D.’s. Karenga completed his degrees in political science at the United States International University, and in social ethics at the University of Southern California, before being awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Durban, South Africa.

Karenga’s fields of teaching and research within Africana/Black Studies included: ancient Egyptian (Maatian) ethics; ancient Yoruba (Ifa) ethics; Africana/Black Studies theory and history; Africana/Black (continental and diasporan) philosophy; African American intellectual history; ethnic relations; and the socio-ethical thought of Malcolm X.

A prolific writer, Karenga authored numerous scholarly articles and books, including: Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics; Selections From The Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt; The Book of Coming Forth By Day: The Ethics of the Declarations of Innocence; Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings; and Introduction to Black Studies. Karenga was also one of the creators of the pan-African cultural holiday Kwanzaa, and the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles), as well as the author of the authoritative text, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture.

An activist-scholar of national and international recognition, Karenga played a major role in Black political and intellectual culture from the 1960s on. Karenga has, along with The Organization Us, been instrumental in such movements as Black Power, Black Arts, Black Studies, the Independent Schools, Afrocentricity, Ancient Egyptian Studies, the Million Person Marches, and the Reparations Movement. In addition to his activism, Karenga lectured on the life and struggle of African peoples on major campuses in the United States, Africa, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Trinidad, Great Britain, and Canada. Karenga served as the chair of The Organization Us; the National Association of Kawaida Organizations; and as the executive director of the African American Cultural Center and the Kawaida Institute of Pan-African Studies.

Karenga has received numerous awards for scholarship and service, including: the C.L.R. James Award for Outstanding Publication of Scholarly Works that Advance the Discipline of Africana and Black Studies; the National Leadership Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievements in Black Studies from the National Council for Black Studies; the President’s Award for Scholarship and Service in the Development of Black Studies from the African Heritage Studies Association; the Diop Exemplary Leadership Award from the Department of African American Studies-Temple University; the Richard Allen Living Legend Award from the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and the Pioneer Award from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund.

Accession Number

A2002.207

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/18/2002

Last Name

Karenga

Maker Category
Schools

Salisbury High School

Los Angeles City College

University of California, Los Angeles

United States International University

First Name

Maulana

Birth City, State, Country

Parsonburg

HM ID

KAR01

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

It is a good day to struggle and that we must remember the teachers of the Ottoeva (ph.), that we are all divinely chosen to bring into the world and not let any good be lost.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/14/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Social activist, africana studies professor, and author Maulana Karenga (1941 - ) is the founder of Kwanzaa, in addition to having a career as a prolific writer and influential figure in a number of Afrocentric movements.

Employment

Mafundi Institute (Los Angeles, California)

California State University

African American Cultural Center

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, Green, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maulana Karenga interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maulana Karenga lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maulana Karenga recalls his parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maulana Karenga explains his limitations with oral history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maulana Karenga remembers his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maulana Karenga describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maulana Karenga shares childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maulana Karenga shares childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maulana Karenga recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maulana Karenga recounts his family's transition to California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maulana Karenga remembers his college years

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maulana Karenga details how he became a black nationalist

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maulana Karenga lists his intellectual influences

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maulana Karenga describes his involvement in The Organization Us

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maulana Karenga remembers Malcolm X

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maulana Karenga explains why he learned Swahili

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maulana Karenga recalls his activism in the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maulana Karenga details his philosophy of Kawaida

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maulana Karenga details how he created Kwanzaa

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maulana Karenga responds to criticism of Kwanzaa

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maulana Karenga discusses the problems posed by the recent creation of Kwanzaa

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maulana Karenga explains how Kwanzaa became seven letters

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maulana Karenga recalls his involvement in the Black Power Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maulana Karenga details the rift between Us and the Black Panther Party (part 1)

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maulana Karenga details the rift between Us and the Black Panther Party (part 2)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maulana Karenga details the rift between Us and the Black Panther Party (part 3)

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Maulana Karenga details the rift between Us and the Black Panther Party (part 4)

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Maulana Karenga recalls his incarceration

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Maulana Karenga recounts surveillance by the FBI's COINTEL program

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Maulana Karenga remembers FESTAC 1977

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Maulana Karenga recalls the founding of ASCAC

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Maulana Karenga discusses redressing the distorted view of ancient Egypt through ASCAC

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Maulana Karenga recalls the founding of ASCAC

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Maulana Karenga explains the philosophical underpinnings of ASCAC

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Maulana Karenga recounts building the National Black United Front

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Maulana Karenga remembers helping to create the Million Man March

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Maulana Karenga responds to criticisms of the Million Man March

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Maulana Karenga discusses his involvement with the African American Leadership Retreat

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Maulana Karenga discusses the impact of the African American Leadership Retreat Family

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Maulana Karenga describes his current projects

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Maulana Karenga shares the importance of African philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Maulana Karenga recalls his parents' reaction to his career

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Maulana Karenga considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Maulana Karenga remembers Malcolm X
Maulana Karenga details how he created Kwanzaa
Transcript
Now, so Malcolm [X] was very important to us as, as, as a teacher, as a mentor. I met Malcolm in '62 [1962], and the first time I met him we, he took me home afterward. We went and talked. We--it's a restaurant, it used to be a restaurant on 51st and Main, a Muslim restaurant. And you--after the mosque, you would go over there and eat bean pie and talk abstract. So Malcolm welcomed us. We were right from UCLA [University of California Los Angeles]. He welcomed us back there. We talked a long time, and every time since when he would come in town, I would try to get there. And, in fact, when there was a crisis, Malcolm asked me to be the emcee for a memorial for, Ronald 26X [sic, Stokes] actually, that was shot by the police. I don't know if you remember that. But--$$Is that the scene with him, even in the movie shows the picture of the man, the poster, the famous picture of Malcolm showing a poster of the body was full of holes--(simultaneous)?$$Yes, shot, that was it. Yes, that was the major police shooting of the Muslims at that time. And I learned a lot from Malcolm, and I always enjoyed his company and the brilliance of his intellect. See, I'm, I'm writing now a book on his social, ethical thought because people usually think of ethics, they think King [Martin Luther King, Jr.]. And they think Christianity. But Islam has ethics and certainly Malcolm had an ethical philosophy, and I, I think he has a rich legacy that's still to be taped. And I challenge all those people who have written books on him, who seem to be janitors of history, looking for stench and stain, and reductively translating his message. Mine is to speak his special culture, true, and to show the brilliance of his mind and incisiveness of his analysis. That's what I want to show. The rest, FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation], [J. Edgar] Hoover, got data for all this, you know. It's just like writing a book on King and trying to talk about King, what he didn't do and all that. The question is, what does he mean to us? You see, and one of the problems I find with modern intellectuals, black intellectuals, is that they've so limited themselves to deconstructionism, that mainly what they do is janitorial service and look stench and stain, peeling paint and criticize and condemn things, but they have no capacity for conceptual generation, that is, the production of concepts to enrich and expand our lives, to give us the capacity to understand ourselves and assert ourselves in dignity-affirming ways in the world. That's a whole different kind of project.$I wanted to ask you about the development of Kwanzaa out of Kawaida theory.$$Yes, right. So first, I'm, I'm at UCLA [University of California Los Angeles] in '64 [1964], just got my Master's. I decided to go on to get my doctorate. I'm studying on my doctorate. The revolt comes. I quit and join the Movement, and I create my organization. And I fur--[The Organization] Us, and I further developed my philosophy, Kawaida. And I call it Kawaida because I believe that culture and tradition are the foundation for our life, our future and our effective assertion in the world. I think culture is a fundamental way of being human in the world. And so at the heart of Kawaida philosophy is this argument that we must constantly dialogue with African culture, asking it questions and seeking from it, answers, to the fundamental issues of human life. How do you create a just and good society? What does it mean to be human? What is our moral obligation to each other? What is our rightful relationship with the environment? Those questions, we usually don't ask Africa those questions. We usually ask Europe or Israel. We ask Greece or Israel or some other culture, but we don't ask Africa. You know, we don't--we just don't ask Africa what does it mean to be human? What is my relationship with God or anything like that? What is, what is that? So, I wanted to do that. And so I began to draw from the best of African culture, synthesize it and put into this philosophy called Kawaida. And it's subconsciously called Kawaida, a Swahili word, it means tradition because that is the core of it, tradition and reason.$$Can you spell Kawaida for us (simultaneous)?$$K-A-W-A-I-D-A, Kawaida, okay. Now, I've already--as I said earlier, I've already decided to use Swahili to do this, okay, because the language itself contains philosophical concepts I need to stress the communitarian value system I'm going to create with the seven principles, Nguzo Saba. So I'm in the philosophy, and I'm asking how can I teach this philosophy in a simple, but profound way? How can I produce concepts that would create both a discourse and a practice of being African? Okay. And I decide I, I need a value system that is manageable. And I decide the way I can do that is study African cultures, and I studied African culture, and I asked myself, what is the social cement and the social glue that holds these cultures together and give them their humanistic, moral content? And I believe that it is their communitarian values, values that stress family, community and culture. And so the question is how do I choose these values? Okay. I choose ten, twenty, thirty? Well I choose seven, and I choose seven for several reasons, because first of all, the spiritual significance of seven in African culture, all the way back to ancient Egypt. Seven is like a sacred number, okay. Second--so it has special value as well. Then the second thing I do is manageable. People would be saying, why didn't you do ten? Well, try to get seven, you know, then we can talk about the other. If we could just do some of these some of the time, a whole new change would come in our life. So, my argument was let's do these seven. So now, I have to choose seven values, communitarian values that form a system of thought and practice. And I have to choose them according to what I think is most important, not just now, but of enduring importance. And that's a very important thing. I can't be a faddist. I can't choose values like Green Power, I mean that goes out, you see. I have to choose that which endures in the midst of that which is overthrown, as the Husia said. And so what I do, is I choose what is enduring values, and I organized them such--there are seven values, Nguzo Saba. First of all, look at the name, Nguzo means "pillar," okay. It's both a pillar as a strength in the community and as a protection for the community, okay. Okay, so Nguzo is pillar, and it means principle. And Saba, of course, means seven. So I start with Umoja, unity. Why? Because unity in the family community, nation and race. Why unity? Because without unity, you can't even start a project. I mean the fundamental requirement for a people to actually understand and realize itself and assert itself successfully is unity. So Umoja, unity, is the first principle. Second principle is Kujichagulia, to define ourselves, create for ourselves, name ourselves, be up for ourselves. That's a very important thing, to speak our own special culture truth, make our own unique contribution to the forward flow of human history. Third, Ujima, collective work and responsibility, to make our sisters and brothers' problem our problem and to solve them collectively. We, we have to see ourselves as responsible for each other, and we have to, together, build the world we want and deserve to live in, okay. Ujamaa, cooperative economics, shared work and shared wealth. People want to do the wealth, shared wealth, but a lot of times they don't want to do the shared work. So we say to build our sisters and brothers stores, shops and other business and to profit from them together, just to tell people, you have to work together and you have to get profit together. That's a very important discourse in the '60s [1960s], whether we go capitalist or whether we go communal. Okay, we say we have to go communitarian. We have to do communalism. We have to do cooperative economics. The cooperative economics comes from the word Ujamaa, and jamaa, the root word of jamaa is--Ujamaa, jamaa, which means "family" or "kinship." And so what it says is we must do economics as if we are related, related not just as a human, but related to the environment too. That's a whole different discourse. So what I'm doing is giving categories. This has been Kawaida's main strength and Us organization's main strength, it's creating a series of categories, philosophical concepts that encourage a discourse about African life in a way it has never been done before. That's what we did with Kwanzaa. That's what we did with the Husia. That's what we did with Odo Ifa. That's what we did with Operation Unity, etc. Okay, now, next, Nia, purpose, the collective vocation of rebuilding our nation so that we can restore our people to their traditional greatness, okay, to bring good into the world and to give black people both permanence and power in the world. And then the sixth principle, Kuumba, creativity, to do all we can in the way we can to leave our community and this world better and more beautiful than when we inherited it. And finally, Imani, faith, faith in ourselves, our leaders, our teachers and the righteousness and victory of our call and faith that through hard work, long struggle and a whole lot of love and understanding, we can again step back on the stage of human history subconsciously as a free, proud and productive people, speak our own special culture truth to the world and make our own unique contribution to the forward flow of human history. Now, the question is, how do I build an institutional process to, in fact, teach those? I mean I could just put them out there, but it doesn't work. So I think of, what about a holiday? Again, I'm a scholar. I have to do research. I'm very concerned with culture and with authenticity. I can't just--they just don't drop from the sky for me. I have to study them from a social context, from a historical context. So I studied, I decided that I would use the oldest celebrations, and that way, I thought they would be more authentic--authentic, than one that was later created and might be influenced by Europe. So what are the oldest celebrations? They're agriculture celebrations. It's the same way when we go to Egypt. It's before the European comes, before there is this question of influence, you see, back then. And so I studied first fruits celebrations, harvest celebrations, okay. And I'm very struck by umKhosi, a Zulu celebration, which is seven days, and happens at the end of the year. Part of it is in the beginning, part of it at the end. So I straddled Kwanzaa the same way. Most of it is in the first of the year, and then there's one day in the new year. And that day I set aside for meditation, January first. So I put Kwanzaa December the twenty-sixth to January first, and it duplicates the umKhosi celebration of the Zulus, okay. I don't even tell everybody all this. I'm, I just do this, okay, because I'm, I'm, I'm saying, this is my culture. I, I can do it. I study also the Yoruba and the other festivals, and always, there are five fundamental activities that they engage in regardless. The first is that, the holidays are a time of ingathering of the people, a time when the people come from all over to reaffirm the bonds between them. Second, is the time for thanksgiving for the Creator and the creation, okay, a time not only to give thanks for a good harvest, but to recommit ourselves to the protection and preservation of the earth which provided the harvest. Third, is the time for commemoration of the past, time to raise and praise the names of those who gave their lives so that we could live fuller and more meaningful one; time to remember Fannie Lou Hamer's teaching that there are two things we all should care about, "Never to forget where we came and always praise the bridges that carried us over." Fourth, is a time for the reaffirmation and recommitment, a time for recommitment rather; time for recommitment to our highest culture values, values that stress and strengthen family, community and culture, speaking truth, doing justice; honor thy elders and the ancestors; cherishing and challenging our children, caring for the vulnerable among us, having a rightful relationship with the environment, constantly struggling against evil and always raising up, praising and pursuing the good, but especially time for recommitment to the seven principles, Umoja, unity, Kujichagulia, self-determination, Ujima, collective work and responsibility, Ujamaa, cooperative economics, Nia, purpose, Kuuma, creativity, Imani, faith. And finally, the fifth activity of Kwanzaa after ingathering of the people, a special reverence for the Creator and the creation, commemoration of the past, recommitment to our highest culture values, is celebration of the good, the good of family, community and culture, the good of life, the good of the environment, the good of our history, the good of our awesome march through human history, the good of existence itself, just the good of the world. And so we celebrate that, I mean, the good of the harvest, it used to be, but the good, above all, of the ongoing challenge to constantly bring good into the world and not let any good be lost. Now, people often say, why did you create Kwanzaa? I mean I think I've said, but I've--in the context of my discussion, but I created it for three basic reasons, one to reaffirm our Africanist, to reaffirm the fact that we're an African people. When you're in the process, you know, Kwanzaa is, is created in the context of the Black Freedom Movement. The Black Freedom Movement is from ninety--1955 to 1975, and there are two sections to it. From 1955 to 1965 is the black, is the Civil Rights Movement, and from 1965 to 1975 is the Black Power Movement, and I'm more in the Black Power Movement. In the Black Power Movement, even though I participated in the Civil Rights Movement, in the Black Power Movement, one of the core elements is the return to Africa, to step back to black. In fact, we used to say in Us, the first step forward is a step back to your own culture and your own self, okay. And so what we argued is that we have to reaffirm that we're African. We must say we are African people, okay. So Kwanzaa gives us a time to do that. And if you look at it, more than any other time in the, in the, in the year, black people talk about Africa, even corporate types wear African clothes, want their kinara and their Kwanzaa set to be aside other end-of-the-year celebration sets, right? They talk it. Okay, we've got a discourse, a conversation around Africa. Second, I created it to give us a time as African people all over the world to come together, reaffirm the bonds between us and meditate on the meaning and awesome responsibility of being African in the world. And if you look at it all around the world, you see that that has happened. Twenty-eight million people celebrate this holiday on every continent in the world, throughout the world African community. And finally, of course, as I said, early, I created Kwanzaa in order to introduce and reaffirm the importance of community and values, especially, Nguzo Saba, the seven principles.

Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr.

Gilbert R. Mason, Sr., “wade-in” activist and physician, was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on October 7, 1928. When he graduated from Jackson’s Lanier High School in 1945, Mason dreamed of becoming a doctor. He earned a B.S. degree from Tennessee State University in 1949. He earned an M.D. degree from Howard University Medical School in 1954 and served a year as an intern at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mason started a family practice in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1955. In May 1959, he led a nonviolent protest against the “whites only” section of a federally funded Gulf Coast beach. Mason’s group was arrested. Subsequent “wade-ins” ignited some of the bloodiest white rioting in Mississippi history. These resulted in a successful antidiscrimination lawsuit against the state of Mississippi, the first such case filed in U.S. history. At the same time, Mason filed the first school desegregation lawsuit in the history of Biloxi, which he also won. Mason collaborated with other Mississippi NAACP activists, including Winston Hudson, Amzie Moore, Aaron Henry and Medgar Evers. He helped the NAACP join with CORE, SNCC and SCLC to form the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). Mason played a role in COFO’s massive black voter registration drive, the Freedom Summer of 1964. Mason served as president of the Mississippi NAACP for thirty-three years.

The recipient of numerous awards as a physician, Mason was recognized with a special commendation by joint resolution of the Mississippi State Legislature on March 1, 2002 for his contributions to the Biloxi Regional Medical Center. He resided in Biloxi where he was known as “the civil rights doctor” until his death on July 8, 2006.

On Sunday, July 30, 2006, the mayor of Biloxi, Mississippi proclaimed it to be Dr. Gilbert Mason Day in Biloxi.

Selected Bibliography

Beaches, Blood and Ballots: A Black Doctor’s Civil Rights Struggles. (1998) By Dr. Gilbert Mason and James Patterson Smith.

Accession Number

A2002.202

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/11/2002

Last Name

Mason

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Organizations
Schools

Lanier High School

Tennessee State University

Howard University College of Medicine

First Name

Gilbert

Birth City, State, Country

Jackson

HM ID

MAS02

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Hawaii, Silver Springs, Maryland

Favorite Quote

If It Is Done When It Is Done, It Will Be Well If It Is Done Quickly.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/7/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Okra, Collard Greens, Pork Chops, Pineapple Cream Pie

Death Date

7/8/2006

Short Description

Social activist and family practitioner Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. (1928 - 2006 ) worked as a physician in Mississippi for over forty years, and led a nonviolent protest against the “whites only” section of a federally maintained Gulf Coast beach, which resulted in a successful and historic first federal anti-discrimination lawsuit against the state of Mississippi. Mason and local activists also won the first school desegregation lawsuit in the history of Mississippi.

Employment

Homer G. Phillips Hospital (St. Louis, Missouri)

Howard Memorial Hospital

Private Practice

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his paternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his paternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes the research he is doing on his paternal great-grandfather, who was allegedly a slave of George Mason

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his paternal great-great grandfather's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about his maternal great-great grandfather, Confederate Army Brigadier General William Wirt Adams

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his father's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes why his parents settled in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood in Jackson, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood in Jackson, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his childhood interests and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about his paternal great-grandmother, Suzanna Mason

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. shares memories from his childhood in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes what a slaughter bin is

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes stargazing as a child in Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about being a Boy Scout and becoming an Eagle Scout

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes what happened to his Eagle Scout friend, Joe

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his experiences in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes why he attended Jim Hill High School rather than Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about the history of schools in Jackson, Mississippi, and black Mississippi government officials

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about transferring to Lanier High School and skipping eleventh grade

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. shares meaningful moments from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes two of his high school football coaches' connections with black activists

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about his high school class- and teammate, HistoryMaker Lerone Bennett, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes the use of second-hand materials in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes why he enrolled at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes how he made extra money as a student at Tennessee State University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his experiences attending Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his experiences with racism as an intern at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes the racism he faced working as a doctor

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes why he continued to practice medicine in Biloxi, Mississippi rather than move to Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his involvement in the fight to desegregate schools in Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his work on desegregating Mississippi's beaches

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about forming the Gulf Coast Civic Action Committee and the first wade-in on the Gulf Coast Beach

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about organizing and participating in the "Bloody Sunday" wade-in on the Gulf Coast Beach

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about being reprimanded by the Gulf Coast Medical Society for his Civil Rights activities

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about raising money for the Gulf Port branch of the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about Medgar Evers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about Gulf Coast Beach in Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about the ruling that effectively desegregated Gulf Coast Beach in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about being a consultant for the film "Ghost of Mississippi"

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes what happened to the money intended for his bail after the Gulf Coast Beach wade-ins of 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes how the Biloxi Branch of the NAACP integrated Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about the racism he faced trying to attend the 1960 Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes how his Boy Scout troop was discriminated against in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about pressuring the City of Biloxi to put blacks on the police force, in the sheriff's department, and in city hall

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about the issues the Mississippi NAACP faced

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about forming the Council of Federated Organizations in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about attending the Democratic National Conventions as Parliamentarian of the Freedom Democratic Party

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about working with President Richard Nixon and President Lyndon B. Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes what he learned from serving on an ad-hoc committee to bring the National Football League to Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. shares memories from the various committees he has served on

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes a racist incident at Howard Memorial Hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about the Academy of Family Practice, the American Board of Family Physicians, and the Mississippi State Licensure Board

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. describes his reasons for filing a school desegregation lawsuit against the City of Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about retirement

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

9$10

DATitle
Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about organizing and participating in the "Bloody Sunday" wade-in on the Gulf Coast Beach
Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. talks about forming the Council of Federated Organizations in 1963
Transcript
So the students, I organized them and the next Sunday, April the 24th, we called it bloody Sunday. They were waiting for us. They got ready too, with pipes and chains and baseball bats and cue sticks. So when we went down there, they had walkie talkies. We organized it at my office and we left from there. Anyway they were waiting for us. Now we thought the sheriff, we helped to elect him, was going protect us. And they the guys stand up there with their hands on their hips. And they met us with baseball bats and what have you. I wasn't supposed to drive my car down there, but I had drove it, and there were two young men, Gilmore Fielder and Joe Lundburger, they had em down on neutral ground beating them up and had cue sticks, so I jumped out of the car and took the cue stick from em and I beat one with the cue sticks and the other one grabbed me and I bit him. I said Lord, I'm glad it wasn't much AIDS back in those days. So some of us--the undertaker whose place we have went to another section of the beach and they were beating him up so bad and Mrs. McDaniels fell across him and said please don't kill my husband. And big mama whose married to the barber, she about 300 pounds, she said you want to beat on somebody, beat on me. At any rate the future undertaker, Galloway, they broke his knees by hitting him across the knees with the cue sticks. And we had a guy who owned a cleaner name Brown, they beat him across the head, you'll see some of those pictures in archives. Anyway they arrested Gilmore Fielder and me and Joe Lundburger. And I told em, I said the guy's name was deputy sheriff, I said, I ain't got time to be arrested. I said I'll come back and give myself us as soon as I sew these people up. So I went on and took care of them and gave them lock jaw (unclear) and then I went on down gave myself up. He said well he said he was coming back. So they took me and finger printed me. And by that time my wife and Christopher Rosato was a friend of mine were there with my bail money. So then we had to work to get the other people out. This is the 24th now, of April, Bloody Sunday.$$And--$$How many people went to the beach that Sunday?$$Huh?$$How many people went to the beach that Sunday, how many black folks?$$Oh, I'll say about 200 in all places.$$And how many whites were there with--$$Oh, they outnumbered us three to one. All right. So--and the students were there. And it was so many of my Boy Scouts out there, I saw one report says that a Boy Scouts who Dr. Mason led the Boy Scout troupe down there for an activity, that isn't so. It just happened to be (unclear) Carney and his brother--Carney. I told Carney, I said, I see they said something else other than (unclear) run over the railroad track. The only way he could get off of the beach was go on the railroad track and run down the railroad track, but at that time I went before a justice of the peace and he found us guilty. Gilmore Fielder and I posted a bond too, it wasn't much. Okay. And so we gon negotiate again and try to see what happens. And Felix went before the Governor, that's a different story.$$Was that Felix Lundburger?$$Huh?$$Was that Mr. Lundburger?$$No. Lundburger and I were together. Lundburger and Gilmore Fielder.$$Okay.$$Anyway--$$(Unclear).$$--We talked to the Board of Supervisors and what have you.$So, tell me now, I think you were around when COFO [Council of Federated Organizations] was formed too, back in '60' (1960)--$$Coburt?$$--COFO.$$Oh, COFO, yeah.$$That was formed you said at Dookie Chase Restaurant in New Orleans [Louisiana]?$$Dookie Chase on the second floor, in Dookie Chase.$$Okay when was that?$$Nineteen sixty-three.$$Okay. And what was the idea behind COFO?$$We found that somebody said divide and to conquer. That we were fighting each other, the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] was said not to like SNCC [Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee] and SNCC says that NAACP is old and SNCC is too slow. So we figured we could come together and also consolidate some of the kids from the Northeast and East and Midwest and get a better job done. See up until that time NAACP was footing just about all the Civil Rights bills and did for a long time after that. But then SNCC started raising--and those young people were bold enough and ingenious enough to create new ideas. They came in and organized freedom schools and taught people how to read and write and to vote and ordinary hygiene. We even had some--one Thanksgiving, Dick Gregory [HM] sent three ice box truckloads of turkeys to the Gulf Coast. So people (unclear) our branch was adopted by the Long Island Branch, and they sent us clothes, a copying machine--$$Mimeograph machine?$$Yeah, yeah, mimeograph machine.$$Okay.$$And they gave us comfort and consolation. So the idea of COFO was a joint effort, I thought it was good. It was good.