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Gail A. Marquis

Basketball player and financial advisor Gail A. Marquis was born on November 18, 1954 in New York, New York. Marquis earned her B.A. degree in education and psychology from Queens College in 1980. She later received her M.B.A. degree from the University of Phoenix in 2007.

Marquis was a two-time all American at Queens College. The 1972-1973 Queens College Women’s Basketball Team made history as the first women’s team to be inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. As a member of Queens College Women’s Basketball, in 1975, they were the first women’s team ~college or pro~ to play basketball at Madison Square Garden.

Marquis played on the 1976 U.S.A. Olympic Team in Montreal, Canada; it was the first time that Women’s Basketball was played at the Olympic Games. The team won the silver medal. Marquis then travelled to Nice, France as one of only a few women, to play professional basketball in the French Federation of Basketball. She competed for an all-French team, Olympique d’Antibes Juan~les~Pins. From 1976-79, Marquis lived in the South of France where she also studied French at L’Universite de Nice in Nice, France. In 1977, Marquis represented Team U.S.A. at the World University Games in Sofia, Bulgaria. There, the U.S.A. National Team earned another silver medal.

Marquis returned to the U.S. to play for the New York Stars and later the New Jersey Gems of the Women’s Basketball League (W.B.L). Marquis’ N.Y. Stars set a league record for wins (28), and won the League Championship, as the first women’s pro team to call Madison Square Garden their home court.

Marquis entered the financial services industry and worked for firms including, Dean Witter Reynolds, PaineWebber, UBS, Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan Chase in Operation, Information Technology, Sales and Wealth Management. In 2013, she launched her own company, G. Marquis~World Financial Services.

At the same time, Marquis was as a broad color commentator and sports analyst for the NCAA Division I games at Rutgers University and Penn State University, the American Basketball League (A.B.L) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (W.N.B.A.)

Marquis is an 11-time Hall of Famer having been inducted in 2009 to the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. She is the first woman of color inducted. She is part of the inaugural induction class into the Queens College Athletic Hall of Fame (2012), and has received numerous awards including, the Inaugural Title IX-Trailblazer Award from the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.
Marquis has served as trustee and representative to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, The Queens College Foundation, The Wellesley Centers for Women, The Women’s Sports Foundation, and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.
Currently, Marquis serves as the director of community outreach for the School of Business at New Jersey City University and is the regional director for the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) at New Jersey City University.

Gail A. Marquis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 4, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.099

Sex

Female

Interview Date

05/04/2017

Last Name

Marquis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Organizations
Schools

University of Phoenix

Queens College, City University of New York

First Name

Gail

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MAR20

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barbados

Favorite Quote

Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of The Way.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

11/18/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Basketball player and financial advisor Gail A. Marquis (1954- ) was on the 1976 Olympic women’s basketball team where she helped win a silver medal.

Favorite Color

Green

Dinizulu Gene Tinnie

Professor and artist Dinizulu Gene Tinnie was born Gene Sinclair Tinnie on February 25, 1942, in the South Bronx, New York. Tinnie attended Suffolk County Community College, earning his A.A. degree, with Science Emphasis, in 1962. He continued his studies at the State University of New York-Stony Brook, with a B.A. degree in French in 1965, minoring in education and Spanish. In 1966, Tinnie earned a Fulbright scholarship to study French language, history and culture at the Université de Caen, France, receiving a Diplôme supérieur d'études françaises in 1967, and, in 1968, his Licence ès Lettres degree from the Université de Nancy. He would go on to earn his M.A. degree in French literature and linguistics from Queens College, City University of New York, in 1970.

Following his graduation, Tinnie worked as a linguist for the Black Dialect Project at the Southwest Regional Laboratory for Educational Research and Development in Los Angeles, California, while also continuing graduate studies in linguistics at UCLA.

Relocating to Boston, Massachusetts, he served as a project coordinator and artist-in- residence at Circle Associates educational consulting firm, and would be featured in his first exhibition, entitled “Black Artists,” in 1974 at Horticultural Hall, the same year he designed the inaugural museum space and exhibition of the new Boston African American Museum.

Subsequently moving to Miami, Florida, he joined the Miami Black Arts Workshop as an artist, designer, and project coordinator, serving in that position until 1983, and would become a founding member of the Kuumba Artists Collective of South Florida. Tinnie was an adjunct professor of English, humanities, and art appreciation at Miami-Dade Community College from 1975 to 1995, and joined Florida Memorial College in 1982, going on to serve in several positions that included art department chair. He also designed exhibitions for the Old Dillard Museum in Fort Lauderdale, and supplemental “After the Henrietta Marie” historical exhibitions in conjunction with the touring “A Slave Ship Speaks: The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie” exhibition, created by the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society in 1995.

Tinnie’s public art commissions in South Florida include “Remembrance of the Way,” “Trilogy for Dr. King,” “The World is a Garden in which All Are One,” “A Gathering of Spirits,” the Richmond Heights Pioneers Monument, and the artwork on the Key West African Cemetery memorial monument. Major exhibitions include “I Remember the March on Washington,” (DC and Houston) and “Dinizulu Gene Tinnie: an Overview” (Miami).

Tinnie is the founder and co-director of the Dos Amigos/Fair Rosamond Slave Ship Replica Project. Publications discussing Tinnie’s research on the history of the Middle Passage have appeared in publications such as the Journal of African American History, Florida History, FlaVour magazine, and Islas bilingual quarterly. 

In addition, he is chair of the City of Miami Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, and serves on several other boards related to historic preservation.

Tinnie and his wife, Dr. Wallis Hamm Tinnie, have two daughters.

Dinizulu Gene Tinnie was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 23, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.018

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/23/2017 |and| 3/6/2017

Last Name

Tinnie

Maker Category
Middle Name

Gene

Occupation
Schools

Ps/Is 54

St. Anthony School

Bishop Dubois High School

Earl L Vandermeulen High School

Suffolk County Community College

State University of New York at Stony Brook

University of Caen Normandy

University of Lorraine

Queens College, City University of New York

First Name

Dinizulu

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

TIN02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Better To Light A Lamp Than Curse The Darkness.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

2/25/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Conch and Others

Short Description

Professor and artist Dinizulu Gene Tinnie (1942 - ) designed the inaugural museum space of the Boston African American Museum in 1974, and also designed exhibitions and installations at the Old Dillard Museum in Fort Lauderdale. His works can be seen in numerous locations around Miami and Boston.

Employment

Southwest Regional Laboratory for Educational Research and Development

The Circle, Inc.

Museum of African American History

Horticultural Hall

Opportunities Industrialization Center of Miami

Miami Black Arts Workshop

Favorite Color

Blue Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dinizulu Gene Tinnie's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the Marcus Garvey movement, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the Marcus Garvey movement, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his mother's high school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his father's move to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls his father's experience of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his father's work as an elevator operator

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his father's acquaintance with businessmen in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his parents' immigration

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after most

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls moving to Long Island, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his sisters

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his family's height

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls growing up as a New York Yankees fan

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls his family's conversion to Catholicism

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his experience in Catholic schools

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his early interest in art

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers his classmate, John Jackson

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his Catholic schools' racial demographics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the history of Long Island, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers Long Island's Earl L. Vandermeulen High School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls his experiences as a Fulbright Scholar

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls his artistic interests in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls his interest in basketball

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls playing basketball with the Harlem Wizards

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers quitting basketball

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers Suffolk County Community College

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls his decision to study the French language

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his professors at Suffolk County Community College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the Freedom Rider bus fire in Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers the assassination of Malcolm X

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his experiences at Stony Brook University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls applying for the Fulbright Program

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers the University of Caen Normandy in France

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his experiences in France

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about playing basketball in France

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the First World Festival of Black Arts in Senegal

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his experiences in Normandy, France

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the French culture

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie reflects upon the Vietnam War

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers returning to the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls the student protests of the Vietnam War

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about protests in France

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his dissertation on poet Francois Villon

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about African American dialects

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls conducting research on African American dialects

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the Black Panther Party and US Organization

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the US Organization

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about African American culture in the late 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls his coworkers at Circle Associates in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his projects at Circle Associates

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls remodeling the American Museum of Negro History

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the African Liberation Support Committee

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the African Liberation Support Committee

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about African American culture in the 1970s

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes African American music in the 1970s

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his wood sculpture, 'Remembrance of The Way'

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about Miami's Overtown neighborhood

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the Miami Black Arts Workshop

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers the McDuffie riots in Miami, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie reflects upon modern acts of racial violence

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers the McDuffie riots in Miami, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dinizulu Gene Tinnie's interview, session 2

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the Miami Black Arts Workshop in Miami, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the mission and activities of the Miami Black Arts Workshop

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the political differences between metropolitan cities

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the preservation of Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the early history of Miami, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the Bahamian community in Miami, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers Marcus Garvey's hundredth birthday celebration

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls the popularity of the Garvey movement in Miami, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie reflects upon the importance of social activism

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the art of woodcarving

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his woodwork sculptures

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls carving 'Remembrance of The Way'

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the process of creating 'Remembrance of the Way'

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls the community's response to 'Remembrance of The Way'

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the importance of public art

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the benefits of public art

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the Sherdavia Jenkins Peace Park in Miami, Florida

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the Kuumba Artists Association of Florida, Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his membership in arts organizations

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the potential development of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Miami, Florida

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the influence of public art

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie shares his views on graffiti

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about neighborhood violence

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his teaching experiences

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers his colleagues at Florida Memorial College in Miami Gardens, Florida

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie reflects upon his teaching career

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the Free South Africa Movement

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the perception of Cuba in Miami, Florida

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his support of Nelson Mandela

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie shares his spiritual philosophy

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his initial interest in the Henrietta Marie slave ship

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the Henrietta Marie slave ship

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the history of the 19th century slave trade

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls seeing the artifacts of the Henrietta Marie

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the African Cemetery at Higgs Beach in Key West, Florida

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls being selected to design the monument at the African Cemetery at Higgs Beach

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the memorial at African Cemetery at Higgs Beach

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his gallery exhibitions

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his artwork

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his board memberships, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie remembers Howard Thurman

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his board memberships, pt. 2

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about the changes to the art community in Miami, Florida

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie reflects upon the art scene in Miami, Florida

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie reflects upon his life

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie talks about his family

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 14 Story: 8 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 14 Story: 9 - Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

5$13

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Dinizulu Gene Tinnie recalls President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination, pt. 2
Dinizulu Gene Tinnie describes the memorial at African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Transcript
And it was actually an interesting day too, because by the time I got home, I had a cousin who--he just recently passed this year, or last year--who at the time was with the, he was a member of Dallas Philharmonic Orchestra. They were waiting at the end of the pala- parade route to play the anthem ['The Star Spangled Banner']. And they were kind of among some, the, the, the later ones to get the word as to what, what had happened. And it was really kind of interesting because he called--you know, back in those days you didn't--you had to get an operator long distance. He calls his mom in New York [New York]. Of all the telephone operators in New York, he gets his sister, you know. "Katie [ph.], is that you?" (Laughter) So she hooks up this guy in a three or four-way conversation, you know, with, with oth- other family members. And so, folk were able to kind of get a, you know, on-the-spot kind of report from, from him. And, but that whole--I mean, the, the, the--everything about that, 'cause you've got, you know, of course got more surreal because, you know, you know, we're riding in the car, and we hear that, okay, they're bringing Jack Ruby out. Then you hear the pow. You know, Jack Ruby's--you know, Lee Harvey Oswald has been just shot, you know. And my cousin, you know, he was always known for these little quips, you know, his--he's driving the car (unclear) "Hm, any witnesses (laughter)," you know like wow. But it was, yeah, it, it, it was, it was, it was that surreal. But then, you know, in, in another way I think it was, it had all the shock value because of who it was and you know, the circumstances around it. But then at the same time, I mean, all this violence against the Civil Rights Movement that was going on all the--it was like, what, what country are we in here, I mean. I think the--$So with that, it was already poured, so, but the columns hadn't been poured. And I said well, okay, this is good. That means, like, before you pour any concrete, let's, we can come up with some designs, where we can just cast into the concrete and that, that, that'll help, you know, on, on the columns. The columns were, was like ten of them with slanted tops that were supposed to have bronze plaques. So, I was fortunate enough to be able to come up with designs for the columns, for the fencing, you know, like, this, do some decorative fencing. And the design of the fence kind of evokes the, the lyric out of Lift Every Voice and thing--'Lift Every Voice and Sing'; it says, "Facing the rising sun of our new be- new day begun as we look out over the ocean" [sic.]. And--$$A song that was actually written in Florida, too, right?$$Yes, yes.$$By James Weldon Johnson.$$Right, right. And kind of--and then Johnson Odibi, he came up with the idea of a, a kind of a running tile mural along the platform riser and abstract family design, like symbolizing the future, to go on the outside of the columns. And we were able to create a, a kind of a map and a, you know, artwork for the surface, write the text for the, the bronze plaques using a, a, a kind of a map and you know, artwork for the surface, write the text for the, the bronze plaques using Adinkra symbols from Ghana to kind of tell the story of the saga. So you know, starts with Sankofa, where we have to go back and get the history to, you know, get by the handcuffs is a symbol called Wawa Aba, the, the seed of the wawa tree that the symbol of hardness and toughness, ako- Akoma Ntoso is the linked hearts, this, the, the symbol for agreement and accord. And then the three famous ones, the Nkonsonkonson, the links of the chain, Gye Nyame, the symbol of the omnipotence of God, Mate Masie, the symbol of knowledge. There's a corner column that just explains the whole thing. And then we have two more, the Osram, the moon, the idea that, you know, the moon doesn't go around the earth in a day. This has to run its course; this too will pass. And then it ends up with the one that kind of affirms that, you know, there is a god in heaven; you know, we know this. And it, it relates to--there's a spiritual, I hear--what is it--, "I hear music in the air. I know there's a God somewhere," that--$$Yeah.$$--that--$$"Above my head," and--$$That's the one, yes. And I also on the plaque related it to this great proverb from Brazil that says--and you know, this is what would have fortified those people as well. But it says, "Don't tell God that you have a great problem. Tell your problem that you have a great God," you know. It's just--so, oh, and then the other feature we were able to put in was at the top rail of the fences, we actually have 295 solid iron pyramids, so there's one for each person, you know, so that as you go there, especially you know that, you know that, okay, these are, you know. And there are two additional ones for the two people who, when they were being taken out to the ship to be returned to Africa, two--one, one of the boats capsized, and two people died, was just swept away. So they're remembered there as well. And so that's the--and the whole, the whole overall theme of the monument [African Cemetery at Higgs Beach, Key West, Florida] sort of suggests that, as you look out over the water, you see water. But below the water there's this whole story that, that you know, lives there.

Geoffrey Canada

Nonprofit executive Geoffrey Canada was born on January 13, 1952 in South Bronx, New York to Mary Canada and McAlister Canada. Canada graduated from Wyandanch Memorial High School in Wyandanch, New York in 1970; and earned his B.A. degree in psychology and sociology from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in 1974. Canada received his M.S. degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1975.

Canada was hired as director of the Robert White School in Boston, Massachusetts in 1975. In 1983, he founded the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School, and became the education director and program director of the truancy prevention program at the Rheedlen Center for Children and Families. He was promoted to president and chief executive officer of the Rheedlen Center in 1990. Under his leadership, Rheedlen opened the first Beacon School at the Countee Cullen Community Center, and launched the Neighborhood Gold program, the Harlem Peacemakers Program, and the Harlem Children’s Zone initiative. The Rheedlen Center changed its name to Harlem Children’s Zone in 2002, and opened its first charter school in 2004. Impressed by Canada’s success with The Harlem Children’s Zone model, President Barack Obama announced in 2008 that he planned to replicate the program in thirty cities across the country. In 2014, Canada stepped down as chief executive officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone, retaining the title of president, he was succeeded by Anne Williams Isom who became chief executive officer.

Canada authored two books: Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Live of Boys in America. He was also the main subject of the 2010 film Waiting for Superman. Canada served on multiple boards for organizations including the Black Community Crusade for Children at the Children’s Defense Fund, the board of directors of the Fund for the City of New York and Foundation Center as well as in the capacity of co-chair of the New York Commission on Economic Opportunity in 2006, and the New York State Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board in 2007. He received multiple awards for his work including the Heinz Award in the Human Condition and the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award.

Canada and his wife, Yvonne Canada have four children: Melina, Jerry, Bruce, and Geoffrey, Jr.

Geoffrey Canada was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 12, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.144

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/12/2016

Last Name

Canada

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Wyandanch Memorial High School

Bowdoin College

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Morris High School

John Dwyer Junior High School #133

P.S. 99, Dimitrious Myers School

First Name

Geoffrey

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

CAN06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/13/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cherries

Short Description

Nonprofit executive Geoffrey Canada (1952 - ) founded the Harlem Children’s Zone, an initiative following the academic careers of children in a 24 block area of Harlem.

Employment

Camp Freedom

Robert White School

Rheedlen Center for Children and Families' Truancy Prevention Program

Harlem Children's Zone

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:249,11:581,16:1411,85:2656,159:3071,165:3403,170:3735,175:5976,213:6308,218:11620,297:12533,308:18214,371:19852,397:22426,452:22816,458:25390,523:33395,655:37362,683:39637,713:42913,772:50548,904:51052,910:52480,931:52900,937:56008,986:56428,992:58780,1039:62476,1066:62808,1071:63721,1084:64883,1103:65381,1110:65713,1115:67041,1141:71025,1216:73432,1261:86085,1430:86460,1437:86910,1450:89610,1545:101084,1755:101396,1760:102644,1780:109000,1816:114190,1879:120812,1972:128110,2061:130105,2106:130675,2113:134665,2158:138050,2169$0,0:440,20:4312,81:7580,114:20082,390:20646,397:28510,519:32540,696:33324,763:48880,949:49370,957:51960,1019:53360,1051:57070,1214:65608,1296:66211,1456:77744,1604:86389,1761:92980,1848:94684,1877:108622,2133:108934,2138:109792,2161:122022,2389:124198,2452:131121,2527:135275,2635:137419,2694:140233,2793:150211,2934:151862,2955:152394,2963:152698,2968:159714,3075:160634,3090:161002,3095:163118,3122:165786,3160:166246,3166:167442,3180:168362,3195:171306,3246:171674,3251:172042,3256:176550,3265:177630,3295:179502,3359:179862,3376:185046,3531:187638,3614:188142,3623:188574,3630:191454,3697:192102,3709:193542,3731:193974,3738:194334,3744:194766,3751:195054,3756:195486,3763:199032,3777:200208,3800:203736,3862:204240,3869:206340,3904:206676,3909:207012,3914:207348,3919:208356,3941:215947,3996:216601,4004:217037,4009:220089,4071:220743,4078:224296,4134:228655,4165:232584,4237:233404,4249:234798,4303:237586,4368:239390,4404:244020,4446:246900,4487:247220,4492:248580,4519:248900,4524:249300,4529:249860,4538:250980,4554:255160,4642:280037,4894:290441,5001:294567,5072:294891,5077:295296,5088:295782,5095:296187,5101:296916,5113:297564,5123:298455,5133:305650,5212:305950,5219:306500,5231:307460,5274
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Geoffrey Canada's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Canada lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Canada describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Canada remembers visiting his mother's community in Kinston, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Canada talks about his maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Canada talks about his mother's education and interests

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Canada remembers his mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Geoffrey Canada describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Geoffrey Canada remembers learning about his father's ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Geoffrey Canada recalls visiting the land where his paternal ancestors were enslaved

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Canada talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Canada describes his maternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Canada describes his maternal grandparents, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Canada recalls the basis of his short memoir, 'Cherries for My Grandma'

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Canada describes his mother's relationship with his maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Canada lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Geoffrey Canada recalls his experiences of violence in the South Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Geoffrey Canada talks about his older brother, John Canada

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Geoffrey Canada remembers the athleticism of his brother, John Canada

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Canada talks about his brother, Daniel Canada

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Canada recalls his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Canada remembers J.H.S. 133 in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Canada recalls his decision to move to Long Island, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Canada talks about his friendship with Michael Adams, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Canada talks about his friendship with Michael Adams, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Geoffrey Canada recalls hiring Michael Adams at the Harlem Children's Zone

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Geoffrey Canada recalls the basis of his short memoir, 'Cherries for My Grandma'
Geoffrey Canada talks about his friendship with Michael Adams, pt. 2
Transcript
Now I'm in high school [Wyandanch Memorial High School, Wyandanch, New York], and my grandmother [Canada's maternal grandmother, Lydia Pearson Williams] and I still have this wonderful sort of relationship; and I talk with her and try to understand her and she told me some of her, you know their challenges growing up [in Kinston, North Carolina] and but the, the thing about me and the cherries happened because and I actually--$$(Unclear).$$--wrote about this and, and actually I, I gave this as a talk and The New York Times ended up printing it as an op-ed. It's called 'Cherries for My Grandmother' ['Cherries for My Grandma,' Geoffrey Canada] was that the, the thing that my grandmother loved the most in life were cherries, but they were so expensive we couldn't afford to get a pound, and she didn't have money, right, I mean the money was to saving the house [in Wyandanch, New York], but she would sequester I will say fifty cents, and she would send me to the store to get fifty cents' worth of cherries and I would come back with those cherries and we just delighted in them and there was always just enough. So, we wished we could have eaten a lot more but we never could and I tell folks, I used to measure our summers by how good the cherries were, and we'd be like, "Aw, this is a great cherry summer, they're really all great this year." And my, and it wasn't even a fantasy but I was absolutely gonna do it. When I went away to college [Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine] and I graduated and got a job and I was gonna have money, I was gonna buy her a crate of cherries. I mean a whole crate, I could see them in the crate and I was gonna sit there and we were gonna eat cherries 'til we didn't want any more which we had never had that experience, and she died my sophomore year in college. Just, never happened. It's interesting to me the sort of love that folks have and when people say you know, I, I love my mother [Mary Williams Canada] and very close to her even 'til this day, but I spent those times with my grandmother and my grandfather [Leonard Williams, Sr.] and they really shaped a lot of my sort of belief structures growing up.$And I tell folk, my first interaction with a gun was when--we had this kid named Gregory [ph.] who said something nasty to one of the women who were on the block, who was a drunk and he said something you know, "You're drunk, or you're ugly or something." So, her nephew who was this huge guy, the guy was--the guy had to be about 6'4" and weighed maybe about 260 [pounds]. We hadn't seen people like that. He came in a car and he came up, we were all sitting on the side and I was fourteen now, maybe. I was--I had wanted then--maybe I was fourteen, thirteen and he said, "I'm looking for Gregory." Two guys then, you know a bunch of teenagers and they was like, "Why?" He said, "'Cause he said something about my aunt, I'm gonna kick his butt." He used a little stronger language, and they were like, "We don't know him." So, Gregory's there and the guy said, "No, I'm looking for this guy. Y'all gotta tell me where he is." And finally, Gregory says, "Here I am, I'm him." So, the guy said, "Now, you said that to my aunt, I'm gonna whip your--." So, Gregory's like, "Come on, let's fight." We knew Greg couldn't fight very well. Well, I was amazed, he gonna fight this huge guy. So, the guys were like, "Oh, this is gonna be good." So, he goes up, Gregory puts up his hands and this guy begins to smack him all over the street. He is so big, Gregory can't do nothing with the guy and then finally Mike [Michael Adams (ph.)] says, "Okay, that's enough." (Unclear) the other guy, "Look, that's enough." And the guy said, "No, that ain't enough. I'm not done." He said, "No, no that's enough, you won, you did your point." And the guy said, "No." So, it was about six of us on the fence. So, all six get up. Now, I'm the youngest one and these are teenagers. I'm like a little skinny kid. I'm like okay, there's six of us, this looks like we can win. This guy is huge, but I guess six against one, we can whip. The guy goes and he gets in his trunk, goes in his trunk and he take out a .22 [caliber] and he takes out the .22 and he says, "Back up." And I said, "This is over. That's enough, let's go sit back down. Let him beat up Gregory, we'll--." He didn't move, just didn't move. Here's the deal and, and Gregory's yelling, "Come on, I ain't (unclear), come on and fight me." The guy puts the gun in his pocket and starts fighting again, everybody gets closer to the guy. He pulls the gun out again. Now, Mike had told me one of these words of wisdom, "A real gangster you shouldn't worry about. They won't shoot you accidentally. It's a person who is scared who will shoot you. So, if you see somebody and you see they're scared with a gun, that's the person you have to be worried about, not a professional who does it for a living, they go stick up people, they--." So, I'm looking and the guy's hand is shaking with this gun and I'm thinking you know, someone's gonna die. Didn't no one back down, they took another step forward and the guy was gonna be forced to either shoot or get jumped and he just jumped in his car and he left and that, that kind of city bravery stuck with me and changed the way I thought about existence and whether or not your group will protect you. Now, this was before guns were around. Nowadays, somebody would have shot all those guys. They wouldn't have thought nothing of it, right. But they back then people didn't shoot folks with guns.$$This is like 1967?$$This is, yeah this is '67 [1967] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, right--$$It was just not, not--$$It was more of a fist thing.$$Yeah, it was more of a fist thing. This was really about fists and maybe a knife, but it really, the gun thing hadn't come in for another you know ten, twelve years before they became prolific, but that was the group and this guy Mike was my hero. He was just a guy who he wouldn't bother anybody, but he, nor would he ever back down from what he thought was a principle, and he both protected me and coached me and made me feel special. Now, I'll tell you a funny thing. You fast forward twenty years, I'm a grown man, I'm working, I come back to New York [New York]. I meet other people. You know what they said to me? "Mike saved me, I was the most special guy Mike--." I said, "No, you weren't the most, I was the most special." This guy was like, "No Mike, I was the most--." This guy had gone through life just reaching in, saving kids, convincing them that he saw something so special in them that they were gonna get out of this mess that was devastating our community. You, fast forward, I'm gonna be sixty-five in a month. Out of all the kids that I grew up with as friends, the guys--I know two who are alive today. One has cancer, and the other is waiting on a kidney transplant, everybody else is gone. Those streets in the Bronx [New York], they destroyed everybody. And some died young, some died middle age, but no one really got to be healthy, and sort of you know, their senior years it was just too devastating all of the stuff that people went through and so, that again when people think about why I wanted to recreate, right, a community. You get a toxic community, it will destroy everybody; and that's essentially what the South Bronx [Bronx, New York] was.

Sonny Rollins

Jazz composer and saxophonist Sonny Rollins was born on September 7, 1930 in New York City. His parents, immigrants from the U.S. Virgin Islands, raised him in Manhattan’s central Harlem and Sugar Hill neighborhoods. Rollins received his first alto saxophone at seven years old; and was heavily influenced by saxophonist Charlie Parker by the time he enrolled at Edward W. Stitt Junior High School. Rollins switched to tenor saxophone, and was mentored by pianist Thelonious Monk.

Upon graduating from high school, Rollins made his first recordings with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell, and Fats Navarro. He went on to record with such jazz legends as Miles Davis, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. In 1954, Rollins’ compositions “Oleo,” “Airegin,” and “Doxy” were featured on Miles Davis’ Bags' Groove. He later moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he became immersed in the jazz scene at Hyde Park’s Bee Hive club. When Clifford Brown and Max Roach’s band visited Chicago, Rollins was invited to join them, returning to New York City in the summer of 1956. After the tragic deaths of Brown and the band’s pianist, Rollins left the band to lead his own group, recording the acclaimed album Saxophone Colossus, which included Rollins’ calypso-inspired composition “St. Thomas.” In 1957, Rollins pioneered the use of bass and drums, without piano, as accompaniment for saxophone solos, a format later adopted by such band leaders like Lew Tabackin, Branford Marsalis, and Ornette Coleman. In 1958, he recorded Freedom Suite, which received a limited release before being repackaged by Riverside Records.

In 1959, Rollins spent two years practicing yoga and playing saxophone on the Williamsburg Bridge. In 1962, he released The Bridge, which was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. He also produced five other albums. Rollins experimented with free jazz and noise on East Broadway Run Down, released in 1962. He took another hiatus from 1969 to 1971, travelling to Jamaica and to an ashram in Powai, India. Rollins then began recording more R&B and funk-oriented tracks with Milestone Records, appearing at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and on The Tonight Show. In 1998, Rollins, a dedicated environmental advocate, released Global Warming.

Rollins recorded over sixty albums, and was the subject of many documentaries. He received numerous awards and honors, including the Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

Sonny Rollins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 3, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.113

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/3/2016

Last Name

Rollins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Organizations
Schools

P.S. 89

P.S. 46 Arthur Tappan School

I.S. 164 Edward W. Stitt Junior High School

Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics

First Name

Sonny

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

ROL03

Favorite Season

None

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

It's All Good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/7/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cauliflower

Short Description

Jazz composer and saxophonist Sonny Rollins (1930 - ) composed the jazz standards “Oleo,” “Airegin,” and “Doxy,” and released over sixty albums in his name, including Saxophone Colossus (1956) and Freedom Suite (1958).

Employment

Doxy Records

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sonny Rollins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sonny Rollins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sonny Rollins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sonny Rollins lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sonny Rollins describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sonny Rollins remembers his father's U.S. Navy career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sonny Rollins recalls his father's requests to be assigned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sonny Rollins describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sonny Rollins describes the sounds of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sonny Rollins remembers his early interest in blues music

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sonny Rollins recalls learning to play the saxophone

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sonny Rollins recalls the early influence of Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sonny Rollins recalls his requests for lessons from older jazz musicians

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sonny Rollins remembers joining Thelonius Monk's band

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sonny Rollins remembers the influence of a childhood prank, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sonny Rollins remembers the influence of a childhood prank, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sonny Rollins reflects upon the impact of his spirituality on his music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sonny Rollins talks about the prevalence of drugs in the jazz community

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sonny Rollins describes his imprisonment on Rikers Island in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sonny Rollins remembers his attempts to stop using heroin

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sonny Rollins describes the United States Narcotic Farm in Lexington, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sonny Rollins remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sonny Rollins remembers his efforts to avoid a drug relapse

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sonny Rollins recalls his return to the music scene

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sonny Rollins remembers moving to the Wabash Avenue YMCA in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sonny Rollins recalls traveling with the Clifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sonny Rollins talks about playing with the Clifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sonny Rollins remembers the deaths of Clifford Brown and Richie Powell

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sonny Rollins remembers the aftermath of the death of Clifford Brown

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sonny Rollins lists his early albums

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sonny Rollins remembers Miles Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sonny Rollins describes his first wife

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sonny Rollins describes the genres of his music

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sonny Rollins talks about his protest music

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sonny Rollins remembers his album, 'Freedom Suite'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sonny Rollins talks about his Mohawk hairstyle

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sonny Rollins remembers his first sabbatical from recording

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sonny Rollins recalls practicing on the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sonny Rollins recalls developing an interest in yoga

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sonny Rollins remembers his trip to India, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sonny Rollins remembers his trip to India, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sonny Rollins recalls playing the saxophone in India

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sonny Rollins describes his homes in New York

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sonny Rollins talks about his musical development in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sonny Rollins remembers playing with bagpiper Rufus Harley

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sonny Rollins recalls popularizing the unaccompanied saxophone solo

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sonny Rollins describes his media appearances

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sonny Rollins recalls his work to change the perceptions of jazz music

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sonny Rollins remembers recording with the Rolling Stones

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sonny Rollins talks about the Sonny Rollins International Jazz Archives

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sonny Rollins describes his album, 'Global Warming'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sonny Rollins remembers the attacks of September 11, 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sonny Rollins describes his performance after September 11, 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sonny Rollins remembers his wife's death

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sonny Rollins talks about Doxy Records

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sonny Rollins talks about contemporary jazz music

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sonny Rollins talks about jazz expression

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sonny Rollins talks about his idea of unity

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sonny Rollins reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sonny Rollins shares his advice to aspiring jazz artists

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sonny Rollins reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Sonny Rollins narrates his photographs

Robert Jackson

City council member Robert Jackson was born on December 18, 1950 in New York City to Zelma Jackson Chu. Jackson attended Walter J. Damrosch School and J.H.S. 120 Paul Lawrence Dunbar. In 1975, he received his B.A. degree in sociology from the State University of New York at New Paltz. That same year, Jackson moved to the Manhattan community of Washington Heights.

Jackson’s political career began in 1986, when he won a seat on New York City’s Community School Board 6. As president of the board, Jackson co-founded in 1993 the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. with Attorney Michael Rebell. Under the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Jackson sued the State of New York, arguing that the state did not provide adequate funds to serve the needs of New York City’s school children. In 1995, the New York Court of Appeals decided Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York in Jackson’s favor. Jackson accepted a position in 1993 as director of field services with the Public Employees Federation. In 2001, Jackson ran for a seat on the New York City Council and won, where he represented the constituents of the Washington Heights community and parts of Harlem. When Governor George Pataki brought Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York before the New York Court of Appeals in 2003, Jackson staged a march from New York City to the state capital of Albany. The Court of Appeals upheld the New York Supreme Court’s original decision, and the New York State legislature enacted the Education Budget and Reform Act in 2007. In 2011, Jackson staged another protest walk from New York City to Albany, New York to contest Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $1.5 billion cut to the New York State’s education budget. Jackson won re-election to the New York City Council twice, serving until 2013.

During his tenure as councilman, Jackson served as the only Muslim member of the council as well as the chair of the education committee in addition to serving on the finance, housing & buildings, land use, sanitation & solid waste management, and zoning & franchises committees.

A long time resident of New York City, Jackson’s wife, Faika Rifai Jackson, have two daughters.

Robert Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 1, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.111

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/1/2016

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

State University of New York at New Paltz

P.S. 186 Harlem

J.H.S. 120 Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics

P.S. 146, Edward J. Collins School

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

JAC37

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tanzania

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/18/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese

Short Description

City council member Robert Jackson (1950 - ) served on the New York City Council from 2001 to 2013, and founded the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

Employment

New York State Public Employees Federation Union

New York City Council

New York State Department of Labor

Favorite Color

Dark Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6290,33:7858,51:15507,149:16706,162:18886,190:20630,210:21175,216:26356,271:27076,283:27724,305:28948,329:30532,366:33052,421:33340,426:48540,729:48932,734:52068,791:53146,808:58340,962:59124,1032:88638,1522:104160,1760:109064,1864:110296,1896:110824,1903:122524,2076:136401,2163:136912,2172:137204,2177:141146,2260:143409,2308:143920,2321:145745,2360:147351,2393:157661,2543:159888,2559:168699,2766:175530,2823:183280,2891:183730,2901:184360,2909:194005,3125:194955,3137:202140,3258:205380,3329:213930,3437$0,0:3360,134:3948,142:5628,219:6216,227:14028,377:15288,417:20596,491:21140,501:24082,541:24366,546:27378,583:27693,589:28386,615:30024,652:31473,682:31725,687:33615,741:34182,752:34749,762:35001,767:35253,772:44890,860:45650,869:46315,878:48025,900:50115,929:50685,936:51255,944:52205,952:52775,960:55625,980:57715,1007:58380,1015:58855,1021:62590,1028:63182,1039:66808,1103:67252,1110:68510,1148:69472,1163:69916,1221:70360,1229:71100,1244:71470,1250:72506,1287:79325,1354:82565,1405:85724,1466:86048,1471:92204,1554:92609,1560:96898,1603:99274,1641:100242,1654:102090,1682:104378,1710:111027,1804:111645,1812:113602,1842:114323,1851:129410,1985:132296,2055:133910,2079:137118,2119:137566,2127:138718,2145:139038,2151:139550,2160:149760,2228:149960,2236:154552,2329:155872,2347:156334,2356:156664,2365:157522,2383:158182,2395:166354,2493:166886,2501:169933,2516:170360,2524:171480,2530:191115,2750:192320,2755:193320,2777:195970,2791:197160,2812:197650,2820:198910,2852:199680,2876:200170,2884:200520,2890:200800,2895:201080,2900:201360,2922:202900,2955:204510,2999:215445,3209:215919,3216:221824,3334:222219,3340:227038,3417:228539,3443:231706,3450:233638,3482:234259,3492:234880,3525:239089,3717:241987,3758:242608,3779:246886,3882:261886,4081:263578,4107:264518,4120:269360,4174:274024,4242:275168,4263:278780,4299:279060,4306:280480,4323
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Jackson talks about his father figures

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Jackson describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Jackson describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Jackson describes his mother's migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Jackson describes his mother's relationship with his father figures

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Jackson remembers the Harlem neighborhood of New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Jackson talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Jackson describes his siblings' racial backgrounds

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Jackson talks about growing up in a multiracial family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Jackson describes the Sugar Hill section of New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Jackson remembers moving to the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Jackson describes his experiences at Benjamin Franklin High School in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Jackson recalls his early work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Jackson remembers visiting Chinatown with his stepfather

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Jackson remembers his commute to Benjamin Franklin High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Jackson describes his decision to attend the State University of New York at New Paltz

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Jackson remembers fracturing his wrist

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Jackson remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Jackson describes his experiences at the State University of New York at New Paltz

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Jackson remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Jackson recalls working as an insurance investigator for the State of New York, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Jackson recalls working as an insurance investigator for the State of New York, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Jackson describes his role in the New York State Public Employees Federation

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Robert Jackson remembers his first campaign for New York City Council

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Jackson talks about his conversion to Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Jackson remembers the birth of his first daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Jackson describes his introduction to education activism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Jackson recalls his presidency of the New York City Community School Board District 6

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Jackson remembers founding the Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Jackson describes the Campaign for Fiscal Equity's lawsuit against the State of New York, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Jackson describes the Campaign for Fiscal Equity's lawsuit against the State of New York, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Jackson talks about Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Jackson reflects upon the outcome of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Jackson describes the funding of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Jackson reflects upon the outcome of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Jackson reflects upon the state of public education in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Jackson talks about his political and civic involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Jackson talks about the challenges facing public schools

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert Jackson talks about the charter school movement

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Jackson talks about the purpose of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Jackson reflects upon the presidential election of 2016

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Jackson describes his campaigns for Manhattan borough president and the New York State Senate

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Jackson talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Jackson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Jackson reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Jackson shares his advice for aspiring politicians

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Jackson reflects upon his experiences as a Muslim politician

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert Jackson talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Robert Jackson reflects upon his life, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Robert Jackson recalls his early work experiences
Robert Jackson describes the Campaign for Fiscal Equity's lawsuit against the State of New York, pt. 2
Transcript
So what were you like as a kid?$$Always willing to work to earn money (laughter). Because when you're growing up with nine, and you're growing up on welfare, you know, you have to earn your keep. So I used to, going back in Harlem [New York, New York], I used to collect bottles and return them in to get money or carry people's groceries. I used to go to store for people. Sundays I used to sell newspapers. And then in high school [Benjamin Franklin High School; Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, New York, New York], I used to work at Rob's Barbeque and Grocery Store [ph.], you know, doing the cashier, putting stuff on the shelf, doing--fixing chicken and what have you and so forth. And I remember one incident when working the barbeque pit and this guy came in, you know, they had, we're, we're on St. Nicholas Avenue between 148th [Street] and 149th Street and they had--they had the 400 bar [400 Tavern, New York, New York] on 148th Street, they had another bar 721 [Silver Dollar, New York, New York] and then they had the Pink Angel [New York, New York], so there were three bars within one block. So a guy came in, I think he was a little drunk, and he asked for a pound of ribs. So I get the ribs, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, barbeque sauce, the bread on top, put it in the bag. "There you go sir, a pound of ribs." He said, "I didn't ask for a pound of ribs, I wanted a half a pound." I said, "No sir, you asked for a pound of ribs." "I wanted a half a pound of ribs." So Rob [ph.], the owner, said, "Bobby [HistoryMaker Robert Jackson] don't argue with the customer, he want a half pound give--," and he took it and he, "Don't argue with the customer, the customer is always right." Man got a half a pound of ribs, let me tell you that. He didn't want you to argue with the customers. And so that's a lesson to be learned. Don't argue with the customers, customer is always right. If you argue with the customer, you may lose a customer for life.$$Well, that's good advice.$$So anyway, so, you know, earning a living was very important, you know, with nine kids you make some money then you have spending money to buy you--$$And, and when you made money, was part--like a, a southern rule in many houses--$$(Laughter).$$--that you bring part of that money home to your mama. Was that part of your family's rule?$$No, I don't think that was a family rule. Whatever money we earned, we earned ourselves. Obviously if there was a need and she asked, you gave. If not, she took it (laughter). No, but I don't remember that at all and that was not really an issue for us because, you know, my mom [Zelma Jackson Chu] was married to my dad and so he was there, and then also my other dad [James Rudd], so.$$Did he contribute to the household, your other dad?$$Yeah, for sure, yeah. That's why he was like a--because my father, Eddie [Jackson's stepfather, Eddie Chu], after the Chinese laundry where he was a partner which was in the neighborhood at 155th Street near 8th Avenue [Frederick Douglass Boulevard], then he went to go work in a Chinese restaurant on Long Island [New York]. And so would be working all week and come home on weekends.$$So did the, did the laundry close?$$Yeah, I don't, I don't really know what happened. I mean it's not there now. It subsequently closed, but you know, I don't know whether or not his partnership or shares he had in it, I don't know the details of what happened there.$(Simultaneous) Now mind you we filed the lawsuit [Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York] in '93 [1993].$$Um-hm.$$It took us several years to get to the highest court [New York State Court of Appeals], and the highest court ruled in 1995, so it took two years to get to the highest court. Sent us back to the court [New York State Supreme Court] and I remember asking Michael Rebell [Michael A. Rebell], "So Michael, how soon do you think that we're gonna go to trial?" And he said about two years. And I said, "It'll probably take four years." 'Cause even when the lawsuit going back when we were getting ready to start the lawsuit I said to Michael, "Michael I wanna see some results and when my youngest Sumaya [Sumaya Jackson], before she graduates from high school." And when did it finally end, when my youngest daughter was in college. It took thirteen years of litigation to win the case, thirteen years. So the bottom line is that we went to trial in 1999 under Justice Leland DeGrasse, a supreme court judge, black, his parents are from the Caribbean who went to Catholic school, St. John's University [Queens, New York], Howard University law school [Howard University School of Law, Washington D.C.] came to work in Harlem Legal Services [New York, New York] and he wind up being the judge that handled the case. And he ruled in our favor. And we filed it on two claims, one that the State of New York was discriminating against the City of New York children, 84 percent children of color, okay, in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act [Civil Rights Act of 1964]. And number two, they were disc- they were cheating the children out of billions of dollars in the formula that they were shortchanging New York City [New York, New York]. That's our two claims. So when we went to trial, the judge ruled in our favor in January of 2001, ruled in our favor. And of course, the state appealed it to the Appellate Division, huh. And the Appellate Division, First Department [First Judicial Department], 25th Street and Madison Avenue, in their ruling said, no the state is only obligated to educate children equal to sixth grade in reading and eight grade in math. That's what they said to us. And I said to Michael Rebell, I said, "Michael, I know that when we filed this appeal to the highest court they cannot agree that the state is only obligated to educate our children equal to sixth grade in reading and eighth grade in math." So, we, we appealed it to the highest court. And the highest court ruled in our favor. I think that may have been 2001 or 2003. Anyway, I, I said to Michael, "We gonna--when we go to Albany [New York], I'm gonna walk all the way to Albany." And so from May 1st, 2003 to May 8th, I along with initially hundreds of people walked from 25th Street and Madison Avenue, the Appellate Division, First Department of the supreme court that said that our children are only obligated to sixth grade in reading and eighth grade in math, we walked from there all the way to the highest court in Albany, 150 miles. And we walked all the way up Broadway and mind you, the, the lawsuit started in District 6 [New York City Community School District 6] with our school board [New York City Community School Board District 6] and so up in District 6 they had thousands of students out of every school in District 6 on Broadway cheering us on. And mind you in the initial start, the chancellor was there, city councilmembers were there, education advocates were there that walked with us, so people walked some distance. Mind you, I was already in the city council [New York City Council] at the time--$$I was gonna say, because you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I was city council.$$--'cause it's going on so long--$$Right, I was elected to the city council January 2002. So I was a member of the city council. I was a member of the education committee [Committee on Education]. I chaired the contracts committee. So we walked all the way to Albany. Eight days, and the theme was, Walk a Mile for a Child. That was the theme of the walk. And we've talked to people, I've said this is, you know, you have to be able to engage people. I said Michael Rebell is the brains and I'm the brawns, and together we can't be beat. And that was the theme of it, Walk a Mile for a Child.

Jill Nelson

Journalist and author Jill Nelson was born on June 14, 1952 in Harlem, New York to dentist Stanley Earl Nelson and librarian A'Lelia Nelson. Nelson attended Solebury School, a boarding high school in New Hope, Pennsylvania; and went on to earn her B.A. degree in English and African American studies from the City College of New York in 1977, and M.S. degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1980.

Nelson worked as a freelance journalist for various New York periodicals until 1986, when she accepted a staff position at the Washington Post and headed the new Sunday magazine. She left the Post in 1990 and pursued a career as a freelance writer once again. She wrote the screenplay for PBS-TV’s Mandela in 1985, and Two Dollars and a Dream in 1989. In addition, she authored the screenplay for the U.S. Department of Education’s Michael’s Journal in 1991. From 1998 to 2003, Nelson worked as a professor of journalism at the City College of New York.

She contributed to numerous publications throughout her career, including The New York Times, Essence, The Washington Post, The Nation, Ms., the Chicago Tribune, the Village Voice, USA Today, USA Weekend, and msnbc.com. Nelson also served as a lecture on many occasions and was a monthly contributor to the Op Ed page of USA Today. She also hosted numerous writing workshops. In 1993, Nelson published her best-selling memoir, Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience, which won an American Book Award. She also authored Straight, No Chaser: How I Became A Grown-Up Black Woman, which was published in 1997, Finding Martha’s Vineyard: African Americans at Home on an Island, published in 2005, and the novels Sexual Healing and Let’s Get It On, which were published in 2003 and 2009, respectively. Nelson also edited Police Brutality: An Anthology, which was published in 2000. She was named the Washington, D.C. Journalist of the Year at The Washington Post in honor of her contributions to journalism.

Nelson and her husband, Flores Alexander Forbes, have a daughter and two grandsons.

Jill Nelson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 11, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.085

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/11/2016

Last Name

Nelson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

City College of New York

Solebury School

New Lincoln School

First Name

Jill

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

NEL03

Favorite Season

Season

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Matha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

I'm Done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/14/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Author and journalist Jill Nelson (1952 - ) wrote for The Washington Post Magazine, Village Voice and Essence. She also authored several books, including the National Bestseller Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience; and the novels Sexual Healing and Let’s Get It On.

Employment

The City College of New York

NiaOnline.com

MSNBC.com

The Washington Post

USA Weekend

ESSENCE Magazine

The Village Voice

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jill Nelson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson talks about cases of police brutality

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson describes her maternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson talks about racial identity

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson describes her maternal grandparents, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson talks about her maternal grandparents' community in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson talks about her parents' education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson talks about her paternal uncle, Howard Nelson, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson describes her parents' decision to move to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson lists the places where her family lived in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson remembers her childhood in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson recalls the political climate in New York City during the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson remembers her early experiences of watching television

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jill Nelson talks about her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jill Nelson remembers her parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Jill Nelson describes her mother's career as a librarian

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson describes her teenage years in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson remembers her relationship with her high school teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson talks about raising her daughter

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson remembers her early interest in writing

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson describes her master's thesis, 'The Dope Kids of 115th Street'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson remembers her freelance career at Essence magazine, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson remembers her freelance career at Essence magazine, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson talks about supporting her daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson recalls the journalistic challenges she faced at Essence magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson remembers being hired at The Washington Post Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson recalls her experiences as a staff writer at The Washington Post Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her daughter's high school education in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson remembers the stories that she covered for The Washington Post Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson talks about her work in investigative journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson recalls her departure from The Washington Post Magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson describes the responses to her book, 'Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson describes her teaching career at the City College of New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson talks about her career as an author

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson describes her recent novels

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her activism

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson talks about President Donald John Trump's campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson reflects upon the Black Lives Matter movement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson shares her advice to aspiring journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
Jill Nelson remembers her early experiences of watching television
Jill Nelson describes her master's thesis, 'The Dope Kids of 115th Street'
Transcript
And you know, then Nixon [President Richard Milhous Nixon] came. Let me say too about growing up in that time, is what I remember. I feel this way to this day that when--I can remember coming home in '63 [1963] in November, November 22nd and the TV being on. And we had been dismissed from school [New Lincoln School, New York, New York] because Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] had been shot. But the TV being--my mother [A'Lelia Ransom Nelson] never had the TV on during the day. She was always out or busy or doing something. She--we weren't T- you know, TV was kind of like not as ubiquitous or as acceptable as it is now to so many people. But I can remember the TV being on. It was the news reporting about Kennedy's assassination. And then I can remember that happening again in '65 [1965] with Malcolm X: the TV being on. And then I can remember it happening again with Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]. So in a way that's a soundtrack of (pause) part of my growing up and a sign that something's wrong, you know. And I think I have a really ambivalent relationship with television in general, and I think a lot of it is because of that. Because when the TV was on during the day, there was no good to come of it. And at--in those days, there were--you hardly saw--that when saw--you hardly saw any black people on TV; and when you did it was a family affair. You know, it was like, "Come on, come on, you know, So and So is on 'The Dinah Shore Show,' you know. "Nat King Cole is on 'Perry Como' ['The Perry Como Show']," you know, and who cared about, you know, you didn't matter if you knew, you were just so happy to see black people, you know, looking pretty and being the star of the show. And that was it, you know, we didn't watch T- it wasn't like now. TV was not ubiquitous.$$And when the TV was on with each of these assassinations, were the kids brought to look or was it just on and--and?$$Oh we were brought to look. I mean we went in and my mother sat there and talked to us about what happened, and then my father [Stanley Nelson, Sr.] came home from the office and he talked about what happened. Then we had dinner or they talked about it and we were always really--it wasn't hidden from us. But I--in retrospect, I mean I think they probably were challenged as we all are with how do we explain the world to our children and not break their spirits. And I think my parents being civically active was one way that they did that for us, you know. My mother raised funds, she was on the board of the Studio Museum [Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York] (makes sounds). You know, she was always doing something besides taking care of yourself and your own, because your own is this larger group. And my guess would be that that's one of the things that brought them together, you know.$And so, when you graduated from City College [City College of New York, New York, New York], what did you do next?$$I started freelancing. I had occasional part time jobs. I worked on a--as an interviewer for a project that was trying to figure out--get statistics on sterilization abuse; you know, which was a kind of door to door job. I worked for the Black Theatre Alliance [Black Theatre Alliance of New York] for their newspaper for a while, you know, maybe a four month stint there. Picked up whatever I really could. Freelance, you know, someone would start a little magazine, I'd so something, made really no serious money. But I wrote--I had column and wrote for the newspaper when I was at City. So I had done that. And then I decided to go to the journalism school.$$At Columbia?$$Um-hm.$$And so, you went there when, in '78 [1978]?$$Seventy-nine [1979].$$Seventy-nine [1979].$$I graduated in '80 [1980].$$Okay, it's a one year program.$$Yeah.$$And so what did you--going to Columbia School of Journalism [Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York, New York], what did you hope that you were gonna get out of being in that program?$$(Pause) You know, a leg up, some connections. It seemed like the thing was so closed, and someone had told me, I don't remember who it was, but they said you--it opens doors. Because when they have to interview people, they're gonna wanna interview people who went to the same school they did, these you know, people who are running things and hiring people. And if they have to interview black people or people of color, and women, it gives you--it puts you in the door. It might get you in the door, so that--$$Right.$$--it was that. And I would say I got that out of it.$$Yeah, you know, it--it's interesting when people have had a freelance career already going into that particular school too exactly what you described is--it's usually strategic?$$Yeah, it was definitely strategic, it was definitely strategic. You know, I kind of--I knew what I wanted to do when I went there, I knew what I wanted to do my thesis on, you know.$$Which was?$$It was called 'The Dope Kids of 115th Street'; and it was about these kids on 115th Street between 7th [Avenue] and 8th [Avenue]--now Adam C.- Clayton Powell [Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard] and Frederick Douglass [Frederick Douglass Boulevard]--who sold like a million dollars' worth of heroin a week on--off this block, you know.$$And they let you track them?$$You know they did. They--the pe- I met a woman who lived in the building where they--where they hung out outside the building, and she was really nice to me. And I think after a while--I just would go every day, you know and at first like, "Oh you from Eyewitness News?" You know, "Yeah we're gonna be on TV." And then I think they--I just became like a bump on the log. You know, they sor- it didn't ma- you know, I--I became invisible or maybe I became visible in a different type of way. So I knew I wanted to do that. Again, to tell a story that I didn't feel was being told. You know, 'cause they were smart, I mean they were smart. They had a great business going and they had the lookouts, they had all these people organized by age to avoid the Rock- because of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. They were using people under eighteen [years old] to do certain types of work. I mean they were slick. They had lookouts, you know, you really--makes you, you know it's the old story that we know where it makes you think, gee what would these people be doing if they went to MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] or City College [City College of New York, New York, New York].$$Did you get that published?$$Yeah, it was in the Village Voice. And in terms of contacts, Wayne Barrett and Jack Newfield came to speak to my class. And afterward I went up to them and pushed my way through my other--through my classmates and said, you know, "I really wanna write for the Voice and I love both of your work," which was true, and they said. "What are you doing your thesis on," and I told them. They said, "Oh let us know when you're finished, we'd love to see it." So that really--boom; and I think I gra- I graduated in May and I think that was published in July on the cover. So that was a wonderful--$$Entree.$$Yes, abso- absolutely.

The Honorable Doris Bunte

State representative and city official Doris Bunte was born on July 2, 1933 in New York City to Evelyn Johnson Brown and Herbert Brown. She attended Food Trades Vocational High School, but left before receiving her diploma. In 1953, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts with her three children, and earned her G.E.D. in 1968. Bunte enrolled in Harvard University in 1978, where she earned a certificate in environmental studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and her M.A. degree in education in 1982.

Upon her arrival in Boston, Bunte joined the Barcolene Company. She moved to the Orchard Park Housing Projects, where she joined the maintenance management council and co-founded the Boston Public Housing Tenants Policy Council. In 1969, Bunte was nominated to the Boston Housing Authority board, making her the first public housing tenant to serve. She was dismissed from the Boston Housing Authority board in 1971 by Mayor Kevin H. White, but was reinstated by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. In 1973, she was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, becoming the first African American woman to serve in the Massachusetts legislature. There, Bunte helped found the Massachusetts Legislative Black Caucus and the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. After twelve years as a representative, she left the Massachusetts legislature to become the director of the Boston Housing Authority, where she headed public housing integration efforts. Bunte left the Boston Housing Authority in 1992, and began working for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University and the Boston University School of Public Health, where she continued tenant-focused activist work. Bunte retired in 2010.

She held positions on the National Rent Board and in the National Tenants Organization. She also served on the Critical Minority Affairs Committee and the National Association of Housing and Development, as well as the Citizens Housing and Planning Association. Bunte received recognition for her contributions, including being featured in a mural at the historic Alvah Kittredge House and in an exhibit called “Portraits in Black: Gaining Ground, Holding Office” in the Museum of African American History, Boston and Nantucket in 2004.

Doris Bunte was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 19, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.105

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/19/2016

Last Name

Bunte

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Food Trades Vocational High School

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Boston University Metropolitan College

University of Massachusetts Boston

First Name

Doris

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BUN05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Being Poor Is Not The Result Of A Flaw In Character.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

7/2/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

State representative and city official Doris Bunte (1933 - ) was the first African American elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where she served for twelve years. She was also the director of the Boston Housing Authority for seven years.

Employment

Massachusetts State Government

Boston Housing Authority

Northeastern University

Knowledge is Power Training Program

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:948,17:1501,27:2291,38:3476,52:4898,80:10406,194:10774,199:14738,244:15794,278:18434,314:19138,324:20370,342:21074,352:22394,371:23714,394:25034,417:30148,429:31028,440:31908,456:41726,564:49764,605:50244,611:51108,621:53628,635:58204,670:58552,675:66814,764:75295,846:83992,926:84510,934:85028,943:88404,988:94274,1052:104980,1141:108070,1173:108482,1178:109306,1189:109718,1194:110748,1210:117170,1267:119900,1287:127460,1344:127780,1349:128500,1359:128820,1364:129220,1370:130420,1401:151992,1627:157780,1676:163467,1736:164606,1758:165477,1775:166080,1785:173078,1818:192050,1961:197382,2037:206620,2093:207050,2099:207480,2105:208168,2116:210490,2154:211006,2161:213500,2207:224725,2338:237273,2418:238164,2443:239379,2465:247448,2566:250304,2606:250640,2611:251060,2617:251984,2630:262550,2680:263340,2691$0,0:5162,85:15590,362:21276,423:22204,433:35723,622:54037,739:56578,790:57271,802:60351,858:61891,883:82504,1085:83777,1107:84045,1112:86517,1124:86922,1130:87489,1141:88866,1226:102843,1426:107246,1449:112044,1511:124680,1625:125080,1631:125400,1636:135080,1758:135360,1763:142310,1848:150890,1929:153830,1961:154460,1968:157740,1998
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Doris Bunte's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Bunte lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Bunte talks about her mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Bunte lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her community on the East Side of New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Doris Bunte talks about the increase of crime in East Harlem

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her experiences at Food Trades Vocational High School in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers the music and entertainment of her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls her mother's connection to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers leaving high school to care for her children

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls moving to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls how she came to work at the Barcolene Company

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers reuniting with her children

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls moving to the Orchard Park Housing Projects in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls volunteering at the Hattie B. Cooper Community Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls her start as a tenant organizer in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers earning her GED

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Bunte talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers joining the board of the Boston Housing Authority

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls firing the executive director of the Boston Housing Authority

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers her legal battle with Mayor Kevin White

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls her later interactions with Mayor Kevin White

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers her first campaign for the Massachusetts Legislature

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers the founding of the Massachusetts Legislative Black Caucus

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls the struggle to elect an African American to the Massachusetts Senate

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Bunte talks about the white politicians in Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Bunte reflects upon her success as a politician

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers the busing crisis in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers the busing crisis in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls cofounding the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Bunte talks about her life partner

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Bunte talks about her focus on housing issues

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers her admission to the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Bunte talks about her doctoral thesis

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls her appointment as director of the Boston Housing Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls her challenges as director of the Boston Housing Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers prioritizing maintenance of public housing facilities

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her encounters with the media as director of the Boston Housing Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Doris Bunte remembers the desegregation lawsuit against the Boston Housing Authority

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her experiences at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls founding the Community Committee for Health Promotion at Boston University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her concerns for public housing, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Doris Bunte describes her concerns for public housing, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Doris Bunte reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Doris Bunte reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Doris Bunte narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls firing the executive director of the Boston Housing Authority
The Honorable Doris Bunte recalls cofounding the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators
Transcript
So here you are, this is a tremendous opportunity. What did you start to do in that position (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Okay. So, so, so this is an important part of my life. So this is what happened. I was put on the board. So Julie Bernstein [Julius Bernstein], who already availed himself of tenants' needs and desires is on the board and John Connolly, the first tenant is on the board and, so I make a majority of interested parties who are interested in the needs and desires of the residents. So finally our dream has come true, we have a tenant oriented majority. And, so we churn out these different policies, and nothing changes. And we churn out more policies, and nothing changes. And, so (laughter) I'm dealing with the tenants at night when I go home who are saying, "What the heck are you guys doing? We thought now that we had you--," and of course, don't let me understate the fact that we are dealing with six unions as board members, but we're still the majority of the board. So we finally--when I, when I was elec- when I was appointed to the board, the mayor [Kevin White] said--well, he didn't say but what he told the group was that he'd like us to hire this man as our executive director. His name was Dan Finn. And, so our first action when I went on the board was the hiring of Dan Finn, so when we kept coming up with these policies and we didn't see any changes, we call in Dan Finn and we say, "Dan, what the heck is going on? We don't see any wonderful changes in things at the public housing level." And this goes back and forth. We fight off and on with Dan for close to a year. And then we called the mayor and tell the mayor we're going to fire Dan Finn. Well, we didn't say it that way. We said we needed him to do something about Dan Finn. He called Julie Bernstein into his office and he said to Julie, I recognize this is hearsay today, "If it's too hot, get out the kitchen." But he didn't call John Connolly in because John is a gubernatorial appointee, not a mayoralty appointee, so he calls me in, and this is what he said, among other things, he said, "People think I'm not political enough because I don't take twelve blacks out on the corner and flog them each day."$$That's his actual--$$No, those were his words, honest to God. Those were his words. And then he said, "Look kid, do me a favor. Help me out on this, fight me or resign." And that meant keep Dan Finn even though he wasn't changing the policies. Well, that wasn't going to happen. And, so the next day, we had a scheduled board meeting with the media present to talk about spending the money. And instead I fired Dan Finn forthwith on television.$So all this has been, this drama that's going on--in '75 [1975], you were one of the founders of the Caucus of Women Legislators [Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators], right?$$Yeah, it took a little longer to have the women's caucus than it did the black caucus [Massachusetts Legislative Black Caucus; Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus]. People of co- of color--I mean, the ties that bind people of color are different than the ties that bind women. And, so it was not a question for the black caucus to become the black caucus. But with the women--and we tried to do it the same year we did the black caucus or our first year there. But with the women, there's this business about class and (laughter)--I don't know, all kinds of things. I mean, people have to look at one another and then they have to decide, you know, is this person of a class that I would want to be--I mean, women find such crazy ways to look at one another, far less now than they used to. Back then, it was a very big deal and, so we've--and then there were some issues where even people of color can't come together or black people. I mean, there may be some issue. I don't know what it would be, but there may be some issue where we don't agree. I don't, I don't--can't tell you one, but with women, there are definitely issues where you just can't agree and, so you'll use that as a reason not to come together as a group. One such issue could be, for example, the death penalty. Another such issue might be abortions. So I mean, there are things that divide women, and I can't think to tell you the truth of an issue that might divide the bl- members of the black caucus. There may be an issue we don't agree on, but I can't think of an issue that might divide us. But with women, it's different and, so it took a while. We had to find enough issues we could work together on so that, you know, we would have an opportunity to work together on things that were positive and we did.

Whoopi Goldberg

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson on November 13, 1955 in Manhattan, New York to Emma Harris Johnson and Robert James Johnson. Goldberg’s mother raised her as a single parent in the Chelsea-Eliot Houses public housing project. Goldberg attended St. Columba Catholic School in Chelsea, New York and Washington Irving High School.

Goldberg studied with theater teacher Uta Hagen at HB Studio in New York City during the 1970s before moving to Berkeley, California, where she performed with the Blake Street Hawkeyes, an experimental theater group. In the early 1980s, Goldberg began developing The Spook Show, a one-woman series of character monologues. She eventually took the show to the Dance Theater Workshop in New York, where director Mike Nichols asked her to perform on Broadway. Renamed Whoopi Goldberg, the show with Goldberg caught the eye of Steven Spielberg during its 1984 to 1985 run, who cast her in the starring role of Celie in the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Goldberg went on to appear in the 1990 film Ghost, for which she won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1992, Goldberg starred as Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act, reprising her role in the 1993 film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. The highest paid actress at the time, Goldberg went on to appear in The Long Walk Home (1990), Ghosts of Mississippi (1990), the South African film Sarafina! (1992), Made in America (1993), The Lion King (1994), Eddie (1996), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) and Girl, Interrupted. From 1998 to 2002, Goldberg executive produced and appeared on the popular game show, Hollywood Squares. A lifelong Star Trek fan, Goldberg appeared in the recurring role of Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Goldberg has authored numerous bestselling books for children and adults, including Book and the Sugar Plum Ballerinas series. In 2007, Goldberg became a moderator on the morning talk show The View alongside Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck. She has continued acting throughout the 2000s and 2010s, appearing in films such as For Colored Girls (2010), Big Stone Gap (2014), and Nobody’s Fool (2018). She has produced numerous projects for television and stage.

Goldberg has received Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar awards, making her the first African American to receive all four awards. In 2017, she was named a Disney legend by the Walt Disney Company.

Goldberg has one daughter, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Whoopi Goldberg was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.051

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/5/2016

Last Name

Goldberg

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

St. Columba Catholic School

Washington Irving High School

First Name

Whoopi

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

GOL05

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Fuck It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/12/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Potato Chips

Short Description

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg (1955 - ) was the first African American to receive all four Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar awards.

Employment

HBO Studios

Huson Guild Community Center

Various

Comic Relief, Inc.

One Ho Production

Slimfast

Lyceum Theatre

ABC's The View

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:836,19:7376,100:8816,123:9488,132:9872,137:14192,270:28693,420:29049,531:31363,571:42090,752:53708,833:75172,1061:92150,1239:98050,1325:99254,1355:106747,1491:111059,1597:111444,1603:112137,1613:112522,1619:121770,1742:135584,2010:145620,2152:151139,2230:151832,2241:152228,2246:152723,2284:153911,2326:160678,2390:161014,2395:161434,2401:165298,2448:170565,2566:174398,2604:178357,2714:181470,2738:181908,2745:182419,2782:184828,2811:185193,2817:185485,2822:192330,2886$0,0:2812,43:3108,48:3848,81:8658,202:9102,222:49595,783:50195,792:50720,801:51395,812:51770,818:52520,833:53495,845:53945,853:54245,858:63331,929:91438,1251:91977,1259:94980,1318:107174,1458:108097,1484:110227,1566:117498,1637:119844,1660:129100,1774:130780,1811:135100,1881:136940,1909:137260,1914:147770,2056:148730,2079:150960,2085:151443,2094:151719,2099:152478,2135:153582,2163:156618,2232:156894,2237:158205,2284:161586,2345:168228,2397:168524,2402:169782,2426:172372,2481:174814,2547:175110,2552:176442,2580:176812,2587:177108,2592:177848,2607:178292,2614:178810,2623:194552,2858:195956,2888:198062,2946:198998,2971:209590,3055:209858,3060:210193,3066:215312,3086:217626,3120:218160,3127:222877,3244:224301,3266:228120,3272:234765,3393:235215,3400:235815,3409:237765,3440:245927,3625:248566,3653:249385,3676:268947,3954:278760,4074:279155,4080:282860,4101:292760,4444:299407,4513:300718,4548:306997,4694:307963,4717:318790,4853
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Whoopi Goldberg's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Whoopi Goldberg lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her childhood in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers her mother's nervous breakdown

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls her relationship with her family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Whoopi Goldberg talks about her education in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her relationship with her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers her early influences

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her schools in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers her marriage and the birth of her daughter

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her training as an actor

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers moving to California

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls the Deloux School of Cosmetology in San Diego, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls a lesson from her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers the San Diego Repertory Company

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls moving to San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls performing in East Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls her inspiration for 'The Spook Show'

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls her invitation to Dance Theater Workshop in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers writing to Alice Walker about 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls the early success of 'The Spook Show'

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers performing 'The Spook Show' on Broadway

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls being cast in 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her performance at Steven Spielberg's theater

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls the production of 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Whoopi Goldberg talks about her writing process

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Whoopi Goldberg talks about her daughter and family

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Whoopi Goldberg talks about her upcoming projects

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her career

Tape: 2 Story: 17 - Whoopi Goldberg explains why she agreed to be interviewed

Tape: 2 Story: 18 - Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 2 Story: 19 - Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her life

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$1

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Whoopi Goldberg remembers writing to Alice Walker about 'The Color Purple'
Whoopi Goldberg remembers her mother's nervous breakdown
Transcript
In the interim, my daughter and I are driving around in our Volkswagen van, which weighs, you know, like tissue paper. So when the wind blows, you know, you're hold it, sliding around. And she and I were going to buy--I'd gotten some money for my birthday and we were going to buy her shoes. And we had NPR [National Public Radio] on, I think, and we turned it on and heard this woman doing this reading. And it was just amazing. And, you know, I'm driving and I'm listening, and I say to Alex [Alex Martin], "This is kind of amazing story, huh?" She says, "Can we listen to it?" I was like, "Yeah, should we pull over?" She said, "Yeah, yeah, let's pull--." So we pulled over. And it was Alice [Alice Walker] doing a partial reading of 'The Color Purple' [Alice Walker]. And so (laughter), Alex said, "Can we, can we get this book? Can we buy the book?" I said, "Well, we're going to buy shoes." She said, "Can we do both?" I said, "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know if we can." So we didn't get the shoes that she said that she wanted, that I saved for her to get. We got shoes that she wasn't really that interested in, and we got 'The Color Purple.' So we read it, she and I read it together. And when it was done, I, I just, you know, I wrote a letter to the, to the back of the book, the, you know, they tell you where the offices are. So I wrote a, wrote a letter to Alice Walker. I said, my name is [HistoryMaker] Whoopi Goldberg, and I work in Berkeley, California, and this is what I do, and here's some of my work, 'cause I'd been doing Moms Mabley. I--all these different shows that, you know, 'cause you're trying to hone your skills. And, you know, I've never made a movie before, but if they ever make a movie of this, I'd be happy to play the dirt on the floor. Whoopi Goldberg. So now, I get this invitation, you know, weeks later to come and I--oh, and I say, I'm going to New York [New York]. I, I--yes, I think I'm cheeky enough to say I'm, I'm going to New York, and this is where I'm gonna be staying and, 'cause I just assumed she would write me back 'cause that's hubris. You don't, you have no idea. And so I got to 288 - 10th Avenue, and my mother [Emma Harris Johnson] said, "Oh, this came for you," and she, she handed me this purple envelope. And I said, "Who's this from?" And it said, Alice Walker (laughter). I went, "It says Alice Walker, Ma." She says, "Is that the, the lady that wrote the book?" I said, "Yeah." She said, "Well, what does it say?" I opened it up. It says, Dear Whoopi, I know your work. I live up in the Bay Area [San Francisco Bay Area, California]. I've seen your shows. I've already sent your stuff to the powers that be. [HistoryMaker] Quincy Jones is producing it. So and so is producing it, and, you know, maybe they will let you be dirt on the floor. So that's how that happened.$So tell me about growing up, you and your, your brother [Clyde Johnson] and your mother [Emma Harris Johnson]? Can you tell me a little bit about some of the times together?$$Yeah, I'll tell you about some good times and some, about some not-so-good times. I'll tell you about the not-so-good times. My mom got ill when I was eight or nine. I think she had a nervous breakdown, and, you know, in those days, you could not, you--children were not allowed to go to the hospitals to see them. So she virtually disappeared for two or three years. But my dad [Robert Johnson] (laughter) came to take care of us, and my dad was a gay man. And so he did his best, you know. So he put a Lilt pearl--perm in my hair. Now Lilt, 'cause only we remember Lilt, Lilt was a permanent wave solution that was really for white women. And my father felt that my hair should be wavy. So he put a Lilt perm in my hair (laughter). And so, some of my hair broke off. And then they had to sort take care of the rest of it, yeah. And then my cousin who's called Arlene, who grew up with mother--they grew up kind of, you know, literally, side-by-side, but Arlene was a redhead 'cause her mom had a German husband, slash boyfriend--who can say. But they grew up next to each other. So one was called Arlene and the other one is called Monica [ph.]. That was my mom. So I learned about a lot of this after-the-fact. But, so she got sick, and, and she was gone for a while. And when she came back I--the way I described her was like, it sounds like my mother, looks like my mother. It's not my mother. It's like invasion of the body snatchers because what you learn later on is that they used--$$Electric shock therapy.$$Yes, yeah. So when I got much older, and my brother and I would talk to her about it because I think it was a, a pivotal time. I think it's when I came into my own because I realized suddenly that people go--can go away like that. And so that was like, okay, I need to learn how to take care of myself so I can be self-sufficient. So my brother and I said, so what, what was that like? And she said, "Well, I don't remember a lot of it." She said, and that was the hardest thing "'Cause I never, ever wanted to look like I was ill again." I never wanted to seem like I didn't feel good. So my mother never went to another doctor after she got home, ever, because she didn't want anyone to say, "Oh, you look odd or something." So she just never went into a hospital, and never went to a doctor. And I said, but, you know, what happened? She said, "Well, when I came home, I didn't really know you guys. But I had to fake it because (laughter) I didn't wanna go back." So she got to learn about us all over again. And as kids, my brother and I--no, as adults, we shared a lot of information, 'cause I'd say, "Did this really, did this happen? Do you remember this?" And he'd go, "Yeah, yeah, but I don't remember it that way. I remember it like this." So we sort of raised my mom, and then she went on to become an amazing Head Start teacher and just an amazing woman. She worked at the Hudson Guild in Chelsea [New York, New York] as a Head Start teacher. And they liked her so much that they put her through college, and she, you know, graduated NYU [New York University, New York, New York] and, you know, and had a lot of kids come through her class, the Wayans brothers were her kids and all kinds of amazing stuff. And then I, of course, I got famous and said, "You wanna get outta here?" And she's like, "Yes, I'd like to." I said, "Okay, when can you come?" And she said, "Well, when would you like me?" I said, "I'll send you a ticket for next week." So my mother came. She got off the plane. She had a paper bag with her. And we went, and I was gonna take her to the bags. I said, "Where's your bag?" She said, "I didn't bring any." I said, "Are you, you plan to go--?" She said, "No, no. I just locked up the place and left." She locked up, 288 10th Avenue, apartment 6D and never looked back. She took nothing. Fresh start, clean start.$$That's an amazing story.$$She was an amazing woman (laughter). She was amazing woman.$$Do you know what her illness was? Do you know? Did she ever know that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Nervous breakdown, I guess, whatever the--$$She had a nervous--too much, things too much (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I don't know, yeah, thing--I think it, it did become, it became overwhelming because, you know, I guess in those days, you know, you would go and try to fight and try to get things done. And, you know, judges would look at you and say, you know, not really pay attention to the fact that you actually needed help. So she said, "I, you know, I tried as hard as I could and, and then I--." She said, "I just, I don't know what happened."

Dr. Ada Cooper

Dentist and lawyer Dr. Ada Cooper was born on October 19, 1960 in New York City to Dr. H.H. Cooper, Jr. and Edith Blue Cooper. Cooper graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1978, and earned her B.A. degree cum laude in political science at Amherst College in 1982. She was awarded the John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship in Law to attend Harvard Law School, graduating with her J.D. degree in 1985. Cooper completed her D.D.S. degree at New York University College of Dentistry in 2002.

Cooper began her legal career as a litigator at the law firm of Jenner & Block in 1985, and then worked as an associate in the litigation section of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in New York from 1986 to 1989. Cooper returned to Jenner & Block in 1989, and was later named a partner in 1992. After thirteen years in the legal profession, Cooper returned to school to study dentistry. Not long after graduating from the New York University College of Dentistry in 2002, Cooper was selected to be a national spokesperson and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA). Cooper appeared on the Dr. Oz Show, CNN, NBC Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. She was also quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Women’s Health magazine.

Cooper served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section and Corporate Counsel Committee, as well as the United States District court, Northern District of Illinois, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She also served as a member of the NIDCR “PEARL” Protocol Review Committee, the Greater New York Dental Meeting Seminar Committee, the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the New York State Dental Association. In addition, she served as a member of the New York County Dental Society Legislative Committee and the New York State Dental Society Benefits Committee. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boys Club of New York, and serves on the board of directors of the New York County Dental Society. Cooper also received many awards and honors, including the American College of Dentists’ Outstanding Achievement Award, the New York University Key Pin Award for Outstanding Achievement, and induction into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Dental Society.

Dr. Ada Cooper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 23, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.028

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/23/2016

Last Name

Cooper

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Sheryl

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 20 Clinton Hill School

J.H.S. 104 Simon Baruch

Amherst College

Harvard Law School

New York University College of Dentistry

Stuyvesant High School

First Name

Ada

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

COO12

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/19/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Dentist and lawyer Dr. Ada Cooper (1960 - ) began her career as a litigator for Jenner & Block, before returning to school to become a dentist. She then represented the American Dental Association as a national spokesperson and consumer advisor.

Employment

Ada S. Cooper D.D.S.

H.H. Cooper Jr. D.D.S

American Dental Association

Mt Sinai Hospital Dental Clinic

Jenner & Block LLP

Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue

Favorite Color

Fall Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:3914,33:4946,50:5548,58:5892,63:6494,71:9823,100:10381,115:13822,166:17435,182:18115,191:18540,199:24498,254:25182,266:28297,295:30606,322:38534,413:42686,514:52580,621:53720,643:58219,706:58723,715:59668,740:62750,765:70379,834:70824,840:76164,943:76698,950:79989,966:80481,1038:83556,1043:90070,1131:98596,1170:99817,1214:108586,1434:109918,1458:113350,1485:113750,1491:114070,1496:114390,1501:114790,1507:116990,1525:117250,1530:117900,1541:118160,1546:127710,1631:129988,1653:133360,1681:133970,1689:135570,1696:142080,1754:149720,1802:150275,1808:150719,1813:151385,1820:154475,1830:155502,1845:160795,1969:161585,1982:161901,1987:162217,1992:162533,1997:162849,2002:163402,2013:175404,2135:177476,2153:178660,2183:184280,2216:184910,2225:185900,2238:187160,2257:189320,2264:189998,2279:198630,2426:198990,2431:203734,2472:212476,2544:213178,2558:214504,2585:214816,2590:215362,2603:218264,2624:222656,2680:223144,2685:228756,2768:230930,2835$0,0:633,11:2146,33:3760,38:4512,48:4888,53:5546,63:5922,68:6862,84:7332,91:17035,209:20694,262:32996,340:33620,350:34634,371:45701,440:46236,518:66044,635:66512,642:67292,655:68462,673:70100,678:70684,691:74316,740:74806,746:75688,757:76276,764:82006,800:83821,827:84469,836:92398,1112:96314,1217:97026,1240:97560,1247:105190,1294:105550,1299:106090,1351:109420,1403:109780,1408:113284,1454:116550,1493:118170,1515:123385,1580:133019,1641:136178,1708:136664,1715:136988,1720:149230,1831:150190,1851:152301,1877:157526,1919:159749,1964:171000,2059:173295,2089:174375,2099:179392,2170:180208,2180:185756,2246:186932,2265:190362,2341:191832,2363:194270,2380:208510,2515:223102,2675:234306,2918:235710,2962
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Ada Cooper's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her maternal family reunions

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes how her maternal great-great-grandparents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her maternal grandfather's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her paternal great-grandfather's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her paternal grandfather's education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her paternal family's interest in medicine

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her paternal family's legacy in dentistry

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her father's early career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls her father's entrepreneurship in Nigeria

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers moving to the Upper East Side of Manhattan

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her community on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her community on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers her father's rules

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers her mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls her decision to attend Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her and her siblings' education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls joining the law firm of Jenner and Block in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her career at Jenner and Block

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers defending a homeless client, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers defending a homeless client, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers her mentors at Jenner and Block

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes the advantages of workplace diversity

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls her decision to pursue a career in dentistry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers her father's support for her career change

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls graduating from the New York University College of Dentistry

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper remembers practicing dentistry with her father

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about the birth of her children

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Ada Cooper recalls becoming the national spokeswoman for the American Dental Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her father's innovations in dentistry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her dental practice

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Ada Cooper reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Ada Cooper describes her advice to aspiring lawyers and dentists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Ada Cooper reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Ada Cooper talks about her children

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Dr. Ada Cooper describes her career at Jenner and Block
Dr. Ada Cooper recalls her decision to pursue a career in dentistry
Transcript
I remember--you know, I remember small things and acts of real genuine appreciation. I worked in a group that was headed by a man named Jerold Solovy who died a few years ago and I remember being a first or second year associate and I was at the office really late working on a memo that I was writing for something, and Jerry and a number of the other partners were on trial, and they were out of town and they called. It must've been one or two o'clock in the morning. I don't know why I was there, but I was there. And he called and he talked to the operator because he was looking desperately for an associate to research a particular question, okay.$$At one or two o'clock in the morning?$$And he searched around and they searched around and I was there. From that moment on, he was one of my absolute ardent supporters. I think that what he appreciated was not the fact that I was there at one or two o'clock in the morning alone, wasn't necessarily the fact that, you know, I got the right answer or whatever it was, I think that what he really valued was commitment, was commitment, and, and the hard work that comes with that. And since that's something that had been instilled in me from the time that I was five, it sort of came naturally (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) You have to work hard.$$--and easily to me, you know, came easily to me and that's something that I could do. That's something that I could do easily. So, I was very happy. I was very happy. There were some cases that I think were more gratifying than others. Some of the cases that I found most gratifying were the habeas corpus cases where I knew that the work that I put in had, you know, a direct effect of having somebody who had been accused of a crime represented with, you know, skill and success. There were others that were disappointing, disappointing not because of the way that the firm [Jenner and Block] handled it by any means, but because I became acutely aware of the fact that your hard work, your diligence in the legal system doesn't always pay off. And some of the instances in which my hard work didn't pay off and resulted in a bad decision were very difficult, were very, very difficult, and I found it difficult to become the kind of lawyer that could see practicing law just as a sport, you make your good argument, the joy and the thrill comes from the argument itself and not from the result. I was much more I think psychologically tied to the result and losing became really defeating, honestly. And I have to say there weren't many losses and there were some cases that I thought, we probably should lose, honestly, and in those instances, you give your client what they deserve, which is the best conceivable representation. But there were some instances where I really thought that we should have won.$And so I'm wondering, as, as you were making up your mind that it's time for you to make a different choice, did you have any feelings of guilt about the possibility of leaving and, and you being one of those people who, oh, they invested in me and, and--$$It's funny. No--well, I think that when I left, there were lots of mixed feelings among the people that I worked with. A lot of people thought that it was sort of wasted talent. I think that Jerry Solovy who was a--just a really amazing mentor to me thought that I would be back, thought that I would be back. And, and I, frankly, wasn't certain that I wouldn't be back. I always held out the possibility in my mind that I could always go back to practicing law. And so when I first decided to change careers, I had to do all the premed things that I didn't do my freshman year in college [Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts], and I started to do those in Chicago [Illinois] while I was still a partner [at Jenner and Block].$$Did you tell anybody you were doing this (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) No.$$So, how in the world--$$No.$$--did you find time if you're still sometimes being at the office at one o'clock in the morning?$$Here's the thing that I found, that the things that I did in--that, that I did in college and high school [Stuyvesant High School, New York, New York] were a lot easier at that point because I was a lot more mature, I was a lot more focused, I was a lot more organized, and because I had been practicing law for so long, I was able to cut through the nonsense and identify really quickly what mattered in various subjects, and that made the work a lot--a lot easier and a lot less time-consuming.$$Well, and people have said that preparation to be a lawyer really can prepare you for anything.$$Oh, yeah, yeah. And, and, and, and preparation to be a lawyer and taking the bar required learning volumes and volumes and volumes of material and sitting through, you know, two or three day exams, and with--even as you're practicing law, each case that you have requires you on some level to become an expert in whatever the subject matter of the case is, and you learn to become an expert really, really quickly. And so the training that I got in practicing law and becoming a lawyer and passing the bar and then practicing law made it a lot easier for me to take those, you know, college courses, and, and devote, you know, whatever time I had to it, at night while I was still practicing.$$Where did you study?$$I started taking courses at Loyola University [Loyola University Chicago] in Chicago and after doing that for about a year, I resigned from the partnership, told people what I was doing, resigned from the partnership and moved to New York [New York] where my father's [Henry Cooper, Jr.] practice was at the time, and took courses at NYU [New York University College of Dentistry, New York, New York] and Hunter [Hunter College, New York, New York].

Mercedes Ellington

Dancer and choreographer Mercedes Ellington was born on February 9, 1939 in New York City to Ruth Silas Batts and trumpet player and conductor Mercer Ellington, son of renowned composer and bandleader Duke Ellington. Ellington was raised by her maternal grandparents Louise Petgrave Silas and Alfred Silas, who enrolled her in dance and ballet classes at an early age. Ellington received a scholarship to attend The Metropolitan Opera School of Ballet, but decided to enroll at The Julliard School at her father’s insistence. She graduated with her B.A. degree in classical and modern dance in 1960.

Ellington’s first professional role was in a production of West Side Story in Australia. She also appeared in productions of On the Town and Pal Joey at the New York City Center. In 1963, Ellington became the first African American member of the June Taylor Dancers, the featured performers on The Jackie Gleason Show. She danced with the June Taylor Dancers for seven years, until she moved on to perform in Broadway shows like No, No Nannette, The Night That Made America Famous, The Grand Tour, and Happy New Year. In 1981, Ellington starred in Sophisticated Ladies alongside her father, who conducted the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In 1983, she co-founded BalleTap, later named DancEllington, with Maurice Hines. Ellington produced award-winning choreography in musicals such as Blues in the Night, Juba, Satchmo and Tuxedo Junction. The organization dissolved in 1992, and Ellington went on to direct the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Tribute to the Spirit of Harlem in 2001. In 2004, Ellington founded Duke Ellington Center for the Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to scholarship, education, and performance connected to the legacy of Duke Ellington.

Ellington’s choreography and commitment to her grandfather’s legacy earned her numerous honors and awards, including the Actor’s Equity Association’s Paul Robeson Award and the FloBert Lifetime Achievement Award. She also served as a judge for the Capezio Dance Awards, and as a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild and the American Tap Dance Foundation. In addition, Ellington served on the local and national boards of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. In 2016, she also co-authored a book entitled Duke Ellington: An American Composer and Icon with Stephen Brower.

Mercedes Ellington was interviewed by The History Makers on August 12, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.010

Sex

Female

Interview Date

08/12/2016

Last Name

Ellington

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

The Juilliard School

St. Walburga's Academy

Our Lady of Lourdes School

First Name

Mercedes

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

ELL05

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Don't Piss In My Vest Pocket And Tell Me It's Raining.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/9/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb Chops

Short Description

Dancer and choreographer Mercedes Ellington (1939 - ), the granddaughter of Duke Ellington, was the first African American member of the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show. She also opened The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts.

Employment

DancEllington

The Jackie Gleason Show

BalleTap USA

'West Side Story'

'On The Town'

'Pal Joey'

'No No Nanette'

'Sophisticated Ladies'

'Blues in the Night'

'Juba'

'Tuxedo Junction'

Favorite Color

Cerise

Timing Pairs
0,0:378,8:1071,24:5905,145:6490,160:6945,168:8470,179:14220,248:14845,254:18474,275:19254,287:19644,293:20034,300:20424,306:24324,365:24714,371:25572,388:32363,465:32874,474:33166,479:34772,509:35575,525:36597,540:37765,559:38641,574:41960,581:44066,635:54726,738:54974,743:55408,751:55842,762:56214,769:56462,774:57144,788:63000,886:65964,943:66744,956:67212,964:67680,971:68070,977:68694,987:69630,1004:71424,1034:72516,1052:73842,1066:74232,1073:78840,1091:81640,1131:88420,1180:88700,1185:89470,1199:90310,1212:91860,1217:96042,1341:97190,1359:97600,1366:104098,1449:104861,1458:116614,1589:116910,1595:118464,1625:120610,1671:121350,1683:122090,1702:122460,1708:124162,1747:126902,1752:130130,1781:137913,1858:138561,1868:142712,1910:151068,2023:151524,2030:152208,2040:155230,2075$0,0:1220,41:1464,46:1769,52:2257,61:6160,87:6420,92:7330,130:17498,245:19096,267:19942,277:24662,300:27639,322:27867,327:29121,353:29349,358:29577,363:33412,407:34192,416:43076,509:43436,515:43940,524:44804,539:45164,545:46676,577:46964,582:47468,590:56991,687:57527,697:57795,702:58197,709:61830,737:70020,775:71580,807:71892,812:72750,827:73998,852:74466,860:74778,866:75090,871:75792,884:76104,889:89010,1049:89444,1058:90932,1090:91366,1100:92792,1136:94404,1188:96202,1227:96698,1236:97008,1242:97256,1247:97752,1257:98000,1262:98372,1269:99116,1290:100480,1319:104330,1328:104634,1333:105014,1339:105774,1351:106458,1370:106762,1375:110410,1457:113490,1471:114156,1484:116820,1554:119410,1611:119780,1618:120298,1627:121704,1651:122444,1660:123776,1690:129681,1751:130471,1768:131577,1788:144050,1909:144874,1919:147449,1952:151996,2005:153668,2040:154580,2057:155188,2074:155644,2081:167098,2243:167946,2253:168476,2259:168900,2264:170658,2274:177736,2321:178264,2335:178858,2347:179452,2358:181856,2381:183052,2395:184432,2416:184892,2422:187376,2458:187928,2466:190689,2479:191067,2487:196790,2556:197100,2562:197472,2569:197720,2574:201260,2627:204503,2654:205637,2675:206528,2689:207500,2707:209120,2730:210335,2748:211388,2767:216800,2807:221999,2843:223988,2863:224924,2873:229440,2933
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mercedes Ellington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mercedes Ellington lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mercedes Ellington talks about her maternal family's ballroom dances

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mercedes Ellington describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mercedes Ellington describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mercedes Ellington remembers her maternal grandparents' home

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mercedes Ellington describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mercedes Ellington recalls her early dance lessons and recitals

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mercedes Ellington describes the sights of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mercedes Ellington remembers New York City's Sugar Hill neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Mercedes Ellington describes Our Lady of Lourdes School in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Mercedes Ellington recalls being raised by her grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mercedes Ellington talks about living with her maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mercedes Ellington describes her father's early interests

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mercedes Ellington talks about her paternal grandparents' marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mercedes Ellington describes her relationship with her paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mercedes Ellington remembers Duke Ellington's mistresses, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mercedes Ellington talks about Duke Ellington's world tours

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mercedes Ellington remembers Duke Ellington's affairs

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mercedes Ellington shares her hope to bring Duke Ellington's music to Cuba

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mercedes Ellington talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Mercedes Ellington recalls her relationship with her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Mercedes Ellington describes her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Mercedes Ellington describes her father's musical talents

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Mercedes Ellington talks about her early dance influences

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Mercedes Ellington recalls enduring discrimination in dance school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mercedes Ellington remembers the limited opportunities for dancers of color

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mercedes Ellington recalls her family's advice about her career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mercedes Ellington talks about The Juilliard School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mercedes Ellington describes the Martha Graham modern dance technique

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mercedes Ellington recalls living at The Juilliard School's International House

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mercedes Ellington recalls living with her father

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mercedes Ellington remembers her first professional role

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mercedes Ellington recalls her grandfather's influence

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mercedes Ellington describes her father's second marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mercedes Ellington describes her father's death and his will

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mercedes Ellington lists her performances in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mercedes Ellington recalls auditioning for 'The Jackie Gleason Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mercedes Ellington remembers being selected as a June Taylor Dancer

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mercedes Ellington describes her experience as a June Taylor Dancer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mercedes Ellington recalls her salary on 'The Jackie Gleason Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mercedes Ellington describes Jackie Gleason's big band show

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mercedes Ellington recalls joining the cast of 'No, No Nanette'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mercedes Ellington talks about the filming of 'The Jackie Gleason Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mercedes Ellington recalls her first Broadway performance in 'No, No, Nanette'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mercedes Ellington describes her union memberships

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mercedes Ellington talks about female empowerment on Broadway

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mercedes Ellington recalls her paternal grandfather seeing her performance

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mercedes Ellington remembers Duke Ellington's death

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mercedes Ellington describes the production behind 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mercedes Ellington describes her additional sources of income

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Mercedes Ellington lists her volunteer activities

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Mercedes Ellington recalls competing in ballroom dancing competitions

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mercedes Ellington recalls the cast of 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mercedes Ellington describes the hectic performances of 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mercedes Ellington remembers Gregory Hines's termination from the production of 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mercedes Ellington talks about the success of 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Mercedes Ellington describes her father's role in 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mercedes Ellington describes the creation of BalleTap USA

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Mercedes Ellington recalls touring with BalleTap USA in Japan

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Mercedes Ellington talks about choreographing 'Blues in the Night'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Mercedes Ellington recalls choreographing 'Juba'

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Mercedes Ellington talks about the inspiration behind 'Juba'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Mercedes Ellington recalls choreographing 'Tuxedo Junction'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Mercedes Ellington talks about her philosophy for performances

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Mercedes Ellington describes her hopes for Duke Ellington's legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Mercedes Ellington describes her brother's management of the Duke Ellington estate

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Mercedes Ellington talks about her engagement

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Mercedes Ellington shares her views on marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Mercedes Ellington describes the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Mercedes Ellington talks about her father's role in the Ellington family legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Mercedes Ellington describes her siblings

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Mercedes Ellington reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Mercedes Ellington describes 'Duke Ellington: An American Composer and Icon'

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Mercedes Ellington reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Mercedes Ellington shares her advice for aspiring dancers

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Mercedes Ellington narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Mercedes Ellington recalls her early dance lessons and recitals
Mercedes Ellington remembers being selected as a June Taylor Dancer
Transcript
But you also learned to read at a very early age, correct (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes, yeah I learned to read and learned to dance at an early age too, because they had a recital, they had a dance and exercise school or it--it was really a dance school. But I ne- I remember my first shoes, again with the shoes, was rhythm shoes and these were like suede shoes with el- elastic across the top. And I wanted ballet shoes because I was a ballet fiend, fan from the very beginning. I used to cut out pictures in the newspapers and anybody had an old magazine I was really crazy about ballet pictures and I'd paste them in the book. And so I would--these rhythm shoes we--we used them to, to have our recitals. And it was a big deal because these were things that people in the neighborhood [Sugar Hill, New York, New York] really had to stretch their budget to afford to buy because it wasn't a necessary thing, it was, you know, a luxury to be able to afford dance shoes and sometimes at the recitals to pay for the dance costumes. And my first costume that I remember was as a snowflake in 'The Nutcracker,' and this white puffy tutu. And later on though, I--there some people in the neighborhood that were ballet teachers and my [maternal] grandmother [Louise Petgrave Silas] found out about them. There was--there were two people, the Facey twins, Marjorie [Marjorie Facey] and Marion Facey and they taught dance. And they--their claim to fame was that they were taught by Aubrey Hitchens who was a partner of Pavlova [Anna Pavlova]. So that--with that reputation, you know, everybody was wanting to take from these people, because it was as if they, themselves, were you know, had taken from Pavlova, which of course it's the same type of dance, it's the same style. But of course nobody ever saw Pavlova in our--our neighborhood. But there was also another guy who taught dance and his name was Sheldon Hoskins, yeah, Sheldon Hoskins.$$And this was all when you were a little girl?$$Yeah.$$So dance became important starting from nursery school?$$Yes.$I looked at--down the line and there was like maybe eighteen people left and I figured that maybe she [June Taylor] had forgotten about me, but then Gleason [Jackie Gleason] came in the room and he was--he had the producer, Jack Philbin and the director and a lot of reporters came in. And they sat there and she put her head together with Gleason and they were talking for a moment amongst themselves and then she stood up and said--made the announcement, "Ladies you are the new June Taylor Dancers." And there were two swings at that point because June Taylor Dancers are only sixteen people, and I--I remember like--I--I said well maybe I didn't hear her correctly or maybe again, maybe she just forgot about me. But I was in the lineup and I was very--I don't know I kind of in a fog, I--I--I can't even think of how I felt. I--I said well if this is true, that means I will have money to do this and do this, and I kept--I just started calculating in my head, I can pay my rent, I can do this, I can buy these--these shoes. But then, she came and talked to me afterwards and she said, "If you're not--if you don't live up to this job, I'm go--I'm going to fire you--I'll fi-," because she--she had a habit of firing somebody every week anyway if they didn't live up to the job. Because the thing was it was live TV, they never stopped for anybody, you could fall down and they wouldn't stop. So what--it just had to be, you know, you just kept going and she said, "Well, this is it, you--you've, you know, you've become, but if I was you, I would maybe hone up on my tap dancing a little bit." So what I would do after every rehearsal I would go around the corner, across the street and take an hour of tap da--tap lessons, and this was like practically every day.$$And how long were the rehearsals?$$All day, they were at ea- eight hours. Usually eight hours.$$So you are cast, now you're the first and only African American in--in her group, correct?$$Yes.$$What does that mean? Can you place this in context, 'cause it's television, it's live television, Jackie Gleason was a huge celebrity back then, was he not?$$Yes, very big, very big. Now we're talking about JFK [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] is president. And during my first year tenure is when he was assa- assassinated. And it was--I mean a lot of things were happening, politically and in the entertainment business with all of these people and the change of--of in the arts in general, not only in television but the concert stage, the opera stage, the ballet stage, where things were getting to be a little bit more equalized. And--and here we had this guy--this wonderful guy in the office as the president who was actually concerned and interested in the arts and concerned with arts. It was almost like you were living in a, you know, utopia for a moment. And course after the assassination and everything else, you know, after that was.