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Byron Lars

Fashion designer Byron Lars was born on January 19, 1965 in Oakland, California to Gloria Gardner Bonds and Earnest Lars. Lars grew up in nearby El Cerrito, California, where his mother encouraged his creativity, and his father, who worked in construction, nurtured his interest in craftsmanship. Lars attended El Cerrito High School, taking advanced math classes in preparation for a career in architecture. In the tenth grade, a friend taught Lars to use a sewing machine; and Lars taught himself to make patterns. He designed his classmates’ prom dresses in order to fund a school trip to Europe, and created a gown for his own senior prom date. Upon graduation from high school, Lars completed a two-year fashion program at Brooks Fashion Institute of Technology in Long Beach, California, where he earned first place at the student design fashion show. In 1986, Lars enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, although he left before graduating.

Between 1987 and 1991, Lars used his patternmaking skills to obtain freelance work for Kevan Hall, Gary Gatyas, and Nancy Crystal Blouse Co., among others. He developed his first sample set of seven garments, which he marketed to high end retail buyers. In 1990, Lars received an order for forty pieces of his designs from Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The following year, Lars received orders from Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and other high end retailers. His collection won widespread acclaim, and Lars was named Women’s Wear Daily’s Rookie of the Year. Faced with a rapidly growing business, Lars signed a licensing contract for his Shirt Tales line in 1995. Lars then entered into a contract with Mattel to design collectible Barbie dolls, and began designing Green T, an affordable clothing line he founded in 1999.

Lars was well-known for his menswear designs, especially men’s dress shirting and pattern mixing, as well as his sensitivity to fit and cut, and his use of draping and sarong-inspired tying. His line, Byron Lars Beauty Mark, which launched in 2001, expanded to include plus sizing. Lar’s Byron Lars Beauty Mark pieces were worn by celebrities such as Angela Bassett and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Byron Lars was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 6, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.094

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/8/2016

Last Name

Lars

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

El Cerrito High School

Brooks Institute

First Name

Byron

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

LAR02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

Even A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/19/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Foods

Short Description

Fashion designer Byron Lars (1965 - ) won widespread acclaim for his 1991 collection, first ordered by retailer Henri Bendel. Known for his menswear designs and pattern mixing, Lars also launched a women’s line called Byron Lars Beauty Mark in 2001.

Employment

Kevan Hall, Gary Gatyas, Ronaldus Shamask, and Nancy Crystal Blouse Co

Byron Lars

Byron Lars Beauty Mark

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:546,23:2808,54:5850,122:7176,152:8268,169:9126,180:9672,188:10686,205:18156,261:21064,314:21631,325:21883,330:22765,400:24025,431:25033,459:26671,518:27049,526:27301,531:27679,538:29065,564:29506,577:30451,595:30766,601:34960,621:46821,830:47769,862:49428,895:50218,919:59250,1012:59530,1017:60160,1032:63100,1102:63520,1109:64290,1125:65200,1149:69894,1187:80203,1415:85064,1496:85550,1506:90497,1554:91541,1582:94540,1588:95889,1619:96244,1625:98942,1688:99226,1693:99794,1708:100717,1732:110100,1872:110420,1877:110740,1882:112260,1916:112580,1921:112900,1926:113380,1933:114500,1946:115060,1954:122352,2045:129640,2129$0,0:1586,34:4362,122:12700,172:13105,178:15859,378:17479,401:26374,518:35691,646:36160,655:37350,660:38718,687:39060,694:39288,699:41055,748:45093,819:45409,825:45725,830:47068,862:47700,872:48174,881:51334,931:51650,936:52519,952:57422,986:58182,1012:58714,1023:59094,1029:61222,1063:62438,1100:62970,1109:63882,1124:68716,1150:69710,1165:71343,1201:72621,1231:73970,1255:77720,1290:78020,1295:79595,1315:79970,1321:85812,1416:86124,1421:88932,1517:102820,1672:106280,1887:115212,1970:115751,2040:127925,2104:130492,2129:132900,2151:134655,2192:137350,2226
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Byron Lars' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Byron Lars lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Byron Lars describes his mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Byron Lars talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Byron Lars remembers his maternal uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Byron Lars describes his father's creativity

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Byron Lars talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Byron Lars describes his earliest childhood memories

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

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Byron Lars describes his brother's musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Byron Lars remembers his early interest in art and fashion

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Byron Lars describes his neighborhood in Richmond, California

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Byron Lars talks about his grandparents' experiences of racial violence in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Byron Lars remembers the honors program at El Cerrito High School in El Cerrito, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Byron Lars remembers learning to sew

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Byron Lars recalls designing prom dresses for his high school classmates

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Byron Lars remembers his first mentor in the fashion industry

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Byron Lars describes the fashion of the 1980s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Byron Lars talks about his early career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Byron Lars remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Byron Lars talks about his early fashion ideas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Byron Lars describes his experiences at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Byron Lars describes his experiences at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Byron Lars talks about the changes in the fashion industry

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Byron Lars remembers his search for employment in Paris, France

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

14$3

DATitle
Byron Lars remembers the honors program at El Cerrito High School in El Cerrito, California
Byron Lars remembers his first mentor in the fashion industry
Transcript
(Simultaneous) But you personally, did you experience racism growing up?$$Not--no, at least not that I was aware of. The first time that I pretty much suspected it was when I and another classmate, black classmate, Tim Kuzmicki [ph.], were ushered into honors English because, you know, we had--we were in honors classes in high school [El Cerrito High School, El Cerrito, California]. You had the same classes with all the same people 'cause that's how it worked or whatever. But I remember when it was determined that we were honors students and we were like taken out of like this English class that was gonna be a cakewalk. I was like, nice (laughter). And they were like, no, no, you two don't belong here, and they took us to honors English. And I remember Mrs. Protter [Ruth Rotman Protter] who was a white lady from Boston [Massachusetts] was just like, "No, no, they don't belong here." And we were the only two black people.$$In the honors class?$$Yes. And she was just so adamant that we--she kept looking at the documentation and I was just like, really? 'Cause at first, I didn't really want that extra challenge, but then I'm like, oh, watch me do so well in here just to spite you (laughter) because I was so put off that she was so (laughter)--$$So, she wasn't gonna--$$--incredulous.$$--get away with it. You did take the class.$$Yeah, I did. And, you know what--and she didn't treat us unfairly once we were in there. But, there was definitely some funkiness in the beginning that I was just like--I knew what that was, you know. That was probably my first time being aware of it. Maybe other things had happened, but I was so not in that headspace that I just would not have even recognized it, but that one, I was like--both Tim and myself, we were like, um-hm (laughter).$$And you both stayed in the class?$$Oh, yeah. And were tortured with Jane Austen. I'm like, if we read one more Jane Austen novel--. No Richard Wright.$$Oh, no.$$No. In honors English--I--like, if I stuck out in my old class, in that class they took us out of, I might've had some black authors, but no, not in honors.$Across the way from Neiman Marcus from this--was I. Magnin [I. Magnin and Company] and there was--in their couture salon, there was this black sales lady, Binky [ph.], who would take me in and she's like, "Listen, we got some new Valentino in. I want you to see this shoulder pad, come see this new Saint Laurent [Yves Saint Laurent]. I like want you to see how they finished this hem." And it was like amazing. She was like--she was--'cause first, she was like, what's your deal? Why are you here? Why is a boy here in the salon, couture salon?$$So you would go--$$I told her I wanted to be a designer and she was like, "Oh, really?" And then she just started showing me all the things that they had. Like, she didn't just like, you know, really? Well, I'm trying to make sales. Get lost. Beat it. She was very, very nurturing. And, you know, they close and before I even started--I, I wished I could've found her at some point. She was older then, so I'm--would find it very difficult to believe that she's still with us. But I never was able to thank her, you know what I mean, and find her because it was like, she really--she was such a special part of my development, an integral part of it, you know, like to really start developing taste. I mean, like what--this is what something like nice looks like. You know, even like the idea of brown for evening. I just--it was unheard of for me in high school [El Cerrito High School, El Cerrito, California]. I'm like brown, nobody wears brown at night (laughter). You know, I'm like, oh, brown with gold and coppers and--(laughter). I'm like, oh (laughter), you know? She was really, you know, she really mentored me (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And she showed you the clothes inside out so you could see--$$Yes.$$--how they were made.$$Yeah. Because, honestly, that's what--I was probably more interested in that than fashion. I was interested in making stuff, even to this day. I--I like fashion (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, this is a construction that you do.$$--but I love, you know, building clothes. But, I like fashion, but I love that. I love--I love making clothes. I love figuring out the problems. I love that part of it.

James Curry

Mathematician James Curry was born in 1948 in Oakland, California. Curry became interested in mathematics at age twelve, after seeing fascinating symbols and equations in a physics book. He was determined to learn calculus and received a lot of support from his high school math teacher. Curry was also curious about computers after working with one that was donated to his high school. In 1976, Curry received with his B.S. degree in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. He also attended graduate school the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with his M.S. degree in mathematics in 1976 and his Ph.D. degree I mathematics in 1976.

Upon graduation, Curry was awarded consecutive postdoctoral fellowships to study the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. In 1981, Curry began scientific investigations with the CRAY High Performance Computing System. His research was supported with the Minority Research Initiation grant from the National Science Foundation. He investigated the role of computers in helping people to understand complicated topics like weather monitoring and mathematics theory. Curry’s research focused on developing ways to solve nonlinear equations using a computer. He worked with scientists who study the ocean and atmosphere, such as Warren Washington, and helped them to answer questions about their work using mathematics and computers. In 1990, Curry joined the faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder as associate professor of applied mathematics. Curry was promoted to full professor of mathematics at the University of Colorado in 1991; and, in 2008, he was appointed associate director of the program in applied mathematics. Curry has also worked as a project officer at the National Science Foundation, where he managed the distribution of federal funding to programs from the Division of Mathematical Science, Applied Mathematics Division.

Curry’s seminal research with the CRAY supercomputer has been widely-published in academic journals including, Communications in Mathematical Physics and Communications in Applied Nonlinear Analysis. In addition to research and writing, Curry has contributed to STEM education via The Curriculum Project, which has been successful in addressing critical issues involving minority participation in mathematics.

James H. Curry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 16, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.033

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/16/2013

Last Name

Curry

Maker Category
Middle Name

Howard

Occupation
Schools

Oakland Technical High School

University of California, Berkeley

Cole Elementary School

Lowell Junior High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

CUR04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Do more math.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

7/24/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Mathematician James Curry (1948 - ) pioneering CRAY Supercomputer analyst, served as associate director and professor of of applied mathematics at the University of Boulder, Colorado.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Curriculum Project

National Center for Atmospheric Research

University of Colorado at Boulder

National Science Foundation (NSF)

CRAY High Performance Computing Systems

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:636,9:932,14:1228,19:1968,30:3226,64:3966,75:4336,81:5520,101:6408,119:8332,152:8702,158:9442,170:9960,179:10922,195:12402,221:13734,245:14252,255:14622,261:14918,266:15436,275:16250,290:16842,300:17212,306:23541,350:23896,356:25103,376:25529,383:26026,391:27304,413:27730,422:28156,429:28653,437:29150,445:29647,453:30499,474:31067,483:31422,489:31706,494:35020,509:37960,559:38320,566:38620,572:38980,580:39280,586:39580,596:39880,602:40120,607:40660,617:41800,635:42160,642:42580,650:43000,659:45774,670:46006,675:46528,689:46818,695:47224,797:47514,803:47746,808:48326,816:48558,821:50131,831:50670,839:51132,846:52903,880:53827,899:56015,913:56840,926:57215,933:58865,954:59990,976:71420,1171:76540,1257:78060,1281:83130,1294:85223,1324:86406,1343:91260,1371:91758,1376:96655,1481:100334,1510:101558,1535:102062,1545:102638,1555:104582,1589:105086,1598:105806,1610:106454,1625:106958,1634:107390,1641:107822,1649:110710,1654:111658,1668:112448,1679:113554,1703:114107,1711:114897,1723:115371,1730:116319,1746:116635,1753:116951,1758:117504,1769:117978,1777:118768,1788:123180,1823:123840,1839:124302,1847:124830,1863:125358,1872:126018,1886:126282,1891:128206,1901:128458,1906:129088,1919:129781,1932:130159,1939:132175,1995:133309,2018:133750,2026:134317,2036:134569,2041:137575,2067:138552,2074:138840,2079:141240,2093:141590,2099:142990,2171:143830,2177:144110,2182:146010,2198$0,0:1050,18:2200,29:2890,42:7315,131:10990,182:13825,260:17906,277:38310,627:38806,632:39302,637:42368,653:42678,659:44786,701:45282,710:45964,729:46460,738:47018,749:47266,754:48506,773:51620,783:52010,789:60744,932:64206,954:67986,1008:70970,1035:71400,1041:73261,1066:75462,1103:75746,1108:81355,1193:90079,1281:91157,1297:91465,1302:92081,1316:92543,1323:93313,1335:93775,1342:94391,1352:95315,1365:96316,1375:100660,1397:101080,1403:101668,1411:106624,1499:107212,1507:108220,1523:111845,1543:114640,1581:118840,1667:121010,1695:121430,1702:122480,1717:127502,1749:128794,1766:131226,1810:132442,1831:132746,1836:133582,1854:135102,1877:135710,1886:136546,1904:137458,1919:148894,2072:149510,2081:149862,2086:150302,2092:150654,2097:157820,2139:158096,2144:164099,2257:164375,2262:164789,2270:172460,2326
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Curry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Curry lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Curry describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Curry talks about his parents' views about Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Curry talks about his mother's education and veiled family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Curry describes his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Curry talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Curry talks about his father's employment with Southern Pacific Railway

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Curry talks about his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Curry talks about his sister, Gloria Curry, and his school guidance counselor Edward L. Dry

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Curry describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Curry describes growing up in West Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Curry describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Curry describes his interest in math and science fiction

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Curry describes his interest in comic books, science fiction and math

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Curry describes his experience at Cole Elementary School and Lowell Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Curry describes his introduction to computers in the ninth grade

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Curry talks about his math teacher, Mary Perry Smith

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Curry talks about his mentors, Edward L. Dry and Mary Perry Smith

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Curry describes his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Curry talks about his mentors at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Curry describes his experience at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Curry describes his motivation to learn math

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Curry talks about Harry Morrison, Warren Washington and Jim Donaldson

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Curry talks about prominent mathematicians at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Curry describes his decision to attend graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Curry describes his interest in obtaining a Ph.D. degree at U.C. Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Curry talks about William Lester and Robert Bragg

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Curry talks about his Ph.D. dissertation research

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Curry talks about his Ph.D. thesis on finite dimensional normal approximations to Boussinesq equations

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Curry describes his experience with the PDP-11 super mini-computer at U.C. Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Curry describes his experience in France

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Curry describes his experience at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Curry talks about his experiences at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Curry describes his scientific collaboration with James Yorke

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Curry talks about Ed Lorenz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Curry describes his experience at the National Center of Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Curry talks about his research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Curry talks about Professor William King and Professor Charles Nilon

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Curry talks about the Cray-1 supercomputing system

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Curry talks his former and current students

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Curry talks about the Conference for African American Research in Mathematical Sciences [CAARMS]

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Curry talks about his career and his choices about family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Curry talks about his trips to Vietnam for work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Curry talks about his administrative roles at the University of Colorado

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Curry discusses the lack of African Americans pursuing academic careers in mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Curry describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James Curry reflects upon his family

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - James Curry reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - James Curry talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
James Curry describes his interest in comic books, science fiction and math
James Curry describes his scientific collaboration with James Yorke
Transcript
Okay, we were just discussing these comic books.$$Yeah, we were discussing comic books, and Thor and Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, and all of those comic books. And just the richness of the language, I mean, I think really attracted me. I mean, you could play with the language. You could say funny things in the language. It was--yeah. So, comic books influenced my life. Science fiction influenced my life. I really enjoyed reading science fiction, and sort of dreaming about what could be. And during the '50s [1950s] in television, there were always these guys in white coats who would walk around on television, and I really thought that was cool. And then there was the whole Sputnik [first artificial satellite sent into orbit; launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957] thing that sort of just came, and science became important, and yeah, you could do something. I mean that was, the universe was open. That was--$$A lot of drama centered around scientists in those days--$$Oh yeah.$$--on television, 'The Twilight Zone'[American television series]--$$Yes.$$Doctors, mad doctors--$$(laughter) 'The Twilight Zone', Rod Serling, "Today we're about to enter the twilight zone." And just the way, I mean, the enunciation and the cadence. I mean I love that, I love that.$$So, you seem to have a really interesting focus on math, more so than most people I've ever talked to. I mean, you were actually, you know, trying to read math books as a kid.$$I read math books as a kid. I liked math. I liked the symbols. They were mysterious. And so, figuring out what the mystery was about, I mean, that was always sort of like wonderful and exciting. Literature, naaaah, but science fiction was really great. I loved that. Over time, I've come to appreciate literature, but I mean, it was the science and the science fiction. And I remember when I was in high school, I read parts of the biography of Albert Einstein, and I thought that was kind of cool. I mean, that was when I was at Oakland Technical High School [California]. And then I just sort of--Mary Perry Smith, Edward L. Dry [teachers who were influential in Curry's life]--I mean, they were motivators.$Okay. So, you're publishing works during this period, too, right? You published something with James Yorke. I don't have all of your publications here--$$(laughter).$$--but there some here that are highlighted from the website.$$Okay. So, here's the Yorke story. I gave a talk at the University of Maryland [College Park, Maryland] when I was at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia]. And I was talking about my thesis work, the 14 Variable Model. And I met this guy named Jim Yorke. And Jim Yorke was an (unclear)--I mean, just very, very bright, very capable guy. And he, I mean, he gave his talk--I gave this talk. And then after being at Howard for a year, I went to the National Center. Well, the National Center had just gotten in a CRAY-1 computer, Model Number 14. And nobody was using it. And so, Jim Yorke and I were corresponding back and forth, and he said, "Oh, you ought to take a look at this map and run some computer experiments on it." And so since nobody was using this super computer, guess what? You could run 100 experiments on the super computer on this particular map. I mean, and by the way, solving a 14 variable differential equation takes time. Iterating the map takes almost no time. And so, guess what? You run this little map, and they also had this really nice output system where you could output things to microfilm. And so, I would produce forty frames, fifty frames. And then I'd send them off to Yorke. And Yorke got really excited because we were looking at--so, you take a circle and it has a particular structure. And you twist it, you shear it in a certain way. And by shearing it, you create periodic orbits, you create some dynamical structure. And Yorke wanted to figure out how a circle might break down. And so he ran the experiments. We did some work. We wrote a paper that appeared in Springer Lecture Notes, or something, and people thought, "Oh, that's really nice." Excuse me, I didn't think very much of it. I mean, it was, "Oh, yeah it's cool and Jim Yorke is cool." And then the next thing that happened was Michel Ano in France, he did some work on the Ano Map, or he created this new map. And David Ruelle was interested in that one, and so I could do some work on that. And so, I mean, it was, yeah, it was interesting.

Roscoe Giles

Physicist and professor of electrical and computer engineering, Dr. Roscoe C. Giles was born in 1949 in Oakland, California. He was raised in Berkeley, California until his family moved to Chicago, Illinois at age four. Giles attended University of Chicago Laboratory Schools from kindergarten to twelfth grade, graduating in 1966. Obtaining his B.A. degree in physics at the University of Chicago, Giles graduated with honors in 1970. Continuing his study of physics, he went on to acquire his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Stanford University in 1973 and 1975. Giles was the first African American to earn his Ph.D. degree in physics from Stanford University.

Giles worked as a research associate at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) until moving to the Center for Theoretical Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1976. In 1979, he became an assistant professor of physics at MIT. He moved to Boston University as an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in 1985. In 1992, Giles was named Boston University Scholar-Teacher of the Year and he became the deputy director of the Boston University Center for Computational Science. During 1994 and 1995, Giles won Department of Energy Undergraduate Computational Science Education Awards. The Metacenter-Affiliated Resource in the New England Region (MARINER) project was established at Boston University in October 1995. Claudio Rebbi, Glenn Bresnahan, and Giles became co-directors of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the MARINER project.

In 1996, Giles won Boston University's College of Engineering Award for Excellence in Teaching. Giles started as a team leader for the Education Outreach and Training Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (EOT-PACI) in 1997. He co-chaired the Education Program for the Supercomputing 1997 Conference, benefiting a large group of diverse teachers and exposing thousands of conference attendees to the K-12 use of technology. In 1999, Giles was promoted as a full professor to the department of electrical and computer engineering at Boston University. His research focuses on distributed and parallel computer and supercomputer applications, simulations of large scale molecular systems, advanced computer architectures, computational science, and micromagnetics. In 2000, Giles won the Computing Research Association (CRA) A. Nico Habermann Award. The CRA awarded Giles efforts to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in the computing disciplines, his service as a faculty advisor and mentor for the Minority Engineers Society, and his mentoring of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. Giles founded and is the executive director of the Institute for African American eCulture which fights hi-tech inequality. During the Supercomputing Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in 2002, Giles was the first ever African American conference chairman. In 2004, the Career Communications Group selected Giles as one of the "50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science." Another NSF collaboration led by Giles was Engaging People in Cyberinfrastructure (EPIC) launched in 2005. Giles became the chair of the United States Department of Energy's Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) in 2010.

Dr. Roscoe Giles was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 12, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.170

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/12/2012

Last Name

Giles

Schools

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

University of Chicago

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Roscoe

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

GIL06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Camping

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

4/6/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood, Shrimp

Short Description

Physicist and engineering professor Roscoe Giles (1949 - ) was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford University. He worked as a professor at MIT and Boston University, winning several teaching and education awards and was named one of the "50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science" in 2004.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Boston University Center for Computational Science

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roscoe Giles' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roscoe Giles lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roscoe Giles describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roscoe Giles talks about his mother's aspirations to become a teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roscoe Giles describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roscoe Giles talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roscoe Giles talks about his grandfather's military service

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roscoe Giles describes his father's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roscoe Giles describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roscoe Giles talks about his brother, Morris Giles

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roscoe Giles describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roscoe Giles describes his childhood neighborhood and home

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roscoe Giles describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roscoe Giles talks about his experience at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roscoe Giles describes his family's involvement in the church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roscoe Giles talks about the University of Chicago's scientific history

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roscoe Giles talks about his education at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roscoe Giles talks about his interest in electronics

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roscoe Giles talks about how science fiction movies inspired him as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Roscoe Giles talks about his favorite teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roscoe Giles describes his experience at the University of Chicago Lab Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roscoe Giles talks about developing social skills as a scientist

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roscoe Giles talks about his peers at the University of Chicago Lab Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roscoe Giles describes his decision to attend the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roscoe Giles describes the technology that was available to him in college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roscoe Giles talks about the faculty and research at the University of Chicago's physics department

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roscoe Giles remembers the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roscoe Giles talks about his wife, Linda, and their move to California

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Roscoe Giles talks about his mentors and the minority program at Stanford University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roscoe Giles describes his dissertation on the modeling of quark confinement - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roscoe Giles describes his dissertation on the modeling of quark confinement - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roscoe Giles talks about the discoveries made at the Stanford Linear Acceleration Center (SLAC)

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roscoe Giles talks about the Hertz fellowship

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roscoe Giles talks about his experience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roscoe Giles talks about his research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roscoe Giles talks about his transition to the role of a computer engineer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roscoe Giles talks about the development of the internet

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roscoe Giles talks about improvements at Boston University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roscoe Giles discusses the interplay of theory, experiment, and computation in science

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roscoe Giles talks about the his involvement in professional organizations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roscoe Giles discusses his curriculum for computational science

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Roscoe Giles describes the MARINER project

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Roscoe Giles describes his work with the Fayerweather Street School

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Roscoe Giles talks about his work with the Education Outreach Training

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Roscoe Giles describes his role as chair of the Supercomputing Conference

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Roscoe Giles talks about the Institute for African American e-culture

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Roscoe Giles talks about technology and various forms of learning

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roscoe Giles talks about being honored by the Career Communications Group

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Roscoe Giles describes Engaging People in Cyber-infrastructure

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Roscoe Giles talks about the Advanced Scientific Computer Advisory Committee

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Roscoe Giles talks about his professional associations

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Roscoe Giles discusses the future of scientific computing

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Roscoe Giles shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Roscoe Giles shares his advice for future engineers and computer scientists

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Roscoe Giles reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Roscoe Giles discusses his computer preferences

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Roscoe Giles reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Roscoe Giles talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Roscoe Giles asks questions to challenge young people

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Roscoe Giles tells how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$4

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Roscoe Giles describes the MARINER project
Roscoe Giles talks about the discoveries made at the Stanford Linear Acceleration Center (SLAC)
Transcript
Now, tell us about project, the MARINER project?$$Oh, so, MARINER [Metacenter-Affiliated Resource in the New England Region], so what happened here [Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts] was that we were building up the computing facilities. We had the Center for Computational Science and MARINER was an outreach project that we tried to link those together with the educational resources and provide a framework for doing computational science research, education and so on within the local area. It was supported by an NSF [National Science Foundation] outreach award. What was true then was that the National Science Foundation for scientific computing ran a group of super computer centers. And associated with them, they wanted partners in regional areas to help bring computational science out to universities and so on. MARINER was such a partnership with the super computer centers. That all evolved over time to a new, within the world of NSF-supported activities, to something called the Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure which tried to group the outreach activities and the regional activities with the actual main super computer, you know, funding into a large umbrella grant. And we later worked on that. So the thing called the NCSA [National Cyber Security Alliance] alliance and the part that I was associated with was called EOT PACI. The PACI is Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure and the EOT is Education Outreach Training which was the kind of language then.$$Okay, now, you worked with Claudio Rebbi and Glenn Bresnahan?$$Right, that's right. So Claudio is the director or was the director of the Center for Computational Science and Glenn Bresnahan is the director of the Scientific Computing and Visualization Facility here at BU [Boston University]. So that's a part of the sort of information technology and systems division of the university. And so all of us worked together to, to lead that MARINER effort and then worked on the subsequent efforts. And always that, that set of people were involved in the infrastructure grants at the university that brought new computer systems. So we had at that time a series of large-scale computers that were brought to the university. You know, every four years or so, we would get a new machine by matching university resources with grant resources that we'd get, you know, through competitive grants with the National Science Foundation.$Okay, okay, now, you submitted a publication to the American Physical Society in '74 [1974] called 'Semi-Classical Dynamics of the SLAC Bag' and that (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$Yep, that's, that's my thesis, basically.$$Okay.$$I mean that was a piece of my thesis. I think that was the main publication that came out of it, and semi-classical method, the quantum mechanics was not taken into account for the bag itself.$$Okay, now, tell us now, what's the significance of some of these developments here? In '72 [1972], the Stanford Positron Electron Accelerating Ring operations began.$$Um-hum.$$Now, what are we talking about there? What's going on?$$Well, okay, so, originally, SLAC was this linear, I mean the name almost says it, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. The joke was that somebody originally wanted to call it the Stanford High Intensity Tube, but thought better of it. Anyway, sorry, don't think about that too long (laughter). But, anyway, so the linear accelerator would take, you know, it was based on the klystron tubes that, you know, had been invented in the context of radar, micro, basically took microwave radiation, accelerated electrons along a two-mile path and smashed them into things. The, the colliding ring was [Burton] Richter's idea that was a variant of that where instead of colliding electrons with positrons, you use the electron beam to create a positron beam and then had a single ring that, that--well, or double ring, that made the electrons go one way, the positrons go the other way and smashed them into each other. The, the neat thing about that experiment is that because they're a matter and anti-matter, the positrons and electrons, when they interact, it's possible for them to annihilate each other and create many more varieties of things or at least a different variety of new particles, compared to colliding electrons and protons because of the way, I mean they're just different things. So it's colliding one--it's like two different kinds of chemicals, you know, make different outcomes. So, that was the, the history. The thing that, the idea of it, of what started then. The expectation at that time was that this was another way to look into the zoo of elementary particles and just get a slightly different angle. What happened, I think around '74 [1974], '73 [1973], '74 [1974], was there was a very big surprise in those experiments where a single new particle was produced out of that or essentially, a single new particle, rather than just another spray of high-energy particle garbage, you know, like the thing we were talking about before, the jets. So a new particle was formed that seemed to last a relatively long time. That was then reflected a new kind of quark being discovered. Basically, it was a new kind of quark and its anti-quark that were being produced, which is now called the charm quark. They, this was also discovered and with the, you know, a lot of discussion, shall we say, between the CERN [The European Organization for Nuclear Research, Switzerland] lab and Sam Ting [Samuel Chao Chung Ting] as MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] versus Richter and SLAC. Ting called it the 'J particle' and, and Richter called it the 'psi' and they got the Nobel Prize [in physics in 1976], I guess together for that, though it's not clear that either side ever agreed who was really first. And, but anyway, that, that was the big discovery in SLAC, and during the time that I was there. One quick little anecdote, the first time I went out to talk about my thesis, I went to the University of Oregon, Eugene [Oregon], and then up to the University of Washington, Seattle, to talk about that research that I did. And the, the time I went was about three weeks after the discovery of the 'psi' particle. And so you can imagine how much people in Oregon or anywhere else wanted to hear about my little bag model compared to having me give them a talk about the latest SLAC discovery. So I had to brush up relatively quickly on all the experimental discoveries so that people would sit still long enough for me to tell them about the bag model.

Darryll Pines

Aerospace engineer and mechanical engineer Darryll Pines was born on August 28, 1964 in Oakland, California. received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He went on to receive advanced degrees in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his M.S. degree in 1988 and his Ph.D. degree in 1992.

Pines worked for the Chevron Corporation and Space Tethers, Inc. before joining Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)’s Advance Technology Program. At LLNL, he helped design the sensor technology of Clementine-1 spacecraft. In 1995, Pines joined the faculty of the University of Maryland (UMD) as an assistant professor. He became the director of UMD’s Sloan Scholars Program in 1996 and the director of the GEM Program in 1999. Pines has also served as chair of the Engineering Council, director of the NASA CUIP Program and director of the SAMPEX flight experiment. He took a leave of absence from 2003 to 2006 to serve as the program manager for the Tactical Technology Office and Defense Sciences Office of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). In 2006, Pines became chair of UMD’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, where under his leadership, the department was ranked eighth overall among United States universities. Three years later, he was named dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the Nariman Farvardin Professor of Engineering. Pines’ research focuses on structural dynamics, smart sensors, biologically inspired structures as well as the guidance and control of aerospace vehicles.

Pines was named a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has received the NACME Alumni Circle Award and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

Darryl Pines was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.155

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2012

Last Name

Pines

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of California, Berkeley

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Darryll

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

PIN05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Historic

Favorite Quote

Scientists study the world that is. Engineers design the world that will be.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/28/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Aerospace engineer and mechanical engineer Darryll Pines (1964 - ) is the dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Employment

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

University of Maryland, College Park

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Darryll Pines' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes his mother's childhood in Liverpool, England

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines describes his father's decision to join the U.S. Air Force and his parents meeting in Liverpool, England

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines talks about American servicemen who married British women while stationed in England

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Darryll Pines talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Darryll Pines describes his parents' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Darryll Pines describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Darryll Pines talks about the Black Panther Party, the loss of jobs, and the gradual deterioration of the East Oakland neighborhood where he grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Darryll Pines talks about the prominent entertainers and athletes who came from Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines talks about political activism in the San Francisco Bay Area

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines describes his exposure to technology

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes the neighborhood where he grew up in East Oakland

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines describes his mother's role in getting into Berkeley High School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines describes his experience in grade school at Markham Elementary School and St. Benedict's Catholic School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines describes watching the moon landing and meeting Neil Armstrong

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines talks about the major events of 1994

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines describes his relationship with his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Darryll Pines talks about playing basketball

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Darryll Pines describes his decision to become an engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Darryll Pines describes his decision to attend the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Darryll Pines talks about his mentor and advisor, Daniel Mote

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Darryll Pines talks about his interest in science fiction

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Darryll Pines talks about political activism in Berkeley in the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Darryll Pines talks about his decision to study mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines talks about the relationships he formed at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines talks about decision to attend MIT and his dissertation on the control of structures in space

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes human powered aircraft

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines describes his Ph.D. dissertation research

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines talks about his doctoral advisor, Andy von Flowtow

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines describes his space research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines describes his decision to work at the University of Maryland, College Park

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Darryll Pines describes his students' research in deep space navigation and uninhabited air vehicle systems

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines describes his professional relationship with Freeman Hrabowski

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines describes programs designed to increase minority student enrollment in STEM

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes the NASA CUIP program for the next generation of space vehicles

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines describes the SAMPEX program at NASA Goddard

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines describes his research with DARPA

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines talks about DARPA's technological contributions to modern-day society

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines describes his experience as chair of the aerospace engineering department at the University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines talks about the current generation of students in engineering and science

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Darryll Pines describes his students' efforts to use their engineering skills to have a positive impact on society

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines talks about the balance between his research and administrative roles

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines talks about recruiting minority students to the University of Maryland's College of Engineering

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes cutting edge research in science and engineering

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines talks about his hopes and concerns for the African-American community today

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines talks about what he would have done differently to prepare for his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Darryll Pines talks about decision to attend MIT and his dissertation on the control of structures in space
Darryll Pines describes his space research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Transcript
Okay, alright. Alright, now, okay, so MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] now, how did you choose MIT? Was it easy--well, if you can get in, you should choose it (laughter).$$Well, okay, you know, four years later after coming out of high school, I was a much smarter person, much wiser about the world. And I realized that, and I'm a very competitive person, so once I realized--I went to U. C. Berkeley [University of California, Berkeley] and I was able to do well. I realized that I wanted the biggest challenge. I wanted to take on the toughest challenge and I wanted to be at the best school this nation had to offer, and I felt that was MIT. And I wanted to also experience the East Coast, and so I applied to MIT, Stanford [University, Palo Alto, California], U.C. Berkeley, University of Washington [Seattle, Washington] and Cal Tech [California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California]. The only school I didn't get into, and I won't hold it against them, was Cal Tech, and it really made me mad at the time, I mean, to be honest with you. And I still hold that letter today, right. And it's used, I've used that letter as ammunition for my entire life, to be honest with you. Even though this is on this tape, I'm just telling it like it is (laughter). You know, because I said I got into every school and I didn't get into Cal Tech, you gotta be kidding me, at that time, you know, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-one years old. So, I went to MIT, and being the competitive person that I am, I wanted to go to the best college, and I felt MIT was that school. And it actually turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. And because I went to MIT, got admitted, obviously started my graduate program, met some fantastic people--I mean people who just are my colleagues and best friends today--I met a fantastic advisor who took me underneath his wing. His name was Andy von Flotow. He was--$$Can you spell that?$$Yeah. Andy, A-N-D-Y, von Flotow, V-O-W [space] F-L-O-T-O-W. And he was, Andy was a person who grew up in Canada and got his Ph.D. from Stanford [University] and ended up on the faculty at MIT in the aeronautics and astronomics department. Even though I was a student in mechanical engineering, Dr. von Flotow was willing to take me as a student, a graduate student, and do some research on space structures control. And at that time, in space research there was this interest in building these very large telescopes. I mean, telescopes, if you can imagine, ten kilometers in length, I mean ten kilometers in length in space, to look deep into the vacuum and see if there are other solar systems, civilizations, so forth. And one of the problems that these large structures had is that they were so long that they would vibrate, and therefore when they vibrated they would affect the focus of the instrument. So, the problem I worked on was could I develop a method that can control these structures to, you know, fractions of an arc, what we call the arc second of angle, very small fraction of an angle, to get the resolution that these instruments needed? And I ended up developing the sensor that could be used to control these vehicles of large spatial extent, and that's what I worked on for my Ph.D. But I worked on it for Andy von Flotow. And in so doing I met so many fantastic people at MIT, and really understood why I was in MIT, just like I had thought. I didn't know what it would be, what the experience would be, but the experience was even better than I could imagine. So, I truly enjoyed it, and to this day I feel like it was one of the best decisions of my entire life, was to go there and be educated at MIT, so--.$Okay, okay. Now, 1992, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [in Livermore, California]. So, what was going on there?$$So, I chose Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory because at the time, even though it's a Department of Energy facility and tends to work on big physics projects--because Livermore's lab is dominated, again, by scientists as we had an earlier discussion about (laughter). So, big physics happens at Lawrence Livermore Lab. But what they were doing just before I got there is that they had this incredible space project that involved-- you may remember this, as under President [Ronald] Reagan's time, 'Star Wars', do you remember that? And during this time period he put a lot of money into a space shield for the United States that literally, for any intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM] coming from Russia or anywhere, that we could put up and deploy a family of spacecraft that would not only look out for the intercontinental ballistic--ICBMs, but it would also shoot them down in their ascent trajectory. So, I joined that program. Honestly, I joined that program because it was spacecraft and I was excited about being a part of that, to be honest with you. And they had a lot of money. They had a billion dollars of money. Livermore had several hundreds of millions of dollars for this program, and they were looking at the time for a spacecraft engineer to help solve that problem. So, I was in heaven. I was like wow, I get to work on all this stuff, this is great. So, I went to Livermore and I became part of the main team that was working on this problem. And while we were working on that problem we got another big project which was called the Clementine Spacecraft, which was a demonstration program to demonstrate advanced technology that would help legitimize the Star Wars problem. That is, that you could detect ICBMs coming at you and you could shoot them down. So, Clementine was the demonstration project that demonstrated this could be done. So, my job was to do the navigation for the spacecraft, but also help design and analyze some of the instruments, the sensors, the optics that were used to track the ICBMs. So, this turned out to be a great project for me, because what happened was there was a major science part of the project. So, we were going to deploy the spacecraft. It was going to do an orbit around the moon and then after it did an orbit around the moon it was going to fly by an asteroid, the spacecraft. So, I, with a couple of colleagues at National Naval Research Lab was developing the navigation algorithms and the control algorithms for the vehicle. And it turned out that this particular spacecraft with the sensor sweep was the first spacecraft to discover water at the South Pole of the moon, which allows for life to exist on the moon. But no one had confirmed whether there was water on the moon and not at the South Pole. So, this did it at the South Pole. Using the hyper-spectra imagery system that we had, we were able to ascertain that indeed water was present at the South Pole. It was a major discovery in science, and it was such a major discovery in science at the time, that to this day a replica of the Clementine Spacecraft sits in the [National] Air and Space Museum [Smithsonian Institute, Washington, District of Columbia]. So, that was a proud moment for me personally to be a part of that program and a part of that accomplishment with my colleagues from Livermore and from Naval Research Lab. So, I was just lucky, again, in the right place and the right time there to work on that program. And then I worked on several other programs related to uninhabited air vehicles also, for Livermore up until about 1994.$$Okay, okay. That's big stuff. So '94 [1994], is that your last year with Lawrence Livermore?$$That's right. So I ended up having a great time. I worked there from 1992 actually to 1995.

Edwin Cooper

Biologist and immuno-biology professor Edwin Cooper was born on December 23, 1936, in Houston, Texas. Cooper attended Jack Yates High School, graduating with honors in 1957. He won the first prize in a state art contest, for which his ceramic vase was sent to the national competition at the Carnegie Art Institute. Although Cooper was interested in art, he was more attracted to the field of biology, studying butterflies, earthworms, and other animals as a youth. Cooper pursued his interest in biology at Texas Southern University, where he earned his B.S. degree in 1957 with honors. Continuing his studies in biology, Cooper earned his M.S. degree in biology from Atlanta University in 1959 and his Ph.D. degree from Brown University in 1963.

Upon completing his doctorate, he became an assistant professor of anatomy at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine in 1964 and attained full professorship by 1973. Cooper taught immunology around the world, beginning with an exchange program (sponsored by the Agency for International Development) with the Instituto Politecnico Nacional in Mexico City, Mexico. He later received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970, while maintaining his position at UCLA. Cooper founded the Division of Comparative Immunology of the American Society of Zoologists in 1975 and was a founding editor of the International Journal of Developmental and Comparative Immunology, and its society, the International Society of Developmental and Comparative Immunology. He has founded similar national groups in Japan and Italy. From 1989 to 1993, Cooper served as the vice chair for UCLA’s Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. He became the founding editor in chief of "Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" in 2004.

Throughout his professional career, Cooper’s research has been at the forefront of the discoveries made in the field of immunobiology, better known as comparative immunology following the publication of the first textbook and many others related to comparative immunology: he is credited with having established that discipline. His research on invertebrate immune systems and the evolution of immune systems has been published in several immunology journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. From studying chronic allograft rejection in earthworms to the identification of characteristics of the fish, amphibians and other invertebrates, Cooper shifted the focus of his work to better understand vertebrate and human disease. The products of terrestrial and marine invertebrates are useful in certain diseases as was discovered in ancient cultures like in China and India.

The impact of Cooper’s work has been recognized; Cooper has received five honorary degrees internationally, including one from his alma mater, Brown University, in 1988. He has also been awarded other international prizes in the sciences, such as the Alexander von Humboldt Prize in Germany, The Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Cancer Research to work with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Switzerland, and the S.M. Nabrit Achievement Award in Science from Atlanta University.

Cooper and his wife, Helene, have two adult children.

Edwin Cooper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 27, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.033

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/27/2011 |and| 11/30/2012

Last Name

Cooper

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.

Schools

Jack Yates High School

Texas Southern University

Clark Atlanta University

Brown University

Charles W. Luckie Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Edwin

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

COO10

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Everyday

Favorite Quote

If You Aim Low You Can't Fall, If You Aim High, You Have A Place To Fall.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/23/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Biologist and biology professor Edwin Cooper (1936 - ) was a leader in the fields of invertebrate immune systems and comparative immunology. He conducted research at the University of California, Los Angeles for more than forty years.

Employment

University of California, Los Angeles

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edwin Cooper's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper talks about his mother's side of the family, part 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper talks about his mother's side of the family, part 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper talks about his mother's desire to go to college

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper talks about his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper discusses his great-grandfather's involvement in the Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edwin Cooper talks about his great-grandfather, a Methodist minister

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper talks about his father's loving to work with his hands

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper talks about which parent he takes after most

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper shares a story about his birth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper shares his opinion on healthy diets from a biologist's perspective

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edwin Cooper talks about his childhood interest in animals

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper describes the schools he attended in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper describes his neighborhood in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper talks about his childhood activities and academics

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper recalls the radio programs he listened to as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper talks about his educational influences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper discusses race relations in his Houston community

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper talks about his high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper talks about his interest in art

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper recalls his influences at Texas Southern University and Atlanta University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper explains his parallel interests in biology and art

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper describes his master's thesis in developmental biology

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper relates his graduate school experience at Atlanta University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper talks about his experience at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper recalls his experience at Brown University during his Ph.D. studies

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper discusses his interest in comparative immunology

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper discusses the importance of studying primitive animal systems

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper talks about his family's pride in his academic achievements

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper talks about his experience as a faculty member at UCLA

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper describes his connections with Mexico

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper discusses his experience publishing papers in the field of comparative immunology

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Edwin Cooper's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper talks about his first book being republished without permission

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper describes the changes at the UCLA School of Medicine

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper recalls the controversy of pioneering comparative immunology

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper describes the role of the thymus in the generation of immune response

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper describes his discovery of immune responses in primitive invertebrates

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper recalls pursuing his research interests at the University of California, Los Angeles

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Edwin Cooper describes the reception of his research outside of the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper remembers the creation of the journal, Development and Comparative Immunology

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper recalls his research fellowships

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper talks about his research laboratory choices

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper describes the meetings of the International Society for the Development of Comparative Immunology

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper recalls editing 'Animal Models of Comparative and Development Aspects of Immunity and Disease'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper recalls working with Agustin Zapata

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper talks about writing 'Comparative Histophysiology of the Immune System' with Agustin Zapata

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Edwin Cooper remembers his work in Scandinavian countries

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Edwin Cooper talks about visits from international researchers

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper recalls his Fulbright Fellowship to Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper recalls his scientific work internationally

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper talks about innate and adaptive immune systems, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper talks about innate and adaptive immune systems, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper describes his presidency at the American Society of Zoologists

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper talks about the discovery of the cytotoxic T cell receptor by Leroy Hood

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper talks about serving as vice chairman of the department of anatomy and cell biology at UCLA, School of Medicine

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Edwin Cooper describes the interpersonal challenges he faced as a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper describes the discovery of peptides' role in MHC class II structure

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper talks about the extensive publication of his research

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper describes immune toll-like receptors

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper recalls his work with tunicates

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper recalls his research on soil pollution's effects on earthworms

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper describes the use of leeches and maggots in the removal of dead tissue

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper talks about the anti-microbial properties in honey

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Edwin Cooper remembers creating the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper describes the importance of evidence based complimentary remedies

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper talks about the use of lumbrokinase for dissolving blood clots

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper remembers changing publishers for Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper describes the restrictions for accepting publications in 'Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine'

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper describes his opinions on the use of medical marijuana

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper describes the United States' lack of preparation to care for its aging population

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper talks about centenarians and aging

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Edwin Cooper talks about the scientific study of centenarians

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Edwin Cooper describes aspirin's natural origins

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Edwin Cooper talks about the treatment of emeritus professors

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Edwin Cooper reflects upon his life

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Edwin Cooper reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Edwin Cooper talks about his family, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Edwin Cooper talks about his family, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Edwin Cooper describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Edwin Cooper narrates his photographs

Lloyd N. Ferguson

Chemist and chemistry professor Lloyd Noel Ferguson was born on February 9, 1918 in Oakland, California to Noel Ferguson, a businessman, and Gwendolyn Ferguson, a house maid. Ferguson’s interest in chemistry began when he was a child. He built a shed in his backyard so that he could conduct experiments away from his house. Ferguson skipped two grades, and although an illness kept him out of school for a year, he was able to graduate from Oakland Tech High School in 1934, when he was just sixteen. After high school, Ferguson worked with the Works Progress Administration and soon thereafter, the Southern Pacific Railway Company as a porter to save money to attend college. In 1936, Ferguson became the first in his family to attend college, and he earned his B.S. degree with honors in chemistry from University of California, Berkeley in 1940. Ferguson then earned his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from University of California, Berkeley in 1943, making him the first African American to do so. While at Berkeley, Ferguson worked with Dr. Melvin Calvin on a national defense project, the purpose of which was to find a material that would release oxygen for use in a submarine if it was ever needed.

In 1945, after working at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ferguson received an offer to join the faculty of Howard University in Washington D.C. He became a full professor of chemistry at Howard University in 1955, and in 1958 Ferguson became the head of the chemistry department. During his tenure, Ferguson was instrumental in building the first doctoral program in chemistry at any historically black college or university. In 1952 he was elected to the prestigious American Chemical Society. In 1965, Ferguson joined the faculty of California State University, Los Angeles, where he chaired the department of chemistry from 1968 to 1971. Throughout his academic career, Ferguson pursued many scientific interests including: the chemistry of carbon-based molecules, the organic nature of taste sensations, and cancer-causing agents. Ferguson received the California State University CSU Outstanding Professor Award in 1974 and in 1981. In 1976 Ferguson received the Distinguished American Medallion from the American Foundation for Negro Affairs. Ferguson was the only African American to receive an ACS award in chemical education in 1978. He has published seven textbooks and has written over fifty journal articles. He has also helped to develop programs such as Support of the Educationally and Economically Disadvantaged and the Minority Biomedical Research Program that encourage young minority students wishing to pursue higher education and careers in science. In 1972, Ferguson co-founded the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. He retired from California State University in Los Angeles in 1986.

Ferguson has a scholarship named after him at the California State University, Los Angeles. He received an honorary Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Howard University. Ferguson is married to Charlotte Welch, and they have raised three adult children, Lloyd, Jr., Stephen, and Lisa.

Lloyd N. Ferguson was interviewed by the HistoryMakerson April 25, 2011.

Lloyd N. Ferguson passed away on November 30, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.030

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/25/2011 |and| 4/27/2011

Last Name

Ferguson

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

N.

Schools

University of California, Berkeley

Herbert Hoover Junior High School

Oakland Technical High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lloyd

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

FER02

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/9/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

11/30/2011

Short Description

Chemistry professor and chemist Lloyd N. Ferguson (1918 - 2011 ) was instrumental in building the doctoral program in chemistry at Howard University, the first of its kind at any historically black college or university. He joined the faculty of California State University, Los Angeles in 1965 and co-founded the National Organization for Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).

Employment

Howard University

California State University, Los Angeles

Works Progress Administration

Southern Pacific Railroad

North Carolina A&T State University

Carlsberg Laboratorium

University of Nairobi

Bennett College

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lloyd Ferguson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lloyd Ferguson shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his mother and father's family histories

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his father coming to California from Jamaica

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about how his parents met in California

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about living near his grandparents as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lloyd Ferguson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his interest in sports

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about selling cleaning products that he made in his backyard laboratory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his early school experience

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lloyd Ferguson explains how the depression affected his family

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his experience at Oakland Technical High School, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his experience at Oakland Technical High School, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about growing up and the influence of church

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his interest in becoming a scientist

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about having fun despite the Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his job after high school at the Southern Pacific Railroad

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about going to the University of California, Berkeley for college

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about working as a red cap while attending school at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his classes and professors at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his submarine project at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about the chemistry department at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about working in the radiation laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about working with Melvin Calvin in the University of California, Berkeley radiation laboratory

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lloyd Ferguson describes his research advisor at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lloyd Ferguson recalls meeting his wife and teaching at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lloyd Ferguson recalls notable people at Howard University, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his work in the chemistry department at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lloyd Ferguson recalls notable people at Howard University, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about chemistry textbooks

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about doing research in organic chemistry at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about the textbooks that he wrote

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his research on the taste and color of organic compounds at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lloyd Ferguson recalls other African Americans at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lloyd Ferguson recalls his first textbook and his sabbatical in Copenhagen

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lloyd Ferguson describes the difference in resources between the University of California, Berkeley and Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his sabbatical in Zurich and working with Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Prelog

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about joining the faculty of California State University, Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his interest in golf

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lloyd Ferguson responds to questions about his involvement with the FDA and Project SEED

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his 1971 sabbatical to Nairobi, Kenya

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lloyd Ferguson remembers talks about MBRS and NOBCChE

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lloyd Ferguson recalls his awards and accolades

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lloyd Ferguson reflects on his life's accomplishments and shares his hopes for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his wife, children, and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lloyd Ferguson recalls working with Melvin Calvin

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about starting the graduate chemistry program at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lloyd Ferguson shares his memories of Sam Ashley, Percy Julian, and Herman Branson

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lloyd Ferguson remembers playing bridge at California State University, Los Angeles

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lloyd Ferguson responds to questions about his research

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lloyd Ferguson has trouble remembering his fellow colleagues at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lloyd Ferguson reflects on his life's accomplishments

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his wife and his personal life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his teaching and his textbooks

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Lloyd Ferguson talks about his early interest in science

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Lloyd Ferguson reflects on his career after leaving the University of California, Berkeley

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$6

DAStory

12$10

DATitle
Lloyd Ferguson explains how the depression affected his family
Lloyd Ferguson talks about his early interest in science
Transcript
Well tell us what happened, I guess, cause your family experienced an economic hit during the Depression [The Great Depression, 1930s], right?$$Yeah.$$Well, tell us what happened?$$Well, of course, I was little, didn't pay much attention, but my father [Noel Swithin Ferguson] lost his job, yes. And he couldn't afford, he couldn't afford keeping up the apartment building. The rent that came in, I mean a lot of the, a lot of people lost their jobs and they couldn't pay their rent and so forth, and he couldn't maintain the apartment building. And so he wanted to get rid of it and he tried to burn it. And that wasn't successful, so he had to go to jail for that, for arson, for a year or something.$$He was desperate trying to collect the insurance money?$$Yes, and get rid of it. I don't remember how many units it had. It was a big building there. But that's the only thing I remember at that time.$$That must have been devastating for your family, for your father to go to jail?$$Yes, right. I guess that's where he was when I graduated from college, I believe, yeah. He was still there when I graduated from college [1940]. So he spent some time.$$That's a long time to spend, it seems to me, a long time to spend for the crime.$$Yeah.$$Well, okay. So was your mother [Gwendolyn Louise Johnson Ferguson] still working?$$Yeah, she was working. As I say, she was an elevator operator, and sometimes she'd go out and serve meals for people who wanted a waitress, and you know, served meals.$$Okay, almost like a catering business or like a--$$Well, she didn't provide the food. She'd just come in and cook or not so much cooking even, just preparing it and serving it, making extra.$$Okay, she was part of the wait staff of catering?$$Yes.$$Okay. So did you participate in that too?$$No.$$So you had to live with your grandparents [maternal grandparents] after that?$$I spent, yeah, I lived with my grandparents. I'd sleep over their house too. We, they wasn't very far apart so I'm running back and forth and so forth, but most of the time I was spending with my grandparents. And then my cousins would come in and visit and other grandchildren would come in and visit and we'd play and so forth.$Were there any subjects you didn't do well in when you were in high school [Oakland Technical High School]?$$Well, I don't know. None that, maybe when I found out I wasn't gonna do well, maybe I got out of it. I don't remember.$$(Laughter). So the high school, did you go to high school in Oakland [California]?$$Yes. The teacher was very encouraging.$$You had good chemistry teachers?$$Yes.$$And so they encouraged you to go to Berkley [University of California, Berkeley]?$$I think so, probably so.$$Were you able to do lab work in the--$$high school?$$--in the high school? Did they have any labs?$$Yes, do some labs, and that's when I built a lab in the backyard and--$$Oh, you did. Did you blow up anything?$$Oh, once in a while I'd have an explosion and get a lot of fun out of it.$$(Laughter). Did you ever get in trouble with your parents?$$No, not with my parents and so forth. Sometimes teachers, the school didn't want me to fool with explosives, and that's where the fun was.$$(Laughter) How did you get interested in explosives and chemistry?$$Oh, I don't know, by a school teacher who was, let's see. I guess it was a high school teacher encouraged me to do experiments, and I learned about explosives and colors and so forth. And I just built a little lab out in the backyard and worked and played out there with the chemicals.$$By yourself or you had--$$Yeah.$$And so you were reading the books? This was in high school--$$Yes, right.$$--so you would read and figure out how to do some experiments and things?$$Yes, and explore a little bit.$$(Laughter). It was always fun.$$So that was, when you were in high school, was it close to being a senior or were you graduating or?$$No, let's see, it was probably junior and senior high years in high school, and I'd have fun with these chemicals. So I built this lab in the backyard and work out there.$$Where'd you get the chemicals? Do you remember?$$Oh, just buy them at stores.$$Oh, I see.$$Some drugstores or some--$$So you just used things that you could buy and then--$$Yes, oh, yes.$$And do you remember what made you apply to Berkley [University of California, Berkeley]?$$To do what?$$To, why did you want to go to school at Berkley?$$I don't know. It just seemed to be the only place to go.$$It was right there in town, huh?$$

Morrie Turner

Morris Turner was born on December 11, 1923, in Oakland, California, but prefers going by the name Morrie. He attended Cole Elementary and McClymonds High Schools in Oakland and graduated from Berkeley High School in June of 1942.

Turner began drawing caricatures in the fifth grade. In high school, he expanded to creating cartoons. He joined the Army-Air Force following high school graduation, and while on guard duty, he drew cartoons. His work was noticed and he was hired by Stars and Stripes to draw a series, "Rail Head," based on his own war experiences. Following the war, he created community affairs publications for the Oakland Police Department while free-lancing cartoons to national publications. Baker's Helper, a baking industry publication, was the first to buy one of his cartoons for $5.00.

Turner had had no formal art training and sought the advice and encouragement of other professional cartoonists. When he began questioning why there were no minorities in cartoons, his mentor, Charles Schultz of Peanuts fame, suggested he create one. In the early 1960s he created a series Dinky Fellas that evolved into Wee Pals, a world without prejudice celebrating ethnic differences. In 1965, the series became the first multi-ethnic cartoon syndicated in the United States. Wee Pals appears in over 100 newspapers worldwide. On Sundays an additional panel is included called Soul Corner detailing the life of a famous person belonging to an ethnic minority.

Turner has written several children's books including The Illustrated Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Turner has been honored by the Cartoonist Society in 2000 when he was presented their Sparky Award, has been inducted into the California Public Education Hall of Fame and was recognized by Children's Fairyland in Oakland. He is the subject of a film called Keeping the Faith with Morrie. Bill Keene so admired Turner's work that he added a young black boy to his Family Circle series named Morrie.

Turner passed away on January 25, 2014, as a widower with one son and several grandchildren. He had lived in the same house that his father purchased in 1945.

Accession Number

A2004.041

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/6/2004

Last Name

Turner

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Cole Elementary School

McClymonds High School

Berkeley High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Morrie

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

TUR01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Keep the faith.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/11/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Meatloaf

Death Date

1/25/2014

Short Description

Cartoonist Morrie Turner (1923 - 2014 ) created Wee Pals, the first multi-ethnic syndicated cartoon strip in the United States. Turner also wrote several children's books including, "The Illustrated Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr."

Employment

Oakland Police Department

Favorite Color

Turquoise

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Morrie Turner interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Morrie Turner lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Morrie Turner remembers his mother and father

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Morrie Turner recalls his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Morrie Turner describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Morrie Turner details his extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Morrie Turner shares childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Morrie Turner recalls growing up in 1920s Oakland

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Morrie Turner discusses his parents' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Morrie Turner recounts his childhood recreations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Morrie Turner remembers a childhood friend

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Morrie Turner reflects on other childhood recreations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Morrie Turner shares his school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Morrie Turner relates his childhood fears

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Morrie Turner describes himself as a less than stellar student

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Morrie Turner details how he started cartooning

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Morrie Turner recalls his high school extracurriculars

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Morrie Turner recounts moving from Oakland to Berkeley, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Morrie Turner discusses the lack of opportunities for black artists

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Morrie Turner reflects on his childhood job and occupational choices

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Morrie Turner remembers his military service and his first cartoon

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Morrie Turner recalls his first cartoon strip, 'Railhead'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Morrie Turner details how he syndicated the first integrated cartoon

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Morrie Turner describes the first integrated cartoon, 'Dinky Fellows'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Morrie Turner remembers the first cartoon panels that he sold

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Morrie Turner explains how he learned cartooning

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Morrie Turner recounts his trip to Vietnam to entertain troops

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Morrie Turner discusses nicknames in the Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Morrie Turner recalls his cartoons for Ebony

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Morrie Turner talks about the success of 'Wee Pals'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Morrie Turner shares some negative responses to his strip

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Morrie Turner explains how he started 'Soul Circle'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Morrie Turner describes the creative process behind his comic strip 'Wee Pals'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Morrie Turner lists some of his other projects

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Morrie Turner reflects on his film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Morrie Turner recalls working with Fred Rogers

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Morrie Turner contemplates writing books and other media projects

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Morrie Turner remembers his wife's struggle with Alzheimer's

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Morrie Turner expresses his concern for youth and the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Morrie Turner reflects on his happiest moments

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Morrie Turner discusses his attitude towards his work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Morrie Turner wishes his father could see his work

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Morrie Turner ponders his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Morrie Turner shares some advice to youth

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Morrie Turner's father and mother, Berkeley, California, ca. 1950s

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Morrie Turner with his siblings and mother, ca. 1930s

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Morrie Turner's kindergarten class, Oakland, California, not dated

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Morrie Turner and others in the Army Air Force, ca. 1944

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Morrie Turner and his wife, Leatha, Berkeley, California, ca. 1940s

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Morrie Turner, ca. 1940

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Morrie Turner, promotion photograph, not dated

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Morrie Turner Day, Oakland, California, ca. 1966

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Dick Gregory, ca. 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Morrie Turner with Bill Keane, 2003

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - Morrie Turner, Washington, D.C., ca. 1976

Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - Morrie Turner with children, not dated

The Honorable Ronald Dellums

Former Congressman Ronald V. Dellums was born November 24, 1935, in Oakland, California. After graduating from high school, Dellums joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was selected for Officer Candidate School. After completing his tour, Dellums went to Oakland City College, where he earned his A.A. degree. Dellums later went to San Francisco State University and then to the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his M.A. degree in social work.

After completing his master's degree, Dellums went to work with the California Department of Mental Hygiene as a psychiatric social worker in 1962 and remained there for two years. Dellums was hired as the program director of the Bayview Community Center in 1964, and a year later became the associate director and, later, director of Hunters Point Youth Opportunity Center. In 1967, Dellums was elected to the Berkeley City Council, and also began work as a part-time lecturer at San Francisco State College and the Berkeley Graduate School of Social Welfare. Dellums was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1971, where he served until his retirement in 1998.

As a congressman during the Vietnam War, Dellums began calling for peace and disarmament; he studied foreign and military policy, and served on the Armed Services Committee. During the course of the war, President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew accused Dellums of being a "radical" and a "commie pinko" for his views. Surviving these attacks, Dellums went on to challenge President Ronald Reagan's desire to increase military spending and later required President George Bush to secure congressional approval before attacking Iraq in the Gulf War. Dellums also proposed a national healthcare bill in 1977 and spent years trying to push it through Congress.

Dellums continued to speak about disarmament and finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts; he also maintained a strong interest in civil rights and environmental issues. Dellums authored several books, including his autobiography, Lying Down With the Lions: A Public Life from the Streets of Oakland to the Halls of Power. Dellums served as the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and the University of California, Berkeley, has created an endowed chair in his name in the Peace and Conflict Studies Department.

Ronald Dellums passed away on July 30, 2018.

Accession Number

A2003.042

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/13/2003 |and| 2/15/2013 |and| 6/17/2013

Last Name

Dellums

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Westlake Middle School

McClymonds High School

Oakland Technical High School

Laney College

San Francisco State University

University of California, Berkeley

First Name

Ron

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

DEL01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Vanguilla

Favorite Quote

Nothing beats a failure but a try.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/24/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans

Death Date

7/30/2018

Short Description

U.S. congressman The Honorable Ronald Dellums (1935 - 2018 ) served as a congressman from Northern California's 9th District and was president of Healthcare International Management Co.

Employment

California Department of Mental Hygiene

Bayview Community Center

Hunters Point Youth Opportunity Center

Berkeley City Council

San Francisco State College

University of California, Berkeley

United States House of Representatives

City of Oakland, California

United States Marine Corps

Healthcare International Management Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald Dellums interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald Dellums's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald Dellums discusses his mother's family background and settlement in California

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald Dellums describes how his grandfather impacted him

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald Dellums shares his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald Dellums talks about his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald Dellums describes his father's career and successes

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald Dellums recalls his uncle's emigration to California

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ronald Dellums details his uncle's achievements as a civil rights activist

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald Dellums recalls his uncle's involvement with labor unions

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald Dellums shares one of his earliest memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald Dellums discusses the demographic makeup of West Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald Dellums recalls his childhood neighborhood of West Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald Dellums describes the influence of Southern culture on his personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald Dellums describes his childhood religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ronald Dellums describes his childhood personality

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald Dellums recalls a violent knife attack

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald Dellums explains how family and friends shielded him from trouble

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald Dellums recalls his attitude about education as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald Dellums describes how his parents' separation affected him

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald Dellums recalls living with his father after leaving the Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald Dellums discusses the relationship between his father and his uncle

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ronald Dellums recalls a scholarship offer from the University of California at Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ronald Dellums deceives his parents about his grades and loses his scholarship to college

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ronald Dellums describes enlisting in the Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ronald Dellums recalls a racist encounter in the Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald Dellums explains how the Marine Corps aided in his personal development

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald Dellums explains how the military taught him discipline and confidence

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald Dellums recalls making education a priority in his life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald Dellums describes his college experience

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald Dellums shares his motivation to enter psychiatric social work

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald Dellums remembers his first psychiatric jobs

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ronald Dellums recalls an encounter which caused him to rethink his career aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ronald Dellums details his shift from social work to politics

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ronald Dellums discusses his admission to a Ph.D. program at Brandeis University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ronald Dellums gives the names of his children

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald Dellums details his selection as a candidate for the City Council of Berkeley, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ronald Dellums describes the political climate of the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ronald Dellums talks about being elected by a white constituency

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ronald Dellums explains how the diversity of the Bay Area helped his campaign for the U.S. Congress

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ronald Dellums describes his participation in the People's Park protest and his run for the U.S. Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ronald Dellums describes one of his first political failures

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ronald Dellums describes being attacked by Vice President Spiro Agnew

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ronald Dellums recounts the press conference at which he responded to Vice President Spiro Agnew

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ronald Dellums shares his response to Vice President Spiro Agnew's political attacks

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ronarld Dellums describes his contentious first years in the U.S. House of Representatives

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Ronald Dellums' interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls being awarded a college scholarship

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls losing his college scholarship

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers athletes from McClymonds High School

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls his decision to run for Congress

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about his political party affiliation

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers Spiro Agnew's criticism of him

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers responding to Spiro Agnew's criticism

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls his start in the U.S. Congress

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about his political role model, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about his political role model, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers his early political influences

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls his political influences in the San Francisco Bay Area in California

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers working with Donald R. Hopkins

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes his congressional staff

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers gaining the respect of the Congress

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls holding war crimes hearings, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls holding war crimes hearings, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about opposing the War Powers Resolution of 1973

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls the formation of the Congressional Black Caucus

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers Shirley Chisholm

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls joining the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls joining the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes his reception on the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes his stance on the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls advocating against the LGM-118 Peacekeeper missile

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers gaining bipartisan support

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls advocating against the B-2 bomber

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers debating Senator Sam Nunn

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls experiencing discrimination in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls the creation of the National Black Political Assembly

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about building political coalitions

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls being nominated for president in 1976

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers being nominated for president in 1980

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about the changes to United States politics

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers starting his anti-apartheid campaign

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers inroducing the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls passing the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Ronald Dellums' interview, session 3

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about his retirement from Congress

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes his fundraising process

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers the political climate of the 1990s

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls the special election following his retirement

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about advocating for AIDS awareness in Africa

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes the creation of Secure the Future initiative

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers Congressman Jim Leach's support

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls chairing the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

Tape: 12 Story: 10 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers advising Secretary Tommy Thompson

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about his book

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes the diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about political cynicism

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums shares his advice for young people, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums his shares advice for young people, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about tools for political organizing

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls working on AIDS education in Oakland, California

Tape: 13 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers being asked to run for mayor of Oakland, California

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls his decision to run for mayor of Oakland, California

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers bringing federal stimulus funding to Oakland, California

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls working with President Barack Obama's administration

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about reducing crime in Oakland, California

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about preventing recidivism

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about community policing

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about the importance of public safety

Tape: 14 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes his stance on gun control

Tape: 14 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes illegal gun usage in Oakland, California

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums reflects upon his term as mayor

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers the murder of Chauncey Bailey, Jr.

Tape: 15 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about the issues facing Oakland, California

Tape: 15 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls increasing employment in Oakland, California

Tape: 15 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums recalls his decision not to run for mayor for a second term

Tape: 15 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about lobbying

Tape: 15 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums describes his life since retirement

Tape: 15 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums reflects upon his legislative legacy

Tape: 15 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers his bipartisan collaboration

Tape: 15 Story: 10 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums remembers his Congressional role models

Tape: 16 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums talks about his children

Tape: 16 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ronald Dellums reflects upon his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

9$8

DATitle
Ronald Dellums details his uncle's achievements as a civil rights activist
Ronald Dellums details his shift from social work to politics
Transcript
Well, somewhere along the way and I don't know the exact--I don't remember the exact story--but C. L. [Cottrell Laurence Dellums] did a oral history project and you can find that out and he'll tell you that he and A. [Asa] Philip Randolph met. A. Phillip Randolph became very impressed with C. L., and C. L. became his West Coast organizer because C. L. was a young activist at the time. And these were the old left-wing guys--these were the young socialists of the '20s [1920s]. These were the young--you know, so everyone says is in my genes, in the genes. (laughs) So these were the young progressives. These were the young guys that had the audacity to challenge. And I remember, you know, him telling me stories about the early days of unionizing and the dangers, you know, and the goons that would beat them up, throw them through plate glass windows, I mean all this kind of stuff. Or take blacks who were working on the railroad once they found out they were organizing, then throw them off the train in places in Utah and other places where within 100,000 square miles they would be the only black person and then say, "Walk home." So needless to say, most of them never made it home, you know, walking thousands of miles back to the [San Francisco] Bay Area. But at any rate, C. L. was not only a union organizer, C. L. was also a civil rights leader. C. L. helped to organize the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in the state of California. C. L. was one of the organizers of the Fair Employment Practices Committee [1941-1946] that fought for fair employment in the state of California. And he was so awesome in that regard, that once California passed and enacted the Fair Employment Practices Law, C. L. was appointed to that board and became chairman of the board. And became so awesome and so powerful and so credible in that regard that Ronald Reagan, when he became governor further down the line, was forced to reappoint C. L. as chairman because even a number of Republican [party] appointees said, "If you don't reappoint C. L. Dellums, there's no credibility to this commission and there's no sense in me serving." So--which was a major statement to me that here this extraordinary person, my uncle, who was so audacious that even a conservative Republican governor was required to reappoint this man without him ever violating his credibility nor his integrity, which was a major statement to me. So C. L. became a very forceful person in the community. Even at the local level, there was a predominately black high school in West Oakland [California], McClymonds High School where [William] Bill Russell [basketball player] graduated from and a number of African American athletes, Frank Robinson [baseball player], Vada Pinson [baseball player], not Vada Pinson but a couple of other black athletes. At one point, McClymonds High School had more professional black athletes in professional sports than any other high school. C. L. fought to make that high school credible, set up a committee because this was a high school that had this enormous number of African Americans, but it wasn't an accredited high school, so he fought to make--I'm sorry, not credible, but accredited high school. And so all the way from the community level to the state level, to the national level, C. L. played a role. When I came to Washington [D.C.] in January 1971, more than one black came, more than one Dellums came. I came to [U.S.] Congress and C. L. came to the National Board of AFL-CIO [American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations] as the president of this small African American union in 1970.$I went into pre-OEO [Office of Economic Opportunity] poverty programs funded by Ford [Motor Company] Foundation, [U.S.] Labor Department, President's Commission on Youth Crime and Delinquency and what is now HHS [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] but then was HEW--[U.S. Department of] Health, Education, and Welfare--developed pre-poverty program prototypes. And I worked in San Francisco [California] in one of them called the Youth Opportunity [employment program managed by the Private Industry Council of San Francisco]--fabulous experience for me 'cause it took me back to my roots, took me back into a low-income community. Took me back dealing everyday--now as a more skilled and well-trained person, but it took me back to the sisters and brothers in the 'hood [neighborhood]. It took me back to young people. It took me into the areas that I felt I needed to be in. I learned about community organization up close--mobilizing politically, using community organization and organization to politicize an issue, how to empower people at the local level. And somewhere along the way, I remember it was interesting because we had a confrontation with the mayor of San Francisco at the time, who was Mayor [John] Shelley, and we were advocating on behalf of the poor people. And our argument was that poor people should control the funds in the program that effect their lives and that if you're going to have a board of directors of the poverty program, poor people should be in the majority, they should be in the control, okay? So we were the young Mau-Maus [Kenyan insurgent movement of the 1950s], we were the young, you know, black militants at the time. We were the 'Young Turks' [young progressive members of established groups]. And we went to Mayor Shelley to confront the power structure on these issues and I had one role to play, some part of it that I was supposed to speak to and when I finished, Mayor Shelley--and when I look back, I remember he was the first guy--'cause he said, "You ought to be in politics, you're a natural," and that's the first person that ever said, "You ought to be in elective office," and I had never--no one has ever said that to me. And at the end, walking out the door, I mean when he put his hand on my shoulder and he said, "I meant that--," He said, "--you're an absolute natural. You ought to be in politics." And I had never ever thought about that. It had never been something that, you know, we were community organizers. Other people who were politicians, also remember, C. L. [uncle, Cottrell Laurence Dellums] said, "Never be the guy out front, be behind the scenes pushing." So that's what we were--that's what I was about.

Ruth Beckford

Ruth Beckford was born on December 7, 1925, in Oakland, California, to Cora and Felix Beckford. She began dancing at age three with Florelle Batsford, who taught Beckford ballet, flamenco, hula, baton, toe-tap and acrobatics over the next 15 years. In 1943, Beckford toured with the legendary Katherine Dunham.

After graduating from Oakland Technical High School in 1944, Beckford began studying with Anna Halprin and Welland Lathrop. She was the first African American member of their companies. In 1947, Beckford became the first black member of the Orchesis Modern Dance Honor Society at the University of California, Berkeley and she founded the first recreational modern dance department in the United States at the Oakland Department of Parks and Recreation that same year. In 1950, she helped found the Oakland Dance Association.

In 1953, Beckford taught at the Katherine Dunham School in New York and opened the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company. She helped found the Black Dance Association in 1965, and in 1970 she played a similar role for the Cultural Ethnic Affairs Guild. She also served as a dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Beckford closed her dance studio in 1975, but still continued to perform. She began acting with the Oakland Ensemble Theatre, where she co-wrote, produced and starred in "'Tis the Morning of My Life," an off-Broadway success. She played major roles in television shows and film, including Angels in the Outfield, The Principal, and Midnight Caller.

Beckford turned her attention toward serving the less fortunate members of society in 1990. She counseled homeless people at the Berkeley office of the Department of Social Services until 1997, when she became a life skills counselor at the Oakland Private Industry Council. In 2000, she became the president of the African American Museum Library Coalition.

Ruth Beckford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 31, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.031

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/31/2002

Last Name

Beckford

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Oakland Technical High School

Longfellow Elementary School

Herbert Hoover Junior High School

University of California, Berkeley

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Ruth

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

BEC01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Only if travel is required - 0 - $500

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Also has videos to accompany presentation.

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Let Go And Let God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/7/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Oakland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese Food

Death Date

5/8/2019

Short Description

Choreographer and dancer Ruth Beckford (1925 - 2019) toured with the legendary Katherine Dunham for fifteen years, founded the first recreational modern dance department in the United States, and also helped found the Oakland Dance Association and the Black Dance Association.

Employment

San Francisco Dancers' Workshop

Katherine Dunham School of Dance

Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company

National Endowment for the Arts

Oakland Ensemble Theatre

Oakland Private Industry Council

Berkeley Office of Social Services

Favorite Color

All Colors

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ruth Beckford interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ruth Beckford's favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ruth Beckford remembers her father

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ruth Beckford describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ruth Beckford cannot recall how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ruth Beckford briefly describes her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ruth Beckford recalls early memories of dance and music

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ruth Beckford recalls growing up in north Oakland

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ruth Beckford describes race relations in her childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ruth Beckford briefly describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ruth Beckford describes her first formal dance training

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ruth Beckford describes the different styles of dance she studied as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ruth Beckford talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Ruth Beckford talks about her early success as a dancer

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Ruth Beckford further describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ruth Beckford talks about feeling free from societal pressures

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ruth Beckford briefly discusses the positive environment in her neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ruth Beckford recalls a notable solo dance recital from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ruth Beckford recalls the effects of the attack on Pearl Harbor

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ruth Beckford briefly describes dancing in USO shows during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ruth Beckford discusses the changing racial makeup of her neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ruth Beckford describes her high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ruth Beckford recalls briefly fulfilling her ambition to be a singer

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ruth Beckford describes a variety of her dance performances

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ruth Beckford talks about meeting and auditioning for Katherine Dunham

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ruth Beckford discusses her experience in Katherine Dunham's dance company

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ruth Beckford explains what she learned from being in Katherine Dunham's dance company

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ruth Beckford discusses her success studying Modern dance with Anna Halprin and Welland Lathrop

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ruth Beckford describes how her versatility helped her excel in Modern dance

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ruth Beckford talks about her first job

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ruth Beckford describes teaching a recreational dance class for inner-city children

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ruth Beckford explains why she chose not to finish her degree at the University of California at Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ruth Beckford describes how she mentored the students in her dance classes

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ruth Beckford believes some dancers are not true to their art

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ruth Beckford discusses the prevalance of interracial marriage in the African American dance world

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ruth Beckford briefly recalls how her parents felt about her work

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ruth Beckford explains why she doesn't regret not having her own children

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ruth Beckford talks about instilling discipline in her dance students

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ruth Beckford briefly mentions when she started her own dance company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ruth Beckford explains how her experience in Haiti helped make her dances authentic

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ruth Beckford describes a favorite of the dances she created

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ruth Beckford details her creative process for choreography

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ruth Beckford talks about incorporating Haitian influences into her dance classes

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ruth Beckford explains why she taught separate classes for separate dance styles

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ruth Beckford describes her various volunteer playwrighting projects

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ruth Beckford discusses the similarities between Haiti and Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ruth Beckford explains why she is satisfied with her retirement from dancing and teaching

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Ruth Beckford talks about her artistic relationship with dancer Alvin Ailey

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Ruth Beckford explains how she became involved in theater after retiring from dance

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Ruth Beckford talks about her foray into film acting

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Ruth Beckford describes putting on her first play

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ruth Beckford details the plot and production of her trilogy of plays, 'Tis the Morning of My Life'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ruth Beckford discusses her various film projects

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ruth Beckford discusses her duties as president of the African American Museum Library Coalition

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ruth Beckford compares the black artistic communities in Oakland and San Francisco

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ruth Beckford discusses the declining Oakland theater scene and her attempts to revive it

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ruth Beckford talks about writing Katherine Dunham's biography

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ruth Beckford details the writing and publishing of her book 'Still Groovin': Affirmations for Women in the Second Half of Life'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ruth Beckford briefly describes her unpublished book

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ruth Beckford talks about her friendship with Maya Angelou

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ruth Beckford briefly defines what makes a true artist

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ruth Beckford discusses the black artist's role in American art

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ruth Beckford discusses the importance of hip-hop dance

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ruth Beckford believes dance has become too concerned with technical prowess

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ruth Beckford briefly describes her interest in arts and crafts

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ruth Beckford voices her concerns for young African Americans, particularly young women

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ruth Beckford discusses her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ruth Beckford on the power of women's friendships

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Ruth Beckford's father, Felix Beckford, Sr., Oakland, California

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Ruth Beckford as a small child, Oakland, California, ca. 1930

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Studio photo of Ruth Beckford, ca. 1934-1935

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Studio photo of Ruth Beckford performing an acrobatic dance move, ca. 1939

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Ruth Beckford presented flowers at the Ruth Beckford Awards ceremony

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Photos of Ruth Beckford, Alfre Woodard and others at the premier of 'Funny Valentines', Hollywood, California, 1999

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Ruth Beckford celebrating the publication of her cookbook, California, ca. 1983

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Ruth Beckford performing 'Bamboche' as part of the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Ruth Beckford doing the splits, ca. 1935

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Ruth Beckford's parents, Cora and Felix Beckford, Sr., at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, California, 1915

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Ruth Beckford's sister, Roselyn Beckford Perry

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - Ruth Beckford's father, Felix Beckford, Sr., and twin brothers, Fowler and Felix Beckford

Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - Reproduction of Ruth Beckford's high school graduation photo from Oakland Technical High School, Oakland, California, 1943

Tape: 6 Story: 22 - Photo - Reproduction of photo showing Ruth Beckford with Katherine Dunham at the University of California, Berkeley, 1976

Tape: 6 Story: 23 - Photo - Reproduction of photo showing Ruth Beckford teaching a dance class at DeFremery Recreation Center, Oakland, California

Tape: 6 Story: 24 - Photo - Ruth Beckford with Robert Taylor performing 'Banda' as part of the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company, Berkeley, California

Tape: 6 Story: 25 - Photo - Dancers performing a zombie dance as part of the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company

Tape: 6 Story: 26 - Photo - Dancers performing 'Combite' as part of the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company

Tape: 6 Story: 27 - Photo - Ruth Beckford and her dance partner performing with a live chicken as part of the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Photo - Ruth Beckford performing 'Loa Erzilee' as part of the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Photo - Program from Ruth Beckford's induction into the Oakland Parks and Recreation Hall of Fame, Oakland, California, June 10, 1980

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Photo - Publicity photo of Ruth Beckford and Billy Hutton from her stage play 'Tis the Morning of My Life'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Photo - Commendation certificate to Ruth Beckford from the Berkeley Oakland Support Services, Berkeley, California, ca. 1990s

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Photo - Cover of Ruth Beckford's book, 'Still Groovin': Affirmations for Women in the Second Half of Life', 1999

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Photo - Cover of Ruth Beckford's book, 'Katherine Dunham: A Biography', 1979