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Reginald L. Jackson

Visual artist and professor Reginald L. Jackson was born in 1945 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He graduated from Springfield Technical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1961 and received his A.A. degree in graphic arts, printing and photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York in 1965. He studied art for two years at Paier College of Art in Hamden Connecticut before enrolling at Yale University, where he received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in graphic design, film and photography in 1970. He obtained his M.S.W. degree in policy and planning from SUNY Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York in 1976, and his Ph.D. degree in communications and visual anthropology from the Union Institute in 1979. He completed post-graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the department of urban studies and planning in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jackson was a founding member of the Black Workshop in 1968, a group of African American graduate students studying architecture, city planning and graphic design at Yale University. He later joined the faculty at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1974. Jackson’s photographic work was presented in the “African Extensions: A Photographic Search for African Survivals in the Americas” exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine in 1981. In 1986, Jackson established Olaleye Communications, Inc. to document, create, and distribute educational, visual, and cultural information pertaining to African retentions in the Americas.

His work was featured in Black Boston: documentary photography and the African-American experience. Jackson was chosen as a Simmons College Man of the Year in 2007. Jackson also served as the chair of visual communications, dean of international relations, and academic vice president at the African University College of Communications in Accra, Ghana from 2008 to 2012.

Jackson’s work and papers are held at The Yale University Art Gallery, The Boston Athenaeum, the Library of Congress, MIT Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, the Bowdoin Museum of Art, the RISD Museum of Art and Simmons University and Amherst Colleges.

Jackson’s board affiliations, memberships and tenured honors include: the Boston Pan-African Forum, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, artist emeritus at Northeastern University's African American Master Artists in Residence Program, emeritus professor of communications at Simmons University, Society of Senior Ford Fellows and fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.

He has received numerous academic awards including a Fulbright Fellowship, Ford Foundation grants and fellowships from the Smithsonian Institute, University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Reginald L. Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.208

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/15/2018

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Reginald

Birth City, State, Country

Springfield

HM ID

JAC47

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Place Warm

Favorite Quote

Lets keep it rolling

Bio Photo
Birth Date

1/10/1945

Birth Place Term
Favorite Food

Avocado

Short Description

Visual artist and professor Reginald L. Jackson (1945- ) served as professor at Simmons College and served as dean of international relations and vice president at the African University College of Communications in Accra, Ghana from 2008 to 2012.

Favorite Color

Red and Green

Chi Modu

Photojournalist Chi Modu was born on July 7, 1956 in Aronbizoug, Nigeria. In 1969, Modu and his family moved to the United States and he graduated from the Lawrenceville School in Princeton, New Jersey in 1984. He earned his B.S. degree in economics from The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers in 1989. Modu also received a certificate in photojournalism and documentary photography from the International Center of Photography in New York, New York in 1992.

His first position as a photographer was with the African American newspaper the New York Amsterdam News in Harlem. In 1991, he was hired by The Source magazine, where he worked as the director of photography. Modu’s photographs were chosen for over thirty different covers. Modu photographed some of the biggest names in hip-hop at the time, including Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige and the Notorious B.I.G. He left The Source in 1997 to work as the co-creative director at C-Squared Studio. During this time, Modu became interested in digital photography sharing and founded diverseimages.com in 1998, which later evolved into ephotos. He also worked for a variety of marketing companies, including as the chief executive officer for REBRAND, as a digital strategist for DI Digital, and as a brand strategist for Diverse Insights. In 2006, Modu joined Diverse Images, Inc. as the chief digital strategist and remained there until 2009. Following his departure from Diverse Images, Inc., Modu began working for DOTGO as a digital strategy consultant. He founded ephotos in 2012, with the goal of making the world’s images accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Modu’s photography has been featured in multiple exhibitions across the world, including in an outdoor art installation in New York in 2013 and a solo exhibition at the Pori Art Museum in Finland in 2014. His work at both of these exhibitions was later compiled into a book that was published in 2016, titled, Tupac Shakur: UNCATEGORIZED, which features many of his iconic photographs of the rap artist from the 1990s.

Chi Modu was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.085

Sex

Male

Interview Date

04/13/2017

Last Name

Modu

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Chi

Birth City, State, Country

Aronbizoug

HM ID

MOD01

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

I travel so much that I don't vacation.

Favorite Quote

Keep the focus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

7/7/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

Nigeria

Favorite Food

Nigerian

Short Description

Photojournalist Chi Modu (1956 - ) was best known for his iconic photographs of popular hip hop stars, including Tupac, Biggie, and Snoop.

Favorite Color

Red

Lorna Simpson

Photographer Lorna Simpson was born on August 13, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York to Elian and Eleanor Simpson. She graduated from the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan; and earned her B.F.A. degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1983, and her M.F.A. degree in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego in 1985.

Simpson held her first solo exhibit in 1986 at the Just Above Midtown Gallery in New York. She went on to form a partnership with the Josh Baer Gallery in 1989; and, in 1990, she exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the Projects 23 exhibit series. Simpson’s 1992 solo exhibit Lorna Simpson: For the Sake of the Viewer was displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. She also had a series of solo shows at both the Sean Kelly Gallery and Salon 94 in Manhattan. In 1996, Simpson served as artist-in-residence at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, where she developed her first film piece Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty. In 2013, Simpson became the artist-in-residence at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, and held an exhibition of drawings entitled Lorna Simpson: Works on Paper at the Aspen Museum in Aspen, Colorado.

Simpson’s photographic work includes The Waterbearer, Necklines, 1978-1988, Wigs, the “Public Sex” series, Photo Booth, and 1957-2009; and her film work includes Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty, Call Waiting, Duet, 31, and Chess. Simpson’s work has been published in several exhibit catalogues, including: Untitled 54 (The Friends of Photography): Lorna Simpson, Lorna Simpson: For the Sake of the Viewer, Lorna Simpson: Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty, Lorna Simpson, and Lorna Simpson: Works on Paper. Her work has also been displayed in museums around the world, including the Guggenheim Museum, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Consejo Nacional Para la Cultura y las Artes, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Jeu De Paume, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Simpson’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

Simpson and her husband, photographer James Casebere, have one child named Zora.

Lorna Simpson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.126

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2016

Last Name

Simpson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

High School of Art and Design

School of Visual Arts

University of California, San Diego

First Name

Lorna

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn

HM ID

SIM13

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos

Favorite Quote

No

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/13/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Miso soup

Short Description

Photographer Lorna Simpson (1960 - ) was known for several of her photographic works including The Waterbearer, Necklines, and 1978-1988, among others. Simpson’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Employment

Jamaican Art Center

Josh Baer Gallery

Wexner Center for the Arts

Addison Gallery of American Art

American Federation of the Arts

Favorite Color

Blue

Don West

Photographer Don West was born November 15, 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Elise and Claude West. West attended Brookline High School, graduating in 1955, before going on to study math at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. In the 1960s, West studied with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and was a professional bass guitarist. He taught transcendental meditation in Detroit, Michigan throughout the 1970s.

In the early 1980s, West became a staff photographer for the Bay State Banner in Boston, Massachusetts, documenting the movements, struggles, and successes of Boston’s African American community. During this period, West worked as a press photographer for United Press International. In 1983, West was the official photographer for Melvin King’s “Rainbow Coalition” mayoral campaign. Also in the 1980s, West regularly documented performers, including B. B. King, Whitney Houston, and Diana Ross, at Boston’s Concerts on the Common. In 1990, West served as official photographer for Nelson Mandela during the South African anti-apartheid leader’s visit to Boston on June 23, 1990. The Museum of African American History on Beacon Hill exhibited his work in the exhibit Portraits of Purpose, which was well-received and featured prominent social leaders of Boston’s African American community. West photographed Governor Deval Patrick’s inauguration in 2007; and in 2009, was a Resident Artist in the African American Master Artists-in-Residence Program at Northeastern University in Boston. In 2012, West founded Blackwire News Service, a wire service for people of color worldwide. The Urban League commissioned an updated version of Portraits of Purpose in 2012. Then, in 2014, West co-authored Portraits of Purpose: A Tribute to Leadership with Kenneth J. Cooper.

West is the founder and owner of Don West Photography. His editorial and documentary work has taken him all over the world, including to Spain, China, Paris, Jerusalem, and the Caribbean. Prominent subjects photographed by West have included Alice Walker, Angela Davis, J. Keith Motley, and President Barack Obama during his 2012 campaign trail in the Northeast. West is a member of numerous organizations, including: National Press Photographers, Boston Press Photographers and National Association of Black Journalists. He has received multiple awards for his contributions in photojournalism, particularly for the City of Boston.

Don West was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 19, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.078

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/22/2016

Last Name

West

Maker Category
Schools

Edward Devotion Elementary School

Brookline High School

Morgan State University

First Name

Don

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

WES09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Do It Now.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

11/15/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Photographer Don West (1937- ) documented Boston’s African American community for over thirty years.

Employment

Fotografiks

Sickle Cell Anemia

Transcendental Meditation

Various Endeavors

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4161,131:7022,209:7352,215:7682,221:7946,226:18301,425:26463,553:31330,589:32230,603:33130,614:39220,794:45396,849:62210,1118:62900,1129:90420,1582:93842,1635:101908,1794:114490,1932:129269,2140:129664,2146:138527,2262:139537,2274:142668,2313:156412,2448:169508,2631:169898,2637:172472,2696:173018,2704:180924,2806:184929,2944:211256,3298:213570,3378:217753,3420:243000,3737$0,0:11630,223:12730,229:13720,283:25675,483:38230,644:38995,654:49344,745:50174,757:56243,863:58401,976:65110,1042:65913,1055:68896,1093:83384,1300:93898,1436:98624,1523:129820,1966:133804,2042:144040,2165:153965,2470:177828,2831:196750,3028
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Don West's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Don West lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Don West describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Don West talks about his paternal family's move to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Don West describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Don West talks about his father's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Don West talks about his mother's racial identity

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Don West reflects upon his family's experiences of racial passing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Don West describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Don West remembers his relationship with his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Don West describes his family's house in Brookline, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Don West describes his community in Brookline, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Don West talks about William Dawes' ride through Brookline, Massachusetts in 1775

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Don West remembers his early experiences of social exclusion

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Don West talks about the Wampanoag community in Mashpee, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Don West remembers his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Don West remembers the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Don West remembers rebelling against his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Don West describes his experiences of segregation in Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Don West recalls his high school art instruction

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Don West talks about his paternal uncle's career as a lawyer

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Don West remembers the Boston Braves, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Don West remembers the Boston Braves, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Don West recalls his experiences at Morgan College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Don West remembers working at the post office in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Don West talks about his Boston accent

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Don West remembers reconnecting with a college classmate

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Don West recalls opening the Folklore Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Don West describes the guitar technique of Reverend Gary Davis

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Don West remembers the folk music scene of the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Don West talks about the blues musician Taj Mahal

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Don West describes the development of his artistic interests

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Don West remembers his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Don West reflects upon his early experiences of social isolation, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Don West reflects upon his early experiences of social isolation, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Don West remembers his introduction to transcendental meditation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Don West remembers becoming a transcendental meditation teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Don West talks about the need for transcendental meditation in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Don West describes his experiences as a transcendental meditation teacher in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Don West talks about the changes in the transcendental meditation movement

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Don West remembers teaching transcendental meditation at San Quentin State Prison

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Don West talks about his work with sickle cell programs

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Don West recalls his start as a freelance photographer

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Don West talks about becoming a professional photographer

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Don West talks about developing his photography skills

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Don West describes the Portraits of Purpose exhibit

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Don West talks about his book, 'Portraits of Purpose: A Tribute to Leadership'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Don West recalls documenting Nelson Mandela's tour of Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Don West talks about his international travels

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Don West remembers photographing Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick's inauguration

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Don West talks about his early camera equipment

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Don West talks about amateur photography

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Don West describes his photographic process, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Don West talks about the skills of a professional photographer

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Don West remembers his transition to digital photography

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Don West talks about his plans for his career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Don West talks about the photography of Sebastiao Salgado

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Don West describes his philosophy of photography

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Don West talks about the advancements in digital photography

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Don West talks the African American Master Artists in Residence Program at Northeastern University

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Don West talks about the history of African American photography

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Don West talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Don West reflects upon his legacy and how would he like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Don West narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Don West remembers his childhood activities
Don West remembers photographing Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick's inauguration
Transcript
Mashpee [Massachusetts] was a place that they used to vacation in the summertime. My father [Claude West] would have two or three weeks' vacation.$$Okay and thi- (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And it was a place where they could buy land and buy property, and so he bought property down there, and that was his getaway. He fixed up, you know, an old house that was there, and I used to help him do that. I learned a lot from my father though, in the sense of carpentry, bricklaying--I mean all kinds of--he could do it all, you know. He graduated from Hampton Uni- Hampton Institute when it was a vocational school [Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute; Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia] around the turn of the 20th century. So, he graduated as a brick mason. And what he was good at was building chimneys. So, when my uncle, the lawyer, they both--the two of them were the ones who were really interested in Mashpee. And they built a house for my uncle, my--William [William West], and my father built the chimney. So, I learned how to--I was--I could brick lay, I could do carpentry, I could do electrical work. I could do--because he could do all that stuff. So I learned a lot from him on that side of the--we worked together on--I mean he shared that with me. So, you know, to go to back to what I said before about how we were distant; well, he did connect, we did connect in that area. So he had a house down there, and we would go down there. And I think I was coming to that around the kind of isolation that I experienced. Even though I had the friends around, there was still--I was different. I still had--you know, I knew what color my skin was and what color their skin was, but I didn't pay it a lot of attention. But I knew it was different--that's about, probably the extent of that. So, that made me some degree--you know, because my whole environment is white and I'm brown, I had a natural outlaw feeling, so to speak, if you--? But then going to the Cape [Cape Cod, Massachusetts] and my being an only child, there was nothing, there was nobody for me to really relate to in those two or three weeks, other than I'd helping my father do whatever he was doing. And so that was--so I had a general isolation in growing up, which made me do for myself--you know, create projects on my own and create my own world often. One of the things I did, probably I was nine or ten, eleven years old, I was interested in radio, because TV was just coming along in those days. But radio--and I created a radio station in my room, and I hooked it up by wire to the kitchen, and I used to do radio programs for my mother [Elise Thurston West] while she was cooking dinner. I would do--and the radio show I would do would be kind of a disc jockey show. I would have music and then a little banter. So, I had a record player and I had the microphone. I had a whole little setup in my room.$$So, did you like a Heathkit thing, or what was it (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, it wasn't a--no, it wasn't a Heathkit. But it was just an amplifier, you know, that I bought. And the microphone, set that up to that and hooked the record player into the amplifier and ran the wires downstairs. So, that was sort of the beginning of my interest in media. I also used to draw a lot in my years of, let's say six to twelve years, thirteen years old. Because when I went into high school [Brookline High School, Brookline, Massachusetts], I thought I was going to be an illustrator. I wanted to a cartoonist or something like that, so I had a graphic sense, which I think then served me well as, when I finally became a photographer. I always had that sense of vision and applying it in some way.$One of the most famous photographs, or the one that, that I--when I was reading about you and people talked about the most, was the picture of Deval Patrick [HistoryMaker Deval L. Patrick] when--with the hands on him. You know, describe that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Right. Well, that was the night before his inauguration to be the first African American governor in Massachusetts. And he went to a local church [Old South Meeting House, Boston, Massachusetts] for a very traditional ceremony, where many different pastors from around the community come together in a moment and place their hands on him to bless him and to give him spiritual powers and support going forward into the job that he's about to do. And there were many, hundreds of people in this big church that night. And this was up on a stage, and he was standing there. And all of these ministers up--eight or nine or ten of them were around him. And so all of the photographers--I mean there were seven, eight, nine, ten photographers there, and we were all jostling for position and so forth. And there are pictures from that moment where some photographer just got this broad shot. But I felt to get right in tight. And this picture of Deval is a tight shot, right up in his face, and you can see a hand on his shoulder and you can see a cross on the garment of one of the ministers right next to him, and another minister behind--so, it's a very intimate shot. And his eyes were closed, feeling the spirit. So, it was the hands on spirit piece that that picture was about. He then, in his inauguration the next day another unique picture that I don't know how many might have. But he did his inauguration al fresco, outside the front of the state house [Massachusetts State House] in Boston [Massachusetts], which nobody had ever done before. And they had this huge stage set up in front of the--and all the elected officials, everybody you can imagine, you know, in the political life was up on that stage. And I was on a press riser across the street, and I got this wide angle picture that has the state house up (gesture). And the interesting thing is when he was called to speak, it had been rainy--not rainy, but gray and overcast the whole morning, and a little chilly. When he came up to speak the sun came out--literally. I mean, it was just amazing (laughter). And I got that shot, you know. You can see the clouds kind of breaking, and the blue of the sky a little bit, and the light, you know, off the dome, the golden dome, and all of this wide stretch of stage and him speaking. So, that was my wide shot, and then I got a lot of close ups, you know, with the swearing in and all of that. But it was a very unique experience. And that's what I really cherished about being a photographer, is to be at events like that, to be where history is being made, and it's been good.$$Yeah, it places you right in the center of it. Yeah (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, yeah, and being around those history makers.

Carrie Mae Weems

Photographer and artist Carrie Mae Weems was born on April 20, 1953 in Portland, Oregon to Myrlie and Carrie Weems. Weems graduated from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia with her B.F.A. degree in 1981, and received her M.F.A. degree in photography from the University of California, San Diego in 1984. From 1984 to 1987, she participated in the graduate program in folklore at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1984, Weems completed her first collection of photographs, text, and spoken word entitled, Family Pictures and Stories. Her next photographic series, Ain't Jokin', was completed in 1988. She went on to produce American Icons in 1989, and Colored People and the Kitchen Table Series in 1990. Weems then created the Sea Islands Series (1991-92), Slave Coast and Africa Series (1993), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995-96), Who What When Where (1998), Ritual & Revolution (1998), Jefferson Suite (1999), Hampton Project (2000), May Days Long Forgotten and Dreaming in Cuba (2002), The Louisiana Project (2003), Roaming (2006), and the Museum Series, which she began in 2006. She also produced the video projects Coming Up for Air (2004), Italian Dreams (2006), Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment (2008), and Afro-Chic (2009), among others.

Weems is represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City, and has exhibited her art at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, and Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, California. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major national and international museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Liverpool in England, and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum in Spain. She is represented in public and private collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Portland Art Museum. In addition, Weems has taught as an assistant professor or visiting professor at Hampshire College, Hunter College, California College of Arts and Crafts, Williams College, Harvard University, Syracuse University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Weems has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships including the Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize Fellowship; a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship; a Smithsonian Fellowship; the Alpert Award for Visual Arts; the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award; and the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award. In 2012, she was presented with one of the first U.S. Department of State’s Medals of Arts in recognition for her commitment to the State Department’s Art in Embassies program. In 2013, Weems received the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Grant, the Gordon Parks Foundation Award and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Carrie Mae Weems was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 10, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.175

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/10/2014

Last Name

Weems

Maker Category
Middle Name

Mae

Organizations
Schools

California Institute of the Arts

University of California, San Diego

University of California, Berkeley

Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy for Young Women

Sabin K-8 School

Andrew Jackson High School

Boise-Eliot/Humboldt PK-8 School

City College of San Francisco

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Carrie

Birth City, State, Country

Portland

HM ID

WEE01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Oregon

Favorite Vacation Destination

The World

Favorite Quote

You Prepare To Live, Every Day

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/20/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Popcorn

Short Description

Photographer and visual artist Carrie Mae Weems (1953 - ) was an award-winning folkloric artist represented in public and private collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

Employment

Hampshire College

Hunter College

California College of Arts and Crafts

Williams College

Harvard University

Syracuse University

University of Pennsylvania

Kelly Services, Inc.

Brockman Gallery

Favorite Color

Chartreuse, Yellow, Burnt Orange, Deep Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:5430,96:14266,217:14904,230:15136,235:16822,249:19370,286:22555,324:22919,330:23283,335:28296,369:28851,376:29739,386:30405,393:35844,453:38286,480:47124,533:47880,541:50012,556:50360,563:51056,577:51520,587:51752,592:51984,597:52506,607:56446,653:56908,661:57172,666:57502,672:57766,677:58228,685:59482,706:59746,722:60208,733:60604,740:61396,754:61858,762:62716,780:63244,789:72630,935:75990,981:88586,1144:89808,1161:90748,1173:92722,1201:99960,1323:100618,1332:107520,1376:108080,1385:108480,1391:109200,1402:109680,1409:112666,1420:113706,1426:114710,1443:115698,1458:116002,1463:116306,1468:117294,1483:117674,1489:118358,1503:119042,1521:121550,1565:125280,1590:126012,1597:126866,1605:148740,1890:152890,1965:158111,2004:173770,2281:176325,2334:179537,2409:182822,2450:183406,2459:188170,2467:189845,2499:191855,2565:194468,2646:212846,2873:225018,3040:225370,3045:226602,3076:226954,3081:230122,3139:230650,3146:234492,3156:236463,3182:237120,3194:237412,3199:238069,3211:238580,3220:246558,3280:251328,3318:255870,3382:256186,3387:260056,3429:260434,3437:261028,3452:261460,3461:266530,3506:266902,3514:267274,3521:268204,3558:268576,3654:269630,3696:278930,3833:279488,3844:292550,3966:293040,3974:293600,3983:294720,4009:295210,4018:307040,4408:316526,4496:318182,4526:318974,4546:319334,4552:320270,4581:320558,4586:327100,4662$0,0:612,3:884,8:5441,63:6095,70:7185,90:8384,103:10760,174:20550,264:23177,315:25378,355:26017,365:28928,427:29425,440:29993,449:32052,523:33330,551:34324,569:36241,600:36738,609:38584,651:39081,660:42844,735:49574,759:53078,819:53662,828:54027,834:55341,855:55779,863:56217,871:56582,877:59648,925:64780,949:66540,958:68035,987:68945,1008:69270,1014:71025,1043:71545,1056:72130,1067:72975,1084:73625,1100:74470,1117:74990,1126:81815,1249:82920,1272:83960,1292:84220,1297:84545,1304:85065,1313:86430,1340:87145,1353:98402,1491:108051,1656:108667,1668:109129,1675:110053,1699:124110,1863:124960,1875:125300,1880:125725,1886:126235,1896:127765,1923:131505,1981:132695,1998:133290,2006:143410,2065:144250,2074:144730,2079:149330,2108:149750,2116:150030,2121:152830,2185:158490,2240:159090,2247:159690,2255:160690,2275:161490,2284:173275,2440:174076,2452:177636,2625:179149,2668:180395,2702:183421,2743:183955,2751:184756,2761:185557,2771:198356,2932:201476,2985:202724,3010:209900,3155:210446,3163:219976,3244:220796,3256:221452,3268:223174,3306:223502,3311:223994,3318:227274,3379:227602,3388:247298,3635:248802,3696:251738,3833:252218,3852:256984,3902:257592,3914:257896,3923:264672,4005:265608,4023:266310,4034:266934,4043:271458,4117:272706,4138:273486,4150:274110,4161:277542,4224:278634,4243:279414,4255:299870,4368:300190,4373:307105,4450:309328,4522:314224,4587:329210,4831:329833,4843:331168,4868:336855,4921:337235,4926:337710,4932:342430,4997
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carrie Mae Weems' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carrie Mae Weems lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carrie Mae Weems describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carrie Mae Weems describes her parents' work as sharecroppers

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carrie Mae Weems remembers the death of her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about her family's migration to Portland, Oregon

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carrie Mae Weems describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the racial demographics of her neighborhood in Portland, Oregon

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carrie Mae Weems remembers the events of the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls her early work ethic, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls her early work ethic, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the awakening of her individual consciousness

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about her home life

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carrie Mae Weems remembers her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls her introduction to theater

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carrie Mae Weems reflects upon her friendship with Catherine Jelski

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls her decision to attend the California Institute of the Arts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carrie Mae Weems remembers the birth of her daughter

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carrie Mae Weems remembers moving to San Francisco, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls working for the Kelly Services, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about the development of her political consciousness

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls her introduction to photography

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about her photography training

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Carrie Mae Weems shares her philosophy of travel

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about her photography mentors

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls working for Anthony Barboza and Louis Draper

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls lessons from Anthony Barboza and Louis Draper

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the Kamoinge Workshop

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls organizing the 'Women in Photography' exhibition

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls her role as an art curator

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about her interest in art curating

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carrie Mae Weems remembers photographing farmworkers in Central California

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about P.H. Polk, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about P.H. Polk, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls her documentary film about black photography

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the influence of Zora Neale Hurston on her work

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carrie Mae Weems recalls enrolling in the folklore program at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carrie Mae Weems describes her artistic process

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about 'The Kitchen Table Series, 1990'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the process of creating 'The Kitchen Table Series, 1990'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the intentions behind 'The Kitchen Table Series, 1990,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the intentions behind 'The Kitchen Table Series, 1990,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about the exclusion of African Americans from critical art discourse

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about being the subject of her own photographs

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about her decision to focus on self-portraiture

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carrie Mae Weems describes her creative process

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carrie Mae Weems talks about representing the black experience

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carrie Mae Weems describes the use of artifacts in her work

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Carrie Mae Weems recalls working for Anthony Barboza and Louis Draper
Carrie Mae Weems describes the influence of Zora Neale Hurston on her work
Transcript
You're studying under great photographers [at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York], great black photographers, how--how did that inform the artist who you were becoming?$$Well, DeCarava [Roy DeCarava] was probably the most important. I thought that it was Anthony Barboza, because DeCarava, DeCarava's style is very, very subtle. And he's a, you know, he just a master, a master printer, and I was a little intimidated by him also. I was afraid of him, and but one night, not one night--you know, again I was a fairly intense person. I was taking classes I was trying to make some decisions about how I was going to move forward. And I decided that there were several photographers in New York [New York] that I was really interested in working with. One was the Japanese photographer Hiro [Yasuhiro Wakabayashi]. The other one was Lou Draper [Louis Draper], and the third was Anthony Barboza. So I stayed up, I had their prints on my wall in my ap- my, my 84th Street (speaks French) appartement. I had their prints on my wall you know clippings from magazines and publications. And I stayed up for like forty-eight hours like looking and writing and thinking 'cause that's what happens when you're hungry, you know. You can, you know, you can live on adrenaline for a while and I decided that I was going to work with one of these men. And that I was going to start calling on Monday morning at eight o'clock. So I'd stayed up, I'd made this decision I had their names written down, I had their telephone numbers written down, I had their addresses written down. Monday morning comes along I pick up the phone, and I start calling these numbers, one after the other, one after the other, all morning until somebody picked up the phone. So finally somebody picks up, it's his studio, and I said, "Hello is Lou Draper there?" "No, Lou's out in the, in the, in the dark room." "Okay, can you ask him, when, when can--," "Well, you can call back in five minutes?" Call the other number (makes sound), "Is Anthony Barboza there?" "Anthony's out in the studio right now, but you know, you can call back in ten minutes." "Oh, okay." Picked up the phone (makes sound), "Mr. Hiro is not here right now, you must call back next week." (Laughter) This, I mean just this sort of crazy thing. And finally I realize that two of the numbers were virtually the same except for one digit. And that Anthony Barboza and Lou Draper were actually working together. And that, when I was calling, one would be in the studio and the other would be in the dark room. Or one would be in the--right the--the, you know. They were sort of doing this thing and finally Anthony got on the phone. Tony Barboza got on the phone, and I said, "Hello, this is [HistoryMaker] Carrie Mae Weems calling. You have absolutely no idea who I am, but I know who you are and I've decided that I'm coming to work for you." And he said, "Who is this? Shirley? Is this Shirley?" And I said, "No, this is Carrie Mae Weems, and I have been up for a long time, and I've been looking at your photographs for a long time. And I just can't think of a better person to work with, so I'd like to come by and talk with you to find out when I could start." And he said, "Well can you come by on Wednesday?" And that's how I started working with Anthony Barboza. And then I worked with him for a long time and Lou was there, so I was suddenly working with two of my favorite photographers in one fell swoop. And it was really, really wonderful and then you know, that he didn't hang up on me was like a miracle. But I was so impassioned that I was just--it's like I have to do this. You know, and you know, like there's no other way of doing it, than other--you know than, than being direct. I've gotta do this, and I gotta work with you, I'm looking at these photograph's that you can teach me what I need to know. And so, I work with him, and I would then work with him on special projects because then I'm flipping back and forth. I know California, I know New York, I know how to drive, I--you know, I'm like you know. So you know, so he--if he needed to go to San Francisco [California] he would call me up, and I would pick him up and I would take care of everything. If he needed to go to L.A. [Los Angeles, California], I would pick him up I would drive I would take care of everything. So I was really a good little assistant you know, and I'd stay out of your way. So it was pretty, pretty wonderful and they were great teachers, they were great friends they were, you know, very kind to me they were very kind to me. And I learned a great deal from them.$So your first collection of photographs, photographs, text and spoken word. Your 'Family Pictures and Stories' ['Family Pictures and Stories, 1981-1982,' Carrie Mae Weems], that you created I guess was it the following year, 1983?$$Well I started the photographs earlier, I started making photographs of my family earlier. And, it was really through my encounter with Zora Neale Hurston that I really began to understand the power of the personal narrative. You know the--even though my father [Myrlie Weems] had been a storyteller I didn't really think of him as a storyteller, he just told good stories, right. I began to understand that he was really a storyteller that he was really the bearer of narrative. Not all of us are that; not all of us are that, right. And so Zora sort of introduced me to a way of thinking about possibilities of the ways of which I could work with photography. And use photography and language, and narrative together even though she wasn't using photographs. It was still kind of what she represented that sort of fostered a whole new set of ideas. I am so grateful, I'm so grateful that she, she lived. I'm so grateful that she did what she did, that she el- she freed me. She freed me; she gave me the right and the, and the authority to do the work that I actually went on to do with 'Family Pictures and Stories.' It was a very important work for me.$$So when you say that Zora freed you, how, how did this occur, what, what happen?$$By, by example. You know that there was--she charted the path. So she'd allowed--she gave me space. You know, I mean that's the thing I think is so wonderful about what people do. Really when you are the--what, what you being the trailblazer means that you have really opened the path for others to follow. So she, she was that, she was that for me and for a whole hoard of people that came along with me. That suddenly there was an articulated voice positioned in a certain kind of cadence that described a certain kind of life that was not urban. That was not urban right that was very important right. I supposed that in some ways Hughes, Langston Hughes is the same way right, this way of describing that was not urban. You know, that was, was always sort of like you know, like waltzing with the blues, so to speak, right. And I think that there's something really valuable, it was certainly valuable for me and--$$So, so at--where were you, were you in school [at the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California] when you learned about Zora Neale Hurston (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah in school, I was in school. I was in, you know, I was in that place where I didn't know what my voice was. You know, that I was--I knew lots of people, I looked at lots of things. I was making photographs, and I'm actually a very good--can be, sometimes a good photographer. So you know, so I was doing what I do but I was still not--I hadn't yet found my own articulation it just was not, it was not clear what that was. What my direction needed to be how it needed to be. And so I went to San Francisco [California] to visit a friend for the weekend because I was so despondent, I was so depressed. I was struggling, that sort of struggle to find my way through. And on the way out the door that Monday morning, I looked down, and there was this, this book 'Their Eyes Are Watching God' [sic. 'Their Eyes Were Watching God,' Zora Neale Hurston]. And I remember somebody told me that I reminded them of Zora Neale Hurston, but I didn't know who Zora Neale Hurston was. So it was like, oh that's that woman somebody said that I reminded them of, and so I asked my friend if I could take the book. Her son had just finished reading it for class. I got on the bus, I decide I was going to take the long way back to San Diego [California] because I didn't wanna get there too fast. And I read 'Their Eyes Are Watching God' all the way from San Francisco to San Diego. And I got off the bus reading the book, pulling my suitcase behind me. And I got into a taxi reading the book. And then I got to my apartment, and I was reading the book and I unlock my door and I was reading the book. And I walk into my bedroom, and I was reading the book and I sat in my bed and I finished it. I said, "Oh, oh, okay, okay I got it, I got it, thank you." It was just such a powerful example; I was so grateful. Got up the next day went to the library, checked out everything they had on Zora Neale Hurston, ordered everything else they didn't have. Bought everything else that I possibly could and finished up my degree and then decided I was going to be a folklorist. And went off to UC Berkeley [University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California] to study, to study there, you know, it was like you know the, the lights, the lights were just sort of turned on bright. How amazing is that, you know you just never know who you're going to touch by doing what you do. Phenomenal.

George Chinsee

Photographer George Leroy Chinsee was born on June 18, 1955 in Saint Andrew, Jamaica to Melvin Chinsee and Olga Buchanan, a healthcare worker. He has one sibling, Gwyneth Shick, who was also born in Jamaica. Chinsee graduated from the High School of Art and Design in New York City in 1973. He went on to attend New York’s School of Visual Arts, where he received his B.F.A. degree in photography in 1977.

In May of 1982, Chinsee was hired as a staff photographer for Fairchild Publications (Condé Nast Publications), where he has worked since. As a photographer, his primary focus has been in the fashion and beauty industry. Chinsee’s photographs have been seen in several publications, including Women's Wear Daily and W magazine.

Chinsee was selected as a contributing photographer for the 1992 Songs of My People, a book, exhibition and multimedia project that recorded African American life through the eyes of prominent African American photographers. He also contributed photographs to Harriette Cole’s Jumping the Broom: The African-American Wedding Planner and Vows: The African American Couples' Guide to Designing a Sacred Ceremony.

Chinsee lives and works in New York City. He is married to Harriette Cole and has one daughter: Carrie.

George Chinsee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 14, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.234

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2014

Last Name

Chinsee

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Leroy

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

High School of Art and Design

School of Visual Arts

Search Occupation Category
First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Saint Andrew Parish

HM ID

CHI04

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/18/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Jamaica

Short Description

Photographer George Chinsee (1955 - ) served as a staff photographer for Fairchild Fashion Media.

Employment

Fairchild Publications

Donald Camp

Artist and photography professor Donald Eugene Camp was born on July 28, 1940 in Meadville, Pennsylvania to Ira and Martha Camp. He graduated from Camden High School in 1958 and went on to serve in the United States Air Force from 1960 to 1972.

From 1972 to 1980, Camp worked as a photographer for the Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin. He then returned to school and received his B.F.A. degree in 1987 and his M.F.A. degree in 1989, both from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He subsequently taught for two years as an assistant professor at the Tyler School of Art. Then, after receiving a number of artist fellowships in the 1990s, Camp was hired as an artist-in-residence and assistant professor of photography at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania in 2000. Camp retired in 2012 as professor emeritus.

Camp started exhibiting his art in group shows in 1982 and in solo exhibitions in 1989. His ongoing photographic series, Dust Shaped Hearts, began in 1990, and sought to counter stereotypes of African American men. The series has grown to include men and women of all races, acknowledging that the struggle against ignorance and intolerance is universal. Camp’s artwork has been exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Delaware Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Noyes Museum; and is included in a number of important public and private collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His work has also been featured at Gallery 339 in Philadelphia for a number of years.

Camp has been honored for his work with a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and multiple Pew Fellowships. He was a Pennsylvania Visual Artist Fellow four times, and was awarded a Honickman Foundation Grant in 2008. Camp was a founding member of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, and sat on the board of trustees of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania from 2002 to 2005. He was also the subject of an American Artist Oral History at the Smithsonian Institute, and has served on the advisory board of the Creative Artist Network (now The Center for Emerging Visual Artists). He is a member of the Bahá'í Faith and lives and works in Philadelphia.

Donald Camp was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 13, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.144

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/11/2014 |and| 6/13/2014

Last Name

Camp

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Eugene

Occupation
Schools

Eckles Elementary School

Farrell Jr. High School

Farrell Area High School

Camden High School

Temple University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Meadville

HM ID

CAM10

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans, Louisiana

Favorite Quote

I Created Thee, Yet Thou Hast Abased Thyself. Rise Then Unto That For Which Thou Wast Created.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

7/28/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Photographer Donald Camp (1940 - ) was an artist-in-residence and assistant professor of photography at Ursinus College from 2000 to 2010. He has been awarded numerous fellowships for his photographic artwork, and was a founding member of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

Employment

Ursinus College

Temple University's Tyler School of Art

Philadelphia Evening & Sunday Bulletin

United States Air Force

Freelance Photographer

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3638,60:6099,100:8560,125:15279,236:20732,333:32947,451:40018,599:40620,607:43114,654:46705,685:52880,817:56870,914:62412,937:63342,943:71248,1044:88432,1245:92400,1293:93210,1307:102789,1411:110092,1490:120172,1751:134358,1904:134862,1934:141338,1995:141826,2004:142436,2017:144388,2033:145120,2040:156220,2194:158946,2233:165960,2290$0,0:3300,145:14460,233:18435,283:22805,351:23185,356:23755,363:44434,537:44950,544:52450,634:52936,641:53260,646:53827,655:54232,662:75350,880:78680,942:82775,975:83810,985:99990,1166:100550,1177:107796,1290:109326,1313:120830,1504:121514,1516:142113,1680:142558,1686:143270,1698:143982,1713:147453,1780:149233,1805:149856,1813:150657,1880:170446,2116:170851,2122:171661,2336:183854,2421:190780,2479:198160,2623:215932,2807:230365,2887:231030,2895:232360,2920:240310,3001
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald Camp's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald Camp lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald Camp describes his maternal grandmother's murder

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald Camp talks about his mother's musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald Camp recalls his mother's illness

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Camp describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald Camp describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald Camp remembers his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald Camp describes the origin of his surname

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald Camp talks about his father's occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald Camp describes Farrell, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald Camp recalls how his parents met

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

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald Camp talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald Camp describes his brother James Camp

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald Camp talks about the career of his brother, William Camp

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald Camp describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald Camp remembers the racial demographics of Farrell, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald Camp describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald Camp talks about living in a segregated society

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Donald Camp remembers attending L.R. Eckles Elementary School in Farrell, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Donald Camp recalls the responses to the murder of Emmett Till

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald Camp remembers moving to Camden, New Jersey after his mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald Camp talks about becoming a magician

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald Camp describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald Camp recalls his graduation from Camden High School in Camden, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald Camp describes his involvement with magician organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald Camp recalls his decision to join the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald Camp remembers being stationed in Marin County, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald Camp recalls learning about composition at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donald Camp recalls seeing African American entertainers in Paris, France, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Donald Camp recalls seeing African American entertainers in Paris, France, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald Camp remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald Camp talks his early interest in photography

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald Camp recalls his first camera

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald Camp describes the photographers that inspired him, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald Camp describes the qualities of a good photographer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald Camp describes the photographers that inspired him, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald Camp recalls developing his skills as a photographer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donald Camp remembers joining the Baha'i faith

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Donald Camp recalls how he was introduced to the Baha'i faith

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Donald Camp remembers his deployment to Vietnam

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald Camp remembers being stationed at Cam Ranh Bay Base in Vietnam

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald Camp remembers the U.S. military's struggle to integrate

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald Camp recalls leaving the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald Camp recalls meeting Philip Jones Griffiths

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald Camp remembers being hired at the Philadelphia Bulletin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald Camp recalls the diversification of the Philadelphia Bulletin's staff

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald Camp describes the lack of diversity in the newspaper industry

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donald Camp talks about his experiences as a newspaper photographer

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Donald Camp remembers covering the MOVE crisis in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Donald Camp describes his reasons for leaving the Philadelphia Bulletin

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald Camp's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Donald Camp remembers resigning from the Philadelphia Bulletin

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Donald Camp recalls searching for jobs after leaving the Philadelphia Bulletin

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Donald Camp remembers his decision to pursue fine arts photography at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Donald Camp talks about influential instructors at Temple University, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Donald Camp recalls his apprehension about attending college at an older age

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Donald Camp talks about influential instructors at Temple University, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Donald Camp describes Roy DeCarava and Robert Frank

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Donald Camp describes his master's thesis project

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Donald Camp remembers being offered a graduate fellowship at Temple University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Donald Camp remembers directing Temple University's Future Faculty Fellowship Program

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Donald Camp describes his inspiration for the 'Dust Shaped Hearts' exhibition, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Donald Camp describes his inspiration for the 'Dust Shaped Hearts' exhibition, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Donald Camp remembers the creation of the 'Dust Shaped Hearts' photographs

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Donald Camp describes the reviews for his 'Dust Shaped Hearts' exhibit

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Donald Camp recalls his inspiration for naming the 'Dust Shaped Hearts' exhibit

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Donald Camp describes how he chose his photography subjects, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Donald Camp describes how he chose his photography subjects, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Donald Camp talks about his perception of his work

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Donald Camp talks about his fellowships

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Donald Camp recalls purchasing his home

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Donald Camp talks about his approach to photography

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Donald Camp remembers joining the faculty at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Donald Camp recalls his approach to teaching photography

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Donald Camp describes a photography exhibit and magic show at Austin College in Sherman, Texas

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Donald Camp describes his favorite magician

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Donald Camp talks about African American magicians

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Donald Camp talks about his retirement from Ursinus College

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Donald Camp describes his artistic philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Donald Camp reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Donald Camp reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Donald Camp talks about his retirement and his plans for the future

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Donald Camp talks about his involvement with the Society for Photographic Education

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Donald Camp describes his family

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Donald Camp recalls his role in the founding of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Donald Camp describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$6

DAStory

8$9

DATitle
Donald Camp recalls learning about composition at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France
Donald Camp describes his master's thesis project
Transcript
Even when I went to Alaska, Alaska was interesting, for two years but it was interesting because I, because of being able to experience, you know, the aurora borealis and, you know, the midnight sun, and all of that, I mean, that was a fascinating thing. And then to France from there and being about what was it ninety kilometers, about eighty miles--seventy miles north of Paris [France]. And I could go to Paris almost every weekend, and I did. Because, you know, I could go and, and, and I wanted to go to the Louvre [Musee du Louvre, Paris, France] and I could, I can get in the Louvre free because they would give--the [U.S.] military would get passes and nobody wanted those passes everybody else wanted to go to Pigalle [Quartier Pigalle, Paris, France]. I would get the passes and go to the museums, and just walk Paris and see the art. And I must have, I must've walked, you know, I must've studied probably three--a good three months solid in the Louvre walking it and studying.$$Now, you--I have a note here that you were, you were impressed by impressionistic artists?$$ I was. Yeah, I, yeah--$$Or, well, what art impressed you the most in, in the Louvre? Or did any of the art inspire the work you do today?$$ None of it.$$None of it, okay.$$ No. It was classic, and I went there to study cl- I, I, I, I cut out a little--I took a 35mm transparency and I popped the slide out and I used that, and I would go into the--and I would compose and recompose paintings and sculptures.$$So, just the little frame that goes around the slide and you would hold it in front of the--$$ Yeah, yeah. And, if I hold it close, it was like a wide angle lens and, if I hold it a distance like a telephoto but just concentrating on that little section. And I could change it horizontal, vertical, or do whatever I wanted to with it. And that's how I studied the compositions. So, yeah, that's, that's why I would, you know, that's what I would do in Paris. And, and plus, you know, I read, at that time, I read tech books almost like novels. Formulas to me were the most fascinating thing because I could find out--I could read a formula book and make a comparison in my head as to what it would do a color on a piece of paper. So, yeah, it--that was a fascinating time for me.$In grad school [at Stella Elkins Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] you had a--I guess a thesis project or something?$$ Yes.$$And what was it?$$ Yeah, that was--you know, I still like the work--it--but it was--again, this was based on a part of a Baha'i prayer. And that prayer is--a part of that prayer is: "Thus their superstitions have become barriers between themselves and their own hearts." And I love that because what I tried to do physically was to set up a barrier and so I used comp- I, I, used appropriated images from newspapers, and they really are--they were based on superstition. My choices of the images were based on what I think are superstitions and that is inferiority or superiority of race, inferiority, or superiority of gender, you know. And so, I took these images and I, I, I copied them and then I printed them on mirror. And so, when you saw the photograph, you could see, you know, you are here, then you had this image of something that depicted racism and then you saw yourself behind it. One of the pieces was something that we assumed that I'm supposed to understand in one way, it was a diptych. And on the left is an image of something someone called 'Dr. Claude Cunningham Tips His Hat' [ph.]. He was a delegate at the, at 1948 convention in Atlantic City [New Jersey]. I mean, he had a hat on and he's tipping it and he has cane and cigar sticking out of his mouth, and he's from Texas. The way the image was made I was supposed to assume that he was this racist. On the right was: 'Buxom Virginia Jack Swaffs Her Thirst,' and it's a buxom woman, you know, and she's got a bottle of soda. Well, on the reverse of those images, the reverse on the back of that page, it was what the women's caucus was doing at the convention and they were talking about, "What are going to do with this terrible new weapon that we have?" And they were talking about the atomic bomb. "What are we going to do about women's rights? What are we going to do about racism?" That was the discussion that the women were talking about at the convention. And so, I took those images and I flipped them and I photographed both sides, and so it's, it's Dr. Claude Cunningham [ph.] and Miss Virginia Jack [ph.] and then the text so you can see what was going on between a heart and self. So, that was--those were just kind of a few of the images that I did for the thesis, but that was the foundation of it. The beautiful thing about that also is, if the pieces are lit right, not only are you seeing self, barrier and self, but if it's lit right, it projects onto the floor so that you're standing in the image as well so it just envelopes you in that sense. So, that was, you know, my thesis work.$$Okay, this is 1989, right?$$ Yes.$$Who is your advisor?$$ That would have been Martha Madigan. Will Larson [William G. Larson] left just shortly after I started the grad program and then Martha Madigan took it over, so she would have been the advisor.

Solomon Herbert

Publisher, journalist and photographer Solomon J. Herbert was born on June 24, 1939, in New York to parents William and Margaret Herbert. He attended the City College of New York.

In the 1960s, Herbert served as second national vice president of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) under Jim Farmer for several years, and then under Floyd McKissick. He also became a member of the Bronx CORE, where, along with several other CORE members from the Bronx, he participated in what was to become the first direct action/civil disobedience effort outside of the south when CORE members sat in at the White Castle restaurant chain to break their discriminatory hiring policies. Herbert later became president of the Bronx CORE.

After his involvement with CORE, Herbert went on to establish and run several programs for disadvantaged youth. From 1981 to 1994, he was self-employed as a full-time freelance print and photo journalist. During that period, over 800 of Herbert’s articles appeared in numerous regional, national and international publications. Then, in 1994, he co-founded, with his wife Gloria, the award-winning Black Meetings & Tourism magazine, where he serves as publisher and editor-in-chief.

Herbert has held membership in several professional organizations, including the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP), Meeting Professional International (MPI), Travel Professionals Of Color (TPOC), Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Africa Travel Association (ATA), Travel and Tourism Marketing Association (TTMA), Black Business Association of Los Angeles (BBA), and Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAAC). He also sits on the board of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, and co-sponsors the annual Multicultural Tourism & Hotel Ownership Summit & Trade Show. Additionally, Herbert is a member of the TPOC Advisory Board, and previously served as a member of the MGM Grand Specialty Markets Advisory Council.

In 2002, Herbert served as executive producer of Globetrotting, a travel television series he and his wife created, which debuted on BET on Jazz. He has also received many awards, including the 2002 National Coalition of Black Meeting Planner's Minority Business Award, the 2005 Regional Black Chamber of Commerce of San Fernando Valley’s Small Business of the Year Award, the 2007 Outstanding Entrepreneur Award from the Black Business Association of Los Angeles, the 2008 California State Salute to Small Business Award, the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from NABHOOD, and the 2010 Small Business Award from the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley & Region.

Solomon Herbert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.351

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/19/2013

Last Name

Herbert

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Johnson

Schools

City College of New York

Brooklyn Technical High School

P.S. 36 St Albans School

P.S. 116 William C Hughley School

P.S. 40 Samuel Huntington School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Solomon

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

HER04

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

The Main Thing Is To Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/24/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Publisher, journalist, and photographer Solomon Herbert (1939 - ) served as the second national vice president of the Congress of Racial Equality, and as president of the Bronx CORE. He published over 800 articles as a journalist, and co-founded Black Meetings & Tourism magazine.

Employment

Black Meetings and Tourism

Santa Fe Movie Caterers

Bronx Community Self Improvement Association

Anmar Designs

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Solomon Herbert's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Solomon Herbert lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Solomon Herbert describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Solomon Herbert describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sololom Herbert talks about his maternal uncle's role in 'The Notorious Elinor Lee'

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Solomon Herbert recalls his mother's death from cancer

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Solomon Herbert remembers his mother's aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Solomon Herbert describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Solomon Herbert talks about his father's military service in World War I, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Solomon Herbert recalls his father's homemade television set

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Solomon Herbert remembers his father's death

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Solomon Herbert remembers his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Solomon Herbert describes his father's health problems

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Solomon Herbert talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Solomon Herbert describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Solomon Herbert talks about his family legacy in the 369th Infantry Regiment

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Solomon Herbert talks about his father's military service in World War I, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Solomon Herbert lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Solomon Herbert describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Solomon Herbert remembers Camp Craigmeade in Peekskill, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Solomon Herbert describes the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Solomon Herbert describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Solomon Herbert recalls hosting CORE fundraisers at Silvia's Blue Morocco in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Solomon Herbert remembers his early influences

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Solomon Herbert describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Solomon Herbert talks about his schooling in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Solomon Herbert recalls an experience of racial discrimination at school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Solomon Herbert remembers applying to Brooklyn Technical High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Solomon Herbert describes his experiences at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Solomon Herbert recalls his introduction to the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Solomon Herbert talks about the impact of his parents' deaths

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Solomon Herbert recalls his early work experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Solomon Herbert remembers his early interest in magazines

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Solomon Herbert describes his social activities at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Solomon Herbert recalls his education at the City College of New York

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Solomon Herbert remembers founding Anmar Designs

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Solomon Herbert remembers joining the Congress of Racial Equality

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Solomon Herbert talks about the discriminatory policies of the New York City Board of Education, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Solomon Herbert talks about the discriminatory policies of the New York City Board of Education, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Solomon Herbert describes the Federal Bureau of Investigation's attempts to monitor the Congress for Racial Equality

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Solomon Herbert talks about the relationships between civil rights organizations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Solomon Herbert describes CORE's activism in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Solomon Herbert remembers organizing the March on Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Solomon Herbert describes the work of James Farmer

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Solomon Herbert describes his experiences at the March on Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Solomon Herbert remembers organizing the March on Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Solomon Herbert recalls the focus on white participation at the March on Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Solomon Herbert recalls the logistics of the March on Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Solomon Herbert talks about the decline of CORE in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Solomon Herbert remembers reconnecting with the CORE leadership and youth members

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Solomon Herbert talks about his move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Solomon Herbert describes his film and television catering company

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Solomon Herbert recalls selling a script to Topper Carew

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Solomon Herbert remembers catering for Fred Williamson

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Solomon Herbert talks about his interactions with white actors

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Solomon Herbert talks about his experiences as a freelance journalist

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Solomon Herbert remembers photographing the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Solomon Herbert describes his start as a journalist

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Solomon Herbert describes founding of The Black Convention magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Solomon Herbert talks about writing 'Bill Cosby'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Solomon Herbert remembers meeting his third wife

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Solomon Herbert describes the content of Black Meetings and Tourism magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Solomon Herbert talks about the advertisements in Black Meetings and Tourism magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Solomon Herbert describes the most popular domestic destinations for African American travelers

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Solomon Herbert talks about the most popular foreign destinations for African American travellers

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Solomon Herbert talks about the largest black meetings and conventions

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Solomon Herbert describes the impact of September 11, 2001 on the travel industry

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Solomon Herbert remembers founding the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Solomon Herbert remembers creating 'Globetrotting' for BET

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Solomon Herbert talks about the importance of minority representation in the hospitality industry

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Solomon Herbert talks about the importance of visiting Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Solomon Herbert describes his current projects at Black Meetings and Tourism magazine

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Solomon Herbert talks about the growth of black-owned hotels

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Solomon Herbert describes his family's involvement at Black Meetings and Tourism magazine

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Solomon Herbert reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Solomon Herbert describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Solomon Herbert reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Solomon Herbert describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Solomon Herbert narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Solomon Herbert describes CORE's activism in New York City
Solomon Herbert describes founding of The Black Convention magazine
Transcript
So what were the, some issues of--that CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] dealt with where you were in New York [New York] were education, you said, and--?$$In the school--$$Yeah.$$--and the unions and then, and the, and the original one, which was the employment. I mean, I think those were the three big areas that we were involved in. Of course, we were involved in police brutality and other things. But police brutality has al- has always been a difficult--especially back then. It's a little bit more--today with everybody walking around with a cellphone, they can take videos and everything. There's more proof of it. If it hadn't been somebody there with a camera to tape Rodney King, people probably wouldn't have believed that. And a lot of the stuff that was happening back then, it was never documented. It was just, you know, this person told me this is what happened to him. But there was no way to prove it. So that was always kind of a fringe--it was an important issue, but it was an issue that you could get little traction on sometimes because it was difficult to prove. And, you know, the police are not--and I'm certainly not anti-police. I mean my daughter is a retired police officer in New York. And her husband, my son-in-law, is a re- retired police officer. So I don't really have a problem with police when they're doing their job. But a lot of them don't do their job. And my daughter used to tell me sometimes how she had to have to either speak up or bite her tongue in a situation where she saw some of her fellow officers were acting in an inappropriate fashion. But back then there was almost no way to prove some of the allegations. So while it was--you know, we addressed those issues, very little ever came of it. But with housing or with schools, I mean you could--the numbers speak for themselves. When there's no black principals in a ci- city the size of New York for those black people, you know, how do you deny that? How do you cover that up? You can't.$$This used to be said by the powers that be that they could qua- not find qualified Negroes--$$Yeah.$$--to fill these spots.$$Well, you know, that's an argument that's still being used today. And in fact, maybe later on we'll get into that. In the industry I'm in, it's unbelievable. I mean the thing is, there aren't much better than--I mean, there are some, but there are not nearly as many as there ought to be.$So we were just talking about some of the people that you came in contact with at Black Enterprise, Black Collegian [The Black Collegian]. I guess you knew [HistoryMaker] Kala- Kalamu ya Salaam and some of the other (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes, and also a young lady, Sonya Stinson, I used to work with her there. In fact, she wrote for me up until about a year ago. So--$$Okay. So this is--now that sounds like a pretty good life, you know. You make--you're able to write and without any blocks or anything (laughter). So let's see. Now in 1990, now tell me if I'm going to fast, jumping ahead too much. But in 1990, you and a business partner launched The Black Con- Convention [The Black Convention], right?$$Yes.$$This is a monthly magazine.$$Yes.$$And, so tell us why, and what was the focus of it?$$Well, you know, Howard had been for--Howard Mills [Howard F. Mills, Sr.] from the coalition [National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners]--had been urging me for the longest time to try and put together a magazine to address the needs of the African American meeting planner and hospitality professional. And of course it was--I had never published before, even though I had done a lot of writing. So that was a whole new industry for me. And also, it was during a recession, a very bad recession during that period of time. So, but in any event, I was doing a story for one of the general market publications. And that was around 1989 or thereabouts, '88 [1988], '89 [1989]. And there was a boycott of Arizona going on at the time because they had refused to acknowledge the Martin Luther King birthday [Martin Luther King Jr. Day]. So I'm doing a telephone interview with the president of the bureau, convention and visitors bureau. And of course, when I'm doing a telephone interview, unless the people know me, they don't know who I am. They don't know if I'm black or what I am. And I, and I also, when I'm rea- if I'm writing for Black Enterprise, I know who my audience is. And, so I'm going to write, you know, with one focus. If I'm writing for a general market, well, I'm writing for a different audience. So anyway he didn't know I was black, and I wasn't trying to write a black story. I was just writing a story that I was given, an assignment I was given about Arizona. And, so I was not going to make the whole boycott thing a major part of my article, although I was trying to figure out how to get it in there without, you know, because, you know, a lot of times people don't--in a destination--don't want to talk about if they're being boycotted. They don't want to draw attention to it. So about halfway through the interview, he volunteers. He said, well, one of the things he's hoping is the boycott ends soon, because they've lost, whatever, $25 million and groups pulling out. So I said, "Fine." So I put in his little comment, a sentence or two, and went on with the rest of the story. When I sent it to the editor, submitted it, the editor said, "Oh, nobody's interested in that. That's old news." And he just took it out. And that was kind of the story that broke the camel's back. I figured well, now, first of all, the president is the one that raised the question. I didn't ask the question, and he felt it was important enough to include it in his comments. And it was relevant, even to a general market audience, I think--audience, it was relevant. But anyway, that was the kind of thing that said, "Well, maybe I need to sit down and talk with Howard about this. Because this may be the time--if we can't tell our stories, we can't rely on other people to tell them for us." So that was kind of the thing that pushed me to do it at that particular point and time.$$Okay. Well, how did this, how did the magazine do? I mean--$$Well, it was difficult, it was challenging. For that matter, it's still challenging. But we had some folks that belonged to the coalition that I--by this time I had gotten to know, who wanted to see it happen. And, so they did something that people very seldom do in this industry and almost never do. And that is that they made some commitments before anything was done and some of them even paid in front. Now you don't--in the, in the magazine industry, the drill is you send somebody their tear sheets and an invoice and then they pay you. Tear sheets are the things that come out of the magazine that show that their ad is run.$$Yeah.$$They don't pay you before that's done, because you could take the money and run. And believe me, people have done it. But we had some people who were just committed to seeing this magazine come to life. And, so we had a few of them that were, made that commitment and just--we didn't have a lot of funds, but we had enough to do what we had to do and get that first issue out there. And we started out, I think we did, we did one issue in I think November, and then we did--the next one was in January. Something like that because we were, we didn't try and do it, start out as a monthly. And then at some point after the first couple of issues were out then we went to a monthly. And we did that for a while until advertising revenue really kind of died after 9/11 [September 11, 2001]. And that's when we, somewhere around that time, we went to a bimonthly.$$So 2001, that's when it went bimonthly?$$Some- somewhere around there, may have been a little before that.

David "Oggi" Ogburn

Photographer David Oggi Ogburn was born on December 14, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York to Archibald and Nannie Ogburn. He graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, New York in 1961. After taking courses at Saint Paul's College, Ogburn went on to receive his B.A. degree in sociology from Howard University in 1968, as well as his M.A. degree in urban studies in 1973.

Ogburn was hired in the 1960s as a social worker for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. From 1969 until 1971, Ogburn worked as a merchandiser for General Motors. In 1970, he also worked as a freelance photographer, and founded Oggi's Kitchen Photomarket in 1971. Then, in 1975, Ogburn began serving as assistant to the Historian Chancellor James Williams, where he documented his work through photography and audiotape until 1987. Ogburn was also hired by local D.C. radio stations including Howard University’s WHUR-FM as a freelance photographer. He served for three years as a soundman for the D.C. Black Repertory Company and as the campaign photographer for President Jimmy Carter and former Washington, D.C. Mayor Walter Washington. For twenty-four years, Ogburn worked for the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters. He has also photographed for record labels Sony, Arista, WEA, BMG, Polygram, Motown, and MCA.

Ogburn's photographs have been published in trade and consumer magazines ranging from Billboard to U.S. News and World Report. His work has been included in several photography collection books about African American images, history and culture. Ogburn’s photography has also been exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History; the African American Museum in Philadelphia; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; as well as at various exhibits in Atlanta, Detroit, Montgomery, and Beijing, China. He received many honors and awards including Impact magazine’s Award of Excellence in 1997; the Exposure Group’s 2002 Photographer of the Year Award; and the Mid Atlantic Music Alliance’s Preservation of Music History honor in 2007. Ogburn has also been a member of the Exposure Group since 1998.

David Oggi Ogburn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 21, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.278

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/21/2013 |and| 10/25/2013

Last Name

Ogburn

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Allison

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Virginia Union University

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

OGB01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin

Favorite Quote

Employment of enjoyment

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/14/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese Food

Short Description

Photographer David "Oggi" Ogburn (1942 - ) , founder of Oggi's Kitchen Photomarket, has been a photographer for over forty years, capturing historic snapshots of famous musicians, U.S. Presidents, and Historian Chancellor James Williams.

Employment

Delete

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

General Motors

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David "Oggi" Ogburn's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn explains how his mother's family is distantly related to Carter G. Woodson

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about his mother's education and her work as a dressmaker

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David "Oggi" Ogburn details the ethnic background of his maternal family and explains why they moved to New York, New York.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes his father's education at Saint Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Virginia and his work for the Department of Corrections

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David "Oggi" Ogburn explains how his parents met and his father's service in World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David "Oggi" Ogburn lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes his siblings' lives, careers, and family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls his early childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn remembers his father, Archibald Ogburn's influence and his experiences as an altar boy

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls his early school years, playing sports, and the death of his childhood friend, Tommy Boone

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes his work for the commissary at Rikers Island Prison Complex, New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls influential early educational experiences and famous neighbors from his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David "Oggi" Ogburn explains how losing his first job led to him entering college at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls famous basketball players at Riis Beach, Jacob Riis Park, New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David "Oggi" Ogburn explains how he was expelled from Saint Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn reflects on his time at Howard University, Washington, D.C. and the circumstances that led to his expulsion after two years

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recounts graduating from Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes his post-college jobs, including working for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recounts how he became interested in photography

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls how he first began his photography lab, Oggi's Kitchen, in an efficiency apartment at The Envoy in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David "Oggi" Ogburn remembers accepting his first photography gig for a radio station in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David "Oggi" Ogburn explains how his first gig photographing Roberta Flack led to other work in photography and music promotion

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls some of the prominent people who worked in sales and promotions at the radio station, WHUR

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn shares stories about his time with the D.C. Black Repertory Company in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls meeting Chancellor Williams, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls meeting Chancellor Williams, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about Chancellor Williams' early life and his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls traveling with Chancellor Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn reflects on inhabiting both the intellectual world and the entertainment world

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls Chancellor Williams' skepticism regarding certain beliefs

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn shares the story of Chancellor Williams taking legal action against Third World Press to obtain his royalties

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of David "Oggi" Ogburn's interview, session two

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about Chancellor Williams' papers

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about Chancellor Williams' relationship with his family

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn shares his final reflection on Chancellor Williams' legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes some important photography assignments early in his career

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about the creation of the Quiet Storm radio format, HistoryMaker Cathy Hughes, and comedian Petey Greene

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls his inspiration for a black-history focused newsletter while president of the House of Ogburn

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David "Oggi" Ogburn discusses criticisms of Chancellor Williams's scholarship and why Chancellor Williams was unable to complete his planned works

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about his friendships with Jon Lucien and HistoryMaker Dyana Willams

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes his photography work and the lifestyle the work entailed

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls working with Bob Marley, Earth, Wind & Fire, Art Blakey, and Grover Washington, Jr.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn shares memories about some of his favorite performers, including Janet Jackson and Sade

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn explains how he was able to have a successful career as a photographer for the music business

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David "Oggi" Ogburn details the components that affect the pricing of photography and notes features in newer cameras

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls meeting James Van Der Zee

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about the photography of Gordon Parks and Yousuf Karsh

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn details his various exhibitions and some of his favorite works

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls other influential photographers he met

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn discusses the difficult financial situation artists can face

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes the profound effect his trip to Egypt had upon his identity and understanding of black culture and history

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - David "Oggi" Ogburn shares some difficult moments from his career and talks about his ability to build rapport with famous people

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes working for the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn shares a story about receiving a letter from Angela Bassett

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about pictures he took that raised conflicts for him

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - David "Oggi" Ogburn shares what makes him blessed in his life and career

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recalls some of his favorite pictures and his most lucrative ones

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - David "Oggi" Ogburn recounts overcoming shyness early in his career when shooting music stars such as Michael Jackson and Gladys Knight

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - David "Oggi" Ogburn remembers photographing Brandy

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - David "Oggi" Ogburn talks about what he would photograph now if he was not retired

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - David "Oggi" Ogburn considers what he would have done differently in his photography career

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - David "Oggi" Ogburn reflects upon professional legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - David "Oggi" Ogburn reflects upon his professional legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - David "Oggi" Ogburn describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
David "Oggi" Ogburn explains how his first gig photographing Roberta Flack led to other work in photography and music promotion
David "Oggi" Ogburn shares the story of Chancellor Williams taking legal action against Third World Press to obtain his royalties
Transcript
Okay, so Roberta Flack, like she's a Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] graduate.$$That's right.$$As far as I--$$And she had gotten popular at a place called Mr. Henry's, it, it was in Washington [D.C.]. So it was Roberta Flack Day and that, at this time, I did take the, the job. My boy says, and, and at the time, I had got a different camera from a friend of mine who wasn't using a thirty-five millimeters, this is why I put the Rangefinder aside and I'm using this thirty-five millimeter whose, the lens was kind of loose and I end up fixing that. So this is my first thirty-five millimeter camera.$$So--$$Which was a Canon.$$The single lens reflex--$$Right. First time.$$--camera, okay.$$And so I'm shooting Roberta Flack, I didn't have a flash so, I'm shooting, you know, with natural light and it came out pretty good. And while we, I was doing Roberta Flack, there was a guy from her record company, Atlantic Records, that was, he was gonna give her a plaque or a gold record or something, and he says Roberta Flack has made a lot of money for a lot of people and that stuck with me, you know. And so after that, you know, I was into it, you know, I sort of was developing film. And from that point on, dealing with my man, Andre [Perry], who's my best friend, he's the music director, he's the one that everybody's bribing and giving all the goodies to, to play their records, and he was the first one to, because WHUR the radio station was brand new and they had a philosophy of three-hundred sixty degree of blackness. So that's when they played Jimi Hendrix, Dizzy Gillespie, Phyllis Hyman, they broke Al Jarreau, and a lot of people that ordinarily wouldn't have gotten played, "Slave Driver", I forgot who made that, the "Slave Driver" and Hugh Masekela.$$Yeah, yeah.$$You know, and all of those kind of guys, you know, they were playing. Herbie Hancock, you know, now this wasn't being played on other stations which were AM, and they were playing forty-fives, you know, more doo wop stuff the, you know.$$Right, the popular--$$Right, right at the time. (Unclear) (Simultaneous)$$--what they call urban contemporary.$$And, and even, even, even at the HUR [WHUR] they were playing The Chi-Lites, you know, which was they didn't play, you know, that much on, on the AM stations, they were playing other stuff, you know. And--$$So but at this, this junction now, I think we kind of, we went over it so fast, but did you have any formal doctrine training or anything for (unclear) (simultaneous)$$Not really.$$Okay.$$Okay. Let me tell you this. During the same period that I'm getting into photography, I go home, my brother [Robert Ogburn] is developing a roll of film, okay. And he really didn't explain it to me, I just saw him doing it. The next day, I come here my boy, his name is Frenchie [ph.], Glen French [ph.], who lived up the street from here on Lamont Street [Washington, D.C.], is developing a roll of film but he was more like a teacher, yeah, you put in the developer and you do this and you do that which really, you know, you have to be a scientist because now the chemicals are already made up for you. When [James] Van Der Zee and these old guys got into photography, Decora [Camera] and them, they'd have to go to the drug store and have to make their own, mix their own chemicals and then put 'em on a glass plate, you know, in the dark and all of that. So when I got into it, the chemicals was already made, the, the developer, the fixer and the stop bath, you know. So it was a lot easier, you know. So when I got the enlarger from the girl and so I set up my darkroom in the kitchen. The first night I went in there, television went off in Washington around twelve or one or o'clock during this period, this is early '70s [1970s] now, and I went in the dark room maybe five o'clock and I'm developing pictures and I'm printing pictures, I can even show you some of them, and when I came out my girl was asleep, television was off, and I'm saying wow, you know, this is nice 'cause I could go take a picture of Jesse Jackson and develop the film and print the picture and use some rubber cement and put it on some board and stick it on the wall, and that's what I started doing. And then I get a call from, okay this is at 1900 Lamont, then I wanted, I mean this is at 1600 16th Street, but I wanna become a, a record promoter, I mean a, a produce shows, me and my boys, we gonna produce shows, okay. So I put up the rent money and, and we had a, a three day concert at Cramton Auditorium over at Howard [University]. But what happened is you got like four or five guys, we putting on this show, but nobody's ever did a show before, but they knew how to set up the equipment and sound system but I was the one collecting the money for the tickets that we had spread out in different stores. So if I was knowledgeable of that kind of industry, I would have went back and said we're not selling any tickets, we're gonna have to change up real quick, we're gonna have to promote it a little different, we're gonna have to do something different 'cause this ain't really working, but I had never, I didn't know, you know. So we went broke and because of that, you know, I had started, I, I, a friend of mine from New York [New York] lived in this building, and I think I was getting a notice saying, hey, you know, you know, if you don't come to court on a certain day, you know, they gonna put you out or whatever, so I started moving. So a friend of mine said there's a vacancy in this building. So I told you I lived in the back where the slave, you know, the quarters, not the slave quarters, but the maids and the butlers lived--$$This is at--$$1600.$$Yeah.$$The Envoy.$$Okay. The Envoy.$$Okay. So when I come here, I go tell the landlord that I wanna move into this apartment. Well, what happened is my boy down stairs, he lives down stairs, that I grew up with in Brooklyn [New York], went to high school with, he lives here, and he said there's a vacancy in my building. So when I come over here, I meet the lady and she says well you have to go to their office. I go to the office at 1900 Lamont [Street], I wanna move in to 502. So when I saw this apartment man, it was all white and you looking out the windows and, and man I loved to have this place. So what happened is the landlord, the management company calls my girlfriend instead of calling the landlord where I was at, they called my apartment and she answered the phone and says, oh, yes he's a great tenant he, he pays his rent on time and so we both moved in here together, even had a little dog Pekingese dog, you know. And so I'm in graduate school now and I'm trying to get through graduate school, at the time she was in school, and then somehow she was not in school and the dog, and whenever you took a dog to the, to the, to the doctors it was like going to the regular doctor twenty dollars, fifty dollars, whatever. So she went home and came back kind of on the butterball side and I just say, you know, you need to get your own spot 'cause, you know, this ain't working out no more and, and so she end up going, going back to Puerto Rico and, and I'm in graduate school. So I set up my kitchen, I mean my darkroom back in that room there. And at this time I'm sort of rolling now, my first gig was Roberta Flack, next thing I'm doing, going to clubs because the, the, the pool that the record companies pulled from was people that was in School of Communications which Tony Brown was running at Howard, the School of Communications, and they also draw from the record stores, people that were like clerks in the record store knew about records and stuff so they would get pulled in the pool to become record promoters.$So Chancellor Williams, there was a, his book was published by Third World Press [Chicago, Illinois]?$$Right.$$Right. And there was a crisis around money at a certain point--$$Yep.$$--and you got a story about it, I think it's important to tell it because it's (simultaneous)--$$So what happened, you know, Chancellor wasn't getting his royalties and not, and it wasn't that he was (unclear) you know, was hard up for cash or anything because he taught at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] twenty-seven years and I guess he got a good pension and whatever but, you know, he wanted his money from the Third World Press. So what happened was he got a lawyer in Chicago [Illinois] to deal with [HM] Haki [Madhubuti] but he found out that the lawyer knew Haki and sort of had to get somebody else. And eventually Haki had to go to the bank to get a loan to pay Chancellor, and the bank told him well, we'll only give you the loan if you keep publishing his book 'The Destruction of Black Civilization' which Haki would have been stupid if he didn't 'cause that was his best seller there at the time. But Haki was into [HM] Dr. Ben [Carson] and those, and John Henrik Clarke, they also wrote books, I don't know if he ever published any of their books, I can't understand why he didn't. But so Chancellor sort of got his lawyers and Haki went to the bank to, you know, 'cause it end up being like thirty either thirty-seven or thirty-nine grand [thousand dollars]. And a woman came from Chicago--$$This, Janet Sankey [ph.] who passed away last week actually.$$Really.$$Yeah.$$Well, I believe it might have been her. I got a picture of her, we can talk about that later.$$Mm-hmm.$$And her giving him the check, you know, pick a picture. And so he was sort of satisfied. I'm saying wow, thirty-seven thousand bucks [dollars]. Seven years though, so that was seven years, you know, so you divide seven into thirty something.$$(Unclear) I know I was at the press at the time and we were very depressed about it. I mean what, Haki's a great artist but not--$$Right. He was a poet basically. And, to be honest with you, the gallery that represented me here in Washington [D.C.] was in Georgetown [Washington, D.C.], started by a Norman Parish but Norman Parish was really an artist. And he opened up a gallery so people would, black people would have a place to exhibit because there wasn't many places for us, but maybe a college. But the, you know, the National [Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.], I went to The National Gallery of Art, to try to have an exhibit. I went to the Corcoran [Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.] to try to have an exhibit but, you know, they were saying well, you know, sort of like they told Mary Lou Jones [Lois Mailou Jones] when she graduated from Mass Amherst [University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts] or one of those schools, and she wanted to teach up there, they told her like, you know, why don't you, you need to go teach your own people. And so she came and was teaching at Howard, you know. That's what they told her. She graduated, and I don't know what school it was Mary Lois Jones [ph.], you know.$$Yeah.$$You know who I'm talking about. So that was it. So but Chancellor taught at Howard twenty-seven years and his mentor was William Leo Hansberry. And like I said, they had to teach under the umbrella of Greek mythology. And so, I wish I had taken a course under him, I understand that. Now what happened is I got Chancellor's papers in these folders, nothing, no big deal, I just, you know, I, Chancellor would give 'em to me and I would put 'em in the folders. So two of my boys that came by here had had Chancellor as a teacher, and I showed them the folder and they said, man you better put that in a, it was about, you better organize this stuff man, this is Chancellor Williams and, you know. I felt the same way they did I just took it, you know, for granted. I take a lot for granted. I can show a picture of Bob Marley, wow, you shot Bob Marley. Well, yeah no big deal, you know, and, you know, you go through that 'cause, you say, there's fifty people backstage but there's thirty thousand out front and you're one of the few people that's backstage. So it's sort of like, you know, people sort of look up, you know, to you because you have access to those kind of people--$$Yeah. So now this--$$(Unclear) (simultaneous)$$--is something in you, you can't, as time goes by especially can't take these productions for granted, papers or photographs and--$$Right. And so I got Chancellor's original handwritings for 'The Destruction.' You know, not the whole book. Now, I even knew the girl that typed it. She became a lawyer.

Kojo Kamau

Photographer Kojo Kamau was born on October 11, 1939 in Columbus Ohio to Robert Jones, a railroad worker and Elizabeth Patterson, a housewife. Kamau grew interested in photography from an early age and bought his first camera when he was a teenager. He graduated from East High School in Columbus, Ohio in 1957 and went on to study at the Columbus Art School (now the Columbus College of Art and Design). In 1960, Kamau joined the United States Air Force where he worked as a information specialist editing the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base newspaper.

After four years of service, Kamau returned to Columbus and began working for the Ohio State University’s School of Medical Professions (now the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences) as a photographer in the medical illustration department. In 1974, Kamau began photographing one of his favorite subjects, the legendary barber and woodcutter Elijah Pierce. Kamau opened the Kojo Photo Art Studio in 1978 with his late wife, Mary Ann Williams. Williams was the host of WOSU’s TV program “Afromation.” On the set, Kamau was able to photograph many local and national celebrities. Disturbed by the negative images of African Americans in the ‘60s and ‘70s, he used his photography to show positive images of African Americans and people of the African Diaspora. Kamau first travelled to Africa in 1978, and has made eleven subsequent trips. In 1979, Kamau and Williams established the Art for Community Expression (ACE) non-profit venture to help promote African American artists. ACE was also able to sponsor trips to Africa for three local artists. In 1986, ACE opened its own gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Kamau retired from his position as chief medical photographer at the Ohio State University in 1994 and became a photography instructor at Columbus State Community College in 1997. Kamau published a book of photographs, entitled Columbus Remembered in 2006. Three years later, the Columbus Museum of Art celebrated Kamau’s seventieth birthday with an exhibition entitled, “Kojo: Fifty Years of Photography.” Kamau’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Columbus Foundation. His photographs were exhibited throughout the United States, including the Indianapolis Art Center, Dillard University, Bowling Green State University, Northern Kentucky University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Akron University, Ohio University, the Chicago Center of Science and Industry and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. His work was also exhibited internationally at the Gallery 44 Center for Contemporary photography in Toronto, Canada; during Culturefest ‘93 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa; and the Central Bank of the Bahamas in Nassau, Bahamas.

Kamau was recognized numerous times for his photography and commitment to the community. He received the 2006 Ohioanna Library Career Award and the 2004 Columbus Winterfair Award of Excellence. Kamau was a member of the Columbus Museum of Art and Ohio Designer Craftsmen. He lived in Columbus, Ohio.

Kojo Kamau was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 5, 2012.

Kamau passed away on December 12, 2016 at age 77.

Accession Number

A2012.107

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/5/2012

Last Name

Kamau

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

East High School

Columbus College of Art and Design

Garfield Elementary School

Roosevelt Junior High School

Beatty Park Elementary School

Franklin Junior High School

Mt. Vernon Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Kojo

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

KAM03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

Always Remember What You Do Today Is Tomorrow's History.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

10/11/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pudding (Bread)

Death Date

12/12/2016

Short Description

Photographer Kojo Kamau (1939 - 2016 ) opened the Kojo Photo Art Studio in 1978 and founded the Art for Community Expression (ACE) non-profit in 1979.

Employment

United States Air Force

Ohio State University’s School of Allied Medical Professions

Kojo Photo Art Studio

Columbus State Community College

Call and Post

Columbus Children's Hospital

Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kojo Kamau's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about his family members' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau talks about his brother and stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau remembers his homes in Columbus, Ohio

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

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kojo Kamau recalls his childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau describes his early interest in photography

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau remember his early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau remembers Garfield Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau describes his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau remembers his junior high school experiences in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about his coursework at East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau remembers his radio teacher at East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau remembers his extracurricular activities at East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau remembers working for the newspaper companies in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau talks about his employment prospects after high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau remembers his stepfather

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau recalls his position at the Columbus Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about his photographs of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau recalls the African American photographers in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau describes his decision to enlist in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau talks about his newspaper position at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau describes his experiences of racial discrimination in South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau remembers segregation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau recalls working as medical photographer at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau talks about his volunteer work at the Call and Post

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau talks about his photographs of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau remembers photographing Roland Kirk

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kojo Kamau remembers his wife's television show, 'Afromation'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau describes Art for Community Expression

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau talks about the African immigrant community in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau remembers Elijah Pierce

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau talks about the black artists in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau describes his artistic philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about digital photography

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau reflects upon his wife's legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau talks about the arts community in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Kojo Kamau talks about his exhibit, 'Kojo: Fifty Years in Photographs'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau reflects upon the response to his photographs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau talks about his teaching position at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau shares his advice to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about his son

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau describes The King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Kojo Kamau describes his experiences of racial discrimination in South Carolina
Kojo Kamau describes Art for Community Expression
Transcript
So did, so were you stationed there the whole time in Myrtle Beach [Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina]?$$I was, yeah the whole time I was stationed at Myrtle Beach.$$Okay, so that's like a couple of years right and?$$It was three years and ten months.$$Okay, so--$$The base was fine. It was after you left the base that's a whole different experience back in the '60s [1960s].$$Yeah, so this is South Carolina--$$Right.$$--and, okay well tell us, well did you have any incidents when you left the base that you--?$$No, I, I, well yeah I--at the time I didn't know. The, the newspaper, I worked with a civilian printing company okay, and my last day on the job, the last day that I went to, to the printing company, the publisher called me into his office and, and told me how I handled myself very well when his crew walked out on, on me. And I didn't, I did, at the time I didn't understand what had happened, but what he had told me is that, when I first came on the job, which would have been three years and ten months earlier, his crew did not want to work with me, but I wasn't aware of that. I knew what happened was when I walked in, everybody walked out, but I thought maybe I walked in during lunchtime or something (laughter), and I was naive and then, then they came back. So, what had happened was, they, they didn't want to work with me, and well I guess he told them was that, "We have a contract with the [U.S.] Air Force, and if we want this contract we had to work with whoever they send," and they had never worked with anybody that looked like me before. And so, but I wasn't aware of that and I, I off- at the time I was thinking well what if I had known that from the beginning. What I was told that, I was only supposed to deal with one person. I didn't have any problem with that. I didn't come to deal with the whole crew. So, when they said that, that was nothing unusual to me because that's how being in the [U.S.] military, that's how you think anyhow you got one person that you, you know, report to, not everybody. So, that was, that was shocking to me. The last day that I was there I found that out.$$That's interesting that they thought they were insulting you and you didn't know they (laughter)--$$I was, they must have thought I was nuts or something, 'cause I was treating everybody you know like we're all friends (laughter).$$Okay. It just never occurred to you that they would act like that in South Carolina, they would--?$$No. I mean I knew that happened. I mean, it's like the first time--I always remember this one. The first time I went downtown and, and you know about this moving over to let white people pass and stuff and I had my uniform on and, and this older white gentleman was walking towards me and, and I'm thinking am I supposed to get out the, I'm not getting off the sidewalk. So, I just kept on walking, you know, and he spoke to me (laughter). So, it was kind of okay (laughter), how you doing, and so being in the military you were treated a little differently than you know civilian townspeople were treated.$$Okay.$$A little differently.$$Yeah. They would expect anybody that was raised there to follow all those rules and those--$$Yeah. But there were some, at the same time there were some airmen who, they, they would, they got in trouble getting off the bus. You know 'cause they refused to adapt to whatever was going on, and they would get, they would really get kicked out the service before you even got to the base, which wasn't fair, but you know that's the way it was.$Tell us about Elijah Pierce.$$Okay, can, but can I take, are we gonna go back to 1970?$$We can.$$Okay, I think we lo- left off at I opened Kojo Photo Art Studio [Kojo Photo Art Studio, Columbus, Ohio].$$That's '78 [1978] right.$$Seventy-eight, '78 [1978], yeah '78 [1978]. Okay and then when I opened Kojo Photo Arts Studio I had quit the university [The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio], so that gave me time to do some things I wanted to do. And one of the things I wanted to do was go to Africa, and Mary Ann [Kamau's wife, Mary Ann Williams] and I had talked about what we would like to do in the future. My thing was to open up my studio, and her thing was to get her Ph.D. So, she got her Ph.D. and I opened up the studio in June of 1978. We heard about an opportunity to go to Africa shortly after we opened, and so we both wrote proposals to go to Africa, and we both were funded to go to Africa. So, I went to Africa for three weeks. It was a three week study tour. I shot photographs, and I come back and I presented my photographs of the trip to Africa. And because of our experience going to Africa, we felt that any artist who wanted to go to Africa should be able to go to Africa. So, we had a friend, Aminah, and we told Aminah about this trip to Africa and how she needed to go to Africa and that what we wanted to do was raise funds to help her get to Africa because we know it would have an impact on her art, on her artwork. So, we raised enough money to send Aminah to Africa. From that experience, we started a nonprofit organization called Art for Community Expression, which was, the mission was to assist artists, African American artists to get the work into mainstream basically and to go to Africa. And so we sent, we were able to send three artists to Africa, Aminah, Larry Winston Collins, and Charles Dillard all went to Africa and then the following year they exhibited at Art for Community Expression Gallery [Columbus, Ohio] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Now this is Aminah Robinson we're talking about right?$$Beg your pardon?$$Aminah Robinson we're talking about.$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Yes, Aminah.$$And so where did the money come from for the--$$What?$$Where did the money come from for the trips?$$The money come from the commu- one, the Thomas Foundation [ph.] had funds to help send an artist to Africa, and so we used their funds and we raised money and the artist raised money. So, it was like one third of each of those entities would raise funds to help the artist go to Africa.$$Okay, that's a good--now is the organ- so you were able to send three artists to Africa, but (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right. We sent three artists to Africa and then our focus kind of changed a little bit, because we had an opportunity to open up a gallery in the Short North [Short North Arts District, Columbus, Ohio], which was a new area for--that was developing up there. So, we were one of the first galleries to open in the building in which we were located, which was 772 North High Street in the Short North and now that's the place to be the first weekend, the first Saturday of every month they have what they call Gallery Hop, and the streets are just full of people every first Saturday.