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John Fleming

Museum director, curator and historian John Fleming was born on August 3, 1944 in Morganton, North Carolina. Fleming graduated from Olive Hill High School in 1962 and began attending Berea College that same year. In 1966, Fleming graduated from Berea College. He went on to attend Howard University and earned his Ph.D. degree in American history from there in 1974.

After graduating from Berea College, Fleming served as an educational specialist on the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in 1966. From 1967 until 1969, Fleming then served in the Peace Corps in Malawi. Upon his return from Malawi, Fleming served as an analyst on the United States Civil Rights Commission. He worked on the development of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1980 as project director, and then served as its director. In 1992, Fleming was appointed to the Underground Railroad Advisory Committee, and served as the Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s director from 1998 until 2001. Following his tenure as director, Fleming was appointed to the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Plan for Action Presidential Commission. The commission was responsible for the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Fleming founded JE Associates, LLC in 2007. In 2015, Fleming was hired as the museum director for the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tennessee.

Fleming has won multiple awards for his work. He won the Ohioana Library’s Citation Award in 1997, the Ohio Humanities Council’s Bjornson Award in 2007, the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Distinction in 2008, and the Zora Neale Hurston Award in 2008. Fleming has served on the board of the Columbus Area Leadership Program, on the nomination committee for the American Association for State and Local History, and on Ohio’s Bicentennial Commission. Fleming has also served on the program, executive, and honors committees for the American Association of Museums. In addition to his awards, Fleming has published three books, “The Lengthening Shadow of Slavery: Historical Justification for Affirmative Action for Blacks in High Education,” in 1976, “The Case for Affirmative Action for Blacks in Higher Education” in 1978, and “A Summer Remembered: A Memoir” in 2005.

Fleming and his wife, Barbara Fleming, have two children.

John Fleming was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.203

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/15/2017

Last Name

Fleming

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

University of California, Berkeley

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Morganton

HM ID

FLE05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

The Beach

Favorite Quote

Don't Put Off To Tomorrow What You Can Do Today.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

8/3/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Southern Fried Chicken

Short Description

Museum director, curator and historian John Fleming (1944 - ) was the director of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. He also served on the Plan for Action Commission for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and as the museum director of the National African American Museum of Music.

Employment

Kentucky Civil Rights Museum

U.S. Peace Corps

Howard University

National Afro American Museum

Favorite Color

Black

Quintard Taylor

Historian Quintard Taylor was born on December 11, 1948 in Brownsville, Tennessee to Quintard Taylor and Grace Taylor. He graduated from Carver High School in Brownsville, Tennessee and received his B.A. degree in American history in 1969 from St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American history from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis in 1971 and 1977, respectively.

In 1971, Taylor served as assistant professor of black studies at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. After he received his Ph.D. degree, Taylor was named professor of history at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, where he taught courses on African American history, African history, U.S. history, and served in department leadership roles for thirteen years from 1977 to 1990. In 1987, Taylor was the visiting Fulbright-Hays Professor of History at University of Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria. In 1990, Taylor authored his first book, The Making of the Modern World: A Reader in 20th Century Global History. He later joined the faculty at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. During his tenure, Taylor also served as adjunct professor of Folklore and Ethnic Studies, and was acting director of the Ethnic Studies Program. He published his second book, The Forging of A Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era, in 1994. He also held visiting professor positions at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington and at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Taylor was chair of the department of history at the University of Oregon from 1997 to 1999. In 1998, he published In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the America West, 1528-1990. In 1998, he was selected as the Philip H. Knight Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon; and was later appointed as the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington in 1999. For nineteen years, he served in this role, teaching African American history, history of the black west, and U.S. history, until his retirement in June 2018.

In 2007, Taylor founded BlackPast.org, an online reference database on African American history, with over thirty million users since its launch. In 2008, Taylor published a collection of primary documents titled From Timbuktu to Katrina: Readings in African American History. In 2009, he published, America-I-Am, Black Facts: The Story of a People Through Timelines, 1601-2000. Along with Dr. Samuel Kelly, Taylor co-authored Dr. Sam: The Autobiography of Dr. Samuel Kelly, Soldier, Educator, Advocate and Friend in 2010. Taylor also served on the Board of HistoryLink Interactive History Project. 

Taylor has three children, Quintard III, and twins, William and Jamila.

Historian Quintard Taylor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 9, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.179

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/09/2017

Last Name

Taylor

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Quintard

Birth City, State, Country

Brownsville

HM ID

TAY17

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring, and Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii Islands, Oahu and Maui

Favorite Quote

Black History Is All Around Us.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Birth Date

12/11/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Favorite Food

Baked Chicken and Eggplant

Short Description

Historian Quintard Taylor (1948 - ) was the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington and founded BlackPast.org. an online reference tool.

Favorite Color

Blue

Hollis Lynch

Historian Hollis Lynch was born on April 21, 1935, in John Dial, Trinidad and Tobago to Rupert Herman Lynch and Violet Evangeline Gardiner. There, he attended the Hope EC School and Bishop’s High School. Lynch then received his B.A. degree in history from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada in 1960, and his Ph.D. degree in history from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in London, England in 1964.

After receiving his Ph.D. degree, Lynch lectured at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria for two years before moving to the United States. He moved to Chicago, Illinois and accepted a position as an associate professor at Roosevelt University in 1966. In 1968, Lynch began teaching at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he founded the first black studies program in 1969. In the fall of 1969, Lynch began his position as professor of African and Pan African History at Columbia University in New York, where he was the first black historian to hold a tenured position. In 1971, Lynch became the director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University, a position he held until 1974. Lynch then served as visiting professor of history at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1977. In 1986, he was reappointed at the director of the African Institute at Columbia. Later, Lynch served as professor emeritus of history at Columbia University in 2005.

Lynch published his first book, Edward Wilmont Blyden, Pan-Negro Patriot, while teaching at Roosevelt University. Lynch published a number of books on the pan-negro movement in the United States. As an undergraduate, Lynch won the Annie Southcott Memorial Prize for best undergraduate honors essay in history. In 2012, he was inducted into the Tobago Literary Hall of Fame for his work as a professor and his literary achievements. Lynch was also a member of the American Council of Learned Studies and the Association of African Studies.

Lynch has two children, Shola Ayn Lynch, and Nnenna Jean Lynch.

Hollis Lynch was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.051

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/1/2017 |and| 02/15/2017

Last Name

Lynch

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Hollis

Birth City, State, Country

Port de Spain

HM ID

LYN02

Favorite Season

Spring and fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tobago

Favorite Quote

How sweet it is to sit and do nothing, then rest afterwards.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/21/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Trinidad & Tobago

Favorite Food

Fish/carribean vegetables

Short Description

Historian Hollis Lynch (1935 - ) was professor of African and Pan African studies at Columbia University since 1969.

Favorite Color

Brown

Merline Pitre

Historian and educator Merline Pitre was born on April 10, 1943 in Opelousas, Louisiana to Robert and Florence Pitre. Pitre graduated from Plaisance School in Plaisance, Louisiana; and went on to earn her B.S. degree in French from Southern University, and her M.A. degree in French from Atlanta University. She also earned her second M.A. degree and Ph.D. degree in history from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1972 and 1976, respectively.

In 1967, Pitre taught French at St. Augustine College in Raleigh, North Carolina before returning to her hometown in 1971 to teach French at Plaisance High School. After receiving her Ph.D. degree, Pitre was hired as an assistant professor of history at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. In 1980, she served as group leader for the Texas Consortium of Black Colleges and Universities trip to Haiti, and then as group leader in 1981 for the Texas Southern University Fulbright Fellows Trip to Haiti and Santo Domingo. From 1983 to 1985, Pitre served as the associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts & Behavioral Sciences at Texas Southern University, later serving as dean of the college from 1990 to 1994 and again from 2000 to 2008.

Pitre released her first book in 1985, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868 to 1898. Pitre’s book In Struggle against Jim Crow: Lulu B. White and the NAACP, 1900-1957, was published in 1999. She also served as co-editor, with Bruce Glasrud, of the 2008 book Black Women in Texas History, and the 2013 book Southern Black Women in the Modern Civil Rights Movement. During her career at Texas Southern University, Pitre served on the boards of several organizations. She was on the 1993 Editorial Advisory Committee of The Griot Journal for the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Inc., and served as president of SCAASI from 2007 to 2008. She also served on the nominating board for the Organization of American Historians, and the advisory committee of the OAH Magazine of History. In 2011, she became the first African American president of the Texas State Historical Association. During that time, she also became the editor of the African American Handbook of Texas. She authored the book Born to Serve: A History of Texas Southern University, published in 2018.

Pitre received numerous awards for her work over the years, including the Liz Carpenter Award from the Texas State Historical Association in 2008 and 2014. She was also named the 1988 Outstanding Black Texan by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, and awarded the Black Caucus Award in 1989. She received the Lorraine Williams Leadership Award from the Association of Black Women Historians in 2014, and Texas Southern University named her the 1987 Scholar of the Year, in addition to awarding her the 2014 President Achievement Award. She received special recognition for her research from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Merline Pitre was interviewed by The Historymakers on November 28, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.116

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/28/2016

Last Name

Pitre

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

Plaisance High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Clark Atlanta University

Temple University

First Name

Merline

Birth City, State, Country

Opelousas

HM ID

PIT34

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Washington, D.C.

Favorite Quote

There Is No Progress Without A Struggle.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

4/10/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Historian and educator Merline Pitre (1943 - ) worked as a history professor and administrator at Texas Southern University since 1976, and became the Texas State Historical Association’s first African American president in 2011.

Employment

Texas Southern University

Plaisance High School

St. Augustine's College

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Merline Pitre's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Merline Pitre lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Merline Pitre describes her mother's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Merline Pitre talks about her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Merline Pitre talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Merline Pitre describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Merline Pitre lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Merline Pitre describes her early experiences of sharecropping

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Merline Pitre describes her education in Opelousas, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Merline Pitre talks about her community in Plaisance, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Merline Pitre describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Merline Pitre talks about the Creole identity, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Merline Pitre talks about the Creole identity, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Merline Pitre describes her education in Opelousas, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Merline Pitre recalls her decision to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Merline Pitre describes her experiences at Southern University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Merline Pitre remembers the student demonstrations at Southern University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Merline Pitre recalls her master's degree program at Atlanta University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Merline Pitre remembers teaching at Saint Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Merline Pitre describes her family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Merline Pitre describes her doctoral dissertation, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Merline Pitre describes her doctoral dissertation, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Merline Pitre talks about her academic success

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Merline Pitre describes her academic career at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Merline Pitre describes her research on black legislators in Texas during Reconstruction

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Merline Pitre talks about the challenges faced by African American legislators in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Merline Pitre remembers her experiences in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Merline Pitre talks about her article, 'Frederick Douglass and the Annexation of Santo Domingo'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Merline Pitre remembers founding the women's studies program at Texas Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Merline Pitre describes her research on civil rights activist Lulu B. White

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Merline Pitre remembers hosting a teacher's workshop on Jim Crow at Texas Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Merline Pitre talks about her experiences of segregation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Merline Pitre describes her organizational involvement, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Merline Pitre recalls her work with the National Endowment for the Humanities

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Merline Pitre recalls winning the Liz Carpenter Award for Best Book on the History of Women

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Merline Pitre describes her organizational involvement, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Merline Pitre talks about the Handbook of African American Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Merline Pitre describes the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Sweatt v. Painter, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Merline Pitre describes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Sweatt v. Painter, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Merline Pitre recalls the amendments to the social studies curriculum in Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Merline Pitre describes 'Southern Black Women in the Modern Civil Rights Movement'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Merline Pitre talks about the history of Texas Southern University, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Merline Pitre talks about the history of Texas Southern University, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Merline Pitre remembers her travels to Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Merline Pitre talks about Quintard Taylor's BlackPast.org

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Merline Pitre describes her article, 'Black Houstonians and the Separate but Equal Doctrine'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Merline Pitre describes her scholarship on black historical source material

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Merline Pitre talks about peer reviewing the Journal of American History

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Merline Pitre describes her awards and honors

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Merline Pitre talks about the Association of Black Women Historians

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Merline Pitre talks about her conferences and lectures

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Merline Pitre recalls the police riot at Texas Southern University in 1967

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Merline Pitre talks about her community in Plaisance, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Merline Pitre reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Merline Pitre talks about her plan to write a history of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Merline Pitre shares her advice to students

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Merline Pitre talks about the importance of The HistoryMakers

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Merline Pitre narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Merline Pitre remembers founding the women's studies program at Texas Southern University
Merline Pitre describes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Sweatt v. Painter, pt. 2
Transcript
Now, in '83 [1983], you become the associate dean of the liberal arts college [Texas Southern University College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences, Houston, Texas].$$Yes.$$Okay.$$I was associate dean of the liberal arts college then (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) All right. All right, so--$$That--that lasts only--we had a change in administration, so that lasts only, what, a year, year and a half, so not very much occurred (laughter).$$Occurred during that time. Okay. So now we're back to '85 [1985] and the--you know, the--your book 'Many Dangers, Toils and Snares' ['Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: Black Leadership in Texas, 1868-1898,' Merline Pitre] was written and published on that. And so what happens next after 19--after you write your book? And so, '85 [1985]?$$Yeah, '85 [1985], then I started doing research on the other, the, the next book ['In Struggle Against Jim Crow: Lulu B. White and the NAACP, 1900-1957,' Merline Pitre]. See, after I wrote this book, then the women movement was up and coming, and so I said, now, I have written a book on forty-two men of color and nothing about women, and (laughter) everybody is talking about women. So I, I started doing research, and as I did research, I said, well, I need to look at something here in Houston [Texas] where the sources are close by. As I started looking at the, the papers, the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] papers, I kept seeing this name Lulu White [Lulu B. White] come up, Lulu White. And I said, who is this lady? And she was--she really, as one of her classmates describe her, as someone who didn't take stuff from anyone, and she was cursing and doing--I said, now, I wonder. So as I start--then I started looking at that. At the same time that I started researching on Lulu White, I discovered that we did not have a program on women's studies. Now, I don't know what happened prior to my coming here, but TSU [Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas] used to have in the '50s [1950s] and '60s [1960s], a women, a women's day, where they would recognize women, but somehow, it fell off the radar, and so there was nothing on women, so that's why I decided I would come up with a plan to have a women's studies minor 'cause you got to have something. So at the time I'm doing Lulu White, I came up with the women's student minor. The question was as, as it came to (unclear)--who's gonna take women's history? You know, the men probably won't take it, and so if you put it as a major, you probably won't have anybody majoring in it. And then you have to write some new courses, so what we did, we said, well, I got together with group of women here. "How many of you teach a history--," or, I mean, a course, I'm sorry, "how many of you teach a course that deals with women?" So we got a sociologist. We got social work. We have human services. You have women literature. You have the one in history. So we came up with enough courses to have a minor, and that's how we still have the minor now. And then we started having--during Women's History Month, we'd have a program and a luncheon and invite people to come. And, and what has happened, one of those, we got four women, a black, a Hispanic, a white, and one--and it was really good because then we could collect data from that. So while that was going on, then I wrote the book on Lulu White.$When he took his case to court, the State of Texas decided that they would make Prairie View [Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas; Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas] a university overnight. They would change the sign (laughter). They passed a bill saying--they passed the bill, but they changed the sign overnight. That we're going to make it a university overnight. Sweatt [Heman Marion Sweatt] did not accept the offer. Then they decided that they would tell Sweatt, "Well, if you can come to a building downtown Houston [Texas], we will get some black lawyers to teach you, and that will be a branch or a link to the University of Texas [University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Austin, Texas]." He did not accept this. So then they came up with their final offer to rent a space in a petroleum--a building downtown and let white lawyers from UT, or white professors from UT teach him. He rejected that and took his case to the [U.S.] Supreme Court. When he took his case to the Supreme Court in 1950, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas--there was no comparison between Texas--or but before that, before the ruling of the court, then they decided, after he does not go to the Supreme Court, that this area here, you can't see it. It's a building far from here. There was a private college called Houston College for Negroes [Houston, Texas]. The state purchased Houston College for Negroes, and established a law school; and that's how Texas Southern came to be, March 3rd, 1947, a bill passing the senate [Texas Senate]--bill 140, 140--and approved by the house [Texas House of Representatives] that this would become Texas State University for Negros with a law school. Texas--and that would eventually become Texas Southern University, but Sweatt took his case--he still pursued his case to Supreme Court; and when it got to the Supreme Court, the State of Texas argued, "But we have separate but equal. They have a law school." The court ruled that there was no comparison between the two; and, therefore, Sweatt had to be admitted to the University of Texas. So what did Sweatt v. Painter [Sweatt v. Painter, 1950] do? It set precedent for Brown versus the Board of Education [Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954]. In Sweatt v. Painter, the court would imply separate but equal is unconstitutional. In Brown versus the Board of Education, it would say in black and white, separate but equal is unconstitutional and has no place in American society. And so that's how Texas Southern came to be. This case, most historians would argue Brown versus the Board of Education is the one that gave rise to the modern Civil Rights Movement. But I'm saying the precedence for the Brown versus the Board of Education was Sweatt v. Painter here in Texas and here at Texas Southern University.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad was born on April 27, 1972 in Chicago, Illinois to Ozier Muhammad and Kimberly Muhammad-Earl. He completed his B.A. degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and his Ph.D. degree in history at Rutgers University in 2004.

Initially intending to work in finance, Muhammad worked at Deloitte-Touche for almost two years before beginning his Ph.D. work in history. Following his graduation from Rutgers University in 2004, Muhammad worked as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice for two years. He then joined the faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington as an associate professor of history, where he taught for five years, focusing his teaching and research on the ideas of black criminality following the American Civil War. In 2011, Muhammad was selected as the next director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. While there, Muhammad sought to expand the center’s outreach and funding, focusing particularly on programming to attract younger audiences. In late 2015, Muhammad announced he was leaving the Schomburg Center to join the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy School as professor of history, race, and public policy. He was also hired as the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Muhammad released The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America in 2010, which was awarded the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize from the American Studies Association in 2011. Since its publication, he is a frequent contributor on the topic, including an interview with Bill Moyers in 2012 and 2016. Muhammad also delivered lectures at the City University of New York, Rutgers University, Indiana University, and many others. Muhammad’s commentary on the racial past of the United States and contemporary policing and criminality was published in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio and others. While under his direction in 2015, the Schomburg Center won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Muhammad and his wife, Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, have three children: Gibran Mikkel, Jordan Grace, and Justice Marie.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 1, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.011

Sex

Male

Interview Date

09/01/2016

Last Name

Muhammad

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Gibran

Schools

University of Pennsylvania

Kenwood Academy

Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences

Arthur J. Dixon Elementary School

Morgan Park High School

First Name

Khalil

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MUH02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

4/27/1972

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

South Orange

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tacos

Short Description

Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad (1972 - ) was the director emeritus of Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America.

Employment

Deloitte-Touche

Vera Institute of Justice

Indiana University

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Harvard Kennedy School

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Khalil Gibran Muhammad's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his white maternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his mother's racial identity

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his father's relationship to the Nation of Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the schism in the Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his father's frustration with the Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his family's legacy

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his relationship with his father's family, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his relationship with his father's family, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his church memberships

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers Arthur Dixon Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his early academic success

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers working at Hyde Park Computers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his interest in computers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls meeting Robert Earl Jones

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers the music of his teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the violence in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the origin of his name

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers Ralph A. Austen

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his early interest in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about growing up during an era of increased opportunity for African Americans

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his father's community engagement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his decision to attend the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his experiences at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the alumni of the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about moving to the East Coast

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls the water buffalo incident at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his protest against a racist student journalist, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his protest against a racist student journalist, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his protest against a racist student journalist, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his experiences during college

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls the arbitration of his assault by a campus security officer

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his position at Deloitte and Touche

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his decision to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls preparing for his doctoral studies in history

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about the topic of his dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers conducting the research for his dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers joining the faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his community in Bloomington, Indiana, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his community in Bloomington, Indiana, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls how he came to direct the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his experiences as an instructor

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers his fellowship at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about studying criminal justice in the early 20th century

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls studying racial discrimination in the criminal justice system

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the early responses to 'The Condemnation of Blackness'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his appointment to Harvard's Kennedy School

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his interview at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his interview at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his start as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his generation of African American leaders

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his tenure at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad remembers his first year as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his management style

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls the renovation of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the leadership of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about expanding the audience of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls hosting an event with Chimamanda Adichie and Zadie Smith

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his influence as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes the legacy of Jean Blackwell Hutson and Howard Dodson

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his decision to leave the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his decision to leave the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad recalls his decision to leave the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, pt. 3

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad reflects upon his tenure at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his professorship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his goals as a scholar

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his hopes for the African American community

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$7

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Khalil Gibran Muhammad describes his father's career
Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about his tenure at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Transcript
Tell me about your father. Okay, give his name and a birthdate and what you know about his background (unclear)?$$Sure, so his name is [HistoryMaker] Ozier Muhammad, O-Z-I-E-R. He was born October 8, 1950 and grew up in Chicago [Illinois]. His mother [Eleanor Paschal Muhammad] was from Georgia and his father [Nathanial Muhammad] was born I believe in Michigan, but also might have come from Georgia, but he definitely grew up in, in Detroit [Michigan] where the Nation of Islam was first founded. My grandfather is about ninety, so he's still with us and my father grew up to a gigantic family with--he was one of ten and he was the second oldest son and I'm not sure if he is the third or second child, but he was very much a part of the Nation of Islam. It was his formative experience. He went to the University of Islam [Muhammad University of Islam, Chicago, Illinois] to be educated, talks about having taken some classes from his Uncle Wallace [Wallace Muhammad] who became Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, a very prominent member of a, sort of newly growing Sunni Islamic community that he lead after the Nation of Islam changed power from Elijah Muhammad to Louis Farrakhan [HistoryMaker Minister Louis Farrakhan], but I think the thing that makes my dad's story particular is of all of his siblings, he found his calling pretty early in life and as a late teenager started working as an assistant to a studio photographer on the South Side [Chicago, Illinois] not too far from the home base of the Nation, basically a mile east of where they lived in Chatham [Chicago, Illinois]. He grew up, my father grew up on 82nd [Street] and St. Lawrence [Avenue] and this studio was like on 83rd [Street] and Dorchester [Avenue] or Blackstone [Avenue]. So, once he started working in that space he decided that he wanted to be a photographer. He went to college and I think maybe one or two of his siblings eventually went to college, but my father went at the age when people eventually go to college at least as one imagines, so maybe nineteen he went to Columbia College [Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois], studied journalism and photography and graduated, started working at Ebony and Jet magazine and launched his career with people like Vandell Cobb and Bill Rhoden [William C. Rhoden] who just retired from The New York Times, also [HistoryMaker] Lerone Bennett was there. I mean it was a powerhouse as you well know back in 1974 when he joined. I have distinct memories of going to work with him and just meeting Mr. Bennett who handed me a copy of 'Before the Mayflower' ['Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America,' Lerone Bennett, Jr.] with a signed signature. My father was probably a little more of hippie than my mom [Kimberly Muhammad-Earl], sort of more counter-culturalist. Thinking about his background as a child of the Nation and then thinking about a changing world, I think he had a much greater racial consciousness than my mom and very-well read, very actively engaged in current events. Eventually, as he moved from Ebony, Jet to The Charlotte Observer to Newsday on Long Island [New York], began to travel the world, so in terms of my sense of my father by the time I was ten years old, he was incredibly focused on everything happening in the world, in the Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] years, anti-apartheid struggles, he eventually covered the famine in Ethiopia in 1985 for which he won a Pulitzer [Pulitzer Prize]. He took me to museums all of the time. He challenged me to think about the big picture all of the time. He exposed me to everyday events by taking me along with him to cover, particularly by the time he got to New York [New York], everything from sporting events to Ed Koch mayoral press conferences. So, I definitely attribute my father's own sense of wanting to be a journalist and to be engaged and active and learned, and not in the way that--my mother was an educator, she was certainly learned, but this was a different kind of interest and engagement with the picture that my dad passed on to me, and he's that way to this day. He reads voraciously, blogs, continues to cover things. He went to the Republication National Convention in Cleveland [Ohio], not as a paid employee, but as a curious person to cover it in case something happened. Of course, there weren't protests there and certainly talked about why that is, but that's, that's the dad that I remember, very fond of him, like my mother, but he, you know he pushed me more than my mom to find a, a significant purpose in life. I'll give you a good example. When I decided to leave public accounting to go to graduate school [Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey], my mother said, "Well, why do you want to be a teacher, you're not gonna make any money. You know that's a terrible idea, I was a teacher," you know. In her mind, she thought I could be much more as measured by a career as a business person, and what that might mean in terms of my financial future. My father said, "That's wonderful," you know, "How can I help?" So, you have a sense of the differences.$That's the public face, what about behind?$$Behind, wow (laughter). So, all right I mean so, so the good part that helped a lot was that I was appointed in, let's just say the beginning of November, I didn't arrive until the end of July. So, there was a long transition period between the news of my coming and my actual arrival and, in the meantime, because I was an academic and essentially had you know some flexibility, I mean in some ways I neglected my students my last semester at Indiana [Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana], but between November and July I was coming to New York City [New York, New York] two times a month, sometimes more for various reasons. Some for specific meetings that were set up by Howard [HistoryMaker Howard Dodson] and the library more generally to understand processes. Some to meet people like Al Sharpton [HistoryMaker Reverend Al Sharpton], it just depended on whatever it was. Some--I was elected to Crain's Forty under 40 business magazine which was the library's doing. They nominated me and I was selected and so I had to come just for a photo shoot. Same thing happened with The Network Journal, African American business journal, Forty under 40, so I had to come in for that. So, for one reason or another I was coming in and I was spending time with Howard getting to know the staff and getting to know the colleagues at 42nd Street. So, I had a lot of experience coming in the door just from that exposure, and it definitely made me feel more confident, but there's nothing like showing up in a place like that the first day. Howard's, gone, you've got an assistant who's looking at you like you know, "What do you want me to do?" (Laughter) Phones ringing, there's mail that's already shown up months before I actually arrived, she hands me an envelope full of invoices that needed to be signed and dated so they could be processed, because Howard had been gone for a couple of weeks or a week or he hadn't--you know there was just stuff to do and people needed to move on with their work and they needed my input and I must say that one of the first things I said I'm gonna change here is I said, "I'm not signing every invoice, every single day that comes into this building." Howard had a different management style, it was more top down, and as a consequence of that he was approving everything, and I said, "I don't wanna have to approve everything. If you bought the paper you can approve it or your manager can approve it. Don't send me this stuff," and eventually that's how it worked and so early on that was my lesson, and the other thing I'd say in terms of the Harlem [New York, New York] community, it was very obvious to me that people needed to get to know me. That they had a great sense of propriety over the institution [Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York]. They cared deeply about the institution and they did not know me. They were willing to give me a wide berth because of my family heritage. I think the fact that I had written a book ['The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America,' Khalil Gibran Muhammad] that was so explicitly about racism and wasn't some soft weird, squishy academic take on things that they wouldn't know what my politics were. That helped. Some word of mouth helped because people had seen me at Hue-Man [Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe, New York, New York] and/or heard me on the radio [WBAI Radio, New York, New York] and they came into embrace me, but mostly the onus was on me to prove myself worthy of the job and that's been--that meant spending a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy, visible, on the street, in the lobby, taking meetings with whomever asked for one.

Nell Irvin Painter

Historian and educator Nell Irvin Painter was born on August 2, 1942 in Houston, Texas to Frank Edward Irvin, a chemist, and Dona Lolita McGruder, a writer and personnel officer. As an infant, Painter’s family moved to Oakland, California, where she attended public schools. In 1964, Painter received her B.S. honors degree in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. As an undergraduate, she studied French medieval history at the University of Bordeaux, France, in 1962 and 1963. She also studied abroad at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana from 1965 to 1966. Painter went on to receive her M.A. degree in African history from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1967, and her Ph.D. degree in American history from Harvard University in 1974.

Upon graduation from Harvard University, Painter was hired as an assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania; and in 1977, was promoted to associate professor. From 1980 to 1988, she worked as a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Then, in 1988, Painter was hired as a professor of history at Princeton University, and was named acting director of the university’s program in Afro-American Studies in 1990 and 1991. She served as Princeton University’s Edwards Professor of American History from 1991 to 2005, and as director of the Program in African American Studies from 1997 to 2000. Painter retired in 2005 and was named the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita. In addition to her work as a scholar, Painter received her B.F.A. degree in painting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2009; her M.F.A. degree in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011; and has exhibited her artwork in solo and group shows.

Painter has published numerous articles and reviews, and has written seven books, including Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction (1976); The Narrative of Hosea Hudson: His Life as a Negro Communist in the South (1979); Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919 (1989); Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol (1996); Southern History Across the Color Line (2002); Creating Black Americans: African American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present (2005); and The History of White People (2010). She is the editor of Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1998) and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (2000).

Painter has held numerous fellowships, been awarded five honorary doctorate degrees, and was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2011. She has served on a number of editorial boards, and as an officer of many professional organizations, including the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, the Society of American Historians, and the Association of Black Women Historians. In addition, she served as president of the Southern Historical Association in 2007 and of the Organization of American Historians from 2007 to 2008.

Painter lives in Newark, New Jersey with her husband, Glenn Shafer.

Nell Irvin Painter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 18, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.095

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/18/2014 |and| 6/20/2014

Last Name

Painter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Irvin

Occupation
Schools

Rhode Island School of Design

Rutgers University

Harvard University

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Ghana

University of Bordeaux

University of California, Berkeley

First Name

Nell

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

PAI01

State

Texas

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

8/2/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

United States

Short Description

Historian and educator Nell Irvin Painter (1942 - ) , former president of the Southern Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians, was a leading historian of American history. Her books include Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction; The Narrative of Hosea Hudson: His Life as a Negro Communist in the South; Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919; Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol; and The History of White People.

Employment

Princeton University

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Pennsylvania

Janet L. Sims-Wood

Historian, publisher, and reference librarian Janet Louise Sims-Wood was born on May 22, 1945 in Rutherfordton, North Carolina to Marvin and Hazel Sims. Sims-Wood attended Carver High School where she worked in the school library. At the encouragement of her school librarian, she attended college at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, receiving her B.S. degree in sociology with a minor in library science in 1967. Sims-Wood worked in several Washington, D.C. libraries until a supervisor cautioned her that she would not advance without a master's degree. She enrolled at the University of Maryland where, in 1972, she received her M.L.S. degree. Sims-Wood later completed twenty-one hours in African American history at Howard University before earning her Ph.D. in 1994 in women’s studies, history and oral history from Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also holds a ministerial diploma from the Spirit of Faith (SOF) Bible Institute in Temple Hills, Maryland.

Sims-Wood began her career in library science in 1972 as a Reader’s Advisor in the Black Studies Division of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. This experience led to her interest and specialization in African American history. In 1974, Sims-Wood became an assistant reference librarian at Moorland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. She was appointed to Assistant Chief Librarian for Reference, Reader Services of the Moorland Spingarn Research Center in 1987, a position she held until her retirement in 2005. Sims-Wood has taught black women’s history courses at the University of Maryland, and has served as a children’s librarian with the Washington, D.C. Public Library System. She worked part-time for Prince George’s Community College Library. Sims-Wood was part of a team of librarians who provide online services through a nation-wide 24/7 virtual reference program called AskUsNow.

Sims-Wood is a founding associate editor of SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women which published the anthology Double Stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers and Daughters. She was the founder of a small publishing company, Afro Resources, Inc., which published a 1993 calendar depicting black women who served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. Sims-Wood has served as a consultant to several publishers and agencies, including Carlson Publishing Company’s Black Women in America series and the American Girl's Addy doll and book series. Sims-Wood has also served as a bibliographer for the annual Black History Month kits of the Association for the Study of American Life and History. She is a life member and has held several executive positions in the Association for the Study of American Life and History and the Association of Black Women Historians.

Janet Sims-Wood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.159

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/24/2007

Last Name

Sims-Wood

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Louise

Schools

Paul L Dunbar School

Carver High School

North Carolina Central University

University of Maryland

Union Institute & University

Spirit of Faith Bible Institute

First Name

Janet

Birth City, State, Country

Rutherfordton

HM ID

SIM07

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

ProQuest

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

They That Wait Upon The Lord Shall Renew Their Strength; They Shall Mount Up With Wings As The Eagles; They Shall Run And Not Be Weary; They Shall Walk And Not Faint.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/22/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Historian and reference librarian Janet L. Sims-Wood (1945 - ) served as Assistant Chief Librarian for Reference, Reader Services for the Moorland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University.

Employment

Howard University. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Prince George's Community College

University of Maryland, College Park

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue, Green, Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:432,37:792,43:8585,133:12860,211:20118,280:20838,299:22566,348:24654,418:36650,634:38680,677:39730,698:48284,853:50652,893:61160,1121:61456,1126:62270,1138:68296,1175:68662,1182:69394,1199:69638,1204:70065,1212:70309,1217:70919,1242:74457,1334:74701,1339:75372,1352:75616,1357:77141,1398:80679,1489:95188,1662:95472,1667:96182,1733:97886,1767:100513,1833:100868,1839:101436,1849:109910,1936:110186,1961:111980,1995:117417,2078:117762,2084:118176,2092:119763,2126:121143,2159:124806,2215:125666,2244:126956,2262:128676,2310:129020,2336:135214,2444:138742,2534:140470,2577:143480,2614$0,0:3215,86:4225,98:8202,155:10242,205:12350,261:16226,360:22642,435:23299,445:30599,585:35701,632:36450,737:44730,801:47766,896:49698,940:50112,948:50526,956:51354,977:55288,1020:57376,1068:57880,1076:58816,1087:61192,1137:62560,1191:65656,1269:74252,1445:74644,1453:75204,1466:77276,1533:78060,1551:78340,1557:79852,1638:93195,1749:93471,1757:100785,1972:105408,2110:105891,2118:107340,2164:109065,2195:109341,2200:115238,2254:117882,2282:119285,2305:121100,2337
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janet L. Sims-Wood's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janet L. Sims-Wood lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jane L. Sims-Wood describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the community of Avondale, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Janet Sims-Wood describes her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers Dunbar Elementary School in Forest City, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls her elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers her favorite subjects

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her experiences at Carver High School in Spindale, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls her aspiration to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her early interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls her aspiration to become a librarian

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers sewing her own clothing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Janet L. Sims-Wood lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers the music and television programs of her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls her decision to attend North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her first year of college

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about her extracurricular activities in college

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls her start as a librarian

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her experiences at the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers her professors at the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her projects at the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls publishing her first academic article

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the patrons of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about the Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes an apocryphal story about Charles R. Drew

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about the importance of African American history

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her role as a librarian

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about her research on the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her dissertation on the Women's Army Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls her decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls interviewing members of the Women's Army Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the Women's Army Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers Dovey Johnson Roundtree

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about black women's experiences of racism in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers founding the SAGE journal

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls developing an American Girl doll

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her publishing company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Janet L. Sims-Wood lists the African American academic journals

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the Maryland Humanities Council

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls her trip to South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her historical research projects

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about conducting oral history interviews, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about conducting oral history interviews, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Janet L. Sims-Wood recalls completing her dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers her research on the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her husband and stepchildren

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the Spirit of Faith Christian Center in Temple Hill, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the library at the Spirit of Faith Bible Institute in Temple Hills, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her librarian duties at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Janet L. Sims-Wood reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the challenges of teaching research skills

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about researching her family history

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes the Kids' Black History on the Net project

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about her organizational involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Janet L. Sims-Wood describes her work with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Janet L. Sims-Wood reflects upon her career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Janet L. Sims-Wood shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about her breast cancer diagnosis

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Janet L. Sims-Wood narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Janet L. Sims-Wood talks about black women's experiences of racism in the U.S. military
Janet L. Sims-Wood remembers Dovey Johnson Roundtree
Transcript
Martha Putney [Martha Settle Putney] talks about being on a troop train and one time she was on a troop train where she was the only black on the train. And nightfall came and they tried to figure out where is this woman going to sleep. So, you know, you can, you can tell when people are talking about you. She said they were all standing in a group and they were talking and then they'd turn their heads and look back at her, you know, and they--so she knew they were talking about her. And so, what happened they ended up putting her in a private room and having her meals sent to her so she wouldn't eat with the rest of the, rest of the troop women on the train. So, basically, when they first went in it was very much segregated. They had their own unit, they ate together, they--everything they did, they did together. By the time, by the time Martha got there though, they were beginning to have--be in the same barracks 'cause she did have an incident where a white lady did not want to be in the same barracks with her. And, of course, they--the, the personnel straightened her out so--but they tell so many fascinating stories. It's, you know, just, just things that happened to them because they were, you know, you were supposed to be protected by the military but in certain instances you were not.$$Right.$$So they still had to deal with the discrimination. And one of the reasons that--of course most of them went in, the men and the women, was because they were looking for, you know, they wanted to be citizens, good citizens. But unfortunately they sometimes got treated better overseas than they did here. And when they came back they still could not get jobs and things. So, they still had a, had a problem but they really wanted to show that they were citizens. And one of the things that--when I would have them with me or when I would do presentations, especially if I--and to students. One thing that students ask me but they wouldn't ask them, was: "Why would you want to go into something that people--where you were not wanted?" So I would have to explain the, the circumstances of that particular time period, the economic time period. So that gave me a little time to teach them a little bit of a lesson. And but, when they were there, if one of them was there, that was never a question that they asked them. "Why would you go [into the Women's Army Corps]?" And I think it was out of respect because they just, you know, that gives a question--'cause they were so proud of the fact that they had been in. So they, they were really, they were fascinating ladies.$Dovey Roundtree [Dovey Johnson Roundtree], for instance, was a recruiter. One of the questions I asked Dovey was about--I asked all of 'em, I had general questions that I asked everybody. But one of the questions that I asked was, because this was the [U.S.] military and I know they--and they test you and put you in a certain place that's where you'd be. Well, I say, "Were you ever able to do--ask them for another assignment or something like that, or once they tested you, did you have to stay in the--wherever they put you?" And she said, "Well, I was put the transportation department," and she said, "I went to them and told them that I thought I was more intellectual than that and that I thought I, you know, and on top of that I can't drive." But you see, you know, that didn't matter because they were gonna teach you how to drive. Most of those ladies couldn't drive when they went in, but they told her that, "Since you like to talk so much, we're going to make you a recruiter." So that's what she became, she was a recruiter and went around the country recruiting students. Especially--and she got a chance to go back to Spelman College [Atlanta, Georgia], where she graduated, and she did some recruiting there. So, she recruited all over the country. And one of the things that Dovey also told me, when she was in undergraduate school, 'cause all the WACs [Women's Army Corps] that went in, the very first group were officer candidates. They had to go in as officer--and they had to be college graduates because they were gonna train the rest of the folk that came in. So she was a college graduate, but she said when she was at Spelman she--her grandmother knew Bethune [Mary McLeod Bethune] and so--but she was gonna have to come out because she didn't have any money. And she was out there on the campus one day crying, and this white teacher came by and asked her what was wrong. And she told her, she said, "I have to leave, I have no money." And the lady told her to--, "Meet me at the, the bursar's office the next morning." And that lady came and paid the rest of her college education. And she said while she was in the military she put funds away to come back and repay that lady. And she was one of the few people that repaid her. So they had, they had all kinds of stories that they told.

Thomas Battle

Librarian, artist, curator, and historian Thomas Cornell Battle was born on March 19, 1946, at Howard University’s Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., to Thomas Oscar Battle and Lenore Thomas Battle. Battle attended Colonel Charles Young Elementary School, Bishop Henry McNeil Turner Elementary School, River Terrace Elementary School and Carter G. Woodson Junior High School. Battle graduated from William McKinley High School in 1964 while working at Mt. Pleasant Public Library. At Howard University, Battle was mentored by Loraine Williams and Rayford W. Logan and was influenced by Stokeley Carmichael, James Nabrit, Leon Damas, and Nathan Hare, among others. Battle was awarded his B.A. degree in history in 1968; he earned his M.L.S. degree from the University of Maryland College of Information Studies in 1971, and his Ph.D. degree in American studies from George Washington University in 1983. Battle’s dissertation was a bibliographical study of slavery in the District of Columbia.

In 1972, advised by Oswald Person, Battle applied for and was hired as a reference librarian by Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, then under distinguished director, Dorothy Porter. During this period, Battle was granted a fellowship through the Black Caucus of the American Library Association to study in Sierra Leone for a year. Michael Winston was director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection as Battle became founding curator of the manuscript division in 1974; later, Battle became university archivist. In 1986, Battle was named director of Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, the largest black owned archive of black history and culture in the world.

Committed to illuminating the lives of pioneer bibliophiles like Arthur Schomburg, Alexander Cromwell, and Jesse Moorland, Battle, with Paul Coates and Eleanor Des Virney Sinnette, authored Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History in 1983. The realization of Howard’s unique place in world history prompted the book, Howard in Retrospect: Images of the Capstone co-authored with Clifford L. Muse, Jr. in 1995. Battle co-edited with Donna M. Wells on the 2007 work, Legacy: Treasures of Black History, which features more than 150 historic items including documents, letters, images, artifacts and articles by twelve scholars including: Joseph E. Harris, Greg Carr, James Turner and Deborah Willis.

Battle taught history at Howard University, the University of Maryland, and Amherst College. In 2006, the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (CLIS) presented Battle with the James Partridge Award.

Accession Number

A2007.058

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/9/2007

Last Name

Battle

Maker Category
Schools

McKinley Technology High School

Charles E. Young Elementary School

Carter G. Woodson Junior High School

River Terrace Elementary School

Bishop Henry McNeil Turner Elementary School

University of Maryland

George Washington University

First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BAT07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

I Am Unbought And Unbossed.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/19/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab ( Maryland Blue)

Short Description

Archivist, cultural heritage chief executive, and historian Thomas Battle (1946 - ) was the director of Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, the largest black owned archive of black history and culture in the world.

Employment

District of Columbia Public Library

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:201,2:8710,205:11390,255:19090,328:24018,431:24338,437:24786,445:26386,473:27922,504:29074,535:29394,541:30098,557:31570,586:32978,615:33682,629:34578,640:40860,686:45900,793:46680,809:49200,867:49440,872:55674,934:55922,939:56542,953:57162,962:57596,975:57906,981:58588,991:59270,1005:60448,1027:69686,1230:78158,1344:79280,1363:80534,1384:80864,1390:83108,1434:91990,1525:93124,1538:99487,1664:100117,1676:100369,1681:108832,1805:109747,1826:110052,1832:112797,1915:113834,1941:116396,2003:116762,2010:117067,2020:118226,2046:118531,2052:119690,2087:123190,2096$0,0:623,43:6470,102:10383,198:10747,203:11475,213:12294,224:17746,275:19402,293:21490,330:26424,375:26892,382:28062,412:28842,423:29466,434:30012,442:40308,624:45378,714:45846,721:54968,805:68212,959:69751,980:70075,985:73315,1045:75178,1073:75664,1081:76798,1097:84658,1175:87694,1228:88591,1243:90661,1290:91627,1308:91972,1320:92317,1326:93007,1341:93352,1347:93628,1352:94456,1367:95560,1390:99079,1463:99562,1473:99907,1478:100804,1493:101425,1506:101908,1515:110456,1585:110840,1592:111288,1601:111864,1612:112376,1622:114808,1680:116408,1725:117048,1733:117368,1739:122570,1787:124090,1818:125530,1842:127050,1863:128250,1930:128730,1938:129450,1950:130090,1959:130970,1971:131610,1982:132170,1990:133130,2004:137556,2030:137966,2036:139032,2051:139770,2062:140098,2067:140672,2076:141246,2084:143460,2119:146986,2173:147396,2180:148544,2196:149528,2211:149938,2217:152234,2261:158728,2347:159094,2354:162978,2397:163283,2403:163893,2425:167553,2493:167797,2498:168224,2506:168895,2522:169139,2527:170481,2552:170725,2557:171701,2581:172555,2594:173104,2604:173348,2609:173653,2615:174263,2628:175239,2648:179150,2658:180650,2693:182210,2727:183110,2744:184070,2765:184610,2775:184910,2785:186830,2828:187190,2836:187430,2841:187910,2850:191870,2945:195832,2959:197608,2994:199606,3038:204460,3101
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas Battle's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his father's upbringing and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes his early life experiences

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

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas Battles recalls his early education and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle remembers his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle recalls his early interest in African American history

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thomas Battle describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Thomas Battle remembers segregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Thomas Battle recalls his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Thomas Battle describes his experiences at Howard University

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Thomas Battle lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Thomas Battle recall graduating from Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle talks about the problems in the public schools of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes the student tracking system in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle describes the student tracking system in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle recalls working at the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes the history of Federal City College in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls the influential figures at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle remembers graduating from Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle describes his position at the Federal City College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle recalls enrolling at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle remembers the Black Power movement at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle recalls the academic environment at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about his approach to learning

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle remembers the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls the student protests at the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his African American identity

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about President Richard Nixon's administration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle remembers graduating from the University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle recalls joining the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle remembers Dorothy Porter Wesley

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle describes the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center's collection

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle recalls the patrons of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls serving as an exchange librarian

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle recalls arriving in Sierra Leone

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about the national library in Sierra Leone

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle describes Sierra Leone's national library collection

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle recalls meeting Sierra Leonean librarians

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle talks about the access to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about theft from libraries

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes the history of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle recalls returning from Sierra Leone

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle remembers Michael R. Winston

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes his roles at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle remembers the faculty of Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle recalls his decision to attend George Washington University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about the history of African Americans in Washington D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle recalls publishing his dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about the acquisition of materials by the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle talks about private collectors

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle talks about the collections of historically black institutions

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle describes Mayme Clayton's collection

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about his speaking engagements

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle describes his book, 'Black Bibliophiles and Collectors'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle describes the collectors of black artifacts

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle talks about African American historical collections

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about the misallocation of African American collections

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his book, 'Legacy: Treasures of Black History'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle describes his challenges at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes his favorite artifacts at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle describes his involvement in professional organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about the Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Thomas Battle recalls the student protests at the University of Maryland
Thomas Battle describes his favorite artifacts at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
Transcript
I also remember at the University of Maryland [College Park, Maryland], the--I think it was the invasion of Cambodia. And--or Route 1 [U.S. Route 1], which runs through the campus was closed down and the university was closed down and there was a lot of activity going on and lots of student, and not necessarily violence, but things going on. And there were two things of interest. One, the individual I referred to was with a black student union, in being asked about these activities, made it very clear of the disappointment of black students in the university being closed down because of the impact it was having on our ability to become educated. And I thought that was very telling since there had not been this great desire for us to be there anyway. That black students and the black cause was something that was featured as an important issue. And I also remember it was one of the few times that white students felt that they would be safer by walking with black students, because as it turned out no one was bothering the black students on campus, although, white students were having their own problems among each other. And I clearly remember white classmates, and certainly some of the white women I was in class with, saying, "Do you mind if I walk with you to the parking lot," or "Do you mind if we do this." And the reason was because they felt much safer being with us as their black classmates and other black students, than they felt being out on the campus and subject to being abused, if you will, by the police forces that had been brought on the campus to quell the student disturbances that were going on. And, in essence, the feeling was that black students are not responsible for and involved in this. So the black students are immune from this because there's no reason to bother the black students. It's the white students who were starting all of the trouble. And I've always found that, that's probably one of the few times that white people felt that the safest place for them to be was to be with black people who could provide for their security.$What do you think, of all the holdings you have here, what would you consider to be the most valuable piece that you (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) You know, I am frequently asked what, what's the most valuable, what's the most impressive. I, I--my, my answer sometimes is like, "Well, it's like the blind man and the elephant; depends on where you touch it." There is no single item. There's an item in the collection that has a certain appeal to me, it's a, it's an image, a rare image called 'The Hunted Slaves' [Richard Ansdell]. This is a, a, a print based upon a, a painting that is in a museum in England and it took its inspiration from a Wadsworth--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, 'The Slave in the Dismal Swamp,' which is actually reproduced on, on this engraving. But what appeals to me about the engraving is that--and, as I say, it's the, the--this inspiration to 'Slave in the Dismal Swamp,' is you see these vicious dogs that are in the process of attacking this black man and this black woman. But what you do not see is this fear and this docility that is often projected about the enslaving experience, but what you see is this black man there with this, this hatchet or axe in his hand protecting and preserving not only his freedom, but that of his woman and by extension for me, that of the black family. And I think that whether or not that was the, the true intent of the, of the artist, that's sort of the inspiration that I draw from it. That this was not a situation in which we just accepted our fate, but that shows that these were and we were at people that was willing to stand and fight for our rights and, and for the preservation of our lives; that for me, is a, is a very powerful piece. Every member of our staff has his or her own favorite piece. For me, it is the, the collection, this is the comprehensiveness of what is here [Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Washington, D.C.] that is important. That you have in one place, the largest collection of materials documenting the black experience. A library of more than two hundred thousand volumes, all of it on the black experience from Africa throughout the Americas; north, central, south, Europe and all other aspects of the black diaspora. It is that, that wealth of material that I think is overwhelming and helps us to put to lie black people have no history; here is the documentation right here. If I offer you another ques- example, I could say we have a Babylonian clay tablet from several centuries B.C., that might be the rarest, the most valuable, but there are others. And something that might appear to be insignificant could really be something that is vitally valuable because it might have a, a bit of information that expresses or exposes something about our history that is otherwise unknown. It may have no real monetary value, but the informational value should--could be key. So depending upon how one interprets value and how meaningful things are to one as an individual, probably gets you to answer the question, we have a million items, we have a million favorites.

Camilla Thompson

Camilla Bolton Perkins Thompson has distinguished herself as both a science educator and as an authority on the African American history of Jacksonville, Florida. As an African American teacher of chemistry and physics, she was a pioneer for her generation. As a local lay historian, her historical research, writings, interpretation, presentations and organizational activities on Jacksonville’s African American history were motivated by the need to preserve the history for younger generations.

Thompson was born on March 6, 1922 in Jacksonville, Florida. Her mother, Camilla (Bolton) Perkins, was a Jacksonville elementary school teacher and her father, Daniel W. Perkins, was a prominent lawyer. Thompson grew up in the LaVilla neighborhood of Jacksonville which was a segregated town of its own, where she attended a wooden two-story school house. She graduated from Stanton Senior High School in 1939. In 1943, Thompson received her B.S. degree in chemistry from Florida A&M University. In 1974, she received her M.S. degree with a focus on the teaching of chemistry and physics from the University of North Florida.

From 1944 to 1976, Thompson taught chemistry, physics and math at four Jacksonville junior and senior high schools - Abraham Lincoln Lewis Jr. High, Northwestern Jr. High, William Raines High and Andrew Jackson High School. From 1976 to 1981, she was an instructor of chemistry at Florida Community College. During her teaching career, Thompson was married to Capers M. Thompson and they had three children—Muriel, Michael, and Reginald, born between 1947 and 1953. When Thompson retired from teaching, she was serving on the board of the Clara White Mission. The White family had accumulated a large collection of news articles and artifacts on Jacksonville’s African life and history. Thompson volunteered to organize and preserve a large collection of historical materials accumulated by the White family.

Over a ten year period, between 1985 and 1995, Thompson wrote a weekly column called “Reflections on Black Jacksonville” for the Jacksonville Free Press. Her more than 500 articles covered people, places and events in Jacksonville’s black history and culture. She is widely known for her illustrated talks on “Remembering the African American History of Jacksonville from 1925 to 1960.

As chairperson of the Black Historical Tour Committee and as a Tour Coordinator, Thompson served as a principle figure in the Tour of Black Historical Sites (30 in all) in Metropolitan Jacksonville, sponsored by the Gamma Rho Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Thompson’s work as a lay historian, researching, preserving, interpreting and disseminating the African American history of Jacksonville, has been a major contribution to historical memory and cultural and educational programs for the City of Jacksonville.

Thompson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 19, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.125

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/19/2006

Last Name

Thompson

Maker Category
Schools

New Stanton High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Camilla

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

THO12

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

Take One Day At A Time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

3/6/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jacksonville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tomatoes

Short Description

High school math teacher, newspaper columnist, and historian Camilla Thompson (1922 - ) wrote for the Jacksonville Free Press.

Employment

A.L. Lewis Junior High School

Northwestern Junior High School

William M. Raines High School

Andrew Jackson High School

Favorite Color

Pink

Timing Pairs
0,0:1701,45:8424,189:8748,194:9477,202:10206,214:10935,221:13041,256:28986,553:38636,657:46574,787:50705,856:62284,977:70092,1051:76175,1163:76483,1168:78485,1203:82874,1289:93654,1372:94184,1378:94608,1383:95774,1398:109064,1546:110565,1580:118860,1797:136242,2029:139530,2061$0,0:730,13:2774,40:3577,58:5767,147:6205,159:6497,164:7081,174:10512,293:11096,303:13943,368:20146,406:30380,596:35484,620:43492,748:51115,890:51654,898:52270,909:53348,937:54657,967:60028,985:61108,998:61864,1007:67264,1083:68020,1092:68776,1100:74295,1167:88788,1337:95256,1437:96628,1461:100868,1474:101450,1481:101838,1486:102226,1491:102614,1496:105524,1539:106203,1549:107755,1572:110690,1577:112744,1620:113692,1638:115746,1683:118274,1726:119459,1747:123703,1770:129960,1844:130617,1856:131055,1864:131566,1872:132004,1879:140880,1946:148020,2018:170680,2338:171994,2360:201042,2794:201580,2826
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Camilla Thompson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Camilla Thompson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Camilla Thompson describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Camilla Thompson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Camilla Thompson describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Camilla Thompson describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Camilla Thompson describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Camilla Thompson describes her sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Camilla Thompson describes the history of Florida's African American beaches

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Camilla Thompson remembers visiting New York City as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Camilla Thompson describes Jacksonville's LaVilla neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Camilla Thompson describes her neighbors' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Camilla Thompson recalls her childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Camilla Thompson describes segregation in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Camilla Thompson recalls attending Jacksonville's LaVilla School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Camilla Thompson describes the Boylan-Haven School and Stanton High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Camilla Thompson recalls her interest in math and science

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Camilla Thompson recalls her summer pastimes as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Camilla Thompson remembers Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Camilla Thompson recalls her post-graduate education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Camilla Thompson recalls teaching at A.L. Lewis Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Camilla Thompson describes her marriage to Capers M. Thompson, Sr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Camilla Thompson recalls balancing motherhood with her teaching career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Camilla Thompson remembers teaching chemistry in Jacksonville's schools

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Camilla Thompson recalls being selected as a federal desegregation teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Camilla Thompson talks about her teaching career and master's degree

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Camilla Thompson explains how she became interested in history

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Camilla Thompson talks about philanthropist Eartha M. M. White

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Camilla Thompson remembers writing for the Jacksonville Free Press

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Camilla Thompson describes her work in historical education and research

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Camilla Thompson describes the history of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Camilla Thompson describes the Bethel Baptist Institutional Church museum

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Camilla Thompson talks about Zora Neale Hurston's connection to Jacksonville

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Camilla Thompson describes her book on the history of Jacksonville

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Camilla Thompson talks about the importance of African American history

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Camilla Thompson reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Camilla Thompson describes her plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Camilla Thompson describes her hopes for the African American community and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Camilla Thompson narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Camilla Thompson recalls her childhood pastimes
Camilla Thompson describes the Bethel Baptist Institutional Church museum
Transcript
(Laughter).$$I want to talk about your early schooling and elementary, junior and senior high, but before we move to the schooling, to kind of finish up on the neighborhood and growing up, what sights, sounds, and smells remind you of growing up on Beaver Street in LaVilla [Jacksonville, Florida]?$$Okay. Well, one of the sites was LaVilla playground [LaVilla Park; Florida C. Dwight Memorial Playground, Jacksonville, Florida], and that was the playground that one of my mother's [Camilla Bolton Perkins] friends, Miss Florida Cutton Dwight, was the director. She was the first playground director there. In fact, she was the first playground--African American playground director in Jacksonville [Florida], and she started out at another park, Oakland park, but she was at LaVilla more. And so I could go there, and she had games to suit, you know, children of all ages, and then they had--they played baseball or softball, basketball, and she had arts and crafts where some of us learned how to knit and crochet, and we played games like jack stones and shoot marbles, and we had the maypole plaiting during May, and all of these kinds of things. So she made quite a difference in the lives of many of the young people, and some of them fondly recall Miss Florida Dwight as being their person who helped them. And then there were movies in the neighborhood, and there were several movies around the corner a few blocks, the Strand Theater [Jacksonville, Florida] and the Frolic Theater [Jacksonville, Florida]. And later--I was out of college by then when they did the Roosevelt [Roosevelt Theatre, Jacksonville, Florida], but the Ritz Theatre [Ritz Theatre and Museum, Jacksonville, Florida] was in 1929, and many times our parents--we would walk around there, and when we would leave there, there was Dr. Othewald Smith [ph.] who had a pharmacy and his medical practice in a building across from the Ritz, and he had a little ice cream set-up, the little wrought iron table and chairs, and we just loved to go there after we had been to the movies.$Well, we are here surrounded by all the artifacts and the history of Bethel [Bethel Baptist Institutional Church, Jacksonville, Florida]. Did you help to put this together, this museum that we're--church history museum (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes, I led the group in trying to get it together, because as we were writing histories, we asked people to look in their attics and garages and find old programs and old books and artifacts, and we got so much until when we finished, we were saying, well, what are we gonna do with them? And so we said, we can't throw it out. And so in the process, the pastor was moving from this room, which used to be the pastor's study, into an office in the administration building, so we asked for this room. And so this is what we have, and we got this set up and had the grand opening in 1995.$$I see. As I sit here talking with you, in the display case to my right, your left, there's a very large book, and it says, membership book. That has the names of members during what period?$$Okay. That's an interesting book. It has the names of members from 1870 to 1924, and there are some others, but the sad thing is that the book that comes from '25 [1925] to the '50s [1950s] is missing. But then we have one that takes up in the '50s [1950s] and moves on. But we were happy to have that one. Someone who had a beautiful handwriting entered the names of each one of those members. They gave the name, the address, the church that they came from, the location of that church, and how much that person pledged to give each week, each month, or each year, and all of that is listed in that membership book.$$What are the--some of your other favorite items and artifacts in this church museum? Which ones do you have special feeling about, any others besides that?$$Well, one of the things, some photos that we have on either side behind you have the photos of some of our early organizations like deaconess boards, deacon boards, trustee boards, early choirs, and that kind of thing. And in the center there, there's a large list of people who made contributions to the reduction of the mortgage in--between 1918 and 1919, and we found that on the stairwell, and it was where we found this rolled up, and it was real dusty, and we said, oh, how in the world can we clean it up. But when we looked again, there were two pages, and all we had to do was peel off the top page, and we have a clear document, and so we were able to go and have it framed so that people can look. And people gave anywhere from maybe fifty cents up to--I think the highest amount was like five hundred, which was given--left as a part of the estate of Mr. A.W. Price, who was a member here and also one of the seven founders of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company [Jacksonville, Florida].

Margaret Peters

Educator, African American history specialist, Margaret Peters was born March 12, 1936 in Dayton, Ohio. Her parents, Mary Margaret Smith Peters, and building contactor, Joseph Andrew Peters, were stalwarts of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Attending Irving School, Peters graduated from Dayton Roosevelt High School in 1954. At the University of Dayton, she earned a B.A. degree in 1959 and a B.S. degree in 1963. Peters also received her M.A. degree in 1972 and a supervisors certificate from the University of Dayton in 1974.

Peters began her teaching career at Roth High School in 1963. In 1968, as the black community continued agitated for African American history, Peters was appointed Black History Resource Teacher for the Dayton Public Schools. In 1969, she produced Striving to Overcome: Negro Achievers, which was published by Dayton Public Schools. Johnson Publishing released Peters’ Ebony Book of Black Achievement in 1970. She co-authored with her encyclopedic brother, Wendell Peters, the article “Blacks in Ohio History” in 1980. Her writing also includes numerous articles for the Dayton Weekly News, an African American newspaper, and since 1995, a column, “From The Root,” for the DaytonWeekly News culminating in a 1995 column called “From The Roots.” Also in 1995, the Donning Company published her treasury of African American history called Dayton’s African American Heritage, which has gone into an expanded edition. She was also co-editor of A History of Race Relations in the Miami Valley in 2001. Peters also served as instructor at Sinclair Community College and at Central State University West. Since retiring from Colonel White High School in 1993, she has served as coordinator of the free after-school tutorial program at Zion Baptist Church.

Peters was the recipient of the 1991 Excellence in Teaching Award for the Midwest Region from the National Conference of Negro Women; the National Education Association’s 1993 Dr. Carter G. Woodson Award; the 1993 Meritorious Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was their 2005 Education Breakfast speaker. From 1993 to 1995, she was elected to the National Executive Council of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Peters is the recipient of many local awards including Dayton Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year in 1982 and the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dayton Chapter of the National Forum for Black Administrators. Cited as one of Dayton’s Top Ten Women, Peters is a board member of the Dayton African American Legacy Institute, Inc. (DAALI) and has earned a block on Dayton’s Wright-Dunbar Walk of Fame.

Accession Number

A2006.043

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/20/2006

Last Name

Peters

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Roosevelt High School

Irving Elementary School

University of Dayton

First Name

Margaret

Birth City, State, Country

Dayton

HM ID

PET06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rural Retreat, Virginia

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All Things Through Christ That Strengthens Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

3/12/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dayton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

High school teacher and historian Margaret Peters (1936 - ) was appointed as the Black History Resource Teacher for Dayton Public Schools. In 1970, Johnson Publishing released Peters’ book entitled, Ebony Book of Black Achievement and later the Donning Company published Dayton’s, African American Heritage.

Employment

Thurgood Marshall High School

Dayton Public Schools

Zion Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:2495,43:3574,100:3906,105:6977,157:8222,174:8720,181:9550,193:10961,216:11625,225:12206,233:12953,244:13700,256:14032,261:14530,268:15194,277:15858,287:17103,313:17518,319:20091,356:20755,393:21336,401:22000,410:23660,432:33630,539:34260,551:34680,558:34960,563:35590,573:36570,591:36920,597:37690,613:39020,634:39510,643:40350,658:41960,687:42310,693:47140,798:47490,805:48050,814:49940,832:50430,840:53790,893:63717,956:64162,962:64963,974:68256,1031:71442,1064:71832,1070:72144,1075:73002,1089:74562,1120:75186,1129:76590,1159:105765,1852:106515,1865:107040,1874:107865,1889:110790,1957:115808,1992:117222,2024:123686,2155:124292,2167:128231,2225:131060,2258:131485,2264:135225,2330:137440,2335:139316,2374:141192,2419:146418,2554:147490,2576:149433,2628:150907,2660:151242,2666:151644,2673:151912,2678:152381,2686:160038,2759:160731,2772:161424,2783:161963,2791:167207,2857:167746,2865:168208,2872:171057,2923:171365,2928:171750,2934:172289,2943:174368,2977:174984,2986:176986,3023:182148,3057:182562,3064:184080,3086:185480,3092:188432,3156:190400,3187:206550,3405$0,0:7524,155:12236,292:23660,459:26380,507:26720,512:30290,570:38450,741:41340,797:42020,808:44740,864:45250,871:52960,973:53935,997:54195,1002:54650,1011:55430,1025:63360,1189:63880,1198:64335,1206:64985,1218:65960,1245:66610,1256:67260,1268:75095,1347:75530,1353:92380,1625:92725,1637:93691,1655:94243,1664:98107,1759:99832,1862:102661,1940:106594,2034:107077,2043:115230,2189:119980,2223
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Margaret Peters' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Margaret Peters lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Margaret Peters describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Margaret Peters describes her mother's experience at Roosevelt High School in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Margaret Peters describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Margaret Peters describes segregation in the Dayton Public Schools during the 1930s and 1940s

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Margaret Peters talks about her father's role in writing the architectural history of Zion Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Margaret Peters describes her family and her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Margaret Peters describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Margaret Peters talks about the Classic Theater in Dayton, Ohio and Paul Robeson's legacy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Margaret Peters narrates her photographs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Margaret Peters talks about the black business district in Dayton, Ohio during the early 20th century

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Margaret Peters talks about the destruction of Dayton, Ohio's historically black communities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Margaret Peters describes the contributions of African Americans from Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Margaret Peters talks about her education at Irving Elementary School and learning black history at church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Margaret Peters talks about Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Margaret Peters talks about Dayton, Ohio's Roosevelt High School in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Margaret Peters talks about her extracurricular activities and her mentors at Roosevelt High School in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Margaret Peters talks about her undergraduate experience at the University of Dayton in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Margaret Peters describes becoming the Negro History Resource Teacher for the Dayton Public Schools in 1968

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Margaret Peters narrates her photographs

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Margaret Peters describes her interest in black history as a graduate student at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Margaret Peters talks about reading 'Your History: From the Beginning of Time to the Present' by J.A. Rogers as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Margaret Peters talks about the publication of the 'Ebony Book of Black Achievement' in 1970

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Margaret Peters describes the curriculum she developed as Negro History Resource Teacher for the Dayton Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Margaret Peters describes resistance to black history education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Margaret Peters talks about the teaching of black history in schools and churches

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Margaret Peters talks about her involvement with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Margaret Peters talks about the 1974 dissolution of the Negro History Resource office and lobbying for a more inclusive world history curriculum in Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Margaret Peters narrates her photos

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Margaret Peters talks about the relationship between Ancient African history and Christianity

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Margaret Peters details her involvement with the Wallpaper Project during the 1990s and the 2000s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Margaret Peters talks about the history of Dayton's West Side and the establishment of the Dayton African American Legacy Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Margaret Peters recalls a story about the Dayton Marcos and the Great Dayton Flood of 1913

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Margaret Peters talks about notable Dayton individuals and families

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Margaret Peters talks about the future of black history education in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Margaret Peters describes efforts to commemorate prominent African Americans from Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Margaret Peters describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Margaret Peters talks about teaching religion in public schools

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Margaret Peters narrates her photographs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Margaret Peters talks about the role of the family

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Margaret Peters talks about the first edition of 'Dayton's African American Heritage'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Margaret Peters talks about the second edition of 'Dayton's African American Heritage'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Margaret Peters talks about the Chicken Bone Express and the Freeman Field Mutiny

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Margaret Peters talks about her involvement in black history organizations in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Margaret Peters considers what she would have done differently in life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Margaret Peters reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Margaret Peters talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Margaret Peters describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Margaret Peters narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$3

DATitle
Margaret Peters describes becoming the Negro History Resource Teacher for the Dayton Public Schools in 1968
Margaret Peters talks about the publication of the 'Ebony Book of Black Achievement' in 1970
Transcript
Okay. So where did you start teaching?$$I started at Roth [High School, Dayton, Ohio], which was a high school at that point--and though my teaching fields were English and social studies and Spanish, I started out teaching reading because so many of the high school students could not read, or couldn't read at grade level. So I took some coursework at Miami [University, Oxford, Ohio] and started teaching reading at Roth. And then about '67 [1967], [Arthur] Art Thomas was one of the teachers at Roth at that point, and he and I and some of the others were concerned about the lack of black history. So we started going to the Board of Education, and pushing for the inclusion of black history in the Dayton Public Schools. And the superintendent was Dr. Wayne Carle, and so he arranged to have a citywide meeting where Dr. Charles Wesley was going to be the keynote speaker. But Dr. Wesley was ill and didn't come. And so I stood in for him and spoke about black history. You know, some of the major phases, why it was important to include it. And so after that meeting I was appointed as the Negro History Resource Teacher for the Dayton Public Schools.$$Now, that's quite a--we may have skipped over a lot of ground here to get there, but to be able to substitute for--$$Dr. Charles Wesley, yes.$$Who was the president of Central State [University, Wilberforce, Ohio]--$$Right, and he was president of ASALH [Association for the Study of African American Life and History].$$The confidant and co-Author with--$$Dr. Woodson.$$Dr. Carter G. Woodson of many black history books, a national recognized--$$Oh, yeah, brilliant man.$$--Leader of black history. I mean to be able to substitute for him is quite a--I mean how did you get to that point? I mean you just didn't jump up and--$$Well, I always loved history and I had done a lot of reading, and this was about the time that [HM] Lerone Bennett [Jr.] was doing a lot of writing for Ebony Magazine. A couple of years after that, The Dayton Daily News had serialized his, "'Before the Mayflower[: A History of Black America, 1619-1962]' and they asked me to write a biography to go with each of the twenty chapters. And I had done a lot of speaking in the community on different phases of black history. And so, he--when he asked me to speak, I was able to do that without a whole lot of preparation. I have a very good memory also, and so I could start with, you know, Africa the home of man and talk about Egypt is in Africa even though a lot of people would prefer that it not be there. And we'd talk about the fact that when [Christopher] Columbus got here, not knowing where he was, black people were already here. And we could kind of go chronologically and hit a lot of the main points. And because so much of that was new to a lot of the teachers who had come through just a regular school system, they simply didn't know what we considered just basic facts of history. And so as Negro History Resource Teacher, I would do workshops in the area. We prepared newsletters, we talked about how you include black culture regardless of what subject you're teaching whether it's science or math or literature. That we belong in all of those, it's not just history. So I worked in that area from '68 [1968] to '74 [1974], then in '74 [1974], I went to Colonel White High School [now Thurgood Marshall High School, Dayton, Ohio].$'Cause you're--the biographies that you wrote for the [Dayton] Daily News were I guess compiled to make the 'Ebony Book of Black Achievement?'$$Yes. What happened is, you know, 'Before the Mayflower[: A History of Black America, 1619-1962'] is an excellent book, but there's not much on any individual in it. So the news ran at twenty episodes. And with each episode, they asked me to write a biography of someone who lived during that time period. So we started with Mansa Musa, you know, the ruler in West Africa. And then we just went chronologically up through people like, you know, [Frederick] Douglass and I think we had Crispus Attucks in there. And Paul Cuffee and Mary McLeod Bethune and Mr. [Charles Clinton] Spaulding, the businessman and we ended with W.E.B. Du Bois. And then those were compiled in a book--a booklet, which went to the Dayton Public Schools ['Striving to Overcome: Negro Achievers']. And I took a few of them and sent them to Johnson Publishers and asked if they would be interested in publishing them. And they published it as the 'Ebony Book of Black Achievement' in 1970. And a lot of schools began to use it and some still use it to supplement American History because the biographies are, you know, relatively short. The illustrations by Cecil [L.] Ferguson are excellent. And so it's, that was the first published book.$$Now we were--when we found out that someone from Dayton [Ohio] did that, we were very proud. I mean, you know, in Dayton.$$Oh yeah. We got a lot of good comments on it. I did an interview some time ago in Yellow Springs [Ohio] with a young man who was from out of state, and he was familiar with the book because his teacher had used it when he was in the eighth grade. And when I was teaching at Colonel White [High School, now Thurgood Marshall High School, Dayton, Ohio], the book was there and the students would look at the picture in the back where I have all this black hair, and they would say, "Is that you Miss Peters?" I said, "Well, yes it is but that was back in 1970." So--$$The students assumed you always had grey hair?$$Oh, yeah. They can't--it's hard for them to imagine teachers being younger than they actually see them, yeah.