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The Honorable Sandra Hollins

State legislator Sandra Hollins was born on May 11, 1970 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to mother, homemaker Iola Robinson-Seals, and father, store clerk Freddie Seals II. A 1988 graduate of McDonogh #35 High School in New Orleans, she received her B.S. degree in business management from the University of Phoenix in 2002, as well as her M.A. degree in social work from the University of Utah, College of Social Work in Salt Lake City in 2009.

Hollins began working as a licensed clinical social worker, focusing primarily on substance abuse and advocacy for Salt Lake City’s homeless population. She also worked for Volunteers of America Utah, as manager of the organization’s homeless outreach program. In 2014, Hollins entered state politics, defeating Republican candidate Kristopher Smith to become the first African American woman elected to the Utah State Legislature, representing District 23 in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a legislator, she served as Minority Caucus Manager, and on committees including; Social Services Appropriations, Health and Human Services, the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice and Child Welfare oversight panel. Hollins authored legislation on state job applications, criminal and traffic code amendments, and school resource officer and administrator training. She also sponsored House Bill 156 – or "Ban the Box" bill – which supported removing questions and check boxes from job applications asking about criminal records.

Hollins has served on numerous boards and committees including: the Greater Salt Lake Alumnae Chapter-Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; National Association of Social Workers; Fairpark Community Council; Salt Lake County African American Caucus;
Women In Government; Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus; and the Salt Lake City Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Board. She served as a judge for the Youthlinc Utah Young Humanitarian Award in 2017, and was elected as the western regional director for The National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, also serving as co-chair of the Women and Children Committee for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. In 2016, Hollins received the Call to Serve award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She received the Pioneer Award from the Utah African American Chamber of Commerce in 2017, as well as the Business Champion award from the Salt Lake Chamber that same year.

Hollins and her husband, David have two adult daughters, Jaynell and Canice.

Sandra Hollins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 18, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.010

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/16/2018

Last Name

Hollins

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Sandra

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

HOL22

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Let Your Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fears

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Birth Date

5/11/1970

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

State representative Sandra Hollins (1970- ), the first African American woman elected to the Utah State Legislature in 2014 was previously the manager of Volunteers of America, Utah’s homeless outreach program.

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Walter Furnace

State representative Walter Furnace was born on December 31, 1943 in Ennis, Texas to L.D. Birdow and Janet Medlock. He graduated from George Washington Carver High School in 1962, and enlisted in the United States Air Force and spent his final two years of service in Anchorage, Alaska. In 1966, he attended Gambell Street Business College and received his B.B.A. degree in business administration from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 1972. He later graduated from the SouthWest CUNA Management School in 2009.

After his U.S. military service, Furnace was hired as a management trainee at the National Bank of Alaska. In 1971, he was named assistant vice president and branch manager of the bank, a position he held for over nine years. After his graduation from the University of Alaska, Furnace was hired as president of the Parent Teacher Association in Anchorage. As president of the PTA, he was elected to a position on the Anchorage School Board. Nine months later, he was elected as president of the School Board. During his time on the School Board, Furnace spent a great deal of time “lobbying” for educational initiatives in the state capital, Juneau. In 1982, Furnace was elected to the Alaska State House of Representatives. He served a total of four terms as a state representative and focused on funding education programs within the state. Furnace returned to the financial services industry in 1994 as the assistant vice president and branch manager for Nations Bank Mortgage. In 1998, he left Nations Bank and joined American Airlines Federal Credit Union in Dallas, Texas as the government and industry relations manager. While in that position, Furnace coordinated the company’s legislative efforts by working with state, local and federal governments, as well as the media, and helped create policy proposals.

Furnace was recognized at the national level for his commitment to education and for his successful career. In 2014, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions awarded him the Paul Revere Award for Outstanding Grassroots Advocacy. Furnace’s life was profiled by Randall Kenan in the book, Walking on Water: Black America Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century, which was published in 1999.

Furnace has five daughters: Carmella, Dana, Perdita, Samantha and Tara.

Walter Furnace was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.163

Sex

Male

Interview Date

09/15/2017

Last Name

Furnace

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Ennis

HM ID

FUR01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

No

Favorite Quote

There is no such thing as a pet rattlesnake.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/31/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Favorite Food

No

Short Description

State representative Walter Furnace (1943 - ) was president of the Anchorage, Alaska School Board, and served as a member of the Alaska State House of Representatives.

Favorite Color

Blue

The Honorable U. W. Clemon

Judge and state representative U.W. Clemon was born on April 9, 1943 in Fairfield, Alabama to Mose Clemon and Addie Clemon. He graduated from Westfield High School in 1961 and received his B.A. degree from Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama in 1965, and his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School in 1968.

After his graduation from Miles College, Clemon was active in the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963 and helped desegregate the Birmingham Public Library. While enrolled in law school, Clemon worked part-time in the New York office of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. After receiving his J.D. degree, Clemon returned to Birmingham and joined the law firm of Adams, Burg, & Baker. In 1969, on behalf of the University of Alabama’s black student organization, Clemon brought a lawsuit against football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant to force him to recruit black athletes. In 1974, Clemon was elected to represent the 15th District in the Alabama State Senate. He was one of the first African Americans elected to the Alabama Senate since Reconstruction, and chaired the Senate Rules Committee and the Judiciary Committee. Clemon fought against Governor George Wallace’s exclusion of African American citizens from state boards and agencies, as well as his reinstatement of the death penalty. In 1977, Clemon was credited with the defeat of an effort by conservative lawmakers at the federal level to reform the Fifth Circuit Court. In 1979, Clemon’s representation of police brutality victims led to an establishment of a biracial committee to improve relations between the African American community and the police, as well as the election of Richard Arrington, Jr., the first African American mayor of Birmingham. The following year, President Jimmy Carter appointed Clemon as Alabama’s first African American federal judge. He served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and rose to the position of Chief Judge in 1999, a position he held until 2006. Clemon retired from the bench in 2009, after serving for twenty-nine years. Clemon then returned to his private law practice at White, Arnold, & Dowd.

Clemon and his wife, Barbara, have two children, Isaac and Michelle.

U.W. Clemon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 3, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.092

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/03/2017

Last Name

Clemon

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

U.W.

Birth City, State, Country

Fairfield

HM ID

CLE08

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean - Mediterranean Cruises

Favorite Quote

Come my friends 'tis not too late to seek a new world ... etc. (Tennyson)

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

4/9/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Birmingham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet potatoes

Short Description

Judge and state representative U.W. Clemon (1943 - ) was an Alabama State Senator and served for twenty-nine years as U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Alabama, and rose to the position of chief judge.

Favorite Color

Blue

The Honorable Robert G. Clark

State representative Robert G. Clark was born on October 3, 1929 in Ebenezer, Mississippi to Robert G. Clark, Sr. and Julia Ann Clark. Clark attended Holmes County Training School in Durant, Mississippi. Clark received his B.A. degree from Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi in 1952, and his M.S. degree in administration and educational services from Michigan State University in East, Lansing, Michigan in 1959.

Clark served as a teacher in the Holmes County public school system and area private schools for fifteen years. In 1966, Clark was elected to a position in the Holmes County Community Action Program. The following year, he was elected to the State of Mississippi House of Representatives as the first African American representative in the twentieth century. While serving in the Mississippi House of Representatives, Clark became the first black committee chairman in 1977 and served as chair of the House Education Committee, the House Management Committee, the House Ethics Committee and has held a seat on the House Rules Committee. He has also served as vice chairman for the Apportionment and Elections Committee. In 1979, in addition to serving in the Mississippi House of Representatives, he served as a teaching fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Clark worked on 1982 Education Reform Act for education reform in Mississippi. In 1992, he was elected as Mississippi House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tem, and reelected in 1996 and 2000. Clark was also a senior ranking member of Mississippi’s Legislative Black Caucus. In 2003, Clark retired from the Mississippi House of Representatives and began lecturing at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Mississippi.

Clark has been honored by the State of Mississippi for his years of service. In 2003, June 27, was dedicated as Robert G. Clark, Jr. day by an official State of Mississippi proclamation. Clark also has a state government building in Jackson, Mississippi named in his honor.

Robert and his wife, JoAnn Ross Clark, have three children, Robert G. Clark, III, Bryant Clark and LaLeche.

Robert G. Clark was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 26, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.106

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/26/2017

Last Name

Clark

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

G.

Schools

Michigan State University

Jackson State University

Western Michigan University

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Pickens

HM ID

CLA21

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

No

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Birth Date

10/3/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jackson

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

State representative Robert G. Clark (1928 - ) was the first African American elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives since the Reconstruction era, and served as House Speaker Pro Tem.

Employment

Mississippi House of Representatives

Favorite Color

Gold

The Honorable Garnet Coleman

State representative Garnet Coleman was born on September 8, 1961 in Washington, D.C. to Gloria Jones Coleman and Dr. John B. Coleman. Coleman was raised in Houston, Texas, where his father worked as the chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Houston’s Riverside General Hospital. He also served as the first African American appointee to the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in 1977. Coleman graduated from Jack Yates Senior High School in 1979, and entered Howard University in Washington, D.C. but returned to Houston, where he earned his B.A. degree in political science from the University of Saint Thomas in 1990. Coleman later completed Harvard University’s Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government.

Coleman began his political career in 1988 as a delegate to the Texas State Democratic Convention. In 1990, he served as precinct chair of his local Democratic Precinct Convention, and was elected to serve as a Texas state representative in 1991. Coleman defeated longtime civic leader Reverend Jew Don Boney, Jr. in a runoff election for the seat left vacant by the passing of Larry Q. Evans. In 1991, Coleman also founded S.M.A.R.T. Kids, a youth development and tutoring program. In 1992, Coleman served as the Harris County field director for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, and as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In addition to his service as a state representative, Coleman was elected chair of the Legislative Study Group in 2003. As chairman, Coleman advocated to preserve Texas’ top ten percent rule, which assisted historically underrepresented students by automatically admitting the Texas’ top performing high school students to Texas state universities. During President Barack Obama’s administration, Coleman served as a member of the president’s State Legislators for Health Reform. Coleman also served as CEO of Apartments for America, Inc., a non-profit affordable housing corporation.

Coleman served on the House Select Committee for Mental Health and the Public Health Committee as a senior ranking member, in addition to chairing the County Affairs Committee. He also served on the board of numerous charitable organizations including the South Central Young Mens’ Christian Association, the Ensemble Theater, the Third Ward Redevelopment Council, and the Houston Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council.
Coleman was honored with the 2005 Reintegration Award from Eli Lilly and Company for his support of public health programs.

Garnet Coleman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 2, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.139

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/2/2016

Last Name

Coleman

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

St. Stephen's Episcopal School

University of St. Thomas

River Oaks Elementary School

St. Anne Catholic School

Bellaire High School

Strake Jesuit College Preparatory

Howard University School of Business

Texas A&M University

Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University

First Name

Garnet

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

COL26

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York City

Favorite Quote

Thinking Is Underrated.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

9/8/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Milkshake

Short Description

State representative Garnet Coleman (1961 - ) was elected to serve Houston’s historic Third Ward in the Texas House of Representatives in 1991. He went on to serve as chair of the Legislative Study Group and County Affairs Committee, and on the Public Health Committee as well as the House Select Committee for Mental Health.

Employment

The State of Texas

Clinton-Gore Presidential Campaign

J.B.'s Entertainment Center

Frederick's Riverside Wine Bar

U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland

Small and Minority Business Resources Department

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Garnet Coleman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his relation to Sally Hemings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his maternal ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about the origin of his name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his maternal grandparents' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable talks about the historically black neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his father's medical training

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his father's education advocacy

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his father's political activism

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his parents' early relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about the Third Ward of Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his elementary school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about the history curriculum in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes the activism of the National Medical Association

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about the history of African Americans in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his early childhood influences

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers the onset of his bipolar disorder

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about the treatment of mental illness in the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers his early influences

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his early aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his courses at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his mentor at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers his godfather, Herbert O. Reid, Sr.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman describes his social activities at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers his decision to leave Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers entering the restaurant industry

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman recalls working for Congressman Mickey Leland

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers Frederick's Riverside Wine Bar in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers his airport concession business

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about his early political activities

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman recalls the death of Larry Evans

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers his first campaign for the Texas House of Representatives

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

12$5

DATitle
The Honorable Garnet Coleman remembers his first campaign for the Texas House of Representatives
The Honorable Garnet Coleman talks about the history of African Americans in Texas
Transcript
So Larry Evans dies all of a sudden, and he leaves this void [in the Texas House of Representatives], you know.$$(Nods head).$$So, now how did you get involved and run for the seat?$$Well, my cousin, Terry Whitfield [ph.], was working in the AG's [attorney general] office in Austin [Texas], a good friend of mine was doing work at Huston-Tillotson [Huston-Tillotson College; Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas], and I had moved up to Austin and I was just joking around a little bit. I'd gone to dinner, my other cousin, Annette Bracey, came up, and we were all having dinner and I was talking about politics and they say, "Well, shoot, you ought to run." And I was like, hm? "Yeah, yeah, you like this stuff, you ought to run." So my cousin Terry, my good friend, Anthony Haley [ph.], we all sat down at the table and went through stuff and I decided to run from Austin, I was living in Austin. And, so I called my father [John B. Coleman], I called everybody else first, then I called my father because I was expecting him to say, "No, you shouldn't," and he didn't but, again, you know, that wasn't the first person I was going to call. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it. It didn't matter whether people were involved or not.$$But your dad had been a delegate of the Democratic Party, right, in '88 [1988] and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, he was--well, he was a--no, my father was a giver of money. He was never a delegate.$$Okay. So were you a delegate in '88 [1988]?$$I was a delegate.$$All right, so, all right. 'Cause I've got--this--my outline's confusing me a little bit.$$Okay, I--$$But you were a delegate in '88 [1988], all right. I thought they were talking about your--$$I went to the convention in '88 [1988 Democratic National Convention, Atlanta, Georgia]--$$Okay.$$--as a guest of the--$$Right.$$--Democratic Party chair here in Texas.$$Okay. And that's the convention where they nominated Michael Dukakis right?$$That's correct.$$And Lloyd Bentsen as vice president from Texas.$$That's right.$$Yeah.$$That's right.$$Okay, all right.$$And, so in '92 [1992]--I've been to every convention since '92 [1992 Democratic National Convention, New York, New York]--$$Okay.$$--as a delegate, not--I'm actually a member of the DNC [Democratic National Committee].$$Okay. But you were there in '88 [1988] as just an observer?$$Observer.$$Okay.$$And I used to go to the state conventions, if they were in Houston [Texas], as an observer so--$$Okay.$$Just go, I mean, you know, but it's because you like it. You don't go to stuff you don't like.$$But you had to run--this is 1991 when you run for the vacated seat. You run aga- you have to run against Reverend Jew Don Boney [J. Don Boney, Jr.].$$Yeah, Jew Don Boney.$$And (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) John Chase's [HistoryMaker John S. Chase] daughter, Saundria Chase [Saundria Chase Gray]. There were eleven people in the, in the race--$$Okay.$$--but the advantage of it is, it couldn't, couldn't go past sixty days. So thirty days to the special election and then thirty days to the runoff.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$All right (laughter).$$So it was, it was interesting. It was actually--I tell people all the time, there are two parts of being an elected official. One part, everybody has to do and that's run for office but that journey in itself is very valuable, win or lose, 'cause you actually get to know yourself better. I learned more about my grand- my daddy's daddy [William Coleman, Sr.] running for office, knocking on doors in Third Ward [Houston, Texas] than I ever knew. This one guy said, "Oh, oh, you Mr. Coleman's son--grandson." He said, "Yeah, I knew your grandmamma [Clara Hubbard Coleman] and I knew your granddaddy and your daddy," and he said, "Yeah, your grandfather looked like a white man" (laughter), and I just thought, well I didn't know that, maybe look like--you know, so it was just interesting to hear about my, particularly my grandparents from the people who lived in Third Ward at the same time they did.$The kind of history you were taught in school was probably, I'm guessing, was the Alamo and things like that? Like--$$Yeah, there was a lot of that.$$--like the John Wayne, Fess Parker type of history where there--$$A lot of, a lot of what we would call stereotypical Texas that identifies Texas and a lot of it was Central Texas that be--which, whichever people, you know, people, the lore is around Central Texas, not around the cane fields [sugarcane] and Brazoria County [Texas] or Brazos County [Texas], not around the cotton--cotton was talked about a lot but not who was picking it.$$Right.$$So, that's why, you know, we look at populations of black people, they're all along whatever that agricultural base was. That's why a bunch of black people in north Texas and Lubbock [Texas] and, you know, in the plains, well, how did they get up there? Well, they were picking the cotton (laughter), you know, so the same is cutting the cane and they still cut cane in, you know, and it's--it was very much that, if you think about it, that commodity, those commodities that slaves picked.$$Did you have a balance of that kind of discussion when you were growing up around--$$Yes. I caught myself, you know, I'm the same age as Barack Obama [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama], you know, which is a big deal to me. The idea of understanding what it was like by story to be in segregation. My father-in-law used to always talk about when he would drive, we as a family, we would drive back to Houston [Texas] and he said he had to get to a black city with a black hotel 'cause you couldn't stay in a white hotel. And, so I, you know, these are stories that I grew up with and that basically it was about change. There was a fear in not, in driving at night and also not being in a town where you could get a hotel and that fear continues with a lot of people to today but, so that told me there was something different, I mean, you know, I--and that kind of--those stories stayed with me, you know, stay with me now because, you know, you grow up knowing to make sure that you don't, you have either your hands on the wheel or don't go for your glove compartment, you know, we hear this all the time but it's true. And, you know, even though I lived in a black world, for the most part, except for some of my schools, I thought that that was kind of, you know, it wasn't different but we had our own intact community that was a good, good community, although it was--came from segregation, just like the NMA, the National Medical Association instead of the American Medical Association. There was some, I saw all this as, you know, with the split was in the country, and it was a split by race.

The Honorable Doris Bunte

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2016.105

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/19/2016

Last Name

Bunte

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Food Trades Vocational High School

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Boston University Metropolitan College

University of Massachusetts Boston

First Name

Doris

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BUN05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

7/2/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

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

Employment

Massachusetts State Government

Boston Housing Authority

Northeastern University

Knowledge is Power Training Program

Favorite Color

Orange

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$7

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

Johnny Shaw

Radio station owner and state representative Johnny W. Shaw was born on January 5, 1942 in Laconia, Tennessee. He attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, where he received a degree in theology.

In the 1960s, Shaw was the spokesman of a local gospel group’s Sunday morning radio program on WBOL-AM in Bolivar, Tennessee, where he was also the first African American staff announcer. He was later promoted to program director and assistant manager, and then as general manager of WBOL. In addition to his work at WBOL, Shaw served as a minister at Saint John Missionary Baptist Church in Stanton, Tennessee. He also sang with the musical group, the Shaw Singers, and worked as a psychologist.

In 1987, Shaw and his wife, Opal, founded the Shaw Broadcasting Company, LLC, where he served as chief executive officer. That same year, Shaw Broadcasting Company purchased WBOL. In the early 1990’s, Shaw acquired the license permit to construct a 6000 watt FM station in Bolivar, which was then built and began broadcasting in 1992 as WOJG-FM.

In 1997, Shaw was appointed as a co-commissioner of Hardeman County in Tennessee, where he served for one-and-a-half terms. In 2000, he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing District 80, where he became the first African American to serve in the state legislature in rural west Tennessee since reconstruction. Shaw won re-election in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. While in public office, he served as house member of the 102nd through 108th General Assemblies; member of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee; member of the House State Government Committee and Subcommittee; member of the Joint Pensions and Insurance Committee; and chair of the Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus.

Shaw is a lifetime member of the NAACP, and has served as a board member of the National Civil Rights Museum. He also served as board chair of the Western Mental Health Institute, and was a member of the West Tennessee River Basin Authority Board. In 2012, Shaw received the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters (TAB) Distinguished Service Award.

Shaw and his wife have six children. They reside in Bolivar, Tennessee.

Johnny Shaw was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 23, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.060

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/23/2014

Last Name

Shaw

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Wilson

Schools

Love Elementary

Fayette Ware Comprehensive High School

Allen White High School

American Baptist Theological Seminary

First Name

Johnny

Birth City, State, Country

Laconia

HM ID

SHA07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

State of Tennessee

Favorite Quote

God Cannot Get You Through It 'Til He Gets You To It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

1/5/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bolivar

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Radio station owner and state representative Johnny Shaw (1942 - ) was the cofounder and CEO of Shaw Broadcasting Company, LLC, and owner of the WBOL and WOJG radio stations in Bolivar, Tennessee. He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2000.

Employment

WBOL-AM

Saint John Missionary Baptist Church

Shaw Broadcasting Company, LLC

Hardeman County, Tennessee

Tennessee House of Representatives

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Johnny Shaw's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw talks about his mother's education and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw describes how his parents met and married

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

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw talks about the sharecropper system

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw talks about Tent City in Fayette County, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Johnny Shaw talks lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw recalls the entertainment of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw remembers the influence of WLAC Radio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw recalls his high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw remembers his father's voting rights activism

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw describes his senior year at the Allen-White School in Whiteville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw recalls his aspirations after high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw describes his position at Whiteville Auto Parts and Hardware in Whiteville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw remembers Memphis State University in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw talks about his employment during the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw recalls being hired as a deejay at WBOL Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw describes the format of his radio show

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw talks about The Shaw Singers

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw remembers The Shaw Singers' hit singles

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw describes his call to the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw remembers founding Shaw's Broadcasting, LCC

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Johnny Shaw describes the gospel format of WBOL Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Johnny Shaw talks about the challenges of radio station ownership

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw talks about radio station ratings and wattages

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw recalls the programming at WBOL Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw remembers purchasing WOJG Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw talks about WOJG Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw talks about the gospel programming on WOJG Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw talks about his competitor, Clear Channel Communications, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw recalls his appointment as commissioner of Hardeman County, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw recalls his election to the Tennessee House of Representatives

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw recalls the opposition to his campaign for the Tennessee House of Representatives

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw describes his challenges as a state representative

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Johnny Shaw recalls renovating the Western Mental Health Institute in Bolivar, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw recalls Stacey Campfield's campaign to join the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw remembers Barack Obama's presidential campaign announcement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw remembers Opal's Family Restaurant in Bolivar, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw recalls his retirement from Shaw's Broadcasting, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw talks about his role in the Tennessee House of Representatives

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw talks about per diem limits for legislators

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Johnny Shaw talks about partisanship in the Tennessee House of Representatives

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Johnny Shaw talks about the future of the Tennessee House of Representatives

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Johnny Shaw shares his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Johnny Shaw reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Johnny Shaw describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Johnny Shaw describes his political advice to his congregation

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Johnny Shaw talks about reconciling his religious and political beliefs

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Johnny Shaw talks about the separation of church and state

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Johnny Shaw talks about the role of religion in government

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Johnny Shaw reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Johnny Shaw talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Johnny Shaw describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Johnny Shaw narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$8

DATitle
Johnny Shaw recalls being hired as a deejay at WBOL Radio in Bolivar, Tennessee
Johnny Shaw recalls his election to the Tennessee House of Representatives
Transcript
But in the meantime, I had gotten a part time job working at the radio station, only on weekends.$$Now, now tell us how this, this job came about.$$The radio?$$And this is W- is this WBOL [WBOL Radio]?$$WBOL. Well, actually (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) In Bolivar [Tennessee], right?$$That's WBOL in Bolivar. I got hired when I first started--I didn't know this until later. I was hired because I was an African American, and FCC [Federal Communications Commission] had put pressure on southern radio stations and say that, "You got to have at least one black on your staff." So I got hired part time, became the local deejay; actually became, I guess, very popular in the community because I mean at that point in time, if you worked in radio, it was big thing; I mean people actually waited outside to get your autograph and, and whatever else. I mean (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So this is 19--what?$$This--we are now in the upper '60s [1960s]; we somewhere about '68 [1968], '69 [1969], somewhere about. And so I'm working on there weekends but because it became such--the show became so popular they said, "We got to put you on every day."$$Now this a trajectory of--you were telling me before we got started, you said that your gospel group [The Shaw Singers] was on the radio, right? (Simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, this was--$$--and the station manager heard you?$$No, this--right, we--what we were doing were, we would--I had this group--we're the little community group, we were singing, so station manager hears our group; I'm doing the announcing for the group, "We're gonna be at Brown's Chapel [Brown's Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Jackson, Tennessee] this Sunday evening at two o'clock, come and hear us sing." We had a couple of sponsors and do the sponsorship and that type thing. "Johnson Mays Appliance Company [ph.], you need your appliances fixed, go by Johnson Mays," you know. "Washing machine, dryers, et cetera," so forth; that type thing; Modeling Rivers Funeral Home [ph.] burial policies, all of that. So the station manager hear me making these announcements and decide that I'll make a deejay so he calls me and he hires me and I get ten minutes of training.$$So now what was his name?$$Ralph Clenney.$$Okay.$$Ralph Clenney in Parsons, Tennessee--lives there now; owns a radio station [WKJQ Radio] in Parsons now.$$How do you spell his last name?$$Ralph Clenney. You know I--I think he spells it with a K; he does. K-L-I-N-N-I-N-G [sic.], something like that, Ralph Clenney. But anyway, I got hired, so now I'm working on a radio station and I'm a local deejay every evening from three [o'clock] until whatever time the sun go down because this is a daytime station. I didn't get a chance to play the recorded commercials; everybody wanted me to adlib their commercials because I was ringing the cash registers. "If Johnny said it--," and I mean--and, and, and people in the community was going in saying, "I heard Johnny say, come by and get this and get that." And people were loving that, so I was doing all of my commercials live. Everybody else had recorded commercials but me.$$Can you do one for us the way you do one in those days?$$(Laughter) Gosh, I don't know. I'm trying to think what--you know, something like, "The Shirt Shack [ph.] at downtown Bolivar; get 10 percent off this afternoon. Go by and tell Vance [ph.], [HistoryMaker] Johnny Shaw sent you; they've got hot styles," or blah, blah, blah, you know--I don't know, I can't do that anymore, but (laughter) that kind of stuff (laughter). And that's how I started in radio, and that's when I was gonna share with you--I decided that I wanted to do production and I knew I had to be good; I knew I had to be real good with it, so I grabbed this Maxwell's Big Star [Bolivar, Tennessee] commercial and I go in the production room and I record it. I never heard it on the air; never heard it, so I asked the station manager. By now, my station manager is a different guy; it's not Ralph Clenney, it's a different guy. And I said, "I did the Maxwell's Big Star commercial and I never heard it; what happened to it?" He said, "Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you they don't want blacks' voice on their commercial." And I said to him, I said, "Well in that case, someday I'll just own their radio station." Kind of just said it as a response, went on, and it was years later that he walked in and said to me, "You said you wanted to own a radio station; we got one for sale, you wanna buy it?" And I said, "Sure."$$Now let's--I'm gonna breeze past all this time, but you were on the air for how many years?$$I was on the air, gosh, for twenty something years there, before I bought.$$Okay, this is 19--$$Yeah.$$--so this would be 1968 until--$$All the way up until--$$--eighty-eight [1988] or so?$$Yeah, somewhere about '88 [1988].$$Okay.$$Yeah, um-hm, you, you, you're right; you're exactly right.$Election to, to the House--now you, this is a campaign. Now you, you have to run, actually, for--$$For the House of Representatives [Tennessee House of Representatives]?$$Yeah, yeah (unclear).$$Well, that came about by a lawsuit that was filed by some concerned citizens, and I don't wanna get into name calling 'cause I'd leave somebody out and they'd be mad at me. But there was a lawsuit filed that there was not enough representation for the rural, especially African American, community in West Tennessee. They won the lawsuit; I'm sitting at my radio station one day, I get a call, and this lady says to me, "Whoopee, we won the lawsuit." And I said, "What lawsuit?" She told me, she said, "And by the way, we know we don't have to, but we would really like to name our candidate to run for that seat, and we think you would be the perfect person." And her name was Mrs. Minnie Bowmer [ph.], and I say, "Miss Minnie, I don't have no idea what a state representative does; I have no money to run for state representative, et cetera, et cetera." She said, "It's nothing to it, it's part time; you can do it." Said, "Besides, we got your back far as funding--financing you; we got your back." Said, "Just tell us you'll run." I said, "I need to do three things; I need to get permission from God, from my family, and from my church [St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Stanton, Tennessee]." I told my family about it, they were so excited they wanted to throw a party. I knew when I got to church and told my church about it they were gonna say, "Whoa, no," 'cause I presented it this way; I say, "Now look, I'm gonna be gone a lot, okay? And there'll be times when you'll need me, I'll be in Nashville [Tennessee], and I just want to be honest with you. I'd love to do this, but if you don't want me to do it, I won't." And the very person that I thought would be against it stood up and say, "Pastor, if you go and represent us and do this, we will make sure that the church ministry is carried on." Well, that was my answer from God, from my family, and from them. So that's where it all started. And I ran in 2000--1999, actually, was when I ran and won that November, and January--well actually, in November of 1999 I was officially elected as state representative for the eightieth district [Tennessee House of Representatives District 80]; and that's been fourteen years ago and, and here I am.

The Honorable Sylvester Turner

State representative and lawyer Sylvester Turner was born on September 27, 1954 in Acres Homes, Texas. His mother was a maid at the Rice Hotel and his father, a commercial painter. Turner was raised with eight brothers and sisters. In 1973, he graduated as the valedictorian of Klein High School. Four years later, Turner received his B.A. degree in political science from the University of Houston, after which he attended Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D. degree in 1980.

Turner was hired at the Houston-based law firm Fulbright & Jaworski. After three years, Turner left and formed his own law firm with partner Barry M. Barnes. Barnes & Turner specialize in corporate and commercial law. In 1984, Turner ran for a Harris County Commissioner seat, but he lost to El Franco Lee. In 1988, he won the seat in the Texas House of Representatives for District 139, a mostly minority district. Turner also taught at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, the South Texas College of Law, and at the University of Houston Law School’s continuing legal education program. He also ran for the mayor of Houston twice, once in 1991 where he lost in a hotly contested race, and again in 2003, where he lost to Bill White. In 2003, Turner became the Speaker Pro Tempore in the Texas House of Representatives, a post he held until 2009. His major legislative accomplishment, HB 109, expanded access to the children’s health insurance program and was passed in 2007.

Turner sits on the State Affairs committee and is the Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee. He is also on the Subcommittee on the Current Fiscal Condition. He is a member of Brookhollow Baptist Church and has one daughter, Ashley Paige Turner.

Sylvester Turner was interviewed by The HistoryMakers<\em> on August 15, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.156

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/15/2012

Last Name

Turner

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

Harvard Law School

University of Houston

Klein Forest High School

Garden City Elementary and Junior High School

Klein Intermediate School

First Name

Sylvester

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

TUR07

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All Things Through Christ That Strengthens Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

9/27/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti, Ox Tails

Short Description

Mayor, state representative, and lawyer The Honorable Sylvester Turner (1954 - ) represented district 139 in the Texas House of Representatives from 1988 to 2016, when he became the mayor of Houston, Texas. He also founded the law firm of Barnes and Turner LLP.

Employment

Texas House of Representatives

Barnes & Turner

University of Houston

South Texas College of Law

Texas Southern University

Fulbright & Jaworski

City of Houston, Texas

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:380,8:1604,36:7724,163:8156,170:10316,223:18750,252:22422,313:26358,341:27285,351:50377,577:57466,610:77669,792:78024,798:78734,811:79799,830:80083,835:92624,969:94016,988:106892,1136:140006,1522:141014,1533:144934,1619:167844,1904:173690,1994:180690,2087:181880,2120:191646,2255:208620,2463:208990,2469:213334,2656:219318,2808:259770,3011:266990,3079:281530,3243:285824,3263:286164,3269:292840,3443:299198,3492:302405,3528:304170,3536:304548,3549:304764,3554:305142,3563:308916,3627:313108,3672:313888,3683:317554,3751:325020,3807:325460,3812:366638,4401:367070,4416:370785,4464:371050,4470:371262,4475:372240,4499$0,0:27348,354:28086,361:28988,373:33062,403:35174,434:39650,465:53194,619:54118,632:54454,637:72446,774:91845,962:94811,990:97624,1076:123530,1376:123850,1381:129690,1507:141350,1624:142946,1649:165488,1935:186730,2255:204944,2400:212130,2475:212410,2481:212802,2490:233200,2640
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Sylvester Turner's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers working with his dad

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his roots in Chappell Hill, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers the Acres Homes community in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his experiences of school integration in Houston, Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his experiences of school integration in Houston, Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about African American political representation in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes the African American community in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers the Bethel Baptist Church in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls his influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers being bused to an all-white school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes his experiences of school integration

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his early ambitions

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes the demographics of Klein High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls his influences at the Bethel Baptist Church in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his community in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers his valedictorian speech

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers his father's death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls his decision to attend the University of Houston in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls his early aspiration to become a lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his decision to attend the Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers his friendships with Leroy Hassell

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his social life at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers Derrick A. Bell, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about the faculty of the Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers his club football team at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls hearing a female preacher for the first time

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls his internship at Fulbright and Jaworski LLP in Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes a memorable legal case

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers founding Barnes and Turner LLP

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers losing his first political campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers his campaign for the Texas House of Representatives

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls his election to the Texas House of Representatives

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his interest in healthcare reform

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls arguing a civil suit against the Phillips Petroleum Company

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers his first campaign for the mayoralty of Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about the aftermath of the 1991 mayoral election in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers Lee P. Brown

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about politics in Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about political redistricting in Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes his legislative achievements

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers his second campaign for the mayoralty of Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers the passage of Texas House Bill 109

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner remembers meeting President Barack Obama

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his work in the Acres Homes section of Houston, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

2$8

DATitle
The Honorable Sylvester Turner describes a memorable legal case
The Honorable Sylvester Turner recalls arguing a civil suit against the Phillips Petroleum Company
Transcript
Now, is there a memorable case from that period of time that you can tell us about?$$I guess it's, it's one in particular. The plaintiff was a guy by the name of Willie Harris [ph.]. I guess it is memorable since I still remember it, and that's been years ago. But, anyway, Willie was an entrepreneur, African American, and he was in his company's truck, and he was coming over the Ship, Ship Channel Bridge [Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge, Houston, Texas]. And this 18-wheeler hit him, and he was seriously injured, and he sued the 18-wheeler. I represented the company. And, and I made him an offer through his attorney, and he did not, he did not accept the offer to settle. It end up--it went to trial. I made him another offer, and his attorney did not accept it. And, quite frankly, you know, I had, I had much more to give, okay. And, but, and so, we went to trial. During the trial, I made him another offer, attorney didn't accept it. And then, the attorney came to me during the trial, and asked me, was the offer still on the table? And I said, "Well, if you accept it now." Now, mind you, I had a lot more to give. And in many ways, I said to myself, the attorney is crazy as hell (unclear) to be accepting--I mean, I represent my client, so if, you know, and so, I say, "Yeah, if you, if you accept it now, it's on the table." This is during the course of trial. And he went over and talked to Willie, and I could, and I could kind of hear and see the exchange, where Willie was not liking the offer. And his attorney kept talking to him, kept talking to him, kept talking. And Willie finally relented and said, "Okay." And the attorney came to me and said, "We'll accept." And in my mind, I was saying, "You're crazy as hell but, okay, no problem." So, when he stood before the judge to announce that the case had settled, and the judge said, "All parties in agreement?" I said, you know, "It's the best terms for the defendant, judge, yes, I'm in agreement." Asked the other attorney, the attorney said, "Yes." And the judge asked Willie Harris. "Mr. Harris, are you in agreement with the settlement?" And he kind of said, "Oh, well," and said, "You should, well, you don't have to--are you in agreement with it?" And attorney, his attorney looked at him, and he finally said, "Yeah, yeah." And she said, "Okay, all parties in agreement. This case is dismissed." It's over. So, I was packing up, and Willie comes over to me. And he said, "Mr.," he said, "Mr. Turner [HistoryMaker Sylvester Turner], you know, I'm hurt, you know, I'm hurt, and this does not cover me for my injuries," and stuff like that. And I said, I said, "Mr. Harris, I'm not your attorney. I represent, I represent my client, and I did my job." And he said, "But, brother, you know, I'm--," he said, "Brother, you know, I'm hurt." I said, "Mr. Harris, I'm not your attorney. I represent my client. I did my job." And, and my client and I got up, and we walked out. That one, that one stands out because it's one of those deals that, yeah, you know, he had a poor lawyer. Had a poor lawyer, but it's not a case where I can be the lawyer for my client, and be the lawyer for his client as well. Okay. Now, subsequently, a few years later, I'm no longer at Fulbright [Fulbright and Jaworski LLP], and now I'm in my own shop [Barnes and Turner LLP; Barry Barnes and Associates PLLC, Houston, Texas]. Willie comes to me, and became my client, you know, but that one stands out. And, and, and because it's nothing like having a good lawyer. It's nothing like having somebody that's going to advocate for you, and fight for you, and get everything that's on the--that's potentially is on the table for you. Nothing like having a good lawyer. And in his case, his lawyer fell short, and he paid the price.$$I heard such cases before when cold--cold aspects of law sometimes, you know, the people don't know. They--$$You know--$$--don't give, give a thing (unclear).$$Right, but you can't be, you know, the way the system is designed, you know, I can't be the lawyer for my client, and be the lawyer for you at the same time. And my job is, as a lawyer is to represent my client, and represent my client zealously, and do the best I can, so but it points out the importance of having quality representation, and not only quality representation, you've got to have people who are willing to advocate for you.$$Okay.$$And if you don't have that, you'll fall short.$Now, in 1989, you sued Phillips Petroleum [Phillips Petroleum Company; Phillips 66]. That's when the big Phillips plant explosion--$$Um-hm.$$--okay, that's the Phillips plant explosion case. Tell us about that.$$(Cough) I represented Janet Little. She was an employee at Phillips Petroleum. Interesting story on how we met--I was speaking at a, at a church association banquet in--I want to say, in Sealy, Texas. And she and her parents were in the audience. Later, goes the Phillips Petroleum explos- explosion. And her mom calls me here at the firm and says--she introduced herself, Ms. Foy, and she says, "My daughter has been seriously burnt. And there are a lot of lawyers that are around here at (unclear). But she asked me to call you because she wanted, she wanted the lawyer that spoke at the banquet, and that was you." And then, we--I met with them and signed on, and represented her, and I had a very favorable outcome. She's been a client with this firm ever since. From the proceeds, her father [Charles H. Foy] was a pastor in Dickinson, Texas. And from part of the proceeds, she, she built, she constructed a new church in Dickinson [Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church] and paid for it herself, which is one of the, one of the largest churches now in Dickinson, Texas. You know, it was, it was, it just started the ball, the ball just--things just started changing in the, in the life of the firm.$$So, the plant was caused by some negligence of Phillips?$$Yeah, they were, they were negligent and then caused the explosion. And I represent Anna Brooks [ph.] and her, and a couple of other people. Ironically, the people that were defending, the lawyers that were defending Phillips came from Fulbright and Jaworski [Fulbright and Jaworski LLP]. And one of, and one of my mentors, Blake Tartt, was the lead attorney.$$That's, that's interesting.$$Yeah. And we were in, we were in a conference room which it was a settlement meeting. And we were talking and, you know, and Blake says, "Sylvester [HistoryMaker Sylvester Turner], are we going to get this case settled?" And I said, "I hope so, Mr. Tartt." He would call me Sylvester and I called him Mr. Tartt 'cause I'd looked up to him. And then, he asked me, how much was I asking for. And I, I wrote him a note on a sheet, on a sheet of paper, and I forwarded it to him. And he crossed it out, and sent a note back and, and I told him, I said, "If I accepted this, you would, you would lose all respect for me, and I would not be the, the student that you had taught well." So, I crossed it out, and sent him another note. And he said, "Done."

The Honorable Les Brown

Motivational speaker Les Brown was born Leslie Calvin Brown on February 17, 1945, in Miami, Florida. After giving birth to Brown and his twin brother, Wes, on the floor of an abandoned building, Brown’s biological mother gave her sons up for adoption when they were six weeks old to Mrs. Mamie Brown. When he was in fifth grade, Brown was forced back a grade by the school’s principal after being disruptive in class. Brown’s demotion subsequently led him to being placed in special education classes and labeled as mentally retarded. As an adolescent, Brown attended Booker T. Washington High School where he was influenced by a speech and drama instructor who encouraged him to pursue a career in radio broadcasting.

After graduating from high school and briefly working for the Department of Sanitation, Brown worked as an errand boy for a Miami Beach radio station. At the station, Brown observed the disc jockeys with hopes of one day becoming an on-air personality. His break came when one of the disc jockeys became inebriated. Brown stood in for him and then was hired as a disc jockey. In the late 1960s, Brown moved to Columbus, Ohio, to work for WVKO Radio, where he became active in the community. Brown’s political activism in Columbus won him a seat with the 29th House District of the Ohio State Legislature. In his first year, Brown passed more legislature than any other freshman representative in Ohio State legislative history. In his third term, Brown served as chair of the Human Resources Committee.

In 1981, Brown left the Ohio State House of Representatives to care for his ailing mother back in Florida. While in Miami, he continued to focus on social issues by developing a youth center training program. In 1986, Brown entered the public speaking arena on a full time basis and formed Les Brown Enterprises, Inc. In 1989, Brown received the National Speakers Association’s highest award, the Council of Peers Award of Excellence (CPAE). In 1990, Brown recorded the Emmy Award-winning series of speeches entitled You Deserve, which became the lead fundraising program of its kind for pledges to PBS stations nationwide. In 1991, Toastmasters International selected Brown as one of the world’s best speakers and awarded him the Golden Gavel Award.

Brown ranks amongst the nation’s leading authorities in understanding and stimulating human potential; he is a featured guest on many radio broadcasting stations and is often hired by professional corporations to teach and inspire new levels of achievement.

Accession Number

A2007.292

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/17/2007

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Frederick R. Douglass Elementary

First Name

Leslie "Les"

Birth City, State, Country

Miami

HM ID

BRO49

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

George Fraser

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

Stand Up For What You Believe In Because You Can Fall For Anything.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/17/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Sweet Potato)

Short Description

State representative The Honorable Les Brown (1945 - ) formed Les Brown Enterprises, Inc. in 1986. In the late 1960s through the 1970s, Brown served as an Ohio state representative. As a motivational speaker, he was a featured guest on many radio broadcasting stations and in corporate venues.

Employment

WMBM radio

WVKO radio

Ohio State House of Representative

WEDR radio

Les Brown Enterprises

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6030,125:6930,136:7920,194:20790,394:22950,422:25020,446:26280,462:35740,514:39819,544:41728,579:43720,625:44218,632:44882,643:45214,648:46542,677:46957,683:49032,719:49364,724:53026,743:53602,752:55330,792:56770,823:57058,828:57490,842:58714,867:59074,873:59506,880:60298,893:60586,898:61090,907:65870,949:66554,960:68986,1010:69518,1018:70810,1045:73394,1089:74078,1100:74382,1105:74686,1139:78486,1216:79246,1238:80006,1248:82818,1288:83426,1299:83882,1307:84186,1312:84490,1317:84794,1322:85098,1327:86086,1345:87302,1368:87758,1375:88518,1397:89734,1425:96950,1431:97440,1439:101570,1535:103250,1572:106330,1650:106610,1655:106890,1660:107450,1670:107870,1678:108850,1686:109480,1697:109970,1706:110950,1727:115920,1847:126862,1966:127972,1986:131080,2052:132560,2091:135816,2165:136556,2182:140320,2190:141013,2209:143924,2229:144536,2240:145556,2259:145964,2266:146644,2279:146916,2284:147324,2291:149588,2314:154484,2385:156116,2403:156788,2411:164564,2517:164852,2548:165572,2561:172040,2642$0,0:5460,155:5700,160:8700,233:8940,238:9360,246:9840,256:13440,330:13980,342:14880,363:15120,368:15480,373:16620,409:18780,459:19020,464:20340,507:20760,515:21360,527:21840,536:22080,541:22320,546:22680,559:23040,567:23640,579:31396,656:31837,665:33034,694:33601,706:34672,725:35995,757:36373,764:36877,773:37318,783:37822,792:38326,802:38956,813:39460,828:39712,833:42358,901:42610,906:44185,950:45886,980:46138,985:46831,1000:54250,1043:56150,1078:58450,1148:59150,1156:69050,1293:70250,1323:71050,1332:74605,1413:74985,1418:75460,1424:80140,1512:80844,1521:81724,1539:96810,1806:98650,1836:99290,1845:107518,1978:113434,2070:115238,2098:118471,2129:122658,2221:133718,2504:138616,2698:140038,2723:140670,2732:141460,2806:151168,2898:156412,3055:157856,3074:159832,3134:160136,3149:172072,3393:183710,3568:184438,3577:184984,3584:185712,3670:187441,3686:192355,3755:201923,3914:207512,4021:210347,4075:216662,4105:217880,4125:218750,4137:221186,4182:222143,4194:224610,4203
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Les Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Les Brown lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his adoption

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about his learning disability

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about his adopted sister, Margaret Ann Sampson

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers his mother's arrest

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers his godmother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his early influences

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Les Brown describes the Overtown neighborhood in Miami, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Les Brown describes the sights of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his introduction to motivational speaking

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - The Honorable Les Brown describes the smells and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his early aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - The Honorable Les Brown lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers Douglas Elementary School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his early mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Les Brown describes segregation in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his brief involvement in football

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his start as a radio disk jockey

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers working for WMBM Radio in Miami Beach, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls transitioning to WVKO Radio in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his start at WVKO Radio

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Les Brown describes the qualities of a successful disk jockey

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Les Brown describes the African American radio community

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls the conservative attitudes in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his early community organizing

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about police brutality

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his termination from WVKO Radio in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers becoming the program director of WVKO Radio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls running for the Ohio General Assembly

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers C.J. McLin

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers retiring from the Ohio General Assembly

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls studying the oratory of Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers lessons from his time as a state legislator

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls building alliances as a state legislator

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about political campaigning in the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about political campaigning in the white community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers protesting against police brutality

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls founding the Les Brown Youth Enrichment Seminar, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls founding the Les Brown Youth Enrichment Seminar, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls joining WEDR radio in Miami, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls the Liberty City uprisings in Miami, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls being targeted by the state attorney general

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about the Les Brown Youth Enrichment Seminar

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers the mentorship of Mike Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Les Brown describes the influence of Mike Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls the encouragement of Horace Perkins

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about his relationship with Mike Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Les Brown describes the black community in Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Les Brown describes Miami's African American political leadership

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers his program for African American and Haitian children

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls working with Clarence King in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his decision to become a motivational speaker

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls training as a motivational speaker

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about his honors and awards

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Les Brown talks about his success as a motivational speaker

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his oratorical strategies

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Les Brown remembers funding his early speaking career

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls opening an office in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Les Brown describes the motivational speaking industry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his speech writing technique

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his experiences of discrimination as a motivational speaker

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Les Brown describes his advantages as a motivational speaker

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Les Brown recalls his appearances on PBS

DASession

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The Honorable Les Brown talks about police brutality
The Honorable Les Brown recalls founding the Les Brown Youth Enrichment Seminar, pt. 2
Transcript
But Les [HistoryMaker Les Brown], let's talk about that, that period a little bit more and the reason I wanna do it, I wanna understand what is sort of happening with you--$$Um-hm.$$--as you're sort of growing and maturing--$$Um-hm.$$--and then I wanna understand also the context of--$$Yes.$$--what Columbus [Ohio] was like you know besides Woody Hayes. So what is the black community like? What is the white community like? You know besides just umbrage of this conservative town?$$Police brutality was very, very flagrant and very bold. They did not hide it then. I mean people could stand around and they would beat people publicly. That infuriated me. So I was the first person to do editorials on that and held demonstrations and demanded that the cops be fired. Brought enough pressure to get them fired and then they would go before a review board of other police officers and they would be reinstated. But we, we knew that we were fighting a losing battle but we said we need to fight anyhow because this is the Gestapo of our community. And they knew how to intimidate people and they knew they had carte blanche. All they had to say as they do today, I thought he had a gun and they would kill people. And that so, that was, that was a very tough issue and even to this day I have to walk away from some things that I see because it number one, people feel powerless in the face of it which I think is crazy because nobody is invincible although they're very powerful, they're the only licensed assassins in our community, but it's a very difficult situation because you need them to protect you from criminals and then at the same time there are many of them 35 percent of them are mentally ill and are criminals themselves with a badge and a gun you know. Look at the newspaper coming through the airport. Young guy was arrested for nothing and a cop struck--I mean stuck a screwdriver up his rectum. I mean that's that's sick and that's just the tip of the iceberg. What has happened--so that's that's been one area of my life I had to shut down. I've seen it most of my life. I have a strong passion about it and perhaps one of the reasons that I'm leaving Chicago [Illinois] because of the, the feeling of powerlessness that people have for the past twenty years police have used cattle prods on the gums, the lips, the penis and testicles of African American males to extract confessions and for crimes they did not commit. It was proven by a panel and they sat on the findings of that panel until the policemen could not be prosecuted and the city could not be sued and the statute of limitations ran out.$And then I put my name on the, on the register and they called, the Les Brown Youth Enrichment Seminar. "Members of the committee thank you very much for this opportunity to speak to you today." I said, "As you can see here I have five hundred sheets of paper and it would not be cost effective to duplicate this and give it to each of you because you wouldn't have time read it anyhow. So let me tell you about the Les Brown Youth Enrichment Seminar. We have gathered here as I have listened to you to provide funding for programs that will help kids to make it through the summer. The Les Brown Youth Enrichment Seminar is designed to give kids the tools to make it, not only during the summer, but during life. So I believe that we can have Little League football teams and baseball teams and basketball teams. We can also have little league dermatologists and cardiologists and that's what this program is designed to do. To let our kids know they're molding now what they will be in the future." So they said, "Whoa." No one had ever come up there and they talked about it from that perspective. They said, "Well, how much will your program costs?" I didn't know. I played bid whist and I'm very good and we always say come high or stay home. All the other programs like one hundred thousand, two hundred thousand dollars, so I said, "$350,000." And they said, "$350,000?" I said, "Yes." And they spoke among themselves. They said, "Mr. Brown [HistoryMaker Les Brown], what about a hundred thousand dollars? It's the first program?" I didn't speak immediately because I didn't want to speak in unknown tongues. I was excited. I said I can't believe this. So I paused. I said, "That'll be good to start it off." And they said, "Very good, go to the clerk and they will cut you a check tonight for thirty-five thousand dollars for startup. Mr. Brown?" "Yes." "Go to the clerk, he's to your left and they will cut you a check tonight for thirty-five thousand dollars as startup." I said, "Yes." I went over to the clerk. They asked for my name, my address, my social security number. I gave it to them and they gave me a check. And I'm saying oh my god. I became paranoid as I'm walking into the elevator. I thought that somebody was following me so I wouldn't get on the elevator with anybody for fear that somebody would rob me. And then when nobody was around, I got on the elevator, I went downstairs. My heart is beating real fast. I go to a payphone booth and called my sister. I said, "Margaret Ann [Margaret Ann Sampson], come get me quick." She said, "Why?" I said, "I'm at Dade County Auditorium [Miami Dade County Auditorium, Miami, Florida] and they gave me thirty-five thousand dollars." And she said, "For what?" I said, "For a youth program." She said, "You don't know anything about training youth." I said, "I know but we can go to the library tomorrow." (Laughter) And so my sister came by there. She said, "Where will you be?" I said, "I'll be in the payphone booth." She said, "Why?" I said, "I just feel like somebody's watching me." So she came by there and she said, "Leslie? Leslie?" And I was in this payphone booth. I had (unclear) the payphone booth and I, and I opened the door a little bit so the light would be on. She said, "Leslie?" I said, "I'm down here." She said, "Where are you?" I said, "Here." She said, "Look at you sweating. Why are you in there?" I said, "I don't know. I just felt like somebody was watching me." She said, "For what?" I said, "I got a thirty-five thousand dollar check." She said, "Why?" "To train to some youth." She said, "You are kidding." I said, "Yes." I said, "Could you take off from school tomorrow and go to the library with me and help me find a program so we can start?" She said, "Yes," so she took off the next day. We went to the library to find various programs that was existing across the country. We got the best ideas and put that program together and then I started doing that and I did a youth training in Miami, Florida and that was a new beginning in a special kind of way because the activist in me went down in Miami and became politically involved.

The Honorable Albert Edwards

State Representative, Hon. Albert Ely Edwards was born in Houston, Texas on March 19, 1937. Edwards is the sixth child out of the sixteen children born to Reverend E. L. Edwards, Sr. and Josephine Radford Edwards. He graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School and attended Texas Southern University, earning his B.A. degree in 1966.

At the age of forty-one, Edwards entered politics and was elected to the Texas State Legislature from Houston’s House District 146. His first major goal was to ensure the establishment of a holiday that recognized the emancipation of slavery. In 1979, legislation recognizing Juneteenth Day, initiated by Edwards, passed the Texas State Legislature and was signed into law. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is an annual holiday in fourteen states of the United States. Celebrated on June 19th, it commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas. While serving in the legislature, Edwards also founded his own real estate company.

Though deeply involved with local issues, Edwards remained active in many issues outside the Texas State Legislature. In 1983, Edwards was appointed as a member of the board of Operation PUSH. Edwards also served as the Texas State Director of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s two presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988. In 1986, Edwards also founded Operation Justus, a community faith-based organization that serves as a referral service for persons with social problems and concerns. Edwards was also arrested in Houston and went to jail for peacefully demonstrating against apartheid in South Africa in 1987. Edwards left the Texas legislature in 2007 after twenty-eight years of serving the people of District 146. As a veteran member of the Texas Legislature, Edwards served on three influential committees. He was the Chairman of the Rules and Resolutions Committee, Chairman of Budget and Oversight of the Ways and Means Committee and a member of the Appropriations Committee.

Albert Edwards was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 10, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.230

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/10/2007

Last Name

Edwards

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Phillis Wheatley High School

Texas Southern University

Tuskegee University

E.O. Smith Middle School

First Name

Albert

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

EDW02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

You Can Make It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

3/19/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

State representative The Honorable Albert Edwards (1937 - ) served in the Texas state legislature for twenty-eight years representing District 146. He also initiated the passing of the bill to recognize Juneteenth Day in Texas.

Employment

Texas House of Representatives

Al Edwards Real Estate and Mortgage Company

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Albert Edwards' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Albert Edwards lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes the Trinity Gardens community in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his early work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Albert Edwards remembers his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls his employment during college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls a lesson from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Albert Edwards talks about corporal punishment

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls his decision to attend Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Albert Edwards talks about the religious organizations in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls the civil rights protests in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Albert Edwards remembers playing sports at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his experiences at Texas Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls improving his grades at Texas Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his career after graduating college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls filing an employment discrimination suit

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Albert Edwards remembers his career in sales

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his decision to run for elected office

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls his election to the Texas Legislature

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Albert Edwards remembers campaigning to mandate black history education

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls the civil rights protests at historically black colleges in Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Albert Edwards talks about the history of Juneteenth

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Albert Edwards remembers introducing a bill to recognize Juneteenth

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls negotiating for his Juneteenth bill

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Albert Edwards remembers the passage of his Juneteenth bill

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Albert Edwards talks about the national recognition of Juneteenth

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his legislative accomplishments

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Albert Edwards talks about President George Walker Bush

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Albert Edwards talks about Barbara Jordan

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Albert Edwards talks about his legislative priorities

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Albert Edwards reflects upon the mass incarceration of black youth

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Albert Edwards reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Albert Edwards reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Albert Edwards talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Albert Edwards describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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The Honorable Albert Edwards recalls the civil rights protests at historically black colleges in Texas
The Honorable Albert Edwards remembers introducing a bill to recognize Juneteenth
Transcript
Was black history education a major feature of Texas Southern [Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas] when you were a student?$$I think they had some degree of a black history structured thing, but not much. I think--and I know the University of Houston [Houston, Texas], they had what they called the African American something. They have it on both campuses now, and they're carefully going to cut them out because we don't participate as much like we should. But because the nature of the school didn't, there was just a lot of stuff that was talked about. You know, the news itself, because of course the issue was born out of oppression and segregation, so it had to be talked about to some degree. But not the big forefront burning issue, because TSU didn't organize the marches and the demonstrations. It just so happened we met at Texas Southern because that's where people were, but it didn't come out of the administration.$$Okay. So it wasn't led by the academics over there--$$No.$$--so much as it was--$$Absolutely not.$$Yeah. Okay, so--were you successful in getting some black curriculum in the schools (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh yeah, they did get some black history in our books, and a year after that of course they had to go to the legislature [Texas Legislature] to get it done. But it had to be requested by the district. But yeah, they did get some black history, much better than it was originally, you know. Most of the things like that have to be led and driven by others. Because in 2004, 2004, I led about five, seven thousand people up from Prairie View [Texas] to Hempstead [Texas] because the county judge down there said that the students at Prairie View [Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas] didn't have a right to vote. And which is totally and absolutely wrong because the law says you can vote wherever you live, and at the time they lived there, but they would not let those students vote. So we got together and organized, and met with the mayor, commissioners, and the presidents of student body and fraternities and sororities. And we marched seven miles from Prairie View to Hempstead. This has only been two or three years ago. We marched to the county steps and had a big rally right on the county commissioner's steps. Today, that county clerk and that white county commissioner is out of office, and those students are voting within a couple of blocks from the recreation building.$When I went to Austin [Texas], you know, my inclination is that if the Italians and all these other folks could have a holiday depicting their accomplishments, and who they were about, then why not us? I didn't push it that way because it never would have passed. Because during that legislative session, out of 150 house members, and 31 senators, that was 181 folk. There were only 14 that was black out of that 181. We had a Republican governor, and in a state as conservative as Texas, and holidays cost millions of dollars. And, you know, that's always the big push and cry about the budget. And so I wrote Juneteenth into the legislation seven different ways before I finally came out with it being a straight up holiday. One was an observance, another one was do it the Saturday before, another one do it the Saturday after, you know. Just different things and different ways of putting it, just in case one way did not work. Well, I also used my preference number on that particular piece of legislation [House Bill 1016, 66th Legislature Regular Session]. Your preference number is, if your bill passed the committee, and you get to the chief clerk's office, then they could have stopped it. It had to have passed to the house floor for a vote, and I was able to get it out of the committee. Congressman Green [Al Green] helped me do that, he's from here, and some others. Even Republicans and mostly whites. And so, while I was in the process of getting that bill through these processes and talking to legislators and stuff, I went to the governor. "Governor Clements [Bill Clements], will you help me?" He said, "No." He said, "I'm not gonna help you." And he said, "But if you get the bill to me, I'm going to sign it. I'm not going to veto your legislation. But, no, I'm not gonna help you." He pointed to an Abraham Lincoln statue, a mannequin he had there in his office. He said, "You know who that is?" "Abraham." He said, "Well, he's the one that signed the Emancipation Proclamation." He said, "So, you get that bill to me, I'll sign it." Well, needless to say, when I would go to white legislators with my flow chart to check off who I had and who I didn't have, my first time around, they all said no. They didn't have no blacks in their district. They would lose their seat if they voted a black holiday in. It was gonna cause division. It was gonna cost the state money. State employees had too many holidays. All these kind of things. Well, the farm and ranch bill came up that session. And they--and it was a close, close vote. And they were doing the same flow chart work on their farm and ranch bill, I mean, the bill was good. You could buy, I mean, you could get deals and you didn't have to pay it back for eight or ten years, and the interest rate was 4 percent. I mean, it was a great piece of legislation for farmers and ranchers. Well, I reminded them I didn't have a farm or a ranch in my district, but we could sure talk and I could also talk to some of the other members who would be supporting my legislation, and we were able to work something out and they began to sign up on my Juneteenth legislation.