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The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III

Former state Senator Clarence M. Mitchell III was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on December 14, 1939. A member of the illustrious Mitchell family of Baltimore, Mitchell grew up in Baltimore, attending the city’s public schools. After graduating from Gonzaga High School, Mitchell attended the University of Maryland and Morgan State University, earning his J.D. degree from the University of Baltimore Law School.

Coming from a family well known for their commitment to advocacy, Mitchell was a cofounder of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960; he also worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1963, Mitchell was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served until 1967; that year, he became the youngest person to serve in the Maryland State Senate. Mitchell remained in the Maryland Senate for nearly two decades, finally stepping down in 1986. While in the State Senate, Mitchell served as the deputy majority leader; the majority whip; the chairman of the executive nominations committee; the co-chair of the joint committee on federal relations; and was a member of the judicial proceedings committee. Mitchell also served as the president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators from 1979 to 1981.

During his time in office, Mitchell was involved in a number of legislative achievements, including the creation of the Maryland Office of Minority Business Enterprise, and Maryland’s first Fair Employment Bill, which he sponsored. Mitchell served as a special advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey; he also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1964, 1968, 1976, 1980 and 1984.

Mitchell went on to become the president and CEO of Vanguard, Inc., an international government affairs, public relations, and business development consulting company; he also co-founded and served as chairman of the Center for the Study of Harassment of African Americans.

Hon. Clarence Mitchell passed away on October 10, 2012.

Accession Number

A2004.071

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/11/2004 |and| 8/6/2004

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Gonzaga High School

Henry Highland Garnet Elementary School

Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts

University of Maryland

Morgan State University

First Name

Clarence

Birth City, State, Country

St. Paul

HM ID

MIT06

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Minnesota

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Arundel On The Bay, Maryland

Favorite Quote

He’s An Old Blind Bear Alone In The Winter Woods, With Only The Smell Of His Breath For Comfort. Too Mean To Die, Too Old To Care. But Show Some Caution. He’s Still The Bear.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/14/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Seafood

Death Date

10/10/2012

Short Description

State senator The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III (1939 - 2012 ) was involved in the creation of the Maryland Office of Minority Business Enterprise and Maryland’s first Fair Employment Bill. He served as a special advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He is currently the president and CEO of Vanguard, Inc., an international government affairs, public relations, and business development consulting company.

Employment

Maryland General Assembly

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III's interview

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III lists his favorites

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his mother's family history

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III describes his maternal family's show business

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his maternal grandmother's civil rights work

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III reflects on the loss of grassroots organizing

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls a political lesson learned from Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the heritage of political organizing that originated in the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell III details his mother's educational achievements

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell III recalls his mother's political work

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III explains how his family combined activism with a legal strategy in their political work

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his father's early life and education

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his father's work for the NAACP

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III reflects on the legacy of his father's political career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III describes his father's loyalty to the NAACP and the cause of civil rights

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his early childhood memories of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III explains the value of political organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his elementary and junior high schools in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III remembers learning the similarity between the streets and the government

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III describes his experience at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III lists his extracurricular activities at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his experience at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III remembers the founding conference for SNCC in 1960 at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III remembers Ella Baker

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the split among black ministers regarding the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his transition from treasurer of SNCC to his early political career in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his brother's assault in Annapolis, Maryland in 1963

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his campaign and election to the Maryland State Legislature

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his first year as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the origins of the March on Washington in 1963

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls the aftermath of the Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the Freedom Summer of 1964

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his political consultancy

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III explains the difference between national and local politics

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the disenfranchisement in Florida during the 2000 presidential election

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III details his recommendations for politically organizing the African American community

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$7

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his maternal grandmother's civil rights work
The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III remembers learning the similarity between the streets and the government
Transcript
--I just want to talk about Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson--$$Lillie Mae Carroll.$$And she--her political organizing, and then your mother's [Juanita Elizabeth Jackson Mitchell] history, and then we'll get to your father [Clarence Maurice Mitchell, Jr.], and bring all that in.$$Sure. Well, my grandmother, Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson, was a patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital [Baltimore, Maryland]. And a doc went in for an operation, the doctor made a mistake and severed the mastoid muscle in her face. In order to cover up his mistake, he had wheeled her out to where the cadavers were and pronounced her dead. He left the hospital. An intern came by, and her arm moved. And the intern said, "Oh, this lady's still alive!" and had her wheeled back into the operating room. And she said, and used to say quite often, "As I lay on that operating table, I made a commitment to the Lord. I said, if you allow me to live, to raise my children, I will work for you on behalf of my people and I will serve the people." And that was her commitment on a hospital gurney after she had been pronounced dead and was given another chance at life. Her face was twisted and that's what it came from. So she, in raising her kids, also was involved in the community and that sort of thing. And then Dr. Carl [J.] Murphy, who was then the head of The Afro [Afro-American Company], met with her and asked her if she would revive the Baltimore [Maryland] branch of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. That it had been faltering, there was no activity. And he committed that, "If you'll take the leadership, I'll back you up with my newspaper, with The Afro. The Afro will be there for you." And she agreed to do that. And as a result, through her labor, she organized an NAACP branch in every county from the State of Maryland. She had--the Baltimore branch for many years was the largest branch in the country, even though there were other cities that had far greater black populations. She had a network of membership recruiters in every church, every community organization. And she would go tirelessly from church to church, checking in with the NAACP membership committee of the church, and our--now, most pastors, they don't want no outside committees raising money in the church. So for her to have been able to persuade so many pastors to have an official NAACP membership committee in the church was a tribute to her sales ability.$$Talk about that some. I think you talked about what her method was. There was a certain sweetness that she applied to these things and was able to get great results.$$Oh yes. She was always about sweetness. Like I said earlier, you know, she always told us, "It's nice to be nice." And she would say to us, when she wanted to get us to do something that we really didn't want to do, she done that grandma sweet-sugar "Come on over here. I gotta get you to do this." Well, she had that same kind of--not those exact words, but that's how she treated the pastors. She would say to the pastors, "Now, you know I need you on this. Now, we gotta put this in place." And, you know, she would play up to their egos. And those preachers, when my grandmother was finished with those preachers, boy, their chests would be sticking out they'd give her anything she wanted. My grandmother would go into churches on Sundays, I'm not talking about what somebody told me. She used to take us along with her. And she would go into churches. She would hit three or four churches a Sunday, and go right up to the front of the church, sit right up on the front row, get the pastor's attention, and eventually the pastor would say, "All right, now we have Dr. Lillie Jackson here. We're gonna give her about five minutes, Mrs. Jackson." And she would stand up, when she'd finish she'd have about ten, fifteen minutes but she had made her appeal for NAACP memberships, or made her appeal for attendance at a big rally, civil rights rally. My grandmother had thousands of people at her rallies. But it was hard work. A lot of folks want to sit back now and you know, issue a call through the media and expect people to show up.$One of my proudest days was being able to get the governor [of Maryland] to appoint a young district court judge, who happened to be the son of the number-two numbers-banker in the city [Baltimore, Maryland]. And when--I had heard comment, they were saying, "how could this boy be-?" Now, he had gotten his son through law school and all that sort of thing, you know, to be able to move up. And the comment among some of the district court judges was, "Old [HistoryMaker Clarence] Mitchell's [III] putting this numbers banker's son on the court." And so I spoke for his investiture, and in speaking for his investiture, I said, "I am very proud to be here to support the elevation of this young man, whose father was an entrepreneur in the tradition of the Kennedys." (Laughter) Of course, everybody knew what that meant. [President John Fitzgerald] Kennedy's old man [Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy] was into illegal activities, and so his father [Patrick Joseph "P.J." Kennedy] had been, too. But in he was an "entrepreneur in the tradition of the Kennedys", and the chief district court judge was Irish, you know? Man, you coulda--it looked like I had shot him, when I said that. Because he was one of the biggest ones talking about this kid, should not because of what his father was about. And then the state ended up taking up numbers anyway and legalizing them and collected all the money. But, you know, those kinds--one of the things that--growing up in the environment I grew up in made me understand not to sit in judgement of what other people do. That in many instances in life, people are forced to do whatever they got to do in order to survive. And when I got into the political process, I really saw how white folks sit back pontificating on whether or not black folks are being--following the rules, and that sort of thing, when they make rules to accommodate their illegal activity. They, you know--they--if there's something that they want to do and it's not legal, they go ahead and pass laws to make it legal. And that's what the legislative process, I discovered, was. And I came back, everybody was saying to me, "Oh you're twenty-two years old. You can't deal with the weighty problems of a legislative body." And these were some of the older adults who were talking about me. But after two weeks in the House [Maryland House of Delegates], I came back to the community for one of our community meetings, I said, "Ah, I thought this was going to be some kind of--this ain't nothing but a street thing. And I came out of the streets, I can handle this." (Laughter). The legislative process is a street thing. You help me with what I want to get, I'll help you with what you want to get, and they're not sitting there thinking about the facts. They're not sitting there thinking about the impact. The bottom line is: they want to get what they want. If you can help them get what they want, then you'll get what you want.

The Honorable Michael Mitchell, Sr.

Member of the prominent Baltimore family of the same name, Michael Bowen Mitchell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 7, 1945. His father, Clarence Mitchell, Jr., was a reporter for the Baltimore Afro-American and was director of the Washington, D.C., bureau of the NAACP for almost thirty years. His mother, Juanita Jackson, was a prominent attorney and civil rights activist. Mitchell graduated from the Baltimore City College High School in 1963. He then enrolled at Lincoln University, where he earned his B.A. degree in 1967. Mitchell went on to attend the University of Maryland School of Law, earning his J.D. degree in 1970.

With his family prominent in the Civil Rights Movement, Mitchell became involved at a young age in the movement himself, often joining his parents and family members in organizing demonstrations. By 1975, at the age of twenty-nine, Mitchell was serving on the Baltimore City Council, and in the 1980s, he was elected to the Maryland State Senate. Since then, he has been involved in a number of businesses. At the time of the interview, he was in charge of the Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson Museum. Jackson is Mitchell’s maternal grandmother and was an early fighter for civil rights. She was an influential counselor to Thurgood Marshall, and she was crucial in instigating “Buy Where You Can Work” campaigns in the greater Baltimore area, which then caught on nationwide. The museum stores the photos and papers of many members of the Mitchell family, including those of his parents.

Mitchell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 9, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/9/2004 |and| 8/5/2004

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

MIT05

Favorite Season

None

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/7/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

State senator The Honorable Michael Mitchell, Sr. (1945 - ) was the director of the Washington, D.C. NAACP, and was in charge of the Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson Museum. By 1975, at the age of twenty-nine, Mitchell was serving on the Baltimore City Council, and in the 1980s, he was elected to the Maryland State Senate.

Employment

Baltimore City Council

Maryland General Assembly

Favorite Color

None

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael Mitchell interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael Mitchell details the history of his community, Lafayette Square, Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael Mitchell reflects on Ronald Reagan's presidency

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael Mitchell gives an overview of his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael Mitchell names his father's classmates

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael Mitchell continues to name his father's classmates

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael Mitchell recalls his grandmother's background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael Mitchell details his grandparents' courtship and early marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael Mitchell describes his grandfather's background

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael Mitchell describes his grandparents' careers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael Mitchell describes the achievements of his aunt, Virginia Jackson Kiah

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michael Mitchell describes the achievements of his mother, Juanita Elizabeth Jackson

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael Mitchell discusses the exodus of African Americans back to Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael Mitchell recalls episodes in the life of his grandmother, Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael Mitchell remembers his uncle and aunt, Karl and Marion Downs

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael Mitchell describes his parents' recollections of lynchings

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael Mitchell describes the courtship and marriage of his activist parents

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael Mitchell discusses the births of his siblings

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael Mitchell describes his grandmother's values

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael Mitchell discusses the activism of his grandmother, Lillie Mae Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael Mitchell recalls his grandmother's church performances

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael Mitchell recalls his family's encounters with racial discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael Mitchell discusses opposition to the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael Mitchell describes the reputation of his grandmother, Lillie Mae Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael Mitchell details his father's background

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael Mitchell recalls the hardships of the Depression

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael Mitchell remembers his father's background

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael Mitchell details the case of 'Murray v. Pearson'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael Mitchell discusses Thurgood Marshall's own rejection from the University of Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael Mitchell recounts his father's surveillance by the FBI

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael Mitchell recalls learning racial pride

The Honorable Ethel Skyles Alexander

Ethel Skyles Alexander was born on January 16, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Charles Skyles, a minister, went on in 1945 to become a member of the Illinois General Assembly. Alexander moved with her family to Davenport, Iowa, and to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, due to her father’s parish assignments. Returning to Chicago, Alexander attended Sherwood Elementary School and Englewood High School. After completing high school, she had one child, Gayla Aniece.

Alexander worked as a clerk in the Cook County Circuit Court’s Records Department for thirty-three years. She was the first woman to be appointed Assistant Chief Deputy Clerk of the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court. Alexander returned to school, receiving her B.A. from Loop College (now Harold Washington), as well as enrolling in an IBM Executive Training Course.

In 1978, Alexander was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. She was known for waving a red handkerchief in the air whenever she wanted to discuss an issue with fellow legislators. In 1986, Alexander was appointed to replace the late Charles Chew in the State Senate, where she remained until she retired in 1993. While in the legislature, Alexander served as vice-chair of the Elections and Reapportionment Committee. She co-sponsored a bill that prohibited state agencies from trading with apartheid-era South Africa and sponsored legislation that toughened child pornography laws.

Alexander passed away on September 10, 2016 at age 91.

Accession Number

A2001.080

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/2/2001

Last Name

Alexander

Maker Category
Middle Name

Skyles

Organizations
Schools

Jesse Sherwood Elementary School

Englewood High School

Harold Washington College

First Name

Ethel

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PITS001

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Favorite Quote

I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/16/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

9/10/2016

Short Description

State representative and state senator The Honorable Ethel Skyles Alexander (1925 - 2016 ) was known for waving a red handkerchief in the air whenever she wanted to discuss an issue with fellow legislators, and served as vice chair of the Elections and Reapportionment Committee in the Illinois State Senate. She co-sponsored a bill that prohibited state agencies from trading with apartheid-era South Africa and sponsored legislation that toughened child pornography laws.

Employment

State of Illinois

Cook County Criminal Division

Circuit Court of Cook County

Illinois General Assembly

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ethel Alexander interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ethel Alexander's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ethel Alexander talks about her father and his involvement in Chicago politicals

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ethel Alexander shares stories about her father's political career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ethel Alexander discusses famous black Illinois legislators

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ethel Alexander talks about lesgislative strategies in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ethel Alexander recalls the political climate in Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ethel Alexander talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ethel Alexander discusses her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ethel Alexander details her formal education from elementary school to college

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ethel Alexander talks about her experiences as a clerk at the Circuit Court of Cook County Criminal Division

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ethel Alexander comments on trying to get a job without her father's political clout

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ethel Alexander talks about being a prospective candidate for Cook County Commissioner

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ethel Alexander explains her entry into the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ethel Alexander talks about her experiences as an Illinois State Representative

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ethel Alexander gives her impression on Illinois State Representative, Charles Chew

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ethel Alexander comments on prominent black politicians from Chicago's South Side in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ethel Alexander talks about black politicians who were her contemporaries in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ethel Alexander details the antics that went on during sessions in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ethel Alexander discusses the importance of the Illinois General Assembly to the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ethel Alexander talks briefly about a lobbying expedition to Springfield

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ethel Alexander talks about the importance of the Illinois Black Caucus in Springfield

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ethel Alexander discusses the legacy of African Americans in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ethel Alexander comments on what her legacy might be

The Honorable William E. Shaw

William Shaw was born on July 31, 1937, in Fulton, Arkansas. As a child, Shaw moved to St. Louis, Missouri with his family. As a teenager, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he attended Crane High School. Initially pursuing a career in boxing, Shaw suffered a humiliating defeat in the ring. He then chose a political career instead.

One of his first jobs in politics was as an assistant to Alderman Wilson Frost of Chicago’s 34th Ward. In 1982, Shaw was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, as a democrat, where he served for ten years. He was then elected to the Illinois Senate in 1993. During his two decades in the Illinois General Assembly, Shaw served as a member of the Senate Energy & Environment Committee and the Task Force on Electric Deregulation. As a member of the Senate Local Government Committee, Shaw was instrumental in the redevelopment of the Historic Pullman District on Chicago’s South Side.

In 1997, Shaw was elected Mayor of the City of Dolton, Illinois, while maintaining his senatorial position in Springfield. Shaw has been an ardent supporter of worker’s rights legislation. He has also been instrumental in promoting legislation that would guarantee a minimum of $4,225 to be spent on the education of each child in Illinois.

Shaw is married and the father of three children.

Accession Number

A2001.083

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/25/2001

Last Name

Shaw

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Fulton

HM ID

PITS020

Favorite Season

All the Time

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans, Louisiana

Favorite Quote

Those Who Seek Power By Riding The Back Of The Tiger Wind Up Inside.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

7/31/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

11/26/2008

Short Description

State senator and mayor The Honorable William E. Shaw (1937 - 2008 ) served in the Illinois General Assembly for twenty years. Ten of those years were spent as a state senator. After leaving the senate, Shaw was elected mayor of Dolton, Illinois. Shaw was instrumental in promoting legislation that would guarantee a minimum of $4,225 to be spent on the education of each child in Illinois.

Employment

City of Chicago 34th Ward

Illinois General Assembly

City of Dolton, Illinois

Favorite Color

Dark Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:847,36:12250,222:12925,232:13300,254:20070,317:22070,357:22470,362:23170,370:23870,384:25070,401:36874,496:37858,514:38514,523:43066,559:58434,742:63850,812:68300,840:70280,861:72600,870:79101,941:81370,952:87730,980:94070,1014$0,0:5288,40:5624,45:5960,50:6800,62:8060,79:10748,144:11084,149:12596,190:17574,214:20814,237:21738,253:22158,259:27490,265:27798,270:29415,297:31956,339:32264,344:32572,349:33727,375:37953,400:42247,448:48630,474:49066,479:49502,484:51573,498:52663,509:53099,514:58222,571:63936,609:65143,632:65427,637:66066,647:66421,653:67060,661:75972,786:76719,796:77300,805:77632,810:78296,820:78877,828:80703,861:85629,891:89571,980:89936,986:90739,1000:91469,1016:92199,1027:92491,1032:92783,1037:93075,1044:94462,1073:95192,1084:95630,1094:97382,1142:97747,1148:99280,1181:99864,1191:101543,1224:101981,1231:102492,1240:103295,1258:114970,1305
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Shaw describes his family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Shaw talks about growing up in Hope, Arkansas, St. Louis, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Shaw talks about becoming interested in politics

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Shaw describes his duties as Mayor of Dolton, Illinois and as an Illinois State Senator

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Shaw describes his work on the redevelopment of Chicago's Pullman District

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Shaw talks about his parents' influence

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Shaw talks about his experience with the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Shaw describes his committee involvement in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Shaw talks about his political influences

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Shaw talks about his future plans in Illinois politics

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - William Shaw reflects on how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - William Shaw reflects on his legislative accomplishments

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$1

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
William Shaw talks about becoming interested in politics
William Shaw describes his work on the redevelopment of Chicago's Pullman District
Transcript
And that's what really convinced me that I wanted to en- be in politics. I tried to be a boxer there. And a little bitty fellow knocked me out. Well he almost knocked me out (laughter) but I was convinced that I needed something other than (laughter) than boxing.$$So you moved to Chicago [Illinois] at the age of seventeen. And once you graduated from high school, where did you find yourself in terms of occupation?$$Well I had made a full time career out of politics by that time. In, at that time I was a precinct captain and, just moving forward to help people.$$And this was the South Side of Chicago?$$That was the West Side of Chicago.$$West Side of Chicago.$$Right.$$And then what was your next career move inside of politics?$$Well that was--well I probably went from job to job, and kept getting promoted and so forth. And then it wasn't until later on that I ran for elective office.$$I see. So what are the names of your children?$$Gina is the oldest. Andre, Sean, and Melanie who is deceased.$Now as, uh, as an Illinois Senator, you have been involved in redevelopment of historic Pullman District.$$Right.$$Can you tell us a little bit more about that? A little more detail?$$Well certainly I am a... I'm very big on preserving history. And I think that, even though the history was not always good but we have to preserve it to make sure that we never get in that position again. And the dollars that I've helped to put in there uh, to preserve that history and make sure that the next generation that follows myself and you have something that guide 'em, in terms of moving ahead in life. And I think it's, uh, it's a very important thing that we preserve the history of, uh, of North Pullman as well as Pullman. North Pullman is where A. Philip Randolph Center is. And certainly when you talk about the Pullman Porters and all of that and what they went through in terms of trying to make a living. And when didn't--and when they didn't want 'em to organize the labor unions and so forth. And the sacrifices that they made. Many of 'em got fired as the results of trying to organize the Labor Union. And I think that our young people should know that. And it should be preserved and I can't think of a better place to preserve it. And where the Pullman car started and was built at.

The Honorable Curtis McClinton, Sr.

Political activist Curtis McClinton was born in Braggs, Oklahoma, in 1913. He credits his father with exposing him at a young age to ideas of community and responsibility. The political rallies and courtroom proceedings McClinton attended as a young boy ignited within him an awareness of democracy, change and civic participation. McClinton experienced first hand the inequitable conditions of segregated schooling. He attended a segregated elementary school in Poteau and graduated from the segregated Manuel Training High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma. McClinton continued his education at Langston University, receiving his B.A. in Education in 1937.

Soon after moving to Wichita, Kansas in 1943, McClinton began his political career. He served one term as the President of Wichita's NAACP chapter before pursuing a political career. In 1956, McClinton was elected to Kansas' House of Representatives. During his first of two terms, McClinton worked to pass a public accommodations law for the state of Kansas to ensure equal treatment for all races in public places, such as restaurants, hotels and other businesses. McClinton also holds the honor of being Kansas' first African American state senator, tirelessly working throughout his 1964-1968 term to combat social inequities.

McClinton was an active member of a group called Urban Housing Management and Development Council. The Kansas African American Museum selected McClinton as one of the recipients of its Doris Kerr Larkins Heritage Award. This honor is presented in recognition of outstanding service to the community.

Curtis McClinton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 28, 2002.

Curtis McClinton passed away on June 27, 2012.

Accession Number

A2002.164

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2002

Last Name

McClinton

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Manual Training High School

First Name

Curtis

Birth City, State, Country

Braggs

HM ID

MCC03

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Things Can Be Worse Than They Are. You Have To Be A Part Of The Action To Make The Change.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

3/20/1913

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wichita

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruit, Vegetables, Nuts

Death Date

6/27/2012

Short Description

State senator The Honorable Curtis McClinton, Sr. (1913 - 2012 ) is a former Kansas state legislator who passed the first civil rights act in twentieth-century Kansas. McClinton also holds the honor of being Kansas' first African American state senator.

Employment

Kansas House of Representatives

Kansas Senate

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:10591,184:11125,191:24580,312:30740,407:41620,488:55358,622:55813,628:85520,929:117146,1242:118406,1267:120506,1275:139160,1376$0,0:29470,185:45382,354:60424,576:112640,1025
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Curtis McClinton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Curtis McClinton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Curtis McClinton describes Evansville, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Curtis McClinton talks about his parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Curtis McClinton talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Curtis McClinton talks about moving to Poteau, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Curtis McClinton describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Poteau, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Curtis McClinton talks about racism in Poteau, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Curtis McClinton shares his school experiences in Poteau, Oklahona

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Curtis McClinton describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Curtis McClinton describes his personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Curtis McClinton remembers his favorite activities as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Curtis McClinton recalls attending Manuel Training High School in Poteau, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Curtis McClinton shares his experiences at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Curtis McClinton describes his social life at Langston University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Curtis McClinton talks about becoming a teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Curtis McClinton talks about meeting his wife and starting a family

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Curtis McClinton talks about opening a store in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Curtis McClinton recalls entering politics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Curtis McClinton talks about his leadership in the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Curtis McClinton describes his preparation for entering the state legislature

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Curtis McClinton describes being elected as a state representative in Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Curtis McClinton talks about writing civil rights legislation

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Curtis McClinton describes how his civil rights bill addressed segregation in Kansas during the 1950s but was ineffective

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Curtis McClinton recalls the highlights of his career in the Kansas State legislature

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Curtis McClinton describes running for the Kansas State Senate

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Curtis McClinton talks about the low pay of the Kansas House of Representatives during the 1950s, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Curtis McClinton talks about the low pay of the Kansas House of Representatives during the 1950s, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Curtis McClinton describes his Kansas Senate career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Curtis McClinton talks about his son's football career, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Curtis McClinton talks about his son's football career, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Curtis McClinton talks about playing the saxophone

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Curtis McClinton reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Curtis McClinton describes his argument in favor of civil rights legislation, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Curtis McClinton describes his argument in favor of civil rights legislation, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Curtis McClinton describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Curtis McClinton narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Curtis McClinton recalls entering politics
Curtis McClinton talks about the low pay of the Kansas House of Representatives during the 1950s, pt. 1
Transcript
And of course while there I became the president of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and became vice president of the state NAACP. I ran for the school board and I lost that position. I guess my dad didn't think I was smart enough, mama would support me but dad supported that Dr. Simms, I think it was. Dr. Simms was elected, he made a fine school board member and there was another fellow here named Shepherd Fontaine and he asked me to go to a democrat meeting. We went to a democrat meeting, segregation was pretty bad here and Shepherd came in and asked me would you run for state representative, I was cutting meat and I said yeah I would run for state representative. But if I run, I'm going to run to win, I'm not going to run as a token position. So I went down and filed and began to campaign and I think my opponent was Attorney John Madden. The interesting thing in doing that campaign, a lady came and asked me do you think that he would support the Civil Rights Movement and I said I don't know, you go over there and ask him and she went over there. I don't know what he told her but anyway he must have told her no and she came back and began to work on the campaign. I won that election and went to the House.$$When was this, what year was this?$$1955, the fall of 1955. I was elected and took the seat in 1956.$Just asking who specifically supported you (simultaneous)--$$Okay it was the unions, the churches, the blacks and the democrats and then I'll tell you another thing, when I ran for the House [of Representatives], Eastborough [Kansas] that was an aristocratic area and mostly all Caucasians and Attorney Madden had done something, I don't know. A fellow called up asked me for the sign and I asked him where he lived and he said he lived in Eastborough, put a sign out here and I didn't go out there. He called me back again and said you ought to put a sign out there and I said I will have a sign on your front door in the morning. So I went out there and put a sign in his yard about 2:00 in the morning it was there and I put some signs on the street corners, of course the police took those up. So I would say the unions, the black population, the churches and they liked that about the schools, teachers.$$Were the republicans in before you got in?$$Yeah, there wasn't nobody. Attorney Madden was a republican. Okay.

Alice Palmer

Alice J. Palmer was born on June 20, 1939, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The daughter of Erskine and Mary Ward Roberts, Palmer graduated from high school at age sixteen and enrolled at Indiana University. After an extended leave of absence, Palmer returned to Indiana University to earn her Bachelors degree with the help of four jobs and a scholarship.

After graduating in 1965, Palmer found a teaching position in Indianapolis, Indiana, but soon moved to Chicago to work at Crane Junior College, later called Malcolm X College. She received her Masters degree from Roosevelt University and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University, where she co-authored two books and tutored in the Black House. Palmer remained at Northwestern University to serve as Associate Dean and Director of African American Student Affairs for the next five years. Palmer served as the National Voter Education Director for a national citizen action organization before becoming the founding director of the Metro YMCA Youth and Government Program in 1986. She also served as Executive Director of Chicago Cities in Schools.

On June 6, 1991, Palmer replaced Richard Newhouse in the Illinois Senate, where she served until 1996. While in office, Palmer served on the Appropriations II Committee, among many others. Palmer was replaced by Barack Obama in the state senate. In 1996, Palmer was hired by the University of Illinois at Chicago as an Associate Professor in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.

Palmer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 9, 2000.

Accession Number

A2000.058

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/9/2000

Last Name

Palmer

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

George Washington Carver Elementary School

Shortridge High School

Indiana University

Roosevelt University

Northwestern University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Alice

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

PITS018

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/20/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

State senator Alice Palmer (1939 - ) served as the associate dean and director of African American Student Affairs at Northwestern University before replacing Richard Newhouse in the Illinois Senate, where she was a member of the Appropriations II Committee.

Employment

Malcolm X College

Northwestern University

Chicago Communities In Schools

Illinois General Assembly

University of Illinois, Chicago

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Alice Palmer recalls her election to political office

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alice Palmer's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alice Palmer details her family history in Boston and Indianapolis

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alice Palmer discusses her family's connections to Madame C.J. Walker

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alice Palmer recalls her grandfather's medical practice in Indianapolis

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alice Palmer remembers her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alice Palmer shares memories from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alice Palmer details her early education focused on black acheivement

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alice Palmer reflects on her education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alice Palmer recalls her college prospects

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alice Palmer recounts balancing marriage, motherhood, and her education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alice Palmer details her career development

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alice Palmer details her participation in Illinois state politics

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alice Palmer discusses diversity in the Illinois state Senate

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alice Palmer considers the responsibilities of black legislators

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alice Palmer evaluates the contributions of African Americans in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alice Palmer remembers inspirational figures

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alice Palmer discusses African Americans and internationalism

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alice Palmer details the work of the People Program

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alice Palmer considers her legacy

The Honorable Barack Obama

Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He attended Occidental College for two years before transferring to Columbia University in New York, where he became interested in a career as a social activist.

After graduation, Obama found work as a community organizer, which led him to Chicago. Obama was hired to head the Developing Communities Project and served in this capacity for over three years. However, realizing the limitations of working at such a localized level, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School. At Harvard, Obama excelled, eventually becoming the President of the Harvard Law Review, the first African American ever to hold this position. After he graduated from Harvard, Obama wrote a book, Dreams from My Father, based on his family’s experiences. He went to work at the Chicago law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland.

On advice from friends, Obama ran for a vacant state Senate seat in 1996, and was successfully elected to represent the 13th Legislative District. In 2000, Obama ran for a seat in Congress but lost to incumbent Bobby Rush. In 2004, Obama successfully ran for a seat in the United States Senate representing Illinois, becoming only the fifth African American senator in United States history. On February 10, 2007, Obama announced that he would run for President of the United States. On June 3, 2008, Obama became the presumptive democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency. He is the first African American to ever win a major political party’s nomination for president. On November 4, 2008, Obama became the president-elect when he won the election for President of the United States. He is the first African American president in the history of the United States. Obama was sworn-in as U.S. president on January 20, 2009.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, are the parents of two daughters, Sasha and Malia.

Accession Number

A2001.082

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/16/2001

Last Name

Obama

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Punahou School

Occidental College

Columbia University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Barack

Birth City, State, Country

Honolulu

HM ID

PITS017

Favorite Season

Fall, Summer

State

Hawaii

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bali, Indonesia

Favorite Quote

I'm tired.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/4/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans (Red), Rice

Short Description

State senator, president, and U.S. senator The Honorable Barack Obama (1961 - ) ran for a vacant State Senate seat in 1996, and was successfully elected to represent the 13th Legislative District. In 2004, Obama successfully ran for a seat in the United States Senate representing Illinois, becoming only the fifth African American Senator in United States history. On November 4, 2008, Obama became the first African American president-elect when he won the election for President of the United States. Obama was sworn-in as U.S. president on January 20, 2009.

Employment

Delete

Project Vote

Miner, Barnhill & Galland

Illinois State Senate

University of Chicago Law School

United States Senate

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barack Obama interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barack Obama names his favorite food

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barack Obama lists his other favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barack Obama describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barack Obama describes his mother and her background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barack Obama shares his experience defining a racial identity, part I

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barack Obama shares his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barack Obama explains his mother's investment in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barack Obama describes his adolescent behavior

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barack Obama reflects on his years in Indonesia as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barack Obama shares his experience defining a racial identity, part II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barack Obama recounts his college years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barack Obama recalls his experience as a community organizer

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barack Obama recalls law school and the beginning of his political career

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barack Obama evaluates his success as a law student

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barack Obama assesses his law school education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barack Obama discusses his early exposure to electoral politics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barack Obama details his entrance into politics

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barack Obama recounts his 1996 campaign for Illinois state senate

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barack Obama reacts to proceedings in the Illinois state legislature

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barack Obama reflects on the histories of local Chicago politics and Illinois state politics

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barack Obama classifies a generation of young, black elected officials

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barack Obama evaluates the role of government in improving black lives

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barack Obama considers his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barack Obama credits influential figures in his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Barack Obama recalls his experience as a community organizer
Barack Obama recounts his 1996 campaign for Illinois state senate
Transcript
I decided, upon graduation [from Columbia University, New York, New York], that I wanted to continue in that kind of work [political activism]. So I--for a year I worked as a financial journalist to pay off my student loans and as soon as I had those paid off, I started looking for work as a community organizer or political activist or something that was going to lead me into that area of work. And it turned out that it was actually harder to find work doing good than I had expected. It's an irony of this country that it's actually easier to find a paying job, you know, just to make money than it is to try to find a job that involves social change in some fashion. But there were a small group of churches on the far South Side of Chicago [Illinois] that were experiencing tremendous pressure because the steel mills in the area had closed, people were losing jobs, there was a lot of racial turnover. This would be in places like Roseland and West Pullman [Chicago, Illinois]. And these churches had decided to get together, form an organization, raise a small budget and try to hire somebody who could staff a community organization that would help them with these problems. And they only had a small budget, so they could only afford to pay somebody thirteen thousand dollars a--thirteen thousand dollars a year. And it just so happened that I saw an advertisement that they had placed in a community newspaper and wrote to them and they agreed to hire me. So I drove out to Chicago not knowing a single person in Chicago. I was--this would have been 1985 and so I was twenty-four years old, and ended up serving as the director of this community organization for three and a half years, and it was the best education of my life because it allowed me to not only learn some of the skills of organizing and politics that I still apply today in my career, but, more importantly, it gave me a home--it gave me a base. It sort of rooted me in a specific community of African Americans whose, you know, values and stories I soaked up and found an affinity with. And we did some good in this organizing work. You know, we were able to set up job training programs and college counseling and education programs for youth, cleaned up vacant lots, brought more money into neighborhood parks, worked on school reform issues, trained a cadre of neighborhood leaders that are still active in that area and so, overall, it was a wonderful experience and, you know, difficult. When I think back to me being twenty-four and working mostly with women and men and pastors who were my parents' age or grandparents' age, not really knowing anything about Chicago, not knowing that much about the church, I was pretty green behind the ears. But they, I think the community appreciated my efforts even if sometimes they weren't always as effective or as efficient as if I had had a little more experience, and it ended up being a wonderful training ground for me. After about three and a half years of doing that work, I became more keenly aware of the fact that it was--it was going to be difficult though to bring about the kind of change that I was concerned about by working at such a local level. The problems of joblessness or drug violence or the failures of the public education system, all those decisions weren't just being made locally and they didn't just track particular neighborhood boundaries. They were citywide issues, statewide issues, national issues. So I became more aware of the need for me to step back and be able to evaluate and analyze these issues at a larger level and a larger scale, and potentially have more power to shape the decisions that were affecting those issues. And, in addition, you know, the years during which I was organizing, those were the years that [Mayor] Harold Washington was in office and [city] 'Council Wars' was going on here in Chicago. And part of the reason, I think, I had been attracted to Chicago was reading about Harold Washington, and I think the inspiration that African Americans across the country had taken from his election as the first African American mayor in Chicago. And Harold died in '87 [1987] after I had been organizing for about three years, and, you know, you just got a sense that the city was going to be going through a transition. That the kinds of organizing work that I was doing wasn't going to be the focal point of people's attention because, you know, there were all these transitions and struggles and tumult that was going on in terms of the African American community figuring where to go next. And so I decided it was a good time for me to pull back and I went to law school at Harvard [Harvard Law School, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts].$What about the election? Was there anything surprising about that? You won your first time out so--,$$Well, I did, but, you know, it was an interesting introduction to politics in Chicago [Illinois] because what had happened was that the incumbent, [Illinois state senator] Alice Palmer, had decided to run for [U.S.] Congress against Mel Reynolds. Mel Reynolds, at the time, was still the congressman. She had made the decision early to run against him and had asked me for help on the campaign, and I said that I would because she had a good reputation in progressive circles and had struck me as a capable woman and had a good voting record in the senate. So I assisted her with her campaign. About halfway through the campaign, it became apparent that Mel Reynolds was going to be indicted for a variety of charges and that there would probably be a special election, which would take place about three weeks to a month before the deadline for filing petitions for the [Illinois] state senate race. And the significance of that was is that up until Mel Reynolds's indictment and conviction and the scheduling of a special election, Alice Palmer had to vacate her seat to run for Congress. She couldn't run for both at the same time. Because the special election occurred early, it left the possibility that Alice could run for Congress and, if she lost, retain her state senate seat. So, at that point, I approached her--at this point, people--mutual supporters had already talked to me about running. I had already started the process of opening an office and raising money and doing all these things, but I went to her and I said, "Look. It's a new scenario now. I haven't announced publicly that I'm running. If you want to hedge your bets and wait and see if you win, then I'm comfortable with that and I can sort of keep my campaign on a holding pattern until we see what happens." She said, "No, Barack. I'm telling you I'm not interested in being in the state senate anymore. I'm going to win this congressional race and so, you know, you have my blessing and my go ahead." And she had endorsed me formally at the announcement. Of course then what happened was that when Mel Reynolds was indicted and convicted, a lot of people decided they were interested in that race. So Emil Jones ran, Monique Davis ran and Jesse [Jackson] Jr. ran, and Alice probably was not in the best position at that point to win the race. And I continued to ask her whether she was still sure that she wanted to give up her senate seat and she insisted that she did. So we went ahead with our campaign. Well, Alice, you know--as we know today, lost to Jesse, Jr.. And the next day, I hear back from her supporters that I should step down and let her stay in her senate seat. And, at that point, I had, you know, raised money and gathered petitions and had this entire campaign apparatus and I said, you know, "I can't do that. I've been having these conversations with her for quite some time now and, you know, I indicated that I was committed once I got in." So it was an unfortunate incident. I understood what happened from Alice's perspective. I think it's always hard to leave politics, especially on a losing note like that, but she did try to get back in the race. It turned out that she didn't actually have enough time to put together the necessary petition signatures to run and wasn't able to get on the ballot. But, you know, it was a--it left a little bit of a bitter taste in my mouth just in the sense that it reminded me that part of politics is this struggle for individual advancement that doesn't always have to do with, you know, the actual agenda of the community, and it's hard to keep above the fray. I mean, if you're going to be involved in this process that you end up having to play hard ball and battle it out even as you keep your eye on the prize, and that's not always an easy thing to do to balance those two things--the gamesmanship or the power struggles involved in politics and the policy and, you know, long term concerns that should be driving our political process.

The Honorable Kimberly Lightford

Kimberly Lightford was born on May 10, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois. As a young child, she moved with her family to the surrounding suburb of Maywood, Illinois. Attending Proviso East High School, Lightford was active in the Student Council. Upon graduating from high school, she enrolled at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. There, she studied human relations and management with a minor in African American studies. Lightford’s first job after graduation was with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Lightford decided to pursue an advanced degree, enrolling at Sangamon State University in Springfield and majoring in public administration. While there, she interned with the Illinois House of Representatives. She became a Trustee of the Village of Maywood and, in 1998, was elected to the Illinois State Senate.

Senator Lightford serves as Minority Spokesperson of the Committee on Financial Institutions as well as Co-Chair of the Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation. She is a member of the Commission on Legislative Research, the Education Committee and the Committee on State Government Operations. She was instrumental in passing a bill that would allow criminal background checks on Local School Council members. Lightford is also known for her support of the Moment of Silence Bill which made it mandatory for school to have a moment of silence everyday. Previously, it was optional.

Married, Lightford is a member of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, the National League of Cities and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has also remained a Trustee for the Village of Maywood at the time of the interview.

Accession Number

A2000.055

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/1/2000

Last Name

Lightford

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Proviso East High School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Kimberly

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PITS014

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Failure is not an option.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/10/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens

Short Description

State senator The Honorable Kimberly Lightford (1968 - ) was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1998. Senator Lightford serves as Minority Spokesperson of the Committee on Financial Institutions as well as Co-Chair of the Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation.

Employment

Illinois General Assembly

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kimberly Lightford interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kimberly Lightford's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kimberly Lightford names her parents and siblings and talks about her upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kimberly Lightford talks about her father's demeanor

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kimberly Lightford talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kimberly Lightford shares some experiences from her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kimberly Lightford talks about developing her leadership skills from an early age

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kimberly Lightford describes how her higher education and career transitions lead her to her role in government

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kimberly Lightford explains how she became a Trustee of Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kimberly Lightford talks about programming she developed in Maywood, Illinois as a village Trustee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kimberly Lightford describes her transient lifestyle after leaving her parents' household at thriteen

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kimberly Lightford describes the challenges she faced as a Trustee of Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kimberly Lightford shares her experiences with campaigning for Trustee of Maywood, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kimberly Lightford recalls the challenges of her first term as an Illinois State Senator

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kimberly Lightford talks about meeting her husband

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kimberly Lightford talks about balancing her politcal career with her personal life

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kimberly Lightford expresses the importance of visibility and mentorship from African American leaders

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kimberly Lightford discusses her plans for the future as an Illinois Senator

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kimberly Lightford talks about her goals beyond the Illinois State Senate

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kimberly Lightford discusses her family dynamics and her relationship with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kimberly Lightford explains how her father keeps her on track to achieve her goals

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kimberly Lightford shares her advice for students and future politicians

The Honorable Rickey Hendon

Rickey Hendon was born on December 8, 1953 in Cleveland, Ohio. At a young age, he moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois, where he attended grade school. While in high school, Hendon and his family moved again to Detroit, Michigan, where he graduated from Northwestern High School. With an interest in theatre and broadcasting, Hendon enrolled in the Omega School of Communications where he earned a FCC license, leading to an eight-year career in radio broadcasting.

In 1987, Hendon was appointed by Mayor Harold Washington to serve as a Committeeman for the 27th Ward and was elected to that position the following year. Meanwhile, he was also appointed by Cook County Board President George Dunne to Secretary-Treasurer of the Cook County Forest Preserves.

Shortly after being elected Alderman of the 27th Ward, Hendon was elected to the Illinois Senate, where he served as the Senate Minority Spokesperson of the State Government Operations Committee as well as a member of the Committees on Appropriations and Insurance & Pensions. In January 1997, he was elected Senate Chairperson of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.

Hendon and his wife, Dawn, are the parents of five children. He is a member of Operation PUSH and the NAACP.

Hendon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 24, 2001.

Accession Number

A2001.081

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/24/2001

Last Name

Hendon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Northwestern High School

Omega School of Communications

First Name

Rickey

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

PITS010

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Puerto Rico

Favorite Quote

The Struggle Continues.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/8/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peas (Black-Eyed)

Short Description

State senator The Honorable Rickey Hendon (1953 - ) was elected to the Illinois State Senate, where he served as the Senate Minority Spokesperson of the State Government Operations Committee as well as a member of the Committees on Appropriations and Insurance & Pensions.

Employment

City of Chicago

Cook County Forest Preserves

Chicago City Council

Illinois General Assembly

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rickey Hendon's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rickey Hendon lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rickey Hendon talks about his mother, Olivia Hendon

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rickey Hendon talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rickey Hendon describes his father and his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rickey Hendon shares memories from his family's move to Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rickey Hendon recalls his first experience with racism

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rickey Hendon talks about the first time he saw cotton

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rickey Hendon describes his family's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rickey Hendon talks about trying to protect an influential teacher's store from rioters in Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rickey Hendon describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rickey Hendon talks about his grade school years

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rickey Hendon talks about his mother's dreams

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rickey Hendon talks about discovering girls in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rickey Hendon talks about growing up on Chicago's West Side

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rickey Hendon talks about his interactions with gangs in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rickey Hendon talks about joining the Black Nationalist Movement in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rickey Hendon talks about fighting with gangs in his neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rickey Hendon explains why he did not join the Black Panther Party

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rickey Hendon talks about influential figures during his teenaged years like Brother Hannibal Afrik

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rickey Hendon describes the black cultural nationalist movement

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rickey Hendon describes the gift of intuition he shared with his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Rickey Hendon explains his family's move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rickey Hendon talks about his stepfather, Robert Larkin

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rickey Hendon talks about how he decided to join the faction of the Black Panther Party led by Eldridge Cleaver

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rickey Hendon describes divisions within the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rickey Hendon talks about his high school experiences as a militant at Northwestern High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rickey Hendon remembers writing militant poetry in high school and progressive black artists like Gil Scott Heron, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and The Last Guys

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rickey Hendon describes studying broadcasting at the Omega School of Communications

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rickey Hendon recalls his early years in radio broadcasting and television which took him to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rickey Hendon describes his return to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rickey Hendon talks about his entry into Chicago politics after the incarceration of Wallace Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rickey Hendon outlines his political career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rickey Hendon describes lessons he learned as a ward committeeman and as a Chicago alderman

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rickey Hendon talks about his decision to run for the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rickey Hendon describes his early days in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rickey Hendon explains the role of the legislators in the Illinois State Senate

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rickey Hendon talks about influential African American senators in the Illinois State Assembly including Senator Kenneth Hall

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rickey Hendon talks about financial corruption in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rickey Hendon shares advice for young black

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rickey Hendon talks about what he hopes to accomplish as an Illinois State Senator

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rickey Hendon talks about reforms needed in the criminal justice system

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Rickey Hendon reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

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DATitle
Rickey Hendon talks about the first time he saw cotton
Rickey Hendon talks about his interactions with gangs in high school
Transcript
And when you moved back to Alabama what was--were you there a long time at that time? Because this is city versus rural.$$Right, we didn't like Alabama at all. My sister and I we were just, didn't want to go. I'm a Northern person, I just didn't want to go. But it's so funny, funny story, when we first got there, all of our little country cousins were sitting on my grandmother's porch, right. We saw cotton for the first time, because I didn't remember cotton when I was eighteen months. We got all, went out and just started picking cotton and playing in the cotton. They were sitting there like hm, mm; yeah, you'll see in about a week. We thought it was just wonderful. Girl, about a week later, we're like oh Lord, mamma please. We got to go back north, get us out of here. Because it was, grandma, everybody would, all the children would send their children to help till the cotton and pick the cotton to grandmom and them house. We used to hate to go to grandma house because you had to work. I mean, you worked. Four o'clock in the morning, if you're big enough to drag a sack, you were out there. So I didn't like Alabama then. I like it a little more now. We have a lot of land down there, but they can keep it. My country cousins don't have no problem trying to worry about me trying to get our part.$Now when you got to Farragut [High School, Chicago, Illinois], were there any subjects you liked, particularly since you were a good student? Were there any activities you were involved with or--$$Oh yes, Farragut was a great time for me. If I made it to school, which I mean, past the four gangs that I had to get through to get to school. I don't name gangs names because I think that just helps them recruit. But I had four gang territories to get, to cross, to get to school. When I first got there, I got my lunch money took all the time. I mean, all the time, because I wasn't affiliated. I wasn't in a gang. I wouldn't join and they had, what they tried insurance back then. They would stop you and ten of them would say, who you with; where's your card. They actually would give you a card, a protection card, protected by the blank blank gang. This went on practically my entire freshman year, then I met this girl and we was in love. So I got tired of them taking my little 50 cent because I could take that 50 cent (laughter) and we would go to Goldblatt's and we would get our lunch on and then we'd find a little dressing room and get a little kissing on. After I stopped, when they was taking my 50 cents, she wouldn't let me--we couldn't do that. Because she like, let's go to Goldblatt's and I didn't have no 50 cent. So I started fighting for my little 50 cent, girl. Like uh, uh, you ain't taking my--this is more than lunch money you all getting from me. You all just don't understand. And I remember having a gun pulled on me at the back door. The young man who pulled it on me, he's dead now. He was a gang banger and this is when I wouldn't give up my money anymore. So all my friends, be four or five of us, you would think we could fight, we could hold somebody off, but they was good kids. I wouldn't call them chumps or nerds or geeks, we were really cool kids, but we weren't gang bangers. And one after the other, they just come out the door, give them their money; come out the door, hand them their money; come out the door; hand them their money. There was certain doors you knew not to even try to go out of, because they were waiting for you. But this was our safe door. So we're coming out the safe door and here this guy is standing there getting all my friends' money. So I refused to give him my money and he pulled a pistol on me and took my money. And one night, he was visiting a girl, a vacant lot over from my building that I lived in and I walked up in there and there he was. My brother would fight now. My brother was tough. We were going to get him real good. The girls talked us out of it. But all, every--him and I always conflicted because I started going with this girl that he liked and she lived in their neighborhood, so I had to sneak to her house and sneak home. This went on about three, four years, really until he got killed in a gang war with a gang from my neighborhood.$$Now what kept you out of the gangs?$$Well I just thought it was stupid. I just couldn't see it. I had a lot of gang friends now, don't get me wrong. I had a lot of--everybody grew up with, pretty much. There were maybe, and this is unfortunate, but on my block, there were maybe six boys who weren't in a gang and that's probably too many. Everybody was in the gang. They had gangs for the eight year olds and a pee wee division, twelve year old division. I was the one who had always got my money took from the gang guys. They'd beat me up and--my mother used to give me these hats, I hated. The one that buckle up under your neck and they'd fill my hat full of snow and stuff it on my head and buckle it up. I'd go home with snow dripping all down. And the groceries, they'd take the groceries and then we'd have to go get my brother. My brother would fight, but since he was a sports star, they really didn't mess with him. Plus they knew he could beat up most of them by himself, if they had a one on one. But you know what they had? They had school pride (chuckle), so they didn't mess with the athletes. So I just--I actually what happened, I became a black militant at fourteen. So instead of the gang, I joined another kind of violent movement and became mili--a militant and a black nationalist when I was fourteen.

The Honorable James Clayborne, Jr.

James Franklin Clayborne, Jr., was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 29, 1963, to James and Janet Clayborne. He attended Paul Lawrence Dunbar Elementary School, Lansdowne Junior High School and East St. Louis High School, where he played football. After graduation, Clayborne enrolled at Tennessee State University before attending the University of Miami Law School. While at the University of Miami, he served as a law clerk for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. There, he interned with Janet Reno, then Dade County States Attorney and future U.S. Attornery General. While residing in Florida, he met and married his wife, Staci.

Clayborne returned to Belleville, Illinois where he found employment in the States Attorney’s Office. Two years later, he joined the law firm of Hinshaw and Culbertson. When Illinois Senator Kenneth Hall died in 1995, Clayborne was appointed to complete Hall’s unexpired term. The following year, Clayborne was elected to the Illinois Senate where he currently serves. Clayborne sits on the Committees of Appropriations, Commerce & Industry and Revenue, for which he is the Minority Spokesperson. A finalist for U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Clayborne was one of fifty attorneys selected nationwide to participate in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Law Institute.

In 1997, Clayborne received the “Friend of Education” Award from the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, for his “outstanding commitment to education.” In addition, he spearheaded a resolution to name a state office building in East St. Louis after his predecessor in the Senate, Kenneth Hall. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and Wesley Bethel Methodist Church, Clayborne and his wife are the parents of four children.

Accession Number

A2000.046

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2000

Last Name

Clayborne

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Paul Lawrence Dunbar Elementary School

Lansdowne Junior High School

East St. Louis High School

Tennessee State University

University of Miami

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

PITS004

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/29/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Lawyer and state senator The Honorable James Clayborne, Jr. (1963 - ) Hon. James Clayborne was appointed to complete Senator Kenneth Hall's unexpired term when he died in 1995. Clayborn was then elected in 1997 and sat on the Committees of Appropriations, Commerce & Industry, and Revenue, for which he is the Minority Spokesperson.

Employment

Florida Southern District Court

Hinshaw and Culbertson

Illinois General Assembly

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1040,9:2000,27:3680,55:29073,400:51480,792:57172,858:143200,1875$0,0:7168,79:16728,163:41597,476:50846,577:52062,591:69347,815:73708,868:74420,878:88604,995:90158,1026:90898,1043:91934,1064:92230,1069:107540,1252
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Clayborne talks about his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Clayborne talks about his parents and his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Clayborne describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Clayborne talks about his memories of his neighborhood and elementary school

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Clayborne talks about his memories of the Follow Through program in elementary school

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Clayborne talks about his middle school and high school years

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Clayborne talks about his decision to become a lawyer

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Clayborne describes his years at Tennessee State University and Miami University School of law

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Clayborne talks about his first jobs at the Illinois State's Attorney's office and then at Hinshaw & Culbertson law firm

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Clayborne describes his Illinois Senate appointment upon the passing of Illinois Senator Kenneth Hall in 1995

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James Clayborne talks about his service in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Clayborne remembers fighting a motion to abolish the East St. Louis Board of Elections during his first term in the Illinois State Senate

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Clayborne talks about the impact of public service on him and his family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Clayborne reflects upon influential role models including a grade school teacher, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Dubois, and Carl Officer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Clayborne talks about the importance of teaching youth to use their voting power

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Clayborne discusses his role in improving education with the Illinois FIRST bill and in building a youth center in East St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Clayborne details the legislative process

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Clayborne talks about Illinois Governor George H. Ryan's Illinois FIRST bill

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Clayborne talks about legislative scholarships in the State of Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Clayborne talks about improvements to medical coverage and housing aid in Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Clayborne talks about the role of race in the Illinois General Assembly

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Clayborne talks about how he kept a small community college open

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Clayborne describes how his mother inspired him to fight for a community college at Southern Illinois University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Clayborne talks about how he communicates with his constituents

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Clayborne talks about The HistoryMakers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Clayborne talks about his greatest achievement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Clayborne talks about African American leaders in the Illinois General Assembly and how they help African American communities

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Clayborne describes how black businesses were not supported during The Civil Rights Movement

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

11$4

DATitle
James Clayborne talks about his first jobs at the Illinois State's Attorney's office and then at Hinshaw & Culbertson law firm
James Clayborne talks about the importance of teaching youth to use their voting power
Transcript
Okay, so you're out of law school now and it's time to choose a direction, where you want to head initially in your career. How did you come to those decisions?$$Well one of the...I did a summer internship in the state's attorney's office in St. Clair County in Belleville [Illinois] where I lived and I decided, initially I thought I wanted to stay in Miami [Florida]. I got married going into my senior year. My wife [Staci Clayborne] was actually teaching in Miami but I had already informed her that my intentions were to return back home. And one of the reasons why, I felt that I could make a difference in my own community rather than starting up in someone else's community so I decided to go back home. I had enjoyed the internship in the state's attorney's office so I started working in the state's attorney's office. I worked there for two years and three months and then I received a call from the current firm. I had no idea that I would work for that kind of firm, a defense firm, but as a young man with two kids, and they offered to double my salary, I had no choice but to leave. It's been a good experience since then, every since.$$The name of the firm?$$It's Hinshaw and Culbertson. Actually, it's a Chicago [Illinois] based firm.$$So what is life like for you in the context of practicing law at a major firm.$$It's been a good experience. And the reason why is, I have not been limited to one particular area of the law. I've been fortunate enough, I'm corporate counsel for the city of East St. Louis [Illinois] and you deal with employment issues, you deal with municipal finance, you deal with, just general litigation, business development, real estate development, so because I work for a big firm we're able to provide legal services in all of those areas, so it's really afforded me an opportunity to experience all facets of the law.$As you know, few adults - let alone young students in school are very aware of what state legislators do. How would you address the challenge of getting students more involved earlier and actually knowing what takes place in the state legislature?$$One of the things I've done, I've tried to go out and speak to as many kids as I can. I also encourage schools to bring classes up to the state capitol. That was something I didn't experience when I was going through public school but I guess one of the most important things that we have to teach in all communities is that people really control the power and it's not the state senator or the state rep [state representative] or the U.S. Congressman because people vote you in and you're there to represent their issues, not your own, but to do what's best for your constituents. So I think early on we've got to teach our children that being involved is one of the most important things that you can do. Work, yes, everybody has to work, school, everybody has to go to school, but your working environment, your school environment, is pretty much determined by those people who you have voted or didn't vote for to make decisions on how your daily life or the quality of life that you will have.