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Sarah-Ann Shaw

Boston’s first African American television reporter, Sarah-Ann Shaw was born, Sarah-Ann King, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Annie Bell Bomar King and Norris King, Jr. Growing up in Roxbury, Shaw’s father, who was active in the Roxbury Democratic Club, took her to lectures at Jordan Hall, the Ford Hall Forum, and Tremont Temple; there, young Shaw met Paul Robeson. Shaw’s mother worked along side the selfless Melnea Cass. Shaw attended William P. Boardman Elementary School and Henry Lee Higginson Elementary School, was a Girl Scout, and was active at St. Mark’s Social Center. A student at Girls Latin School, Shaw was involved with the NAACP Youth Movement; graduating in 1952, Shaw enrolled at Boston University, but left school in 1955 to get married.

Increasingly involved in community activities, Shaw worked with St. Mark’s Social Center and as a member of the Boston Action Group (BAG). Shaw joined other activists like Otto P. and Muriel S. Snowden in 1957; national Student Movement head, Bill Strickland then asked her to head the Boston Northern Student Movement where she coordinated student led voter education, high school tutoring, and economic housing education with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), BAG, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Unitarians. In 1968, Shaw became involved with Ray Richardson’s Say Brother public affairs show on WBEZ-TV; she would go on to appear on the program more than twenty times. In 1969, Shaw was hired by WBZ-TV 4 as Boston’s first African American reporter; she remained a news reporter at WBZ TV 4 for more than thirty years. As a civil rights organizer and human services advocate, Shaw demonstrated a rare ability to unite Boston residents and tackle big picture issues. At WBZ, Shaw anchored another black oriented public affairs program, Mzizi Roots.

Shaw, who helped define minority affairs programming and news content, received numerous journalistic awards for her work, including an award from the Boston Radio-Television News Directors Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists in 1998, and the Yankee Quill Award from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. Shaw also volunteered for Boston Partners in Education; served as a board member of Boston Neighborhood Network; and served as the President for both the Boston Coalition of Black Women, and the League of Women for Community Service.

Accession Number

A2007.067

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/13/2007 |and| 9/10/2007

Last Name

Shaw

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ann

Schools

William P. Boardman Elementary School

Henry Lee Higginson Elementary School

Boston Latin Academy

Higginson-Lewis K-8 School

Boston University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sarah

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

SHA05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

I'm Here By Being Careful

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

String Beans

Short Description

Civil rights activist and television reporter Sarah-Ann Shaw ( - ) was the first African American television reporter in Boston.

Employment

Boston Action Group

Boston Northern Student Movement

'Say Brother'

WBZ-TV

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:4108,68:7347,122:8058,132:9717,165:10270,173:10586,178:14010,185:15018,194:15774,201:18092,218:18477,224:23626,275:27385,317:27740,323:28095,329:28734,341:30438,374:31503,394:33633,426:39242,534:41230,575:48538,673:49050,682:49434,689:50330,706:50650,712:51610,740:54682,877:55834,905:56218,912:56538,918:58074,957:59802,983:60186,990:60570,1002:60826,1007:61210,1015:61786,1025:66350,1031:74514,1129:75404,1141:76027,1150:78910,1158:79338,1163:79873,1169:80408,1175:83404,1230:86800,1251:88144,1266:89200,1281:95600,1323:96020,1329:97595,1344:98015,1349:101620,1367:101995,1373:102520,1382:103045,1390:111098,1470:111971,1480:112359,1485:113911,1506:114687,1517:115366,1525:116930,1531:117660,1544:118025,1550:119852,1563:122008,1599:122596,1605:124360,1627:124752,1632:128502,1658:129038,1667:129574,1677:129909,1683:140970,1891:141636,1901:142080,1908:142376,1913:142746,1920:153790,1974:155550,1999$0,0:27448,264:28375,280:38880,352:40053,374:47780,445:48428,456:49076,466:52892,513:55268,572:63484,691:66408,749:66680,754:71168,845:71508,851:75820,883:76112,888:76404,893:76696,898:77572,916:96016,1181:96421,1187:106453,1223:111214,1310:113836,1361:114457,1371:125076,1524:125964,1544:146768,1821:152507,1859:152990,1867:190662,2454:202246,2601:202656,2607:208478,2760:208970,2769:209872,2781:217460,2891
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sarah-Ann Shaw's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers her maternal aunt's farm in Inman, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her mother's move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her parents' move to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her parents' personalities and social activities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers her father's community involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the leaders of her community

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the racial history of Boston's Roxbury neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her community in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her early organizational participation

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her schooling in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers her early interests

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her high school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her experiences at the Girls' Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her aspirations upon graduating from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the radio programs of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers attending dances as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls attending Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her community activism

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the impact of urban renewal in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls the leaders of Boston's Roxbury community

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her role in the Northern Student Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the Agency Row in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about the Northern Student Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls the achievements of the Northern Student Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the shortcomings of the Northern Student Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about the racial demographics of Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the creation of the 'Say Brother' television program

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers Melnea Cass

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about 'Say Brother,' pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about 'Say Brother,' pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers hosting 'Mzizi Roots'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Sarah-Ann Shaw's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls becoming a reporter at WBZ-TV in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her experiences as Boston's first black woman reporter

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her approach to reporting on the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about unbiased media coverage

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers Melvin King's mayoral campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about the Charles Stuart case

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about discrimination in the Boston Police Department

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the government of the City of Boston

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her experiences at the majority white WBZ-TV station

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her commitment to unbiased reporting

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her racial identity

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers the protests at Boston City Hall Plaza

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls the topics on 'Mzizi Roots'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her guests on 'Mzizi Roots'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about the decline of public access television

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers mentoring young black journalists

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her advice to young black journalists

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the National Association of Black Journalists, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the National Association of Black Journalists, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her retirement

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her approach to reporting on the black community
Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her guests on 'Mzizi Roots'
Transcript
Then as time went on I started doing after school (unclear) schools desegregation calmed down so I started to do a lot of different kinds of stories. I tried to do stories that showed positive events happening in the black community and not just--for a two-fold purpose. I thought it was important particularly for young black kids to see themselves not on television for fighting, for doing drugs, et cetera. But for doing something positive, for them to have a positive image of themselves and I also thought it was important for people who lived outside the city--white people who didn't live in Boston [Massachusetts] who lived in the suburbs to know that there were positive things happening in the black community. That there were people who lived in Roxbury [Boston, Massachusetts], in Dorchester [Boston, Massachusetts], Mattapan [Boston, Massachusetts] who went to work every day, who went to church every week, who raised families, who were as concerned about--who were buying houses, who were just as concerned about achieving the American dream as these people who lived in the suburbs. What I tried to do was to present the kinds of stories that would allow people to see that there was more than one side to the black community. In those days you could do a lot more. I hardly ever--I find the news now very, very lacking. Very seldom do you see those kinds of stories about the black community. It's mostly someone got shot, someone got arrested, something else happened. You don't really see stories about kids who are doing something in school. You don't see kids who are being entrepreneurial. I'm sure that the same way kids do lemonade stands to raise money for good causes in the suburbs that there are kids in the inner city doing the same thing but you don't really see it. But that's what I did, I was at BZ [WBZ-TV, Boston, Massachusetts] for thirty-one years and during that time I tried the best I could to be even handed and fair and that to me was important.$What do you think was your most significant show on ['Mzizi Roots']--?$$I don't know because we covered such a wide variety. I remember I had [HistoryMaker] Harry Belafonte on talking about Africa and the situation in Africa and then I had the South African tour band but then I also had people like Jimmy Slyde who is a preeminent tap dancer who was well known around the world as a tap dancer. So I think that I tried to do--I tried to do a variety of different things that illustrated who black people were, what they had accomplished and what they could do. I'd do history shows--black history shows, I would do shows about black people in Boston [Massachusetts] who had accomplished things. I can't even say what I would consider to be the most significant show because to me all of them were significant because they all had their own story they told, they all had a point that they were making so I don't think I can say one above the other. But they were all interesting, I mean as I said. I tried to participate when Jimmy Slyde the tap dancer was on he said, "Let me show you some steps," and there I was trying to (laughter) tap dance with Jimmy Slyde. Or people would come in--I tried to participate. I wish I had some of those tapes now because there were a lot of interesting people. If people were well-known who were coming to town for something else, we would get them on the show. We would get them to be on the show if they were in town at Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] lecturing, we'd get them to come on the show. If they were in town playing someplace, we'd get them at Storyville [Boston, Massachusetts] or some of the other clubs; we'd get them to come on the show. So there was a lot of--Joe Williams was on the show who sang with Count Basie. So there were many, many different music, politics, cooking shows, you name it we tried to do it.$$It seems like Boston is the kind of place that has a, in terms of black history, there's all kinds of people have had some kind of connection with Boston. Everybody from Malcolm X lived here; Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] lived here at one time. I don't think there's any other city where (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Malcolm's nephew was on the show talking about Malcolm.$$Du Bois [W.E.B. Du Bois] you know you can go down the line, everybody was here at some point.$$The African Meeting House [Boston, Massachusetts]--the people who built African Meeting House those people. David Walker, the appealed David Walker, you know there's a lot of black history in Boston. Black people lived on Beacon Hill [Boston, Massachusetts], they owned Beacon Hill practically--not that they owned it but this is where they lived and then it wasn't a fashionable place to live but that's where they lived until they moved to South End [Boston, Massachusetts], and then out.

Renee Ferguson

TV journalist and investigative reporter Renee Ferguson was born on August 22, 1949 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Eugene and Mary Ferguson. Attending Edwards Elementary School, Ferguson graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1967. At Indiana University, she covered the student unrest at Jackson State and Kent State Universities and worked as a Washington Post student intern during the summer of 1970. Ferguson earned her B.S. degree in journalism in 1971.

Ferguson worked in Indianapolis, Indiana as a writer for the Indianapolis Star newspaper and then as a news reporter for television station WLWI-TV. When she joined Chicago’s WBBM-TV in 1977, she became the first African American woman to work as an investigative reporter in Chicago. In 1980, she worked as a network news correspondent for CBS News in New York City and Atlanta. Ferguson returned to Chicago in 1987, joining the UNIT 5 investigative team at NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV.

Ferguson has reported on many issues including strip searches of women of color at O’Hare Airport by United States Customs officials; sexual harassment at Chicago’s Ford Motor Plant; the deaths of children involved in a clinical drug trial; a high school undercover investigation of drug and alcohol abuse and gun and drug sales held in the property room of the Gary, Indiana police department.

A recipient of seven Chicago Emmy Awards, the DuPont Award, the Gracie Award, the Associated Press Award for Best Investigative Reporting and many other accolades, Ferguson lives with her husband Ken Smikle and their son in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

Accession Number

A2005.058

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/3/2005 |and| 7/20/2005

Last Name

Ferguson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Frederick A. Douglass High School

Edwards Elementary School

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Renee

Birth City, State, Country

Oklahoma City

HM ID

FER01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Ed and Bettiann Gardner

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Wear The World As A Loose Garment.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/22/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chitterlings

Short Description

Television reporter Renee Ferguson (1949 - ) was Chicago's first African American female investigative reporter. She reported on many issues, including the strip searches of women of color at O’Hare Airport and sexual harassment at Chicago’s Ford Motor Plant.

Employment

WLWI TV

WBBM TV

CBS News

WMAQ TV

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:820,30:4100,126:4920,137:5248,143:5904,153:7380,169:7954,177:23046,317:24522,338:25342,349:25670,360:26490,371:27392,385:27884,392:28458,400:30426,433:33624,505:33952,510:34936,531:35346,537:36002,556:44463,604:44918,610:48376,659:49013,667:50560,693:50924,698:56737,746:57092,752:57376,757:59080,800:59790,811:60500,822:61352,842:62772,874:63695,890:64405,901:66748,951:78992,1072:79636,1080:94260,1274:95140,1290:97860,1341:98580,1351:98900,1356:100660,1401:100980,1406:101700,1418:102340,1427:102740,1433:103300,1441:106100,1498:117285,1626:120895,1682:122130,1700:124030,1727:129274,1745:131482,1756:131858,1761:132328,1767:140774,1914:147416,2041:167116,2186:167560,2194:167856,2199:172665,2229:175095,2282:177201,2324:189468,2482:189936,2490:193778,2517:194282,2525:197882,2592:198242,2598:198530,2603:198818,2608:199106,2613:199754,2625:203786,2703:204506,2716:209528,2771:211736,2786:212685,2804:213050,2812:214583,2845:218206,2865:218518,2870:218986,2878:219844,2892:229610,2996:229930,3001:230890,3018:234890,3076:235690,3089:238010,3203:249360,3351$0,0:950,4:1380,10:3272,37:3702,43:10410,182:14796,235:20128,324:20816,332:22278,356:22708,362:31554,434:34914,474:38526,542:39366,555:39702,560:40290,568:44910,637:46422,664:48438,693:49110,708:56502,730:65150,830:65526,835:67312,855:67876,863:71260,903:72294,918:72670,923:73046,928:87781,1034:88057,1042:89092,1062:92458,1080:93784,1097:94804,1109:96232,1122:97150,1134:100274,1151:101522,1171:103004,1192:103706,1207:104486,1220:105578,1234:105890,1239:118710,1450:121152,1490:121966,1507:122262,1512:122558,1517:122854,1522:123594,1539:124482,1553:124778,1558:134318,1645:134857,1658:135165,1663:136320,1681:136782,1688:137090,1693:139092,1726:139862,1746:140401,1751:141556,1769:142018,1776:144790,1818:146407,1841:147023,1850:147485,1857:148255,1868:149641,1888:150334,1906:151104,1917:158468,1957:159116,1972:159926,1983:165677,2089:166649,2098:181020,2250:181380,2255:182550,2271:187040,2302:187474,2310:188280,2326:190698,2375:191318,2386:191876,2396:192310,2405:192620,2411:197462,2452:197798,2457:205401,2533:209750,2550:211110,2573:211430,2578:214230,2615:214790,2624:215670,2639:216070,2645:218070,2697:218870,2705:229234,2812:237739,2956:240331,2994:240655,2999:242518,3026:249523,3070:251340,3099:265580,3291:266660,3311:266948,3316:270893,3367:276371,3471:277035,3480:277367,3485:278612,3503:279110,3511:279442,3516:280355,3530:283260,3570:292548,3632:297732,3701:298461,3711:299028,3719:299514,3726:299838,3731:304050,3778:304374,3783:304698,3788:314812,3880:322246,3957:322562,3962:323273,3973:324379,3989:325090,3999:326275,4015:328724,4056:329356,4067:331015,4093:331331,4098:332121,4109:335676,4166:339040,4174
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Renee Ferguson's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Renee Ferguson's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson lists her favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson lists her favorites, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson describes her view of French nationalism

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson lists her favorite phrase

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Renee Ferguson talks about taking care of her great-aunt, Hattie Brown

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Renee Ferguson talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Renee Ferguson talks about the uncertainty surrounding her father's birth date

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Renee Ferguson talks about her father's family ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Renee Ferguson talks about her paternal grandfather's lost land in California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Renee Ferguson talks about how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Renee Ferguson describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson talks about growing up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson remembers fighting in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson describes unpleasant smells in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson describes her childhood house

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson talks about her childhood social life and her high school prom night

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Renee Ferguson talks about being a member of the Methodist church

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Renee Ferguson talks about the role of music and television in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Renee Ferguson talks about her interest in journalism, ethical journalism and what makes journalism enjoyable

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Renee Ferguson describes newspapers she read as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Renee Ferguson talks about Edwards Elementary School, Moon Junior High School and Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson talks about Willard Pitts, her mentor in journalism, and working at the Daily Oklahoman

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson talks about civil rights activity in 1960s Oklahoma City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson describes deciding to become a journalist

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson describes deciding to transition into broadcast journalism after college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson describes her experience as an undergraduate student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Renee Ferguson describes working for the Daily Herald-Telephone, the Indiana Daily Student and Indiana University's public relations department

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Renee Ferguson describes her social life as an undergraduate student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Renee Ferguson describes her interview for an internship with The Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Renee Ferguson describes her experience as an intern in the editorial department at The Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson describes working with journalist Robert C. Maynard at The Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson describes the role of conflict in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson describes the influence of Washington Post editor Philip Geyelin and journalist Meg Greenfield

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson describes her experience at Indianapolis News after graduation

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson talks about joining WLWI-TV in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Renee Ferguson talks about refusing to straighten her hair at WLWI television

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Renee Ferguson talks about covering the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Renee Ferguson describes the political climate in 1970s Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson talks about covering the United States Border Patrol

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson responds to an inquiry about broadcast circulation through WLWI

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson talks about being hired at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois and going undercover as a high school student

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson continues to describe going undercover as a high school student

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson describes undercover journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Renee Ferguson talks about her expose of teacher and HistoryMaker Marva Collins, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Renee Ferguson talks about her expose of teacher and HistoryMaker Marva Collins, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Renee Ferguson describes the aftermath following her expose of HistoryMaker Marva Collins

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Renee Ferguson talks about political corruption in 1970s Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson describes leaving WBBM CBS TV Chicago for CBS National news in 1981 and meeting her husband, HistoryMaker Ken Smikle

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson describes working for CBS National News on CBS Sunday Morning in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson talks about Mayor Harold Washington's legacy and death in 1987, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson talks about Mayor Harold Washington's legacy and death in 1987, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson talks about Mayor Harold Washington's legacy and death in 1987, pt. 3

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Second slating of Renee Ferguson's interview

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Renee Ferguson talks about her frustrations working as a general assignment reporter

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson describes fighting to become an investigative reporter at WMAQ-TV, NBC 5 Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson describes endorsements she received in support of her promotion from HistoryMakers Carol Mosley Braun and Reverend Jesse Jackson

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson talks about her prize-winning investigation of O'Hare International Airport Customs strip-searching black women, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson talks about her prize-winning investigation of O'Hare International Airport Customs strip-searching black women, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson describes her career in investigative journalism, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Renee Ferguson describes her career in investigative reporting, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Renee Ferguson describes her reporting style and the stories that interested her

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson talks about misconduct in the Chicago Police Department

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson talks about drug smuggling procedures

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson describes her future goals

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson describes the fiction reading and writing she enjoys

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson describes her reporting philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Renee Ferguson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American demographic

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Renee Ferguson imagines a racism-free future

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Renee Ferguson considers what she may have done differently

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Renee Ferguson talks about her independent research on chondrocalcinosis

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Renee Ferguson talks about having an experimental procedure done to manage her chondrocalcinosis

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Renee Ferguson considers her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Renee Ferguson talks about her family

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Renee Ferguson urges young people to consider careers in socially productive journalism

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Renee Ferguson talks about her relationship with the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization and the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Renee Ferguson describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$7

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Renee Ferguson describes her interview for an internship with The Washington Post
Renee Ferguson talks about her prize-winning investigation of O'Hare International Airport Customs strip-searching black women, pt. 1
Transcript
So I got to tell you about my college [Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana] adventure.$$Right, right.$$I interned at The Washington Post, which was really fun; and Indiana University, being located in Bloomington, Indiana did not get the--our journalism school did not receive the leaflets or any invitation for interns to go to The Washington Post. The Washington Post sent its intern program applications to the seven sister colleges and to the Ivy leagues. I didn't know anything about that. I just knew that it was the paper where [Robert] Bob Maynard wrote. Bob Maynard, as you know, was a great black journalist. He is dead now, but he was an amazing writer, and he wrote with such passion, and he saw things in such a way; and I would just hang on to every word that he wrote in The Washington Post, so I knew I wanted to go there as an intern. And I kept waiting for the internship application to come and it never came; and by the time it did arrive--well, it didn't arrive, I called them. And they sent me one, but by the time they sent it, they had already chosen all their--you know, the deadline had passed, so I said, so "You didn't send one to Indiana [University]," and they said, "We're sorry, we'll send it," and then I sent it in, and I got a call from a man named Philip [L.] Geyelin and Phil Geyelin was the editorial page editor at the [Washington] Post at the time, very famous man, Pulitzer Prize winning writer, he called me and said, "Well, I'm going to be in Chicago [Illinois] to interview our applicants. I'll be at the Newsweek office. Will you come for an interview?" I said, "Of course, I will." And I had no money, and no way to get there, and no bus fare, and no car fare, and nothing to get to Chicago on very short notice, so I took my rent money, and I got a bus, and found my way to the Newsweek building, and I interviewed with Mr. Geyelin and he said at the time, "Well, we really don't have anymore openings." And I said, "Well, why did you have me come here if you weren't going to really consider me?" He said, "Well, that's a good question, isn't it." I said, "Yeah." I said, "I don't think that's fair." I said, "You can have as many openings as you want," and he said, "We can, can't we?" I said, "Absolutely." He said, "Well, I'm going to interview other people." He said, "I'll call you and let you know." And I said, "Well, I hope the phone is on because I spent all my money for my rent and the telephone to come up here." He looked at me and started laughing. He said, "Well, okay." And he goes in his wallet--I've never seen that much money in my life. He pulls out a $100.00 bill and hands it to me. He says, "How are you going to get back?" I said, "Well, I was going to hitch hike." He said, "No." He said, "Here's the money. Take the bus, pay your rent, pay your phone bill. I have kids in college and I understand." He said, "I don't want you out there on the road hitchhiking." He was so nice, and a few days later, I got the call and I got the job, so that summer, I worked on--they created that position 'cause they didn't (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Now, this is what summer?$$It must have been 1970--it must have been 1970, yeah.$$Okay, so this is just after the Kent State [shootings, at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio in May 1970] and all that.$And right after that, I won--I did a story that won the DuPont [Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards], which is like the Pulitzer Prize, so they immediately saw that they had made a good decision, and have been supportive of my efforts ever since.$$Now what was the story that won the duPont prize?$$I did a story on African American women who were strip searched at O'Hare [International Airport, Chicago, Illinois]. I got a call one day from a woman at six in the morning, I happened to be at work, and I got a call from her saying that she had just cleared customs at O'Hare and had been taken into a small room and forced to take her clothes down, and even take her tampon out and show it to the guards, women guards, customs officer, to proof that she was not carrying drugs internally, and when I met her, she was a very tall woman with her hair in dreadlocks and she a woman who traveled quite a bit to work with children of war. She was very extraordinary and she came back to this greeting and to this profiling, is what it really was. It was really racial and gender profiling because the thinking was that if you were a woman and black, or of color, traveling alone, you must have been working as a mule for some drug dealers and have heroin packets inside your body.$$There was also, I guess, a cultural aspect of it too, the dreadlocks maybe stereotyped her (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Dreadlocks stereotyped her--what was interesting is when she told me this, I said, "Well, you must have some kind of criminal history. You must have something--they must have probable cause to search you." Well later, I found out they have to have probable cause to search your house or to search your garage. They do not have to have probable cause to search your body at the border. The standard is much lower, and it's a standard called reasonable suspicion. So they only have to have reasonable suspicion. Later, as I investigated, I found out that reasonable suspicion can be anything essentially, and in her case, they said [U.S.] Customs [and Border Protection] that day after I interviewed her--her name is Denise Pullian--after I interviewed Denise, Customs said to me, "Oh, yes, we did that. We can do that, and we did that because she was wearing loose clothing; and we thought because she was wearing loose-fitting clothing that that gave us reasonable suspicion that she might have drugs under there." So then we put that story on the air that night, and the next day, I got a deluge of calls from people who said, crying over the phone, that this had happened to them. So I got them all together in an hotel room, and that's what we learned that they were all African American women.$$Not a single person from another--(simultaneous)-$$Not a single white woman. A room with fifty women in it who had been strip-searched and humiliated. They were all innocent. None of them were carrying drugs, none of them had any criminal history--most of them didn't even have a traffic ticket. We checked them out--were pulled over and were subjected to this tremendous humiliation. Now, these days, of course, you might as well as go--after September 11 [2001], you might as well go to the airport naked. You know, everyone gets patted down or subjected to a secondary search of some type at some point, take your shoes off and all of that, but this was very intrusive. What we were talking about here and what these women described were actually body cavity searches. Some of them were taken to hospitals and put in stirrups, or given laxatives to see if, and held for seventy-two hours to see if they would pass drugs. One woman was even pregnant, one woman was a Fulbright scholar coming back from Africa. One woman was an actress who had come from Germany, where she had a very brilliant commercial career. There were teachers, there were politicians, there were some women who called me. There was a judge. There were people who were high up in political administrations here. Many people called me who did not want to go public, but the women who were courageous enough to go public did so, and we just kept doing their stories.

Jocelyn Dorsey

Journalist Jocelyn Dorsey was born October 10, 1950, in Boston Massachusetts. She is one of three children born to Helena and Robert S. Dorsey in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a child, she attended Rockdale Elementary School and Walnut Hills High School, both in Cincinnati. Upon graduation from high school, she attended Ohio State University where she majored in journalism.

After completing college, Dorsey took a brief summer job as a photographer and reporter at The Cincinnati Herald for a summer. She then made her move to television in 1972, working as a reporter at WKRC- TV for a year before she found her permanent home at WSB-TV in Atlanta in 1973. Over the last thirty years, she has held a number of positions with the station, and since 1983, she has been director of editorials and public affairs. Before that, Dorsey served as an anchor, reporter, producer and assignment editor for Channel 2 Action News for ten years. Her current responsibilities at WSB-TV include research, writing and production of editorials broadcast by WSB-TV vice president and general manager Gregory Stone.

Dorsey is also executive producer and host of "People 2 People." She has won numerous awards for her work with WSB-TV, including seven Southeast Regional Emmys for Editorial Excellence from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She was the first African American inducted into the NATAS Silver Circle. She was also the first woman and first African American to receive the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Citizen of the Year Award. Dorsey has been inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Region IV Hall of Fame and has been named National Media Woman of the Year by the National Association of Media Women. Her other honors include the first Georgia Chapter United Cerebral Palsy Woman of the Year and the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers. She was named a Pioneer Black Journalist, the highest award given by the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists. She was also recently recognized by Atlanta magazine as a "Woman Making Her Mark."

Dorsey is the mother of two children, one of whom was killed in January of 2003. She is also has two grandchildren.

Accession Number

A2004.175

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/23/2004

Last Name

Dorsey

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Walnut Hills High School

Rockdale Elementary School

The Ohio State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jocelyn

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

DOR02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Duh.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/30/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Television producer and television reporter Jocelyn Dorsey (1950 - ) is the director of editorials and public affairs at WSB-TV, and executive producer and host of "People 2 People." She was also the first African American inducted into the NATAS Silver Circle, and the first woman and first African American to receive the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Citizen of the Year Award.

Employment

Cincinnati Herald

WKYC TV

WSB TV

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3724,138:4104,144:17328,401:18088,413:20064,447:25728,474:26498,490:29270,578:29809,673:35276,847:45363,1061:49414,1078:50450,1093:51412,1101:52152,1112:55704,1172:57406,1206:57702,1213:58294,1223:58664,1230:59848,1249:61550,1289:61846,1294:62956,1313:63770,1325:64140,1331:67618,1404:68136,1414:78769,1507:79645,1520:80010,1526:82565,1573:82930,1579:83441,1587:84244,1601:84609,1607:85120,1616:85704,1625:90522,1707:91763,1725:92639,1741:93442,1755:97311,1831:109426,1978:110018,1988:111054,2010:112608,2038:113200,2047:114680,2076:119420,2123$0,0:3165,55:4056,74:4542,123:7944,196:8511,205:8916,211:11508,260:12966,283:13776,295:14181,302:14505,307:14910,313:15396,321:17664,348:18069,354:27520,440:27900,446:28812,462:29192,468:29648,476:31092,515:32916,568:33904,591:34284,597:35272,621:37172,676:37704,684:38616,710:39224,719:39604,745:43220,754:43560,760:44444,776:45736,801:47504,829:47912,836:48388,845:49204,861:50088,877:50904,891:51448,902:51788,908:52196,915:53828,962:54576,976:55936,1000:56480,1010:59746,1020:60262,1027:60778,1036:64562,1080:70496,1201:72302,1235:72990,1247:75828,1297:76430,1306:79580,1313:86018,1392:86975,1406:89933,1444:92282,1484:92978,1493:97937,1590:98546,1600:102809,1683:103679,1695:109917,1728:110322,1734:111942,1785:113886,1819:114939,1839:115749,1850:116802,1865:119556,1926:120852,1944:125086,1958:125660,1966:146052,2278:152700,2385:153503,2399:154379,2412:154890,2425:155912,2444:156423,2452:158029,2485:158394,2497:160219,2532:170786,2664:171765,2679:172299,2687:172744,2697:174702,2735:186518,2921:187046,2935:188894,2976:190016,2996:190478,3005:190940,3013:191468,3023:191798,3029:192986,3058:193382,3067:194504,3091:195098,3107:196154,3131:196880,3146:198596,3185:198992,3192:203198,3207:203563,3213:204074,3221:205096,3236:206848,3282:207651,3296:207943,3301:208965,3323:209987,3360:211228,3386:212104,3402:212469,3409:213199,3421:213564,3427:213929,3437:221484,3532:221814,3538:222144,3544:222936,3559:223398,3567:224520,3586:225642,3617:226104,3627:226368,3632:228018,3678:230988,3736:231516,3746:236966,3778:237512,3810:238786,3825:239605,3835:240060,3872:244428,3942:248034,3975:248736,3988:249204,3997:249516,4002:249828,4007:254420,4064
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jocelyn Dorsey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jocelyn Dorsey lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about her maternal ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes living on Forest Park Drive as a child in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jocelyn Dorsey lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about her experience at her elementary schools in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about attending Walnut Hills High School, a selective-enrollment college-preparatory school in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Jocelyn Dorsey recalls her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Jocelyn Dorsey remembers her childhood aspiration to become a marine biologist

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about how she developed an interest in journalism at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jocelyn Dorsey remembers her favorite teacher at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about the late 1960s political climate at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jocelyn Dorsey recalls dropping out of The Ohio State University to become a reporter at WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes tackling racial discrimination with the help of her workplace allies at WRKC-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about challenges she experienced when she moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jocelyn Dorsey recounts stories of racial and gender discrimination she experienced as a news reporter in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jocelyn Dorsey recounts stories of racial discrimination she experienced as a reporter in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jocelyn Dorsey remembers Coretta Scott King saving her career and her continuation to the news station management

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about changes that are needed in the media's portrayal of African Americans

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes how Coretta Scott King rallied African American leaders to appeal WSB-TV ownership on her behalf

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jocelyn Dorsey explains the differing perspectives on race in the North and the South

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jocelyn Dorsey remembers her transition to management in 1983 and its subsequent changes

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jocelyn Dorsey shares her proudest accomplishments as a news reporters at WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about her work in television as community service

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jocelyn Dorsey reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jocelyn Dorsey gives advice to young people interested in journalism and media

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jocelyn Dorsey reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Jocelyn Dorsey talks about her love of world travel

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 3

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jocelyn Dorsey describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jocelyn Dorsey gives advice to young people

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jocelyn Dorsey reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jocelyn Dorsey discusses the media's role in perpetuating negative images and values

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jocelyn Dorsey expounds on society's relationship to the media

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Jocelyn Dorsey talks about challenges she experienced when she moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to Atlanta, Georgia
Jocelyn Dorsey recounts stories of racial discrimination she experienced as a reporter in Atlanta, Georgia
Transcript
So, how long were you in Cincinnati [Ohio] (simultaneous) before you moved to Atlanta [Georgia]?$$(Simultaneous) Seven months (laughter), seven months. And everybody kept saying, "You're not ready to go to the big city," you know, "you're going to the sharks," and, you know, "you'll never survive because Atlanta is a big TV market." And what they forgot was that I had training in print, so I was grounded in writing and knew how to construct stories and I felt that my training at the university [The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio] had given me everything, plus my parents [Helena Harris Dorsey and HistoryMaker Robert Sherwood Dorsey] had given me everything that I was armed with to do the job. And I came here [WSB-TV, Channel 2, Atlanta, Georgia] and couldn't understand why people thought it was so difficult.$$And you couldn't have been more than twenty-two?$$I was about twenty-two, and it was--coming to the Deep South was a challenge.$$What was some of the challenges? (Simultaneous) What did you encounter?$$First of all, I was from the North, and there really is, you know, a difference between northern experiences and southern experiences. The problem I had was that, you know, from a southern, even a black southerner's perspective, the view was that I didn't know what was going on, because I'd never experienced segregation, you know, for the most part they didn't know my parents. They went to predominantly white schools, you know, Ohio State University obviously is not a historically black college. So now I don't have the historically black college experience, I don't have the southern experience, I'm not one of them. So I was ostracized by both communities. I was ostracized by the white community because I was from up north and I talked funny, and they didn't understand me anyway, and because I was black. And then ostracized by the southern African American community, because I talked funny, and because I was from up north, and because I couldn't have had any relationship to them with a southern experience. So it was very, very lonely--$$Did you--$$--it was very lonely.$Then you had the--the pressure of stories. There were stories I couldn't cover [for WSB-TV, Channel 2, Atlanta, Georgia], because it was the burning of a cross on top of Stone Mountain [Georgia] with the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan [KKK], and they were afraid for my life. I covered one story, I'll never forget, with J.B. Stoner who was a white supremacist. And at that time, you know, here I am a young kid--what do I know about white supremacy? I'd never come up against it. And the assignment editor said to me, "Well, are you sure you wanna cover this story? Because he's a white supremacist," and I was like, "what the heck is a white supremacist?" Well, I quickly found out. It was in The Biltmore Hotel [Atlanta, Georgia], which is still standing today, which was originally the headquarters of WSB. And I walked into the ballroom, and I should've known something was wrong when state patrol were all over the place. I was the only black reporter. My photographer was white, scared to death. I walked into the auditorium with 250 people. And there were posters all over the wall that said, "Kill the niggers." "Down with the niggers." And I'm looking at these posters not really believing what I'm seeing, because I'd heard about it, but I didn't know, you know, that that was really still in existence in the '70s [1970s], now this is 1973-74 [1974] in Atlanta, Georgia. And everybody got up; they were all upset because I had entered, and they started shouting profanities at me and, you know, "Kill the nigger," and, "what's the nigger doing in here?" And here I am covering a story of someone who is announcing their candidacy for the [lieutenant] governor of Georgia, and we had to cover the story because of FCC [Federal Communications Commission] requirements that say you have to cover all political candidates announcing for office. So you can imagine, I was terrified. I mean, I was terrified, and to this day, I'm friends with a photographer, not my photographer, my photographer was like, "Don't say anything to me, I don't know ya." But a woman got up and yelled, "Get her outta here before we catch sickle cell anemia." And I thought it was hysterical. You know, and so I am an arrogant, most stupid arrogant kid, and I started laughing, because I was laughing at the ignorance. And all of a sudden they got angry; a woman spit in my direction. A photographer from another station got up and started yelling at--you know, "Leave her alone," and called profanities back. He was a white photographer, and they carried him out bodily. They picked him up and carried him out. And finally Stoner said, "Look," you know, "they're here to cover the story. They're gonna be gone in a few minutes," and I'm sitting there just, you know, I'm like, should I leave, should I go, what should I do? And so I told my photographer, "Keep the camera rolling," but realized that the story was him announcing for governor. It was not the story of the uproar that was created because a black woman walked into the room. Look how times have changed, and that was in the early '70s [1970s]. So these were the things we had to endure. I've been to places where I had to cover another candidate at a country club, and they tried to tell me to go around to the back door. Well not being with segregation--you know, I didn't understand what they were saying to me at first, because I'd never been in a place where I had to go into the back door. And they finally explained to me that they didn't allow black members at the country club, and the only people who were black were the help, and they went through the back door. Therefore, I was supposed to go through the back door. This was when Bert Lance was running for governor. He since became the [U.S. Department of] Transportation secretary under [President James Earl "Jimmy"] Carter [Jr.]. So these were things that we had to endure every day. Every day, we were reminded, you know, who we were and what some people felt our place was in this place we call Atlanta--

Joseph Dyer

The first African American to work as a television reporter and executive in the Los Angeles community, Joseph Dyer was born in Gilbert, Louisiana, on September 24, 1934. The son of sharecroppers, Dyer’s father passed away while he was still a child, and by the age of ten, Dyer was picking cotton in the fields with his deaf mother. After graduating from high school in 1953, he attended Xavier University for one year on a football scholarship before transferring to Grambling State University, where he earned his B.A. degree in speech and drama in 1957.

Upon graduating, Dyer moved to Los Angeles, but was called into military service within a month. While in the Air Force, he was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, where he became the editor of the base paper and later the host of the base television program. After being honorably discharged in 1961, Dyer returned to Los Angeles, while his wife and daughter remained in Mississippi. He was hired as a technical writer at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shortly after his return to Southern California. While working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dyer joined Studio West, an artist’s enclave where he met individuals such as Greg Morris of Mission: Impossible, jazz singer Rita Morris and Cassius Weathersby, who at the time was serving as head of the Labor and Industry Committee for the Beverly Hills NAACP. It was Weathersby who convinced Dyer to apply for a position with CBS-2, Los Angeles’ largest television news station at the time. In April of 1965, Dyer was hired on a probationary contract as a writer and news producer.

In August of 1965, riots broke out in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, and Dyer was able to play a critical role. He would call in live phone reports during “The Big News,” and he landed interviews with a number of key community leaders at the time, including Maulana Karenga. His career as a reporter featured a number of other interview highlights, including an exclusive interview with Muhammad Ali following the boxer being stripped of his title for refusing to fight in Vietnam.

In 1968, Dyer became the first African American executive in network news when he was named director of community affairs for CBS-2. In this role, he helped to promote diversity within the station and promote the station in the community. This position was not without stress, however, and Dyer became a long-distance runner. He would eventually compete in the Los Angeles Marathon. At the time of his retirement, Dyer had spent more than thirty years with CBS-2.

Dyer has been recognized numerous times for his contributions to the community, and he has also successfully battled prostate cancer. He and his wife, high-school sweetheart Doris Dillon, have four children.

Joseph Dyer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 23, 2004.

Dyer passed away on 02/24/2011.

Accession Number

A2004.047

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/23/2004

Last Name

Dyer

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Central Memorial High School

Grambling State University

Xavier University of Louisiana

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

Gilbert

HM ID

DYE01

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Success Is Nothing More Than A Rendezvous Between Preparation And Opportunity.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/24/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date

2/24/2011

Short Description

Broadcast executive and television reporter Joseph Dyer (1934 - 2011 ) was the first African American to work as a television reporter and executive in the Los Angeles community. He played a critical role in covering the 1965 riots, interviewing key community leaders. At the time of his retirement, Dyer had spent more than thirty years with CBS-2.

Employment

United States Air Force

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Studio West

KCBS TV

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:607,13:7228,115:8460,148:18816,491:19080,496:25970,575:27820,581:31230,624:37370,692:44570,862:61060,1099:88232,1497:88762,1508:94472,1595:98030,1643:102080,1728:115408,1903:124582,2089:131466,2206:148920,2350:149300,2355:151948,2366:152292,2410:154442,2444:162268,2634:164676,2745:181850,2947:191600,3205:201281,3328:203056,3362:203340,3367:205399,3410:213237,3556:213521,3561:214160,3573:219770,3652:221334,3688:222694,3732:223306,3768:225890,3809:229630,3876:233778,3941:241938,4145:242278,4151:247760,4194:253952,4309:254640,4322:258090,4337$0,0:1105,41:4250,211:6715,295:48235,932:48535,937:62408,1185:65916,1238:74870,1345:76257,1420:93736,1707:135402,2511:156840,2763:167904,2974:201850,3511
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joseph Dyer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joseph Dyer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joseph Dyer describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joseph Dyer describes the efforts of his mother, Barbara Parker Brooks, to overcome her hearing impediment

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joseph Dyer describes growing up in Bogalusa, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joseph Dyer talks about his memories of his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joseph Dyer briefly lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joseph Dyer describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joseph Dyer describes his experiences at Central Memorial High School in Bogalusa, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joseph Dyer talks about how his southern roots fostered his future ambitions

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joseph Dyer describes the town of Bogalusa, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joseph Dyer describes the sights, sounds and smells of Bogalusa, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joseph Dyer talks about picking cotton as a child in Bogalusa, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joseph Dyer describes his childhood personality in Bogalusa, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joseph Dyer describes the famous African American figures who were his childhood role models

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joseph Dyer describes how members of the community in Bogalusa, Louisiana supported his education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joseph Dyer talks about his mother's hopes for his career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joseph Dyer describes his experiences at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joseph Dyer describes his experiences at Grambling College in Grambling, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joseph Dyer describes his experiences at Grambling College in Grambling, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joseph Dyer describes his experiences in the theatre department at Grambling College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joseph Dyer shares a memory of dancing to the music of HistoryMaker B.B. King

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joseph Dyer talks about the libraries at Xavier University of Louisiana and Grambling College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joseph Dyer reflects upon the experience of attending a historically black college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joseph Dyer talks about his service in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joseph Dyer describes the beginning of his broadcasting career in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joseph Dyer describes the events leading up to the Watts riots of Los Angeles in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joseph Dyer describes his personal experience reporting on the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joseph Dyer talks about the response of police and fire departments to the Watts riots of 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joseph Dyer describes working on the senior management team at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joseph Dyer talks about controversies over Hispanic representation at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joseph Dyer describes his relationship with HistoryMaker Maulana Karenga

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joseph Dyer describes his surprise encounter with his former Xavier University classmate, HistoryMaker Warner Saunders

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joseph Dyer talks about interviewing Muhammad Ali for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joseph Dyer talks about interviewing Governor George Wallace, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joseph Dyer talks about interviewing Governor George Wallace, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joseph Dyer talks about the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joseph Dyer describes controversies during his time as a reporter at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joseph Dyer reflects on the lessons of his tenure as a reporter for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joseph Dyer talks about HistoryMaker Johnathan Rodgers and speculates about the success of TV One

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joseph Dyer talks about the career of Los Angeles, California Mayor Tom Bradley

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joseph Dyer considers the legacy of Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joseph Dyer talks about the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, California in 1992

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joseph Dyer talks about the trial of O.J. Simpson

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joseph Dyer describes his activities with the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joseph Dyer reflects on changes to the journalism industry in recent decades

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joseph Dyer talks about the opportunities for African American news anchors

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Joseph Dyer talks about writing his memoir

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Joseph Dyer describes his concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Joseph Dyer describes his concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Joseph Dyer reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Joseph Dyer narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Joseph Dyer describes the events leading up to the Watts riots of Los Angeles in 1965
Joseph Dyer talks about the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy
Transcript
He wanted to bring me along slowly, he said, introduce me to the market very carefully, and I understand that, but they weren't waiting downstairs, down in Watts [Los Angeles, California]. Hell, they were kicking tail and I wanted to get in with the act because I said, that's it. I said, well look, I didn't know when they were going to riot again and I wanted to get in when it's already in progress, you know what I'm talking about.$$Well let's talk--that's what I was thinking, can we talk about Watts in the historical context, okay?$$I sure will be glad to. Keep in mind, before the Watts riots erupted, they had a delightful man by the name of John Buggs, who was head of the human relations bureau [County of Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations, Los Angeles, California] at the time and he kept telling the city fathers that there were seething difficulties in the Watts area that we better look at as a city. The seething difficulties were things like a lack of adequate transportation in and out of Watts, in terms of buses, there was not one movie theatre in Watts at the time, unemployment was off the Richter scale, there was a severe and catastrophic problem of police-community relations. A lot of cops, I was told, were going out to use it as a training ground. You know, of course, under William [H.] Parker, who was a no holds barred, no-nonsense cop, the idea's go down there and kick tail. I mean, they could do that in those old days. So keep in mind you have a frustrated people. You have living conditions very bad. You have bad police-community relations going in there. You didn't have a whole lot of black officers at the time because I have a friend of mine, Joe Rice [ph.], he was a police, he was a motorcycle cop, he said, at roll call, and usually you have a team to go out, you know, duo, a partner. Nobody wanted to volunteer to go out with him, so he went by himself. And that was pretty much how it was back there before the Watts riot broke out. But no one listened to what John Buggs--he was an alarmist obviously. Then in August, August 13th [sic. August 11th, 1965], a lady that they thought, the community thought was pregnant, was pushed in an altercation down in the Watts. It's hot that night, and that pushing resulted in some stone throwing from the sideline and when it started, it kept going, and from throwing at the officers, they started throwing at buildings, especially buildings owned by Jewish merchants that a lot of people figured they had been gouging the community. And then it was on, to make a long story short, and L.A. [Los Angeles, California] got caught unexpectedly and I wasn't there the first night. We had a camera crew, Paul Udell, went down there the first night. You know, you heard on the radio, on the little squawk box, disturbance underway in Watts area, and go to Code Two, or something like that. And they thought it was just a little skirmish between the police and the local citizens but it wasn't a little skirmish because when Paul Udell's crew got down there, they were stoned too and they had to get out there in a hurry because they realized when they came back to the station, hey, we've got a major problem down there. And the next day, the city started exploding all over the place. I mean, the buildings started burning, the shooting started and what happened, the more the media coverage, the more the media put flames on the fire, we found out later, because of the current commissioner's and, the current commissioner's reports, that we were part of the problem in our coverage, 'cause we would, drew things like they're pillaging a building over at 103rd [Street] and Central [Avenue], when we said, and they're taking out some television sets and some furniture and blah, blah, well what happens, a guy's living in Leimert Park [Los Angeles, California], watching his news broadcast, he said, my God, they're taking out furniture and television sets out at 103rd Street and Watts. So what do you do? You jump in your car and go down to 103rd Street and Watts and get a piece of the action. Well the police, it got to the point where they were so tremendously outgunned, quite frankly, they just sort of sat back and then all hell broke loose for three days and they destroyed a lot of property but that was anger.$Do you remember when you, where you were when [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] was killed? And, you know, and your, okay.$$Yeah, I was in the office [KCBS-TV, Los Angeles, California] at the time he was killed because everything just got a--it was surreal, it was surreal. It's amazing that the--when he was killed, well the first thing that comes to mind as a journalist you wonder what kind of a reaction there's going to be in the community, number one, that was the first thing from a journalist's point, is my God, here we go again, some stuff gonna go down and did, not to a great extent, but it did go down. It went down greater in other parts of the country, down in the, I think it was in Detroit [Michigan] they had a big uprising, as a result, they had such a big one out. We had our shot, I guess, back in '65 [1965] [Watts riots, Los Angeles, California] when they had pretty much anticipated there would be some problems, again, so they had brought in a lot of heavy equipment, militarily speaking. But we didn't have such a big riot. I think in, the community of people were more or less in a state of shock, quite frankly, you know, so there was not a big reaction but I was in the news at the time. But the next day, they wanted me to do what amounted to a reflective piece down at the old historic Second Baptist Church [Los Angeles, California]. They wanted me to stand in front of the church and reflect on my last remembrance of Dr. King, 'cause the Second Baptist Church was one of the last churches at which he spoke in Los Angeles [California]. And I gave a respected piece about my reflections of him and what I remember as a reporter. And then driving back to the station, and they were playing some of his speeches, you know, the mountain top speech [I've Been to the Mountaintop] and obviously, I Have A Dream, and all of a sudden, I just started crying and it's the most amazing thing and I just told my wife [Doris Dillon Dyer] I said, you know, I just couldn't just stop crying 'cause it dawned on me then, what it really meant to me as a journalist and as an African American, that I just got floored 'cause his speeches have a way of, you know, really getting to you. I heard him speak before and, before I got to CBS, my wife and I used to go to a lot of the meetings here in Los Angeles, especially in Wrigley Field [Los Angeles, California] and some of the churches that he spoke at, and he was very gifted as an orator, obviously. But just, just couldn't stop crying, quite frankly, and that was, it was quite an unreal period. And then a month later, I was covering Senator [Robert Francis] Kennedy's speech, down at the Ambassador [Hotel, Los Angeles, California], and as I said in the book, the thought occurred to me that how exposed he was, standing there at the podium with Rosey Grier and Ethel [Kennedy] and, et cetera, and if somebody wanted to pop him, they could probably do it. And just, you know it was just a thought, you know, you're sitting there looking at it and fantasizing, my God, what a--how unprotected he is, and when he went back in that kitchen area and then people started screaming and shouting and running about and you realized, my God, it has happened again and it was another night that I shall never forget and I think the heading of that chapter was "A Night That I Shall Never Forget" because I will never forget it. They locked us in the hotel. They didn't let us out till they figured out what was going to happen.

Jim Tilmon

Jim Tilmon, aviation expert, local Emmy-winning newscaster, and accomplished musician, was born on July 31, 1934, in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Tilmon earned his B.A. degree in music from Lincoln University in Missouri, and served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers for eight years, earning the rank of captain.

Tilmon’s interest in flying carried him from the U.S. Army to American Airlines in 1965, where he became the airline’s third African American commercial pilot and the country’s fifth. Tilmon spent twenty-nine years with American Airlines before retiring; his talent earned him the Captain’s Chair Award from American Airlines; inspired United Airlines to grant him the title of honorary captain; and compelled the FAA to name an aviator’s navigation point after him.

While still piloting aircrafts, Tilmon set another precedent by hosting the first live weekly magazine show developed for and by African Americans. 'Our People,' premiered one week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tilmon’s guests included notable politicians, artists, and activists, such as Harold Washington, author James Baldwin, and jazz vocalist Johnny Hartman. After four years at WTTW, Tilmon became a weather forecaster and aviation and science reporter at Chicago’s NBC affiliate. Tilmon appeared on numerous national programs, including: 'Hardball,' 'NBC Nightly News,' and 'Nightline.'

In addition to his aviation activities, Tilmon stayed involved with music by performing and creating original music for television motion pictures, and other audio and video productions. Tilmon also recorded a symphony- and orchestra-infused relaxation CD, 'Angel Whispers,' in 2003.

Tilmon was awarded a Chicago Emmy in 1974 and was nominated for a National Emmy and the Illinois Associated Press and Illinois United Press International awards for excellence in reporting and broadcasting. In 2002, the Chicago Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented Tilmon with the Silver Circle Award for twenty-five years in television.

In 1994, Tilmon retired from the airlines and NBC and moved to Arizona, where he continued to do on-air aviation reporting. In 2002, Tilmon returned to Chicago as a weather forecaster and aviation reporter and analyst for the CBS affiliate. In 2004, Tilmon was inducted into the Chicago Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, and was awarded the Luminary Senior Award for his impact on social and cultural life in the City of Chicago.

Tilmon and his wife, Joan Tilmon, raised three children.

Jim Tilmon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 28, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.023

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/28/2003 |and| 8/15/2005 |and| 9/30/2005

Last Name

Tilmon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Howard University

Tennessee State University

Lincoln University

Sand Springs High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Jim

Birth City, State, Country

Guthrie

HM ID

TIL02

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

312-951-3601

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Arizona

Favorite Quote

You Got To Believe.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arizona

Birth Date

7/31/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Phoenix

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sea Bass

Short Description

Airplane pilot and television reporter Jim Tilmon (1934 - ) hosted, 'Our People,' on WTTW Chicago, the first television show produced by and for African Americans. In addition to his television activities, Tilmon was an accomplished commercial pilot, earning him the Captain's Chair Award from American Airlines, the title of honorary captain from United Airlines, and the naming of an aviator's navigation point after him by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Employment

American Airlines

WTTV TV

WMAQ TV

U.S. Army

The Tilmon Group

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Tilmon interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Tilmon's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Tilmon recalls his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Tilmon describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Tilmon remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Tilmon details his parents' struggle against discrimination in education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Tilmon lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Tilmon shares his childhood dream of becoming a pilot

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Tilmon relates childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Tilmon recalls the all-black town of Boley, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Tilmon describes the Native American presence in Hominy, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Tilmon remembers his grandfather's store

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Tilmon tells a story about the outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Tilmon reflects on the all-black Boley, Oklahoma of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Tilmon remembers his best friend

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Tilmon describes his childhood obsession with airplanes

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Tilmon discusses mentoring aspiring African American pilots, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Tilmon discusses mentoring aspiring African American pilots, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Tilmon recalls his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Tilmon remembers his high school involvement in oratory

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Tilmon recounts his chemistry training at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Tilmon explains his change of majors at Tennessee State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Tilmon details the many obstacles he overcame to become a pilot

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Jim Tilmon's interview, session 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon recalls a near flight collision during training

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon remembers his tactical flight training

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon recalls being denied food on flight exercises, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon recalls being denied food on flight exercises, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon talks about his decision not to criticize the program in his evaluation

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon recalls being sent to a small airfield in Culpepper, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jim Tilmon describes getting lost in a storm while flying

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jim Tilmon recalls flying cross-country with top secret equipment

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon remembers training to fly helicopters, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon remembers training to fly helicopters, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon talks about being stationed in Germany

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon describes war preparations during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon recalls the Civil Rights Movement while in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon talks about his encounters with black Germans

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jim Tilmon talks about working for Colonel John C.H. Lee, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon describes the success of his makeshift airfield, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon describes the success of his makeshift airfield, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon talks about the U.S. military's preparation to defend marchers in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon recalls soldiers' reactions to acting under martial law

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon remembers choosing a flight route from Fort Benning, Georgia to Watertown, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon remembers choosing a flight route from Fort Benning, Georgia to Watertown, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jim Tilmon recalls being encouraged to join an American Airlines, Inc. as a pilot

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jim Tilmon recalls a helicopter crash at Fort Benning, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon remembers applying to become a pilot for American Airlines, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon describes the process for passing the physical to be an American Airlines, Inc. pilot

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon talks about his decision to leave the U.S. Army

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon recalls how he left the U.S. Army

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon describes his partnership with Ray LeCont at the American Airlines Cadet Academy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon talks about choosing Chicago, Illinois as his base

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jim Tilmon recalls Ray LaCont's defense when being refused barber services

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Jim Tilmon's interview, session 3

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon recalls his challenges in finding housing in Highland Park, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon remembers flying with a racist pilot, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon remembers flying with a racist pilot, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon describes discriminatory hiring methods used by United Airlines

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon talks about his favorite airplane

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon recalls an embarrassing incident in flight

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jim Tilmon talks about diversity and changes in the airline industry

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jim Tilmon recalls volunteering to create a black television show

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon talks about working with producer Rift Fournier

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon recalls his 'Our People' not being sold to a network

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon talks about the celebrity appearances on 'Our People'

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon remembers running 'Our People' after it lost its sponsorships

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon remembers joining WMAQ-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Jim Tilmon talks about how he became a weather broadcaster

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Jim Tilmon talks about the technology used in weather broadcasts

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jim Tilmon talks about the murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon recalls his first American Airlines, Inc. flight as a captain, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon recalls his first American Airlines, Inc. flight as a captain, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon describes a negative article written about him

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon talks about his work in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon recalls the death of his brother

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon remembers his bank fraud acquittal and the car accident that ended his flying career

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Jim Tilmon talks about his transitory vertigo, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon talks about his transitory vertigo, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon remembers losing his job after his contract was not renewed

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon talks about preventing a boycott of WMAQ-TV

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon recalls getting his job back at WMAQ-TV

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon talks about leaving WMAQ-TV

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon remembers producing the album 'Angel Whispers'

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Jim Tilmon talks about the decline of his production company

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Jim Tilmon recalls being hired at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Jim Tilmon talks about leaving WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Jim Tilmon reflects upon his life

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Jim Tilmon describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Jim Tilmon reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Jim Tilmon talks about his family

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Jim Tilmon describes how he would like to be remembered

Warner Saunders

A native of Chicago, Illinois, respected journalist and news anchor Warner Saunders matriculated at Xavier University and received his M.A. from Northeastern University. Famed radio disk jockey Holmes Daddy O' Daylie helped the aspiring reporter enter the profession at a time when very few doors were open to African Americans. Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the management of a local television station in Chicago asked Daylie to create a special public affairs program for the black community. Daylie agreed and asked that Warner Saunders, then director of the Better Boys Foundation, co-host the show. The resulting program, "For Blacks Only," was an immediate success and ran for more than a decade.

Producers at WBBM-TV Channel 2 Chicago were impressed by the hard working Saunders and, in 1972, hired him to serve as director of Community Affairs and host of the program "Common Ground." In 1980, Saunders left the station and joined the NBC Channel 5 news team as a sports reporter. He also hosted NBC's public affairs talk show, "Warner," which was honored with the Illinois Broadcasters Association Public Service Award in 1986. Currently, a co-anchor of NBC 5's 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm news broadcasts, Saunders is considered one of Chicago's premier news reporters.

Saunders integrity and compelling broadcasts have earned him the esteem of his peers. He has been honored with forteen Chicago Emmys, the Chicago Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Silver Circle Award and the Ohio State Award, among many others. In 1993, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. For his commitment to improving the lives of members of the community, Mr. Saunders received the prestigious Hull House Jane Addams Medal.

Saunders passed away on October 9, 2018.

Accession Number

A2001.067

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/27/2001

Last Name

Saunders

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Corpus Christi Elementary School

Hales Franciscan High School

Xavier University of Louisiana

Northeastern Illinois University

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Warner

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

SAU01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Hawaii

Birth Date

1/30/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Honolulu

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans (Red), Rice

Death Date

10/9/2018

Short Description

Television reporter Warner Saunders (1935 - 2018 ) was one of Chicago's premier television journalists as the co-anchor of NBC 5's 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm news broadcasts. Saunders got his start in television with the help of Holmes Daddy O' Daylie, on the program, "For Blacks Only," which, was an immediate success and ran for more than a decade. He also hosted NBC's public affairs talk show, "Warner," which was honored with the Illinois Broadcasters Association Public Service Award in 1986.

Employment

Chicago Public Schools

Boys Clubs

CBS Chicago

NBC

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4450,94:10146,248:10591,254:12549,289:13973,313:15041,338:22340,384:22739,393:22967,398:23195,403:23651,413:25956,436:26667,446:26983,451:28405,478:28958,486:29511,494:29827,499:30143,504:30538,511:34930,567:36505,592:37030,600:38230,620:38530,625:38980,633:39355,649:41380,684:41680,689:43405,719:46430,739:46710,744:46990,749:47340,755:47830,764:50210,791:51400,811:52100,822:52590,830:53220,847:53500,852:54130,864:54970,880:61450,945:61850,951:62250,957:63290,975:64090,986:64181,998:64643,1006:64951,1011:65490,1019:66722,1034:67107,1044:67569,1052:67877,1057:68185,1062:68878,1072:69725,1092:70110,1098:70495,1104:70957,1111:71265,1116:71573,1122:72112,1131:72651,1155:73113,1163:73498,1171:74191,1183:74576,1189:74884,1194:78928,1213:79360,1222:79684,1253:82894,1282:84169,1333:84373,1338:85444,1369:85699,1375:85954,1381:86515,1394:86923,1404:87943,1433:88453,1450:92886,1518:93090,1523:94722,1589:94926,1594:95181,1604:95436,1610:95844,1628:96303,1641:96813,1653:97068,1659:97374,1667:97731,1675:98037,1683:98241,1688:105326,1765:105646,1772:106926,1795:107374,1804:108014,1817:108462,1826:113550,1905:113830,1910:116280,1969:116770,1980:117050,1985:118310,2017:119010,2030:125478,2102:126934,2139:138656,2250:138968,2266:140138,2283:143960,2324:144510,2330:147788,2358:148250,2366:149240,2407:149900,2422:150362,2430:153523,2489:156673,2549:159450,2581:161219,2616:161768,2687:162195,2695:162805,2712:163171,2720:164696,2753:169840,2838:170180,2844:171064,2858:171812,2874:172288,2882:172764,2890:173104,2896:174396,2924:175280,2949:175552,2954:176912,2982:177184,2987:179972,3057:186934,3095:190525,3113:191000,3119:192140,3134:197694,3208:198423,3221:199071,3231:199476,3237:199962,3244:200934,3260:201339,3266:206033,3284$0,0:4020,60:4650,74:9623,124:14033,177:14963,190:17118,203:20220,248:24580,264:25580,273:26580,284:27580,297:28080,303:30300,312:30624,320:31110,332:32514,379:32892,400:33594,414:37554,441:39514,478:40186,497:40634,506:40970,517:41250,523:41698,536:42090,560:42706,575:44610,638:45226,652:45450,657:45786,664:46346,676:46626,682:47298,696:48082,721:48642,735:49090,744:49370,750:54130,783:54402,788:54674,793:55286,805:57122,847:57394,852:57938,862:58754,877:59230,885:60114,900:60522,907:60794,912:61134,921:61610,929:62222,953:63854,983:64262,990:64534,995:65078,1011:65826,1027:69090,1098:69430,1104:69974,1121:80020,1260:80640,1273:81384,1306:82872,1346:83740,1365:84236,1374:84484,1380:85228,1396:86964,1434:87460,1443:88018,1457:89196,1486:89444,1491:89692,1496:90436,1512:115377,1820:116248,1837:116784,1844:117052,1849:117387,1855:117923,1875:118727,1889:118995,1894:119799,1912:120938,1934:122010,1948:122814,1961:123082,1966:123350,1971:127984,1998:128542,2010:129076,2030
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Warner Saunders interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Warner Saunders lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Warner Saunders recalls his father

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Warner Saunders remembers his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Warner Saunders details his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Warner Saunders relates how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Warner Saunders shares childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Warner Saunders describes himself as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Warner Saunders recounts his Catholic education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Warner Saunders discusses blacks' internalization of inferiority

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Warner Saunders recalls his experiences at Saint Philip School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Warner Saunders details his years at Corpus Christi high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Warner Saunders remembers his high school involvement in sports

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Warner Saunders describes Xavier in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Warner Saunders discusses the color caste in New Orleans

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Warner Saunders reflects on his experience at Xavier

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Warner Saunders recounts his post-college career path

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Warner Saunders explains how he began working at Henry Horner Homes

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Warner Saunders recalls his transition to the Boys' Club and Better Boys Foundation

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Warner Saunders describes Chicago in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Warner Saunders relates how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. influenced his thinking

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Warner Saunders recalls how he got into television

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Warner Saunders details becoming a serious news anchor

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Warner Saunders recounts his struggle to learn the journalism business

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Warner Saunders remembers overcoming his internalized feelings of inferiority

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Warner Saunders recalls one of his regrets

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Warner Saunders describes his work at WBBM

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Warner Saunders talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Warner Saunders discusses his son

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Warner Saunders recounts highlights from his career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Warner Saunders relates how he maintained his success

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Warner Saunders discusses African Americans in the news business

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Warner Saunders illustrates the role of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Warner Saunders discusses the need to erase prejudice and inferiority

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Warner Saunders shares his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Warner Saunders reflects on the gains and losses of integration

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Warner Saunders discusses his sociological understanding of segregation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Warner Saunders details the contributions of African Americans to American society

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Warner Saunders considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Warner Saunders details becoming a serious news anchor
Warner Saunders discusses his son
Transcript
Let me ask you this. When did you decide, because you're--? It's not like you, you know, you were a child and, you know, looking at Edward R. Murrow [broadcast journalist] and saying, you know I want to be just like him.$$No.$$So you entered in a whole different way. So I, you know, my question for you is, at what time did you decide that you would take this, take it seriously?$$That's a very good question. Because it was--my own militancy that created that. There was a general manager that came there, came to WBBM [Chicago, Illinois] in 1979. And I was at that time--my--community affairs department won that year twenty- three [Chicago] Emmys. We won more Emmys than the News Department won, and we had no resources. I had a talk show going that won Emmys. I had--programming that gone--I--had a children's program called the 'Good Gang Express' of which I was the host. And I'm winning Emmys all over the place. In 1979, I won three Emmys that night of the television show. So I went to this general manager, and I said, "I think I have some qualities that might--could I think about moving into this, into the news area?" I said, "I think I have, I think I can learn this business." And he promptly told me that I was too old and that, 'cause I was in my mid forties. And he said, "You're too old to get into this business. First place, it's a young man's business and you'll be retired before anything ever happens." And he said, "Secondly, follow me." He said, "I'm gonna be a big timer in this business." That's essentially what he told me. And he said, "And I'll bring you along with me." And he said, "Maybe someday you might even be sitting here in this place." And I saw that nun sittin' there, (laughing). You know, telling me again, paternalistically, you can't do this and you can't do that. And I went downstairs and I wrote out my--resignation, and I brought it back upstairs. Typed it up, had my secretary type it up, and I brought it back upstairs. And he says, "You're making a big mistake." And I said, "Well, my mistake." And then I went and told my wife [Sadako Saunders]. That wasn't easy 'cause we had a little baby, a little child and--she wasn't working. And--I just, I just wasn't gonna do that. You know that, as I said, that white man made me mad. And, it was weird because the man who was the general manager here--a guy by the name of Monty Newman was the general manager at the time-and he asked, "Who's this guy winning, this community affairs guy winning all these Emmys? Who is this guy?" And there was a man working here by the name of Dillon Smith [broadcaster and journalist at WMAQ-TV/NBC, Chicago] who was the program director, and he knew me because my producer and him were friends. And they said, "Well, let's get this guy over here." You know, and all of these conversations went on, and we started talking about this. And I--thought I was coming over here to do a talk show and do essentially the same thing I did before. And they said, "No, we want--you to do news. We want you to anchor the news and--be a reporter." I had never reported in my life, nor had I ever anchored in my life, and I was thrown in 1980, as an anchor and a reporter, never having done any one of those things. It was--.$And your son, his name?$$Warner.$$Warner.$$Yeah. He's, he's Junior.$$He's Junior. Now was he--when you raised him, did you raise him understanding his dual ethnicity?$$I don't think we did anything. I mean, I just think we just lived, and he saw what he saw. I think he identifies himself as a black person. When he went off to college, he went to Tulane [University] in New Orleans [Louisiana], interestingly enough. He was--when--the blacks, when the--you know, he had a white roommate his freshman year. The black students, of course, were giving him pressure. You know, you got to be with the blacks, or you got to be with the whites. So I have little respect for these universities, because they don't, they talk a lot of business about diversity, but they don't really deal with diversity. Most of 'em don't deal with diversity and it's shameful, because it's a perfect opportunity to really deal with the diverse culture. And they don't deal with it a lot, so he was really torn between, and he left. Went off campus and moved and lived off campus. So he really could have stayed right here and went to Northwestern [University, Evanston, Illinois] and gotten the same kind of education. I-- he identifies himself as a--black person, but his love for his mother [Sadako Saunders] and his grandmother are unshakeable. So I, you know, and he has a Japanese name, which he is now starting to use. He's Akira-- is his Japanese name that his grandmother gave him. So he uses that name now in his profession. Akira.$$And he's an entertainer.$$(Simultaneously) Now he works for Puff Daddy.$$Oh, he does!$$Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.$$Okay.$$(Laughing).$$(Laughing) Okay. That's--well, at least he still has a job. Puff Daddy--.$$No, he doesn't.$$He does, he does, he'll want me to explain that he--and another guy have a--business called Blue Flame Media. And they do marketing for Puff Daddy but they're inside of the Bad Boy Entertainment conglomerate that Puff Daddy is--involved in. So he's in New York doing that now.

Bob Petty

Born November 26, 1940, in Memphis, Tennessee, Bob Petty began his broadcasting career while enrolled at Arizona State University. He learned about various aspects of the industry while serving as news cameraman, soundman, film editor, lighting director and studio cameraman for the university's television broadcast station, KAET TV. In 1970, Petty graduated with honors and was recognized by the university for his outstanding contributions to the radio and television department.

Petty's career at Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV began in 1971, when he joined the station as a general assignment reporter. In 1975, he became a member of the station's "Action 7" news team, which would later develop into the popular "Seven on Your Side" special problem-solving unit. He then moved to the anchor desk on ABC 7's "Saturday Weekend News." From 1978 to 1983 he also produced and hosted "Weekend Edition." Prior to joining ABC 7, Petty was a news writer, reporter and producer at KOOL-TV and Radio, the CBS affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona. The previous year, Petty worked for KPHO-TV in several aspects of the production process, in addition to his role as news and sports reporter.

Petty has received several prestigious academic degrees and honors. He was awarded an Urban Journalism Fellowship at the University of Chicago shortly after graduating from Arizona State, and a William Benton Fellow in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Chicago in 1987. In January 1979, he received his Master's Degree in Communications from Governor's State University.

Petty resides in Chicago with his wife, Cora, and their two children, Bobby and Cory.

Accession Number

A2001.057

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/20/2001

Last Name

Petty

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Washington Elementary School

Washington Junior HIgh School

Washington High School

Governors State University

University of Chicago

Arizona State University

Lincoln University

Caruthersville Elementary School

Caruthersville High School

Caruthersville Middle School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Bob

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

PET02

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Dinner's ready.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/26/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans (Northern)

Short Description

Television reporter Bob Petty (1940 - ) began his career at Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV in 1971, when he joined the station as a general assignment reporter. In 1975, he became a member of the station's "Action 7" news team, which would later develop into the popular "Seven on Your Side" special problem-solving unit. Petty then moved to the anchor desk on ABC 7's "Saturday Weekend News." From 1978 to 1983 he also produced and hosted "Weekend Edition."

Employment

KAET TV

KPHO TV

KOOL TV

WLS TV

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:875,4:1810,17:2320,25:3935,48:4275,53:11585,209:15741,219:15976,225:20199,311:20805,326:23683,387:24015,392:24347,400:24845,407:25177,412:25592,428:26173,436:36564,625:37356,649:40194,712:44994,757:45249,764:45453,769:47085,801:47442,811:47646,816:48054,825:48513,836:48717,841:49227,857:50247,887:50961,910:54480,918:58563,939:58990,947:60210,984:60637,992:61064,1000:66374,1072:66934,1085:67998,1110:69958,1159:70182,1164:70518,1172:71974,1230:72478,1235:72758,1242:73038,1248:76895,1268:78826,1293:79530,1307:80170,1322:80682,1334:81130,1346:81898,1373:83242,1411:83882,1424:84778,1445:85226,1457:85546,1467:90600,1512:91260,1541:93060,1606:95280,1672:95760,1682:96600,1704:97140,1709:98280,1741:98700,1749:99120,1758:104416,1808:105340,1838:107848,1922:108442,1932:108904,1946:109498,1956:115712,2035:120384,2147:120640,2152:121472,2173:127901,2226:129919,2238:141140,2362:141650,2369:141990,2374:143560,2382:143840,2388:144064,2393:144624,2415:145856,2453:146696,2476:146976,2482:147536,2493:147928,2505:148656,2522:148992,2531:149384,2540:150336,2568:150728,2577:151456,2595:152072,2609:152688,2621:153360,2636:154816,2677:156720,2745:164800,2785:165125,2791:167660,2851:168505,2874:170065,2899:172600,2955:173185,2970:173445,2975:173900,2984:174550,3000:176890,3047:182570,3072:183560,3082:185838,3103:187862,3129:188478,3140:189446,3155:189974,3162:197764,3228:198611,3243:200083,3278$0,0:7524,159:8740,170:13393,205:13867,211:14183,216:16102,240:16438,248:16678,258:17158,273:17398,279:18070,299:18262,304:18550,311:19894,355:20230,364:23085,389:24970,493:31990,635:32965,659:33420,669:33875,678:34980,703:39580,728:41280,764:41580,771:42030,783:45250,812:45518,817:47140,829:47992,847:50335,875:50619,881:51116,889:51755,899:53388,928:54879,956:57932,1017:58429,1025:58713,1030:63880,1119:64804,1142:65134,1152:65992,1175:68943,1208:69291,1214:71553,1249:72249,1257:74772,1303:75120,1308:79810,1339:80235,1345:82186,1389:82354,1394:82522,1399:84470,1428:86420,1464:86720,1469:87395,1481:88295,1495:93974,1552:95270,1576:95702,1583:96062,1589:96638,1599:99014,1656:99302,1661:100166,1691:100742,1701:101246,1709:101822,1718:104113,1731:104906,1748:105150,1753:105577,1762:106004,1770:106614,1783:107163,1797:107956,1820:108444,1830:108749,1836:109542,1851:112348,1915:112653,1921:113263,1933:113751,1942:116842,1958:117220,1968:117913,1984:118417,1995:119173,2011:119677,2022:124828,2061:127154,2074:127686,2083:128370,2095:128826,2102:129206,2108:130990,2136:131230,2141:131590,2148:134454,2169:136905,2240:138615,2285:141546,2314:142294,2331:142634,2337:142906,2342:144414,2356:145748,2389:146096,2396:149230,2439:149636,2448:154080,2535:154455,2541:154980,2552:155355,2558:157150,2564:157760,2585:158065,2591:158309,2596:161788,2630:162044,2635:162556,2647:163004,2655:164092,2692:164348,2697:164988,2710:165628,2723:173274,2803:177018,2856:178458,2869:192575,3063:192983,3073:193901,3116:194360,3130:195584,3164:195788,3169:196145,3177:196451,3185:196655,3191:197165,3202:200232,3227:200670,3234:201035,3240:203570,3267:208411,3338:212344,3445:212914,3456:215202,3465:215610,3474:216630,3505:217038,3514:217344,3521:217701,3530:217956,3537:223400,3555:223778,3565:225101,3592:225416,3598:226487,3636:226865,3643:228251,3682:228692,3690:228944,3695:230141,3719:232094,3781:232724,3792:233165,3800:233480,3806:236680,3819:237920,3849:238602,3864:239780,3889:240028,3894:240338,3900:240648,3906:241330,3921:241950,3937:242570,3976:245462,3996:253085,4093
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Photo - Robert Petty with the other members of the Washington High School basketball team, Caruthersville, Missouri, 1958

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Photo - Robert Petty in his senior year high school portrait, Caruthersville, Missouri, 1959

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Photo - Robert Petty in a publicity photo for Channel 7 Eyewitness News, WLS Television, Chicago, Illinois, mid 1970s

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Photo - Robert Petty with fellow talk show hosts Ruben Cruz and Teresa Gutierrez, WLS Television, Chicago, Illinois, late 1970s

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Photo - Robert Petty with journalist Fahey Flynn, Chicago, Illinois, mid-1970s

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Photo - Robert Petty at a company function with an unidentified woman, early 1980s

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Photo - Robert Petty in a Channel 7 Eyewitness News publicity photograph, mid-1980s

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Photo - Robert Petty with Chicago anchorman Floyd Kalber, late 1990s

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Photo - Robert Petty in an early education classroom on a news assignment, ca. 1999

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Photo - Robert Petty interviews Illinois State Treasurer Judy Topinka, Chicago, Illinois, 1996

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Photo - Robert Petty on a news story in an underground tunnel, Chicago, Illinois, 2000

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Photo - Robert Petty at a book signing with two unidentified authors, 2000

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Photo - Robert Petty meets an unidentified man while on vacation in New Orleans, Lousiana, 1980

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Photo - Robert Petty reports on layoffs at U.S. Steel, Chicago, Illinois, 1980

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Photo - Robert Petty with school administrators after a speaking engagement, Illinois, 1982

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Photo - Robert Petty at work at ABC 7 News, Chicago, Illinois, 1999

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Photo - Robert Petty covers the 1978 gubernatorial election, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Photo - Robert Petty in third grade, age nine, 1949

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Photo - Robert Petty with an unidentified journalist at the Paul Hall criminal trial, Markham, Illinois, ca. 1989

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Slating of Robert Petty interview

Tape: 1 Story: 21 - Robert Petty's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 22 - Robert Petty describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 23 - Robert Petty describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 24 - Robert Petty names his three brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Petty shares his earliest memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Petty remembers his father's death

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Petty discusses his feelings about water

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Petty discusses family life in Caruthersville, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Petty describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Petty describes his childhood home, Caruthersville, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Petty names his high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Petty reflects on lessons learned in Caruthersville, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert Petty reflects on influences in his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert Petty discusses his post-high school plans

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Petty discusses his attendance at Lincoln University and his decision to leave

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Petty recounts events after leaving Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Petty recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Petty explains his decision to study communications

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Petty describes his early exposure to broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Petty discusses his first position upon graduating from college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Petty discusses his early experiences in the newsroom

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Petty explains decisions in his career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Petty shares memorable stories from his broadcast career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Petty describes changes in the news broadcast industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Petty discusses opportunities in the news broadcast industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Petty shares his plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Petty refuses to perform

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Robert Petty discusses his first position upon graduating from college
Robert Petty recounts events after leaving Lincoln University
Transcript
You graduate and then is that when--yes--no. Is that when you got hired by KOOL?$$Yes. Yes. I was out of school when I was hired by KOOL, KOOL TV in Phoenix [Arizona], the CBS [Columbia Broadcasting System] station. While working at the PBS [Public Broadcasting System] station doing the technical stuff, my junior year of college [Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona], we had a talk show, a campus talk show, a kind of variety show, and the guy was the, there was a host and a co-host, co-hostess, a guy and a lady doing it, and they got ready to do the show, and they couldn't find the guy. They couldn't find the host. It turned out he volunteered for the [U.S.] Army to go to Vietnam and he didn't tell any of us, didn't tell anybody. But we need a host right now. We need somebody to host this show tomorrow morning at nine o'clock. We're taping. One of the classes I took involved going on camera, reading, ad-libbing, writing commercials, those kind of things, a typical college class in that regard, but I aced them with that on-camera stuff. And I wrote my own commercial, and I did my commercial without too many flubs, you know, and that kind of thing, and I wasn't frightened to death, and I was one of just half a dozen students who did as well. But while they're looking for a host that day, somebody to come in and host, somebody said, "Call Robert Petty. He did alright on that commercial. Call him." "Can you come in and host this show?" "Yeah. Fine." I'm a little nervous about it, but, come on, it's just college stuff, you know. So I did it and they said, you'll only do it one week, because I think the rule was you had to be a senior in order to be talent at that station, because again we are a college station, despite the fact that we are PBS, and that was my junior year. They said "Next week, we'll find somebody else to do it." So, I did it the following week, and the following week, and the following week, until school was out. So I had experience by then going in front of the camera, and I'm hammin' up, you now, I'm thinking I could sing doo-wop, I'm hammin' up. I was thinking I could pull this off. So, I did that for awhile, and that summer would have been the summer, the summer of 1967, I reckon. A friend and I, he was studying radio television also, decided to sell ourselves. We borrowed a camera from campus, wrote some stuff out, wrote some script. He's the cameraman. I'm the talent, and we went to every television station and sounds. I'm the talent. He's the cameraman, and we done that back and forth. Well, the people at the independent station at the time, I think it's the equivalent of WGN Television here in Chicago [Illinois], KPHO [Phoenix, Arizona], the independent, offered me a part-time job doing technical stuff, and I went to work for them on a part-time basis. I was still in school, and I worked for them on a part-time basis until I graduated. Somewhere along there, I went from the studios and the technical stuff over to the newsroom, the news department, and then the following year or so I went to work for KOOL TV, the CBS station in Phoenix, and I worked there until I came here to Chicago.$$Now, so you, at KOOL TV, you became on air, right?$$Yes. On a full-time basis.$So, you're out in L.A [Los Angeles, California]? Right, L.A.?$$Yes.$$And this whole, are you enjoying it? Are you performing? Are you having, you know, odd jobs?$$The guys and I, they were three in the back, five guys, we arrived in Los Angeles like on a Friday. Had a great time. We hooked up with people from Caruthersville [Missouri]. We are all over the world. We hooked up with people from Caruthersville that Friday--partied. That Saturday, we partied. That Sunday, we partied. That Monday, four of the guys said "Hey, we're ready to head back home now." "We've only been here for four days." "Nothing is happening in L.A. for us." "Are you crazy, we just got here. We haven't done a thing." So, four of the guys loaded the gear in the car and headed back to the Midwest. Two of us stayed. That scared me. That was a little frightening. And I did odd jobs, washing dishes in restaurants and busboying in restaurants, those kinds of things. I did one semester, took a couple of classes at Los Angeles City College [Los Angeles, California]. Wherever I was, when I was going through my knocking around phase, I always made it a point to pick up a few hours if I could. And so, I did that, auditioned, did some auditions out there. Never got any work. Didn't get any closer to show business than the shine man in Union Station [Chicago, Illinois]. But, it was a very good experience for me. It was a very good--being on my own that far from home and at least feeding myself. Not eating as well as I would have at home. My birthday dinner, for my twenty first birthday, instead of my mom asking me "What do you want to eat for your birthday?", I was living in a hotel for retired railroad workers that always reeked of pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and cigars in the lobby. I had a little black and white television set with a wire hanger that was an antenna that had a vertical roll every thirteen or fourteen seconds. And I said "Ok, here I am now. This is my birthday, and I wish I was home," but I had a dinner of sardines, Pepsi, and a cupcake. That was my twenty first birthday dinner. And I was real scared that night. But the following morning I was okay. Got out and started looking for a job. Eventually, like I said, I found a couple of jobs, washing dishes, busing tables, whatever would come along. I did that for awhile, and had friends living over in Phoenix, Arizona, and I started to going to Phoenix on the weekend and just kind of fell in love with it, because Phoenix, while a large city and a major city, back then had a nice small town atmosphere to it. And I met some nice people, and Arizona State University [Tempe, Arizona] is next door and one thing led to another and on and on and on.$$So, this is what year?$$1962.$$Okay. 1962. So, you're in Phoenix, and you decided you're gonna, how long are you there before you go back to school?$$Oh, I did a lot of hanging out in Phoenix. By then, '62, '62 [1962], I found a job, worked for awhile at a cotton compress in Glendale, Arizona, which is a suburb of Phoenix. I don't know whether you've ever seen a cotton compress, but a cotton compresses does exactly what it says, compresses cotton. Picks a bale of cotton which measures four feet across, compresses it down, so it measures two feet across, then they can load more cotton into the, whatever way they're shipping it. So, I did that for awhile. Then I got a job in a department store in downtown Phoenix. Did that for awhile, knocking around back and forth, back and forth--a couple of years maybe. Maybe more. Three years. I wasn't really to go back to school really. I took a couple of classes at Phoenix City College. Always taking classes. Something to do at night. I took a couple of night classes at Arizona State University. Something to do, but I wasn't ready to go to school full time. I was busy doing other things, mainly working, mainly working, and going through experiences that I had not gone through before.$$Were you getting married at that time?$$Not then. That came a year or so later.

Russ Ewing

Born on the South Side of Chicago on December 28th, 1923, Russ Ewing was orphaned at the age of seven, and subsequently adopted and raised by a close family friend and neighbor, Elizabeth Johnson. From an early age, Ewing dreamed of becoming a commercial pilot.

Not only did he found the popular Russ Ewing Trio, but he went on to work as a firefighter and piano salesman before landing a job as a newsroom courier with NBC 5 Chicago, in 1964. He was promoted to writer and then reporter within two short years, and his on-air debut occurred in 1967. From the beginning, Ewing added a personal approach to news reporting. The first story Ewing covered involved a bank charging higher interest rates to its minority customers. His coverage earned him the first of nine Emmy Awards.

Ewing's distinguished broadcasting career spanned almost forty years. A Chicago icon, revered for his special brand of "streetwise reporting," Ewing earned a reputation for fair and humane treatment of those on the margins of society. Over the course of his career, more than 100 murder suspects turned themselves in to Ewing, and the local police department came to respect his involvement in difficult cases. Ewing's coverage of the infamous John Wayne Gacy murders earned him another Emmy Award and laid the foundation for the best-selling book, Buried Dreams; Inside The Mind Of A Serial Killer.

In August 1981, Ewing left NBC 5 and joined the reporting staff of ABC 7 Chicago, where he continued to cover landmark cases and solidify his reputation as a thorough and honest investigative journalist. He retired from the station in 1995; only three years later to rejoin the staff of his first television home, NBC 5 Chicago.

In addition to his many Emmys, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences bestowed upon Ewing their coveted Silver Circle Award. Although Ewing was retired at the time of the interview, he continued to be active in the community.

Russ Ewing was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 27, 2001.

Ewing passed away on June 25, 2019.

Accession Number

A2001.031

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/27/2001

Last Name

Ewing

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Russ

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

EWI01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Michigan

Favorite Quote

Do the best you can with what you have.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/28/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Prime Rib

Death Date

6/25/2019

Short Description

Television reporter Russ Ewing (1923 - 2019) was an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist for NBC 5 Chicago. A Chicago icon, revered for his special brand of "streetwise reporting," Ewing earned a reputation for fair and humane treatment of those on the margins of society. Also, over the course of his career, more than 100 murder suspects turned themselves in to Ewing. Ewing's distinguished broadcasting career spanned almost forty years.

Employment

WMAQ TV

WLS TV

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Russ Ewing interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Russ Ewing's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Russ Ewing recalls his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Russ Ewing talks about the neighborhood at 42nd and Champlain

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Russ Ewing remembers his elementary school years

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Russ Ewing talks about his love of flying

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Russ Ewing recalls high school and his love of music

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Russ Ewing discusses his musical education and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Russ Ewing recalls his teenage years

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Russ Ewing talks about his year in the Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Russ Ewing discusses playing music in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Russ Ewing recalls his days playing in a jazz trio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Russ Ewing remembers his aunt and uncle

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Russ Ewing talks about his wife and first house

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Russ Ewing discusses working at the Chicago Fire Department

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Russ Ewing talks about race issues in the Chicago Fire Department

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Russ Ewing describes life in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Russ Ewing discusses Glencoe, Illinois in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Russ Ewing explains why he lived in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Russ Ewing recalls his years as a piano salesman

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Russ Ewing talks about his move back to Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Russ Ewing describes his first story for NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Russ Ewing discusses how he began at NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Russ Ewing recalls his early days at NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Russ Ewing describes his first break on NBC radio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Russ Ewing talks about the transition from radio to television

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Russ Ewing describes the Chicago television news scene

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Russ Ewing tells an anecdote about a news story he covered

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Russ Ewing talks about saving a young girl's life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Russ Ewing recalls convincing a criminal to turn himself in

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Russ Ewing describes negotiating a criminal's surrender in Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Russ Ewing on police reaction to his work with criminals

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Russ Ewing talks about meeting John Wayne Gacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Russ Ewing discusses the John Wayne Gacy story

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Russ Ewing discusses his relationship with John Wayne Gacy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Russ Ewing talks about his John Wayne Gacy book

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Russ Ewing recalls the Paul Hall case

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Russ Ewing refuses to cover the Flukie Stokes funeral

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Russ Ewing tells a story about a crooked real estate agent

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Russ Ewing decries the current state of television news

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Russ Ewing discusses the future of blacks in television news

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Russ Ewing talks about the future of the 'Chicago Defender'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Russ Ewing talks about the O.J. Simpson verdict and up and coming Chicago reporters

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Russ Ewing discusses his love of flying and music

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Russ Ewing talks about why people trust him

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Russ Ewing discusses how he'd like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Photo - Russ Ewing with his wife Ruth Ewing in Hawaii

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Photo - Russ Ewing reporting on a strike in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Photo - Publicity photo of Russ Ewing from WLS-TV, Channel 7, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Photo - Russ Ewing interviewing Nation of Islam leader, Elijah Muhammad, Chicago, Illinois, 1965

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Russ Ewing with comedian Bob Hope at Condessa Del Mar supper club, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Russ Ewing with band leader, Count Basie, ca. 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Russ Ewing with fellow WMAQ-TV reporter, Phil Walters at the local Emmy Awards, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Russ Ewing safeguards an arrest, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Russ Ewing rides a parade route with fellow WMAQ-TV reporters Jane Pauley and Tim Weigel

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Russ Ewing with his camera crew at WLS-TV going over plans to shoot a news story, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Russ Ewing reporting for WLS-TV, Chicago on a criminal suspect who surrendered to him, Gary, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Russ Ewing aiding in the surrender of a criminal suspect, Gary, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - The criminal suspect who surrendered himself to the police chief with the aid of Russ Ewing, Gary, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Plaque presented to Russ Ewing for aiding the Tracy family

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Newspaper clipping of Russ Ewing covering a local news story, Chicago, Illinois, 1972

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Russ Ewing recalls convincing a criminal to turn himself in
Russ Ewing talks about meeting John Wayne Gacy
Transcript
You think all of them were luck [getting people to turn themselves in]? You talked all these other people out of doing things. Do you think that was luck?$$Most of it was luck. Oh, I had a funny thing happen once. This one guy, see, you're reminding me of things that I had forgotten about. This one guy, this was in Gary [Indiana], and he had killed two people. And he was hiding out and his girlfriend--he told his girlfriend and his mother to call me--and he didn't have any money, so he was going to get caught, he knew that. He couldn't run and called me to come get him and take him in. And he was hiding out in an abandoned building in Gary. And if you've seen some of these old abandoned buildings in Gary they are nasty. They--you know, they just haven't been lived in years. I went in there and he was sitting on an old couch inside of the a, this building. He had half a bottle of Jack Daniel's [whiskey] and he had drank the rest of it, I guess, and a .357 Magnum [handgun] laying next to the thing. So we talked for a few minutes and he said, "I know I'm going back to--." He had been in prison before so he knew the routine. He said, "I'm going back to prison, but I got a good chance for self-defense." Because the people he killed, were shooting at him, they were shooting back and forth, he killed two of them. So, he said, "I just want to shoot my gun once before I go back." I said, "you got anybody in mind?" And he said, "No." He pulled out the gun and fired three shots up into the ceiling. Now, an old house, water soaked, dirty, plaster was falling all over everything, and my suit was all dirty and filthy and everything. And I looked at him, and I said, "That looks like fun." He said, "Yeah." I said, "let me try it." He handed me the gun and I fired three shots up in the ceiling. I was trying to get rid of the bullets. I didn't care nothing about shooting up into the ceiling. I just wanted to make sure he didn't have any more bullets. And I said, "you got some more bullets? We can do that some more." He said, "No, that's all I had." Oh, boy, I felt so good I didn't know what to do [laughing]. So after talking awhile, we went on to the police station in Gary and he turned himself in.$Now the John [Wayne] Gacy book, how did that come about?$$Gacy originally was--. When he, when they--. Well it started long before that. I was doing stories in the Uptown area and that's where Gacy picked up most of his kids. I was doing stories about kids who disappeared. I didn't know anything about Gacy at all. And I talked to several people about kids who disappeared and everything. I'd go to the mothers and do an interview and the mother would say, "my son didn't run away. He's not gone. He disappeared." And so I had pictures of about five different kids. And when they caught Gacy and he went to trial--first went to trial. Gacy--. When you're in the criminal courts in Chicago [Illinois], all you get for lunch is a bologna sandwich and some Kool-Aid [beverage]. Gacy couldn't stand bologna. I was secretly a deputy sheriff at that time, so I could go in and out of the jail as I wished to. I think I have a deputy sheriff's badge over there somewhere. And so I used to run down to the corner and get a chicken sandwich for Gacy at lunch and bring it to him and give it to him in the jail. Little by little, we got to be friends. And he talked to me. And then I met his mother and I met his sister, who was a waitress out at O'Hare Field [O'Hare International Airport]. And I got to know the whole family. So, little by little, I got Gacy's story. And Gacy would talk to me when he wouldn't talk to other people.$$And as the story unraveled, what did you learn? I mean, I haven't read the book, but what did--? I mean, because you're talking about the psychology of a person, too.$$Gacy was a man who was sick. No question about him being sick. Before I say that, let me say this. During the trial, it was almost like a joke. I saw about nine different psychologists and psychiatrists testify as to what was wrong with Gacy. Every one of them would have a different theory. And all of them were absolutely off base. They were guessing. And the psychologist that testified for the defense would say things to aid Gacy. The ones who testified for the prosecution was just the opposite. Gacy was a man who could not have an orgasm unless someone was dying. And that's why he killed those boys. Gacy had a cross in his house, he would--. Well, no, first let me go back. He would pick up these kids. He was a constructionist. He had a construction company. He would go in the Uptown [Chicago, Illinois] area and tell these kids, "I need somebody to help work for me, a laborer, and I'll pay you ten dollars an hour or six dollars an hour and these kids would jump in the car with him. He kept--what is it--chloroform, down on the right side, on the left side of his car. When he got these kids in the car, he would throw the chloroform on them, hold on for a few minutes, drive them to his house, tie them down, handcuff them, rape them and do all sorts of things. I don't know what some of things was. And then he would kill them. And over the time he did this, Gacy would sleep in the bed with these dead bodies. That's the way he had an orgasm. But none of that came out in the trial. None of it. Gacy was so smart as these psychiatrists and psychologists would interview him, he learned the tests. He knew what to say and what not to say. And he used to play games with them. And he would smile and laugh when they were up there testifying. But Gacy was a--. He was an animal.$$Did you, by meeting his family, did you not learn much about his family and why maybe he--?$$Oh, I learned--. I got pictures of me and Gacy's mother together. And I had to take those pictures because as we were trying to write the book, we were worried about a lawsuit. So, I mean, I wanted to prove that, where I got some of the information from. So, the best thing to do is to get a picture right quick. But, anyway, Gacy's mother just never believed that he did that. She just couldn't believe it. She was a nice--. She died while we were doing the story. But she just was a nice, old Catholic lady, and she didn't believe that Gacy could do this.

Barbara Boyd

Barbara Boyd was born in Evanston, Illinois on April 27, 1929. A precocious child, she was educated at Evanston Township High School, where she excelled in literature and the humanities. She continued her studies at Roosevelt University and Columbia College's School of Radio and Television, where she was introduced to the world of broadcast journalism. She later went on to Indiana University and settled in Indianapolis, after graduation. In 1969, Barbara Boyd joined the WRTV 6 News Staff as a consumer reporter at age forty. Her early broadcasts of social and economic events quickly earned her a devoted following. As her audience grew, her range of subjects likewise grew.

Among Barbara Boyd's groundbreaking features was her piece on breast cancer. During the broadcast, Mrs. Boyd addressed her TV audience from her hospital bed one week after her own mastectomy operation. She urged viewers to become more aware of the symptoms of the disease and made note of resource centers in the area that would provide information and testing. The highly acclaimed, award-winning feature was crucial in the reduction of the number of breast cancer cases that year.

An active community leader, Barbara Boyd has been a member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews for many years. She holds membership at the Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists, the NAACP, and the March of Dimes Association. In addition to these activities, Mrs. Boyd has been a fundraiser and board member for the Indiana Make-A-Wish Foundation since 1996.

Barbara Boyd has been profiled in Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, Indianapolis Woman Magazine, and a book entitled In The Public Interest. She has received four CASPER broadcasting awards from the Community Service Council of Indianapolis and has been named "Woman of the Year" by the American Cancer Society for her daring feature on breast cancer. She has also received awards from the Indianapolis Press Club, the Indiana State Medical Association, and the Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation. For three consecutive years she was named one of Indianapolis' Top Ten Women by the Indianapolis Star. She is also a recipient of the prestigious Martin Luther King Freedom Award. In March, 2000, Barbara Boyd was inducted into the Indianapolis Hall of Fame.

Boyd was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 11, 2000.

Accession Number

A2000.006

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/11/2000

Last Name

Boyd

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Evanston Township High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Evanston

HM ID

BOY01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience - 0 - $500

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Angola, Indiana

Favorite Quote

Do What You Got To Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

4/27/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Indianapolis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Potatoes, Salad

Short Description

Television reporter Barbara Boyd (1929 - ) was a groundbreaking broadcast journalist, who was most known for her feature on breast cancer awareness, on which she reported one week after having a mastectomy.

Employment

Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company

National Conference of Christians and Jews

Indianapolis Headstart

WRTV-6 (Television station: Indianapolis, Ind.)

WRTV TV

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Boyd interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Boyd's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Boyd remembers her parents and grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Boyd faces employment discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Boyd reflects on her girlhood in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The young Barbara Boyd dreams of stardom

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Boyd, a daddy's girl, describes her father's work

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Boyd describes her school days in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Boyd considers the black North Shore

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara Boyd reminisces about her adolescent social life

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Barbara Boyd finds the South not as bad as she expected

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Boyd remembers family outings to Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Boyd discusses her childhood friend, Lorraine Hansberry

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Boyd cites her parents as role models

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Boyd reflects upon her high school graduation

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Boyd describes instances of racial exclusion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Boyd describes college life at The University of Illinois, Champaign

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara and Theodore 'Ted' Boyd begin their courtship

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Boyd makes geographical and career moves

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Boyd gets an unexpected job opportunity with WRTV in Indianapolis

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara Boyd describes early interactions with co-workers at WRTV in Indianapolis

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Boyd, the newswoman, learns from her co-workers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Boyd, the newswoman, finds support in her family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Boyd recognizes her public influence

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Boyd finds a lump in her breast

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Boyd's breast cancer inspires a news story and other appearances

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Boyd's broadcast career develops

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Boyd describes her most interesting story, the Padanaram commune

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Boyd revisits Daniel Wright's Padanaram commune

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Boyd discusses a journalist's responsibilities

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Boyd considers the role of women in the media

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Boyd considers technology's effect on journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Boyd describes how broadcast journalism evolved in her tenure

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Boyd explains her signature hairstyle

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Boyd details Indianapolis's development over four decades

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Boyd expresses her triumphs and goals

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Barbara Boyd reflects on family legacies

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Barbara Boyd imagines her own legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Photo - Barbara Boyd on the cover of 'Indianapolis Monthly' magazine, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1991

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Photo - Illustration and biography of Barbara Boyd from 'Indiana's Trailblazing Women' engagement calendar for 2000

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Photo - Cover of 'Indiana's Trailblazing Women' engagement calendar, 2000

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Photo - Portrait of Barbara Boyd from 'Indiana's Trailblazing Women' engagement calendar for 2000

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Photo - Barbara Boyd at age sixteen at WGN radio's 'Rubin's Stars of Tomorrow' competition, Chicago, Illinois, 1945

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Photo - Barbara Boyd delivers the news with co-anchor Jack Reinhardt at WRTV, Channel 6, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1987

Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Photo - Another view of Barbara Boyd delivering the news at WRTV, Channel 6, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1987

Tape: 4 Story: 17 - Photo - Barbara Boyd at age three or four, ca. 1932-1933

Tape: 4 Story: 18 - Photo - Barbara Boyd with her family at the Fall Creek YMCA, Indianapolis, Indiana, ca. 1961-1964

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Photo - Barbara Boyd and Cory Sevalle

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Photo - Barbara Boyd with Phillip Rhee, director and star of the movie 'Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back', 1995

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Photo - Barbara Boyd's portrayal of a bus driver on the set of the movie, 'Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back', 1995

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Barbara Boyd outside her trailer on the set of the movie, 'Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back', 1995

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Barbara Boyd with the young actor, Jason, at the movie premiere of 'Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back', 1995

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Photo - Barbara Boyd gets her makeup applied for her role in the movie 'Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back', 1995

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Barbara Boyd with her ninety-five year old mother, Alberta Andry

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Barbara Boyd's father, Ernest Andry

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Barbara Boyd and her family at her 25th wedding anniversary

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Family portrait of Barbara Boyd and her family, ca. 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Barbara Boyd and Maggie Greeley, on the cover of 'Mature Lifestyles' magazine, Indianapolis, Indiana, ca. 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Portrait of a young Barbara Boyd, ca. 1950s

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Barbara Boyd at a golf outing with friends

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Barbara Boyd and her husband, Theodore Boyd at a benefit for the Aesculapian Club

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Article about Barbara Boyd's recovery from breast cancer in the 'Indianapolis Star' newspaper, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 10, 1994

Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - The plaque given to Barbara Boyd by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana, June 24, 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - Award presented to Barbara Boyd upon being inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 15, 2000

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
The young Barbara Boyd dreams of stardom
Barbara Boyd revisits Daniel Wright's Padanaram commune
Transcript
And what was the young Barbara Boyd, what type of child was she? I mean, we know--. You know, you talked about playing with your cousins, but what kind of child was she? Was she a dreamer? Was she precocious?$$I was precocious. I was a dreamer. And I always dreamed about being in the movies. I went to the movies every Saturday. That was my thing. After my chores were finished I would go to the movie. And I remember this one movie--. What was it? Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, I've forgotten what it was. And I was on my way. And honey, the fare had gone up, to a dime. I don't think I had but seven cents or something and I was crushed because that's all I had, you know (laughs)! So I didn't go back home to get more money, but every Saturday I went to the movies. Bette Davis was my absolute favorite movie star. And of course I--. We were talking the other night and I said, "I bet you, today, you couldn't name all five or six great, you know, movie stars like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Greer Garson, Ann Sheridan, Barbara Stanwyck, you know. Just--Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine, Shirley Temple, you know. That you would really remember today." To me, those women are still great. I lived with them every Saturday. The John Garfields, the--you know. I just fantasized about being a movie star. And every opportunity I got--. We lived about a half a block from the post office and I'd go down there and I'd tap dance at night. And I had one of those poodle skirts, I never shall forget it. It was turquoise and it had a little poodle on it and I'd go down had my little tap dancing shoes because I took tap dancing lessons, you know. And I'd go down there and I'd do my little number and I'd twirl around and my skirt would go all out and the guys in the back, that worked in the back of the post office began to know who I was. And they'd say , "Here comes Barbara again, hey we can hear her out there tapping up!" Oh, I'd imagine I was Ginger Rogers and I'd-- (makes tapping noise). It was great (laughts)! To me--.$$That's cute. That's cute.$$Fantasizing.$$Well you know, its good to have a good imagination. I used to think I was going to be discovered too. It was cute. The limousine would drive up. But anyway--. So I can identify.$And I went back ten years later, "Padanaram Revisited." Hey, the coveralls are gone. The old beat up hat with the hole in it is gone. Daniel [Wright, commune leader] comes up and meets me in a Cadillac [automobile]. He's got on the corporate uniform with the blue jacket and the khaki pants and the Oxford [style] shirt. "Let me show you around my place," he says. They have their own school now. His son and daughter are graduates of IU [Indiana University] and they teach there--they have their own--teach there. They have their own little fire department. They have their own--they grow their own food. I think they even have their own electrical power from somewhere. Each--I think in October they have a big festival, where they make their candles. You know, make hand-crafted stuff and people come there and go through the camp. Now they have a place for the single men to stay and the single women and for the marrieds. And before, they had this one place and you had a cubicle. If you had a family of three, you all stayed in that room and that room was about that big, enough for a bed and a dresser maybe. Now everybody has their own quarters. So they had really it going--now they do--they not only do logging, but they make log homes. They have a place in Blooming--I think they have an office in Bloomington [Indiana]--at least they did the last time I did the story, they had had an office in Bloomington. So now they have big business. Then the next thing I look up, 'National Geographic' [magazine] had done a story on them. So, that was a very interesting story. What was really interesting is, that Daniel came to Indianapolis [Indiana] one day and he stopped by the station. So I said, "Come on, I want you to be on the noon show, we can do an interview." So I pulled up some of the tape from the previous show. And while we were sitting there, he had a hole in his coverall and he said, "Barbara, you ought to get a needle and thread and sew up Daniel's hole." I said, "Look here, Daniel, you ain't talking to one of your Padanaram women, I don't sew up my husband's clothes--his pants, you know." You know what he told me, he says, "You know what, for a colored woman, you're pretty intelligent" (laughs). I mean, you know, there's no changing somebody like that, you know?$$But see the black guy that was there, was there black women there?$$No.$$That's interesting.$$He was the only black person there.$$So what did you report back? I mean that must have been a report--.$$Well I called my friend and told her he was there. Whether she got in touch with him or he got in touch with him [sic, her], I don't know. But he knew me right off. We just grabbed one another and hugged one another. But that's the most interesting story that I've ever done. And it'a a little--and I tell you, I think one of the stories that I got the most calls on, and you would think it was a nothing little story. But it was a story about a guy who repaired cracks in your car window. This was a long time ago and everybody does it now. But then it was new. And I bet you, until almost to the time I left that station, I'd get at least one call every six or seven months. "You know that story you did back in 19--, do you still have that guy's number?" (imitates inquirer's voice) You know, unreal. I had just umpteen calls about the guy who could fix the cracks in your car window.