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William "Sonny" Walker

Civil rights activist, nonprofit chief executive, and management consulting entrepreneur William “Sonny” Walker was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and went on to teach in Arkansas public schools. In 1956, in the wake of the Brown vs. Board U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Walker helped to prepare the Little Rock Nine to integrate Little Rock Central High School. Walker went on to manage the campaign of T. E. Patterson, the first African American elected to the Arkansas School Board.

In 1965, Walker started the Crusade for Opportunity, one of the first Head Start programs in the U.S. and then began serving as director of the Economic Opportunity Agency of Little Rock and Pulsaki County. Throughout this time, Walker worked to promote integration of everything from television news anchors to the local chapter of the United States Junior Chamber. In 1969, Walker began serving as Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s head of the Arkansas State Economic Opportunity Office. He was the first African American to hold such a position in a Southern governor’s cabinet.

Walker moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1972, and began serving as a division director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal. In 1976, Walker became a member of the Board of Directors for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Walker eventually became Coretta Scott-King’ speech writer and in 1994, he served as interim director of the King Center. Walker went on to found the consulting company the Sonny Walker Group, which specializes in networking, marketing, and employee training.

Walker was a member of the board of trustees of Morris-Brown College, the board of directors of the Butler Street YMCA, the EduPac Action Committee, and the Georgia Partnership for Education Excellence. He was heavily involved with many other community organizations and received numerous awards, including the Community Service Award from the Atlanta Business League, the Distinguished Community Service Award from the National Urban League, the Outstanding Public Servant in the State of Georgia Award from the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Award from the National Association of Community Action Agencies.

William “Sonny” Walker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 21, 2011.

Walker passed away on June 15, 2016.

Accession Number

A2011.029

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/21/2011 |and| 3/18/2012

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

"Sonny"

Schools

Merrill Junior High School

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Arizona State University

University of Oklahoma

University of Arkansas

Federal Executive Institute

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

WAL15

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Indies

Favorite Quote

Out Of The Night That Covers Me, Black As The Pit From Pole To Pole, I Thank Whatever Gods May Be, For My Unconquerable Soul.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/13/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

6/15/2016

Short Description

Management consulting entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and nonprofit chief executive William "Sonny" Walker (1933 - 2016 ) fought for integration during the Civil Rights Movement, worked to promote increased economic opportunity through various federal agencies and programs. He also served as an important member of the board of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and worked as Coretta Scott-King's speech writer. Walker passed away on June 15, 2016.

Employment

Arkansas Public School System

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Arkansas State Government

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Office of Economic Opportunity

National Alliance of Business

Sonny Walker Group

Favorite Color

Cream, Crimson

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Sonny" Walker's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal great-grandmother's immediate relatives

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal great-great-grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers meeting his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his stepmother, Nettie Harris Walker

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his half sister

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the sights, sounds and smells of childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the influential people from his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his experiences during the Great Depression

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the end of World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls attending Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his early after school jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his decision to attend the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers attending Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his influences at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his connection to Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his former wife Loraine Tate and their children

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the racial climate in Arkansas during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls teaching in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the discrimination faced by the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about members of the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers Ozell Sutton

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his time as president of the Arkansas Teachers Association Department of Classroom Teachers

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers advocating for equal pay for teachers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the violence of the mid-1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls meeting President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his involvement with Crusade for Opportunity

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Sonny Walker recalls his role with the National Head Start Association

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his efforts to desegregate in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls disarming the Black United Youth group in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes Dale Bumper's gubernatorial campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Sonny" Walker's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the growth of Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his role with the Office of Economic Opportunity

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers affirmative action initiatives under the Richard Nixon administration

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls the changes in the Democratic Party during the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the changes in the national political landscape in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the political landscape of Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls Maynard H. Jackson, Jr.'s mayoral campaign in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls transitioning to the National Alliance of Business

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his support of African American owned banks in the South

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his work with the National Alliance of Business

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about working with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls improving Coretta Scott King's public speaking skills

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the formation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the activities created to memorialize Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about working with Stevie Wonder, Harry Belafonte and Nelson Mandela

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls becoming director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the historic Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls the leadership changes at The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the future of The King Center

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his decision to support Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker shares his views of President Barack Obama's administration

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his civic involvement in the Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his consultant work at Sonny Walker Group

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children cases

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker reflects upon his life

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$1

DATitle
William "Sonny" Walker describes the discrimination faced by the Little Rock Nine
William "Sonny" Walker remembers Ozell Sutton
Transcript
Well, let's go back--$$Okay (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) before they actually get in, because you get to teach them [at Horace Mann High School; Horace Mann Magnet Middle School, Little Rock, Arkansas]. You said four of the nine?$$I taught five of the nine.$$Five of the nine. Tell me who they were, and how you were instrumental in preparing them to transfer to go to Central [Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas].$$Well, you know, it was more than just--the preparation was more than just what was occurring in the classroom, because the students were identified based on their academic excellence. So we tried to take the best, because we wanted them to succeed. A woman named Daisy Bates, who was head of NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], was the guiding force behind that, and a number of persons in the community, including [HistoryMaker] Ozell Sutton who was working with the Arkansas human relations commission [Arkansas Council on Human Relations]. I had been working as a sports writer for Mrs. Bates' newspaper, the State Press [Arkansas State Press], so she brought me into the process to a great extent. They had a number of other folks, especially NAACP related persons that helped in trying to chart a course for these nine kids. We also had to involve their families, because much of what was going on resulted in reparations, re- repercussions and resistance to the rights of those families. In other words, sometimes the father would lose his job. Sometimes the mother would lose her job, and that kind of thing, as a result of integrating the schools. So, those were the kinds of things that we had to deal with in addition to preparing them academically, mentally and emotionally, for going there. We tried to tell them, we were going to try to instill some of the King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] principles of nonviolence in them. Now, because they hit you, don't hit them back. But we didn't get across to Minnijean Brown [Minnijean Brown Trickey] very well, because some guy put some chili, threw some chili on Minnijean, and Minnijean took, threw chili back. And so, there were some who didn't accept well being abused and intimidated by some of the students who didn't want them there. So, it was quite a time in '57 [1957]. The crowds were jeering the students as they would come in. And I'm sure you saw the--I taught Elizabeth Eckford, and I'm sure you saw when she was isolated by herself, and there was this crowd jeering this young girl. She was frightened, didn't know what to do, she was isolated from the others. They usually tried to go in together, but somehow she got separated from the other eight, and was alone, and it wasn't a very pleasant kind of experience for her. But, Little Rock [Arkansas] in '57 [1957] was really something. But the thing that I think is unknown, or not, with very little emphasis placed on it, was not '57 [1957], '58 [1958], which was the first year that black students left to go to Little Rock Central, but the really tumultuous year was '58 [1958], '59 [1959], the school year of '58 [1958], '59 [959]. Do you realize that there is no such thing as a '59 [1959] graduate of a Little Rock public school? The high schools did not open in '58 [1958]. Rather than continue the integration that they had in '57 [1957], the board decided to close the high schools--close, which affected not just African American kids, but all students. And this is what really brought out white parents, especially mothers, who said, "We're paying the price for all this discrimination and resistance to integration." And they had a panel of American women that were formed, and they went around and spoke to audiences about the fact that they needed to go on and accept the fact that integration is real, it's here, it's the order of the court, and there's no point in us trying to further resist it. Let's just be supportive of it, and hope that we have the best environment for all of our children in the school system. But no graduate-- can you imagine, I want to reiterate it. I repeat it for emphasis. No graduate of the public schools in Little Rock in 1959 because the schools, high schools, did not open in the fall of '58 [1958]. So [HistoryMaker] Ernest Green, who was the first graduate, was in the graduating class of '58 [1958], because he was the only senior that was with the nine, the only one of the nine who was in the senior class, so he graduated and the others were put on hold. They had to go other places, go to parochial schools, go to the county schools, go to St. Louis [Missouri], Chicago [Illinois]--somewhere where there was a relative so they could continue to be in school. But they couldn't go to high school in their own home towns. What a crime, what a shame, but that was the case.$You mentioned [HistoryMaker] Ozell Sutton. And he, I know that he also wrote for one of the newspapers, as you did as well. Is he a friend of yours?$$Ozell I consider to be my longest existing and best friend. We are very, very close. We worked together in Little Rock [Arkansas]. He was with the Arkansas Council on Human Relations. But we also attended the same church, so we got a chance to see--and then with me working with Mrs. Bates [Daisy Bates] as a staff writer for her paper [Arkansas State Press]. And Ozell was on the staff of the Democrat [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette], which was the major white paper. Ozell was the first journalist to be hired by them. And together, we worked to integrate the television and radio industry. We almost singlehandedly, the two of us, working with the assistance of a guy named Lonnie King [Lonnie C. King, Jr.] from Atlanta [Georgia] who was under contract with the Community Relations Service, and who helped us to chart a course to get public, to get public television stations as well as radio stations to hire African Americans. And this required a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of energy, a lot of convincing, a lot of cajoling, and whatever. So Ozell and I worked very closely together. And Ozell became employed as a special assistant to Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. As a matter of fact, although I was designated as the first black cabinet appointee, Ozell was on the governor's staff when I was appointed, so he got there first, before I did. And Ozell was, of course, was an advocate for me because there was opposition. Some folks thought I was too militant to be part of the governor's cabinet, but the governor didn't buy into that, and Ozell, of course, was one of the strong advocates inside on my behalf. When we chose to come to Atlanta, we came at the same time. He came with the Community Relations Service in the [U.S.] Department of Justice, and I came with the Office of Economic Opportunity for the eight southeastern states. And we were offered the opportunity to occupy the home of a guy named T.M. Alexander, Jr., who was being assigned to HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] in Washington [D.C.], and so because he and Janis [Janis Alexander] had this home and they didn't want to sell it, because they didn't know how long they'd be gone. They asked Ozell and myself to occupy their residence for them. And so we moved into their home when we came.$$What year was that?$$This was '72 [1972].$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Nineteen seventy-two [1972].$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$So we'll talk more about that when we get to the 1970s, okay (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Okay.

Lula Ford

Illinois Commerce Commissioner Lula Mae Ford was born on March 11, 1944 to a family of nine in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Ford’s father was a World War II veteran that worked most of his life in the Pine Bluff Arsenal, and her mother was a homemaker who also instilled in Ford, as a child, the importance of education. After attending Coleman High School in Pine Bluff, Ford went on to graduate from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1965. She then relocated to Chicago, Illinois where she pursued her M.A. degree in urban studies at Northeastern University and later earned her M.A. degree in science, career education and vocational guidance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

In 1965, Ford began her teaching career at Horner Elementary School. She served in that capacity until 1975 when she became a counselor for at-risk students. Then in 1976, Ford was hired as the mathematics coordinator at McCorkle Elementary School. She resigned from that position in 1979 to become a liaison for parents and the principal selection committee as the ESEA Reading Teacher and Coordinator. Later in 1984, while serving as a math teacher for John Hope Academy, Ford became the coordinator for the Effective Schools Campaign, organizing GED programs and the school’s black history programs. Ford went on to become the principal for Beethoven Elementary School and was awarded the principal of excellence award for her performance in 1992, 1993 and 1994. She also provided administrative leadership when she fulfilled the position of assistant superintendent of Chicago Public Schools in 1994. Afterwards, from 1995 until 1996, Ford served as the chief instruction officer, advising teachers and faculty on the best teaching practices.

Ford has received many awards and recognitions for her achievements in the field of education including: the Walter H. Dyett Middle School Women in History Award, the Kathy Osterman Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Arkansas, Pine Bluff and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northeastern Illinois University. Ford was hired as the assistant director of central management services for the State of Illinois from 1999 until 2003. In 2003, Ford was appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission and was reappointed to the same office in 2008.

Ford is an active member of many civic organizations including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Lakeshore Chapter (IL) of The Links, Incorporated, and the board of the Trinity Higher Education Corporation.

Ford lives in Illinois and is the proud mother of one adult daughter, Charisse Ford.

Ford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.022

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/21/2008

Last Name

Ford

Schools

Coleman High School

Coleman Elementary School

New Town School

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

First Name

Lula

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

FOR11

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Favorite Quote

Help Me, Jesus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/11/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Education executive, state government appointee, and elementary school principal Lula Ford (1944 - ) held teaching, administrative and counseling positions at several of the Chicago Public Schools before becoming the district's assistant superintendent. She also served on the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Employment

Henry Horner School

Helen J. McCorkle School

John Hope Community Academy

Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School

Chicago Public Schools

Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Illinois Commerce Commission

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lula Ford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lula Ford lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lula Ford talks about her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lula Ford describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lula Ford talks about her father's experiences in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lula Ford describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lula Ford recalls her neighborhood in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lula Ford remembers her early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lula Ford describes her elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lula Ford recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lula Ford remembers the civil rights activities in Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lula Ford recalls the discipline of Principal C.P. Coleman

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lula Ford remembers the African American community in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lula Ford remembers the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about her interests at the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lula Ford recalls her civil rights activities in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lula Ford describes the black business district in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lula Ford remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes the start of her teaching career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lula Ford recalls her first impressions of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lula Ford remembers the influential figures in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lula Ford recalls teaching at the John Hope Academy in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about the desegregation of the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lula Ford describes her graduate studies

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lula Ford recalls her transition to educational administrative positions

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lula Ford talks about Harold Washington's mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lula Ford describes her work at the Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lula Ford recalls her accomplishments as the principal of Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lula Ford describes her administrative roles in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lula Ford talks about the underperformance of the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lula Ford describes her assistant directorship of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about her experiences as an Illinois Commerce Commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lula Ford describes her organizational memberships

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lula Ford talks about the Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lula Ford describes her social and political volunteer work

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lula Ford reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lula Ford describes her family and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lula Ford narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Lula Ford describes the black business district in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Lula Ford recalls her accomplishments as the principal of Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
Okay, now before we leave Pine Bluff [Arkansas], tell us something about 3rd Street [sic. Avenue]? Third Street was a, I would call a, the black metropolis of downtown Main Street. You had all kinds of black businesses, the beauty colleges were there. Wiley Branton taxis [Branton's 98, Pine Bluff, Arkansas], their family owned the taxicab, black taxicab company.$$Wiley Branton [Wiley A. Branton, Sr.]?$$His family the Brantons owned the taxi cab company. Then there was a hotel there, exclusively for blacks. And everybody who would leave out of, if you wanted to go eat, where you could sit you would go to 3rd Street. You could find everything barber shops, beauty shops, every. And, and certainly juke joints, all that would be on 3rd Street. Downtown was Main Street, you know, where you have the stores, Kresge [S.S. Kresge Company] and Woolworths [F.W. Woolworth Company] all those kinds of things would be on the Main Street. And I think that was probably 5th [Avenue] or 6th Avenue but 3rd Street was where most blacks would come up from the rural areas and would be able to get food and just have a good time.$$Okay, so a lot of pe- people from the smaller towns would come, come into (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Small towns came to Pine Bluff.$$Would they come in on the weekends and something?$$They'd come in on a Saturday.$$Okay. Was there a lot of live music in those days?$$Yeah, you, I met, when I was in college [Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, Arkansas], that's the first time I saw Ike and Tina Turner Revue and Bobby Bland. We had what was known as the Rec- Townsend Recreational Center [sic. Townsend Park Recreation Center, Pine Bluff, Arkansas]. And that's where you would have the live acts. Bobby "Blue" Bland's band would come in. As I said Ike and Tina Turner Revue, that's where I first saw them.$$Okay, was it unusual for, for the big named acts to come through?$$No, not for Pine Bluff (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.$After I, I, I added bicycles for perfect attendance all year, I got a--bought I don't know how many bicycles my first year. And iss- gave them out for perfect attendance. So, it improved my attendance but, because when, if you have five children in the family and monitor them and I say why is this child absent, they say, "He has chickenpox." I knew then that if he, he has five brothers and sisters next week they are gonna be out. So, I, then I told the board [Chicago Board of Education] I said, "You all got to give me a waiver, so I can get some perfect attendance here, because my children, there's an epic- chickenpox epidemic. Any time you have this close of quarters and you have this many children in a family you're gonna have that." So, I've had indicators of success always my first year. But, then I could see my children going out of a lower quarter, quartile. But, when I look back and saw that these children are getting ready to go to gym and taking out time away from task onto me. I must I need to, the second year I said I need to extend my school day. So, I brought my teachers in and I said, "I can pay you an hourly rate but I need you one hour after school. How many people," only wanted the names of the people who cannot stay. Only three people could not stay. That's because they were in school. I extended my school day from--to 3:30. And they could only teach reading, extend my reading. And that's when my scores began to improve. And that's the model that Paul Vallas took when he took over the Chicago Public Schools. He took the model that I had created at Beethoven [Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois] and that was extended day reading (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Really okay?$$If you know your children are not getting enough time on task and I know that my parents were not going to be able to do some of the kinds of things that I needed them to do, then I needed my children there longer. I also, brought another gym teacher. And then Compton [HistoryMaker James W. Compton] was the president of the school at that time and I did get the gym. That was one of my goals. The gym did come the year I left. And they named it after me the Ford Arena [ph.]. It was built but I was--$$Where, where is it?$$It's at the, it's in the school.$$At Beethoven?$$Beethoven yeah.$$Okay.$$Built it on the front side of the school.$$They call it the Ford Arena?$$Uh-huh.$$Okay.$$Oprah [Oprah Winfrey] adopted the school, when I was there. I did a grant with Stedman [Stedman Graham], I have a picture of that one over there. She adopted the school. And she would take my top reading scorers from kindergarten through eight out for lunch. She had, she did that two years and then she visited the school. So, we had a lot of support.$$Was it easy to get a hold of Oprah?$$I, I met her through Edmund, I mean Stedman.$$Okay.$$Uh-huh.$$Okay.$$But, you know, how that was, we did a grant together and then she got a lot, he got a lot of play out of that. And then she, the children went crazy, she would send limousines for them, of course they were excited about that. But, it was an interesting time to be in schools. But, I think I gained most of my weight being a principal. 'Cause you would be so tired at the evenings that you would go home and Gladys [Gladys Luncheonette, Chicago, Illinois] was in the area so I would get a dinner go home and go to bed. My daughter [Charisse Ford] was away in college and I had no husband at the time, so. But, it was very rewarding.$$Okay. Now, so you won, you won three awards during that period of time, you said. And Paul Vallas took your model. I mean did he ever officially acknowledge that was the model, he got?$$Yeah.$$Okay, all right.$$And the mayor came to our school.$$Okay.$$President Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] visited my school in 1994.$$Okay.$$Mrs. Edgar [Brenda Edgar], Jim Edgar's wife came out and read to my kindergarten children. I have pictures of that also over there. But, because and, and six legislators from the state came to see how I was spending my state Chapter I [Elementary and Secondary Education Act Chapter I] money. And that was the way I was spending it to make sure that my children got time on task.

Kevin Cole

Art professor and mixed media artist Kevin E. Cole was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on January 19, 1960 to Jessie and Sam Cole, Jr. He received his B.S. degree in art education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1982; his M.A. degree in art education a year later, and his M.F.A degree in drawing from Northern Illinois University in 1984.

Cole began his art career as an art teacher at Camp Creek Middle School in College Park, Georgia in 1985. At the same time, he also became an adjunct oprofessor at Georgia State University’s School of Art and Design where he remained until 1998. In 1990, Cole was chairperson of the visual and performing arts magnet program of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia until 1994. Later, in 2003, he became the chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Westlake High School where created the school's first arts program. Cole’s artwork is well known for including imagery of neckties as symbols of power and emphasizes the relationship between color and music, particularly jazz, blues, hip-hop, and gospel. He incorporates patterns and textures from traditional African cloths to speak to human conditions and behaviors.

In 1994, Cole was commissioned by the Coca-Cola Company to create a fifteen story mural celebrating the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. The mural took two years to create and was a little over 800 square feet. He has been featured in Who’s Who in Education and received the Award of Excellence for Public Art by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.

Cole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 15, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.009

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/15/2007

Last Name

Cole

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Pine Bluff High School

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Northern Illinois University

Indiana Street Elementary School

Belair Middle School

Southeast Junior High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, Weekends

First Name

Kevin

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

COL12

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Teens

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, Teens

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Forests, Water

Favorite Quote

There's No Limit Of What A Man Can Do And Where He Can Go If It Doesn't Matter Who Gets The Credit. You Learn Through The Process Of Doing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/19/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cabbage

Short Description

Mixed media artist and art professor Kevin Cole (1960 - ) was an adjunct professor at Georgia State University's School of Art and Design until 1998. From 1992, Cole's artwork evolved from the use of the necktie as an icon, motif and symbol of power. His work emphasized the relationship between color and music, particularly jazz, blues, rap, and gospel.

Employment

Westlake High School

North Springs Charter High School

Georgia State University

Tri-Cities High School

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kevin Cole's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole describes his paternal grandfather, Sam Cole, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole talks about his father's education and military career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sam Cole describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole describes lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sam Cole describes how his mother and father met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kevin Cole talks about growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sam Cole describes Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sam Cole talks about his daily life as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sam Cole describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sam Cole describes his experience at Indiana Street Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sam Cole remembers discovering his talent for art

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes his experience at the integrated Belair Middle School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole describes his parents' political views

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole describes his education at Belair Middle School in Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole describes growing up on the east side of Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kevin Cole remembers Southeast Junior High School in Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kevin Cole remembers his early mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kevin Cole describes his experience at Pine Bluff High School

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Kevin Cole recalls his mentors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Kevin Cole talks about his artistic mentors' awards

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Kevin Cole describes how his artwork developed in college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole lists his art professors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole describes his experience pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole talks about Halima Taha's book

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole recalls racial discrimination at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes his artistic process at graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree [MFA]

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his experience as an African American artist

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole talks about racial discrimination in the art world

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole talks about his student, Kara Walker

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Kevin Cole talks about artists he admires

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole remember his early teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole recalls his commission to create a mural at Atlanta City Hall

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole describes the visual performing arts magnet program at Tri-Cities High School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole talks about his art made from bent wood

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole recalls being commissioned for the 1996 Summer Olympics

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole talks about collaborating on the 1996 Summer Olympics mural

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes his career after painting the 1996 Summer Olympics mural

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his future career plans

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole talks about other artists that he admires

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole describes the subjects of his recent work

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole shares a message for future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole talks about the importance of art education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole lists some of the proprietors of his art

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his children, Skylar Cole and Nia Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DATitle
Kevin Cole recalls his mentors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Kevin Cole recalls being commissioned for the 1996 Summer Olympics
Transcript
So, you decide to go to work--to college, and tell me about your first experience when you get, get to college.$$Well, okay. When I decided to attend University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff [Pine Bluff, Arkansas], I went out for an interview and I talked to this guy. His name was John--the late John Howard, and I know there were a lot of people trying to become artists at Pine Bluff. And Mr. Howard, he took me around and I had these drawings and took me around to all the faculty, and Ernest Davidson, the--'cause I was doing sculpture, Ernest Davidson was the sculpture teacher. He just died recently. And then there was--[HistoryMaker] Henri Linton was on leave. The one that stood--that stood out to me the most was this guy named Tarrance Corbin, guy about maybe 5'6", 5'7". And everybody was ranting and raving over my portfolio. I took my portfolio to him. He looked at it, he said, "It's typical seventeen-year-old work." I got outside, I said, "You know what? That little short man, he think he bad," (laughter). And he became my--he--he's still--he--I'm his--I'm his godson. We, we talk--we talk every--we talk at least three times a week. I never knew he would be that mentor for me. And I always say when my career has gone--I've, I've always had good, good, good mentors. Ernest Davidson, who recently just passed away, he was the one that, that--he was that calm part of it, for me. And Ernest--and, and so that's why if you notice, I do paint and sculptures because I would've been torn between painting and sculpture. So my--I do paint, paint and sculpture or I'm doing metal now. And the late John Howard was the one that got me involved in, in like--in like education. And I always would wonder about Mr. Howard. I'm like--I'll never--I'll never forget, I had a painting class--well, at that time, Mr. Howard--in 1980, Mr. Howard, he was--he, he had gotten old. Whenever you would ask him to come upstairs to look at your painting, he'll tell you he couldn't come up to look at your painting, but--so, you had to bring your painting down for him, him to see, all right. And I would do at a time. He said, you have a nice painting. But then, you see Mr. Howard in the hallway, he'd tell you, "Cole [HistoryMaker Kevin Cole], nice painting you got upstairs." I'm like, "How'd you get upstairs?" "'Cause you never bring it up." And I'll, I'll never forget taking a class with him, and taking a class with Mr. Howard, and in my painting class with him, Mr. Howard, he would beat me up. I had the best painting in the class, he would just beat me up, I mean, tear me up. So this girl named--her name was Dorothy Deportes [ph.]. Dorothy was doing these folk-type paintings. They were real stylized and, and Dorothy would get a A and I'd get a B. "Mr. Howard, but Dorothy can't paint, worth a shit," I would say--but, you know, I would--I would say to myself. So, then at the end of the semester, he said, "You know what? I knew what to say to you. I knew you would always rise to the occasion. You always rise. Even though Dorothy couldn't paint, I had to make Dorothy feel good, like she could." But in my mind, seventeen years old, Dorothy can't paint, okay. I understand what he was trying to do, but his whole thing was, you know, "At the end--at the end of the day, I always wanted to make sure that you would always--I wanted to know each one of my students--." Then--and then I asked, I said, "Mr. Howard, why is it everybody want, want to come to Arkansas Pine Bluff?" He said, "You know what, 'cause--because I know all my people. You gotta know all your students. You gotta know what they're capable of doing, what they're not capable of doing at the end of the day." So I--that philosophy stayed with me as, as I teach. I always trying to build--I'm always trying to build whoever I can up but then push whoever I can on the--on the side, say, "Okay, this is where you can be and this is what you can be."$$Okay. So you had some great mentors--$$Oh--$$--your first year of college. Now, this was in 1978 'cause you graduated from high school [Pine Bluff High School, Pine Bluff, Arkansas]--$$Yeah, in--$$--in--$$Yeah, I graduated in '78 [1978].$$--nineteen seventy-eight [1978], and you went straight to college.$$I went straight to college. I went to--and then--and then another mentor, like Henri, Henri, Henri Linton who's still the chairman of the department. And, and we've talked to--and we've talked--we've talked about me coming back and being chairman but I don't think I'm, I'm gonna do that. But he was the one--he's one of the ones that stayed with me until the end and, and made you work. It was just it. I mean, he'd tell you to work all day, work all night, always be--always be prepared, always be better. And I think with him and Tarrance Corbin, a lot of commissions I've got--you know, commission of Michael Jordan, commission for the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia]. See, I learned--I learned how to do murals when I--when I was seventeen years old. I was working as an apprentice for Tarrance Corbin and doing things, things for him, washing out paint brushes, blocking in shapes, so that was easy for me.$So, what happens--you, you were at Tri-City [Tri-Cities High School, East Point, Georgia] from--$$From 1990--$$Ninety [1990] to ninety-four [1994].$$--to '94 [1994]. Well, in 1994, and then I was represented by the, the, the McIntosh Gallery here, here in Atlanta [Georgia], which I always tell the story that she, she, she had some of the top African American artists in the country. She gave Romare Bearden his first show. She gave Benny Andrews his first one and gave John Scott [John T. Scott]. And I was represented by her. And when, when the--when The Coca-Cola Company [Atlanta, Georgia] became official sponsor of the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia], they kept asking, who's able to do large scale pieces of artwork? My name kept coming up. And another guy knew her from Coke, said, you know what? Her name is Louisa [Louisa McIntosh Edwards], Louisa, can we talk to this guy? They came over and they--and they talked to me about, about, about, you know, about they wanted to do. And they told me the artists they looked at. So, she and I talked. I said, well, you know what? I think that they are just interviewing me as a part of the process because--and, and, and because I'm black. So I went on, I started to do--I said, well, you know, I really wanna--I really wanna do something for the Olympics. And how you do a 15 story mural, you never touch the wall, they give you what you ask for, and I came in, I, I--my--I said, I, I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna do it on--I'm gonna do it on a--I'm gonna do it on like a vinyl, came in with my presentation. I said, gentleman, how many days you--well, you gotta look at it--now, if you want somebody to get this mural done by the time of the Olympics, how many days--I'm looking at how many days it rained from 1990 'til 1994, how many days it was over 40 degrees, how many days it was under 80 degrees, how many days it snowed, how many miles an hour that the wind is going one way. If a person is trying to paint this on a wall that--on a scaffold painting, they would never get it done. Let me--let me introduce you to a vinyl. The vinyl lasts, lasts between seven and ten years. It'll be--it'll be done in sections. I found a company, company that can install it in. I want this, I want this, I want this. I'm gonna use this, I'm gonna use this, I'm gonna use that. I also wanna hire five of my former students, part of the deal, and if you look in the--look in the lower right-hand corner, everything is copyrighted. I would love to hear from you soon. I got the project.$$Wow. And where does this mural hang?$$It was on the side of, of--it was on the side of a building called Carter Hall, which was the dormitory for Clark Atlanta University [Atlanta, Georgia] students, Georgia State [Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia] students. And it took two years, six months, seventeen days, fourteen hours, and thirty-two minutes. I kept a diary on it. It was--it was--it was one them--one of them--matter of fact, the--it, it was--it was 8200 square feet, bigger than the Sistine Chapel [Apostolic Palace, Vatican City] and which was--which was 7700 square feet, okay? It was one of the largest single-hand projects for any Olympics done, but it was done with the input of the community, whereas the idea was to, to paint the unsung heroes. Then, I used some of my former students. I brought in two artists from the community who I knew to just give them the experience of doing it.

The Honorable Dianne Wilkerson

Dianne Wilkerson, the first African American woman elected to the Massachusetts State Senate, was born on May 2, 1955, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She was born in her maternal grandmother’s shotgun shack on a farm, because the local hospital did not allow black women entry to deliver children. Wilkerson and her family later followed an uncle who fled Arkansas to Springfield, Massachusetts, to escape harassment from the Ku Klux Klan. After graduating from Springfield’s High School of Commerce in 1973, Wilkerson attended the American International College, earning her B.S. degree in public administration in 1978. After completing her B.S., Wilkerson attended Boston College Law School, earning her J.D. in 1981.

Beginning her legal practice that same year, Wilkerson clerked in the Massachusetts Appeals Court until 1982, when she left to become deputy counsel to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. In 1983, she joined the law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Lerby and McRae, where she remained until 1985. That year, Wilkerson became the assistant legal counsel to Governor Michael Dukakis. In 1987, Wilkerson became the first African American woman in Boston to become a partner in a major law firm, Roche, Carnes and DeGiacomo, where she practiced until being elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 1992. In 2005, she was the highest-ranking black official in the State of Massachusetts, serving her sixth term representing the Second Suffolk District.

As a state senator, Wilkerson has sponsored a number of bills to protect low-income, black and other minority residents of Massachusetts, including a bill authorizing the collection of data relative to racial profiling in traffic stops and a bill to curb high interest rates on bank loans. As the lone African American in the Massachusetts State Senate at the time of her interview, Wilkerson has described herself as a “professional agitator,” and has championed policies to improve the lives of people underserved by the government.

Accession Number

A2005.026

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

1/27/2005

Last Name

Wilkerson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Carew Street School

Homer Street School

Samuel Bowles School

Forest Park Middle School

High School of Commerce

American International College

Boston College Law School

The High School of Commerce

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Dianne

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

WIL21

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

5/2/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken (Roasted), Dressing

Short Description

State senator The Honorable Dianne Wilkerson (1955 - ) was the first African American woman elected to the Massachusetts State Senate. In January, 2005, she was serving her sixth term representing the Second Suffolk District and the only African American in the Massachusetts Senate. Wilkerson sponsored a number of bills to protect low-income, black and other minority residents.

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dianne Wilkerson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about her grandparents and growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dianne Wilkerson recalls her grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about her mother and her personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dianne Wilkerson talks briefly about her father and both her grandmothers

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dianne Wilkerson recalls the stories her parents shared about growing up in rural Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dianne Wilkerson tells of her uncles who left Arkansas and shares a story of meeting one of them in 1979

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dianne Wilkerson describes her earliest memories and her uncles' trial, imprisonment and later departure from Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dianne Wilkerson talks briefly about those who influenced her as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dianne Wilkerson recalls the assassination of John F. Kennedy

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about her attitude towards learning as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dianne Wilkerson describes her introduction to busing in elementary school in Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about her experiences in an integrated elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dianne Wilkerson recalls her neighborhood and her circle of friends during her teenage years

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about her teachers and her experiences in junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dianne Wilkerson recalls summers visits with her grandparents down South

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about her religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dianne Wilkerson describes early sights, smells and sounds from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dianne Wilkerson recalls her high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dianne Wilkerson describes her summer job she took to pay for college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dianne Wilkerson recounts her high school struggle to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dianne Wilkerson describes her major and how she paid for college

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dianne Wilkerson recalls juggling her education with her new family

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dianne Wilkerson describes what made her decide to attend Boston College Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dianne Wilkerson describes her experiences at Boston College Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about the culture shock she experienced in Boston

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dianne Wilkerson details how she passed the bar exam

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about her first job assignments after passing the bar exam

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dianne Wilkerson details her activities in a New York law firm and with the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dianne Wilkerson talks more about her activities with the NAACP and their lawsuit against HUD

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dianne Wilkerson describes her career achievement and details her decision to enter into politics

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dianne Wilkerson details her campaign for Senator of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about her career accomplishments as Massachusetts State Senator

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dianne Wilkerson talks extensively about her position for gay marriage in Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dianne Wilkerson shares some of her advice to young people

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about the committees on which she serves in the Massachusetts State Senate

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about the change in racial demographics in her political district

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dianne Wilkerson reflects on how she has lived her life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dianne Wilkerson talks about how she would like to be remembered and her future

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Dianne Wilkerson's grandson, Cornell Devon Mills, Jr. and grand-nephew, Kendall, Boston, Massachusetts, 2002

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Dianne Wilkerson with Massachusetts State Senators Bill Owens and Royal Bolling, Sr., Boston, Massachusetts, 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Dianne Wilkerson and an unidentified man present an award to Aaron Feuerstein, Boston, Massachusetts, 1999

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Dianne Wilkerson with former President Bill Clinton and others at a fundraiser, Washington, D.C., 2003

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Dianne Wilkerson with the mayor and members of the Empowerment Zone Board, Boston, Massachusetts, ca. 1994

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Dianne Wilkerson with other leaders at an NAACP function, Boston, Massachusetts, 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Dianne Wilkerson with others at a Massachusetts Legislative Black Caucus function, Boston, Massachusetts, 1996

The Honorable Sandye Jean McIntyre, II

Distinguished professor and diplomat Sandye Jean McIntyre II was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on September 18, 1923. He spent most of his youth in Cleveland, Ohio. McIntyre's father, Sandy John, was a professor and a minister, and his mother Gladys was a teacher. McIntyre was educated in the Cleveland public school system and received a B.A. degree in French in 1947 from Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina. Returning to Cleveland, McIntyre attended Case Western Reserve University and earned an M.A. degree in 1948. In 1951, McIntyre was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in France at the Université de Grenoble and the Université de Paris (the Sorbonne). He completed the requirements for a Doctorat d'Université, and was awarded “une équivalence doctorale.” McIntyre returned to Case Western Reserve University earning a Ph.D. in French in 1974. He has subsequently been a Senior Fulbright Scholar to Israel, Senegal, Mali, Gambia and Liberia.

Dr. McIntyre began his teaching career in 1948 at Morgan State University in Baltimore, where he still teaches. During the course of his career, he has been active in a number of programs promoting international education, including a 1951 appointment by his university to direct the Fulbright program. His oversight of this program at Morgan State has produced one of the highest numbers of Fulbright awards of any college or university in the United States, and definitely more than any other historically black institution of higher education.

Diplomacy has also been an important facet of McIntyre's career, including being named, in 1956, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Haiti, and, in 1970, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Senegal. McIntyre is the recipient of awards and honors from many countries, including France, which decorated him as a Knight and Officer in the prestigious “Ordre des Palmes Académques.” He was designated in 1980 as “International Consul of the Year” by the International Consular Academy.

McIntyre received numerous citations, awards and other forms of recognition for his excellence in teaching from local, national and international organizations. In 1957, he was chosen by the State Department to represent the teaching profession in the “Voice of America” worldwide broadcast as a member of the “Famous American Negro” series. The Institute of International Education gave him its 1974 “Individual Award” in recognition of distinguished service to international education and Morgan State University named an international award in his honor. McIntyre was listed by Baltimore Magazine as one of “Baltimore's Best and Brightest Brains” in 1978. He was designated in 1987 as the Maryland “Professional Employee of the Year” and received the Maryland Association for Higher Education’s “Outstanding Educator” award in 1989. He was the recipient in 1992 of the “Outstanding Leadership in the Profession” award presented by the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

A World War II Army veteran, McIntyre was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster. He was the author of more than fifty French one-act comedies and traveled in all the major countries of the world.

McIntyre passed away on October 8, 2006.

Accession Number

A2003.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/7/2003

Last Name

McIntyre

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Jean

Schools

Central High School

Johnson C. Smith University

Case Western Reserve University

First Name

Sandye

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

MCI01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Time Is Money.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/18/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Coq Au Vin

Death Date

10/8/2006

Short Description

Foreign languages professor The Honorable Sandye Jean McIntyre, II (1923 - 2006 ) taught at Morgan State for more than fifty years and served as honorary consul to Senegal.

Employment

Morgan State University

Republic of Haiti

Republic of Senegal

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1830,10:6570,120:8387,162:11863,243:16366,370:89680,1409:90604,1581:92032,1602:92536,1608:114680,2035:155432,2599:199780,3145:239510,3480:251422,3645:290930,4037$0,0:1872,44:15756,291:25434,372:25924,378:30620,443:34306,489:34792,496:35602,506:36736,523:43805,596:46071,649:57710,867:59976,919:83722,1184:85234,1213:99410,1421:109184,1550:111404,1779:131278,2014:158338,2318:171299,2456:171880,2464:173125,2491:182580,2572
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sandye McIntyre's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sandye McIntyre lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sandye McIntyre describes his mother, Gladys Means McIntyre Moore

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sandye McIntyre describes his father, Sandy McIntyre

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his father's French ancestry and his godfather, Emile Blais De Sauze

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sandye McIntyre describes his childhood interests like reading and tennis

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sandye McIntyre describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his two sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sandye McIntyre remembers influential teachers from his grade school years

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his interactions with Langston Hughes and Josephine Baker in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sandye McIntyre describes his post-graduate experience after graduating from Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio in 1940

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sandye McIntyre describes his decision to attend Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sandye McIntyre remembers learning French from his godfather, Emile Blais De Sauze, and from his professor, Monsieur Adam

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sandye McIntyre describes his decision to teach at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sandye McIntyre describes his tenure at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sandye McIntyre describes his senior year at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his experience at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Sandye McIntyre describes his Fulbright experience in France

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his own Fulbright experience and his work on the Fulbright at Morgan State University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sandye McIntyre talks about Negritude and French intellectuals of African descent

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sandye McIntyre describes his reception in Europe

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sandye McIntyre talks about the Fulbright Program at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sandye McIntyre remembers meeting African American expatriates in France

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sandye McIntyre talks about Josephine Baker's career in France

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his Bronze Star Medal

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sandye McIntyre talks about people he has met and admires like Gandhi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sandye McIntyre describes his role as the director of the Fulbright Program at Morgan State University and notable alumni

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sandye McIntyre talks about his teaching methodology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sandye McIntyre talks about Haiti

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sandye McIntyre remembers learning about racism in Brazil

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sandye McIntyre talks about racism in the world and the impact of racism on future generations

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sandye McIntyre describes a Wolof devil mask he purchased in Dakar, Senegal

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sandye McIntyre describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sandye McIntyre reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sandye McIntyre talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sandye McIntyre narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sandye McIntyre narrates his photographs, pt.2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Sandye McIntyre talks about people he has met and admires like Gandhi
Sandye McIntyre talks about Haiti
Transcript
And this, these are things that--memories that come back to--and you say to yourself sometimes: I worked for fifty-five years. I have no money to show for it as such. I've only got fabulous memories. I've been to every major country in the world, and I've talked with heads of state and all. I've got paintings and artifacts from all over the world, but I have very little finance to show for it, you know. But I say is--what's more important, that or the memories, or the contacts you made, the people you've encountered, and I have encountered some fabulous people, not only heads of state and dignitaries, but people like cab drivers. I recall Dr. [Carleen] Leggett and I went up to see La de Falls (ph.) and we were with, with an Algerian cab driver who told us about the tremendous, the terrible treatment. That's, by the way, this is one of the things that [Albert] Camus and I had together because Camus is Algerian--considered himself a second-class citizen where France is concerned, and I consider myself as a second-class citizen here. One other thing I didn't tell you is while going to--while with the, the inspector general, I had a chance--he had a 15-minute session with Mahatma Gandhi, and I went with him. He had to leave, and I stayed there two more hours and chatted with Mahatma Gandhi for, for at least two and a half hours.$$Now what did you talk about?$$We talked about: one, segregation and South, and South Africa. Of course, he was segregated tremendously and mistreated, and I talked about how I was mistreated. And--$$Many people don't know that Gandhi was from South Africa.$$Yeah.$$They assume he was from India.$$Yeah, yeah.$$Though he was an Indian, he was a South African Indian.$$South African Indian, yes. But he, he was so--and [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] invited me to talk with him a couple of times. I think I had, I had dinner with him once. But the fact that I had met Mahatma Gandhi, who, who, who was his--you know. That was the man, you know. But I'll tell you, that was a very simple man, very simple. I recall the little, the little bittersweet tea we had, the biscuits, and the little (unclear)--and very simple life. But I think he's one of the persons I admire the most. I admire him. I admire him. I think the people I admire the most, I think my father is one of them, Mahatma Gandhi, [President Anwar] Sadat, whom I, I'd met. And Sadat, at one of the dinners I went to with him, called me his little brother because we both had nappy hair here, you know.$$Anwar Sadat.$$Anwar Sadat.$$President of Egypt.$$Yeah. Just, I--$$Did, did--$$I, I met Malcolm X when he came here. He and I debated in one of, had a little debate 'cause I was an internationalist. And I never believed in, in--I always felt that we were all brothers. That's the kind of stuff that I've always lived with my life, taught to me by my father. We were all brothers. There were many Jewish people that lived near us, and they were all considered brothers as far as my father was concerned. But I, I, I was a part of the organization, or the BLEWS (ph.) here, the blacks and Jews. I worked with them for a very long time. I haven't been able to go out in the last two or three years, but I've been very close to them. And I've always felt that people are my brothers. I, I don't know. I, I grew up with that idea, yeah. But, I was talking about Mahatma Gandhi. It's an impression that lives with you the rest of your life, you know.$$He, he--$$He was killed in 1948 I think. I thought I saw him in '46 [1946], '45 [1945] or '46, when I was with the inspector general.$$Did he have any advice about what black Americans should be?$$You know, all I can recall is our talking about philosophy in general. He, he, he knew that I had one of my majors I had done was philosophy. And we talked about philosophy and the nonviolence and what America should--blacks should do, not become violent, and that eventually there's a cycle, and you overcome with the passage of time.$All right, let me ask you about Haiti. You were a counselor--$$I was consul. I was vice-consul, then became consulate of the Republic of Haiti back in '56 [1956], '57 [1957], and of course I made many trips to Haiti. The language there is spoken by most people is Creole. There are many people in Haiti who don't speak French, but they speak Creole. The, the learned speak excellent French, because many of them go to France to get their degrees. Haiti's a country that I've, I have always admired. First because my teacher, Jean Adam, who is Haitian, because they're, they're a beautiful people, but the one of the most impoverished people, people on, on the face of the earth, very poor and--$$Can, can you speak to the importance of the history of Haiti (unclear)--(simultaneous)--$$Well, you know--$$--the black people in this hemisphere.$$Well, you know, that goes back to the time when the, the French, of course, controlled Haiti. And then there was an uprising when Toussaint Louverture and some of the other great--$$(Unclear)--from Haiti--$$Yeah--$$(Unclear)--all--$$And they, they threw the French out, basically, and they had tremendous problems in the beginning, just as they have tremendous problems now. But I became very close to, to the Haitians, to the president of Haiti and to the ambassador of Hai--in fact, before Papa Doc [Francois Duvalier] came to power. When Papa Doc came to power, I lost my, my position as honorary consul of Haiti. We, we kind of broke off relationships basically with them.$$Papa Doc was the infamous dictator of Haiti--$$He was, he was--$$--Jean-Claude [sic, Francois] Duvalier [Francois' was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude].$$Yeah.$$Yeah.$$And of course I did not go to Haiti during that period of time. In fact, I don't think I've--let's see--no, I haven't been there since then. I, I went two or three times before then, and I was treated royally by the president and--but the people are so warm. And, and you know, the--some of the things there that I saw--I saw--I was invited--because this is rare for a non-Haitian to go to a voodoo ceremony. I've been to several voodoo ceremonies, real ones, where they were, the blood was thrown all over the chicken and everything. And I just--at first I thought this was rather primitive. Then I realized that this was a religion for most of these people based on the Catholic faith and their African legacy. So they took some of that, their African legacy, and mixed it with, with the Catholic faith and, and produced a, a kind of religion, which is voodoo.

Dorothy R. Leavell

Dorothy Leavell was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on October 23, 1944. Leavell was the valedictorian of her Merrill High School class of 1962 and after relocating to Chicago, Leavell attended Roosevelt University.

Leavell’s first husband, Balm L. Leavell, Jr., founded the Crusader newspaper in Chicago in 1940 and twenty years later, began publishing a similar newspaper in Gary, Indiana. From the time of her husband’s death in 1968, Leavell has served the the Crusader as publisher and editor while rehabilitating its facilities and modernizing the production process.

Leavell was elected president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in June of 1995 for a two-year term and was re-elected in June 1997 ending her term in 1999. During her tenure, she increased the visibility and international stature of the organization. In June of 2006, Leavell was elected Chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.

A member of the NNPA for more than forty-two years, Mrs. Leavell has served in various other capacities including assistant secretary, a member of the board of directors, and as treasurer, a post she held as for ten years.

Leavell has often been honored and recognized for her philanthropic and civic contributions. A recipient of many awards, she was honored as NNPA’s Publisher of the Year (1989); the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago; State of Indiana’s “Attorney General for a Day; (June 9, 2000); Winnie Mandela Endurance with Dignity Award; Nation of Islam Distinguished Service Award; Operation PUSH Family Affair Award; by the National Association of Black Media Women; the Fourth District Community Improvement Association Award in Gary; Dollars & Sense Magazine Award for Excellence in Business; the Mary McLeod Bethune Award; the Humanitarian Award from the Council on African Affairs; the Publishing Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club and as the Grand Ye Ye at the 24th Annual 2013 African Festival of the Arts Chicago, Africa International House, Inc., among many others.

Active in her faith and church, Holy Name of Mary Church in Chicago’s Morgan Park community, Leavell is the wife of John Smith, her second husband, and the mother of two children and three grandchildren. She also raised a niece and nephew.

Dorothy Leavell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 1, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.061

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/1/2003

Last Name

Leavell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R.

Organizations
Schools

Merrill Junior High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Dorothy

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

LEA01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/23/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive and Dorothy R. Leavell (1944 - ) is the chair of Amalgamated Publishing and the co-founder of "Heroes in the Hood."

Employment

Crusader

Amalgamated Publishers

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3724,61:6536,103:8436,135:8816,141:23824,325:28185,363:30860,368:95669,1137:96559,1152:97004,1158:143370,1628:171476,1931:198110,2237:213008,2374:215856,2418:222406,2510:224212,2536:230736,2588:241670,2662:248700,2733:249825,2750:252750,2796:268530,2954:299940,3208$0,0:3891,50:9930,131:21378,229:21808,235:27398,307:27828,313:32386,362:32902,369:33676,377:35998,415:44377,468:52120,588:60250,603:61370,624:63470,653:67250,675:70890,762:80690,884:81365,894:94554,1038:99594,1112:106850,1176:107642,1187:110666,1240:111962,1263:112538,1274:115562,1312:126789,1391:131686,1429:139907,1507:145820,1578:147602,1601:150761,1639:151085,1644:151814,1656:152867,1674:159071,1723:159781,1734:168875,1863:172925,1950:182940,2030:185030,2041:207328,2299:218970,2422:239380,2670
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorothy Leavell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell talks about her parents' courtship and their having children late in life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell recalls growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dorothy Leavell describes Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the different schools in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dorothy Leavell describes Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell describes her schooling experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell talks about skipping school as a student at Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the teachers that influenced her as a high school student

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes the lessons she learned from her high school principal

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell describes being arrested as a high school student, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell describes being arrested as a high school student, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell talks about Governor Orville Faubus and her senior class trip to Winthrop Rockefeller's farm

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the Rockefeller family's reputation in her community

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dorothy Leavell describes her experiences applying to the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the significance of the Masonic Temple in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell talks about her father's job as a laborer for the Cotton Belt Railroad

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell describes her move to Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes being hired at the "Chicago Crusader"

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell talks about marrying the founder of the "Chicago Crusader," Balm Leavell, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the history of the "Chicago Crusader"

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the Negro Labor Relations League, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the Negro Labor Relations League, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dorothy Leavell describes the "Chicago Crusader's" support of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell describes the challenges she faced taking over the "Chicago Crusader" in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell describes the "Chicago Crusader's" response to the murders of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell describes how the beating of Dr. Herbert Odom caused a shift in Chicago politics

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes Balm Leavell's contributions to the Exposition of the Negro in Business and Culture

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell talks about Edward Hanrahan's being voted out of office as Cook County State Attorney

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell describes the "Chicago Crusader's" support of Mayor Harold Washington's mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell describes serving as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell describes the controversies that occurred during her tenure as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell describes the controversies that occurred during her tenure as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell describes the controversies that occurred during her tenure as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes the challenges the black press faces covering international news

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell talks about former staff members and supporters of the "Chicago Crusader," pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell talks about former staff members and supporters of the "Chicago Crusader," pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell talks about her concerns for the black press

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell shares her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell describes her most significant accomplishment as publisher of the "Chicago Crusader"

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Dorothy Leavell describes the challenges she faced taking over the "Chicago Crusader" in 1968
Dorothy Leavell describes Balm Leavell's contributions to the Exposition of the Negro in Business and Culture
Transcript
We were talking about '68 [1968] and what a, a critical year that was for you and the paper.$$It was a critical, critical year for all black Americans I believe, really. Because in April of 1968, April 4th, Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] was killed.$$Even after he was here, you know--$$Yes, yes, that was--I believe he was here in 1967, actually marching. And then this was April of 1968 that he was killed in Memphis. And then June of that year Robert Kennedy who was running for president, was killed in Los Angeles. In 1968 August was the Democratic National Convention that was held here in the City of Chicago, where rioting broke out. It was just really a devastating--$$[Unclear].$$Right.$$Out of control.$$Right. But we also had had rioting after Dr. King's death. There was rioting on 63rd Street, on the west side. You name it, people were fighting and very frustrated from, from his death. And then October of that same year, 1968, Mr. [Balm] Leavell died. I was twenty-four years old. I, I guess two days after my birthday, October 25th, 1968, Mr. Leavell died. And we had two very small children. We had a two year old and a three year old, who would soon be four in, in December of that year. And I found myself with two newspapers. The Gary paper was seven years old, and the Chicago paper was twenty-eight years old. So I--frankly I, I didn't know if I was gonna carry on the paper. And certainly there was a great deal of opposition to me carrying it on or even being associated with anything having to do with Mr. Leavell because of his children by a previous marriage. It was a very stormy time in my life, a very confusing time to be a widow at twenty-four, two newspapers and two small children. But Joseph Jefferson, who was still living, was very supportive of me and he did give me his full backing and support to carry on the publication. So here I go at twenty-four years old, having worked at the "[Chicago] Crusader", but certainly in a supportive role. I was not the leader of the, of, of the publication. I was not editor and publisher. I'd served as office manager and also continued to be a bookkeeper. But certainly to be thrust into that role at such a young age, it was indeed exciting and frightening, all at the same time. But I was convinced that the need for the black press was so important that all of that training and all I received at Merrill High School [Pine Bluff, Arkansas], of doing your very best and never to quit, kicked in. And I worked to try to keep the publications going. So it--and it has lead to many other things in, in my life. From 1968 until many other adventures in my career. Having--being president of all of the black newspapers in the country for four years, leading a delegation in a faraway land such as Nigeria, and even my most recent accomplishments of Chairman of Amalgamated Publishers, which is a national advertising rep firm for black newspapers across the country. So it has been an interesting journey, and one which I have had many, many long days and here we are, now the "Crusader" is sixty-three years old in Chicago. This is our 42nd year in Gary. And this is my 42nd year at the newspaper.$But--which brings up an important part too in the history of the "[Chicago] Crusader", is that Mr. [Balm] Leavell had commissioned Bernard Goss. Bernard Goss was the former husband of Dr. Margaret Burroughs [HM] to paint famous black Americans. Now this is long before so many of the companies now in, in later years would, would embark upon cultural kinds of things such as doing paintings. We've heard of Paul Collins and so many of the others have been involved with Anheuser Busch and their commemoration of the African kings and queens and so many other companies, Miller and all that have done quite a few cultural things in regards to African Americans, especially during Black History Month. But Mr. Leavell certainly has the foresight and to, to do this and this was back in the late '50's [1950's] and the early '60's [1960's]. And Bernard Goss did all of these famous portraits that are now housed at the, the DuSable Museum. And Margaret Burroughs worked with Mr. Leavell to put on an exposition. Used to be at the old Coliseum at 11th and Wabash back again in the late '50's [1950's] and the early '60's [1960's] where you would have businesses that would have their company's wares on display, but in addition to that, there was the cultural part of it that dealt with the paintings and the history of these famous black Americans. And then there would be great choirs that would perform and other kinds of musical performances and all during several days at the Coliseum. Well those paintings numbered something like 110 or so when I be--when I was, was suddenly thrust in the position of publisher in 1968. And I felt that it was just a shame that nobody was seeing them because we had not had an exposition since probably 1961 or two [1962]. So I felt that the best thing to do would be to give them to the DuSable Museum where people might be able to see them. So in 1976 when they had the bicentennial, those paintings were a part of that bicentennial and they were hung in the Daley Center down on Washington between Wabash and, and I guess that's--$$Randolph--$$And Clark or whatever that is down there. And so it was a part of that. So the "Crusader" has been a part of many significant historical facts, and certainly that would be one of the highlights that we were a part of that bicentennial celebration of the United States. And of course the one here in Chicago. So we have had that for a long time--association. And, and not only covering the news, but also being a part of the cultural awareness and information to our community. We want to provide them with that, not only through the paper but in doing other things too.

Charles Johnson

Former Negro League baseball player Charles Johnson has fought against discrimination for most of his long life. Born on August 7, 1909, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Johnson never knew his father. He lived with his mother, uncle and grandmother, bouncing back and forth between Arkansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and St. Louis. Johnson moved to Chicago in 1925 to be with his dying mother, and from age fifteen lived on his own. He worked at a grocery store on the South Side and became acquainted with Negro League great Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe.

In 1930, Johnson went on his first barnstorming tour of Canada with the Texas Giants, and went with the team again in 1931. When he returned home to Chicago, the Great Depression had set in, forcing Johnson to rely on bread lines and flop houses to subsist. He later joined the famed Chicago American Giants of the Negro League, pitching and playing outfield. When not playing baseball, Johnson worked in stockyards, and in 1940 took a job in electroplating. Johnson was married in 1942, and his wife, Julia, forced him to give up traveling with the Giants. He finally quit playing in the Negro Leagues in 1944.

Johnson went to work for the Illinois Central Railroad Company in 1951 as a porter, lured by its pension plan. He became an active member of his union and helped file a lawsuit against the railroad in 1965 for discrimination. After five years of litigation, the railroad relented and he became the first African American special agent for the IC. Johnson retired from the railroad in 1974. Since retiring, Johnson has worked to get himself and 140 other former Negro League players accepted into a pension fund established by the Major League Baseball Players Association. Though the fund was created to provide assistance to elderly Negro Leaguers, Johnson and others have not been able to receive support checks from it.

Johnson's wife died in 1999. They had no children. Johnson lived on Chicago's South Side until he passed away on June 19, 2006 at the age of 96.

Accession Number

A2003.003

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/13/2003

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Organizations
Schools

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

JOH08

Favorite Season

None

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/7/1909

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date

6/19/2006

Short Description

Union leader and baseball player Charles Johnson (1909 - 2006 ) played for the Negro Leagues, barnstorming with the Chicago American Giants until 1944. He then went to work for the Illinois Central Railroad Company, winning an anti-discrimination lawsuit against them and became the first African American special agent in 1970. Johnson was an active advocate for the creation of a pension fund for the Negro League players.

Employment

Chicago American Giants

Illinois Central Railroad Company

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Johnson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Johnson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Johnson describes his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Johnson describes his childhood in Arkansas and Kansas City

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Johnson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Johnson describes his childhood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Johnson describes his childhood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Johnson describes the environment in Chicago, Illinois during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Johnson describes the beginning of his career playing baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Johnson describes his experience as a pitcher

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Johnson talks about the lack of contracts in Negro League Baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Johnson describes his experience paying for the All Nation Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Johnson describes a memorable baseball game he played in Baraboo, Wisconsin, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Johnson describes a memorable baseball game he played in Baraboo, Wisconsin, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Johnson talks about the most memorable games he played

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Johnson describes being harassed by a baseball fan in Canada

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Johnson talks about the other great athletes he played with

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Johnson describes what years he played baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Johnson describes his experience as an electroplater

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Johnson describes his experience working for the Illinois Central Railroad Company

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Johnson describes the discrimination he faced from the Illinois Central Railroad Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Johnson describes the discrimination lawsuit he filed against the Illinois Central Railroad Company

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Johnson describes his experience as a policeman for the Illinois Central Railroad Company

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles Johnson talks about the lack of record keeping for Negro League Baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charles Johnson talks about the difference between contemporary baseball and baseball of his era

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Charles Johnson describes the struggle to get pensions for former Negro League Baseball players

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Johnson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Johnson describes his experience offering advice to young black athletes

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Johnson talks about burying his stepfather

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Johnson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Johnson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Johnson talks about the break in of his house

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Johnson talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles Johnson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$11

DATitle
Charles Johnson describes a memorable baseball game he played in Baraboo, Wisconsin, pt. 1
Charles Johnson describes the struggle to get pensions for former Negro League Baseball players
Transcript
We had a game in Portage [Wisconsin], about thirty or something miles from Baraboo [Wisconsin] on a Saturday. I pitched that Saturday, and I was lucky enough to win. We had hotel accommodations in Baraboo that Saturday night according to the wire that we got. So after the ball game, we jumped in the bus and headed for Baraboo, uniforms and all on, hoping when we get there we'd get us a good bath and everything and get cleaned up. So we arrived in Baraboo and found this little hotel, I never will forget that either. It was kind of--little office downstairs like a storefront and the rooms is upstairs. Got out of the bus and went in, a little clerk said, "I don't know nothing about no reservation for ya'll." Said "What do you mean you don't, I got it right here, this is the manager," come out, "I don't know nothin about it, ain't nobody said nothin to me about no reservations and first of all you got them two niggers on here." Okay. Now we standing outside on a little sidewalk there, bus parked there, some sittin in the bus, some standing around waiting for the manager of the team. He hadn't showed up. So finally he showed up and the first thing he said was "I been trying to find a place for ya'll to stay, but I can't find no place cause you got these two niggers on it." When he said that the manager said, "All right fellows, let's load up, let's go. We'll stop along the road somewhere and get something to eat, whatever town we was going to the next day." "You can't leave here you gotta a contract so and so and so and so." So they started a argument between them. It was a man standing there with a little boy about five or six year's old. So he said to our manager, he said, "Can I speak to you a minute," he said, "Yeah." So he start to walk off, said, "You don't need to walk off, whatever you got to say, say it, we don't have no secrets." He said, "Well I heard what that so and so said to you," he said "now I'm an engineer on the railroad, and I'm gon be home tomorrow and I want to see a ball game." He said "If ya'll agree, I'll take the whole damn team home with me." He said, "Now I don't have beds for everybody, but we'll make pallets on the floor and so forth and so." He had a single-family home just like this one here, I think, three bedrooms in it, garage in the back. So the manager said "Ya'll here what this man said?" "Yeah, we heard him." "What you think about it, Al?" Morehead, Morehead said "all right," Morehead said "What about it Charlie?" I said "It's okay with me." Man run to the phone and called his wife and told her, call Jane so--it was her friend, "I'm bringing the whole team home for dinner, fifteen of us."$Now I got a article in the paper there, clipping in that drawer there now wherein that this guy is writing about the little pension that some of the players are getting.$$That's a pension through Major League Baseball?$$Yeah, okay. Now [HM] Carol Moseley Braun during her term as senator, she goes to [Jerry] Reinsdorf, the owner of the White Sox, and Bud Selig, which is now commissioner, was the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers at that time, to talk about giving us a little type of pension. So when they put it before the team owners nobody want to touch it. Put it before the baseball union, nobody want to touch it. So Bud Selig said well hell, we'll do it ourselves. Now as Johnny says and I agree with him, when it come down to who's entitled and who's not, I think according to the count down in Kansas City [Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri], round two hundred and, not quite two hundred and fifty of us living now. Now they got a so-called union. The president's up there in Manassas, Virginia, right out of Washington, and I asked him "Who submitted the list of names for the eligibility of the players to Reinsdorf and whoever's handling it," he said "I don't know." "Well, somebody did. You president of the so-called union and you don't know? When you keep a count of every member that's eligible, you wrote me and wanted to know some questions before you recognized my eligibility." I don't know. Now Joe Black, Monte Irvin, Monte Irvin works for the commissioner out of the commissioner's office, they set up a ruling that you had to have four, I believe it's four years, consecutive employment in the league to be eligible. Consecutive now, which means you might have been there five years on and off, like myself. Therefore the majority of the players don't receive it. Now I got an article in that paper now wherein that this senator down in Florida says this session of congress he's gonna take it up because there's a hundred and fifty players that are not getting this pension, and at $10,000 a year, that's just a drop in the bucket to Major League Baseball, and they claim they can't find some extra money to give to these other hundred and fifty players. Well like Johnny said they could have pro-rate, said well if you been there two years, we'll give you $5000 a year you know. Whatever the majority of us out here is still struggling. I'm not struggling to--I'm existing, I'm not rich you know, but I'm living. But it's a lot of em is not well off as I am because they didn't work. Take like [HM Ted] Radcliffe down there, he ain't never had a job in his life, "Double Duty," never worked. So he's struggling, yeah. So now what's gonna happen now, I don't know, but Jim--the commissioner before Selig.$$[A. Bartlett] Bart Giamatti, yeah?$$He is writing a book and two months ago, I'll bet it's two months about now, he sent everybody a check from the royal(ph) of this book. And he says he contribute the whole amount to the old Negro players.

Jeff Donaldson

Jeff Donaldson is an African American artist, art historian, and critic who has helped to articulate the philosophy and aesthetics of the Black Arts Movement in the United States. Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, a black college town, in 1937, Donaldson was three when his older brother started drawing. This encouraged him to start drawing cartoons and comic books as well.

Donaldson's love of the arts continued, and upon enrolling in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, he established the school's first arts major. Here, his lifelong interest in Afrocentric art was nurtured under the tutelage of John Howard, who mentored under the great Harlem Renaissance artist Hale Woodruff. After graduating with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Donaldson obtained a Ph.D. in African and African American Art History from Northwestern University.

Through his involvement with the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), a group Donaldson helped form in Chicago, he organized the visual arts workshop that painted the Wall of Respect in 1967. The mural celebrated significant African Americans and set in motion a movement of outdoor murals painted in United States cities throughout the 1970s. Along with Wadsorth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and other African American artists, Donaldson founded AfriCobra (an acronym for African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) in Chicago in 1968. AfriCobra established its objectives in developing a new African American aesthetics as well as its commitment to the principles of social responsibility, involvement of artists in their local communities, and promotion of pride in Black self-identity.

As a painter, Donaldson has participated in over 200 group and solo exhibitions in galleries and museums in Africa, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and the United States. He has written numerous critical essays and has served as the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Howard University. Donaldson also served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of The Barnes Foundation and was on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Afro-American Artists.

Jeff Donaldson passed away on February 29, 2004 at the age of 71.

Accession Number

A2001.023

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/23/2001

Last Name

Donaldson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Richardson

Occupation
Schools

Merrill Junior High School

Merrill High School

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Illinois Institute of Technology

Northwestern University

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Jeff

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

DON01

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/15/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peas (Black-Eyed)

Death Date

2/29/2004

Short Description

Painter Jeff Donaldson (1932 - 2004 ) was one of the founders of the artists' group AFRI-COBRA. Donaldson helped articulate the Black Arts Movement in the United States. His influential work as a muralist began with Wall of Respect, a 1967 project in Chicago.

Employment

Marshall High School Art Dept

Northeastern Illinois State University

Northwestern University

Howard University College of Fine Arts

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating for the Jeff Donaldson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jeff Donaldson identifies five favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jeff Donaldson talks about his mother's background and the family's pride

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jeff Donaldson shares his mother's "mythology" about his father who died when he was four

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jeff Donaldson tells stories about his legendary grandfather, John Donaldson

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jeff Donaldson identifies his siblings and talks about his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jeff Donaldson shares childhood memories of Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jeff Donaldson discusses himself as a student

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jeff Donaldson recalls creating his own comic books as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jeff Donaldson discusses an influential teacher and the limits of black ambition

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jeff Donaldson recalls choosing to study art at Arkansas A. M. and N. and the creation of an art major there

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jeff Donaldson talks about schools in Pine Bluff and his drawing in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jeff Donaldson relates the migration of his family while he remained in Arkansas for college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jeff Donaldson describes his social life at Arkansas AM&N

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jeff Donaldson discusses segregated black schools teaching black history and pride

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jeff Donaldson discusses the influence of his mentor John Howard

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jeff Donaldson talks about his mother's activism

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jeff Donaldson talks about the black artists Hale Woodruff, Elizabeth Prophet and his mentor John Howard

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jeff Donaldson recalls studying philosophy with George G. M. James at Arkansas AM&N College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jeff Donaldson credits weaving instructor Ivy Foster with teaching him discipline

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jeff Donaldson shares observations from teaching in Mississippi in the late 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jeff Donaldson discusses his time in the Army in Virginia and France

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jeff Donaldson relates experiences with art, American expatriates and Africans while serving in France

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jeff Donaldson describes studying design at Illinois Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jeff Donaldson identifies Chicago artists in OBAC, a black artistic movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jeff Donaldson discusses the Wall of Respect, FBI disruption of OBAC and the mural movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jeff Donaldson discusses the forming of AFRICOBRA and FBI tactics to create conflict in black activist groups

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jeff Donaldson talks about AFRICOBRA

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jeff Donaldson talks about AFRICOBRA's meetings and preparation for FESTAC '77

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jeff Donaldson discusses the relevance of the critical art movements

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jeff Donaldson talks about the connection between the black arts and black power movements

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jeff Donaldson describes Chicago as a tough, energetic, creative place

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jeff Donaldson talks about getting the first PhD in African American art history

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jeff Donaldson discusses the current AFRICOBRA members

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jeff Donaldson argues for honoring slave insurrection leaders

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jeff Donaldson compares violent and nonviolent means in the struggle

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jeff Donaldson tells of encounters with government agents and intimidation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jeff Donaldson discusses AFRICOBRA's relations with the U.S. State Department over FESTAC

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jeff Donaldson details his experiences at FESTAC in Nigeria

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jeff Donaldson discusses modern Nigeria and its rich history

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jeff Donaldson talks about his years at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jeff Donaldson discusses the sense of oneness he found between Africa and the diaspora

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jeff Donaldson analyzes the closeness between American blacks and whites

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jeff Donaldson comments on American impatience

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jeff Donaldson talks about his experiences as an instructor at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jeff Donaldson recalls actors who graduated from Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jeff Donaldson comments on why he left Howard University after many years

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Jeff Donaldson talks about famous musicians at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Jeff Donaldson discusses his thoughts on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jeff Donaldson discusses the evolution of his painting style

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jeff Donaldson talks about his artwork and other contemporary African American artists in Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jeff Donaldson gives advice to the African American artist and comments how he sees himself in that role

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jeff Donaldson discusses his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jeff Donaldson comments on his belief in reparations

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jeff Donaldson talks about his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Jeff Donaldson tells stories about his legendary grandfather, John Donaldson
Jeff Donaldson discusses the Wall of Respect, FBI disruption of OBAC and the mural movement
Transcript
What do you know about his family? Did you have much inter--much interaction?$$(Simultaneously) Oh yes, indeed.$$Okay.$$He [Jeff Donaldson's father, Sidney Frank Donaldson] had nineteen brothers and sisters. And my grandfather, a legendary farmer and, and I guess, sire. He married two women. He had four children by my father's mother. And then he had subsequently sixteen by a second wife after his first wife died. But he was a legendary figure in, in Alabama and Arkansas. I'll give you one little anecdote. In the South--or I guess in any farm country they have a tradition of laying by one-half of the land. That is they don't cultivate one-half of the land during one planting season so that the land can rest and rejuvenate itself. So they have to clear the new land each year. And he would wait until everybody had assembled with their horses and their tractors, tractors and chains to pull up the roots after the trees had been cut. And then he would go out there, take off his shirt, and pull up one of the stumps with his bare hands. Another time he was said to have gone into the woods--always with people around, and taunted and challenged a bear to charge him. And he had two daggers in his hands. And when the bear charged, he raised his arms so that the bear could hug him and then he comes down on both sides with the knife. And he never had to go back to the farm to work at all during any of those seasons after doing those kinds of things.$$And his name?$$John.$$John Donaldson.$$He was quite a man. He was born in slavery. And--I guess he was maybe enslaved for about fifteen years. This is not a great grandfather. This is my grandfather. My dad was about 50, 51, 52 years old when I was born. But he was able to convince the man that had bought him away from the original family that was a King Plantation from the Carolinas--he was able to convince the guy who bought him whose name was Donaldson to bring his mother and his sisters into that slave family. Later on, one of his sisters was assaulted and he and his brother took care of that guy, to the extent that he would never do that again. And the guy who had been his "owner"--quote, unquote--helped him to get out of Ar-- Alabama. He and his brother. And they ended up in Arkansas. And his brother became a physician. Changed his name and became, became a physician. But my grandfather didn't change his name and remained a farmer, kept the same name. He was a pretty tough guy.$People in the A.A.C.M. [Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians] were very, very close to the group that--well, first of all, let me explain about OBAC [Organization of Black American Culture]. We had a meeting at the Lincoln Center in which I introduced the idea of a Visual Art Workshop and invited photographers and artists to come. And that's was the group. The OBAC Visual Art Workshop that began meeting. We--my idea was to start a school of art. To bring together all these artists, see what we all shared in terms of the visualization and try to see if we can use those things that we had in common. And create something that was distinctly ours, that-- a school, a style. And the only thing really we could agree on was the fact that we wanted to use our talents in the interests of the movement. So the Wall of Respect project became an ideal project, I thought would bring the group together and perhaps we could after that establish a, a movement or a school. But I did not anticipate what went on in 1967 in Chicago when the FBI started something called COINTELPRO. We--You know, that was a guerri--guerilla mural--mural. In other words we didn't ask permission to paint the building. The building was owned by a guy who didn't live in the neighborhood, who didn't come in the neighborhood. So we just commandeered it. And painted it. He came by after we started it because, you know, there was a great deal of publicity generated in the local press. And it went from there to the 'Washington Post', 'New York Times' and even stories in 'Der Spiegel' in Germany and all kinds--all over the world, actually. It became bigger than anything any of us had ever envisioned. People were coming from every place to look. And at that time, 1967, J. Edgar Hoover began something called COINTELPRO. Counter Intelligence Propaganda. And they invaded groups like Students of the Democratic Society [Students for a Democratic Society], the white group, the Weathermen, and they also infiltrated all the black groups that they could infiltrate. And the idea was to use an old communist trick--to get into a group, create dissension within group, and let them destroy each other. And that's what happened to the OBAC Visual Art Workshop. We imploded after that wall was completed. What started out as a extreme camaraderie and fraternity and brotherhood and sisterhood turned into meetings where we were all packing hate. Because we would get letters purporting to, to identify people as spies, as informants and stuff, and "The next time you get up on that scaffold to paint, you'll be shot down." And all kinds of things. One guy showed up with a new car. And everybody was then given the impression that he had taken a big chunk of money from Sammy Davis, Jr. because Sammy Davis, Jr. was gonna do a commercial in front of the wall to promote Robert Kennedy's candidacy for president. So that was another thing. So ultimately the Organization of Black American Culture Visual Art Workshop imploded. Because we had all kinds of people coming to the meetings and expressing all kinds of weird things--people who were not involved with the wall at all. But what happened was after that, over the next three or four years, more than 1200 of these murals were done in every major city in the country. Particularly in the North, in the East and in the West. And a few in the South. And it has spread even into other areas of the world. For example the Europeans give us credit for having started the street mural thing that encourages revolution and, and, and retribution, not revenge. And celebrating. Actually ours was just a celebration of the greatness of black people. It was a Negro history mural really. But the fact that it was done outside on a two story building 60 feet long and 30 feet high made Mayor [Richard J.] Daley and the powers that be in, in Chicago very uncomfortable. And [Congressman] Ralph Metcalfe chose the Wall of Respect, you know, to announce his break with the re--[Chicago] Democratic machine. Shortly after that, that whole area was condemned and that building was torn down that had the Wall of Respect on it. And of course the neighborhood was in a tizzy over that. And so the city promised that they would build a recreational center or something there and do all kinds of things on that site. And as of today [2001] that's a vacant spot at 47th [sic, 43rd] and Langley in Chicago. There's a little plaque that's almost overgrown with weeds talking about that's where the Wall of Respect was.$$So can you talk about--a little bit about--'cause it is a high I'm sure--$$(Simultaneously) Oh yeah.$$(Simultaneously)--in the group when you were doing it.$$(Simultaneously) Yeah.$$And can you talk about that?$$Yeah. Haki [Madhubuti, formerly Don L. Lee] and the poets from OBAC would come out and recite. Gwen [Gwendolyn] Brooks wrote a poem about the wall. She recited at the wall. The A.ACM would play. Darlene Blackburn and her group would dance. Kuumba [Theatre Company] would come out and emote. We had crowds like people going to a rock show watching us paint. There's a picture in 'Ebony'--I'll show you when we're finished--that shows you the kind of, of, of crowd that came out daily to see what was going on. Now it's ironic that when we went to this site, the only thing on that wall was a gang tag identifying that it's a gang's turf. That gang never left. And they never disturbed us working. As a matter of fact, we were able to leave our scaffold up, our paints and our brushes and everything in situ on the spot overnight. Nobody ever touched any paint. Nobody ever touched a ladder. Nobody touched the scaffold, anything. And when the project was completed, the gang started to extort money from people to come and look at the wall. Even the photographers who came to take pictures of the, the wall that they had the pictures on. It actually Nishi- Nitchi, Nitshi, what's the German uh--$$Ni--Ni--$$[Friedrich Wilhelm] Nietzsche$$Right Nietzsche.$$Said there's nothing more uncontrollable than something new coming into the world. And that people who--I'm paraphrasing. But people who bring something new into the world should be aware of the fact that they don't control the consequences of that. So that Wall of Respect was a great thing that happened. And people all over the world plugged into it. Particularly groups that had a gripe. But on the home turf where it really went down it destroyed a neighborhood. Now I don't know where those people went. But they, they cleared that area out. And if you go there now, they still haven't rebuilt it. It's almost like the land is scorched earth, you know? And what happened after that was really bizarre because all the--just about all the people that I've been mentioning were offered jobs some place else. All the whole AACM went to New York. The group that's there now is the second or third generation of AACM. I was offered a job here at Howard [University] and when I got here, I got a call from somebody who didn't identify themselves who said, "Are you satisfied now? And will you keep your big mouth shut? (pause) Do you like your job? You're making a lot of money? You got a good position?"$$Hmm. That's very interesting. Hmm! You hear these things--$$Oh! It's, it's, it's absolutely true. And it wasn't just--They were equal opportunity oppressors.$$(Simultaneously) Right, it's true.$$They got everybody.$$Right. Right. So now--so you came--But you came here [to Washington, D.C.]--$$In '70 [1970].

Leo Branton, Jr.

Entertainment lawyer and litigator Leo Branton, Jr., was born on February 17, 1922 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Branton was the eldest of Leo Branton, Sr. and Pauline Wiley's five children. The importance of education was stressed in the Branton household, as his mother was a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute and all five children received college degrees.
After Branton graduated from Tennessee State University in 1942, he enrolled in the Army, serving in a segregated Army unit for almost three years during World War II. Upon completion of his service, Branton enrolled in Northwestern University Law School, receiving his J.D. degree in 1948.

Following graduation from law school, Branton moved to California. There were no integrated or African American law firms at the time that he established his own private practice. In 1950, he worked with the NAACP on the trial of an African American veteran charged in the double murder of a white couple in Riverside County, California. His work on this case and his subsequent challenge to the jury system in Riverside County led to the first black person serving on a jury in Riverside County.

Branton was well known both as a litigator and as an entertainment attorney. His first clients in the entertainment industry were Nat King Cole and Dorothy Dandridge. Branton represented Nat King Cole from 1958 until his death in 1965. He also represented other entertainers, including the Platters, Inger Stevens, and Dalton Trumbo.

Another important part of Branton's diverse career was his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Branton made several trips to the South during the 1960's, lending his legal skills and know how. He defended thirteen members of the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party against an unlawful attack by the Los Angeles Police Department. His most celebrated case, however, was the successful defense and acquittal of celebrated Civil Rights activist Angela Davis. Angela Davis' case lasted several months and in 1972, Davis was acquitted of all charges against her.

Branton practiced law for a total of 52 years. For his work, he received awards from the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Tribune, the California State Senate, and the NAACP Legal Education and Defense Fund.

Branton passed away on April 19, 2013 at age 91.

Accession Number

A2001.004

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/27/2001

Last Name

Branton

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Tennessee State University

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Leo

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

BRA01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Majorca, Spain

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/17/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo, Seafood, Chitterlings

Death Date

4/19/2013

Short Description

Entertainment lawyer and litigator Leo Branton, Jr. (1922 - 2013 ) established a private legal practice when no integrated or African American law firms existed and represented prominent African Americans including Nat King Cole, Dorothy Dandridge and civil rights activist Angela Davis.

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leo Branton interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leo Branton's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leo Branton recalls his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leo Branton describes segregation in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leo Branton explores his mixed ethnic heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leo Branton reflects on his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leo Branton remembers his frustration in childhood with racism in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leo Branton describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leo Branton explains the class stratification of African Americans in Pine Bluff

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leo Branton discusses his father's finances

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leo Branton states his parents' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leo Branton recounts his educational background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leo Branton describes activities and aspirations in his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leo Branton recalls his home life as a child and his anger at the white supremacist status quo

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leo Branton recalls life during the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leo Branton details his scrape with the law, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leo Branton details his scrape with the law, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leo Branton recalls serving in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leo Branton moves to Chicago and gets a defense industry job

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leo Branton details his experience with racial discrimination in the armed forces

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leo Branton shares his law school experiences at Northwestern University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leo Branton relates why he moved to California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leo Branton explains why he didn't go to medical school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leo Branton recounts his early years of practicing law

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leo Branton describes the selection of the first black juror in Riverside County, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leo Branton recalls the 1950 trial with Riverside County, California's first black juror

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leo Branton details his first case defending members of the Communist Party

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leo Branton recounts the Yates trial and Supreme Court case of 'Yates v. United States'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leo Branton remembers his work with the first integrated law firm in California

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leo Branton explains why he wanted to represent black entertainers

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leo Branton discusses the McCarthy Era Hollywood blacklist

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leo Branton recalls his libel suits for Dorothy Dandridge

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leo Branton remembers Dorothy Dandridge

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leo Branton remembers Nat King Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leo Branton recounts his work with the Broadway production of 'The Amen Corner'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leo Branton starts representing Nat King Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leo Branton and Nat King Cole arrange a benefit concert for civil rights organizations

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leo Branton shares his proudest moment as a lawyer, getting Wesley Robert Wells out of jail

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leo Branton explains his preference for litigation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leo Branton recalls his work with The Platters

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leo Branton recounts his relationship with Ike Jones and Inger Stevens

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leo Branton remembers Nat King Cole's dream of making it on Broadway

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leo Branton recounts his relationships with Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leo Branton discusses his position as Nat King Cole's lawyer

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leo Branton reflects on his efforts to aid the Civil Rights Movement in the South

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leo Branton illustrates trying a civil rights case in Arkansas

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leo Branton describes his other civil rights work

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leo Branton recalls his work with SNCC and "Bloody Monday" in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leo Branton details how he became involved in the Angela Davis trial

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leo Branton recounts his work on the Angela Davis trial

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leo Branton lists some of his other high profile cases

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Leo Branton illustrates his code of ethics as a lawyer

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Leo Branton discusses dealing with the FBI while trying Black Panther cases

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Leo Branton reflects on his career

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Leo Branton discusses choosing not to pass for white

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Leo Branton expresses his compassion for persecuted peoples and admiration of Fidel Castro's Cuba

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Leo Branton shares his concerns for the legal community

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Leo Branton reflects on the progress of the black community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Leo Branton shares his opinion of black representation in Hollywood

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Leo Branton hopes the black community can improve its economic standing

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Leo Branton lists the people he does or does not admire

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Leo Branton considers his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Photo - Leo Branton as a child, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, ca. 1926

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Leo Branton with the widow of his brother, Wiley Branton, Washington, D.C., 1992

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - Leo Branton with children

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Leo Branton and Jack Tenner observing a civil rights speaker

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Photo - Leo Branton's mother, Pauline Wiley Branton, ca. 1969

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Photo - Leo Branton, ca. 1998

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Photo - Leo Branton's parents, Leo Branton, Sr. and Pauline Wiley Branton at their home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, ca. 1920

Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Photo - Leo Branton's vacation house in Rosarito, Mexico

Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Photo - Rosa Parks with the president of Soka University, Hachioji-city, Japan

Tape: 8 Story: 15 - Photo - Courtroom sketch of Leo Branton, Los Angeles, California

Tape: 8 Story: 16 - Photo - Leo Branton's wife, Geraldine Pate Branton

Tape: 8 Story: 17 - Photo - Leo Branton and Geraldine Pate Branton upon his graduation from Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee, 1960

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Leo Branton recounts his early years of practicing law
Leo Branton shares his proudest moment as a lawyer, getting Wesley Robert Wells out of jail
Transcript
I took the bar review exam. And when the man announced the results, he stated "Larry Sperber made the highest grade in the class." And everybody applauded and Larry stood up. We had so many people in there. There were people on the first floor. This was in a theater. There were people sitting in the balcony and everything. And then a few minutes later he said, "Hey just a minute. I'm sorry Mr. Sperber I made a mistake." He said, "Leo Branton made the highest grade in the class." And then the people applauded for me. Now interestingly enough I went to an affair about a month ago for Walter Gordon Jr. who is the oldest practicing lawyer here in Los Angeles [California]. He's 93 years old and he's practiced for over sixty-some years. He is the first lawyer that I did some work for making appearances for him after I got my license. And I was sitting at a table at this affair and a fellow introduced himself to me. And he says, "Mr. Branton? I remember you took Forrest Kuhl's bar review course. And I remember that you made the highest grade in the class." I said, "How in the world could you remember that?" He says, "I just do. I remember his making that announcement." And that's the first time I have seen him since then. Now that was fifty, fifty-three years ago. Fifty-two years ago that, that happened. Anyhow, I came to California and I couldn't get a job. So I opened my own office over on Central Avenue right off--on Vernon right off of Central Avenue and started practicing on my own. I worked for somebody. I made appearances for other lawyers who had--black lawyers who had some--pretty good volume practice.$What other things that--were you proud of that you guys accomplished together? That you, you know, did on his [Nat King Cole's] behalf?$$Well, I think that's probably the thing I'm proudest of that I did on his behalf. He also was involved in another project, which never came to fruition during his life. But I represented, for a number of years, a fellow who was on death row in California, by the name of Wesley Robert Wells. He's one of the most famous inmates ever in California prison. But he was a rebel. He would get into fights with the prison guards, with other inmates. 'Cause he didn't take any crap off of anybody. And he was on death row. And it's a long story and I won't go into de--tell you, why he was on death row. But he never killed anybody. He got the death penalty under a quirk of California law. And I worked with a lawyer up north by the name of Charles Gary. And we had a campaign to save him from execution. And we finally got the governor, Goodwin Knight, to commute his sentence to life without possibility of parole. But when the Angela Davis case was going on, and the [U.S.] Supreme Court decided to--oh--prior to that time, I told Nat, I said, "Nat, the only way we're gonna get this man out of prison is we're gonna have to do a movie about his life--because his story is a much more compelling story than 'The Birdman of Alcatraz.'" You know that story don't you? I said, "So Nat--." He said, "Fine. We'll do it. Do it, Leo." And he hired a screenwriter who wrote a play, a movie script on Wesley Robert Wells. And it was never produced because Nat was supposed to put up the money even to produce it. You know. Because Nat died. And so the place went by--the thing went by the board. But when I was trying the Angela Davis case, the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of California declared the death penalty to be unconstitutional. And all of the people, who were then on death row were--had their sentence changed to life. Not life without the possibility of parole, but just straight life. So, I looked at the situation and I said, now here is Wesley Wells, who never killed anybody and he's doing life without possibility of parole. That's a denial of equal protection of the laws--that he doesn't have his sentence, even though it's not a death penalty sentence, changed to life. So, I filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus up in Contra Costa County [California] where this appeared and--to order his release. And after his being in prison, and he was about sixty-five years old now--he was in prison about forty-five of his sixty-five years of life and ten or fifteen of those, he was on death row--I got that man out of prison. Now, that is my proudest accomplishment as a lawyer. Everybody asked me, "Is the Angela Davis case your proudest accomplishment?" I said, "No. The Angela Davis case I'm proud of but that was my proudest accomplishment--getting that man out of jail, out of prison."