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Gretchen Tucker-Underwood

Academic administrator Gretchen Tucker Underwood was born on October 11, 1943 in Roxbury, Massachusetts to Judge Herbert Tucker and Mary Tucker. After graduating from Jamaica Plain High School in 1961, Tucker Underwood attended Howard University before transferring to Southern Connecticut State University, where she received her B.S. degree in education in 1968. In 1972, Tucker Underwood went on to receive her M.A. degree in educational administration and a certificate of advance graduate study from Boston State College.

After teaching social studies for three years at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, Connecticut, Tucker Underwood was hired as a teacher at Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1970. She later became the school’s Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) coordinator. By 1996, Tucker Underwood was promoted to dean of students of Brookline High School. In the 1990s, she was also the first African American elected as a town meeting member while living in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Tucker Underwood served Brookline High School as the dean of students until her retirement in 2007, after thirty-seven years with the school. In 2008, Tucker Underwood moved to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts; and, in 2014, she ran for Dukes County Commissioner as a democratic write-in candidate, and was elected to one of the seven seats. Tucker Underwood was re-elected to the seat in both 2016 and 2018. In 2019, she was appointed chair of the commission.

Tucker Underwood chairs the annual celebration commemorating an artist, educator, and writer from Martha’s Vineyard, Della Hardman. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, an advisory council member for Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative, and has served on the boards of the Big Sister Association and Martha’s Vineyard chapter of the NAACP. From 1996 to 2000, Tucker Underwood served as president of the Boston Coalition of 100 Black Women. In 2019, she was honored by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women at the sixteenth annual Unsung Heroines of Massachusetts program, held in the Massachusetts State House.

Tucker Underwood resides with her mother in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She has one adult daughter, Gretchen Mercer, and two grandsons, Brandon and Jason Mercer.

Gretchen Tucker Underwood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 19, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.078

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2019

Last Name

Tucker-Underwood

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

Boston Latin Academy

The Cambridge School of Weston

Southern Connecticut State University

Boston State College

Jamaica Plain High School

William Lloyd Garrison Elementary School

First Name

Gretchen

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

UND03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any place warm and sandy.

Favorite Quote

Every shut eye ain't sleep.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

10/11/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Food

Anything anybody else cooks.

Short Description

Academic administrator Gretchen Tucker Underwood (1943- ) worked at Brookline High School in Massachusetts for thirty-seven years as a teacher and dean of students before serving Dukes County, Massachusetts as county commissioner for three terms.

Employment

Wilbur Cross High School

Brookline High School

Dukes' County

Favorite Color

It changes by the season.

Patricia J. Williams

Lawyer Patricia Joyce Williams was born on August 28, 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts to Isaiah Williams and Ruth Williams. After graduating from Girls’ Latin School in 1969, Williams received her B.A. degree from Wellesley College in 1972. She went on to receive her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1975.

From 1975 to 1978, Williams served as deputy city attorney in the Los Angeles Office of the City Attorney, where she focused on consumer protection. She joined the Western Center on Law and Poverty as a staff attorney in 1978. In 1980, she moved to Golden Gate University School of Law, where she worked as an assistant professor for four years before joining City University of New York Law School as an associate professor. From 1988 to 1993, Williams worked as a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. During this time, she served as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School, Duke Law School, and Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Williams joined the faculty at Columbia Law School in 1991 and taught contracts, consumer protection, and theories of equality. In 2019, she left Columbia Law School to serve a joint appointment at Northeastern University in the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Williams has written multiple books, including The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor, The Rooster’s Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice, and Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race. Her scholarship has contributed to the development of critical legal studies and critical race theory.

Williams served on the board of advisors at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Society of American Law Teachers, the National Association for Public Interest Law, and The Bell Foundation. She also served on the board of directors at the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund and was a member of the American Philosophical Society. Williams also worked for The Nation, as author of the column, “Diary of a Mad Law Professor.”

Williams has received the Romnes Endowment for Excellence in Scholarship from the University of Wisconsin, the Alumnae Achievement Award from Wellesley College, and the Graduate Society Medal from Harvard University. In 1990, Williams received the Pioneer of Civil and Human Rights Award from the National Conference of Black Lawyers. She received the Bruce K. Gould Book Award from Touro Law Center in 1992, and the Exceptional Merit Media Award from National Women's Political Caucus in 1993. In 2000, she received the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.”

Williams has one son: Peter.

Patricia Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.101

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/12/2019

9/12/2019 |and| 10/21/2019

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Schools

Boston Latin Academy

Wellesley College

Harvard Law School

First Name

Patricia

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

WIL94

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Beach

Favorite Quote

You Have A Right To Exist No Less Than The Grass Or The Trees Or The Sky

Bio Photo
Birth Date

8/28/1951

Birth Place Term
Favorite Food

Korean Fried Chicken Wings

Short Description

Lawyer Patricia Williams (1951- ) was a professor at Columbia Law School for twenty eight years and is a leading scholar of critical race theory.

Employment

Office of the City Attorney

Western Center on Law and Poverty

Golden Gate University School of Law

City University of New York Law School

University of Wisconsin Law School

Stanford Law School

Duke University School of Law

Columbia Law School

Harvard University

The Nation

Northeastern University

Favorite Color

Blue/Green

Topper Carew

Film director Topper Carew was born on July 16, 1943 in Boston, Massachusetts. Carew attended Howard University School of Architecture in Washington, D.C. and received his B.A. degree in architecture and his M.S. degree in environmental design from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Later, Carew obtained his Ph.D. degree in communications from the Union Graduate School and Institute for Policy Studies.

In 1966, Carew founded The New Thing Art and Architecture Center, in Washington, D.C., to teach inner city youth. In 1972, Carew transitioned into film and received the Community Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and, in 1973, went to work at WGBH in Boston where he produced Say Brother, Tonite From Harvard Square and several national PBS series including Say Brother, National Edition, and Rebop I & II. Carew received a broadcast fellowship from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and spent four years there.

Carew and his late wife, producer Alyce S. Carew, co-founded the non-profit Rainbow Television Workshop, in 1974. Included in his filmography are credits for his work, as director for Breakin’ N’ Enterin’ in 1983; storywriter and producer for the theatrical release of D.C. Cab in 1983; producer of Be Somebody or Be Somebody’s Fool in 1984; producer of And The Children Shall Lead TV movie in 1985; executive producer of Bustin’ Loose TV series in 1987; executive producer of A Little Bit Strange the TV movie in 1989; executive producer of Homeroom TV series in 1989; director and screenwriter for Talkin Dirty After Dark in 1991; executive producer of Martin from 1992 to 1997; director of The Journey of Allen Strange TV series in 1998; director of The Jersey TV Series in 2000; director of The 100 Deeds of Eddie Mc Dowd in 2001; director of We Don't Die, We Multiply: The Robin Harris Story in 2006.

In 2012, Carew was appointed as a research scholar at Life Long Kindergarten Lab at the MIT Media Lab; and, in 2016, he was promoted to principal investigator at the MIT Media Lab. He later launched the Techquity Research Group and was named faculty fellow at the Innovation Lab at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 2018.

His honors include the Boston Neighborhood Network’s “National Media Hero Award”; the national “Hometown Video Award” for the best Public Access Television “On Air” promotional campaign; and a 2013 MIT Martin Luther King Leadership Award. He was the keynote speaker at Boston’s 2015 King Breakfast and at Boston’s 2016 Annual King Afternoon Celebration at Faneuil Hall.

Carew served on the advisory board for The Color of STEM. Carew has won more than forty film and television awards, and eight Gold Medals for graphic design. His awards also include three Action for Children’s Television Awards, four NAACP Image Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

Topper Carew was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 14, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.207

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/14/2018

Last Name

Carew

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Topper

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

CAR41

Favorite Season

Spring; Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tobago; Florence, Italy

Favorite Quote

Let It Marinade

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

7/16/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Film director Topper Carew (1943 - ) served as producer for WGBH/Boston PBS before launching Techquity Research Group. He has been awarded over forty film and television awards for his work on many movies and shows.

Favorite Color

Light Yellow

The Honorable Harriet Elam-Thomas

Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas was born on September 15, 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts to Robert and Blanche Elam. She attended William P. Boardman Elementary School and graduated from Roxbury Memorial High School for Girls in Boston, Massachusetts. Elam-Thomas went on to receive her B.S. degree in international business in 1963 from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and her M.A. degree in public diplomacy in 1981 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

From 1963 to 1965, Elam-Thomas worked as a secretary at the U.S. Department of Army in Washington, D.C.; and later in 1965, she worked at the American embassy in Paris, France, where she served for three years. Elam-Thomas returned to the U.S. in 1968 and secured a position in the White House as special assistant for appointments under President Richard Nixon. In 1971, she resigned from her position in the Nixon administration and was hired at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs as a Foreign Service officer in Washington, D.C. In 1975, she was sent to Dakar, Senegal. From 1977 to 1979, Elam-Thomas served as a Foreign Service officer in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. In 1981, she was selected to serve in Athens, Greece as a cultural affairs officer. Within one year, she was sent to Athens where she worked from 1983 to 1987. Elam-Thomas transitioned to the position of desk officer in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. In 1990, she was assigned to Turkey as the U.S. branch public affairs officer, then Elam-Thomas returned to the U.S. in 1994 and was accepted into the U.S. State Department’s Senior Seminar, a year-long intensive program on foreign policy and diplomacy. In 1995, she was named public affairs officer in Brussels, Belgium where she served for two years. She then became a counselor at the United States Information Agency (USIA) and oversaw the merger with the U.S. Department of State. In 1999, Elam-Thomas was selected by President Bill Clinton to become U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Senegal, and served from 2000 to 2003. She later became the first ambassador-in-residence at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. In 2005, Elam-Thomas retired from U.S. Foreign Service at the rank of career minister.

Elam-Thomas has received multiple awards and honors for her work. She received the Superior and Meritorious Honor Award for Informational and Cultural Diplomacy and the Greek and Turkish Governments’ Award for improved U.S. cultural relations. She also holds honorary doctorate degrees in public service from Simmons College and the University of Central Florida, an honorary doctorate of law from Richmond College and The American University in London, and an honorary doctorate in public administration from Suffolk University.

Elam-Thomas is married to Wilfred Thomas.

Harriet Elam-Thomas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 9, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.177

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/8/2018

Last Name

Elam-Thomas

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Harriet

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

ELA04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

You Never Touch Someone So Lightly That You Do Not Leave A Trace.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

9/15/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Orlando

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas (1941 - ) was U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and was the first ambassador-in-residence at the University of Central Florida.

Favorite Color

Yellow

Richard C. Walker, III

Bank executive Richard C. Walker III was born on October 4, 1949 in Boston, Massachusetts to Helen Hammond Walker and Richard C. Walker, Jr. Walker graduated from Dover High School in Dover, Delaware in 1967, and received his B.A. degree in sociology from Villanova University in 1971. He also completed the Greater Boston executive program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management.

Walker moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1977 to work for the Greater Roxbury Development Corporation as director of development. He also worked as the director of administration before being selected as the corporation’s executive director. Walker oversaw the corporation’s reorganization from a federally funded entity to a privately funded entity. In 1983, he left the Greater Roxbury Development Corporation to join the Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University. Working as the associate director, he coordinated conferences, special projects and training seminars. Walker then served as a regional director for the Massachusetts Housing Partnership from 1988 to 1989 before moving to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston as the associate director of community affairs. In 1999, Walker was appointed vice president and community affairs officer for the Boston Federal Reserve. In 2011, he was promoted to senior vice president and special advisor to the president on community affairs and community development. During his time at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Walker contributed to the development of the Boston Business Collaborative, a project designed to link major corporations with existing minority businesses; and the Working Cities Challenge, an initiative supporting collaborative leadership in smaller, postindustrial cities. Walker stepped down as senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 2016.

Walker has served on numerous non-profit boards, including the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, the Boston Children’s Museum, and Boston Harbor Now. In 2000, Governor Paul Cellucci appointed Walker to the board of directors of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Walker served as a trustee of Bunker Hill Community College from 2010 to 2018. He has been recognized by the International Television Association for co-producing an educational video on women owned businesses and by the American Jewish Committee for his community outreach work. In 2018, Walker was awarded an advanced leadership fellowship with Harvard University.

Richard C. Walker III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 21, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.163

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/21/2018

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

WAL27

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

10/4/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

King Salmon

Short Description

Bank executive Richard C. Walker III (1949 - ) led several community affairs and community development initiatives during his twenty-seven year career with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Favorite Color

Purple

George A. Russell, Jr.

Bank executive George A. Russell, Jr. was born on May 31, 1949 in Boston, Massachusetts to George and Marie Russell. He received his B.A. degree in social science and mathematics in 1972 from Clark University, in Worchester, Massachusetts, and his M.B.A. degree with a concentration in finance and economics in 1974 from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Russell started his career as a credit analyst/commercial loan officer trainee at State Street Bank and Trust Company, in Boston, and quickly advanced through the ranks to vice president, from 1974 to 1984. Russell served as treasurer and chief financial officer from 1984 to 1988 for the City of Boston in the administration of Mayor Ray Flynn. Russell served as president and CEO at Freedom National Bank in New York City from 1988 to 1991 and then rejoined State Street Boston Corporation as senior vice president, and was later promoted to executive vice president where he served from 1991 to 2013. He also served as director of corporate citizenship, and chairman and president of the State Street Foundation. In this dual role, he directed State Street’s global corporate contribution and employee volunteer programs. In addition, he was responsible for managing the company’s community relations functions globally. Under his leadership, State Street provided support for a variety of community-based organizations including the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership and the Boston Private Industry Council.

Russell received the Alumni Achievement Award from New York University Leonard Stern Graduate School of Management in 1989. He was elected chairman of the board for the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, from 1999 to 2005, and served as board member for One United Bank, from 2004 to 2012. Russell received an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of Massachusetts in 2010, and an honorary degree from the Urban College in 2014.

He was past founding chairman of the board of the Financial Services Academy. Russell also served on the board of advisors of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University, and as a trustee of the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative. He serves on the board of directors of One United Bank, the largest Black owned and operated bank in the United States, and as a member of the board of trustees of Tufts Health Plan Foundation.

George and his Wife Faye have one child, Martin Russell, daughter-in-law Ashley and granddaughter, Maya.

George A. Russell, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 20, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.161

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/20/2018

Last Name

Russell

Maker Category
Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

RUS12

Favorite Season

Spring, Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

If You Don't Stand For Something, You'll Go For Anything.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

5/31/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Bank executive George A. Russell, Jr. (1949- ) served at State Street Boston Corporation as director of community affairs, and was named chairman and president in philanthropy, retiring in 2013.

Favorite Color

Blue

Vivian Male

Government administrator and jazz singer Vivian Male was born on July 13, 1949 in Boston, Massachusetts to Frances Lesueur Cromwell and Anthony Cromwell. She graduated from Jeremiah E. Burke High School and Boston Business School in Boston, Massachusetts; and went on to study voice at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in Boston. Later, she received her M.Ed. degree in management and administration from Cambridge College in 1980. Male also graduated from the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada in 1988.

In 1973, Male worked as the special assistant to then U.S. Senator Edward Brooke. In this role, she focused on issues of education. In 1979, Male became the deputy director of the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation; and in 1988, Male was appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis to serve as an administrative judge for workers’ compensation issues in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. From there, Male went on to serve as a senior policy maker for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and as chairperson of the Appeals Board of Unemployment Insurance. In 1991, Male and several other women in Boston, including Callie Crossley, Dianne Wilkerson and Sarah-Ann Shaw, formed the Boston chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women. Now known as the Boston Coalition of Black Women, Inc. Male was then named director of equal opportunity operations at the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency in 1996. In 2000, Male was named director of equal opportunity at MassHousing.

Also, in 2000, Male made her recording debut on the collaborative album Boston Sings Out and later founded Vivian Male Productions through which she produced her music. She also performed at venues like the Berklee College of Music and the Negro Ensemble Company in New York City. In 2009, Male released her debut solo album, Our Day Will Come.

Male served as president of the Middlesex County Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and was appointed to the board of trustees at Berklee College of Music in 1998. She was also a founding member of the Legacy Society at the Museum of African American History - Boston and Nantucket, and served on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues. Male continued to perform throughout the Boston area, and was inducted into the Steppin’ Out Hall of Fame in 2007 at the Dimock Health Center alongside singer/songwriter George Benson. She was also a featured vocalist at the New England Emmy Awards, and performed the National Anthem for the New England Patriots several times.

Vivian Male was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 10, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.146

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/10/2018

Last Name

Male

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

C

Organizations
First Name

Vivian

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

MAL09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Maarten

Favorite Quote

Control The Controllables.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

7/13/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

Government administrator and jazz singer Vivian Male (1949- ) worked for the Massachusetts state government for over thirty years, in addition to launching a singing career as the founder and president of Vivian Male Productions.

Favorite Color

Sky Blue

Kym Longino

Stuntwoman Kym Longino was born on October 19, 1957 in Boston, Massachusetts to Carol Washington and Richard Washington, a Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator. Longino graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles in 1975, and attended Santa Monica City College, where she studied business and health science.

In 1979, Longino served as the stunt double for Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek: The Motion Picture; and again, in 1982, for the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In 1985, Longino was a stunt double for both Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple. In 1988, Longino performed stunts in the movie Mississippi Burning alongside her father, Richard Washington. From 1988 to 2012, Longino worked as a stunt performer on the television show America’s Most Wanted. She also performed stunts on the television show Rescue 911 from 1989 to 1996 as well as the film Ghostbusters II in 1989. A long time stunt double for Whoopi Goldberg, Longino performed stunts in several of her films during the 1990s, including Ghost in 1990, Sister Act in 1992, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit in 1993, Made in America in 1993, and Corrina, Corrina in 1994. In 1999, she performed stunts in Girl, Interrupted; and in 2001, she was appeared as a stuntwoman in Hannibal. Longino was a stunt driver on the television show Third Watch from 1999 to 2005. She worked as both a stunt performer and stunt driver in Taxi (2004) and in King’s Ransom (2005). In 2006, Longino was featured in a documentary about top African American stuntwomen called Hollywood At Its Best. Longino has worked as a stunt double for Queen Latifah, Viola Davis, Tamara Tunie, Halle Berry, Denise Richards, and Taraji P. Henson on the television show Person of Interest from 2011 to 2013. She also appeared in over eighty films and television shows, and acted in commercials for Dodge, GMC Trucks, Toyota, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds.

Longino was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and an Arbonne independent representative. In 2011, she received a Diamond in the Raw Lifetime Achievement Award and an Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Guest Award.

Kym Longino was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.051

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/19/2018

Last Name

Longino

Maker Category
Middle Name

Washington

Organizations
First Name

Kym

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

LON06

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Saint Lucia

Favorite Quote

As Long As You Believe In Yourself You Can Achieve What Is Waiting For You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/19/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Seafood/Mexican

Short Description

Stuntwoman Kym Longino (1957 - ) worked as a stunt performer for over thirty years, appearing in over eighty films and television shows, and working with actresses like Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Favorite Color

Green

Calvin "Kern" Grimes

Entrepreneur Calvin “Kern” Grimes was born on January 12, 1940 in Boston, Massachusetts to Calvin Grimes, Sr. and Marguerite Grimes. The same year, his father founded Grimes Oil Company, which grew to become the largest and oldest minority owned and operated oil company in New England. Grimes grew up in Roxbury and Dorchester, Massachusetts, and graduated from Brighton High School in 1958.

Upon graduating from high school, Grimes began working in his father’s business. In 1958, the company expanded to a second truck, which was driven by Grimes. In 1969, the company was incorporated as Grimes Oil Company, Inc., and Grimes assumed the role of president and chief executive officer. Throughout the following decade, he led the company’s transition from a residential gas supplier to supplying corporations that included the Polaroid Corporation and Raytheon Company. In 1979, Grimes Oil Company, Inc. reported $30 million in sales. By 1988, Grimes Oil Company, Inc. had opened offices in New York City, Newark, San Francisco, and Miami. However, the company faced financial difficulties in the 1980s after two major clients failed to pay their debts, and Grimes negotiated a deal with its suppliers that allowed the company to continue to remain in business. In 1993, the company joined Intergy, Inc., a conglomeration that included Captree Chemicals and Aimtek Gas Company that invested in redevelopment projects in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

In 1979, Grimes Oil Company, Inc. appeared on Black Enterprise’s list of top black owned businesses in the country and was ranked at number nine. The company was also named in 1989 on the magazine’s list of “Companies to Watch in the 1990s.”

In addition to his career, Grimes was active with the Union Methodist Church, Prince Hall Mason, the Boys and Girls Club in Boston, and the Dimcock Community Health Center Foundation. The Grimes Oil Company also created a partnership with WGBH Boston in 1984 to fund programming for African Americans.

Grimes and his wife, Cheryl Grimes, have five children: Darlene M.C. Grimes, Lori B. Grimes, Kern Mitchell Grimes, Ashley Smallwood-Grimes, and C. Trevor Grimes.

Calvin “Kern” Grimes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 17, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.133

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/17/2017

Last Name

Grimes

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

David A. Ellis Elementary School

Henry Lee Higginson Elementary School

Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8 Inclusion School

Brighton High School

First Name

Calvin

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

GRI11

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barbados

Favorite Quote

Have A Great Day

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

1/12/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sirloin Steak With All The Fixings, Fish

Short Description

Entrepreneur Calvin “Kern” Grimes (1940 - ) served as president of Grimes Oil Company, featured on Black Enterprise magazine’s list of top black-owned businesses.

Employment

Grimes Oil Company, Inc.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Calvin "Kern" Grimes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about the changes at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes remembers living in the Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes recalls the racial demographics of his early community

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about his early household

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes remembers his parents' friends

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes recalls Boston's black social scene

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes the creation of Grimes Oil Company

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about working with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes remembers his early responsibilities at Grimes Oil Company

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes recalls acquiring a contract with Polaroid Corporation

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes the benefits of President Richard Nixon's SBA programs

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about the 8(a) Business Development Program

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes recalls his growth strategy for Grimes Oil Company

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes remembers Grimes Oil Company's recovery from bankruptcy

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about working with contractors

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes remembers the death of his father

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about Minister Louis Farrakhan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes a corporate agreement involving Grimes Oil Company, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about Grimes Oil Company, Inc.'s current contracts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes his hopes for Grimes Oil Company, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about his organizational involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes reflects upon the progress of young African American professionals

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about the importance of minority set aside programs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Calvin "Kern" Grimes reflects upon his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about his father's career
Calvin "Kern" Grimes talks about the 8(a) Business Development Program
Transcript
And what did your father [Calvin Grimes, Sr.] tell you about growing up? Did he ta- was he, did he talk about his years of growing up there?$$ Well, he, he always talked about how hard it was and, and--try to get something, or do something for yourself, or go into business for yourself. He worked for a couple of companies before he did that, but he always was a, an entrepreneur I would say and worked hard, but it was about family and I always was with him. I always was and he'd pick me up from school, change your clothes in the truck and go to work and that was it.$$That, that was that, right.$$ That was that, that was that.$$Um-hm, so 'cause you were part of the family business [Grimes Oil Company; Grimes Oil Company, Inc.], right?$$ Right, right.$$But did he--how would you describe your father though, I mean was he you know, what kind of person was he?$$ Very stern, very businesslike. I mean he, he, he was--my mother [Marguerite Perry Grimes] was more, more, more outgoing. He was more business, more--and my sister [Rae Grimes Wells] was like him, more business. I was--I liked my mama.$$Okay, so, so did he talk a lot? He didn't share (simultaneous)--?$$ (Simultaneous) Oh he talked.$$He talked a lot?$$ He talked a lot; what you should do, how you do it.$$But why, why did he call Boston [Massachusetts] hard back then?$$ Well, I imagine that was during, a lot of time was during the Depression [Great Depression] when he started and he said that people had ration stamps to get a gallon of oil and everything, gas was high and things were high and you know, he, he, he told me one day that, "You put these quarters in the refrigerator." I said, "Well what, what does that do daddy?" He says, "That's how we pay it. If you feed the refrigerator it stays on, your food stays cold and then the man comes once a month, empties the vegetable bin, like a parking meter" and that was how he paid for the refrigerator, it was a Philco, I'll never forget. I was a little boy. My job was to--he'd come home with a pocketful of money and I would punch the quarters and he'd put so much in, but he was always an entrepreneur. And it was, it was a, a business that was--there were other fuel dealers, but everybody had basically their territory--their own territory; and then in the summer we sold vegetables. We had another truck and we would have the same route and we sold vegetables, yeah.$What other--once you got into the 8--now how long did it take you to get certified into the 8(a) program [8(a) Business Development Program]?$$ A lot of paperwork, you're right. Once you got your paperwork in order I think that they were ready to, to roll. Once we got in we got, I don't think we waited more than six months to get certified, you know, get all your paperwork and all that and everything.$$So now were you going around to different conferences and exhibits or things like that, or what, what did having the 8(a) program, being 8(a) certified, what did it allow you to do besides the Polaroid [Polaroid Corporation] business?$$ It gave me advantage for, for new business within the government agencies. That's what I told you I had the [U.S.] Army bases, we had the VA hospitals [Veterans Administration; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs], we had the post offices [U.S. Postal Service]. We had all these companies. All--they put that package together and we brought oil to these customers and my big supplier was a major company, Global Petroleum. That was, that was big doings.$$So what, what did your annual receipts go up to at that point?$$ Oh, what we did in those years. We were, we were high. We did big sales, probably twelve million, thirteen million [dollars].$$That's a lot of money (simultaneous)--$$ (Simultaneous) Yeah--$$--in the 1970s--$$ --but the volume was this, 'cause it was based on the price of a gallon of oil so your sales--if the oil was high, your prices were high, your volume was high, your gross sales were high.$$Okay, but what were your, what were the margins that you were offering on it?$$ Oh, the, the margins, we worked, if we worked on, on the government stuff we worked on about sixty cents a gallon, fifty cents a gallon. It was a decent margin. They, they, they wanted that program to work. They, they didn't squeeze you to the point you know, give you a, a hiccup and then squeeze you on price and then you can't make any money.$$Um-hm, okay and then what--so you're saying business was just coming in. Now, how (simultaneous)--$$ (Simultaneous) No, no, I mean we picked up new business from that, but the, the government helped, kept us together while building where some of these other companies depended on the government stuff and didn't pick up no new business.$$I see, I see.$$ That, that, that was our key [for Grimes Oil Company, Inc.].$$Okay, but I saw, I saw that, I mean some of your clients who were they?$$ Digital, you may not remember Digital (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Equipment Corporation [Digital Equipment Corporation], um-hm.$$ Digital--We had Gillette [The Gillette Company], South Boston [Boston, Massachusetts], which we still have now.$$You had Bethlehem Steel [Bethlehem Steel Corporation].$$ Yep.$$You had Honeywell [Honeywell International, Inc.].$$ Oh, yep, yeah, those were a lot of the companies that moved.$$Didn't, didn't you have Raytheon [Raytheon Company]?$$ We still have Raytheon. Those are, because they are government agencies and they've got to spend the minority dollars for the federal funds. That's--$$I see. And do you, do you still have Kraft [Kraft Foods Group, Inc.]?$$ We have, we have Procter and Gamble [Procter and Gamble Company]. We don't have anything with Kraft, Procter and Gamble, that's Gillette; they bought Gillette, Procter and Gamble. We have (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So you mean this, who else are you competing with in the country? What other minority business in this sector, you know, of oil distribution or--?$$ There's one guy in Cleveland [Ohio], if I can think of his name. He's pretty big. He hooked up with, BP [BP P.L.C.], British Petroleum is his supplier and he's got all the Kroger's [The Kroger Company] and all those type markets; the same type of thing. I'll think of his name, his company. What else did we do? Oh, Con Edison [Consolidated Edison, Inc.] was good to us. And how we worked that Con Edison deal, they, they bought barges, big shiploads of oil, but they had Archie Bankston [Archie M. Bankston, Jr.] who was clerk of the corporation and a senior vice president, black man and Joy Crichlow was the minority person and when we, we did it, it was with my supplier, if prime falls and doesn't produce, our supplier would pick up the contract at no extra cost to them, so that made the purchasing people feel comfortable (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's right.$$ --'cause no one wants to do it if you let them down and they lose their job you know how it is--$$That's right.$$ --so we, we set up a thing between the supplier, Global Petroleum and myself and we voted and signed that, that they were guaranteed that they would get product--$$I see.$$ --and that was when Con Edison was good to us years ago.$$I see.$$ Yeah, they had a nice program, yeah. They had a nice-- Joy Crichlow was the minority person there. She's retired so a lot of these people are gone.$$And with--I, I--and what happened in 1973 when you had the oil crisis? Did that affect you?$$ No, we got our, we got, we got our share, we got our (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay, so that didn't matter?$$ No.$$Okay.$$ It would--it tightened up--the prices went up, you know how it is when there's, when there's a crisis.$$Okay, and then what about your buying a half an acre of land at--on, on Callender Street in Dorchester [Boston, Massachusetts]?$$ Yeah, that was a st- small storage facility.$$And you paid six thousand dollars for the land?$$ Um-hm.

William Dilday

Broadcast executive William Dilday was born on September 14, 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts to Alease Virginia Scott and William Horace Dilday. He graduated from the Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts and received his B.S. degree in business administration from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1964, Dilday started his career as an operations supervisor at IBM. In 1968, Dilday became the personnel administrator and public relations director at Edgerton, Germehausen, & Grier, Inc. He then began working at WHDH-TV in Boston as director of personnel in 1969. Dilday then entered the field of journalism in 1972 as general manager of WLBT-TV/WLBM-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, as the first African American general manager of a network affiliate station. He worked at WLBT-TV/WLBM-TV until 1984. As chief operation officer, he led the station to achieve number one in Nielson and Arbitron ratings from November, 1973 to February, 1984. In 1990, Dilday joined WJTV-TV as general manager and executive vice president, where he implemented operation and programming plans that improved station ratings. After his departure from WJTV, Dilday joined News-Press and Gazette as corporate vice president. Dilday was then hired as president and chief executive officer of Kerimax Communications, Inc. Dilday has also spent time as a guest columnist for the Jackson Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.

Dilday has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Peabody Award, the National Mental Health Association Media Award, and two Iris Awards from the National Association of Television Program Executives. Dilday has also been featured in Who’s Who in America every year from 1977 until 1995. He has also been listen in Who’s Who in Black America in 1975, 1976, 1993, 1994, and 1995.

In addition to his career in journalism, Didlay has been active in many organizations and companies. He has served as a board member for First American Bank. Didlay has also been a board member of the National Association of Television Broadcasters, and the National Broadcasting Company Affiliate Board. He has served as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Communication Task Force, as well as a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists and 100 Black Men. From 1978 until 1979, Dilday served as president of the Jackson Urban League.

Dilday and his wife, Maxine, have two children: Erika Lynne and Kenya Aleafe.

William Dilday was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 26, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.107

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/26/2017

Last Name

Dilday

Maker Category
Middle Name

H.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Boston University

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

DIL01

Favorite Season

August

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Birth Date

9/14/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jackson

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beef, chicken, spaghetti, salads

Short Description

Broadcast executive William Dilday (1937 - ) was the first African American general manager of a network affiliate station and served as president and CEO of Kerimax Communications and founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Favorite Color

Blue