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Carolyne S. Blount

Magazine editor Carolyne S. Blount was born on March 21, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia to Callie Brown Scott and Earl Scott, Sr. Blount graduated from Ruthville High School in Ruthville, Virginia, and received her B.S. degree in education, library science, and history from Virginia State University in 1963. She then earned her M.A. degree in library science from Drexel University in 1964.

From 1964 to 1967, Blount worked as an assistant librarian at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1967, she accepted the position of technical reports specialist in the federal systems division at IBM in Owego, New York. From 1969 to 1971, Blount worked as a reference librarian in IBM’s systems development division in Endicott, New York. Once Blount and her husband, James M. Blount, assumed ownership of About…Time Magazine, Inc. in 1972, she became the executive editor. Under her leadership, About…Time researched and published a six-part history series called “Rochester Roots/Routes” in 1984.

Since then About...Time Magazine has edited, designed, and printed other books: The City of Frederick Douglass: Rochester's African-American People and Places by Eugene E. Du Bois; Mount Olivet Baptist Church: 100th Anniversary History, 1910-2010; The State of Black Rochester 2013: Education Employment = Equity, edited by Dana K. Miller; Decades of Timeless Service and Divine Sisterhood: Delta Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; 150 Ancestors Commemoration, which highlights pioneering African Americans in Rochester; and Beyond These Gates: Mountains of Hope in Rochester’s African-American History, a walking tour book of black history in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY.

About…Time published other notable articles such as “Last Mile of a 400-Year Journey,” which examined the spirituality of African burial grounds, and “Katrina Echoes: Storm Season Aftermath is Hard to Erase.” In addition to her publishing, Blount was involved with the Southern Black Heritage Collection’s research on black elementary and high school histories in Charles City County, Virginia.

Blount serves on the board of directors of the national Gateways Music Festival, celebrating classical musicians of African descent, and is a member of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists and Delta Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Blount received a number of awards over her career including the Howard Coles Communications Award in 1983 and 1985, the Media Achievement Award from Virginia State University National Alumni Association, Women’s History Month Award from the Rochester Board of Education, as well as a Global Ministries Humanitarian Award for international reporting, presented at the United Nations by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's International Division.

Blount and her husband, James M. Blount, have three children: James Ural, Christina, and Cheryl.

Carolyne S. Blount was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 20, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.069

Sex

Female

Interview Date

04/20/2018

Last Name

Blount

Maker Category
Middle Name

S.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Carolyne

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

BLO04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virginia

Favorite Quote

I Am Only One, But Still I Am One. I Cannot Do Everything, But Still I Can Do Something, So I Will Not Refuse To Do What I Can Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/21/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Rochester

Favorite Food

Banana Pudding

Short Description

Magazine editor Carolyne S. Blount (1943-) was the co-owner, editor, and executive director of About…Time Magazine in Rochester, New York since 1972.

Favorite Color

Purple

Cheryl Lewis Burke

Education administrator Cheryl Lewis Burke was born on June 16, 1953 in Richmond, Virginia to Octavia Harris Lewis and Edward Lee Lewis. Burke graduated from Powhatan High School in 1971, and enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina before transferring to Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia two years later. In 1976, Burke earned her B.A. degree in early childhood education, and began working as a preschool teacher at Clark Spring Elementary School in Richmond. Also, in 1981, Burke earned her M.A. degree in supervision and administration of education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Burke went on to work for Overby-Shepard Middle School in 1981, but returned to Clark Springs Elementary School, where she taught the third and fourth grades for several years. She was then hired as a teacher specialist at Ginter Park Elementary School in 1991. In 1996, Burke became the principal of Chimborazo Elementary School. To improve the learning environment at the school, Burke completed the school development program at Yale University. Under her leadership, Chimborazo became the first elementary school in central Virginia to offer the International Baccalaureate primary years program. She also oversaw the installation of the city’s storm water rain garden as well as an additional floral and vegetable garden, which included an outside classroom. To reward students and staff for their hard work, Burke secured funding from organizations like Central Fidelity Bank, the PASS Initiative, and Dominion Bar Association to plan field trips to Nassau, Bahamas and the White House during President Barack Obama’s tenure. She retired as principal in 2014, but continued to work as a substitute administrator with Richmond Public Schools.

Burke was appointed as an interim board representative for the seventh district of the Richmond Public School board in October 2017. She was also a member of The Links Inc. Richmond chapter for many years. She has served on numerous boards, including the board of trustees of The Richmond Ballet of Virginia, the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Richmond, and The HistoryMakers National Advisory Board.

Burke and her husband, Emmett Burke, have two sons, Emmett Lewis Burke and Edmund Glasgow Burke.

Cheryl Lewis Burke was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.004

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/19/2018

Last Name

Burke

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lewis

Organizations
First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

BUR27

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

When Working With People, If You Want To Take Them Where You THINK They Need To Go, You Need To Meet Them Where They Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

6/15/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Education administrator Cheryl Lewis Burke (1963 - ) worked as an elementary school teacher for over twenty years, and served as the principal of Chimborazo Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia for eighteen years.

Favorite Color

Purple

Curtis T. Jewell

Entrepreneur Curtis T. Jewell was born on September 8, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia to Thelma Jewell and Fletcher Jewell. Jewell attended 18th Avenue Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey and Manakin Elementary School in Manakin, Virginia. After graduating from Central High School in Goochland County, Virginia, Jewell enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1961, and served as a hospital corpsman. In 1975, Jewell earned his B.S. degree in social psychology from Park University in Parkville, Missouri.

Following his discharge from the military, he pursued a career as a physician. In 1966, Jewell began working as a technician at Harvard Teaching Hospital while taking pre-med courses at Northeastern University and Boston University. However, he returned to Richmond, Virginia in 1969 without completing his medical degree. In 1972, he was hired as the executive director of Uhuru, a substance abuse treatment center in Columbus, Ohio. Following his college graduation, Jewell became the President and CEO of Intercontinental, Inc. After four years with the company, he left in 1979 to join Nationwide Insurance as a sales agent. In 1985, he became a partner at Praxis, where he remained for four years. Then, in 1989, Jewell founded EXCEL Management Systems, Inc. and established the Jewell Group, LLC, a property holding company, in 1994. In 2004, he became the majority stockholder of J.B. Chart Development Company, LLC.

From 1990 to 2008, Jewell served on the board of the National Black Programming Consortium. He also served as a member of the Columbus State Community College Development Foundation, Inc. and the Advisory Council for the Center of Science Industry Columbus.

Jewell was awarded the Minority Small Businessman of the Year Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 1994, and named Businessman of the Year by the Black Presidents’ Roundtable. The following year, the Greater Columbus Chamber named him Small Business Person of the Year, and the Ohio Association of African American Business Owners named him African American Male Business Owner of the Year. In 2015, Jewell was inducted into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame.

Jewell and his wife, Beverly Jewell, have six children: Neonu, Nia, Sisi, Curtis, Clay, and Leah.

Curtis T. Jewell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on Novemeber 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.202

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/15/2017

Last Name

Jewell

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Occupation
Schools

Central High School

Northeastern University

Boston University

Virginia Commonwealth University

Park University

First Name

Curtis

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

JEW03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

You don't have to know how to do everything. You need to know how to get everything done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

9/8/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Entrepreneur Curtis T. Jewell (1943 - ) was the president and CEO of EXCEL Management Systems, Inc., a company he founded in 1989. He established the Jewell Group, LLC in 1994.

Employment

Excel Management Company

Praxis

Nationwide Insurance

Intercontal

Utturu Drug Program

Rubicow Drug Program

Harvard Teaching College

Favorite Color

None

Randall Robinson

Human rights advocate, author, and law professor Randall Robinson was born on July 6, 1941 in Richmond, Virginia to Maxie Cleveland Robinson and Doris Robinson. He graduated from Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia in 1959; attended Norfolk State College in Norfolk, Virginia; and during his junior year, entered the U.S. Army. Robinson earned his B.A. in sociology from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia in 1967, prior to receiving his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1970.

In his final year of law school, Robinson cofounded the Southern Africa Relief Fund, and after graduation, worked as a Ford Foundation fellow in Tanzania, East Africa. Upon his return to the United States, he worked as a civil rights attorney at the Boston Legal Assistance Project until 1975, when he served as speech writer in the office of Missouri Congressman Bill Clay. He worked as a staff attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in 1976, prior to serving as administrative assistant, i.e. chief of staff, in the office of Michigan Congressman Charles Diggs.

In 1977, Robinson founded TransAfrica Forum to promote enlightened U.S. policies toward Africa and the Caribbean. He served as the organization’s president until 2001, when he and his wife, Hazel, moved to St. Kitts. In 2008, Robinson was named a Distinguished Scholar in Residence by The Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, where he taught human rights law until 2016.

Robinson is a best-selling author, with his works including Defending the Spirit: A Black Life in America; The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks; The Reckoning – What Blacks Owe to Each Other; Quitting America: The Departure of a Black Man from His Native Land; An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President; and two novels: The Emancipation of Wakefield Clay and MAKEDA.

Some nineteen universities have conferred honorary Ph.D.’s upon Robinson in recognition of his work in the area of social justice advocacy, and he has been honored by the United Nations, the Congressional Black Caucus, Harvard University, Essence, ABC News (Person of the Week), The Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Change, the NAACP, and Ebony, among others. The Government of South Africa in 2012 conferred upon him the highest honor permissible to a non-citizen of South Africa, in recognition of his efforts to end apartheid. And the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, New York, named him a 2017 medalist in honor of his work in the area of human rights.

Robinson has presented his views and policy recommendations on Nightline, CNN, CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, Face the Nation, Democracy Now, NPR, NBC Nightly News, ABC’s World News Tonight, The Today Show, C-Span, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Charlie Rose Show, and other leading American television programs.

Robinson has two children, Anike Robinson and Jabari Robinson, from his first marriage. He and his wife, Hazel Ross-Robinson, are the parents of one daughter, Khalea Ross Robinson.

Randall Robinson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

06/13/2017 |and| 08/31/2017

Last Name

Robinson

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Randall

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

ROB33

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

No longer have one - Live on small island in St. Kitts

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

West Indies

Birth Date

7/6/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Kitts

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Carribbean, Indan, Chinese, Soul

Short Description

Human rights advocate, author and law professor Randall Robinson (1941 - ) was an attorney for the Boston Legal Assistance Project and served as an administrative assistant for Michigan Congressman Charles Diggs. He later founded the TransAfrica Forum and published seven books.

Favorite Color

Orange, red and yellow

The Honorable H. Ron White

Judge and lawyer H. Ron White was born on February 10, 1941 in Richmond, Virginia to Ernest White and Mattie White. He graduated from Maggie L. Walter High School in 1958. White received his B.S. degree in biology and chemistry from Hampton University in 1962, and his J.D. degree from Howard University in 1971.

After graduation from Hampton University, White joined the U.S. Army in 1962. He was stationed in Kaiserslautern and Mannheim, Germany, and at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. From 1967 until 1968, White served a tour of duty in Vietnam, and was stationed in Quin Yan. By the end of his military service, he had reached the rank of captain. White began his professional career in 1971 at the Atlantic Richfield Oil Company as an environmental and labor attorney. He was promoted to the position of federal regulatory compliance counsel in 1974. Two years later, White joined Irvin & White, P.C., which became White, Mahomes, and Briscoe, P.C. the following year. In 1979, White established the Law Offices of H. Ron White & Associates. He then served as a district court judge in the State of Texas after being appointed to the position in 1983. White returned to his private law practice in 1985, and served as a partner at White & Wiggins.

In addition to his law practice, White has been active in a number of organizations. Specifically, he has been a board member of The General Counsel Forum for the Dallas and Fort Worth Chapter, and the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Texas. White has also been a member of the Texas Bar College and the National Bar Association, as well as a Life Fellow of Texas Bar Foundation.

White has been recognized and awarded for his contributions to the community. In 2004, White was named as “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Dallas Bar. He also received the Dallas Bar Foundation Fellows Award for Outstanding Service to the Bar and Civic Community in 2006. White was named as one of the fifty “Lions of the Texas Bar” by The Texas Lawbook, as well as a Texas Super Lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell in 2005 and from 2010 through 2015.

White and his wife, Rita C. White, have one son, Eric.

H. Ron White was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.069

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/14/2017

Last Name

White

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ron

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver Elementary School

Benjamin Graves Junior High School

Maggie L. Walker High School

Hampton University

Howard University School of Law

Westwood School

First Name

H.

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

WHI24

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas, St. Martin

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/10/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Hamburger, Liver

Short Description

Judge and lawyer H. Ron White (1941 - ) was appointed State of Texas District Court Judge and was named “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Dallas Bar Association in 2004

Employment

White & Wiggins, LLP

Law Offices of H. Ron White & Associates, P.C.

State of Texas

U.S. Army

Atlantic Richfield Company

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of H. Ron White's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - H. Ron White lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - H. Ron White describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - H. Ron White talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - H. Ron White describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - H. Ron White talks about his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - H. Ron White describes his father's community involvement

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - H. Ron White recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - H. Ron White describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - H. Ron White describes his father's military service

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - H. Ron White lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - H. Ron White talks about his son's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - H. Ron White remembers enrolling at Westwood School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - H. Ron White talks about the desegregation of Virginia schools

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - H. Ron White describes Westwood School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - H. Ron White describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - H. Ron White remembers the Westwood community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - H. Ron White recalls the business district of Richmond's Westwood community

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - H. Ron White talks about the African American businesses in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - H. Ron White recalls the schools he attended in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - H. Ron White describes his involvement in the school band

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - H. Ron White recalls his early interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - H. Ron White remembers influential high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - H. Ron White recalls his decision to attend Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - H. Ron White remembers his early work shining shoes

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - H. Ron White describes his father's interest in golf

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - H. Ron White talks about his paternal family's tailoring experience

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - H. Ron White recalls his jobs in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - H. Ron White remembers attending the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - H. Ron White recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - H. Ron White talks about his musical interests

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - H. Ron White remembers performing in the Hampton Institute Band and Orchestra

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - H. Ron White describes his academic interests at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - H. Ron White talks about the impact of the film 'Hidden Figures'

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - H. Ron White talks about his scientific interests at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - H. Ron White remembers his extracurricular activities in college

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - H. Ron White recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - H. Ron White remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - H. Ron White talks about the civil rights activities at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - H. Ron White remembers the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - H. Ron White describes his experiences in Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - H. Ron White recalls being deployed to Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - H. Ron White describes Qui Nhon, Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - H. Ron White talks about starting a jazz band in Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - H. Ron White remembers considering his career options after his release from the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - H. Ron White recalls his decision to pursue a career in law

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - H. Ron White remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - H. Ron White recalls entering Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - H. Ron White remembers his favorite law school instructors

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - H. Ron White describes the most difficult aspects of law school

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - H. Ron White remembers being recruited by Atlantic Richfield Company in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - H. Ron White describes his experiences at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - H. Ron White remembers being interviewed by Atlantic Richfield Company in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - H. Ron White recalls his decision to move to Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - H. Ron White describes the creation of J.L. Turner Legal Association

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - H. Ron White remembers his supportive coworkers at Atlantic Richfield Company

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - H. Ron White recalls joining the Dallas Bar Association

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - H. Ron White remembers his organizational involvement while at Atlantic Richfield Company

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - H. Ron White recalls his involvement in the Dallas, Texas community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - H. Ron White talks about the migration of African Americans to southern cities

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - H. Ron White remembers guest speakers for the Committee of 100

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - H. Ron White recalls the formation of the Committee of 100

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - H. Ron White talks about the spread of information in the Dallas African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - H. Ron White talks about the gendered division of social organizations, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - H. Ron White talks about the gendered division of social organizations, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - H. Ron White recalls the changes in African American business markets

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - H. Ron White remembers working to educate Dallas' African American business community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - H. Ron White recalls Dallas' challenges with desegregation

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - H. Ron White describes the importance of city support for new residents

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - H. Ron White remembers African American elected officials in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - H. Ron White talks about organizations promoting African American politicians

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
H. Ron White describes his experiences at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
H. Ron White recalls his decision to move to Dallas, Texas
Transcript
(Simultaneous) You were just talking off camera about you being the oldest student and having--giving, giving you a little advantage on (unclear) in law school [Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, 'cause I was, you know, I was at least five or six years older than the average student that would have been admitted at that time and then I had that real life experience being married [to Rita White] and having a child [Eric White] and having been in the [U.S.] military so you see things a little bit different than the student that's, who's just coming out of college who is going to law school with a few life experiences, okay. So that enabled me to, I think, develop a relationship with some of the faculty to the extent that I was selected, I guess, that last year to be the student faculty representative for the, for the law school and that was a time when Pat [ph.] and some of the others, Harrison [ph.], and some of the others were there and they were having issues trying to, you know, students began to not only boycott but raise issues at the school. Back during that time, they, they weren't that bashful about, about trying to improve the climate and ensure that we were getting the kind of resources that we felt we needed that we were investing in for our career. So, I did get a chance to participate in that capacity on behalf of the student body, the law school student body, my last year.$I came down, got a couple of people that were trying to be courteous and cordial and show me around a little bit. I realized when I got back, I didn't have a lot of information that I could share with my wife [Rita White] and they wanted to know, they said, "Well we're really interested, we'd like to make you an offer," you know, and I said, "Well, I'm--I'd be happy to consider that offer but I'm not sure I'm able to make any decisions regarding that offer without first having my wife to come down and take a look and so we can better determine what the alternatives are for my family," okay, 'cause at that time I had a wife and a son [Eric White]. And so they said, "Oh yeah, we'd be, we'd be happy to do that." So they, they did in fact arrange for me, I think a couple of weeks or so later. They said, "You let me know what time you can come and arranged for me to come back down to spend another weekend and, and to look around, to try to make that decision." We did, they got a slightly different crew. I told them, I don't want them to take me just to the white areas, I need to see where the black communities are, I need to talk with someone else who'll give me a better perspective of what, what's here really for African Americans. And so they arranged that also. Was there something you need to get?$$No, no, no. I keep hearing something but it's all right.$$Yeah, but anyways, so, so we did that and I, when I came down this time, I had to, I wanted to visit with the African American lawyers that were in town and I, my contact at that time was, was C.B. Bunkley [C.B. Bunkley, Jr.] who had been here for a while. L.A. Bedford [Louis A. Bedford, Jr.] was another prominent lawyer who had been involved, who was here. My classmate, Walter Irvin [ Walter L. Irvin] had been here a year before and Walter had graduated from Howard [Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.] also that year before and had been here and so those were the, the four, three or four persons that I spoke with on that second trip and I think but for the encouragement of, of C.B. Bunkley, whose son-in-law became the city attorney for Dallas [Texas] in subsequent years but he was well respected because he had been here practicing. He had primarily a civil practice, sole, sole practitioner, just like everyone in the city, primarily the sole practitioners except for a couple of them that had partnered together or working together, not so much partnered but that was the, that was the legal climate at that point. So, Bunkley said that, you know, he said, "Ron [HistoryMaker H. Ron White], I know you, you know, you'll be the first African American to be extended an offer or at least potentially accept an offer, we need you to accept this offer because that hopefully will begin to open some doors in terms of getting some more lawyers hired by some of these corporations and businesses and that, you know, that included the, the governmental entities too." So I said, said, "Well, I had told them I had to get with my wife, I need to see, see the various areas that, where we could probably live and see what we could, we could arrange." I said, "Well if I can't make it work, I'm going to get an agreement so they'll send me back to D.C. [Washington, D.C.] in two years." So, I got that agreement in place as a part of the condition of accepting the offer. There are several other things I think I discussed or was considered in making that decision. So my wife and I said, well, we'll give it a shot and see what we can do. So we established those conditions with the encouragement of the African American lawyers that were well respected at that time in the market, saying, "We'll help wherever we can, if you don't like it and you still want to practice, you've got an office here in my, in my building to work, to do some work," so that gave me another alternative that if it doesn't work I can still go out and practice with the, one or the other established lawyers and make a go of it. That was in part the dynamics of what, what evolved in terms of my decision to come down and give it a shot.

The Honorable Charles N. Clevert, Jr.

Federal judge Charles N. Clevert, Jr. was born on October 11, 1947 in Richmond, Virginia to Charles Nelson, Sr. and Ruby Clevert. He attended Armstrong High School in Richmond and graduated in 1965. He earned his B.A. degree from Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia in 1969, and his J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. in 1972.

Clevert began his career as the assistant district attorney of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. In 1975, he became an assistant U.S. attorney of the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Clevert then became a special assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in 1977. During the same year, Clevert was appointed as a U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He served as bankruptcy judge until 1995, during which time he held the position as chief judge from 1986 until the end of his tenure. Clevert also lectured at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Following his retirement from the bankruptcy court, Clevert was appointed as judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 1996. Clevert served as chief judge from 2009 until 2012; at which time he became senior judge on the court. He assumed his senior status on October 31, 2012.

Clevert served as chair of the Federal Judiciary Center’s Advisory Committee on District Judge Education, as president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and as chair of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges’ Endowment for Education. He was also a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges’ Executive Committee, and the American Jury Project. Clevert also established two programs, the Charles N. Clevert, Jr. Mentoring Program and the Charles N. Clevert, Jr., Internship Program.

In 1993, Clevert was awarded the Black Excellence Award by the Milwaukee Times. He was also the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from David and Elkins College in 1998.

Clevert and his wife, Leslie Clevert, have two children, Charles, III and Melanie.

Charles N, Clevert, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 22, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.057

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/22/2017

Last Name

Clevert

Maker Category
Middle Name

N.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

CLE07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

? ? ?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

10/11/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish

Short Description

Federal judge Charles N. Clevert, Jr. (1947 - )

Favorite Color

None

Daryl Cumber Dance

Educator Daryl Cumber Dance was born on January 17, 1938 in Richmond, Virginia to elementary school teacher Veronica Bell Cumber and entrepreneur Allen Cumber. Dance graduated from Ruthville High School in Ruthville, Virginia; and went on to earn her A.B. degree in English in 1957, and her M.A. degree in English in 1963, both from Virginia State College, now Virginia State University. She received her Ph.D. degree in English from the University of Virginia in 1971.

Dance was hired as an English teacher at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia in 1957. She remained at Armstrong until 1962, when she returned to her alma mater, Virginia State College, as an instructor of English. After obtaining her Ph.D. degree in 1971, Dance returned to Virginia State College for one year as an assistant professor of English. She left in 1972 to join the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University as an assistant professor of English, becoming an associate professor of English in 1978, and obtaining full professorship in 1985. Between 1983 and 1984, Dance also served as the acting coordinator of the Afro-American Studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 1993, she joined the faculty of the University of Richmond as a professor of English. She was named the Sterling A. Brown Professor of English at Howard University in 2013. Dance served as the Jessie Ball duPont Visiting Scholar at the University of Richmond as well as the visiting professor of Black Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Dance authored nine books, including Shuckin' and Jivin': Folklore from Contemporary Black Americans (1978), Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical and Critical Sourcebook (1986), Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women's Humor (1998), From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore (2002), and In Search of Annie Drew, the Mother and Muse of Jamaica Kincaid (2016). Dance also served on several boards and committees, including the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the Editorial Board of Encyclopedia Virginia, the University Press of Virginia Board of Directors, the Board of Visitors at Virginia State University, and the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada; in addition to her memberships in the American Folklore Society, the American Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, the Zora Neale Hurston Society, the Richard Wright Society, and the Virginia Folklore Society.

She received numerous awards for her work, including the VCU Arts and Sciences Lecturer Award, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education's Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award, the Sister Circle Book Award for Outstanding Anthology, the Zora Neale Hurston Award from the National Association of Black Storytellers Annual Conference, and The Sojourner Truth Award from The African American Studies Program of George Mason University. The Daryl Cumber Dance Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2012 by the College Language Association in Dance’s honor.

Daryl Cumber Dance was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 7, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.100

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/7/2016

Last Name

Dance

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Cumber

Occupation
Schools

Ruthville High School

Virginia State University

University of Virginia

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Daryl

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

DAN08

Favorite Season

All 4 Seasons

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Many Different Places

Favorite Quote

She Who Laughs, Lasts.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

1/17/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Educator Daryl Cumber Dance (1938 - ) served as professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University for twenty years, and at the University of Richmond for nineteen years. She was named the Sterling A. Brown Professor of English at Howard University in 2013.

Employment

University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University

University of Richmond

Virginia Commonwealth University

University of California, Santa Barbara

Virginia State University

Armstrong High School

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Daryl Cumber Dance's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Daryl Cumber Dance lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the founding of Ruthville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the history of Charles City, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her family's history in Charles City, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her maternal grandfather, Luther Winston Bell

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her family's affiliation with Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her father's education and career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Daryl Cumber Dance remembers meeting her half-sister

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the founding of Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about color discrimination within the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her early interest in storytelling

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Daryl Cumber Dance remembers enrolling at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her love of reading

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her childhood activities and trips

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her experiences at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Daryl Cumber Dance remembers her professors at Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the role of African Americans in the Civil War

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Daryl Cumber Dance recalls her activities at Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Daryl Cumber Dance recalls her first year of teaching at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the education and training of black teachers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her graduate education

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Daryl Cumber Dance remembers the mentorship of Joseph Jenkins

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the works of William Faulkner

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the representation of African American literaure

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Daryl Cumber Dance recalls the prominent civil rights activists in Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her experiences at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Daryl Cumber Dance remembers Houston A. Baker, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her dissertation on humor in African American folklore

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Daryl Cumber Dance recalls her decision to leave Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about developing courses on black folklore

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the process of collecting folklore

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her favorite stories from 'Shuckin' and Jivin''

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the practice of storytelling

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Daryl Cumber Dance remembers Richard M. Dorson

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the response to her book, 'Shuckin' and Jivin''

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the folklore of the African diaspora

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes the differences between white and African American folklore

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the comedy of Richard Pryor

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her book, 'New World Adams: Conversations with Contemporary West Indian Writers'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the Mecklenburg Six, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the Mecklenburg Six, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about the public response to the Mecklenburg Six

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her book, 'Honey, Hush!: An Anthology of African American Women's Humor'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about colloquialisms among African American women

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her recent books on African American folklore

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Daryl Cumber Dance remembers her student, Anand Prahlad

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her decision to leave Virginia Commonwealth University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her civic service

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Daryl Cumber Dance reflects upon her career

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her recent projects

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Daryl Cumber Dance describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Daryl Cumber Dance narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Daryl Cumber Dance describes her mother's family background, pt. 2
Daryl Cumber Dance talks about her book, 'Honey, Hush!: An Anthology of African American Women's Humor'
Transcript
So--and it doesn't hurt to name names in this interview (laughter)--you know.$$All right. Okay. Well, it's very interesting. My grandmother's family, for example, her name was Sallie Brown [Sallie Brown Bell]. Then, she married Bell, then she married Brown. So, Sallie Corona Brown Bell Brown, was a member of a family who were farmers for the most part, though her mother is said to have had a school. We don't have any actual documentation of that little school where she taught children in the community. They had twelve children, six boys and six girls. One boy died very young. The five boys went on all to be in the medical field. Two of them finished Harvard Medical Schools [Boston, Massachusetts], one dentistry. Others--one other finished medical school, one finished podiatry, and one was a pharmacist. But, that says something about the nature of the families there. When Virginia State [Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute; Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia], now university, opened in the 1880s, my grandmother, my--told me how her mother [Sidney Brown] was so excited about a school that her children could attend and how she got together with her first cousin and they decided to send their boys to Virginia State. And they did, indeed, not only send their boys, but they sent several of the girls to Virginia State as well. That's where they met the man who was to become my grandfather. He was in the very first class that entered Virginia State. And these brothers started coming two years after that and they became friendly with him. And so he met my grandmother when he visited Charles City [Charles City County, Virginia] with these boys, but they did not marry then. He went on to marry someone who was in school with him, and when she died later, he came back and began courting my grandmother. And his is a glorious history, too. He was very much involved in the early days at Virginia State. He was very active as a student there. And the president, first president--black president appointed there was John Mercer Langston, and he became friendly with Langston who was also a lawyer and in politics as well. But, they were trying to get rid of Langston because Virginia State was always a very--a school that had many conflicts with the state government, but they had a powerful black man who helped to establish the school, and he made many demands which he was able to get through. One of them was that all of their faculty would be black and not white because he said, "If people can't eat with you, why do we trust them to teach our students?" And so, he insisted on a black--in fact, he insisted on a college and not just an industrial school which, again, was very rare for early black schools.$$That's right. They were called these--$$So, Virginia State started with a college. And my grandfather came and studied there, and when he finished the first program he was studying, Langston invited several of the students to stay and read law with him, so he was then studying, we might saw law, that might be something of an overstatement, but no question--$$Now that's in those days, that's--$$--about that's the way it happened in those days. But in the meantime, they were trying to change things at the school and trying to get rid of Langston. And my grandfather came to Richmond [Virginia] from the campus--the campus is in Petersburg [Virginia]--and demanded a hearing with the governor to speak on behalf of Langston. And when he returned to the school, there was a motion made in the faculty to dismiss him from leaving the school without permission. Langston refused to carry the motion, but finally, they got rid of Langston and then they expelled my grandfather as well. And my uncles, my grandmother's brothers who were there left in protest, and all three of them, those two brothers and, and my grandfather ended up at Harvard [Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. My grandfather first took some classes in law somewhere else in the area but then enrolled in Harvard where he studied. So, he has a very interesting history as well.$$What, what, what is your grandfather's name, again?$$Luther Winston Bell [Luther Bell], B-E-L-L.$Now, your next project was 'Honey, Hush!' ['Honey, Hush!: An Anthology of African American Women's Humor,' ed. Daryl Cumber Dance], right?$$'Honey, Hush!'. 'Honey, Hush!'.$$This is an anthology of African American women's humor (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Humor. Humor. That's right. I received a call from Norton press [W. W. Norton and Company] saying that they wanted me to do a collection of African American folklore. I had just read a book from their press, which was on southern humor and I said to them, again, indignant (laughter), my militant self, "You have this book on southern humor that has almost nothing about black women." And most of what he had was from 'Shuckin' and Jivin'' ['Shuckin' and Jivin': Folklore from Contemporary Black Americans,' Daryl Cumber Dance] on black women. I said, "I've already done a book on African American folklore. What you need is a book on black women's humor." And the lady said, "Send me a proposal." So, I hadn't really planned to do this, but sounded like a good idea, and I sent the proposal in right away and started working on it. And already--it's interesting how things are in your mind without your realizing they're in your mind. I realized all these wonderfully funny, humorous, ironical tales, stories, proverbs from African American women. So, I got to work on that. That was the most fun ever. And by the time I was working on that, I was a member of a group called the Wintergreen Women [Wintergreen Women Writers' Collective], and we're a group of mainly African American, but at least one white member, of women who got together because most of us were isolated as, you know, one of one or two black women working in larger schools and a chance to get together and talk about some issues that were affecting us. So, we started meeting every year. It turned out to be a wonderful thing. We've been meeting constantly now for close to thirty years. I--oh--yeah, close to thirty years. And one of the things we do when we meet is to share research projects and to get ideas from each other and get support from each other. So, I said to them when I went, "I'm gonna do a collection of African American women's humor. Help me. Give me--," so, [HistoryMaker] Nikki Giovanni said, "Well, I'll do the introduction to it," and she, she did, and it was--it's a wonderful one. And I think just about everybody in the group contributed some story to it. But, I couldn't get a title for it. So, I was working on a title and I'd send titles to my editor. I had a wonderful editor, Amy Cherry, at Norton and just couldn't get a title, and she would send me back. And so finally I just wrote to all the Wintergreen women and I said--and they knew about the book. They had helped to plan it. They had made contributions. So, I said, "We're having trouble with a title." And Joanne Gabbin [HistoryMaker Joanne V. Gabbin] at James Madison University [Harrisonburg, Virginia], who--very good friend of Gwendolyn Brooks and--who has honored Gwendolyn Brooks in so many ways, wrote back to me and said, "Honey, hush." And it hit me as just perfect. If you've been around black women, you know how common that phrase is, and it's not just black women. Again, when I was doing something for my last book, I talked to a white American who has lived in Antigua for fifty years and she said, "Honey, hush." So, I named it 'Honey, Hush!' and it's, it's been one of my most fun books, even though every time I say that, I think about how much fun I had with others as well. But, you know, I've gotten--I told you one of the things is the way people respond to the books. Women have written to me and they say, "This book got me through my divorce. This book helped me deal with the death of somebody." One women wrote to me and she said, "I keep 'Honey, Hush!' on my bed table and every night before I go to sleep, I read a selection and I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face." So, these kinds of things, you know, just, just are the most important responses to books. To me, it got really good book reviews, probably more reviews than any other book I've done.

Margot Copeland

Corporate executive Margot James Copeland was born on December 4, 1951 in Richmond, Virginia. She was the only child to her parents, Reverend William Lloyd Garrison James, a Baptist minister, and Thelma Taylor James, an eighth grade math teacher. Copeland earned her B.S. degree in physics from Hampton University, and her M.A. degree in educational research and statistics from The Ohio State University.

Copeland began her corporate career at Xerox Corporation, Polaroid, and Picker International. In 1992, she was hired as executive director for Leadership Cleveland, a program of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association that develops community leaders. After seven years at Leadership Cleveland, Copeland became president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, a nonprofit organization founded to improve multicultural and multiracial relations in the Cleveland area. She joined KeyCorp in 2001, and served as executive vice president - director, corporate diversity and philanthropy and as an executive council member. KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies and, within her position as chair and CEO of the KeyBank Foundation, she managed the company’s annual $20 million philanthropic investment program and oversaw diversity initiatives. KeyCorp has been included in DiversityInc magazine’s list of 50 Top Companies for Diversity in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009 and ranked 13th among the most generous cash giving companies in America in a 2003 list published by BusinessWeek. In 2013, the KeyBank Foundation was recognized as a Civic 50 Company by the National Conference on Citizenship, Points of Light and Bloomberg LP.

Copeland has participated in a number of community organizations and boards. In 2010, she became the fifteenth president of The Links, Inc. She has also served as the president of the Junior League of Cleveland, Inc., sat on the Kent State University board of trustees, acted as Mentor/Protégé Program Advisor for Morehouse College, and is a member of the Business School Advisory board at Hampton University.

Copeland was listed as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Cleveland” by New Cleveland Woman magazine, and in 2012, Savoy magazine included her in a list of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.” She is also the recipient of the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award; was the 2006 Black Professional of the Year as recognized by Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation; received the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Community Service Award; and the W.O. Walker Excellence in Community Service Award, sponsored by the Call and Post newspaper. Copeland also received the distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in 2013 from Hampton University.

Copeland lives in Cleveland, Ohio and has three children, Reverend Kimberley, Dr. Garrison, and Michael Copeland.

Copeland was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 10, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.045

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/10/2014

Last Name

Copeland

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Marietta

Occupation
Schools

Hampton University

The Ohio State University

Matoaca High School

Giles B. Cook Elementary School

Westview Early Childhood Education Center

First Name

Margot

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

COP01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Cry Out Of One Eye.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/4/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Blue Crab

Short Description

Corporate executive Margot Copeland (1951 - ) served as the executive vice president of diversity and chair of the foundation at KeyCorp from 2001. She was also national president of The Links, Incorporated.

Employment

Xerox Corporation

Polaroid Corporation

Picker International

Leadership Cleveland

Greater Cleveland Roundtable

KeyCorp

KeyBank Foundation

Ohio State Legislature

Ameritrust Bank

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Margot Copeland's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Margot Copeland lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Margot Copeland describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Margot Copeland talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Margot Copeland talks about the role of Petersburg, Virginia in the Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Margot Copeland describes her mother's upbringing in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Margot Copeland describes her mother's involvement with The Links

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Margot Copeland describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Margot Copeland talks about her paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Margot Copeland describes her father's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Margot Copeland talks about her father's career as a minister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Margot Copeland describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Margot Copeland describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Margot Copeland describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Margot Copeland remembers her community in Petersburg, Virginia, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Margot Copeland remembers her community in Petersburg, Virginia, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Margot Copeland recalls her early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Margot Copeland remembers the racial tensions at Matoaca High School, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Margot Copeland remembers the racial tensions at Matoaca High School, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Margot Copeland recalls her elementary school education

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Margot Copeland talks about her early interest in science

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Margot Copeland remembers attending a pre-college program at the Hampton Institute, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Margot Copeland remembers attending a pre-college program at the Hampton Institute, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Margot Copeland remembers her time at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Margot Copeland remembers her astrophysics courses at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Margot Copeland talks about the environment at historically black colleges

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Margot Copeland recalls her admission to The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Margot Copeland describes her graduate programs at The Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Margot Copeland recalls her graduate math courses

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Margot Copeland remembers working for state legislator William L. Mallory, Sr.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Margot Copeland remembers joining the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Margot Copeland talks about her role at the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Margot Copeland remembers her transition to the Polaroid Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Margot Copeland talks about her maternal uncle, Theodore Taylor

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Margot Copeland remembers the economic boycott of Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Margot Copeland recalls her father's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Margot Copeland describes her work at the Polaroid Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Margot Copeland remembers leaving the Polaroid Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Margot Copeland talks about her early community involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Margot Copeland talks about the history of The Links

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Margot Copeland describes The Links' organizational structure

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Margot Copeland talks about her involvement in The Links, Incorporated, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Margot Copeland talks about her involvement in The Links, Incorporated, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Margot Copeland recalls her start in the Junior League

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Margot Copeland describes her philosophy of organizational leadership

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Margot Copeland remembers her presidency of the Junior League of Cleveland, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Margot Copeland recalls serving as executive director of Leadership Cleveland

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Margot Copeland remembers hosting a gang leader as a guest speaker at Leadership Cleveland

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Margot Copeland remembers taking leaders to women's prisons in Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Margot Copeland remembers taking leaders to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Margot Copeland remembers her involvement on the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Margot Copeland remembers the Cleveland Browns' departure from Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Margot Copeland talks about Michael R. White's mayoralty of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Margot Copeland describes her work with the Greater Cleveland Roundtable

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Margot Copeland talks about her previous positions

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Margot Copeland describes her work with the KeyBank Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Margot Copeland describes the KeyBank Classrooms for STEM Education program

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Margot Copeland describes the role of civic engagement at KeyCorp

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Margot Copeland describes her plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Margot Copeland talks about the importance of community service

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Margot Copeland recalls her mentorship of an aspiring biomedical engineer

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Margot Copeland reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Margot Copeland describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Margott Copeland narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Margot Copeland remembers attending a pre-college program at the Hampton Institute, pt. 2
Margot Copeland recalls serving as executive director of Leadership Cleveland
Transcript
I go down to pre-college and on the way down to Hampton [Virginia], you would've thought somebody was taking our family to a funeral. I'm in the back seat of the car crying, my father's in the front seat crying. He and I are both softhearted so that was natural. When my mother [Thelma Taylor James] started to cry, then I knew something was wrong. My mother was not a crier (laughter). But--so it was an emotional time taking your child even though it was pre-college and Hampton is much closer to Petersburg [Virginia] than going to Raleigh [North Carolina] to go to school--I mean not Raleigh, Durham [North Carolina] to go to school. But anyway we got over the sepera- we got through the separation if you will. And within about forty-eight hours I'd become quite acclimated to being not only away from home but to be in that beautiful Hampton Institute [Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia] at that time although I was not gonna be matriculating there for the fall. Well in the middle of the six week period, I got a note to come over to the registrar's office which I did, and I spoke to one of the admissions directors and he said that--he complimented me on how well I was doing. I was taking freshman level math and English, and what have you. He said I was doing well midterm, I was doing quite well and what have you, wanted to know if I 'wanna think about, you know, staying and going to Hampton for undergrad versus going to North Carolina [North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina]. And I was flattered, and I said wow, and I thought about it for a while, and my dad being a minister his big day off was always on Monday. So of course when I was in Hampton every Monday my father was in Hampton. He would drive on down there--he'd come and spend Monday afternoon with me anyway, so I don't know what day I was talking to this gentlemen. But all I know is the second meeting said, well my father will be here on Monday. Can I get him involved in this conversation? That's before cell phones, computers, and text, you know, and so daddy came and we went back to see the man and he told him, "Reverend James [William James], your daughter's done so well we would love to see her come here." And I began to ask him some questions about, you know, scholarship I said I had you know, I didn't have a big scholarship to North Carolina--if I had a nice one, you know it was recognizing my academic ability. And I said I've got a scholarship here, you know, what can you do help us do this. My father was so struck by the fact that he sat in that conversation and was proud of me--of how I negotiated getting money to go to school at Hampton, not a complete scholarship but a nice complement to what my parents were gonna have to pay. Anyway, he went back home and told mom, "Well it looks like she's gonna go to Hampton because she's done all these things, she's negotiated her money, got a little bit more money than I got to North Carolina." And my mother just revolted to him, she said, "She's not old enough to make a decision like that, how dare she decide--she's going to UN- North Carolina Central." And he said, "Margot's [HistoryMaker Margot Copeland] going to Hampton, because she has already committed. That's where it is," and my mother did call me, and there was a--one telephone booth on the floor that all these girls in the dorm had to share, and you could barely get a call through. But of course that call came through and my mom and I talked and I was very clear. I used the clarity I learned from her, I was very clear that this was gonna be my choice, and I said, "I don't wanna go to another place and get adjusted all over again." I said, "I'm adjusted, I like it." I said, "It's a topped named HBCU [historically black colleges and universities], you know, everybody's going to Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.], I'm going to Hampton." And so, and so that's what where--so Hampton chose me. Hampton pulled me back in and there are a lot of things in life, if you look back and you'd like to do over, or change, or adjust, the best decision, best decision in my life was going to Hampton. It was just incredible.$$We spent like the last two years interviewing black scientists. And we spent a lot of time at Hampton, now people who are there now undoubtedly were not there when you were there.$$Right.$$But they are associated with the Jefferson National Accelerator [Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, Virginia] over there and a lot of things going on at Hampton. The physics department is re- is really, you know, doing things.$Now during the same period of time, here comes Leadership Cleveland you go (laughter), you're like building steam.$$Yeah, yeah, yeah. Leadership Cleveland really came as a result of my presidency with the Junior League [Junior League of Cleveland, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio]. So as--when I was president elect, I was a member of the Leadership Cleveland class of 1991. Boy is this documentary dating me and--but anyway I was a member of the class and again a great set of peers that I got to know and meet. And then I was president from '91 [1991] to '92 [1992]. By the time I was a past president of the league, my active days as a Junior League member began to wane, because you know, you've been the president and I be- once you turn forty you can become an alum. So I, I applied for alumni status. I'd already actively served about fifteen years in the league so it was time. It was time to begin replenishing ourselves. We have younger women coming in and others, you know, moving on. I don't believe in older women, you know, holding up all the--holding all the top jobs so the younger women can't advance and move forward. I'm a real proponent of bringing along younger people. But anyway so Leadership Cleveland came in my life as a--first as a participant in the class of '91 [1991] and by the fall of '92 [1992] I found myself in the job. I'd taken a leave of absence from Picker International [Picker International, Inc.], had--with all their support. And when it was time for that year to come back, I remember my manager calling me, he said, "Okay you got your year back." He literally--it wasn't that he held the job for me, but he had a place for me at Picker and invited me to, you know, come back and, and come back and regain, you know, the te- be a part of the team at Picker. And during that time, the directorship for Leadership Cleveland had opened. God lines up all the stars. He has a plan and I tossed my hat in the ring as the director, executive director of Leadership Cleveland. Great mentor of mine, probably the mentor. I've had many along the way, Carole Hoover. Carole Hoover was a senior executive with the Greater Cleveland Growth Association [Greater Cleveland Partnership], which at that time was the chamber of commerce for greater Cleveland that Leadership Cleveland program reported up through to her and with her encouragement and the encouragement of others, I was selected as the executive director, Leadership Cleveland, becoming the first black director of Leadership Cleveland. And I ran that program for about eight years from '92 [1992], my last class was a class of '99 [1999] and in a class it was always fun putting those classes together. You would have CEOs or you would have clergy and head of the labor union and, and somebody who works in the social services or in the arts world or what have you. There was one meeting where I had this, this--the COO of Lincoln Electric [Lincoln Electric Company] and the CEO of the Midnight Basketball League and at the opening dinner I placed everybody where they were gonna be I sat them together. Where else would the two of them come together and meet. So and the learning, the learning that you would get, you know from that sort of thing. There was one session in Leadership Cleveland where you know, you can go and listen to the practitioners talk about, you know, issues. I like to demonstrate the issues, you know, for that the community had. These are established accomplished leaders so they don't need me to introduce them to problems (unclear) has the whole bombard of--of barrage of speakers coming talking about topics. I wanted to--them to actually touch and feel and see. So we had a session around quality of life. And I had them all arrive that morning around 6:30 A.M., most of them are up and moving, these are powerful folks, they're up early anyway. But it was a December, it was freezing cold outside, and I--we told them to leave their coats in the car. And when they got to the church where we were having this session, the door was locked and they were all lined up in the cold. And this real gruff, wiry looking man came out, pushing a cart and gave each one a pa- a brown paper bag, with a carton of milk, a Twinkie and a banana in their bag, well that was their breakfast. They were accustomed to coming into a place and getting a nice warm cup of coffee or tea and having continental breakfast. That was their breakfast and we made them stan- they were pounding on the door--they were so upset with me and we inside church looking at them pou- because they were freezing and we made 'em do that for thirty minutes and they were not happy. But the demonstration was this is what it feels like to be a homeless person getting ready to start their day on a December cold morning. They got it, they got the point. Same thing I took them to the Hospice of the Western Reserve [Cleveland, Ohio] so they--so the hospice was not just something that you heard about or maybe unfortunately experienced. But at least--you actually talk to people who are in--going through the process or families going through the process with a loved one.

Wesley Harris

Aerospace engineer Wesley L. Harris was born in Richmond, Virginia on October 29, 1 941. His parents, William Harris and Rosa Harris, worked in Richmond’s tobacco factories. As a child, Harris was intrigued by airplanes and learned to build different models. In the fourth grade, he won an essay contest about career goals with a paper on how he wanted to become a test pilot. After receiving his B.S. degree with honors in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia in 1964, Harris enrolled at Princeton University and graduated from there with his M.S. degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences in 1966 and his Ph.D. degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences 1968.

After completing his Ph.D. at Princeton, Harris taught at the University of Virginia and at Southern University before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1972 where he served as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics. He established MIT’s first Office of Minority Education in 1975 in order to help retain minority students and improve their performance. In 1985, Harris was appointed Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut; and from 1990 to 1995, he served as vice president and chief administrative officer at the University of Tennessee Space Institute and then as associate administrator for aeronautics NASA. In 2003, Harris was named head of the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in 2003.

Harris’ many honors and achievements include serving as chair and member of various boards and committees of the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Science Board, and several state governments. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Helicopter Society. The National Academy of Engineering elected Harris as a Fellow for contributions to understanding of helicopter rotor noise, for encouragement of minorities in engineering, and for service to the aeronautical industry.

Wesley L. Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.004

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2013

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Princeton University

University of Virginia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Wesley

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

HAR38

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

The Greatest Gift Is To Give.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

10/29/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak (Rib Eye)

Short Description

Aerospace engineer Wesley Harris (1941 - ) was head of the department of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. He was also elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to the understanding of helicopter rotor noise, for encouragement of minorities in engineering and for service to the aeronautical industry.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

UTSI

University of Connecticut

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Virginia

Southern University

Harris Analytics and Planning, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6715,78:43854,613:51368,679:58582,733:72260,887:76024,915:79340,936:80460,954:101810,1306:116132,1453:117824,1478:137502,1686:138158,1696:145722,1810:149658,1852:156190,1938:156550,1944:157000,1950:161657,1994:169182,2081:170427,2105:173830,2162:181498,2263:182304,2278:183048,2293:183358,2299:187295,2338:188145,2349:190360,2359:206374,2498:207194,2510:207604,2516:208178,2524:210400,2540:210700,2546:211000,2552:214670,2602:216542,2642:224375,2797:251370,3117:252616,3140:253150,3148:256060,3175:257230,3191:257860,3200:263615,3251:265070,3278:265749,3376:273646,3431:279835,3484:284185,3677:284635,3684:285010,3690:286060,3707:299560,3861:318570,3997:330756,4112:331834,4126:336600,4141:337000,4147:337800,4159:346036,4255:346624,4265:347016,4270:353910,4338:354798,4352:355686,4365:356352,4378:356796,4386:363980,4440$0,0:40348,527:77043,966:77579,975:78115,984:80520,1006:80845,1012:93196,1215:104375,1322:106271,1359:109352,1411:109668,1416:110300,1427:118911,1596:154114,1842:170748,2023:171084,2028:189450,2249:190002,2263:199658,2374:205894,2551:261770,3168:278591,3379:293302,3664:296870,3670
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wesley Harris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about the occupations of his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mother and his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his father's restaurant

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his twin brother William Harris pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about his twin brother William Harris pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes walking through the white district to get to school as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentors in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about his high school science fair project

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his aspiration as a fourth grader to be a test pilot

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about the University of Virginia-pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Virginia-pt 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentors at the University of Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes the group of African American students at the University of Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Virginia pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Virginia pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about the 1963 March on Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes the impact of the U.S. space program on his education

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his decision to attend Princeton University for graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentor at Princeton University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about anti-Semitism in Ivy League schools

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his doctoral research

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris describes how he was recruited by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes the findings of his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his time at Southern University pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his time at Southern University pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris explains why he left Southern University pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris explains why he left Southern University pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about his time as a professor at the University of Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris talks about his children and his first wife

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes being a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes his research on helicopter rotor acoustics

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his work on coastal ocean radar with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about receiving the Irwin Sizer Award

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Connecticut

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Tennessee Space Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about the University of Tennessee Space Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes being an associate administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes being an associate administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris reflects on his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes why he left the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about the Lean Aerospace Initiative and Lean Sustainment Initiative

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about becoming a member of the National Academy of Engineering

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes his time at Arizona State University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about the aeronautics and astronautics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about Leon Trilling

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes the James Shirley incident at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about the flight tests of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris provides his predictions on the direction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about STEM education in the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about his research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris reflects on his life

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris reflects on his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris talks about his involvement in football during high school pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about his involvement in football during high school pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Wesley Harris talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATitle
Wesley Harris talks about his high school science fair project
Wesley Harris reflects on his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Transcript
You were talking about this cloud chamber in the break, but how did you build that? I mean you say kids ask you today, how did you do it without the internet, right?$$Right. So the idea was that you wanted to observe, in my case, the trajectory of alpha particles and so how do you do that? Alpha particles are fairly large and high energy so if you have a, an environment where they can collide and you visibly can see the collision or the results of the collision then you could in fact track them. So if you had in those days these old radioactive Rayon watches, you could clip off a piece of the dial and that would serve as your alpha particle. To get the condensement atmosphere you build a box that was insulated, put in that box dry ice, okay, and on top you would put a damp wet cloth which when it interacts with the dry ice would form a cloud. And then you look at the, look through the top, alpha particles projecting through the cloud coming down, you see the collisions and you could track it. So the idea was to generate the correct environment. And the cloud chamber is what we called it in those days, still call it a cloud chamber. But you had to build a box, put ice in there, dry ice, not water ice but it had to be very cold and get the condensation, get the alpha particles, there it was. So, but Eloise Bose Washington, who is this woman, who is she, why do I remember her name so distinctly, why do I remember her even more so than Edmonds and Street and Mrs. Hartley and even Judon? Eloise Bose Washington one of the rare black women that went north in the 40s [1940s] to the University of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] to earn a masters degree in physics, you may ask well why in the hell would a black woman go north in the 40s [1940s] for a masters degree in physics and come back to the south? What could possibly be on her mind? What was she going to do? What job was open to her? None, other than the classroom, but she had a degree in physics. So the blessing was that I was one of her students. Not only was she a good teacher but she had the foundation. She knew physics okay, and therein lies the success. Therein lies the opportunity. Therein lies the greatest gift, all right, that Eloise Bose Washington was there or I was there when she was, let's put it that way, a tremendous spirit, a short woman, rather wide, rather big, again the tough love. "Wesley, you will go to the University of Virginia, okay?" And she said that because she never forgave herself for the third place finish at the University of Virginia. We had won first in the black community, the black competition and then she said "Wesley, we'll go to University of Virginia [Charlottesville, Virginia] with the cloud chamber and we finished third and she always thought she was the reason for it.$$Hmm.$$Yeah, she did. She--so I said "Yes, Ms. Washington, I will go. But tell me why do you want me to go?" She said, "Two reasons." She says, "Wesley, you are black and there's no way those white folks up there would ever misinterpret who you are whenever they see you." Second, she says, "You will be successful and that's very important to us that you succeed at the University of Virginia." Okay.$$So this is, I just want to go back to that for a second cause she's saying something really significant here because it's often said when someone, some African American succeeds that it's because he's part white or something, you know, he's a lighter guy and that sort of thing.$$Right.$$So she's actually saying, she's focusing on your color?$$Yeah.$$She's saying--$$Yeah.$$--you're the perfect person to--$$Yes, yes.$$--you'll really shake things up to let people know what our capacity is cause you're unmistakably--$$Right, yeah that was a part of her calculation, make no doubt about it, yes, right.$$Okay.$$Because in her generation and also in mine--$$[BRIEF INTERRUPTION]$$Okay, all right. So--$$Yeah, so Eloise Washington did want to make that point that it was about demonstrating scholarship by, for and about black folks in a way that's unmistakable, that it is of this, it is of black folks. And that was something that she wanted me to understand that that's the--remember now just a rising senior in high school and she made that point very, very clear, "You are black and they will not misinterpret that and you will be successful."$$Okay.$$So that's Eloise Bose Washington.$While at NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], you were elected a fellow of the American Helicopter Society?$$Yes, oh yes. Yes, that's--okay, so the rotorcraft community obviously since the work I did here at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] in main rotor acoustics has always been a part of my aero portfolio. In a lot of ways, rotorcraft was a stepchild. Most of NASA's effort was focused on fixed wing aircraft. The U.S. Military, especially the U.S. Army has always needed better, more efficient helicopters. So working with a man named George Stingley, we developed a joint program involving NASA and DOD [Department of Defense], three-headed program after-anyway, involving the rotorcraft industry to share, to develop and share common technology. And that, no one had done that before to bring those four, those three players, NASA, the rotorcraft industry and the U.S. Army together to solve common research problems related to rotorcraft where NASA put in money, DOD, U.S. Army put in money and the rotorcraft industry put in money. So that was bringing together those three stakeholders in a way to find a common solution to common problems and that's, was, I guess enough for the Helicopter Society to say, "Make this guy a fellow."$$Okay, okay. And also you were, you received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. I guess be-- is that just before you left?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$I think those things just, you just breathe long enough you get them. I, I attach no significance to those things at all.$$Okay. So when you look back at your stint at NASA, what are you the most proud of?$$High-speed civil transport, that technology, fascinating stuff, fascinating stuff.$$Okay, okay. Now--$$There's something else too.$$Okay.$$Most Americans know of the Russia-U.S. Space Treaty. At the same time that was developed there was a treaty or an agreement on aeronautics okay? So a group of us went to Moscow [Russia] several times to develop the document that Chernomyrdin [Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin] on the Russian side and Vice President [Al] Gore on the U.S. side signed, so-called agreement in aeronautics, a similar one in space, okay?$$Okay, so this is signed by Al Gore the vice president?$$Right and the vice premier Chernomyrdin of, for Russia.$$Okay.$$Okay, so I led that delegation. A member of that delegation was Woodrow Whitlow and many others as well, but that was an interesting, exciting time, couldn't leave the hotels at night. We were certain our bags were always searched when we left, riots on the Moscow subway. In the early 90s [1990]s, they just had collapsed the Soviet Union so you saw abject poverty in Russia, I mean unbelievable poverty, buildings with holes in them, government buildings, no toilets, no heat in the winter.$$Yeah, that's really critical in Russia.$$Oh goodness, yes. We were in meetings all day with overcoats on and gloves.$$In a government facility?$$Yeah, this is (Saugi?) [ph.], that's--this was their corresponding, this was their facility corresponding to our Tullahoma [Tennessee]. We have AEDC, the Arnold Engineering Development Center, the world's largest aerospace test facility, they had something called (Saugi?), comparable with no heat, holes in the walls, grass never cut.$$Yeah.$$That was Russia in the early 90s [1990s]. Not like that now but they had a really down period man. We were told to do this by the way, to develop this agreement not by NASA but by the State Department because they didn't want the Russian scientists to find their way to Iran or North Korea or some other place that would cause trouble later.

Billie Allen

Actor, dancer, director Billie Allen was born Wilhelmina Louise Allen on January 13, 1925 in Richmond, Virginia to Mamie Wimbush Allen and William Roswell Allen. Allen grew up in Richmond’s West End, attending Randolph Street School and Elba Elementary School before graduating from Armstrong High School in 1941. At Hampton University, Allen was inspired by Romare Bearden and mentored by Billie Davis. Drawn to show business, Allen moved to New York City in 1943 to take ballet classes and to study acting at the Lee Strasbourg Institute. Soon, Allen was dancing professionally and auditioning for stage roles.

In 1949, Allen was featured in the film Souls of Sin with Jimmy Wright and William Greaves. In 1953, Allen performed in the Broadway play, Take A Giant Step with Lou Gossett, Godfrey Cambridge and Lincoln Kilpatrick. She was cast as “WAC Billie” in five episodes of television’s Phil Silvers’ Show from 1955 to 1959. During this period, she also played Ada Chandler in the soap opera, The Edge of Night. In 1964, Allen was cast in Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro, and in 1990, directed the play’s revival. She also portrayed “Vertel” in the movie Black Like Me in 1964 and appeared on stage in James Baldwin’s Blues for Mister Charlie. Since the 1960s, Allen was cast in a number of movies and television programs including Route 66, Car 54, Where Are You, The Wiz, Winter Kills, The Vernon Johns Story, Eddie Murphy Raw, and Law and Order. In the early 1980s, Allen directed the off-Broadway play Home featuring Samuel L. Jackson, and in 2001, she directed Saint Lucy’s Eyes starring Ruby Dee.

Allen was a founding member of the Women’s Project and Productions and served as a founding member and co-president of the League of Professional Theatre Women. In 1973, Allen with Morgan Freeman, Garland Lee Thompson and Clayton Riley founded Harlem’s Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop. She interviewed Rosetta LeNoire, Julia Miles and Ruby Dee for the theatre archives of the Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, and in 1999 and 2000, served as a voting member of the Tony Awards nominating board. Allen married the late composer, Luther Henderson with whom she received the 2002 Audelco “VIV” Pioneer Awards. She had two children.

Allen passed away on December 29, 2015 at age 90.

Accession Number

A2007.142

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/16/2007

Last Name

Allen

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Armstrong High School

Elba Elementary School

Hampton University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Billie

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

ALL04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/13/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Yankee Bean Soup With Meatballs

Death Date

12/29/2015

Short Description

Actress and stage director Billie Allen (1925 - 2015 ) performed in The Wiz, Route 66, and Law and Order. Active in promoting the arts, Allen was a founding member of the Women's Project and Productions, and served as a founding member and co-president for the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Favorite Color

Royal Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Billie Allen's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Billie Allen lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Billie Allen describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Billie Allen describes the women in her maternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Billie Allen describes her mother's civil rights activism

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Billie Allen describes her mother's teaching career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Billie Allen describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Billie Allen describes her parents' involvement in African American society

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Billie Allen describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Billie Allen describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Billie Allen describes her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Billie Allen describes her family's move to Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Billie Allen describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Billie Allen recalls her grade school experiences in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Billie Allen talks about the role of music in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Billie Allen describes her early activities in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Billie Allen recalls the entertainers she admired

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Billie Allen remembers the release of 'Gone with the Wind'

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Billie Allen remembers Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Billie Allen recalls her influential teachers at Armstrong High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Billie Allen recalls the segregated transit system in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Billie Allen describes her studies at Armstrong High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Billie Allen remembers the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Billie Allen describes her social life at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Billie Allen recalls her decision to move to New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Billie Allen recalls the arts community in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Billie Allen recalls meeting African American actors in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Billie Allen recalls her first film role

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Billie Allen remembers training under Lee Strasberg

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Billie Allen talks about her role on 'The Phil Silvers Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Billie Allen recalls being cast in a soap commercial

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Billie Allen describes her role in 'The Edge of Night'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Billie Allen talks about the play 'Blues for Mister Charlie'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Billie Allen remembers acting in 'Funnyhouse of the Negro,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Billie Allen remembers acting in 'Funnyhouse of the Negro,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Billie Allen talks about her career as an actress in New York

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Billie Allen recalls the Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Billie Allen talks about her screen acting career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Billie Allen talks about her recent acting roles

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Billie Allen describes her organizational affiliations

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Billie Allen reflects upon the variety of her character roles

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Billie Allen talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Billie Allen describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Billie Allen reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Billie Allen talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Billie Allen describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Billie Allen narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Billie Allen narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Billie Allen narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

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DATitle
Billie Allen describes her mother's civil rights activism
Billie Allen recalls her first film role
Transcript
Now was your mother [Mamie Wimbush Allen] like an early member of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]?$$Oh yes, oh yes and she, she was like the mentor to Gloster Current [Gloster B. Current]. And the Church of the Master, was that Jimmy--and we--the NAACP was a great part of my social life. As a matter of fact because we went to the national conventions every year. And, you know, that's where my social life was. I met other people my age, teenagers or children or whatever it was, and we kept in touch, and it was like a network. No matter where you went, you knew somebody. But we were made aware of the issues and the struggle and my mother, she said, "You are no breath- you are no better than the least of your brethren. And you may not look down, you may bring them up."$$Now what--is there a story behind how she became the--not that it's unnatural, but a lot of people aren't activist? Is there a story that--behind her activism (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well I think that--it seems to me those women were born in what we call struggle. And they were aware of that--this is what we have to do this is why we are put here. And this is what we have to do. And you may be privileged 'cause your folks could read and went to college, but you have to share that. You have to share that. I don't know what incident in her life but I think it was just handed down. I know that it's a set--Atlanta [Georgia] was a very, very progressive city at that time. A lot of black-owned businesses, I mean, and homes and very enterprising. And they always bragged about that as a matter of fact, they said, "Oh well in Atlanta we owned everything." In Atlanta we had our pharmacists and so forth. And I thought that everybody had a black woman doctor if they wanted one because my birth was attended by a black woman doctor, Marie Jeanette Jones, we called her Dr. Janie. Can you imagine that, in 1925? It was amazing because of when I came through New York [New York] to work in the theater, I was doing improvisation. So I decided that my character wanted to be a doctor so, we--when we were being critiqued, the improvisation. This woman who was white she said, "Why couldn't you be something reasonable like a nurse or a secretary?" So she said, "There are no black doctors, there are no Negro doctors," then. And then I had to give her a little history lesson right there on the spot, you know. And tell her about Doctor Marie Jeanette Jones, who got her medical degree at Tufts [sic.] and practiced in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband who was also an M.D., Dr. Miles B. Jones. They practiced in tandem from that big stone mansion in the middle of town. And we were well attended (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) That's, that's--$$I think that was a decided advantage in my life because I never lacked for women heroes or black heroes. And you see during that time there were no hotels where Paul Robeson and Roland Hayes, Marian Anderson, and all these people could stay when they came. When they did these concerts with--my mother belonged to this club called the treble clef music and book lovers club. And they met the first Thursday of every month, and these women would prepare a reading or piano solo or they would present Langston Hughes. Give him a book party, and he'd talk about this new book he had just written. Or Muriel Ryan [ph.] would come there, and that's where I met [HistoryMaker] Katherine Dunham and this is what they would do because they wanted to keep abreast of everything. And they wanted the children to appreciate our heritage and appreciate--$$Okay.$$--our lives.$I also got a call from this black filmmaker named Bill Alexander [William D. Alexander], who said he wanted me to act in this film, and I said, "But I'm not an actor, I'm a dancer." And he said, "No, everybody tells me that you would perfect." Well, what, no you don't have to audition. He said, "I got to make this film before, I think, the first of the year," and I had something to do with taxes or alimony or something. And he had to make this film, so I thought, oh, how much do I make? He said, "Seventy-five [dollars] for a day." I said, "Wow," you know, oh yeah, 'cause I was about making seventy [dollars] a week or something like that. So I decided to do it. And I said, but you must know, here's, here's the deal. I didn't have an agent 'cause he called me direct. I didn't know about agents so much. I said, "I will do it, but you have to pay me each day after we shoot, seventy-five dollars. And the day you don't pay me is the day you don't see me again the next day, it's finished." That's what we agreed to. So who was in the film? Jimmy Edwards [sic. Jimmy Wright] and Della Reese [sic.], a lot of people in this film. It was called 'Souls of Sin.' Well, it ended up in a warehouse in Tyler, Texas. It was stored away somewhere, and I thought, nobody's ever gonna see this film. Oh, I kept my job at Macy's [R.H. Macy and Co.; Macy's, Inc.] because my friends punched me in every day at the time clock. And I went over on my lunch hour and made a lot of noise so everybody'd see me. And then they'd punch me in for overtime, and I split my salary with them, I gave the half my salary. And so I had half my salary from Macy's plus seventy-five dollars a day from film. So I was rich when I went home, and my nieces who became filmmakers when they finished Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and Brown [Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island] were living in California. This is years after they went to see these, this black film festival. They started screaming, "That's Aunt Billie [HistoryMaker Billie Allen], oh my god, that's Aunt Billie." And they got on the phone, well this turned out to be a big cult thing, that (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) What's the name of the film again?$$'Souls of Sin.'$$'Souls of Sin.'$$Jimmy Edwards, you know who else was in it? What the name of--he's a filmmaker now. Carter, Terry Carter, Terry Carter [sic.]. I think that is, well he's in it, and it was hilarious. I never--I was always afraid to look at it, 'cause I hadn't studied yet. I was just doing it, and I think I was the only one that really got paid. The other people are interested in honing their craft and being, having a film. I was not an actor, I was not honing any craft. I was in debt (laughter) but it worked out. And it got me interested, then as a dancer, Elia Kazan came to see me dance in some show I was in, and auditioned me for 'Camino Real,' Tennessee Williams' play. Eli Wallach was--so I did all these things, improvisations with Eli Wallach, and I mean I was learning a lot and I didn't mind.$$Now about what year was this, this is about what year? Are the--like 'Souls of Sin.' What, about what year was that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I'm trying to think--$$Can you--$$Before children, it was before children.$$Yeah 'cause you left Hampton [Hampton Institute; Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia], was it '44 [1944] or so?$$No, this was like the late '50s [sic.].$$Oh this late, we've already gotten late '50s [1950s]. Now, we're in the late '50s [1950s] now, yeah?$$I think so.