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Tracey Edmonds

Producer and business executive Tracey E. Edmonds was born on February 18, 1967 in Los Angeles, California to Jacqueline and George McQuarn. Edmonds graduated from Stanford University with her B.A. degree in psychobiology in 1987.

Upon graduation, Edmonds ran a successful mortgage and real estate business. Then, in 1993, she created Edmonds Entertainment Group, Inc., a multi-million dollar enterprise actively involved in all aspects of the entertainment business. Edmonds Entertainment produced the film Soul Food in 1997, which earned five NAACP Image Awards. The success of Edmonds Entertainment set the stage for the independent film production company, e2 Filmworks. Edmonds produced two independent films under this banner: Hav Plenty, which was released in 1998; and 2001’s Punks. In 2004, she executive produced the reality show College Hill, the first African American reality program on BET, which set a network record as BET's highest rated series premiere. Edmonds also produced the series Lil' Kim: Countdown to Lockdown, as well as DMX: Soul of a Man, which both aired on BET in 2006. She has produced a number of other films and television shows, including Light It Up, Soul Food: The Series, Josie and the Pussycats, Maniac Magee, Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is, Good Luck Chuck, Who’s Your Caddy? , New in Town, and Jumping the Broom, which won two NAACP Image Awards.

In 2006, Edmonds was hired as chief operating officer and president of Our Stories Films, where she oversees the development and production of projects for urban audiences. In 2013, she launched ALRIGHT TV, an inspirational, faith-friendly YouTube Premium channel, for which she serves as president and chief executive officer.

Edmonds has served on the boards of the American Film Institute, People for the American Way, Children Uniting Nations, and the Producers Guild of America. She also served as a Global Ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that works to fight global poverty. Edmonds has won numerous awards, including Turner Broadcasting System’s Tower of Power Award in 2000; Ebony magazine’s Outstanding Women In Marketing & Communications Entrepreneur Award in 2002; the Girls, Inc. Award in 2004; the National Organization for Women’s Excellence in Media Award in 2005; and The Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors Diversity Award in 2006. She has also received an Honorary Doctorate degree in business from Southern University.

Edmonds resides in Beverly Hills, California with her two sons, Brandon and Dylan.

Tracey Edmonds was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.313

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/19/2013

Last Name

Edmonds

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

E.

Schools

Braodacres Avenue Elementary School

Progress Elementary School

W.C. Woodbury Middle School

Bishop Gorman High School

Woodrow Wilson Classical High School

Stanford University

First Name

Tracey

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

EDM04

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/18/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Film producer and entertainment manager Tracey Edmonds (1967 - ) was the founder and CEO of Edmonds Entertainment Group, which produced numerous films and television shows including Soul Food, Josie and the Pussycats, Good Luck Chuck, Who’s Your Caddy? and Jumping the Broom.

Employment

Edmonds Entertainment

e2 Filmworks

Our Stories Films

ALRIGHT TV

Yab Yum Entertainment

Edmonds Record Group

Edmonds Management

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
0,0:4522,48:4992,57:6872,80:14486,222:14956,228:20930,322:21362,329:27698,540:27986,545:28562,718:56523,1063:60538,1163:65940,1317:77145,1595:95982,1911:103388,2063:104405,2081:111350,2191:111878,2199:123861,2433:124731,2502:136884,2690:143740,2841:148924,2949:153724,3043:163430,3143:164735,3168:165083,3173:165518,3179:170564,3275:170912,3280:178150,3367:180962,3432:181342,3438:182178,3451:182634,3458:190219,3576:196316,3670:196771,3677:197408,3688:205234,3802:214254,3936:216630,3997:217062,4013:217998,4036:218790,4051:230689,4203:231419,4216:231930,4224:233682,4250:234266,4260:243225,4380:246370,4444:247305,4464:249005,4490:265022,4795:267234,4824:267866,4839:271105,4909:286820,5248:300574,5518:300886,5523:304708,5604:305410,5615:305878,5624:306346,5631:308764,5683:311260,5763:319122,5859:320970,5941:321410,6071:340673,6320:351390,6537$0,0:4056,107:4602,116:5538,143:10842,264:22774,421:26260,432:26800,439:27970,457:28690,467:29410,475:30850,501:33100,529:41805,662:42825,678:47585,775:49540,862:59970,1016:61995,1065:65721,1147:66288,1155:69042,1207:83800,1414:84866,1434:85932,1450:89212,1507:89704,1513:90278,1521:91918,1547:101005,1650:103925,1731:109327,1828:111663,1910:114510,1940:114948,1947:115386,1993:123660,2078:128551,2231:128989,2238:129573,2247:129938,2253:131982,2318:134537,2397:134829,2402:137311,2448:137676,2454:141545,2535:141910,2541:142348,2548:157815,2761:158340,2769:159015,2784:160815,2822:161115,2827:166365,2952:167490,2981:185721,3250:186183,3257:187030,3275:191694,3293:192432,3306:192924,3314:193252,3319:194974,3372:195302,3377:203584,3549:204076,3556:204978,3568:209693,3587:210190,3601:229260,4008:229596,4013:230016,4019:233880,4085:234720,4097:235224,4104:238458,4131:238770,4136:239082,4141:239940,4155:250376,4380:256000,4487
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Tracey Edmonds' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tracey Edmonds lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tracey Edmonds describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tracey Edmonds talks about her maternal family's move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tracey Edmonds remembers her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tracey Edmonds talks about her parents' teenage years

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tracey Edmonds describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tracey Edmonds describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tracey Edmonds talks about her father's childhood in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tracey Edmonds describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tracey Edmonds talks about her father's coaching career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tracey Edmonds describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tracey Edmonds recalls her early years in Nevada and California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tracey Edmonds describes her early childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tracey Edmonds recalls her elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tracey Edmonds describes her experiences at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tracey Edmonds talks about the segregation at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tracey Edmonds talks about her extracurricular activities at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tracey Edmonds recalls her experiences with racial discrimination at Woodrow Wilson High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tracey Edmonds describes her experiences at Woodrow Wilson High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tracey Edmonds recalls her college application process

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tracey Edmonds describes her experiences at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tracey Edmonds remembers studying abroad in Florence, Italy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Tracey Edmonds recalls her professors at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Tracey Edmonds talks about her decision to become a real estate broker

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Tracey Edmonds talks about the entertainment of her youth, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tracey Edmonds recalls the entertainment of her youth, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tracey Edmonds talks about her mother's real estate company in Newport Beach, California

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tracey Edmonds remembers meeting her first husband, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tracey Edmonds remembers meeting her first husband, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tracey Edmonds talks about the formation of Yab Yum Entertainment

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tracey Edmonds recalls the artist she worked with through Yab Yum Entertainment

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Tracey Edmonds talks about producing the film, 'Soul Food'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tracey Edmonds talks about the success of the movie 'Soul Food'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tracey Edmonds remembers the creation of 'Soul Food' the television series

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tracey Edmonds talks about the theatrical release of 'Light It Up'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tracey Edmonds describes her acquisition of the film 'Hav Plenty'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Tracey Edmonds talks about producing the film, 'Punks'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Tracey Edmonds describes her various entertainment companies

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Tracey Edmonds remembers pitching 'College Hill' to BET

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Tracey Edmonds talks about the filming of 'College Hill'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Tracey Edmonds talks about the reception of 'College Hill'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Tracey Edmonds recalls producing 'Jumping the Broom'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Tracey Edmonds talks about Our Stories Films

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Tracey Edmonds reflects upon her career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Tracey Edmonds talks about mentoring aspiring film producers

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Tracey Edmonds describes the YouTube premium channel Alright TV

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Tracey Edmonds describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Tracey Edmonds reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Tracey Edmonds talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Tracey Edmonds describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Tracey Edmonds remembers meeting her first husband, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, pt. 2
Tracey Edmonds talks about the filming of 'College Hill'
Transcript
So, that was February of 1990, by May is when I made the decision to move up to L.A. [Los Angeles, California]. And so, the weekend of our move we're unpacking and I'm in sweats and a ponytail and we decide to take a food break from moving and we go to KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] to go get some food and stuff and we're coming back to our new office and stuff and, you know, there's a lot of traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard, my mom [Jacqueline Moten McQuarn] detours and goes on a side street and there's a, some kind of studio on this side street and so out, you know, comes Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds [Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds] walking out of this studio and we're driving, you know, and she's like, "Isn't that that guy Babyface you were supposed to do the video with?" And I said, "Yeah," I said, "I think that's him." She goes, "Well, you should go say hi to him." I go, "Mom, I don't look good, you know, like I'm dirty, no." And so, she was like, "Well, I don't care what you say, I'm driving." So, she pulls into the parking lot or whatever and rolls down the window and, you know, Kenny is dressed in a nice suit and, and everything and so my mom is like, "Hey, are you Babyface?" And he's like, "Yeah." And she's like, "You know, my daughter, Tracey [HistoryMaker Tracey Edmonds], was supposed to be in this video with you but she got chickenpox. There's Tracey," and he's like, "Oh, yeah," you know, and I'm just like (laughter). And so, he's like, "Yeah, you know, we were wondering what happened to you." And I was like, "Yeah, I got sick," you know. And she's like, "Well, she just moved up here and she doesn't know anyone, so, here's her card," you know. And he's like, "Oh, okay." She's like, "You guys should get together," you know. And so, he's like, "Okay." And I was like, you know, we drove off. And I was like, "Mom," I was like, "that is so embarrassing." I'm like, "Why did you do that?" And so, but sure enough like, you know, he got the card and I think I got a phone call (laughter) in the next hour or so, where he called me and invited me to, to dinner. And so, so, we had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in Marina del Rey [California] and, you know, the rest is history. And so, we just, you know, we dated for, I think a year and a half and then got engaged and, you know, got married a couple of years later.$$Okay. Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And then my, my life changed.$$Yeah, and apparently his did--$$(Laughter).$$--too because, you know, he wrote that you really pushed him, I mean, you know, in terms of what, what his ambitions were and what he was trying to do you, you were, you give him a, a push.$$Oh, I never knew he said that. That--$$Yeah, that's, we got a quote in here.$$(Laughter).$$I don't wanna read it but, but there, yeah, he actually said, he said this to--anyway.$$Is that from a interview he did for something or--$$Yeah, yeah.$$Oh.$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$Yeah.$$So, yeah, he said, "She, she pushed me in ways I needed to be pushed. She encouraged me to try new things, things I had never done before."$$Oh, wow. That's, I mean, that's really sweet. We, Kenny and I are still to this day, we're very close friends. And so, I have a lot of beautiful, beautiful memories with him. And, you know, when we talk about how my mom, I always told my mom how she was blessed to be young and to have had that real young love and, you know, and, and, getting your first house together and having kids together and all that kind of stuff, I had that with Kenny which was beautiful. You know, and so, he was like my first young love and we, I mean, we had an amazing time, we grew together. And so, we did the house, buying our house and fixing up, and finding furniture, and fixing rooms, and having, you know, our babies together. And, and then I always, you know, I had this travel bug and he--in me and he knows that's just my character so I'm always, you know, I was the person to take him to Europe for the first time and so I was like, you know, always the one kind of planning these experiences and these memories that I wanted us to have together. And so, so we did our first Europe trip together, we saw China together, we saw Japan together, we climbed through pyramids of Egypt together, Thailand, Australia, we went all over the world together, you know, as we got older and experienced life and, and stuff together. And so, you know, and he was, you know, both of us, I think, you know, he really supported me in my ambitions and I did whatever I could to, to support him too behind the scenes too. And--yeah.$$Now, he grew up in Indianapolis [Indiana] right?$$Um-hm.$$That's, yeah, 'cause (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah. Yeah, he--yeah, he grew up in Indianapolis. But we did, you know, we did a lot of things together. Like when I decided that I wanted to go into film, you know, and become a producer and stuff and created Edmonds Entertainment [Edmonds Entertainment Group, Inc., Los Angeles, California], he supported me and I found the 'Soul Food' movie and I said, "Hey, well, let's do this together," you know. So, I produced the movie and then he did all the music. So, it was, it was fun 'cause, you know, we flew out to Chicago [Illinois], I had just had Brandon [Brandon Edmonds]. And we're staying in this, you know, hotel, I think it was like the Four Seasons Hotel [Four Seasons Hotel Chicago] or something, I'm on the set every day producing the movie, he's got a little studio set up inside the hotel room and he's writing all the songs as we're shooting the scenes and stuff. And so, so, we did that a few times on movies together and stuff and then we created a management company [Edmonds Management Group] and stuff. And so, I really, you know, I was inspired by--like I read this Donald Trump [President Donald John Trump] book when I was in, in college [Stanford University, Stanford, California] and it was kind of, you know, about the art of branding yourself, you know. And then we saw how Trump branded himself and put Trump all over the hotels and all that kind of stuff. And so, when Kenny and I got married I was like, "Okay, let's be like, you know, one of those big families and let's brand ourselves and stuff," and, you know, and I said, "And let's do Edmonds Entertainment," and, you know, and then we bought a, a, a building together and so I put a big E at the top (laughter), at the top of the building for Edmonds and--$$Well it--$$--you know (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) I, I think that all that worked.$So, Stephen Hill and BET [Black Entertainment Television] they said, "Okay, the, this 'College Hill' thing that you just pitched sounds really interesting. We only have this amount of money." And I was like, "Are you serious?" And they're like, "Yeah, and we need thirteen episodes. Can you do it?" And so, for me, you know, I've done a lot of things, as I'm sure you see, that's not always about making money. It's just about like taking things to another level for African American entertainment or opening a door or proving a point. And so, so, I said, "Okay, all right. I have this amount of money, you need thirteen episodes. Okay, I'll do it." And so, so, again, me being really hands on with everything, so I went out, I found a university that let us do it, Southern University [Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College], Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And, and I grabbed Chris Cherot [Christopher Scott Cherot] who I had done 'Hav Plenty' with because I knew Chris knew how to make stuff for no money (laughter). So, I'm like, "Chris, I have X number of dollars, we need to do thirteen episodes, okay. Can we get our guerilla reality making going and lets me and you go out to Southern University and shoot this reality show, and can you direct it and help me put it together?" So, he was like, "Okay, let's do it." So, so, we went out and shot our first season of 'College Hill.' Now, so sad compared to how all these shows are properly done. I mean, the only location we had were the kids' college dorms themselves. And so, nowadays, and in our subsequent seasons we got to put them in more, you know, better locations, a real house, and all this kind of stuff. First season we were actually just inside the dormitories having to shoot in these little tiny rooms and, you know, we had no story producers, nothing, so it was just me and Chris and it was all about casting. So, it was all about finding eight kids with really strong personalities that--$$Really different personalities.$$Yeah, really different personalities.$$I, I know one, Jabari Roberts from Chicago [Illinois].$$Oh, yes, yeah, yeah.$$He is exactly the way he is in (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, yeah.$$--on TV and--$$Yeah.$$--and people probably think that he's acting or doing something.$$No.$$He, he's exactly like that.$$No.$$He was the nerdiest kid in the--$$Absolutely.$$That's him.$$And we were really the realest reality show out there. We never scripted anything, we never pushed the kids to do anything, you know, it was all about strong personalities and, and the right casting and stuff. So, so, we did the show at Southern, they put it on the air and it broke all their ratings, you know, history. You know, like we, you know, we were the, had the highest ratings in the history of, of BET. And so, everybody went crazy, you know, over this little show, you know, or whatever and so I was like okay, cool, cool, yay, okay, well, we showed that there's an audience out there. So then, so then, we got picked up, you know, for another season. And then slowly, the second season they gave us, they increased our budget a little more, and then finally BET got bought out by Viacom [Viacom Inc.]. So, once that Viacom money came in they were really able to give us a proper budget, so that we were able to look like, you know, the competing shows, we were able to look like a, you know, a MTV show [Music Television; MTV], you know, or whatever. And so, so, we had six seasons always, you know, the number one top, top, top show. And it was really interesting because, you know, early on that first season like nobody knew what our budget was and everybody was like, "Well, how come your show, I love it, but how come it don't look like, you know, the other shows on, you know, why it gotta look like that?" I'm like, if you only knew (laughter) how much money, you know, we had to, you know, to shoot with, you know, it was, you know, pennies. So, so, yeah, so, we did six seasons and, you know, we were their number one rated show and then unfortunately we were put on pause because the regime changed and so to this day I've been trying to get them to unpause us and let us continue on, you know, with the show. And I get a million tweets 'cause it's on Netflix and, you know, everybody is like, "Oh, my god, Tracey [HistoryMaker Tracey Edmonds], when are you bringing back 'College Hill'?" You know, "What's going on with that?" And so, still talking to the network about it.

Jacquie Jones

Producer, writer and director Jacquie Jones was born on April 28, 1965 in Washington, D.C. to Humphrey and Claire Antoine Jones. She grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1987, Jones graduated with her B.A. degree in English, with a minor in African American Studies, from Howard University. She went on to receive her M.A. degree in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University in 1995.

Upon graduation from Stanford University, Jones was hired as a producer for the Public Broadcasting Station, WGBH, in Boston. In 1999, she was appointed senior vice president of ROJA Productions, where she worked until 2003. From 2001 to 2003, Jones updated all existing media, as well as created new installations for the collection of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Then, in 2005, she was hired as the executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium, where she established herself as a leader in the evolving digital media landscape with projects including the Katrina Project, the Ford Foundation-funded Masculinity Project, and NMI: Africa. Jones also founded the New Media Institute in 2006, and the Public Media Corps in 2009.

Jones produced Africans in America, Matters of Race and 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School for PBS, Behind Closed Doors: Sex in the 20th Century for Showtime, and The World Before Us for the History Channel. Her other film credits included acting as an executive producer on Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, Black Folk Don't, and multiple episodes of the television series Independent Lens and P.O.V..

Jones also published writings in numerous anthologies and periodicals, including the anthologies Black Popular Culture and Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography, as well as The Huffington Post. From 1989 until 1993, she was the editor of Black Film Review, a quarterly journal about African Diaspora filmmaking. Jones was awarded a Peabody Award and was selected as a Revson Fellow at Columbia University. She was a scholar-in-residence at the American University, and served on the boards of directors of the Integrated Media Association, California Newsreel, the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University, and Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media. Jones also served on the community advisory board of WHUT-TV at Howard University.

Jones passed away on January 28, 2018 at age 52.

Accession Number

A2013.288

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/21/2013

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Michelle

Occupation
Schools

Stanford University

Central High School

University of Memphis Campus School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jacquie

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

JON36

Favorite Season

Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos Islands

Favorite Quote

That's Not Gonna Work

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/28/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Death Date

1/28/2018

Short Description

Film producer Jacquie Jones (1965 - 2018 ) founded the New Media Institute and Public Media Corps and served as executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium. Her film credits included Africans in America, Matters of Race, Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, Behind Closed Doors: Sex in the 20th Century and The World Before Us. Her writing appeared in Black Popular Culture, Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography and The Huffington Post.

Employment

WGBH TV

ROJA Productions

National Black Programming Consortium

New Media Institute

Black Film Review

NBPC/PBS

Smash Advertising

Disney

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:324,5:13810,167:15610,241:17635,286:21235,366:30314,465:33050,579:34418,689:34778,695:40466,809:48932,931:61885,1176:79042,1391:79412,1397:83334,1468:85258,1499:90734,1630:91548,1642:91992,1649:92288,1654:92584,1659:102418,1737:102910,1744:103894,1770:108076,1848:108486,1854:108814,1859:109552,1869:110864,1887:112832,1925:113652,1938:114308,1947:120734,1997:122582,2031:123198,2039:123638,2045:124166,2052:124694,2059:128390,2127:128830,2144:134378,2177:134834,2185:135366,2194:137266,2232:145156,2301:146002,2313:147130,2330:154020,2412:155561,2439:155829,2444:157035,2463:157839,2477:163290,2534:183830,2897:188850,2925:201310,3146:210400,3288$0,0:3675,65:4725,127:5250,135:18334,330:20704,394:21415,404:32159,620:32791,629:33976,650:36425,701:50480,855:51398,865:52214,874:52622,879:73498,1162:73930,1169:74650,1183:75586,1199:76594,1218:79978,1270:80410,1277:80698,1282:82066,1304:94935,1467:96300,1480:105692,1609:106273,1618:111170,1743:116399,1824:133090,2068:140858,2133:141213,2139:144905,2217:152084,2253:158486,2349:168886,2508:178492,2604:179493,2659:189041,2825:189349,2830:189657,2835:193910,2847
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jacquie Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jacquie Jones lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jacquie Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jacquie Jones describes her mother' family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jacquie Jones talks about her mother's education and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jacquie Jones describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jacquie Jones describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jacquie Jones describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jacquie Jones describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jacquie Jones remembers the Memphis State Campus School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jacquie Jones recalls her early interest in language arts

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jacquie Jones describes her neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Jacquie Jones remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jacquie Jones remembers her most influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jacquie Jones describes her activities at Central High School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jacquie Jones describes the subject of her early writings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jacquie Jones recalls her decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jacquie Jones remembers the authors who taught at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jacquie Jones recalls her activities at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jacquie Jones talks about her identity as an immigrant

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jacquie Jones recalls her introduction to the film industry

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jacquie Jones recalls working for the Black Film Review

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jacquie Jones reflects upon the changes in independent filmmaking

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jacquie Jones recalls her decision to attend Stanford University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jacquie Jones remembers the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jacquie Jones talks about her mentors, Clyde Taylor and Manthia Diawara

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jacquie Jones describes the movie theaters in Burkina Faso

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jacquie Jones recalls her introduction to documentary filmmaking

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jacquie Jones describes her experiences at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jacquie Jones remembers working on 'Africans in America'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jacquie Jones describes her research for 'Africans in America'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jacquie Jones recalls learning about Thomas Jefferson's role in the Haitian Revolution

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jacquie Jones describes what she learned about colonial Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jacquie Jones remembers the historical consultants on 'Africans in America'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jacquie Jones recalls her work on 'From Behind Closed Doors: Sex in the 20th Century'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jacquie Jones describes her short film series for The History Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jacquie Jones remembers working for The History Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jacquie Jones recalls working on 'Matters of Race'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jacquie Jones remembers the attacks of September 11, 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jacquie Jones recalls working for the National Civil Rights Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jacquie Jones remembers moving to South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jacquie Jones recalls founding the KwaMashu Black Documentary Film Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jacquie Jones recalls her appointment as executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jacquie Jones remembers documenting Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jacquie Jones talks about the emergence of digital media

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jacquie Jones describes the New Media Institute

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jacquie Jones talks about diversity in public television

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jacquie Jones describes the mission of the National Black Programming Consortium

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jacquie Jones describes the changes in public television programming

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jacquie Jones describes her hopes for African American media

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jacquie Jones reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jacquie Jones reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jacquie Jones talks about her board involvement and her family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jacquie Jones describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Jacquie Jones recalls her introduction to documentary filmmaking
Jacquie Jones recalls founding the KwaMashu Black Documentary Film Festival
Transcript
What were the--I mean were the- are there certain key principles that you learned about documentary filmmaking at Stanford [Stanford University, Stanford, California] that you could share with us?$$Yeah. I mean the thing about Stanford was that I hadn't really--there weren't a lot of documentaries that were part of that whole independent black film thing; it was more narrative films. And so, when I went to Stanford, I knew very little about documentaries. I mean I had seen 'Eyes on the Prize I' ['Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965'], and by that time II ['Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads, 1965-1985']. And I think by that time 'The Great Depression' had come on, maybe, and I had seen a few of those series--and, like I said, the Af- Ali Mazrui's 'The Africans' ['The Africans: A Triple Heritage']. And there had been a couple of documentaries that had come out in the ni- early '90s [1990s]. But--$$Yeah, the--I think it was Ken Burns' 'Civil War' ['The Civil War'] came out in '91 [sic. 1990]--$$Yeah.$$--which was a big TV--$$It was a big thing, but I didn't see it until later. I saw it, but not until I started working in public television. It wasn't really on my radar, you know. But so, the whole thing was new to me at Stanford, you know, and the history of documentary filmmaking. And even though a lot of the concepts about filmmaking you understand, that are like--there's a certain, there's a difference between how you see things with your eyes, and how you film them, or how you see them when they're filmed, you know. And that whole process of really translating things from your perception to--you know, how it ends up, you know, on a TV or in a movie--was really different. And it--and I think I didn't--I thought that I would go to Stanford and get that degree and learn more about the practicalities of filmmaking. But I hadn't intended to return to my previous work. And I had continued to do writing and, you know, be involved, you know, as a speaker about issues around representation. And I really thought that I would go back to doing that. But I got really, like, interested in like what it means to translate, you know what I mean--your ideas into a document--like, like a film, you know. So, when I left Stanford, I really wanted to work on a documentary. You know, like, I wanted to work in documentary as a--not necessarily forever, but I just wanted to have the experience of working on like an 'Eyes on the Prize' or something like that. And I met one filmmaker when I was out in Oakland [California] who was one of the pioneers, I think, of PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] black documentaries, named [HistoryMaker] Avon Kirkland. I worked with him for a while, and that was really fascinating. And that made me want to, you know, do more. And so, Jon Else introduced me to [HistoryMaker] Orlando Bagwell who is--was also one of the producers of 'Eyes on the Prize,' and worked very closely with Henry Hampton and ran Blackside [Blackside, Inc.] for a while when Henry Hampton was ill. And I, you know, begged him for a job for like six months. Then he finally gave me one. And that's 'Africans in America' ['Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery'] (laughter).$And the--and actually when I--well, right before she--like right before she [Jones' daughter, Ayana Clark] was born, I started working with a guy who--there's a big international film festival in Durban [South Africa], which is where we ended up living. And we were trying to see one of the films in the festival. And it was no longer showing in the main festival, but they were having these community screenings. So, we went to one of the screenings. I can't remember which film it was. But we went to the screening. It was in the township right outside Durban. And it turned out that this township was the only township that had like a real theatre. Like, they have a thirty-five millimeter projector; they have a thick seat theater, which no townships, at least then had. And I started talking to the guy who ran this--it was--the theater was part of a cultural arts center. So, I started talking to this guy about having a film festival at his thing, because there was--you know, they had these little community screenings in townships. But otherwise, you had to go into city centers to see any kind of black films or, you know, documentaries, or things that would be relevant to the communities in the townships. And so, this guy Edmund Mhlongo, he was really very entrepreneurial as an artist, you know. So, he was totally into this idea, and he thought of it already. And so, I started working with him to produce this festival, which we did the first one in December of 2004. And then it's still going on today. And it was, and we brought in filmmakers--black filmmakers, from Europe, from the states. And NBPC [National Black Programming Consortium; Black Public Media] was one--supplied--helped us with a lot of the programming. And that was one of the ways I re-connected with NBPC. And it was great, it was really fantastic.$$What was the name of the festival?$$It was called--KwaMashu [South Africa] is the name of the township. So, it was called KwaMashu--$$Can you spell that for us?$$It's K-W-A and then capital M, A-S-H-U, but one word.$$KwaMashu film festival.$$KwaMashu, it was called KwaMashu Black Documentary Film Festival [ph.].$$Okay.$$But then they changed it to KwaMashu African Film Festival.$$Okay. It's still going on today?$$It's still going on.$$Okay.$$(Laughter) So and we--like, NBPC, we worked with that--Edmund's--the KwaMashu art center [Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre, KwaMashu, South Africa] on a few projects. Because, as I said, he's just very forward thinking, the guy that runs it. So, he like also had this whole digital thing built, you know, there. So, we worked with them. Because a lot of the work we've done at NBPC lately has been really exploring digital media and what's the future of that and, you know. So, we've done little projects with him over the last five years still.

Russell Williams, II

Russell Williams, II was the first African American to win more than one Academy Award in any category. Two-time Academy Award and prime-time Emmy Award winner Russell Williams, II was born on October 14, 1952 in Washington, D.C. His mother, Lillie Mae Williams, worked in retail, while his father, Russell Williams, Sr., was an employee at Union Station. Williams’ mother passed away one day after childbirth. Williams grew up an avid movie-goer, raised in Washington, D.C. by his aunt and uncle, James and Ruth Harshaw.

In 1970, Williams attended the American University where he earned his B.A. in film production and literature in 1974. While pursuing his B.A., in 1973, Williams began working as an audio engineer for WRC/NBC-TV. He then moved to WMAL-TV (now WJLA-TV) and worked there from 1975 to 1976. Williams returned to work at WRC-TV from 1977 to 1978. In 1978, Williams formed his company, Sound Is Ready. He then transferred to work at WMAL/ABC Radio as an engineer and editor. Williams moved to Los Angeles in July of 1979, where he attended the University of Sound Arts, studying sound mixing and earned a certificate in electronics.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1979, Williams began working as the sound mixer for various films including Making the Grade (1984); In the Mood (1987); Billionaire Boys Club (1987) and The In Crowd (1987). In 1988, Williams won a prime-time Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound for Terrorist on Trial (1987). In 1990, he won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound for Glory. In 1991, Williams made history when he won another Academy Award for his contribution as a sound mixer for Dances With Wolves, making him the first African American multi-Academy Award winner.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Williams did the sound recording for several films and made for television movies including Field of Dreams (1989); The Distinguished Gentleman (1992); Boomerang (1992); Waiting to Exhale (1995); How to Make an American Quilt (1995); Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story (1996); 12 Angry Men (1997), which he won another prime-time Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound; The Negotiator (1998); The Temptations (1999), which he earned a prime-time Emmy Award nomination for Part One of this miniseries for Best Sound; Rules of Engagement (2000); Life (1999); Training Day (2001); and The Sum of All Fears (2002). Williams also received accolades as a sound recordist for the civil rights documentaries, Eyes On The Prize: Bridge to Freedom and Eyes On The Prize: Fighting Back in 2006.

In 2002, Williams was hired as Artist in Residence at his alma mater, The American University. He has also taught at Howard University, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California.

Williams is married to Rosalind Williams and has two children from a previous marriage: Myles Candace Williams and Khemet Ellison Williams.

Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.273

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/26/2007

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Woodrow Wilson High School

Randle Highlands Es

Davis Es

American University

Kramer Middle School

First Name

Russell

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

WIL43

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Kenya, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Any Day Above Ground Is A Victory.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/14/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Film producer Russell Williams, II (1952 - ) was the first African American to win multiple Academy Awards, two, in the history of motion pictures. He also won Emmy Awards all for his sound mixing work for films and television movies. Williams' film and television credits include, "Dances With Wolves," "Glory," "Jungle Fever," and, "12 Angry Men."

Employment

'12 Angry Men'

'Rules of Engagement'

'Dances with Wolves'

'The Temptations'

'Jungle Fever'

'Field of Dreams'

'In The Mood'

'Glory'

'Just An Overnight Guest'

American University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Russell Williams, II's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Russell Williams, II lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Russell Williams, II describes his mother's death

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Russell Williams, II describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Russell Williams, II talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Russell Williams, II remembers his maternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Russell Williams, II describes his maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Russell Williams, II describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Russell Williams, II describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Russell Williams, II recalls learning about his mother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Russell Williams, II talks about his maternal aunts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Russell Williams, II describes the Benning Heights neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Russell Williams, II describes the segregation of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Russell Williams, II remembers trips to the movie theaters

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Russell Williams, II describes his father's civil rights activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Russell Williams, II remembers Davis Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Russell Williams, II remembers school desegregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Russell Williams, II describes Randle Highlands Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Russell Williams, II recalls the television programs of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Russell Williams, II describes the racial tensions in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Russell Williams, II remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Russell Williams, II remembers Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Russell Williams, II describes his early interest in music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Russell Williams, II recalls the uprisings after the death of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Russell Williams, II recalls the music of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Russell Williams, II describes his decision to attend American University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Russell Williams, II describes his experiences at American University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Russell Williams, II describes the anti-war movement at American University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Russell Williams, II remembers being tapped by the Selective Service System

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Russell Williams, II describes his college radio show, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Russell Williams, II describes his college radio show, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Russell Williams, II recalls the Hanafi siege of the District Building in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Russell Williams, II remembers joining WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Russell Williams, II remembers the Watergate hearings

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Russell Williams, II talks about the importance of sound in films

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Russell Williams, II describes his decision to move to California

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Russell Williams, II describes the film industry in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Russell Williams, II describes his early television work

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Russell Williams, II describes his transition to feature films

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Russell Williams, II describes the production of 'Field of Dreams'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Russell Williams, II recalls being hired for the film 'Glory'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Russell Williams, II describes the plot of the film 'Glory'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Russell Williams, II remembers the production of 'Glory'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Russell Williams, II describes his sound mixing equipment

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Russell Williams, II talks about Denzel Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Russell Williams, II recalls winning his first Academy Award

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Russell Williams, II remembers winning his first Primetime Emmy Award

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Russell Williams, II remembers winning his second Academy Award

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Russell Williams, II reflects upon his success

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Russell Williams, II remembers working with William Friedkin

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Russell Williams, II describes his approach to sound production

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Russell Williams, II recalls the production of 'Dances with Wolves'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Russell Williams, II remembers the production of '12 Angry Men'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Russell Williams, II describes the filming of 'The Temptations' miniseries

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Russell Williams, II talks about his work on Spike Lee's films

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Russell Williams, II describes his decision to return to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Russell Williams, II talks about his children

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Russell Williams, II reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Russell Williams, II reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Russell Williams, II describes his college radio show, pt. 1
Russell Williams, II talks about the importance of sound in films
Transcript
Quickly before we move beyond American University [Washington, D.C.], were you still active in music?$$Well, when I was at American I, I played, you know, a little impromptu jazz ensembles here and there, but my real music interest shifted from being a performer so much, you know actually playing an instrument, to another student and I decided to petition the local radio station for some airtime because back then and you know, we never wanted to resemble the comment and as you go back to, to quotes, we never wanted to resemble that comment that used to be bandied about, more--I think more in my dad's time and before then now, but it--probably apply now too. So if you wanna hide something from a black person, put it in a book. So we never wanted to resemble that remark to go back to the Bowery Boys. So in, in--and also being kind of associated with the gentleman that ran BEST [Black Efforts for Soul in Television], as a communications attorney he said that the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] regulations state that the city of license for any broadcast facility dictates what that facility should broadcast. So at that time WAMU-FM [WAMU Radio, Washington, D.C.] broadcast pretty much nothing but European classical music and of course there were a NPR [National Public Radio] outlet as they still are. But they didn't really have anything aimed at the so-called black community and the black listening audience. They said well we don't really have that many black listeners. So we were like yeah why, I wonder why, gee, nobody, you know. So we said we just wanted to have a little two or three-hour show and at that time they weren't on the air twenty-four hours. So on Saturdays I don't think they came on the air until noon. So we said if we could get maybe a couple hours before noon that weren't part of your broadcast schedule anyway and do a show with black public affairs and jazz, and other black classical music, maybe some campus events, et cetera, et cetera. And so we--Ger- Gerald Lee [Gerald Bruce Lee] was the gentleman's name who's now a federal judge over in Alexandria [Virginia]. We loaded up for bear with all these documents and all these precedents and all, 'cause he, he was still undergrad, but of course he's practicing for his big--his big role as an attorney. And we, we had decided who was gonna play the good cop, who was gonna play the bad cop. Someone had to get an FCC license, and my, my mentor Larry Bryant over at Channel 5 [WTTG-TV, Washington, D.C.], you know, helped me with what I would have to know in order to get the FCC, at that time, third class radio telephone license. And so we, we also would have to probably get one of their engineers to help us engineer until we learned how to do the, you know, the board ourselves. But when we went to this meeting with the production man--with the station manager and the production dir- program director, I'm sorry, we were expecting all this resistance, and you know, they came in and says, "Oh you know what we're gonna do, we're gonna give you a 10:00 to 12:00 show, 10--10:00 to 12:00 slot, were gonna do this, do this, gonna put you with Bill Brown" [ph.], who was a student that I knew from Randle Highlands [Randle Highlands Elementary School, Washington, D.C.]. I didn't even know he was working up here. And you know, "You go on the air November 6th," da-da-da-da.$Were there other movies at the time that were really sort of calling you to that industry?$$Cheryl [Cheryl Butler], I can't really remember another film that, you know, made me really think seriously about being in the film industry other than 'In the Heat of the Night.' I mean--I mean and, and if, if there were, I apologize to the filmmakers. I mean there're plenty other films I enjoyed, but something about that film, I mean because not only the quality of the film, the subject matter, the way it was shot, the sound, the music, every- everything about that film really resonates with me. I'll stop and watch that film on television regardless of where I am in the--if, if I'm in the last scene of him in the middle I'll stop and watch, you know, Sidney [Sidney Poitier] and Rod Steiger go at it, you know.$$So you really are interested in the--in the production value of film at this time. I mean you're--it's--it almost sounds like when we had [HistoryMaker] James Ingram talking about his method of composing music, but your appreciation of, you know, the sound and the pictures, and the combination of all that sounds like the magic of composing in a way?$$Well to me, the, the film business or the process of making a--what we know is a feature film, which is of course is changing, but what we know is the process of making a feature film is really kind of our highest peak in the process of storytelling. I mean assuming that it's done right. Because you get to appeal to just about every sense but the sense of smell, you know. So you, you utilize music or not. You definitely utilize people's voices and the performance of people's voices, I think, gets--doesn't get as much credit as it--as it should, because yeah you might remember the shot of such-and-such and such-and-such a movie, but you're really gonna remember the line that So and So delivered it, you know, and from 'The Godfather' you're gonna remember Sidney saying, "They call me Mr. Tibbs" ['In the Heat of the Night']. You know, you're gonna remember. You know, "She's my daughter, she's my sister, she's my daughter," ['Chinatown'] you know. You know, you're gonna remember what people were wearing and you're gonna remember if, if they do it right how the camera just moved up to the actor at this particular moment when they turned and looked and said so. So for me all of this is, is like composing music. And even working on, on a big production when the crew and the director and the actors are all in sync, it is like making music. I mean when you--when you just as an observer, even though I'm part of the shot, I'm not really part of the shot like the dolly grip or the cam- the microphone boom operator or the actor. I'm actually just sitting back, you know, in my old job just writing faders and looking at levels and reading the words and looking at the monitor. But even in rehearsal I can look over and see, you know, grips, you know, adjusting lighting and, and an electrician, you know, moving a light and a camera oper- a camera operator focus pull and make it fine--a really fine adjustment there and the actor kind of checking their mark, but not looking at their feet to see where their mark is, you know. And all this has a flow in real time. Even though, we know, we always think in terms of getting a take one, a take two, a take three. If you nail it on take one, you know, that might be it. That might be what we record to history.

Judy Richardson

Film producer and former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activist Judy Richardson was born to autoworker William King Richardson and state office worker Mae Louise Tucker Richardson in Tarrytown, New York. Richardson grew up in the “under the hill” section of Tarrytown; the town was in the legendary “Sleepy Hollow country” made famous by author Washington Irving. Richardson’s father helped organize the United Auto Workers (UAW) local at the Chevrolet plant in Tarrytown and died “on the line” when she was seven years old. Richardson graduated from Sleepy Hollow High School in 1962 and was accepted to Swarthmore College on a full, four-year scholarship. Later, Richardson would also attend Columbia University, Howard University, and Antioch College.

During her freshman year at Swarthmore, Richardson joined the Swarthmore Political Action Committee (SPAC), a Students for a Democratic Society affiliate. In 1963, Richardson traveled by bus on weekends, with other SPAC volunteers, to assist the Cambridge, Maryland, community in desegregating public accommodations. The Cambridge Movement was led by civil rights activist Gloria Richardson, with assistance from SNCC field secretaries such as Baltimore native Reggie Robinson. Richardson eventually joined the SNCC staff at the national office in Atlanta, where she worked closely with, among others, James Forman, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, and Julian Bond. When the national office moved to Mississippi, during 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, Richardson relocated as well. Richardson also worked in SNCC’s projects in Lowndes County, Alabama (with Stokely Carmichael/Kwame Ture and others) and in Southwest Georgia. In 1965, Richardson became office manager for Julian Bond’s successful first campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives; she also organized a northern Freedom School to bring together young activists from SNCC’s Southern projects and Northern support offices.

In 1968, Richardson and other former SNCC staffers founded Drum and Spear Bookstore in Washington, D.C., which became the largest black bookstore in the country. Richardson was also the children’s editor of Drum and Spear Press. In 1970, Richardson wrote an essay on racism in black children’s books, published by Howard University’s Journal of Negro Education. In 1978, Richardson began working with Henry Hampton and Blackside Productions on an early version of what would become the Eyes On The Prize series; major production for this Academy Award-nominated, six-hour PBS series began in 1986, during which time she acted as researcher and content advisor. For Eyes On The Prize II, the subsequent eight-hour series, Richardson was the series associate producer. Beginning in 1982, Richardson was director of information for the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, participating in its protests against police brutality in New York City, and its bus caravans to the Alabama Black Belt to counter the Reagan Administration’s intimidation of elderly African American voters. Richardson later co-produced Blackside’s 1994 Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary, Malcolm X: Make It Plain (for PBS’s The American Experience).

Serving as a senior producer for Northern Light Productions in Boston, Richardson produced historical documentaries for broadcast and museums, with a focus on African American historical events, including: a one-hour documentary on the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre (South Carolina) for PBS; two History Channel documentaries on slavery and slave resistance; and installations for, among others, the National Park Service’s Little Rock Nine Visitor’s Center, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati), the New York State Historical Society’s “Slavery in New York” exhibit, and the Paul Laurence Dunbar House (Dayton). Richardson and five other SNCC women, edited Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts By Women in SNCC. The anthology, published by University of Illinois Press, includes the courageous stories of over fifty SNCC women. It was the Press’ best-selling title in 2011 and was issued in paperback in August 2012. Richardson received an Image Award for Vision and Excellence from Women in Film and Video. She lectures, writes, and conducts professional development workshops for teachers about the history and values of the Civil Rights Movement and their relevance to current issues. Richardson was awarded an honorary doctorate by Swarthmore College and became a visiting professor at Brown University in the fall of 2012.

Accession Number

A2007.129

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/9/2007

Last Name

Richardson

Schools

Sleepy Hollow High School

F.R. Pearson Elementary School

Swarthmore College

Washington Irving Intermediate School

First Name

Judy

Birth City, State, Country

Tarrytown

HM ID

RIC13

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Okie Dokie.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/10/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cheese Grits, Sauteed Fish, Blueberry Pie

Short Description

Civil rights activist and film producer Judy Richardson (1944 - ) was a co-founder of Drum and Spear Bookstore in Washington, D.C., and worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on a variety of civil rights issues. Richardson also worked with Blackside Productions and Northern Light Productions on a variety of films and shows, most famously the Eyes on the Prize series, in addition to having a prolific career as a writer and public speaker.

Employment

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Drum and Spear Bookstore

Blackside, Inc.

Northern Light Productions

Brown University

Favorite Color

Maroon, Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Judy Richardson narrates her photographs

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Judy Richardson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Judy Richardson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Judy Richardson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Judy Richardson recalls her mother's community in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Judy Richardson recalls her parents' education and marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Judy Richardson describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Judy Richardson recalls her father's community in Tarrytown, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Judy Richardson describes her father's role in founding a United Auto Workers chapter, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Judy Richardson describes her father's role in founding a United Auto Workers chapter, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Judy Richardson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Judy Richardson remembers her neighborhood in Tarrytown, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Judy Richardson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Judy Richardson remembers her community in Tarrytown, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Judy Richardson remembers Frank R. Pierson School in Tarrytown, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Judy Richardson recalls her favorite TV programs

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Judy Richardson remembers Sleepy Hollow High School in Sleepy Hollow, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Judy Richardson describes her interest in music as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Judy Richardson recalls her favorite books and classes

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Judy Richardson talks about the racial prejudice in Tarrytown, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Judy Richardson recalls her initial opposition to school integration

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Judy Richardson remembers her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Judy Richardson recalls her choice to attend Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Judy Richardson describes her experiences at Swarthmore College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Judy Richardson remembers joining civil rights protests in college

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Judy Richardson recalls joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Judy Richardson recalls being elected to the May Day court at Swarthmore College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Judy Richardson talks about her decision to leave college to work for SNCC

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Judy Richardson recalls being hired by the SNCC national office

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Judy Richardson describes the the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Judy Richardson recalls the origin of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Judy Richardson talks about the relationship between SCLC and SNCC

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Judy Richardson remembers Ella Baker

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Judy Richardson describes Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson and other female leaders in SNCC

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Judy Richardson recalls the political assassinations of the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Judy Richardson recalls voter registration drives in Mississippi in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Judy Richardson talks about the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Judy Richardson recalls sexism in the leadership at SNCC

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Judy Richardson recalls organizing orientation for SNCC volunteers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Judy Richardson recalls the disappearances of Mississippi civil rights workers

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Judy Richardson recalls escorting protestors from a Greenwood, Mississippi hospital

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Judy Richardson remembers meeting Harry Belafonte

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Judy Richardson recalls the 1964 Democratic National Convention

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
Judy Richardson remembers Ella Baker
Judy Richardson recalls sexism in the leadership at SNCC
Transcript
Okay, so we were talking a little bit about the origin of SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] and Ella Baker. Now was she in the office when you were around?$$She would come in, yes. She was--a lot of times if I remember correctly she was in New York [New York], so she was travelling a lot back and forth. But I have minutes of meetings that I took when she was there and castigating, for example, Julian [HistoryMaker Julian Bond], for not coming in early enough because the press needs to be able to get to us at nine o'clock. She was asking questions about the [HistoryMaker] Dick Gregory concert 'cause Dick Gregory was a comedian who was very famous at that time, and had really good politics and was supportive of the movement. And so he had offered to do benefit concerts that summer I guess, but he needed ten thousand dollars to cover costs and all that kind of stuff. So Ms. Baker was questioning, what does it mean if you're going to pay him and you're not paying other people who could do benefits for us? She was really--Ms. Baker, the way Ms. Baker would operate is that she would not interfere unless she thought something was going wrong and then the way she would interfere is really by asking questions. Well if this happens now, what's going to happen twelve, six months from now? How is it going to play out? What are we gonna--you know. She was asking questions about the high school students who were getting involved in the student movement in Atlanta [Georgia] and she wanted to make sure that their parents were being contacted and that they knew where their kids were. I have this all in the minutes, it's amazing. I hadn't even remembered that she was that involved in the staff meeting in Atlanta. She would do the same thing in executive committee meetings. We would have them--there was--and I was always there 'cause I was taking notes because I knew shorthand and could type. And so this would be Frazier's [Frazier's Cafe Society, Atlanta, Georgia], Frazier's restaurant, which was down the street from Paschal's Restaurant [Atlanta, Georgia]. In a way that Paschal's was not clear about his support for us, Frazier's always was, and so we would have our meetings in his basement. And Ms. Baker was always there, sometimes with a smoke mask on because everybody smoked.$$Did she wear a (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh yeah she would wear a real mask because she had--I'm not sure what she had at that point, but--and I don't remember when that started happening 'cause I don't remember her always having that. It's just that at some point she started needing that during the meetings because it was smoke-filled. I mean, it was--we were always in little cramped quarters, we were meeting until four or five [o'clock] in the morning, you know, and at some point I guess she said, you know, "I can't take this."$(Simultaneous) Forman [HistoryMaker James Forman] is not happy, yeah, and the thing is we--somewhere in there we did a sit-in in his office because I got tired of taking the notes and other women got tired of taking the notes, right. So he has come back from some fund raising trip and what he meets is Bobbey Yancy [Roberta Yancy], who is now number two person at the Schomburg library [Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York], Mary King who wrote the book 'Freedom Song' ['Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement'], Ruby Doris Robinson [Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson] and his wife then, Mildred Forman [Mildred Thompson Page], and I, he meets. All of us are sitting on the floor, and there is a photo of that which I must get you if you don't have it already, I'll send a jpeg of it. Anyway he meets us there, and what he says in the revision of 'Black Revolutionaries' ['The Making of Black Revolutionaries,' James Forman], I couldn't believe it. I was at that point, I'm fast forwarding now--well let me just say the resolution of that was that women were no longer the only ones taking the minutes.$$Well you all were singing too, right? You sung (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh yeah, we were singing that's true.$$You had signs.$$Yeah, we had signs that's right. No more minutes until justice comes to the Atlanta [Georgia] office, it was wonderful, we shall not be moved. You see him in the back standing over, looking a little uncomfortable. So we said we're not going to be the only ones doing it, the guys have to--got to take these minutes too, and they did. But part of it was because we said we will no longer do it. Now if you don't want them taken, fine but we're not doing it. So it wasn't so much that they weren't sexist because it was the '60s [1960s] but you could always push the question in SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee]. The guys were coming out of movements where women had been leaders. Who is going to say to Diane Nash or somebody, you can only take the minutes? Ruby Doris had done thirty days in jail, no bail, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, had been put on a chain gang. These are women that--it's not just that they are strong, it is that the men had real respect for them. And so at a certain point you could call the question, as we used to say. So it was both our adamant nature that we were not doing it, but it was also they were not going to buck us on this because the rationality of it they understood, they actually understood it.$$So to call into the question the real freedom struggle is solving the core of this (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, that's right. Now I will say they didn't take as good notes, I will say that, but 'cause they didn't like to listen but aside from that we didn't have to do it as much (laughter). So we had this thing so all of that had happened too. He comes back, and he's not that happy. I'm going to do one thing, I'm going to fast forward because what Forman says about the sit-in is that--and he says it in a preface to the revised version of 'Making of a Black Revolutionary' [sic.], right. To set the scene, I'm coming from Boston [Massachusetts], it's probably '84 [1984], '85 [1985] something like that. We were in the middle of making the first series of 'Eyes on the Prize' and so I was up here at Blackside [Blackside, Inc.] making the production of that first six-hour series. Forman comes out with this revised version of 'Making of a Black Revolutionary,', he's having a book party in New York [New York] so I'm taking the train down, and I'm reading the preface of this new revised version, and he says in it that--and it says something about women's movement or the sit-in or something. And he said the women in the organization had come to him because they were concerned about sexism in SNCC. And they came to him because we thought that he would understand and so he suggested that we role play a sit-in in his office. I'm looking at this, and I still have the book, I wrote in blue highlighter, "Say what!" I couldn't believe he had said this. And said it on the record? So I get down to the book party and everybody's there and I'm happy to see everybody, and at the end I'm alone with Forman, and I'm having him autograph my book, and I said, "Forman how on earth could you have said that, you know that didn't happen." He says, well, and I mean, it's like what do you say (laughter)? And I've had this--I was on a panel with him at the Ms. Baker [Ella Baker] conference in 1990 I guess, and he says--I'm on the same panel with him he starts to do this rendition again and says, "And I know Judy [HistoryMaker Judy Richardson] disagrees with this," and I said, "Because it didn't happen, but you got the mic, now you go ahead (laughter)." Because for him that's his image of what happened, you know.

Camille Billops

Artist and filmmaker Camille Billops was born on August 12, 1933, in Los Angeles, California. Billops’ career has consisted of printmaking, sculpture, book illustration and filmmaking. She obtained her B.A. degree from California State University as well as her M.F.A. degree from City College of New York in 1975. Her primary medium is sculpture, and her works are in the permanent collections of the Jersey City Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Museum of Drawers, Bern, Switzerland. Billops has exhibited in one-woman and group exhibitions worldwide including: Gallerie Akhenaton, Cairo, Egypt; Hamburg, Germany; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Gimpel and Weitzenhoffer Gallery, and El Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia. She was a long time friend and colleague of master printmaker Robert Blackburn, whom she assisted in establishing the first printmaking workshop in Asilah, Morocco in 1978.

In 1975, with her husband, Black theatre historian James Hatch, Billops founded the Hatch-Billops Collection. This impressive African American archive is a collection of oral histories, books, slides, photographs and other historical references. Billops also collaborated with James Van Der Zee and poet Owen Dodson in the publication of The Harlem Book of the Dead. In 1982, Billops began her filmmaking career with Suzanne, Suzanne. She followed this promising beginning by directing five more films, including Finding Christa in 1991, which is a highly autobiographical work that garnered the Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival. Finding Christa has also been aired as part of the Public Broadcasting Station’s P.O.V. television series. Her other film credits include Older Women and Love in 1987, The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks in 1994, Take Your Bags in 1998, and A String of Pearls in 2002. Billops produced all of her films with her husband and their film company, Mom and Pop Productions. They have also co-published Artist and Influence, an annual, in 1981 as an extensive journal of the African Americans in the visual, performing and literary arts community.

Billops and her husband residde in New York City, where they both served as archivists of the Hatch-Billops Collection.

Billops passed away on June 1, 2019.

Accession Number

A2006.171

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/14/2006

Last Name

Billops

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Catholic Girls' High School

Los Angeles City College

California State University, Los Angeles

University of Southern California

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Camille

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

BIL03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/12/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Death Date

6/1/2019

Short Description

Fine artist, archivist, and film producer Camille Billops (1933 - ) worked in several media: printmaking, sculpture, book illustration and award-winning documentaries. Along with her husband, Billops founded the Hatch-Billops Collection, an African American archival collection of oral histories, books, slides, photographs and other historical references.

Employment

City College of New York

New York Public Schools

‘Artist and Influence: The Journal of Black American Cultural History’

Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archives

'Finding Christa'

'Suzanne, Suzanne'

'A String of Pearls'

'Older Women and Love'

‘The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks’

'The Harlem Book of the Dead'

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:792,11:2904,59:5720,105:6600,117:10912,217:42806,587:43768,603:44286,611:50322,674:52758,718:56034,764:57042,778:57630,787:58386,797:60738,865:67400,903:68100,917:69500,937:69920,945:70550,957:70900,963:73350,1016:79430,1098:79920,1104:80606,1113:81096,1122:84722,1183:102752,1418:104624,1451:106424,1511:110024,1585:113624,1649:125242,1816:126025,1826:127069,1844:128374,1862:141933,2117:142402,2126:143273,2143:151370,2227$0,0:5628,119:7476,152:10332,198:18818,258:20450,279:28202,520:28610,525:33364,551:33972,564:34656,574:34960,590:35416,613:41724,721:48336,872:50768,950:51832,967:52136,972:52440,977:69980,1196:77964,1294:87624,1490:105396,1717:111740,1747:113090,1774:117161,1862:117437,1867:119921,1929:121978,1950:122825,1970:130833,2190:131680,2205:141998,2348:153690,2494:161190,2567:161510,2598:161990,2605:164100,2654
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Camille Billops' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Camille Billops lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Camille Billops describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Camille describes her mother's enslaved ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Camille Billops talks about preserving her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Camille Billops recalls researching her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Camille Billops describes her father and her maternal family's relocation to Red Bank, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Camille Billops talks about her father's occupation as a Pullman porter

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes her father's travels as a Pullman porter

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Camille Billops recalls her father's dark skin complexion

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her parents' photographs and her family's early deaths

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls living in Los Angeles as World War II began

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Camille Billops describes her childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Camille Billops describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Camille Billops recalls moving to the Westside of Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Camille Billops remembers skating to her favorite music as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Camille Billops recalls her mother remarrying after her father's death

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Camille Billops recalls her disillusionment with Catholicism

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes her views on religion

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Camille Billops recalls becoming interested in art during her college career

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Camille Billops describes her stepfather and stepsister

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Camille Billops recalls her career after giving her daughter up for adoption

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her theater experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls her experiences as a theater costume designer

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls working as a visual artist in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Camille Billops remembers actor Vin Diesel

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Camille Billops describes her experiences teaching art in elementary schools

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Camille Billops talks about popular African American artists

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Camille Billops talks about the black art aesthetic

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Camille Billops talks about feminism and her African American history journal

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes the relationship of black and white female artists

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Camille Billops talks about interracial relationships

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls how rising New York rent costs affected artists

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls protesting the lack of diversity at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Camille Billops talks about African American artist co-ops' rental properties

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Camille Billops recalls African American artists' lack of interest in co-ops

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Camille Billops recalls directing plays with her husband, James V. Hatch

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Camille Billops remembers holding poetry readings at her artist co-op

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Camille Billops describes her artist co-op and establishing her archive

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes the early stages of the archive

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Camille Billops describes her short films about drug abuse and violence

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Camille Billops talks about her short documentary, 'Older Women and Love'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her relationship with her daughter, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Camille Billops describes her relationship with her daughter, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Camille Billops shares her views on racism, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Camille Billops shares her views on racism, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Camille Billops describes her short film, 'Take Your Bags'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Camille Billops describes her favorite filmmakers

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Camille Billops recalls working on 'The Harlem Book of the Dead' by James Van Der Zee, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Camille Billops recalls working on 'The Harlem Book of the Dead' by James Van Der Zee, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls teaching at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls teaching at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Camille Billops talks about painter Richard Bruce Nugent

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Camille Billops talks about George C. Wolfe

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Camille Billops talks about George C. Wolfe's play 'The Colored Museum'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Camille Billops describes her favorite artists

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Camille Billops recalls the artists featured in her archive

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$8

DATitle
Camille Billops recalls her experiences as a theater costume designer
Camille Billops describes her artist co-op and establishing her archive
Transcript
What other roles, I mean, you--wasn't [HistoryMaker] Micki Grant in 'Fly Blackbird'?$$Yeah. And when it came to New York [New York], well, I didn't try out because I knew I wouldn't get it. But Micki didn't get her role, because the role was called Camille. And little influence there, huh? But anyway, she, that was, was that Mary Louise or something? I don't know, I forgot who was the lead. We can look it up on the record album. But Bob Guillaume [HistoryMaker Robert Guillaume] was in it. And then they had a nice Jewish boy playing George, a Jewish boy with Max Factor and Japanese makeup playing George. But eventually, he did get in; he got in the New York production, you know, later. But that was, that was it. You know, but once--see, once I discovered or began to associate with theater people, then I saw what--I mean, I could do a cover, I could do a drawing, or I could draw a costume. You know, these things, later I began to do these things. In '68 [1968] Jim [James V. Hatch] was on a Fulbright [Fulbright Scholarship] to go to India to do theater, and we did it for about seven or eight or nine months, I don't remember. But we did theater all up in Bombay [Bombay, India; Mumbai, India] and Delhi [India] and all those places--Bangalore [India]. And I did the masks. You see, I did the masks and we designed the costumes. And then when we went back to India, they needed a theater specialist. And Jim's buddy was working for USIA [U.S. Information Agency], and he put in a request for a theater person, and we were the only ones who applied. So, when we appeared we said, "Our flight, too." And I did, we did parts of Jean-Claude van Itallie's play, 'American Hurrah' [sic. 'America Hurrah']. And I did the costumes and masks, and then it was really sort of clear that I was designing things. I had an opportunity to do things. That's how you develop, you have an opportunity. You know, you have an opportunity to learn how to write a book when you have the opportunity. And that demystified it, I mean in retrospect. It demystified it for me--that how many people never have the opportunity, the access? But this energy is right there. I was just lucky. I was very, very lucky.$Who else was in the 11th Street [New York, New York] scene with you?$$Oh, it was a guy named Larry Garvin, who used to work for the archives. He later married an editor, Paula Heredia, who was the editor for our film, 'Finding Christa.' There were friends from the old days at UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California], Stan Meyers [Stanley Meyer]. Jim's son [Dion Hatch] was living with us, you know, because he was going to City College [City College of New York, New York, New York] at that time. And so, there were just sort of local New York [New York] people that we had met that had come, and musicians. And we rented the floor up above us in the same building. And Dion, I don't know why he thought he could do this, but he was going to--you know, we were power to the people, you know. And he was going to teach plumbing to the people. I said, "You don't know nothing about plumbing," (laughter). But we have photographs from that time. And then there was one Puerto Rican artist, a poet. And he was a fabulous poet, but he was, he had AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome], it was the early days of AIDS. And his wife later died. But he did this poem to Miles Davis called 'Sketches of Spain.' That's why you can never do anything with a copyright, you know. It was really beautiful. His name was Nelson [ph.], and he just loved Victoria [ph.], who was a white girl. He just loved Vicky, but Vicky didn't like him (laughter). But that was, those people--artists and playwrights--and young, youngish. We were what, '30s [1930s]? No, late '30s [1930s], '40s [1940s], around in there.$$So, once the era of 11th Street, how did that era end?$$We had to move, because the landlord sold the building. And it was good that we didn't try to buy it, because we didn't know how to buy it. And two, later the back wall separated from the building, and they had to bring it in five feet. So, it's nice that we didn't have it. But we moved into an eight-room loft, and that's where Hatch-Billops [Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archives] was. We weren't going to do anymore theater and stuff. So we, Hatch-Billops became, took the energy, and we incorporated it in 1975 and became, started this library. And then the people who had our floor here--$$Moved out?$$Moved out. So we came by here to see it, and so we--it was not a tunnel loft like the other one. And we said, "Oh, God, we're going to have to move again." So, we moved fifteen months later into this space, and then this happened. So that's like thirty years; we moved in thirty years (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And then--

Stanley Nelson

Veteran filmmaker Stanley Earl Nelson, Jr., was born on June 8, 1951, in New York City. He attended New Lincoln School, a Manhattan private school, from kindergarten through high school. He attended Beloit College in Wisconsin, and later transferred to six different colleges including New York University, Morris Brown, and Hunter College. In 1976, he received his B.F.A. degree from the Leonard Davis Film School at the City University of New York.

Upon graduating, Nelson worked as an assistant editor with documentary filmmaker William Greaves. He also worked for several years at United Methodist Communication, a communication branch for the United Methodist Church. By 1989, Nelson wrote, produced, and directed his first documentary feature, Two Dollars and a Dream: The Story of Madame C.J. Walker, a story of the nation's first self-made African American female millionaire. This documentary later won the CINE Golden Eagle Award and was cited as the Best Production of the Decade by the Black Filmmaker Foundation.

Nelson began working as a television producer at PBS on the series Listening to America with Bill Moyers. Nelson went on to produce and direct the 1999 Emmy nominated documentary entitled The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords, and the 2000 Black International Cinema Festival award winning documentary Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind. Nelson and his wife, Marcia A. Smith, then formed the nonprofit documentary film production company Firelight Media. Firelight Media received funding from American Experience to produce the critically acclaimed 2003 documentary entitled The Murder of Emmett Till. The film won several awards including an Emmy for Best Directing-Nonfiction, the Sundance Film Festival 2003 Special Jury Prize, and the George Foster Peabody Award. In addition, the U.S. Justice Department has recently reopened the 1955 murder investigation of Emmitt Till, citing the presence of new evidence exposed in Nelson’s documentary.

Nelson has taught film production and broadcast journalism at facilities in Rwanda and at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Nelson received fellowships at the American Film Institute, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the 2002 MacArthur Foundation Genius Fellowship. In 2004, Nelson was honored with the Educational Video Center's Excellence in Community Service Award. In 2006, he completed the documentary entitled, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.

Accession Number

A2006.059

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/3/2006

Last Name

Nelson

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

New Lincoln School

Morris Brown College

New York University

Beloit College

City College of New York

Hunter College

First Name

Stanley

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

NEL02

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/8/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Film producer Stanley Nelson (1951 - ) has produced several award-winning documentaries, including 'Two Dollars and a Dream: The Story of Madame C.J. Walker', and 'The Murder of Emmett Till'. With his wife, he is a founder of the nonprofit documentary film production company Firelight Media.

Employment

William Greaves Productions

United Methodist Communications

WNET TV

Firelight Media

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:1080,27:10605,321:10905,326:11280,332:17644,397:23268,507:23786,516:27140,543:27560,550:30640,641:34775,705:35249,712:35802,721:39673,780:45260,834:48780,933:49900,950:50620,966:54060,1073:54620,1081:56060,1107:62740,1169:63370,1184:68480,1303:69110,1313:70510,1386:70790,1391:73730,1499:80705,1569:83135,1620:83459,1625:92935,1744:93330,1750:93883,1759:94436,1768:94831,1774:96573,1779:97061,1788:97610,1799:98891,1836:99379,1848:101453,1907:101758,1913:104327,1922:108812,2053:113375,2101:116450,2165:116900,2178:118400,2220:118850,2233:119675,2251:122900,2345:123800,2369:128370,2400:130752,2441:133408,2480:134985,2519:140866,2623:145466,2694:145758,2699:147802,2739:148313,2748:152401,2858:154299,2906:155978,2935:166015,3058:167786,3097:168094,3102:173484,3207:175640,3256:176102,3263:176410,3268:179875,3320:181107,3341:190656,3446:191780,3452$0,0:9408,244:9996,252:11760,325:12684,337:14364,370:19908,502:20244,507:20916,517:27470,540:29682,585:31025,609:35844,702:36476,745:37187,755:37503,760:38530,785:38846,797:39162,802:39636,810:40505,822:40821,827:42006,848:51833,999:55783,1101:57521,1126:61960,1152:64200,1191:64480,1196:65320,1212:66650,1247:66930,1252:67350,1259:73692,1329:83900,1495
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Stanley Nelson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Stanley Nelson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Stanley Nelson describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Stanley Nelson describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Stanley Nelson talks about his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Stanley Nelson describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Stanley Nelson describes his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Stanley Nelson describes his parents' move from Washington, D.C. to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Stanley Nelson describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Stanley Nelson describes his early family life and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Stanley Nelson describes his childhood in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Stanley Nelson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Stanley Nelson describes New York City's New Lincoln School

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Stanley Nelson remembers an inspiring teacher at New Lincoln School

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Stanley Nelson describes the New Lincoln School facility

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Stanley Nelson describes the environment at New Lincoln School

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Stanley Nelson remembers his best friend at New Lincoln School

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Stanley Nelson recalls playing basketball and soccer at New Lincoln School

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Stanley Nelson describes the activities available to him as a boy in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Stanley Nelson recalls his father's attitude towards church

Tape: 1 Story: 21 - Stanley Nelson remembers his childhood ambitions

Tape: 1 Story: 22 - Stanley Nelson recalls attending numerous undergraduate institutions

Tape: 1 Story: 23 - Stanley Nelson remembers his attitude towards college

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Stanley Nelson remembers his undergraduate experience

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Stanley Nelson recalls his parents' financial support of his schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Stanley Nelson recalls his desire to pursue an artistic career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Stanley Nelson recalls how he developed an interest in filmmaking

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Stanley Nelson recalls his graduation from City College of New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Stanley Nelson remembers his life in New York City after college

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Stanley Nelson recalls beginning his career with the help of William Greaves

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Stanley Nelson talks about documentary filmmaker William Greaves

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Stanley Nelson recalls how his interest in documentary filmmaking developed

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Stanley Nelson explains the difference between commercial and documentary filmmaking

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Stanley Nelson recalls applying to work at United Methodist Communications

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Stanley Nelson describes his work for United Methodist Communications

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Stanley Nelson recalls his decision to leave United Methodist Communications

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Stanley Nelson recalls his idea for a documentary about Madam C.J. Walker

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Stanley Nelson remembers his independent documentary filmmaking

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Stanley Nelson recalls the impact of 'Two Dollars and a Dream' upon his career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Stanley Nelson names awards he received for 'Two Dollars and a Dream'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Stanley Nelson describes his documentary film projects

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Stanley Nelson explains how he managed his filmmaking projects

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Stanley Nelson describes the significance of 'The Black Press' for his career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Stanley Nelson recalls being recruited to produce for New York City's WNET-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Stanley Nelson recalls his early career at New York City's WNET-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Stanley Nelson remembers working with Bill D. Moyers

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Stanley Nelson describes his career during the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Stanley Nelson remembers founding Firelight Media

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Stanley Nelson talks about his wife, Marcia Smith

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Stanley Nelson recalls obtaining funding for "The Murder of Emmett Till"

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Stanley Nelson describes filming 'The Murder of Emmett Till'

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Stanley Nelson describes his awards for 'The Murder of Emmett Till'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Stanley Nelson describes his pride in 'The Murder of Emmett Till'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Stanley Nelson describes the impact of his Emmy Award upon his career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Stanley Nelson remembers receiving a MacArthur Fellowship

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Stanley Nelson describes his documentary, 'A Place of Our Own'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Stanley Nelson recalls the challenges of filming 'A Place of Our Own'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Stanley Nelson describes his father's reaction to 'A Place of Our Own'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Stanley Nelson describes his recent documentary film projects

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Stanley Nelson describes his documentary, 'Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Stanley Nelson describes his family's move to San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Stanley Nelson describes his teaching opportunities

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Stanley Nelson talks about how he spends his free time

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Stanley Nelson reflects upon his filmmaking career

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Stanley Nelson considers his future plans

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Stanley Nelson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Stanley Nelson shares advice about the importance of doing one's best

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$16

DATitle
Stanley Nelson recalls beginning his career with the help of William Greaves
Stanley Nelson describes his awards for 'The Murder of Emmett Till'
Transcript
And I remember I called my mother [A'Lelia Ransom Nelson] and, you know, maybe to go see if I could go over there and get a free dinner and she said, "You know, I'm, I'm just reading this article in the Daily News [New York Daily News] about this filmmaker, [HistoryMaker] William Greaves. It says--it's this profile of this black filmmaker named William Greaves. You should go see him." So, I think I called up information, got his number and I was--I was standing in a phone booth like two blocks away from his office. It's one of those things that, you know, just happens. I mean, it's one of those things, you know. I called up my mother, she's reading an article about William Greaves, I'm two blocks from his office, I go knock on his door, and he's there and I start talking to him and, you know, he's like, you know, "I can't, you know, I don't have any work, I don't have any money to pay you," blah, blah, blah. And this was a time, this was in the early '70s [1970s]--this is probably about '75 [1975], '76 [1976]--'76 [1976] I think it was. There was a program called CETA, a government program where the thing about the CETA program--it was called some, some--we looked it up the other year. We cou- nobody could remember what it stood for--something like the Comp-, Comprehensive Education Training Act [sic. Comprehensive Employment and Training Act]--something like that. It was CETA.$$Okay.$$So it was a federal program and the thing about it, what CETA would do was CETA would pay you minimum wage if somebody would agree to hi-, to, to, to train you, then CETA would pay you for a period of time like six months to a year. You would be paid by the federal government but the person had to agree to hire you at the going rate for that job after that training period was over. So CETA would pay you for six months to a year and then they would have to hire you, but pay you the going rate for that. So I said, "Well, Bill--." So anyway I'm in Bill Greaves' office, I knew about this CETA program. I said, "Bill, you could hire me through CETA. CETA will pay me for six months, you know, and you don't have to pay me anything for six months. But after the six months you have to agree to hire me, you know, and I could work for you as an assistant editor and thence you'd have to--but you'd have to hire me as an assistant editor." And Bill, you know, he was kind of interested, then he said, "Well, I can't agree to hire you, you know, after six months. There's no way I can agree to hire you." And I said, "Well, Bill, all you have to do is hire me for a day and then fire me. But, you know, you can, you know, I can work for you for six months for free on this program and you can get--you can get my work for free." And he said, "Fine, you're hired. Let's go." And so he said, "My son, David [David Greaves], is out there getting ready. We're going to shoot this commercial tomorrow. You go with David to the equipment office and pick up some equipment and you start tomor- you start right now." So, that's how I started. And so I started working for Bill that way and I ended up moving--he had a, he had a house in Massachusetts, kind of couple hours from New York, and I would--I ended up being an assistant editor with Bill and, and lived up on this farm he had with his family for about six months and did sound for him and edited some stuff for him and, you know, worked for him for a couple of years.$It was well received. It won some awards, didn't it?$$Yeah, yeah, 'Emmett Till' ['The Murder of Emmett Till'] was really well received. It, it won a special jury prize [Special Jury Award] at Sundance [2003 Sundance Film Festival]. It won a Peabody Award [George Foster Peabody Award], it won an International Documentary Association Award, Marcia [Marcia Smith] won best documentary writing from the Writers Guild [Writers Guild of America] and it won one, one of my favorites, it won a prime time Emmy Award for best non-fiction film, which I love because--I love it for a lot of reasons, but we were up against this film by James Cameron who did the 'Titanic.' He did a film called 'Raising the Bismarck' [sic. 'Expedition: Bismarck'] or something like that, we were up against that and we were also up against the last episode of 'American Idol.' Non-fiction, (laughter) the category was non-fiction, non-fiction program--non-fiction directing. So, we were up against the last--and so, you know, we thought we, we, we didn't, you know, think that we had a chance, you know, because we didn't have the guns, we didn't have, you know, we didn't have any clout in Hollywood, we didn't have anything, so we just kind of went to--you know, we were really happy to go to the, the Emmy Awards and actually--the day of the Emmy Awards, Marcia made me rent a tuxedo, because I wasn't even (laughter)--I was, you know, I was going to go in my pajamas, but she made me rent a tuxedo, so thank God.

Debra Martin Chase

Movie producer Debra Martin Chase was born on October 11, 1956, in Great Lakes, Illinois. Chase’s father, policeman Robert Douglas Martin, and her mother, teacher Beverly M. Barber Martin, moved to Pasadena, California, when Chase was six years old. Attending Copernicus Elementary School and Our Lady of Solace School in Chicago, and Washington School and Loma Alta School in Altedena, California, Chase graduated from Amherst High School in 1973. Chase earned her B.A. degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1977, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1981.

Chase practiced law at Houston’s Mearday, Day, and Caldwell firm, and wrote freelance articles for Houston City magazine. After serving as a lawyer for Tenneco from 1983 to 1985, Chase moved to New York City where she worked for Stroock, Stroock, and Lavan law firm, and eventually became in-house counsel for Avon Products. In 1988, Chase worked for the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign and David Dinkins’s successful mayoral campaign.

Interested in the film industry, Chase joined the legal department of Columbia Pictures, and by 1989, she was executive assistant to Frank Price. By 1992, Chase was heading Denzel Washington’s production company, Mundy Lane Entertainment, producing The Pelican Brief, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Preacher’s Wife, Courage Under Fire and the Academy Award nominated documentary, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. By 1995, Chase had become the executive vice president of Whitney Houston’s Brown House Productions, which produced the 1997 Emmy nominated television musical Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and The Princess Diaries. In 2000, Chase formed Martin Chase Productions; she went on to produce Fox-TV’s Missing and Disney’s The Cheetah Girls, Miracle (2004), and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005).

Chase volunteered for Friends of the Studio Museum of Harlem; the Heartland Film Festival; the Community Resource Advisory Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum; and served on the board of Chicago’s Columbia College. A producing mentor for the University of Southern California, Chase remained a resident of the Hollywood Hills.

Accession Number

A2005.091

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/31/2005

Last Name

Chase

Maker Category
Middle Name

Martin

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Amherst High School

Our Lady of Solace School

Langford Academy

Washington School

Loma Alta School

Washington STEAM Magnet Academy

Mount Holyoke College

Wellesley College

Harvard Law School

First Name

Debra

Birth City, State, Country

Great Lakes

HM ID

CHA08

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Columbia College

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Don't Jump Over The Dollar To Get The Dime.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/11/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Licorice (Red)

Short Description

Film producer Debra Martin Chase (1956 - ) served in executive positions in Denzel Washington’s and Whitney Houston’s production companies before forming her own company, Martin Chase Productions.

Employment

Brown House Productions

Mundy Lane Productions

Stroock & Strocok & Lavan

O’Melveny & Myers

Kirkland & Ellis

Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett

Butler & Binion

Day & Caldwell & Keeton

Tenneco

Avon Products, inc.

Columbia Pictures

Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:4638,88:7219,150:9622,196:16676,261:20672,326:23048,353:24344,368:24992,377:25640,384:31379,465:32075,475:38946,586:39370,591:40112,599:40536,604:44160,620:51235,779:51947,789:61570,966:74509,1115:76693,1151:83370,1221:91775,1354:94925,1423:97475,1496:109554,1644:117230,1679:124545,1896:134434,1979:135656,1994:137348,2031:138100,2040:138758,2048:141296,2101:147575,2173:151560,2231:155740,2310:156975,2326:181616,2643:183338,2689:189020,2713:191638,2774:208744,2980:224454,3234:225426,3250:227775,3302:250962,3548:251916,3559:255680,3594$0,0:291,4:776,10:4074,61:18940,246:19540,258:20890,279:22690,314:23140,396:35144,501:35734,507:47951,653:48532,664:48947,670:49445,677:77010,941:77740,953:78689,980:88522,1121:90490,1155:93606,1225:94016,1232:94426,1238:96230,1276:97706,1315:101150,1376:101642,1383:102544,1395:108900,1409:109284,1414:118345,1530:125185,1610:125865,1620:126375,1627:129435,1674:129945,1689:130285,1694:130880,1704:136320,1769:140301,1836:142611,1882:143227,1898:154710,2090:169248,2240:169624,2245:170470,2260:170940,2303:184100,2513:185084,2535:185576,2542:186314,2553:192510,2633:207932,2839:227811,3058:228855,3087:256878,3550:260450,3565:260800,3571:262320,3601
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Debra Martin Chase's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase describes her maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase describes her maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase describes her mother's education and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase describes how her parents met at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase describes her father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Debra Martin Chase describes how she resembles her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Debra Martin Chase describes her earliest childhood memory of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Debra Martin Chase describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Debra Martin Chase describes her elementary education

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Debra Martin Chase describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase describes her childhood love of movies and television

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase remembers her disillusionment with the Catholic Church growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase recalls her childhood interest in writing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase explains why she did not consider a career in film while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her social life during her elementary and high school years in California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase remembers encounters with a racist teacher and a racist advisor

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her experiences in Amherst, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase talks about spending the summer with her grandmother as a teenager in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her plans after graduating early from Amherst High School in Amherst, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Debra Martin Chase talks about attending Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her law school and journalism aspirations during college

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase remembers influential college professors and her internship at HistoryMaker The Honorable Edward Brooke's office

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working as a paralegal at O'Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her experiences at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase remembers the environment at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her early career as a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase talks about moving to Houston, Texas and working at Butler & Binion

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working as a freelance writer and as an in-house lawyer at Tenneco in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working for Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working for Avon Products in New York, New York and on Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase remembers deciding to pursue a career in film production

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her internship with Columbia Pictures in Culver City, California

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working for the legal department of Columbia Pictures in Culver City, California

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase details how she became a studio executive in Hollywood, California

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working with Denzel Washington and his production company, Mundy Lane Productions

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase talks about producing the documentary 'Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase talks about meeting Whitney Houston while producing 'The Preacher's Wife'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working on the remake of Rodgers and Hamerstein's 'Cinderella'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase talks about working on 'The Princess Diaries' and fulfilling a childhood dream of working with Julie Andrews

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase talks about the role of a movie producer

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase talks about 'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' movie

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her recent and upcoming movie and television projects

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase explains her process for finding material and scripts to produce

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase talks about the lack of African American films and screenwriters in Hollywood

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase talks about making a non-African American movie as an African American woman and her mentee, Shonda Rhimes

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Debra Martin Chase describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Debra Martin Chase describes her admiration for HistoryMaker The Honorable Barack Obama

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Debra Martin Chase reflects upon the challenge of longevity in the movie industry

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Debra Martin Chase talks about the biggest disappointment in her filmmaking career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Debra Martin Chase reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Debra Martin Chase reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her parents' reaction to her becoming a movie producer

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Debra Martin Chase describes the challenges of being an African American woman movie producer

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Debra Martin Chase talks about her aspirations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Debra Martin Chase describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Debra Martin Chase narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Debra Martin Chase describes her childhood love of movies and television
Debra Martin Chase talks about producing the documentary 'Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream'
Transcript
Did you like music when you were growing up?$$Always liked music but I loved movies and television.$$Okay.$$My dad [Robert Martin] is the biggest, to this day; he's like the biggest mo- movie and television buff that I know. He knows, he's seen everything, he remembers everything (laughter), he, you know, so I grew up in a household where we watched movies all the time, we talked about 'em. I would go to the--I would, I truly was that kid who would go to the movies on Saturday and sit there 'til my mother [Beverly Barber Martin] came to get me and drag me out (laughter). I, I just thought they were, you know, there was--that was, you know, they were magical.$$Now did you watch a lot of old movies on television?$$(Nodding head) Uh-huh, uh-huh, yeah, no, the old, old black and white, the, you know, the big st- Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn and Bogie [Humphrey Bogart] and you know, my father to this day is like, "You know they don't make movies like they used to you know." So we--and my brother is actually--we've all--I'm--my brother Eric [ph.] manages movie theaters. I mean he's the vice president with Century Theatres and then my youngest brother started out in the movie business, I got him into the, the camera union on Rodgers Hammerstein [Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II], 'Cinderella' and he did that for a few years and he just decided it's too much of a hustle so he's moved on into, you know, business ventures. But we've all, you know, we were all influenced by it.$$Okay so did--did you have favorite movies when you were coming up, you know?$$Well, as a, as a child my favorite movie was 'Mary Poppins.' So, you know, for me to work with Julie Andrews was like unbelievable (laughter) it was like (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) This comes later, but it started with 'Mary Poppins' huh?$$I love 'Mary Poppins' I mean I, I would--I mean I think that I, you know, look, truth be told I really want--I didn't really want to be an actress and in fact when I was ten years old, and I remember this, I wrote, I hand, you know, hand wrote a letter to Walt Disney. And I say--and I you know--wish that you know we still had the response. And I, I just remember saying that I was a ten year old, you know, Negro girl (laughter) and that I very much wanted to be an actress and you know what did he recommend or whatever and I remember that I got this very nice typed response saying basically, stay in school and anything's possible. And I think, you know, I mean, I didn't know anybody anywhere near the movie business, God knows I didn't know anybody who was an actor, you know, it just was all very foreign to me, my people were, you know, teachers and, you know, lawyer or why don't you be a doctor, you know, education was like a big deal in my, you know, entire family. So, I--but--you know, I used to take--put the 'Mary Poppins' soundtrack on and over and over and over and dance in front of the mirror and sing and I mean I still to this day know all the words to all the songs in 'Mary Poppins.' I just thought that was the most amazing movie.$$Now did, did you watch, 'The Mickey Mouse Club' when it was on television?$$I don't remember 'Mickey Mouse Club,' I don't remember really watching that. I might have missed 'The Mickey Mouse Club.' Because I don't think it was on when I was com--'cause I would have watched it (laughter). But, I rem--you know, I just--I grew up on 'Father Knows Best,' and, of course, '[I Love] Lucy' and, what, 'My Three Sons' and all those good shows 'bout morals and values and '[The] Donna Reed Show.'$Our first company production was 'Devil in a Blue Dress' and then we did, we, we--the first thing that I hands-on produced was a documentary ['Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream'] on Hank Aaron for TBS and I did it with, he and I did it, you know, we produced it with Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins who had subsequently become like huge, this--they were starting out they hadn't done anything, they're like huge TV producers now and movies they just did 'Coach Carter.' And it was, you know, it was like a great experience it was really Mike and I, you know, day-to-day. And we interview--anybody who was alive at that moment who of any significance in the history of Major League Baseball, we interviewed. So, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, you know, Bobby Bonds, Stan Musial, I mean, everybody 'cause everybody liked Hank. And, the piece, you know--I was just proud of it 'cause, I, I, I, thought it turned out great and Hank was proud of it most importantly, I think, because he'd gotten a bad rap in the press about his attitude when he broke the record and the thing that made me--'cause I'm not, I'm not a sports person but then--I'm not a sports person, I don't really follow sports but to me there's nothing like a great sports drama because it's a--it's the individual whatever. And so the thing that made me wanna do it more than anything else it was a, a Sports Illustrated article about that time in Hank's life and (simultaneous)--$$(Off camera noise).$$--when he hit the ball that put him over the record, over Babe Ruth's record, his mother [Estella Aaron], as he's running around the bases his mother immediately ran onto home plate and so when he came around to home plate she embraced him in this bear hug and everybody was like, "Oh, isn't that fabulous, you know, his mother was so proud of her son." His mother was like, "If they were gonna kill him they were gonna have to kill me first." And it just, I mean it like brings tears to my eyes, just you know, and I'm like saying to myself, you know, this is what racism in this country is all about. Here's this man who embodied the American dream, you know, came up from nothing and you know, and is great, and is, is, is, trying to realize, you know, his full potential as a human being and he has to be worried about being killed, you know (emotional) sorry.$$And he received like thousands of threats (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) He received more individual mail than--more pieces of mail than any other individual in the history of the [U.S.] Postal Service at that time and most of it was negative. You know, "Nigger, what makes you think that you are better than Babe Ruth." Or you know, so the last year as he was pursuing the record he had a body guard twenty-four/seven they took his kids and put them, you know, they took him away from his family and kinda brought the daughter home from Fisk [University, Nashville, Tennessee] and, you know, you know. So, anyhow, so, and understandably he had been very bitter about all--just, you know, so I think, I know that what--that--through the documentary people started to understand why he had been bitter. And, it, it's like it, it took a weight off of him, you know, 'cause he's a proud man and he's not, he's not a, a, verbose--I mean he, you know, he would never have true--really ex--explained it fully, you know. So anyhow--and then, you know, to my surprise we got nominated for an Oscar [Academy Award], we got nominated for an Emmy [Award], we won a Peabody Award, I mean it turned out to be a really, just a great experience all the way around.

Dan Moore, Sr.

Noted filmmaker and museum founder Dan A. Moore, Sr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 20, 1935. After high school, Moore worked in several jobs, but found his true calling in 1967 when he began producing films.

His first film was a documentary entitled On Patrol for God, filmed at a Christian rally he helped to organize. A few years later, Moore went to Liberia on Africa's west coast and made the film Welcome Home, which was sponsored by the Liberian government on the condition that he return and make a second film, which he did. He would return to Africa and travel to several other countries, as well. He later made films featuring Bill Cosby and Gale Sayers, among others. Moore also produced, wrote, and directed The Journey, Sweet Auburn Street of Pride, and A New Time for a New Voice.

During the early 1970s Moore spent time as president of Image 7 Inc. in Atlanta, and Omega Films in Philadelphia. In 1978, Moore founded the African American Panoramic Experience Museum (APEX) in Atlanta, which seeks to educate people about the depth and breadth of the African American experience. His inspiration for the museum came as he attended a banquet honoring Dr. Benjamin Mays, and he dedicated himself to creating a museum that celebrates the unsung heroes of the African American experience. At the time of the interview, he remains there as executive director.

Accession Number

A2004.180

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/24/2004

Last Name

Moore

Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

George W. Childs School

Norris S. Barratt Middle School

Edward W. Bok Technical High School

Barratt Middle School

Bok Technical High School

G.W. Childs School

First Name

Dan

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

MOO04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jacksonville, Florida

Favorite Quote

The Lord is the strength of my life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

11/20/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken, Dumplings

Short Description

Curator, film producer, and museum director Dan Moore, Sr. (1935 - ) is the founder of the African American Panoramic Museum Experience. His first film was a documentary entitled On Patrol for God, filmed at a Christian rally he helped to organize. Moore also produced, wrote, and directed The Journey, Sweet Auburn Street of Pride, and A New Time for a New Voice.

Employment

Omega Films

Image Seven

African American Panoramic Experience Museum (APEX)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dan Moore interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dan Moore's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dan Moore talks about his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dan Moore talks about his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dan Moore discusses his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dan Moore recalls his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dan Moore gives his siblings' names

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dan Moore remembers aspects of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dan Moore recalls his early school years and his personality as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dan Moore tells of his religious involvement

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dan Moore recalls his aspirations and personality as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dan Moore talks about career interests during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dan Moore recounts his early experiences in filmmaking

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dan Moore discusses his documentary films about Africa

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dan Moore tells of the various films he produced

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dan Moore comments on the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dan Moore talks about inspiring films

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dan Moore comments on contemporary music

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dan Moore explains how the arts impact society

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dan Moore talks about the portayal of Africa in film

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dan Moore discusses projects his film companies produced

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dan Moore tells of his involvement in museum exhibitions

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dan Moore explains his reception into the Atlanta community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dan Moore recalls the history of the APEX

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dan Moore details the objective of APEX

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dan Moore talks about current film projects

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dan Moore contemplates the future of the APEX

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dan Moore looks back on his career

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dan Moore comments on the importance of preserving history

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dan Moore recounts his filmmaking experiences in Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dan Moore discusses his connection to God

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dan Moore reflects on his career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dan Moore shares his concerns for the African American communty

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dan Moore describes how he'd like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dan Moore discusses the importance of a spiritual connection

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dan Moore tells of artists he admires

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dan Moore comments on the current state of filmmaking

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dan Moore considers his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dan Moore explains the importance of his film 'The Journey'

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Dan Moore discusses his documentary films about Africa
Dan Moore talks about the portayal of Africa in film
Transcript
So with that [filmmaking] knowledge in hand, after maybe three or four months, I grabbed a camera, bought a camera, said, I want to go to Africa and film in Africa to tell the story that I feel we need to share with African Americans here. And at that time, missionaries would come back from Africa, mostly white missionaries, saying that African Americans were not welcome in Africa. I decided to find out for myself what it was all about. I took this camera and my brother, who was an engineer, he learned how to operate the, the Nagra [brand] tape recorder. We packed up our stuff and went to Africa, went to Liberia. When we arrived in Liberia, the minister of information said to me, "Is this your first time visiting Africa?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, welcome home." And that became the name of the first film that I did in Africa. It was called 'Welcome Home'. We filmed there for about a week or so and came back, and during those times, we had to--when you did film, it was not like today when you're doing videotape, you had to actually sit down with film physically on two different rolls and roll it out by hand and make it dissolve, have to go to a lab for two or three days to come back just to make one special effect. But when I came back from Liberia, I met the daughter of the president of Liberia [William R. Tolbert, Jr.] who was attending school in Philadelphia, Willie Mae Tolbert [later Wokie Tubman]. And she carried me to Washington [D.C.] to meet with her uncle [Stephen A. Tolbert] who was, at that time, the, the treasurer of Liberia. My purpose of going there was just to ask him to endorse the film so I could probably try to get a sponsor for it to sell it. After he saw the film, he said to me, "I will, I will buy the film from you under one condition." I said, "What is that?" "That you go back and do a second film for us." I said, "Well, I, I can handle that." So in two weeks, I was back on a plane again, going back to Africa to film the sesquicentennial celebration of Liberia. We filmed Jesse Jackson's first visit to the West Coast of Africa. We filmed [President of Guinea] Ahmed Sekou Ture's visit to Liberia. He was coming from I believe Sierra Leone visit at the time. And it was a tremendously moving experience. Just to walk down the street in Liberia and see thousands of women in white singing and chanting as they greeted Ahmed Sekou Ture from Guinea, and as he greeted President Tolbert. It was a very moving experience. President Tolbert was a very, very warm man, very--a person who had a, a real handle on his country. He spoke several dialects, and we traveled with President Tolbert to various villages throughout Liberia, some by car, some by plane. And he would meet with the people and talk their language. We went to leper, a leper village, and he was just a very warm person.$$You went to a--could you--?$$A leper village where, where they have leprosy. See, they were separated, if you had leprosy, you were separated in a village by yourself. You would not, you would not, you would not be mingling with everyone else because leprosy is contagious. So there were villages set aside just for those who had, who, who were lepers, many of whom had missing limbs, etc. And he would go mingle with the people, talk their language, and he was very sensitive because the car I was riding in--we got four cars behind his. So whenever his entourage stopped, I'd have to get out of my car, run up to where he was to show him getting out, getting out of his car and going to shake hands with all those who were in the, in the villages. So he made them put my car right behind his to make it more convenient for me to be able to get out and film him as he got out to meet all these folks. Liberia is a very great country, beautiful country, very, great experience there. And I went from there over to, to Ghana before coming home. I did a film in Ghana on sickle cell anemia before I returned to the states. So I got into film, that was the real niche for me, the whole creative process and the whole process of being able to communicate and to help change things and lives and people by exposing them to things through that medium.$You were discussing your responses to the images [of African Americans] that were being presented.$$If we don't present different images, children will grow up with one set of images in their mind, given to them by somebody else. And I refuse to sit by idly and watch our children grow up with images of beauty that don't include them. I'm not saying just black--white is also beautiful, but I must be included in that number. If you're, if you're presenting beauty, you must have some inclusion of someone of a darker hue.$$How do you think that your early films challenged stereotypes?$$Well, I'm not sure how much the--it challenged them, but my, my thing was that I had to make sure that the image that was being seen was the image being seen from a African American perspective. And that was not the case until I did some film that I, I feel that I did, that made Africa look differently than it was being shown, as I saw it, as I saw it. I recall the 'Tarzan' movies, and all you would see was this white man in loin cloth, swinging on these vines with some strange yell, and all these hundreds of, of natives running. This was the image. This was the Tarzan image. And this is portrayed--why? Why, why is this portrayed? So when I come up, my image of Africa is that Africans are below Europeans or white Americans because the image I've seen has always been this white person named Tarzan, who was in charge. He talked to the animals, talked to the chimpanzee and he ruled--when he came, if there was trouble between tribes, when he came, it was all settled. So in my mind's eye, what am I seeing? I'm seeing that there's a white male figure that comes on the scene and solves the problems. I had problems with Santa Claus. Here you are in a poor neighborhood. You can't give your children anything all year long, and then once a year, once a year--not only what they need, but what they want, they get. But who brings it to them? A jolly white man in a red suit. So the image is, what I need I can't get all year long from my single black, black mother or my black family, but once a year, here comes this white man down the chimney with his big, red suit and his jolly face. And he brings me not only what I, what I need, but what I want. So from childhood, we started getting images that this person is a savior. And if you don't have a good image of yourself, you cannot control your destiny.

Avon Kirkland

Film producer Avon Kirkland was born on November 27, 1936, in Jacksonville, Florida to his widowed mother, Lula Mae Durham Kirkland. His father, William Kirkland, died in an accident prior to Kirkland and his twin sister, Yvonne Kirkland Moody’s birth. After matriculating through Jacksonville’s Donald Cookland Elementary and New Stanton High, Kirkland, obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1958 from Clark University, now Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1964, he received his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Between 1964 and 1967, following three years of work as a research chemist for the Sinclair Research Laboratories in Harvey, Illinois, Kirkland began to lose interest in science and spent a year in New York City studying the guitar. From 1967 to 1968, he used his scientific training to design and facilitate a multifaceted after-school educational program for inner city children. This experience helped him create an elementary school reading and math programs for the Behavioral Research Labs of Palo Alto, California. In 1973, he took another year off and spent so much time watching television that he decided to pursue work in the television industry. From 1974 to 1977, he was the director of Instructional Service for KQED in San Francisco.

In 1977, Kirkland became the executive producer of Up & Coming, an hour-long drama featuring a black family, which ended in 1982 after twenty-five shows. Kirkland enjoyed this work immensely. He founded New Images Productions, a non-profit media production company in Berkeley, California, then devoted to creating films about the lives and experiences of African Americans. He serves as the primary writer, director and producer for many of the company's projects. His work includes Up From Slavery: The Triumph and Tragedy of Booker T. Washington, Ralph Ellison: An American Journey, Street Soldiers,Simple Justice and Booker. His films have received many honors and awards including the Blue Ribbon Award in 1981; the 1986 Prix Jeunesse International Prize; The CINE Golden Eagle, Best Public Affairs Documentary and a special showing at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.

Mr. Kirkland is divorced and has one son. He resides in Berkeley, California, where he enjoys music and competitive tennis.

Avon Kirkland was interviewed by HistoryMakerson April 6, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.042

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/6/2004

Last Name

Kirkland

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Clark Atlanta University

Washington University in St Louis

New Stanton High School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Avon

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

KIR01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

There Can Be No Perfect Democracy Curtailed By Color, Race Or Poverty But With All, We Accomplish All, Even Peace. - W.E.B. DuBois

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/27/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue Ribs

Short Description

Film producer Avon Kirkland (1936 - ) served as the primary writer, director, and producer of many films about the black experience through his company, New Images Production. His films and documentaries covered public figures such as educator, Booker T. Washington and writer, Ralph Ellison, as well as topics such as the 1954 Brown v. Board Education decision.

Employment

Sinclair Oil Research Labs

Behavioral Research Laboratories

KQED TV

New Images Productions

Scheinfeld Foundation Education Project

San Francisco State University

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:17960,185:18475,191:21078,204:21494,217:23707,248:24260,256:24892,268:27675,315:27970,322:28324,329:28973,344:29976,365:30389,373:30802,381:41012,494:46408,521:47304,532:47976,539:51672,579:68842,680:72654,712:74303,730:86785,877:88525,908:92960,954:95017,972:101150,1111:102714,1141:104142,1169:104890,1186:105366,1200:105842,1212:110212,1241:112036,1280:118748,1384:120233,1405:144237,1687:145027,1698:158418,1814:158738,1820:159890,1847:163660,1878:174095,2008:182514,2055:182842,2060:195405,2250:196900,2278:202230,2396:207200,2433$0,0:2586,22:6246,101:9170,167:18372,299:19662,396:20522,409:30555,469:31283,483:33103,505:33740,514:35469,541:41820,587:42492,596:46740,634:47420,644:47845,650:48695,662:49460,674:54730,790:60490,840:69788,961:70208,967:73372,993:76478,1012:78382,1055:86254,1123:86638,1128:90880,1165:91220,1170:91815,1178:95290,1207:100234,1273:105754,1361:108110,1372:110606,1429:113726,1478:114272,1487:123995,1583:132695,1757:147255,1811:149635,1856:150315,1865:151420,1890:153460,1947:153885,1953:154735,1965:155330,1977:156010,2001:161825,2050:167375,2174:168950,2199:169475,2208:175400,2234:176743,2257:177612,2269:177928,2275:179587,2304:181799,2346:182589,2357:189928,2453:195478,2511:198120,2532:200454,2553:200772,2560:210912,2685:211732,2696:223170,2829:225730,2884:227330,2916:229890,2964:230290,2970:233750,2997:239690,3101:241610,3106
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Avon Kirkland's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland talks about his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes his maternal and paternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland describes his extended family in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland shares his favorite quote by W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland describes growing up in Jacksonville, Florida and the segregated South

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland describes the neighborhood in which he grew up in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland describes his neighbors in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland recalls organizing an unsuccessful strike at the King Edward Cigar Factory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland recalls attending church in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes his childhood temperament

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon the quality of schools he attended in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Avon Kirkland describes jobs he held in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Avon Kirkland describes his activities at New Stanton High School in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Avon Kirkland describes Mr. Bryan, one of his teachers in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland describes his decision to attend Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland describes his experiences at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia and his admittance as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland compares Atlanta, Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland recalls going to Italy through the Experiment in International Living program

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes developing his interest in drama

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland remembers impressing other students on his study abroad trip with his knowledge of Italian operas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland describes reconnecting with a former fellow in California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland describes attending graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland describes his experiences in social justice while attending Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland recalls transitioning from Chicago, Illinois to New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland recalls working for Behavioral Research Labs

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland recalls moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in California and entering the field of television production

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS series 'Up and Coming', pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS series 'Up and Coming', pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS children's series 'Booker'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS miniseries 'Simple Justice,' pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS miniseries 'Simple Justice,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland describes his mother's reaction to the pilot episode of 'Up and Coming'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland describes the origins of his documentary about the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland describes 'Street Soldiers' about the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, California

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland recalls that the Congressional Black Caucus screened 'Street Soldiers' on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland describes securing the rights to produce a documentary based on Ralph Ellison's life and works

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon of Ralph Ellison's writings and philosophy on African American identity

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon the controversy surrounding Booker T. Washington's life and work

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes others' perspectives of Booker T. Washington's life and work

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Avon Kirkland describes his process for developing, creating and producing documentary projects

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland describes his son Avery Julian Kirkland and former relationship with Evelyn Lewis

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon the meaning of intimacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland talks about the importance of building assets

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland describes activities he would like to do that he has not yet

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes documentary projects he would like to pursue

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland shares advice for young people interested in filmmaking

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Avon Kirkland describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Avon Kirkland narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

7$10

DATitle
Avon Kirkland describes the PBS children's series 'Booker'
Avon Kirkland describes his process for developing, creating and producing documentary projects
Transcript
--Except as I approach retirement. It's too late to worry now (laughter). That worked. I learned while I was there--see, I'm taking you at a greater clip now. I learned while I was there that I could raise my own money for a production. I had several ideas for a production at KQED [San Francisco, California] that I didn't think would be appropriate for that station because they weren't really set up to do drama. And I was all, I was doing all dramas then, so I decided to leave KQED, continue producing. And a month, two months after I left KQED and formed New Images Productions [Berkeley, California] and whose offices we sit right now, twenty-two years ago I got my first grant for a production--a children's drama, which became 'Booker' about Booker T. Washington as a young boy. I had been, I--was visiting my sister [Yvonne K. Moody] once and sleeping in her daughter's bed who was away in college, and there was a book about Booker T. Washington on the bookshelf next to the bed. And I picked it up and started reading it, and I couldn't put it down. I never knew that much about Booker T. Washington. And his life was fascinating, important, and interesting, and also here and there a bit troubling. And I determined that I would do something on Booker T. Washington, 'cause nobody, nobody else knew that, stuff that was in that book unless they studied it in college. And it was just out, and she hap--my niece happened to take the course from the guy who wrote it. Louis [R.] Harlan, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, agreed to work on the project; he had written the book; and we made 'Booker.' And of all the films we've made, I think 'Booker' is the most successful because we finished it in--we went on the air in 1985, and it's still on the air. It was on the, it was on PBS for three years, and then the Disney Channel, and then all over the world, all, the BBC. South Africa bought it not too long ago. That's how I could tell they were really gettin' on their feet in terms of how the media operated. It's, it's a show that stood up well over time. It's a very good story about a ten-year-old boy who wants to learn to read, and he happens to be a slave. But then the [Civil] War ends, and there, there are opportunities, but they are still very difficult. And it's what actually happened to him. And it's a terrific children's show, and it's used in schools throughout the United States.$Could you explain the process that's involved [in documentary filmmaking], 'cause I'm sure there are some students who might be thinking about going into this field. Just what--from the beginning, when you get the idea for a project, to the end, could you just kind of quickly go through the steps that you--that are involved in it?$$Well, one of my favorite sayings is: the distance between an idea and the fact is very long, (laughter). The idea is the purest, the first idea, a concept for a show is when you first have it, so pure, so wonderful that you can hardly sit, sit down. Thinking about a show, about Ralph Ellison, in which you would compare the life of his protagonist in 'Invisible Man' [Ralph Ellison] to his own life, which was very similar, and then show where they're joined. Conceptually that's a beautiful, elegant structure, and that's how I first thought about it. However, it took me two years to raise the money there. That was a short amount of time. It costs around $900,000 to produce a ninety-minute doc [documentary], because we spent $300,000 dramatizing scenes, and that's ver--a lot more expensive. Anyway, I spent a lot of time raising money, a lot of time writing proposals, a lot of time worrying: can I raise the money for this project ['Ralph Ellison: An American Journey']? I'm an independent. If I worked for a commercial station, I would be doing the news. I wouldn't be doing these kinds of hopefully ambitious documentaries that are useful in the educational context. You have the idea. You try to describe it. You go do some research on it. I went and read a lot about Ralph Ellison. I bought two or three good books. By the time I finished reading them I knew pretty much what his life had been like. And then you try, you kind of outline what the story is. And here a great deal of skill is required because there's a lot of details in life. But what is, what is this, what is the story structure? Where is it going, and what does it mean? You know, drawing that meaning out of the facts of a person's life is, takes some skill and I'm, that's what John Elks [ph.] meant when he said, I know how to tell a story. So, I'm learning more and more how to do that. And once you get the story essentially told, either in a summary or, or a treatment, then you start trying to raise production money. One of the hardest things to do is to get to that stage because it takes time; it takes research; it takes writing, and the people you hire to do research for you are working for you. If you're writing it, it takes time. You better have some money to pay yourself. I'm an independent. If I were working for a, a big production company, say like 20th Century Fox or, or Paramount [Pictures], I would, I would get money right up front, if they like the idea, to develop it. So I have do, I have to raise development money. And then once I've done that and done the developing work, I have to go raise production money. So, I'm always fundraising.$$Sounds like--$$I spend 80 percent of my time, if I'm lucky, only 80 percent, doing that.

Reuben Cannon

Producer and casting director Reuben Cannon was born on February 11, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in the Harold I. Ickes housing projects and attended Southeast City College.

Wanting to move into the entertainment industry, Cannon decided to try his luck in California. Dogged in his pursuit, Cannon went to film studios daily looking for work. After months of doing this, his perseverance paid off and Cannon was offered a job in the mailroom of Universal Studios on New Years Eve. Unbeknownst to him, the mailroom was the studio's executive training program, and thus a successful entertainment career began.

Cannon worked at Universal Studios from 1970 to 1978, eventually becoming a casting director. From 1977-1978, he served as Head of Television Casting for Warner Brothers. In 1978, he began his own casting agency, Reuben Cannon & Associates. As a casting director Cannon has been credited with launching the careers of many stars, including Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Bruce Willis, Michael J. Fox, and Whoopi Goldberg. His casting credits include: "Promised Land", "Touched by an Angel", "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", "Desperado", "What's Love got To Do With It?", "The Color Purple", "Village of the Damned", "The Josephine Baker Story", "Moonlighting", and many others.

Cannon then moved into the realm of producing film and television in the 1980s. As a producer Cannon has made it a point to make movies about African Americans that are also financed by African Americans. His television producing credits include: "The Women of Brewster Place", "Amen", and many others. He has also produced his own films, including "Down on the Delta", "Get on the Bus", and "Dancing in September". Cannon has also worked as a producer on most of Tyler Perry's television shows and movies.

Accession Number

A2001.010

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/25/2001

Last Name

Cannon

Maker Category
Schools

Douglas Elementary School

Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School

Daniel Hale Elementary

Southeast City College

First Name

Reuben

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CAN01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Anything is possible.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

2/11/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans, Rice

Short Description

Film casting director, television producer, and film producer Reuben Cannon (1946 - ) produced the films Down in the Delta and Get on the Bus.

Employment

Universal Studios

Warner Brothers

Reuben Cannon & Associates

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:1903,11:2197,18:5715,111:11076,189:12556,216:12926,222:15220,265:16108,281:16552,289:18180,338:21360,376:21703,385:21948,391:23630,403:24006,418:24852,437:25040,442:27600,458:33268,543:35170,555:35474,560:36158,581:46843,753:48595,792:51661,926:52099,933:56114,1044:56771,1058:57866,1078:58523,1092:61977,1165:62212,1171:62541,1180:65318,1213:65588,1219:66074,1238:66344,1271:67478,1287:67694,1292:72958,1380:78700,1491:79600,1563:79840,1568:93652,1787:94484,1805:94996,1814:104959,1994:105964,2016:128238,2329:134470,2437:135110,2447:135510,2453:136390,2468:141801,2553:142314,2564:142599,2570:146970,2659:147250,2664:147530,2669:148930,2700:150540,2737:151800,2754:155966,2793:156306,2799:158210,2856:163196,2985:163833,3014:164029,3019:164617,3040:165058,3050:173812,3252:176220,3320:176836,3338:177172,3349:178516,3398:178796,3404:179244,3416:179636,3427:180084,3443:183035,3450$0,0:4145,57:4665,63:7200,117:8825,169:9345,200:10840,225:11165,231:12335,255:13440,291:16980,303:17583,314:17851,319:18320,327:18789,335:19057,340:20397,374:20799,381:23881,426:27001,443:29758,462:31126,487:32798,515:33786,539:34090,544:34394,549:36799,559:37429,570:39296,596:39626,602:40022,610:40550,619:40814,624:41210,631:41936,645:54810,818:58964,850:60332,864:61016,871:61990,879:62620,891:64510,956:64825,965:65077,975:65833,995:66085,1000:66904,1025:67723,1041:68164,1049:68416,1054:75625,1150:76418,1167:77699,1193:77943,1198:79346,1243:80871,1282:81359,1292:85678,1319:86470,1338:88227,1358:89400,1388:89706,1395:90267,1409:93123,1492:95460,1510:95971,1518:96409,1526:100795,1597:101180,1610:101950,1630:108016,1739:108763,1749:109178,1755:110008,1774:113655,1791:113955,1796:114330,1802:115230,1815:115680,1823:116130,1832:116655,1840:117705,1858:123530,1957:132729,2091:133863,2123:134871,2163:135312,2171:136446,2193:136698,2198:136950,2203:139750,2222:140205,2231:145749,2308:146065,2313:146539,2323:147092,2331:147566,2351:147961,2357:150410,2409:154170,2420:154880,2437:155874,2457:159388,2506:159748,2513:160396,2523:161332,2543:161620,2548:162556,2583:163204,2594:163780,2605:164068,2610:164428,2616:164716,2625:167596,2646:169661,2704:170015,2711:170546,2722:170841,2728:171313,2737:173252,2754:173564,2765:174604,2787:176476,2848:178868,2869:179248,2876:180996,2903:181376,2910:181984,2919:185962,2970:186492,2982:189190,3010:192544,3049:193229,3056:196428,3116:196862,3128:197482,3142:198164,3156:199962,3201:200644,3216:201202,3227:202008,3244:202628,3257:203000,3264:207567,3306:207994,3315:208421,3320:208665,3325:209153,3338:209641,3348:210129,3364:214025,3452:216052,3483:218532,3535:219276,3561:219710,3570:219958,3575:224136,3616:224544,3625:225632,3644:228420,3711:232550,3750:234090,3782
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reuben Cannon interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reuben Cannon's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reuben Cannon remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reuben Cannon meets his father, Reuben Cannon, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reuben Cannon, Jr. witnesses his father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reuben Cannon befriends Warren Dur, a Chinese classmate

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reuben Cannon learns an important lesson in multiculturalism

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reuben Cannon discusses the Harold Ickes Housing Project, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reuben Cannon challenges his grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reuben Cannon continues to battle his grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reuben Cannon discusses his adventurous adolescence

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reuben Cannon remembers the smells and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reuben Cannon reveals his singing talents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reuben Cannon finds a pair of male mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reuben Cannon becomes a teenage father

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reuben Cannon pursues the married life

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reuben Cannon finds the inspiration to leave Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reuben Cannon navigates the Universal Studios mailroom

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reuben Cannon begins a career in the entertainment industry

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reuben Cannon becomes an influential Hollywood casting director

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reuben Cannon discusses his casting philosophies

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reuben Cannon reveals his entrepreneurial spirit

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reuben Cannon befriends Alex Haley in the casting of 'Roots II: The Next Generation'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reuben Cannon characterizes Redd Foxx

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reuben Cannon goes independent with Reuben Cannon & Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reuben Cannon takes interest in 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reuben Cannon casts Oprah Winfrey in 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reuben Cannon discusses the legal side of the entertainment industry

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reuben Cannon discusses his experience with 'The Women of Brewster Place'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reuben Cannon embarks on a producing career

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reuben Cannon discusses 'Down in the Delta' and 'Get on the Bus'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reuben Cannon considers diversity in Hollywood

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reuben Cannon considers his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reuben Cannon names inspiring public figures

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reuben Cannon imagines his father's and grandmother's reactions to his success

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Reuben Cannon begins a career in the entertainment industry
Reuben Cannon discusses 'Down in the Delta' and 'Get on the Bus'
Transcript
A position became available in the casting department [of Universal Studios, Los Angeles, California], to be a trainee in the casting--to be a casting director--to become a trainee. I was interviewed by a man named Ralph Winters. And whenever you interview for a position at the studio, three mail boys go up, you know. They interview three of you. And you're supposed to bring in three references. People who can speak to--speak to your character. The competition was Jay Heifetz. His father was a legend. So he had lots of letters of reference. John David, you know, his father was, you know, married to Angie Dickinson, and just, and you know--. Burt Bacharach was married to Angie Dickinson. So he had letters from Angie Dickinson. And I decided to go in on the strength of my character. 'Cause who am I gonna take? Hawk [homeless man/mentor from Chicago, Illinois]. To have a letter from Hawk, you know? A letter from Robert Lee and, you know, and people I grew--you know. Rather than--I didn't know anyone here. I'd been here, at that point, not even six months, seven months. Po' Bill [former steel mill co-worker, Chicago, Illinois] could speak about my character. But I had--if it was about casting, if it was about actors--. I'd been around actors. I knew more about theater than these guys and I decided to go on the strength of that. So I sat in front of Ralph Winters who was the head of casting for Universal Studios. And he said, "I've seen you deliver mail here 'cause you're in this department. And, you know, everyone in this department likes you. And you're a very impressive young man." He said, "Do you know your date of birth." I said, "Yes." He said, "Do you know what time you were born?" And it so happened I had my--'cause I didn't have a California driver's license. I had my birth certificate shipped out and I had it miniaturized. So I said, "No, but I have my, you know--" And I took out my date of birth, he started drawing these circles. He was into astrology. And he said, "Oh, you're an Aquarian." I said, "Yeah." And he says--then he looked and says, "Why aren't you in a monastery?" And I said, "'Cause I have--you know, I believe my ministry will be here in entertainment." He says, "You know, if I had career ambitions, I would have to hire one of the other two boys. But for the first time in my career, I'm gonna do what's fair and what's right. I'm gonna retire in three years so I can afford to do what's fair and what's right. I'm gonna hire you." And he hired me. I became the first black casting director trainee in the history of Hollywood [motion picture industry] and went from being an assistant to then his secretary, then ultimately became--I became a casting director. And stayed at Universal for seven years. And was offered to be head of casting for Warner Brothers. I went over to Warner Bros. [Studios] I did 'Roots II' ('The Next Generation'). And being--but once again, I'm from Chicago [Illinois], so after nine years of working two different studios and having a reputation in town as being a very good casting director--. By the way, also--the, you know--. So being the first, I got tired of being referred to the first, so I brought in the second, my secretary. When I went to Warner Brothers I brought in Eileen Knight who became the second black casting director. And there is now maybe eight. And seven have come through my office.$Now you--what--talk about the two other times then.$$The other situation was--so 'Down in'--'Get on the Bus' was the first film I produced. The second was 'Down in the Delta'. And that was a script that had been around for three years. A prize-winning script, it had been sitting on the shelf. But movies are made because they're very often talent-driven. You have to attach some element to--property to get the studios interested. And because of the way Hollywood is structured, there isn't a black actress today or wasn't at that time that could get this movie green lit. But there are other ways to generate heat around properties, I believe. So when the script was brought to me, I sent it to my friend Maya Angelou. And Maya read it, liked it, and said she would direct it. So now we had a world-class storyteller, you know. And if filmmaking is eighty percent writing and casting, I'm comfortable--we had a good script. I'm comfortable with the cast. It turns out Maya is a film student. I mean she's a graduate of the Swedish Film Academy and has directed documentaries. And we didn't know this 'til we all flew down. We met with her and she agreed to direct it. And with that, Wesley [Snipes] came on board with his company and Alfre [Woodard] . And the movie was financed by Showtime. And then we sold it to Miramax. So we had within a window. So it was a unique arrangement, whereby we had sixty days from the time we finished the movie to find a theatrical distributor. And Miramax came on board and took it out theatrically. And it didn't do great at the box office. But it's doing great in video.$$Now the other incident.$$The other film was a--Reggie Bythewood, who wrote 'Get on the Bus,' wrote a wonderful movie called 'Dancing in September.' And once again there Reggie came in with the initial funding, with the first $300,000 and a wonderful script. And when people come to me with--who are willing to bet on themselves. I mean, you have to--you know. And the script was so well written that I took on like an impossible task to produce the movie and raise the rest of the money. And we knew it would be about a million dollars to finish--to make this movie. And we--so that was like Labor Day I got the script. And we started shooting in October. And I just called on friends again. I called on Danny Glover and Robert--Donna and Robert Guillaume, Abe Thompson. Friends I didn't even know--people I knew, who had--you know, who knew of me. And we made a wonderful movie. And we sold that movie to HBO [Home Box Office] for double the price. And once again gave the investors back their initial investment plus twenty-three percent interest and profit within the first thirteen months. And I'm using that model over and over. Because what it does is, it empowers you. You don't have to wait. You know, you have a script, you know. And you have a creative team now. And I say to producers, I mean I say to writers and directors, "Look, I'm not a studio yet. But if you wanna come and make a movie and execute the vision that you originally conceived, this is the place. We may have creative differences. But we won't have any cultural differences." Which very often was at the heart of the studio process. And so the next film where--I'm doing is with Gary Hardwick who wrote and directed '[The] Brothers.' We'll do it--we're using the same model as 'Get on the Bus' and 'Dancing in September.' And I'll continue doing these one-offs. The ultimate dream is to not just do one-offs, but to create a film fund to be able to do multiple films and create a consistent flow of films, that's independently financed. And--that are made without compromise.$$You know, that's really a fascinating sort of model there.