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James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WGL Holdings, Inc. (WGL) and Washington Gas Light, James Henry DeGraffenreidt, Jr. was born on May 8, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. As an adolescent growing up in New York City, DeGraffenreidt helped his father, an accountant, prepare federal tax returns for his clients. He attended the Brooklyn Preparatory School in Crown Heights where he played on the championship basketball team. DeGraffenreidt went on to attend Yale University where he pursued his B.A. degree in American Studies. After finishing his undergraduate education, in 1974, DeGraffenreidt attended Columbia University where he graduated with his J.D. degree and his M.B.A. in 1978.

After working as a beat reporter for the Associated Press, DeGraffenreidt practiced law at various private law firms including McKenna, Wilkinson and Kittner and Hart Carroll and Chavers. He specialized in telecommunications, public utilities and public finance. Between stints at these law firms, DeGraffenreidt served as Assistant People’s Counsel representing residential and non-commercial utility consumers in Maryland in major federal and state regulatory matters. In 1986, he was hired as the senior managing attorney for the Washington Gas. Five years later, in 1991, DeGraffenreidt was elected as the Vice President of Rates and Regulatory Affairs and was responsible for handling rate cases and other regulatory matters before the commissions that control the Washington Gas’ service territories. In addition, he also oversaw the company’s operating divisions in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

DeGraffenreidt became the president and chief operating officer of Washington Gas in 1994 and later became the company’s CEO in 1998. He has served on the boards of the Harbor Bankshares Corporation, Mass Mutual Financial Group, the American Gas Association and the Alliance to Save Energy. In 2007, DeGraffenreidt was elected to serve as chairman of the American Gas Association’s board of directors. During 2005 and 2006, he served as Industry Co-Chairman of the Alliance to Save Energy.

DeGraffenreidt lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and four children.

DeGraffenreidt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.005

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/31/2008 |and| 7/29/2008

Last Name

DeGraffenreidt

Maker Category
Middle Name

H.

Organizations
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DEG01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Eric Grant

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

No Favorite Vacation Spot

Favorite Quote

Let's not mistake the effect for the cause.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/8/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

No Favorite Food

Short Description

Energy chief executive and administrative lawyer James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr. (1953 - ) is the chairman, director and chief executive officer of the Washington Gas Light Company, which services the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Favorite Color

Blue

Herman Morris, Jr.

Herman Morris, Jr. was born on January 16, 1951, in Memphis, Tennessee, where he attended public school. From there, Morris attended Southwestern University at Memphis (Rhodes College), where he earned a B.A. in economics in 1973. He then went on to attend the Vanderbilt University School of Law, earning a J.D. in 1977.

Over the next twelve years, Morris worked in private practice with several Memphis-area law firms handling a wide variety of cases. In 1989, he left his law practice to become the first in-house general counsel for Memphis Light, Gas & Water. There, he initiated the Inner-City Legal Explorer Post in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America to provide opportunities for inner-city youth to gain exposure to the law and legal careers. In 1997, Morris was promoted to president and CEO of Memphis Light, Gas & Water. In this position, Morris oversees 2,700 employees and a $1.4 billion budget.

Morris is highly involved in a number of community and professional organizations. Currently, he is a director of the University of Tennessee Medical Group and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association. In addition, Morris serves on the Advisory Board of Bank of America. He is also the past president of the Memphis Branch of the NAACP, actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America, and has played an instrumental role as the Campaign Chairman of the United Way of the Mid-South. Morris has also been honored with numerous awards, including awards for business as well as his philanthropic contributions.

Morris and his wife, Brenda, live in Memphis.

Accession Number

A2003.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/27/2003

Last Name

Morris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Lester Elementary School

Lester High School

Rhodes College

Vanderbilt University Law School

First Name

Herman

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

MOR06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Ocean

Favorite Quote

It Is Better To Be Lucky Than Good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

1/16/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Memphis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Short Description

Energy chief executive Herman Morris, Jr. (1951 - ) was the CEO of Memphis Light, Gas & Water.

Employment

Memphis Light, Gas & Water

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:4375,82:4830,87:6325,160:6780,169:7235,177:8665,201:9380,213:11460,259:29282,438:30961,463:35122,545:35487,551:47398,689:48690,710:49166,718:49574,726:65938,965:66290,970:69546,1007:70162,1015:71922,1043:73066,1055:73770,1065:84168,1119:87006,1157:96410,1271:96886,1279:97906,1294:107310,1351:108570,1371:109060,1379:110110,1393:120540,1518:134085,1644:137710,1653:138988,1677:150030,1757:150456,1764:189890,2121:190394,2129:192122,2166:200280,2249:200882,2257:205784,2332:206386,2340:214340,2431:245270,2778:249263,2810:287323,3335:291302,3378:292149,3394:325570,3805$0,0:7052,69:24662,190:25184,197:33998,280:40438,380:44302,409:91240,893:92600,903:96900,909:119240,1144:119720,1153:132298,1305:136186,1363:140434,1443:142018,1489:147850,1535:153630,1604:153918,1609:166497,1739:166983,1746:167793,1757:197379,2155:197877,2162:204667,2211:210246,2278:213018,2306:234380,2639:241871,2714:245938,2802:257872,2984:259758,3016:260168,3022:275292,3109:295880,3283:296420,3294:298940,3319:303740,3368
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herman Morris, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herman Morris, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his family's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes family reunions at his great Aunt Debbie's

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herman Morris, Jr. talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his father's jobs and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his father's job as an elevator operator

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herman Morris, Jr. talks about his mother, Reba Garrett Watson

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his childhood in Binghampton, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his grade school years in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes the personal impact of his parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his parents' marriage which ended in the divorce

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his favorite teacher in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herman Morris, Jr. talks about playing sports in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herman Morris, Jr. talks about his college track career and the influence of Valeriy Borzov on his running technique

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes the end of his football career

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his experiences at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes a boycott organized by the Black Student Association, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes a boycott organized by the Black Student Association, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes working as a headhunter in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his decision to attend Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his experience at Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes desegregation litigation in St. Louis after graduating from Vanderbilt Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herman Morris, Jr. talks about his introduction to Memphis Light, Gas and Water division through an employment discrimination case

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes why he accepted a job offer from Memphis Light, Gas, and Water

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herman Morris, Jr. remembers his law school interview with Baker Botts L.L.P.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes how he became president of Memphis Light, Gas and Water

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes the philosophies that guide his leadership of Memphis Light, Gas, and Water

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes how he handled the natural gas crisis in 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herman Morris, Jr. talks about his work on the National Petroleum Council

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herman Morris, Jr. talks about the future of solar machines

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herman Morris, Jr. talks about addressing energy needs for the poor

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herman Morris, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herman Morris, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Herman Morris, Jr. talks about his introduction to Memphis Light, Gas and Water division through an employment discrimination case
Herman Morris, Jr. describes how he became president of Memphis Light, Gas and Water
Transcript
And another interesting thing that happened during that time, another interesting case that we [Ratner, Sugarmon, Lucas, Willis and Caldwell] had was a lawsuit that the justice department had filed in conjunction with us against Memphis Light, Gas, and Water Division for discrimination in their hiring practice, particularly for women and African-Americans. We were the lawyers on that suit. In fact, I was--really, I was carrying the briefcases of the senior partners that came in to do the actual litigation and discovery. And that was my first introduction to this building and, frankly, in many respects, to this company. We ultimately prevailed in the suit. The company entered into a settlement, a consent decree, which said it would hire folks based on merit; it wouldn't discriminate against African-Americans, women; that they would set targets for African-Americans and women to move out of--at that point, you're either housekeeping or grounds--to move into management positions. And that consent decree or quote Affirmation Action plan stayed in place. It was implemented on my watch as a lawyer, a prosecutor in the company, and it was extinguished on my watch as president; right about the time I became president--I think I was general counsel--as general counsel. So I have over the course of time switched sides on the case. Notwithstanding the consent decree having been extinguished or declared met or fulfilled, we still operate with very aggressive, what we now call, diversity goals and agenda; and are proud to preside over perhaps the most--absolutely the most diverse management team and organization with the possible exception of the Virgin Islands, that I'm aware of, in the industry. But it's kind of ironic that in a rather curious way, you know, I was the architect of my own success, even though not necessarily planned, it just fell into place that way.$$How did it--well, what are the steps leading to you, you know, achieving this position or coming to this position?$$I came--I practiced law and enjoyed it and had done well, had done fairly well and had no complaints. And someone suggested to me that I should send a resume in--I guess this was about 1988 when they were--they posted an ad to hire a general counsel. There were folks that were interested seeing an African-American general counsel; one, it would put an African-American at the management level. I know that there were two vice presidents that were then at that level. But it was--there was an interest in--and so I was encouraged. I sent a resume in. And the resume resulted in an interview, and I said, "Well, I'm really not interested, but I'll go over and talk with them." And I did. And it was one of those times that I felt comfortable in being just completely open and candid. In fact, I think I was trying to dissuade them from even being interested. So I didn't fold anything back, didn't pull any punches, and then basically told them here's how I was introduced to the company, blah--here's what I think was wrong then, here's where I--I was just pretty (unclear) and aggressive in terms of explaining and presenting the information. And I got another interview and another. And I remember telling my wife [Brenda Partee Morris], "I think I'm in trouble." I think--because each interview was with another rung up. I said, "I think they're really thinking about hiring me. They want me to come in and have a meeting with the CEO and the board." It was in this very office, and I did. And I--it was my one big chance, and I did the--it was a real, kind of strange interview; reminded me of another one I'd had some years early out. I'll share that with you in a minute. But I came in and I interviewed with the president and the board, and they said, "Thank you."$When I came into the position here [Memphis Light, Gas and Water] as president, I really didn't have an interview per se for the job. It's a "political appointment". And, quite frankly, I really didn't campaign for the job. To me it was sort of like quarterback in junior high school. I knew I was the guy for the job, just like I knew I was the guy for the position way back when. But I wasn't going to actively campaign. The mayor--it was a new mayor--and, in fact, previously I had been offered a promotion and had--to COO. But when the guy that hired me retired, but I turned that down. I said, "Well, I could be senior vice president or I could be general counsel. To my way of thinking, I was still very much a lawyer. General was much bigger than vice president. But, at any rate--and I'd only been with the company for two or three years then; but, at any rate, when I came into this role, there were several here who mounting tremendous campaigns for the job. But I knew that I was the best person for this company at that time. I was kind of like my friend in college who was the decathlete. Great athlete, but he never finished first in anything. He always finished second and third in everything. And at the end of the day, had more points than everybody. On the staff, I was probably, in terms of independent--culturally independent from the company culture--as the newest member of the executive team, I was the most independent. So if you wanted to make a change in the company, I was the guy. But in addition to that, I was probably the most active, engaged, involved, best known outside of the company and would be view as an acceptable or a reasonable successor. And within the company, I was frankly better than going outside and finding somebody they didn't know. But there was a major campaign. I didn't realize it at the time how much campaigning was going on. I simply said, "If you need me to do it, I'll do it for you," to the mayor. I said, "I'm interested, but I'm not going to bug you about it or campaign. He appointed me as the interim president, and said he was going to do a national search. And six months later the media--local media and the communities started pressing on, "Well, when are you going to do your national search? And why, you know, things seem to be going pretty well, why you need to do it? You know, Morris seems to have everything under control. Why you need to do a search at all?" So it enjoyed community acceptance and the mayor decided that he would then appoint me as the permanent--well, not permanent--it's five-year term CEO, which he did. There was never any doubt in my mind that I could do the job or that I was the right person for the job. I didn't realize how tough the job was (laughs) when I had--didn't have that job. But as between what needed to happen, what needed to be done, the changes that needed to be made and where the company could go, there was never any doubt in my mind that I was the person among the folks that I saw here that could do best what others might be able to do all right or well. That was my perspective and view. And, quite frankly, it's a better company. It's a much better company since we've instilled some--since we have modified it--modified and molded the culture into one that is more consistent with my philosophies and beliefs.

Rufus W. McKinney

Rufus William McKinney was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on August 5, 1930. McKinney was one of twelve children born to his parents, a minister and a homemaker. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in Jonesboro, McKinney attended Arkansas AM&N College, earning his B.A. in 1953. Upon graduation, he moved to Indiana, where he attended Indiana University and earned his J.D. in 1956. '

Following his graduation from law school, McKinney was hired by the United States Department of Labor as an attorney and adviser. He remained with the Department of Labor for thirteen years and joined Pacific Light Corporation in 1969 as an attorney. Within two year, he had risen to the position of senior attorney. In 1972, McKinney became assistant vice president with Southern California Gas Company, and in 1975 he was named vice president for national public affairs. He remained with Southern California Gas until his retirement in 1992.

McKinney has been active outside of his career as well. While serving with the Department of Labor in 1963, he became the vice president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the NAACP, a position he held until 1969. During that time he was also active with the National Urban League. In 1977, he co-founded the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), serving as chairman in 1980, and remaining active on the board of directors since. The AABE is devoted to ensuring that minority voices are heard when energy policy is deliberated. McKinney also serves on the Maryland Commission on Human Relations and is a member of the Epsilon Boule Fraternity. McKinney and his wife, Glendonia, live in Maryland. They have four children.

Accession Number

A2003.046

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/15/2003

Last Name

McKinney

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Northside School for Coloreds

First Name

Rufus

Birth City, State, Country

Jonesboro

HM ID

MCK03

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

If Your Money Lasts, Your Luck Will Change.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/6/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Energy chief executive and nonprofit chief executive Rufus W. McKinney (1930 - ) was the vice president of Southern California Gas Company and the co-founder of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE).

Employment

United States Department of Labor

Pacific Light Corporation

Southern California Gas Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6010,77:8504,110:21482,181:22686,192:23632,205:25524,228:34007,359:34876,374:37325,422:40890,430:45271,451:46219,466:47325,483:48826,510:59330,643:61280,676:67030,742:67480,749:67855,756:68230,762:69430,781:74530,862:74905,868:76105,886:81167,920:87139,972:92920,1028:93480,1037:110720,1232:111978,1252:112274,1257:115390,1274:116404,1287:121537,1334:125758,1375:126184,1383:127320,1407:134590,1445:135088,1452:135669,1460:140102,1493:142458,1546:162948,1731:167858,1752:168546,1762:171655,1786:179040,1853:180540,1867:181040,1873:181540,1879:185048,1919:185624,1929:186264,1942:194790,2019:195206,2029:201139,2085:201454,2091:201769,2097:208750,2123:209380,2130:210115,2138:213422,2147:214838,2161:219140,2194:219956,2209:220228,2214:225014,2275:225878,2285:236860,2367:237215,2374:237641,2381:239487,2411:240055,2420:240552,2428:247359,2502:248498,2517:257510,2604:257842,2609:258340,2616:261494,2664:263071,2692:263735,2701:269145,2752:269665,2763:280957,2896:281359,2904:284589,2922:285359,2935:287438,2964:293220,3003:313214,3180:313520,3187:320090,3279$0,0:7581,108:8973,129:21420,248:36555,402:37206,410:43681,423:44045,428:45592,444:49840,473:52920,491:54120,506:59025,535:59550,543:65320,565:67030,585:67695,593:68075,598:73120,617:75780,655:76900,673:82705,704:83917,718:84826,730:90620,750:91106,757:96924,807:97534,820:97961,828:99181,854:108990,926:116282,979:116670,984:121090,1028:125379,1077:126684,1089:129381,1130:134868,1170:135435,1179:142085,1263:146259,1284:150839,1331:151210,1339:151422,1344:156100,1374:158912,1423:160022,1442:171806,1561:185864,1731:188693,1773:189176,1782:193537,1804:193922,1813:199508,1829:199838,1835:204095,1880:207740,1951:223371,2138:229357,2262:229649,2267:233746,2281:234643,2299:235609,2330:236920,2343:238852,2385:239335,2391:244214,2441:248560,2489:249712,2511:273164,2733:274044,2773:276596,2829:281348,2954:282492,2971:289870,3040:296120,3156:297684,3181:298092,3188:298568,3196:299724,3225:300064,3231:302920,3299:317580,3383
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rufus W. McKinney's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his father's jobs and ministry

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rufus W. McKinney describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney recalls his community in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney shares memories of attending a one-room schoolhouse

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney recalls when his older brother moved to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his family life as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his father's church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his religious views

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rufus W. McKinney describes attending Booker T. Washington School in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rufus W. McKinney remembers his teachers at Booker T. Washington School in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney remembers winning third place in the New Farmers of America Public Speaking Contest, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney remembers winning third place in the New Farmers of America speech contest, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about missing a year of school in 1936

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney describes the high attrition at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney describes Arkansas AM&N College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney describes the debate team at Arkansas AM&N College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney describes learning how to become a good debater

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about marrying Dorothy Davis in college

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about working during college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his decision to become a lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about white lawyers' representation of black people in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about Professor Simon Haley

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney recalls working at Hesston's Grocery during college

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about the issue of race in Bloomington, Indiana in the early 1950s, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about the issue of race in Bloomington, Indiana in the early 1950s, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his first year at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his first year at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about finishing fifth in his class during his first year of law school

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney describes race relations at Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about the 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney shares his views on legal principles and race

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his family life during law school

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his law school colleagues

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Rufus W. McKinney recalls his difficulty getting hired after law school

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about recruiting black lawyers to work for the federal government

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about being hired at the U.S. Department of Labor

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his work at the U.S. Department of Labor

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Labor

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney describes affirmative action and the Philadelphia Plan

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney recalls the success of recruiting black lawyers to the U.S. Department of Labor

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about working with unions at the U.S. Department of Labor

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rufus W. McKinney describes the Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Rufus W. McKinney describes the Landrum-Griffin Act

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about government pay

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney describes being Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about leaving his job as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about moving to California in 1969

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney describes working at Pacific Light Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney describes practicing utility law in California

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney describes legal issues facing California utilities

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Rufus W. McKinney explains why he transferred to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about transferring to Washington, D.C. in 1972

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about the relationships he formed in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney describes the growth of his Washington, D.C. office

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney reflects upon his twenty year career

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney outlines why he was successful as a lobbyist

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his success as a lobbyist

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney describes lobbying during President Richard Nixon's administration

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Rufus W. McKinney recalls some issues that arose during his time as a lobbyist

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about enjoying his career as a lobbyist

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his retirement

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his consulting work

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his future plans

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Rufus W. McKinney describes his involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Rufus W. McKinney recalls the NAACP negotiations during Lyndon B. Johnson's inauguration in 1965 and other cases of discrimination

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his parents' pride in his success

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Rufus W. McKinney talks about his children and grandchildren

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Rufus W. McKinney reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Rufus W. McKinney narrates his photographs

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Rufus W. McKinney outlines why he was successful as a lobbyist
Rufus W. McKinney talks about his decision to become a lawyer
Transcript
But the most significant things for me was the kind of the pioneering of the effort for a person of my ethnic background and situation to--I wouldn't say encroach upon, but sort of crash into this area of operation that had not been, you know, one of the common ones, and--$$It was, it was like being part of a private club, in some respects.$$Well, in a way maybe, but not really. I don't think it was a private club so much as that it, it had been populated by a different set of people. They came into it from a different angle.$$And who were--what kind of angle had they come--(simultaneous)--$$Well, a lot of 'em were lawyers, and--but many of them had come up through their connections with senior people at headquarters. One of the things that I found interesting was my ability to convince my senior management that in order for me to be effective as their representative in Washington, I had to have officer status in the company, that is I, I didn't--I don't think I could have been as effective if I did not, if I were not considered an officer of the company. A lot of my counterparts reported to the chairman of the board at headquarters. And while I, I did report to the chairman on, on some, for a while, it was important for me to have that status, and that was not difficult for them to do. The other thing, of course, was the kind of understanding we came to about the philosophy we would adopt in operating. I'm a very highly ethical person. I would not do anything that I thought would be offensive to my status as an attorney. I felt very strongly about that, and so we came to an understanding. And I say this in my memoirs, that we were not gonna use money as our means of influence. We would use money to assist us I doing our work, and I--what did I mean by that? I, I wanted to have the capacity to entertain in an official way, which meant that if the other top lobbyists in this town were members of a country club, I needed to be a member of a country club too. So, I became a member of congressional, had some, some problems with that, their first black member. I needed to have strong support from the headquarters' experts and individuals who knew what it was we were trying to do, so it couldn't be a competitive situation. So that mean frequent trips back to headquarters; it meant I had the ability to call upon them when I needed somebody to accompany me to a critical meeting with an executive or an official. Rufus McKinney, the lawyer, is not the manager of the Pacific Indonesia Gas project. But if we are coming back--if we're trying to convince some people that we want to convince in Congress, or at the state department, or at the commerce department, or at mari--Maritime Administration, I wanted the person there with me who, who knew that project inside out, you know, not just going over there and repeating something somebody had told me about. So it was that kind of relationship that I insisted that we have and which we did have. I wanted to be a part of the executive group. Their perks were my perks, and, and I wanted to be treated with respect as a part of the senior management team of the company, and that's what we had. That's not the case now. We still have a Washington office, but it's changed.$So, how do--so, is the decision--does your wife know, or have you decided or, about going to law school?$$I decided to go to law school in I supposed end of my junior year in college. Harold Flowers practiced law in Pine Bluff [Arkansas]. He was related to my first wife, and distantly; they weren't close. His brother was a physician in the city. He delivered Rudy, my oldest kid, at home, in the Quonset huts. And I just decided then my heroes at that time were the black lawyers who were brave and courageous enough to go into hostile communities to defend black men and women charged with crimes. And to me that was the epitome of the height of courage. Because what people--some people don't understand is that in the South at that time, blacks essentially had no rights, no rights. And if you happen to be unlucky enough to be accused of a crime in a place, any place in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, especially a crime involving a white victim, you had very little chance. But you were, nevertheless, entitled to representation. And the lawyers who traveled to these kinds of situations--and you gotta remember that in those days, it was not just the prosecutor that you were fighting; you were fighting the whole system. You had the judge, the jury, the prosecutor, or all your opponents, because the already knew what they were gonna do. And that was really kind of what inspired me. Now I never did practice that kind of law, although I--except on the periphery. I, I never did go into private practice, and that's one of the disappointments in my life, that I didn't try my hand at being another Wiley Branton or Harold Flowers in the South.$$Now why do you say that?$$Well, I feel that in some ways my life has been unfulfilled because that was really what I dreamed about at that time. And being married, having a kid, when I got out of law school, there were other priorities. You know, starting, it was not a question of, you know, going into a law firm and, and drawing down what Chelsea Clinton is drawing (laughter) down as a freshman hot right out of college. There were no law firms hiring black lawyers, so you would either--if you were going into private practice, you had to go in, put your shingle out and see what happens. And with a family and obligations of that and all of that, I just said well, I don't know that I can afford that, that kind of a risk, which I probably should have taken, but I didn't. I chose the safe route of taking the government legal job. In that sense--but I started not--I started to leave the government at one time. I was negotiating for hooking up with a guy in Indiana, where, where I finished law school and passed the bar initially.$$Well, what you're essentially saying is that, that was your vision of law and the importance, and you went in to really make a mark and sort of (simultaneous)--$$Make a difference.$$Make a difference.$$Make a difference in the community that I grew up in--$$(Simultaneous)--$$--and the kind of circumstances that many blacks found themselves in. I felt that the law was the way--there, there were two really professions, or two professions that I think really made a, could make a difference: the legal profession and the teaching profession, especially in the secondary schools. To me those--that's where attitudes and, and, are formed in a lot of ways.