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Calvin "Kern" Grimes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2017.133

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/17/2017

Last Name

Grimes

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

David A. Ellis Elementary School

Henry Lee Higginson Elementary School

Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8 Inclusion School

Brighton High School

First Name

Calvin

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

GRI11

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barbados

Favorite Quote

Have A Great Day

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

1/12/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sirloin Steak With All The Fixings, Fish

Short Description

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

Employment

Grimes Oil Company, Inc.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

4$6

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

Kevin Shurn

Entrepreneur Kevin Shurn was born on October 20, 1956 in St. Louis, Missouri to Mattie Lou Shurn and Luther Clarence Shurn. He graduated from Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri in 1974, and enrolled at Forest Park Community College in St. Louis, Missouri, where he studied mechanical engineering technology and accounting.

In 1974, Shurn began his career as a draftsman for Zurheide-Herrmann Consultant Engineers Company. He then accepted a design and draftsman position at Fulton Iron Works, designing punch presses. In 1976, he became assistant sales manager at Fulton Iron Works and attended his first trade show, the International Machine Tool Show in Chicago, Illinois. Shurn was later promoted to manager of contract manufacturing in 1979, before he was hired at I.W. Industries in Kentucky in 1983. In the same year, he also incorporated his own business, Shurn and Associates. In 1988, he founded Superior Maintenance Company (SMC), and then in 1990, he attended Toyota Motor Corporation’s first Opportunity Exchange Program. By 1993, Superior Maintenance Company partnered with Toyota Motors, first supplying janitorial services to Toyota and then to provide Toyota’s die manufacturing equipment in Georgetown, Kentucky; Erlanger, Kentucky; Princeton, Indiana and San Antonio, Texas. In 2017, his company was awarded part of the Toyota’s North American headquarters facility in Plano, Texas.

Shurn has been featured in MBE magazine, Fortune, Black Enterprise and Ebony magazine.

Shurn was active in numerous state and local organizations, as a member of the Elizabethtown Rotary Club having served as president and assistant district governor. He was a Paul Harris Fellow and served on the Advisory Board of Republic Bank & Trust Company, the Vaughn Reno Starks Community Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, North Central Educational Foundation and Board of Trustees of The DePaul School. Shurn was a Bingham Fellows 2009 graduate and served on the University of Louisville Board of Overseers. Shurn was appointed by the Governor of Kentucky to the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board.

Shurn, and his wife Ivvy, have three children.

Kevin Shurn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.127

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/13/2017

Last Name

Shurn

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Kevin

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

SHU03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruising

Favorite Quote

Do all you can and then some.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Kentucky

Birth Date

10/20/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Louisville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Entrepreneur Kevin Shurn (1956 - ) was the founder and president of Shurn and Associates and Superior Maintenance Company, located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Favorite Color

Red

Wes Coleman

Entrepreneur Wes Coleman was born on March 12, 1950 in Halifax, Virginia to Bessie Bowman Coleman and Nathanial Wyatt Coleman. He earned his B.S. degree in business management from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia in 1971, and his M.B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1972.

In 1981, Coleman began working as a manager of compensation and benefits at S.C. Johnson. In 1989, he was transferred to London, United Kingdom as the regional human resources director of Southern Europe; he also had responsibilities in the Africa and Middle-Eastern divisions and a manufacturing plant in Holland. In 1993, Coleman was given a two-year assignment as the assistant to the president and chief executive officer of the company, William George. Coleman was then promoted in 1995 to the position of vice president of human resources for Asia-Pacific and North America, as the first African American to hold that position. Coleman remained at S.C. Johnson for over twenty years and in 2002, he was hired as vice president of global human resources for Nike, Inc. He then became executive vice president and chief resources officer at the Walt Disney Company in 2006, and served until he retired in 2008.

After retiring in 2008, Coleman was active in his community through different organizations. In 2016, he became the Grand Sire Archon of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity. Coleman was also a member of INROADS, SMART (Start Making a Reader Today), and SEI (Self-Enhancing Inc.), the United Negro College Fund, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. He also sat on the presidential advisory council for Hampton University and served as chairman of the board of trustees for, Hampton University, and on Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design. Coleman is a Life Member of the NAACP, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and a member of the National Association of Guardsmen. 

Coleman was recognized for his contributions to the community as well. During his time with S.C. Johnson, he was the recipient of the H.F. Johnson Community Service Award.

Wes Coleman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 18, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.114

Sex

Male

Interview Date

07/19/2017

Last Name

Coleman

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Wes

Birth City, State, Country

Halifax

HM ID

COL32

Favorite Season

Year round in So Cal

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Dubai

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/12/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood, Italian and hot foods

Short Description

Entrepreneur Wes Coleman (1951 - ) worked for S.C. Johnson for over twenty years and served as executive vice president and chief resources officer at the Walt Disney Company.

Favorite Color

Purple and gold

Donald V. Watkins

Lawyer and entrepreneur Donald V. Watkins was born on September 8, 1948 in Parsons, Kansas to Dr. Levi Watkins, Sr. and Lillian Bernice Varnado Watkins. Watkins graduated from the Alabama State University Laboratory School in Montgomery, Alabama in 1966. He then went on to receive his B.A. degree in 1970 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Watkins was awarded a Herbert Lehman Scholarship by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and earned his J.D. degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1973.

Following his graduation from the University of Alabama, Watkins joined the law office of Fred D. Gray, Rosa Parks’ attorney in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1979, he opened his own office in Birmingham, Alabama and became the youngest person ever elected to the Birmingham City Council, which he served on until 1983. From 1985 until 1999, Watkins served as Special Counsel to the Mayor of Birmingham, Richard Arrington, Jr. During his distinguished legal career, Watkins handled a number of landmark cases, including, Sidney Williams v. The City of Montgomery, Alabama in 1975, SCLC v. The City of Gadsen, Alabama in 1978, U.S. v. Richard Arrington, Jr. in 1991, and U.S. v. U.W. Clemon in 1996. In 1996 Watkins founded Watkins Pencor, a global energy investment company. In 2000, he co-founded Alamerica Bank in Birmingham. In 2002, he gained national attention when he attempted to purchase a Major League Baseball team. In total, he inquired about purchasing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Montreal Expos, the Minnesota Twins, and the Anaheim Angels. Watkins also co-founded Nabirm Energy Services Ltd. In Windhoek, Namibia in 2011.

Watkins has been an active member of his community throughout his career. He served as chairman and CEO of Masada Resource Group, LLC, as well as chairman of Alamerica Bank. Watkins also served on the board of directors of State Mutual Insurance Company in Rome, Georgia, and as a trustee for Alabama State University. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Watkins has five children.

Donald V. Watkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.089

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/01/2017

Last Name

Watkins

Maker Category
Middle Name

V.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Alabama State University Laboratory School

Alabama State Laboratory High School

Southern Illinois University

University of Alabama School of Law

First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Parsons

HM ID

WAT16

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bogota

Favorite Quote

I'd rather walk on my feet, die on my feet, than live on my knees.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

9/8/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Birmingham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Lawyer and entrepreneur Donald V. Watkins (1948 - ) served as special counsel to the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama from 1985 to 1999 and was chairman and CEO of Masasda Resources Group, LLC

Favorite Color

Sky blue

Emma Rodgers

Entrepreneur Emma Rodgers was born on September 16, 1944 in Niagara Falls, New York. Rodgers completed her freshman year at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas in 1966.

In 1977, Rodgers co-founded a mail order business for books, which eventually became the retail store, Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas. Rodgers’ support for African American authors, in association with Black Images Book Bazaar, brought commercial success and critical acclaim to numerous authors, including J. California Cooper, Edward P. Jones, E. Lynn Harris, and Edward Ball. In 1995, Rodgers founded Romance Slam Jam, an African American book genre conference event. The following year, Rodgers was selected as a member of the U.S. Information Agency Corridors of Culture team, which presented works at the “Muse to Marketplace” symposium in Accra, Ghana, Harare, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. In 2005, she organized and led a trip to Ghana for students from ROPP, Inc., an enrichment program for teenage girls. Black Images Book Bazaar closed its doors in 2006. However, Rodgers continued to hold book signings for established and upcoming authors. Since 2007, she served four terms on the Dallas City Planning and Zoning Commission.

Rodgers was an active participant in her community and has been involved with numerous organizations. She served as a board member for TeCoTheatrical Productions, and during the summers, Rodgers taught classes at the annual day camp. She was also the director for the Dallas Civil Rights Center, and served as a board member for Quuenhyte Publishers, and as a member of the advisory board for the Black Writer’s Alliance. She also facilitated a monthly book club and served as a publicist for the annual Irma P. Hall Theater Arts Festival.

She was the recipient of many awards and honors for her service to the community. In 2003, the Emma Award, which honored excellence in romance-action literature, was named in her honor. She was also the recipient of the Wordspace Award for Outstanding Support of Literature in 2004 and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Golden Soror of the Year in 2016. The Emma Rodgers Learning Laboratory was dedicated at Bishop Arts Theater in 2009.

Emma Rodgers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.067

Sex

Female

Interview Date

03/13/2017

Last Name

Rodgers

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Center Avenue School

13th Street School

Piney Point Elementary School

Evan E. Worthing Senior High School

Spelman College

Texas Southern University

University of Texas at Arlington

First Name

Emma

Birth City, State, Country

Niagara Falls

HM ID

ROD06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Suriname, Ghana

Favorite Quote

A People Without Knowledge Of Their History Is Like A Tree Without Roots.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

9/16/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard greens, cream peas, jalapeno cornbread, tabouli

Short Description

Entrepreneur Emma Rodgers (1944 - ) co-founded Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas and served as commissioner for the City of Dallas, City Plan.

Employment

Black Images Book Bazaar

TeCo Theatrical Productions

City of Dallas, Texas

Favorite Color

Teal

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Emma Rodgers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about her mother's early years

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers describes her mother's move to Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers talks about her mother and stepfather's marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers talks about moving between Texas and New York

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Emma Rodgers remembers her experiences in Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Emma Rodgers remembers celebrating Juneteenth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Emma Rodgers talks about the history of the Underground Railroad in St. Catharines, Canada

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Emma Rodgers remembers her early schooling in Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Emma Rodgers describes her experiences at Piney Point Elementary School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon her childhood in Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers remembers attending Evan E. Worthing High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers recalls her experiences at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about her participation in the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers remembers attending Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers recalls working on Lyndon Baines Johnson's campaign

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers talks about her influences at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers recalls her experiences as an early education teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers talks about meeting her business partner, Ashira Tosihwe

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Emma Rodgers recalls opening Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers talks about working with various publishers in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers remembers authors carried by Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers remembers authors carried by Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about the interest in black books during the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers reflects on gender in black literature

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers talks about children and young adult literature

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers describes the environment of Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers remembers hosting author Connie Briscoe

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers recalls working with W. Paul Coates

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Emma Rodgers talks about the process of bringing authors to her store

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Emma Rodgers describes the Rites of Passage Program for Girls, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers describes the Rites of Passage Program for Girls, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers talks about The Third Eye and Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers describes TeCo Theatrical Productions, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about book clubs in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon readership within black communities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers talks about her favorite authors

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers remembers actress Irma P. Hall

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers describes the Romance Slam Jam festival

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon the closing of Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers talks about the role of Black Images Book Bazaar in the community of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon the loss of independent black bookstores

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers remembers her experiences on the City Plan Commission of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about the Emma Rodgers Learning Laboratory in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers remembers author Francis Ray

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers talks about the Dallas Civil Rights Museum in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Emma Rodgers describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

10$8

DATitle
Emma Rodgers recalls opening Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas
Emma Rodgers describes the Romance Slam Jam festival
Transcript
I mean well how did you get started? I mean you--so you're gonna start a bookstore. Walk us through how, how you did it--$$Okay. Well by going to the National Association of Black Social Work [sic. National Association of Black Social Workers] convention, we would see books there and books that we liked. And so we started collecting titles, we made a list. We had a mailing list because when we first started, we started off as a mail order book firm. So we had an 8.5 by 11 [inches] that you would fold three times, on the outside was a place to put your address and what have you. We got a post office box, mailing address. And then we did the research, going to the libraries, using the books in print looking for publishers. And then contacting the publishers. Even met with publishers in public places. I can remember meeting with the Random House publisher [Random House Inc.; Penguin Random House] at, at, at that time Lancaster-Kiest library [Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Branch Library, Dallas, Texas]. So getting--writing the publishers, calling the publishers. And then they would have their sales reps to contact us.$$Okay.$$And then when we would travel going to Third World Press [Chicago, Illinois] and how I really got immersed into it--[HistoryMaker] Lerone Bennett was here speaking at a Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia] fundraiser. I said, "Well I'm gonna be in Chicago [Illinois]." He said, "Well come by my office," and I did. I went by there, met Mr. Johnson [HistoryMaker John H. Johnson], met him. And I told him about my interest in books. He said, "Well you need to see Basil Phillips." And Basil Phillips was the photo editor and represented the books there, the book division for Johnson [Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois]. And then Basil talked me, in two minutes or less, to attending my first American Booksellers [American Booksellers Association] conference which was in Los Angeles [California]. And I registered for it. [HistoryMaker] Maya Angelou and James Baldwin were the breakfast speakers for the breakfast I attended. I met Tom Feelings' literary agent.$$Yeah, Tom Feelings is a great artist.$$Great artist. 'Moja Means One' ['Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book,' Muriel Feelings], 'Jambo Means Hello' ['Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book,' Muriel Feelings].$$'Middle Passage' ['The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo'], his last one.$$Right. And so met them and I was sold. And then by going to the convention, I met other publishers. So that was '78 [1978]; we started in '77 [1977], so that was in '78 [1978]. And that's how we got connected with the publishers.$$So when you had the mail order business, you just--$$Had a limited number of titles that we carried. Third World Press and some other presses.$$And did you like, keep them in a certain room and just in a boxes or something?$$In my living room, in my living room at home and then in the--sold books out of the trunk of my car. And by being in Dallas [Texas], Dallas is a great convention city. So there were a number of national black conventions that came here. For example, one year there was a National Medical Association, National Dental [National Dental Association], National Hygienist [National Dental Hygienists' Association], National Nurse Association [National Black Nurses Association], and I forget the other medical. But there were a number of medical conventions here. So we elected to exhibit at the National Medical, then they--I remember one year Alpha Phi Alpha [Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.] met here. Oh, and then the Sleeping Car Porters [Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters] met here. That was just really great. And a number of sororities met here and fraternities met here. So we would exhibit there. So that's how we were able to grow our business. We both were still (unclear). By this time I was director of human resources for the Visiting Nurse Association [Visiting Nurse Associations of America], and then became a vice president. So this is how we nurtured our business.$$Okay. So this is you--$$And grew our business. And then moved it--we opened a flea market in '84 [1984]. And then became full time in 1986.$$Okay, so you and Ashira Tosihwe.$$Right.$$Okay. So you became full time in '86 [1986]?$$Right, in '86 [1986] we started our hours open Tuesday through Sunday. Needed one day off.$$Now when did you, when did you acquire the space? I mean the bookstore space [for Black Images Book Bazaar, Dallas, Texas].$$Well let me back up. We started in the flea market in Wynnewood Village shopping center [Dallas, Texas].$$Okay.$$Opened on Saturday and Sunday. And then in September of 1996 we opened up into about, little less than twelve hundred square feet in Wynnewood Village shopping center. And then in '92 [1992] we moved to about three thousand square feet.$$Okay so the first permanent store was in '86 [1986].$$Right.$$In Wynnewood and then in '92 [1992] you moved to a bigger space.$$Right.$I haven't asked you about the Romance Slam Jam.$$Oh yes, okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And Francis Ray, so.$$Yes, Francis Ray and my business partner Ashira Tosihwe and I founded it in 1995. There was some kind of major romance conference in Fort Worth [Texas]. And so Francis came and she said, "Ms. Rodgers [HistoryMaker Emma Rodgers], can we do something?" Because when we go to those conferences, all the white people just walk by and we're just sitting there. But let me back up. Francis Ray was the pediatric nurse at the early childhood center that my child attended. So how I connected with her at first, she sent this note with Candace [Candace Rodgers] being the second child, she sent this note pinned on Candace saying that she needed an immunization. So of course I took her to the pediatrician. But that was when Francis Ray was being published by Ms. Latisha Peeples [ph.]. It was only like three or four books out. So that's how we started it. The black authors go to the convention, and this is a convention for romance readers. But the--nobody would stop by and talk to them. So we had something at Black Images [Black Images Book Bazaar, Dallas, Texas]. We did it in '95 [1995] and '96 [1996], and then we toured in '97 [1997]. And then '98 [1998] we did a, we did a cruise. We cruised in '97 [1997], cruised in '98 [1998]. Didn't do anything in '99 [1999] and then 2000 we had it back here. And that was when we found the model of a book club, bookstore and an author hosting it. Anna Laurence was the host for that. And Beverly Jenkins was our keynote speaker. She was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Now this is--as I remember, a friend of mine had a bookstore in the early '70s [1970s]. Used to carry Harlequin romances.$$Right.$$He had a black bookstore, but he had, he had other things in there.$$And the problem with Harlequin during that era was that they would have--the characters didn't look right to fit the copy inside the book. That changed later. So we had those conferences and then in 2001 Romance Slam Jam left home. My baby grew up, left home. Brenda Woodbury was here and she said, "Emma, I think I can take this to Orlando [Florida]." And that was our first one in Orlando. Shaq's mother [Lucille O'Neal] was one of the underwriters, they had several underwriters. Brenda Jackson who's a now a New York Times [The New York Times] bestseller was the author, and a book club hosted it. We had a live band and Montsho [Montsho Books, Orlando, Florida] was the bookstore that was part of the planning team. And so they was sitting around and they said, "Well you know we need to have an award." And they all said, "Emma," immediately. And, because of my lead in helping to market and promote what they did and I can remember Jackie [Jackie Perkins] presenting the award to me because of my dedication and commitment to the romance writers. And it was purely be--out of marketing. They were just not marketing and promoting and making all this money for the publishers.$$Yeah, let me just backtrack again. What I was trying to say back there was that there was--people were buying these Harlequin romances, but none of them were about black people or very few.$$Right.$$And so there was a group of--I know there were a couple of women in Chicago [Illinois] that were poets, started writing black romance novels, and self-publishing them and other people started doing it around the country. So what you're saying is that you kind of gathered this little--this movement of women who were writing these romance novels and focused it.$$Exactly. Because Harlequin was publishing them and they published them under different imprints, Pinnacle [Pinnacle Books, Inc.], changed names and what have you. But it was to get the word out because romance period in all publishing, sells more books than any other genre, romance. And so all these authors were coming out with all this great work and they were not being marketed and promoted. So then at our booksellers convention [American Booksellers Association], some of these house--Kensington [Kensington Publishing Corporation] started hosting receptions for them because their business had grown so due to these romance authors. So anything that they would do, they could do to help grow the audience, grow their bottom line, they did. And so last--it was in Detroit [Michigan] in 2016. And it was--we keep growing; quite successful.$$Yeah, this is the Romance Slam Jam.$$Right.$$And, and organiza- I mean the slam jam presents the Emma Award for the best writer (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, and that's a, that's the closing ceremony.

Beverly Parker

Entrepreneur Beverly Parker was born on December 26, 1954 in Washington, D.C. to Bernard Kemp and Virginia Kemp. Parker attended Randolph Elementary School and Coolidge High School, where she graduated from in 1972. She earned her B.S. degree in education from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1976, and her M.B.A degree in finance from Southeastern University in Washington, D.C. and completed post-graduate M.B.A. programs at the Dartmouth University Tuck School of Business in Hanover, New Hampshire and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business in Evanston, Illinois.

In 1976, Parker began her career working as a customer service representative for the Potomac Electric Power Company, where she remained until 1980, when she joined the Xerox Corporation as an operations manager in the finance division. Parker then co-founded Washington Cable Supply with her husband, William Parker, in 1984. As executive vice president for Washington Cable Supply, Parker was responsible for supply chain operations management, for Fortune 500 company clients such as AT&T, Bell South, Verizon, and Lucent. Her company, Washington Cable Supply became the seventh largest African American owned company in the United States, before Parker and her husband, retired in 2003.

Parker has received many awards and recognitions for her work with Washington Cable Supply. She was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Virginia Regional Minority Development Council, “Business Woman of the Year” by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce in 2002, and was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women of 2002, and earned a place on the list of “Who’s Who In Corporate America.”

Parker was an active participant in her community and resided on several boards, including the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, the Prince Georges County Chamber of Commerce, and The Chimes, a charitable organization that trained and supported people with developmental disabilities. She was also a member of the board of directors for the Miami-Dade Foundation, United Way, Miami Children’s Museum, and the Arscht Performing Arts Center. In 2004, she and her husband founded the Kemp-Parker Charitable Foundation to provide scholarships to minority students.

Beverly Parker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.048

Sex

Female

Interview Date

03/08/2017

Last Name

Parker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Rudolph Elementary School

Calvin Coolidge Senior High School

Morgan State University

Southeastern University

First Name

Beverly

Birth City, State, Country

Washington, DC

HM ID

PAR11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Egypt

Favorite Quote

Be Good, Be Quick, Be Gone

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

12/26/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soft shell crab

Short Description

Entrepreneur Beverly Parker (1954 - ) co-founded Washington Cable Supply, Inc. and served as its executive vice president, an electrical and telecommunications equipment distributor.

Employment

Potomac Electric Company

Xerox Corporation

Washington Cable Supply

Favorite Color

Green

Bill Parker

Entrepreneur Bill Parker was born on February 13, 1955 in Newark, New Jersey to William Parker and Beryl Parker. He attended Tremont Avenue Elementary School in Orange, New Jersey and Orange High School, where he graduated from in 1972. Parker earned his B.A. degree in economics from Denison University in Granville, Ohio in 1976, and received his M.B.A. degree in business and public administration from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida in 2002.

Parker began his career as a job analyst in the labor relations department at Potomac Electric Power Company in 1976 and served in that position until 1981. He then joined Xerox Corporation’s sales and marketing group and remained there until 1984, when he was hired by Motorola and worked in its sales and customer service department. That same year, Parker co-founded Washington Cable Supply, Inc. with his wife, Beverly, and served as its chief executive officer and president. The company was named by USA Today as the seventh largest African American owned company in the United States and was consistently listed on the Black Enterprise “Be Industrial/Service 100” list for more than a decade. Their clients included Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, Bell South, Verizon, and Lucent.

Parker was featured on Black Enterprise’s “Top 100” list from 1992 through 1999, and was featured in the magazine’s “New Power Generation” issue in 1999. He was also awarded a citation from Denison University in 2001, the 12 Good Men Award from McDonald’s in 2006, and the Pleasures of the Palate Award from the Diabetes Research Institute in 2009. In 1997, Parker was featured on the cover of Fortune magazine’s April issue. He was named the “Supplier of the Year” by ATT, Alcatel-Lucent, and Potomac Electric Power Company as well.

Parker served on the board of directors for the Orange Bowl Committee, Camillus House, Kemp-Parker Family Foundation, the Miami Art Museum, and the Y.M.C.A. of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He also served as chair of Capital Commitment, Inc. In 2009, Parker served as a founding trustee of the 2009 Miami Wine and Food Festival.

Bill Parker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.047

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/08/2017

Last Name

Parker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Orange High School

Denison University

Southeastern University

First Name

Bill

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

PAR10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

India

Favorite Quote

It's all good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

2/13/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

French toast

Short Description

Entrepreneur Bill Parker (1955 - ) co-founded Washington Cable Supply, Inc. and served as its president and CEO, voted the seventh largest African American owned company in the U.S.

Employment

Potomac Electric Company

Zerox

Motorola, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Charles Bush

Entrepreneur Charles Bush was born on November 2, 1942 in Clearview, Oklahoma to Charlie Bush and Octavia Johnson McDonald. Bush graduated from De La Salle Military Academy in Kansas City, Missouri in 1971; and went on to attend Texas Southern University.

Bush purchased the Star Dust Motel in 1971, which included on its property the 20 Grand Club. He went on to own or invest in numerous clubs throughout the Houston, Texas area such as The 50 Yardline, The Speak Easy, Champagne Room, Pizzazz, Real Faces, Jam City, Rag Tops, and La Club Rivera. In 1981, Bush began to diversify his investments by acquiring Charlie’s Oyster Bar, Grand Records in 1982, and Grand Motor Cars in 1983. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Bush expanded his business to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, opening Tailwinds Bar & Snack Foods, Time Out Bar, Primo Coffees and Liqueurs, and Rider’s World Bar Grub & Gear. He also opened two Fly Bar establishments at Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport. In 2008, his firm, Charles Bush Consulting, LLC, engaged in a joint venture with SSP America, and later that year, he invested in a joint venture at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. For more than forty years, Bush invested in over fifty bars and restaurants.

Bush received numerous awards and recognitions for his business ventures. He was presented three City Medallions by former mayors of Houston, a certificate of appreciation for meritorious service to the community by the City of Houston, a certificate of merit by the Legislative Black Caucus of the State of Texas, and the Mickey Leland 18th Congressional District Service Award. He was also the recipient of a Sports Merit Award from Texas International Sports, a Community Involvement Award from All American Rodeo Association, a Hall of Fame Award by the Club Owners Association, and was named Club Owner of the Year for ten consecutive years by the Night Club Owners Association.

Bush has two sons, Charles Andre and Charles J., and two daughters, Ryan and Taylor.

Charles Bush was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 29, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.138

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/29/2016

Last Name

Bush

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

M.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

De La Salle Military Academy

Texas Southern University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Clearview

HM ID

BUS05

Favorite Season

All of them

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Never had one

Favorite Quote

Keep the wheels on the wagon.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

11/2/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Entrepreneur Charles Bush (1942 - ) began his entrepreneurial career at age 16, as a club owner. He would go on to own and operate, or invest in, over 60 nightclub and entertainment ventures in Houston and surrounding cities.

Employment

Bush International, LLC

Various Clubs

Various Airport Food and Beverage Concessions

Favorite Color

Blue

Denise Bradley-Tyson

Marketing executive and entrepreneur Denise Bradley-Tyson was born on December 5, 1958, in Chicago, Illinois to Lacey Bradley and Howard Bradley. Her family moved to Newark, Ohio, where she was raised, and where she graduated from Newark High School in 1977. Bradley-Tyson earned her B.A. degree in economics and communications from Stanford University in 1981, beginning her career in marketing and communications for HBO and Levi Strauss & Co. before attending Harvard Business School, where she earned her M.B.A. degree in 1986.

Bradley-Tyson worked as the business manager for CBS News’ Chicago Bureau until 1991, when she was recruited by Paramount Pictures to work on production finance for “The Arsenio Hall Show.” In 1993, Bradley-Tyson successfully pitched QVC on its first African-themed merchandising program, “The African Marketplace.” She moved on to Warner Brothers’ consumer products division as brand licensing manager, where she developed the merchandising strategy for Michael Jordan’s film, Space Jam. She would become director of international marketing for Warner Brothers, supporting the firm’s international offices and developing their marketing campaigns. She moved to London in 2000, where she was recruited by the Southbank Centre, Europe’s largest centre for the arts, to oversee audience development for the largest African contemporary art exhibition in Europe, “Africa Remix.” During her time in London, she also served on the steering committee of the Arts Council England under Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bradley-Tyson left London in 2005 when she was recruited to become the founding executive director of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California. She brought the museum national and international recognition in its inaugural years. In 2015, Bradley-Tyson founded Inspired Luxe, an online curated shopping company.

Bradley-Tyson has garnered several honors in her career both for her business and marketing acumen, as well as her passion for the arts. She was presented a "Profile of Excellence" award by ABC-7, San Francisco, featured as a role model in Morrie Turner's syndicated cartoon, "Wee Pals," and named by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Bay Area's Most Influential Women of 2007. Bradley-Tyson serves as President of the San Francisco Film Commission, and serves as Vice Chair of San Francisco Travel’s Tourism Diversity Committee.

Bradley-Tyson lives in San Francisco with her husband, Bernard Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.

Denise Bradley-Tyson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2015.

Accession Number

A2015.009

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/17/2015

Last Name

Bradley-Tyson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Denise

Schools

Stanford University

Harvard Business School

Newark High School

Conrad Elementary School

Lincoln Junior High School

First Name

V.

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BRA15

Favorite Season

Anytime

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

If You Can Conceive It, You Can Achieve It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/5/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo, Grits, Fried Catfish, Fried Chicken, Caviar

Short Description

Marketing executive and entrepreneur Denise Bradley-Tyson (1958 - ) served as the founding executive director of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California. She also developed the merchandising strategy for Michael Jordan's Space Jam and the marketing campaign for the Africa 05 art initiative.

Employment

British Broadcasting Corporation

Ogilvy and Mather

Home Box Office

Levi Strauss and Company

Chase Manhattan Bank

CBS News

Paramount Pictures Corporation

Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

Warner Home Video

Hayward Gallery

Museum of the African Diaspora

Inspiredluxe.com

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Denise Bradley-Tyson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Denise Bradley-Tyson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about her parents' personalities and how they met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Denise Bradley-Tyson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers her community in Newark, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes the racial demographics of Newark, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers her father's death from lung cancer

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about her home life

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers her college aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her experiences at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about the black community at Stanford University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers her college internships

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her aspirations and influences at Stanford University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her first work experiences after graduation

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her decision to attend Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Denise Tyson-Bradley talks about the Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Denise Tyson-Bradley remembers her peers and professors at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls her decision to pursue a career in the media industry

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Denise Tyson-Bradley describes her role at CBS News

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls joining the Paramount Pictures Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Denise Tyson-Bradley talks about the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Denise Tyson-Bradley remembers launching an African merchandising program on QVC

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls joining Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls her role as director of international marketing for Warner Home Video

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Denise Tyson-Bradley talks about the African American entertainment executives

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers moving to London, England

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her work on the Africa 05 project

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her experiences as an expatriate in London, England

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls joining the Museum of the African Diaspora

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls launching the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her role at the Museum of the African Diaspora

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her decision to leave the Museum of the African Diaspora

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers the deaths of her parents

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about her marriage to Bernard J. Tyson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Denise Bradley-Tyson reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Denise Bradley-Tyson shares her plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Denise Bradley-Tyson reflects upon the legacy of her generation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Denise Bradley-Tyson reflects upon the black experience

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Denise Bradley-Tyson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Denise Bradley-Tyson narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Denise Bradley-Tyson narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls joining Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.
Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls launching the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California
Transcript
And so I went from there [QVC, Inc.] to working at Warner Brothers [Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.]. Again leveraging my experience in terms of, and love of product and merchandising to ending up working in Warner Brothers consumer products. Where I was charged with I, you know, working with the team to help revitalize the Looney Tunes franchise. And it was done through Michael Jordan's 'Space Jam.' And so, I developed the branding strategy for that movie, for Warner Brothers consumer products which was hugely successful. From there I went to--$$Now, how large was the, your budget for that? And how much, how, what does success mean, in terms of revenue?$$They made over 100 million [dollars] from the licensing products associated with the movie, which then was a big number. Well it made in several hundred million I'm sorry, several hundred million on the, the licensing. The licensing was a much bigger sort of revenue generator I think than the movie itself. But, then a lot those movies exist to sell merchandise.$$(Unclear) this was, this was really a new trend at that point don't you think? I mean this and that, you're talking about in some respects is that called product placement?$$Sort of. It was licensing development where you are granting companies the right to put, you know, Looney Tunes on a t-shirt, on a toothbrush. And probably the closest analogy that sort of, you know, in terms of tapering to the present time is you look at all the, the product tie ins. And product that's been developed around the 'Star Wars' movie ['Star Wars: The Force Awakens']. So, everything that you can think of from, you know, cradle to grave we were selling. You know, with the Looney Tunes image you were paying a whole lot more if it included Michael Jordan. Always very savvy about his use of his image.$$In fact he just, he just won a big case and donated the money to--$$To Chicago [Illinois] charities.$$Um-hm.$$I think that was just announced yesterday.$Well, you would have been a real find for a startup black museum [Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, California],$$Um-hm.$$Um-hm. And were they interested in your marketing background too in the, the merchandising and things like, was that?$$All that came into play and--$$So, so talk about what did you to launch the museum, 'cause it's one thing to have a building, it's another thing to open an institution. So, tell, tell us what you did?$$You know, we had lots of PR [public relations]. And you know, lots of access and large part that's to people like, you know, Belva [HistoryMaker Belva Davis]. Even though, I had worked with another local PR firm. As you know, San Francisco [California] said it's a little town with a big footprint. But, everything from, you know, I secured a cover story in The New York Times arts section to a piece in the Financial Times. I guess in some respects, you know, a visionary, but we also I mean in terms possibilities. You know, just as I was when I was growing up in terms of if you believe it you can achieve it. To, you know, the logo were already served, they had already been working with a firm out of L.A. [Los Angeles, California] to come up with the, the logos and the branding. So, it was a question of how the, you know, the implementation in terms of, of applying those across merchandise. How I opened the, with my staff, opened the gift store for the institution. Established the pricing model, the opening hours, I mean the hours of operations. I mean it truly was a, a start up, yeah.$$So, the, the whole thing is that this would have been the first of its kind on the West Coast, right?$$Um-hm.$$And I think there, there had been a conscious decision to go after, to focus on the diaspora--$$Um-hm.$$--with it, right?$$Um-hm.$$So, with, how--$$And the thing that I was particularly attracted to about what they were doing too as someone who had lived abroad and traveled extensively is that in someone who feels very passionately about education. And, you know, using the arts as a tool to educate and break down barriers so that they were--the museum was committed to again connecting the cultural dots. You know, showing first and foremost that we are all African. And how culture emanated from Africa, how it manifests itself in terms of its people migrated, you know, throughout the world. And, so that was a very powerful, for me, that was a very powerful mission that the museum had.$$And what did it take so, how long did it take from the time you were hired to the museum opening?$$It was very short. I was hired in--I think I was hired in April or May, but then wrapped things up--I started in June and we opened in December.$$That's a quick turnaround.$$Um-hm. As I said, you know a lot of things were already in place. And they already had a wonderful, you know, Lizzetta Collins was the curator, Dr. Lizzetta Collins [Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins], and had put together wonderful opening exhibit. So, again my job was sort of, you know, then starting to work with the, the board on the gala. And you know, all the wonderful things that go along with the keeping a nonprofit going on the fundraising side.$$And, and how much did you, how much did you raise, ultimately?$$For our first gala (unclear) I think we raised over, around five hundred thousand [dollars] on that one. But, then there's sort of the ongoing, in terms of finding you know underwriters for the ongoing institution. And, you know, for exhibitions schedule. But, these things become and you look at a place like, you know, the Studio Museum [Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York], which has such a wonderful team in place. Both, in terms of, you know, under [HistoryMaker] Thelma Golden but as well as, you know, their board. In terms of, having their model down so you look to places like that to borrow from best practices. In terms of, you know, people who've been doing it at such a high level for a long time.

Edward Lewis

Magazine publisher and entrepreneur Edward Lewis was born on May 15, 1940, in the Bronx, New York. His father was a night shift janitor at City College; his mother a factory worker and beautician. Lewis attended De Witt Clinton High School, where he excelled academically and was a star fullback on the football team. Upon graduating from high school in 1958, he earned a football scholarship to the University of New Mexico. Lewis received his B.A. degree in political science in 1964 and his M.A. degree in political science and international relations in 1966, both from the University of New Mexico. He later graduated from Harvard University’s Small Business Management Program.

Lewis worked first as an administrative analyst for the City Manager’s Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1964 to 1965, and then as a financial analyst at First National City Bank in New York City from 1965 to 1969. In 1969, he co-founded Essence, a magazine specifically targeted to black women, and went on to serve as CEO and publisher of Essence Communications, Inc. for three decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, Lewis expanded Essence Communications to include a weekly television show, fashion line and mail order catalogue, as well as an annual awards show and Essence music festival. In 1992, Lewis acquired Income Opportunities from Davis Publishing; and, in 1995, he co-founded Latina magazine, a bilingual publication geared toward Hispanic women.

In 1997, Lewis became the first African American chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America. In October 2000, Lewis engineered a partnership with Time, Inc. and Essence Communications was sold to Time in 2005. He later joined the private equity firm Solera Capital as a senior adviser and published a memoir, The Man from Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women, in 2014.

Lewis has sat on the boards of TransAfrica, the Rheeland Foundation, New York City Partnership, the Central Park Conservancy, A&P, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Teachers College of Columbia University, Spelman College, Tuskegee University and the Harlem Village Academy; and served as chairman of Latina Media Ventures. He also served on President Barack Obama’s Board of Advisors for the Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Essence magazine ranked seventh on Advertising Age’s 2003 “A-List,” which was the first time that an African American targeted publication received the honor. Lewis’s personal awards include the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Publishing from Ernst & Young; the President’s Award from One Hundred Black Men of America, Inc.; the Frederick Douglass Award from the New York Urban League; the United Negro College Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the American Advertising Federation Diversity Achievement Award; the Henry Johnson Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Henry Luce Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2014.

Edward Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 7, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.224

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/7/2014

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

DeWitt Clinton High School

University of New Mexico

Georgetown University Law Center

P.S. 35 Stephen Decatur School

P.S. 2 Morrisania School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

LEW20

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bali, Indonesia

Favorite Quote

No Doubt About It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/15/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potato

Short Description

Magazine publishing chief executive and entrepreneur Edward Lewis (1940 - ) cofounded Essence Communications, Inc., where he served as the CEO and publisher of Essence magazine.

Employment

Solera Capital

Essence Communications, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:8058,82:9180,93:9588,98:10914,116:15708,214:16422,222:29136,416:29815,424:44994,705:95065,1324:96374,1344:98068,1377:102457,1444:107924,1526:158530,2181$0,0:300,3:700,8:12287,123:12691,128:18246,201:18953,209:19357,214:22412,250:34602,501:34894,506:60475,890:87458,1301:100991,1466:100481,1477:101017,1494:101553,1503:102022,1513:107918,1629:127357,1951:150944,2279:161648,2458:162043,2464:167336,2578:168363,2603:168916,2612:169627,2623:169943,2628:180990,2778:182270,2796:182830,2804:216717,3199:220480,3273:221502,3282:234955,3464:235175,3469:235670,3480:238640,3515:239207,3524:250164,3684:250822,3693:251950,3708:257496,3789:263341,3861:263852,3869:266283,3883:268303,3912:269010,3920:269717,3933:274460,3988:279860,4067:282470,4075
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Lewis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about his experiences as an only child

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis talks about his maternal family members

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about his maternal family's decision to move north

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Lewis remembers his maternal aunt, Matilene Spencer Berryman

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward Lewis describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes the racial dynamics of the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers his education in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis describes his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about his mother's second marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers caring for his paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis remembers visiting his maternal family in Farmville, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis remembers DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis recalls his recruitment to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis talks about adjusting to the University of New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis remembers losing his college athletic scholarship

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis recalls his coursework in Russian history

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his student activism

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers his admission to Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about the careers of his football teammates at the University of New Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis talks about President Richard Nixon

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis recalls losing his scholarship to Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis remembers his experiences at First National City Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers the formation of The Hollingsworth Group, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis remembers the formation of The Hollingsworth Group, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis describes the initial structure of The Hollingsworth Group

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis remembers the first issue of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis talks about the founding of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis describes the early advertising in Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis recalls the overhead costs at Essence Communications, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers his mentors in the publishing industry

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the success of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about the early editors in chief of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis remembers his former business partners' lawsuit

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis describes Essence's relationship with Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis remembers Marcia Ann Gillespie

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis recalls promoting Susan Taylor as the editor in chief of Essence magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis talks about the magazine industry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes the growth of Essence Communications, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers creating the Essence Music Festival

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the success of the Essence Music Festival

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about Black Enterprise magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes the advertising challenges at Essence Communications, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers his business relationship with John H. Johnson

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about Camille Cosby's board membership at Essence Communications, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes the negotiations between Essence Communications, Inc. and Time Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis describes his departure from Essence Communications, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis talks about the future of Essence magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis describes his departure from Essence Communications, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the title of his book, 'The Man from Essence'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Edward Lewis reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Edward Lewis talks about his second marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Edward Lewis describes his aspiration to become a blues singer

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Edward Lewis recalls his coursework in Russian history
Edward Lewis remembers creating the Essence Music Festival
Transcript
Well, you also took up Russian studies and?$$I was very--my curiosity in terms of reading, I read some of the great Russian novelists: Tolstoy [Leo Tolstoy], Dostoyevsky [Fyodor Dostoyevsky]; and I decided to take Russian history. And--I had already taken Russian civilization--that's required when you, in your first years at the university [University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico]. But my interest in Russian history, the professor there was a man named Henry Tobias [Henry J. Tobias]. Henry was a graduate, from Paterson, New Jersey, went to Ohio; got his Ph.D. in Stanford [Stanford University, Stanford, California]. But he taught Russian history, and I took this course. And just--I just ate it up. And I did not know that Professor Tobias was interested in me; and I was on my way--I had gone to the student administration building. I was on my way to the student union to get some coffee, he was coming out, the professor, and he said, "Ed [HistoryMaker Edward Lewis], are you going to have some coffee?" And I said yes. He said, "Do you mind if I sit with you?" I said, "By all means, please." And we sat and he proceeded to--he and I proceeded, to talk for the next three and a half hours. I had never had anyone do that with me. And so as a result of that, this man just opened my head up intellectually; and then I took Russian history. He also taught Chinese history, so I took Chinese history. And so my background in terms of--I was a political science major, but I had an interest in international affairs--particularly, Russian and Chinese history. And so in my travels, I've gone to the Far East, I'm going to China, I've not been to Russia yet but I hope to go to Moscow [Russia] and St. Petersburg [Russia] at some point. But I have a, just a familiarity of Russia, in particularly how serfs, serfdom was portrayed, and how these Russians had to overcome that; and I compare that to how we as blacks had to live in a society in terms of how we had to overcome, too. So I just sort found some familiarity in things of--and when I looked at what happened to the people who were really slaves too and looked at what is happening to us.$So talk about how that came, came about 'cause--?$$That came about because--1994, I was having drinks with a legend in the jazz world, impresario, a man by the name of George Wein. He--George started Newport Jazz Festival, he has a New Orleans jazz festival [New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival]. And he and I were having drinks, and I was telling him about my upcoming, upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary of Essence [Essence Communications, Inc.]. And I'd like--and I, I said, "I'm gonna do the same thing, big party in New York [New York], thank all the advertisers and thank everyone," I said, "I'd like to do something a little bit different." He said to me, "Have you ever thought about doing a music festival in New Orleans [Louisiana] at the Superdome [Louisiana Superdome; Mercedes-Benz Superdome] over the 4th of July weekend?" I looked at him, "No, I had not thought about that." But there was a germ of a, of a, a synergistic opportunity. New Orleans, music, magazine--maybe there's something there. So I suggested he come to my office, make a presentation. He did to Clarence [Clarence Smith], Susan [HistoryMaker Susan Taylor] and my chief financial officer [Harry Dedyo]. Everyone was lukewarm. I listened and thought about it and decided to come to do it and he and I were partners. We were equal partners, 50/50 partners, and that's how we came together in 1995. Lo and behold we had about--roughly, about 100--between 100 and 145,000 people who came. And I can remember giving my speech to fifty thousand people at the Superdome, thanking everyone from the bottom of my heart. I was humble that people would come out and, and be supportive of Essence over its twenty-five years of being in business; and that's how it happened. And the very next year, however, I was about to pull the plug because the, the governor, the new governor of the State of Louisiana, Robert Foster [sic. Mike Foster], made the decision to eliminate all affirmative action programs for the State of Louisiana. I'm a big proponent of affirmative action; and, and, and the way we promoted the festival [Essence Music Festival] was through the magazine, and so word of mouth had gotten out that we may not be doing this, and as you can well imagine, that precipitated a reaction. Marc Morial [HistoryMaker Marc H. Morial], who is now leader of the Urban League [National Urban League] was mayor of, of, of New Orleans. I was--as I said, I was not going back, but then the lieutenant governor of Louisiana, Blanco [Kathleen Blanco], who ultimately became the governor called me and asked if I would be willing to meet with the governor of Louisiana and tell you a story. And I was open to that. And I was--and I also knew that the Urban League was going to hold its convention in New Orleans several weeks later. So I called Hugh, [HistoryMaker] Hugh Price, and told him what I was thinking: "Why don't you hold off doing the, doing the Urban League and you and I go together to Louisiana, Baton Rouge." We went and I explained to the governor why affirmative action is so important to me. I said there's one of our great entertainers, it was a man by the name of James Brown, he had some lyrics, one of his songs ['I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing'], open the door. And all I asked, in terms of how I define affirmative action, is to open the door. Once the door's open, you don't need to give me anything. I can compete with anybody, but what happens is that we don't even get a chance to open the door. And so if you don't open the door, I'm gonna fight you tooth and nail. And he listened, got him to modify his affirmative action edict enough for me to make the decision to go back in 1996. By the time I had decided to go back, word had gotten out that we were not coming back, we're not able to get the sponsors; I lost over a million dollars. And George Wein, who had been my partner decided that this was too onerous and so that's when I made another decision that Essence would do this on its own; and, and so the rest is really history.