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Vivian R. Jones

Founder and CEO Vivian R. Jones was born on September 3, 1948 in Sweet Home, Arkansas to Annie B. and German Jones. As a child, Jones relocated to Chicago, where she earned her A.A. degree in Social Services from Kennedy-King College. Jones completed her B.A. degree and her M.Ed. degree in Education from Chicago State University, and later received her Honorary Doctorate Degree of Divinity from the International Pentecostal Assemblies Ecumenical College of Bible Theology.

Dr. Jones has overcome many obstacles in life as she has worked toward fulfilling her commitment to improving the lives of others. In 1992 she founded Annie B Jones Community Services, Inc. (ABJ), which is a community based social service agency that provides much needed services to children, families, seniors, and the community at large. ABJ was named in memory of Dr. Jones’ mother Annie B. Jones, Mrs. Jones was a community organizer and a union leader (AFSCME Local 286 President) who died at the young age of 53 years old. Mrs. Jones, and Dr. Jones’, father German Jones, Sr. left a legacy of giving with their children. ABJ Community Services, Inc. (ABJ) offers a variety of services to the Chicago community, those services include: Foster care, behavioral health, employment training, the ABJ computer clubhouse, Teen Reach, ABJ Community Services Sunshine Food Pantry, SPF-SIG, ABJ Community Services, Inc. , The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and C.O.N.N.E.C.T.S, Coalition of Organizational, Neighborhood and Network Empowerment through Culture, Talent and Spirituality. Dr. Jones' parents’ example is the foundation of her commitment of giving to society and those who are often misjudged, misunderstood, and disregarded. ABJ provides comprehensive social services to more than 5000 people every year.

In 1996, Dr. Jones became the Commissioner of the African American Family Commission and served there for five years. She also serves on the Board of Directors for The Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention as one of its founding members, and serves as Vice-President on the Board of Directors for The South Shore Chamber Commerce. As a result of her dedication to service, Dr. Jones has been recognized and honored many times for her work and commitment to the community. Some of the honors include; Honored Professional of Who's Who in Executives in Business. The Chicago Defender Newspaper recognized and awarded her as one of the Women of Excellence in April of 2009 for her benevolent work. Dr. Jones has also been awarded the prestigious Kizzy award in three different categories. She was listed in Today’s Chicago Woman magazine for two years and awarded the Woman at the Top of Her Game Award. Additionally, Dr. Jones has been featured in Essence and N'Digo Magazines. She was most recently recognized for Inspirational Community Service by the Urban Sustainability Association (USA) in May of 2009.

Vivian Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 20, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.079

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/20/2012

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Occupation
Schools

Kennedy–King College

Chicago State University

First Name

Vivian

Birth City, State, Country

Sweet Home

HM ID

JON29

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

It Is Better To Have And Not Need Than To Need And Not Have

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/3/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Community leader Vivian R. Jones (1948 - ) founded Annie B. Jones Community and Family Services, Inc., which provided comprehensive social services to more than 5,000 people each year.

Employment

Annie B Jones Community Services, Inc.

PSI Family Services Inc.

Lifelink International Adoption

Ada S. McKinley Community Services Inc.

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vivian R. Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vivian R. Jones lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vivian R. Jones describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her family's genealogy

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vivian R. Jones describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vivian R. Jones talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vivian R. Jones describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vivian R. Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vivian R. Jones remembers spending time with her father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vivian R. Jones talks about where her parents worked

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vivian R. Jones remember her mother's death

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her mother's work as a union president

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vivian R. Jones describes her parents' personalities and whom she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vivian R. Jones remembers a lesson from her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vivian R. Jones lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vivian R. Jones describes her schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vivian R. Jones remembers becoming pregnant at fifteen years old

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her decision to return to school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vivian R. Jones remembers earning a GED degree

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vivian R. Jones remembers her mentors at Kennedy-King College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vivian R. Jones recalls her early years of motherhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vivian R. Jones remembers earning an associate's degree from Kennedy-King College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her first marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vivian R. Jones remembers her mother's hospitalization

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her devotion to her children

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vivian R. Jones remembers working at Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vivian R. Jones remembers her graduate studies at Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vivian R. Jones remembers her second marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vivian R. Jones remembers receiving her master's degree from Chicago State University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vivian R. Jones remembers working for the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vivian R. Jones remembers her graduation from Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vivian R. Jones recalls her introduction to private family services

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vivian R. Jones remembers founding Annie B. Jones Community Services, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her firm's name

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vivian R. Jones talks about the services offered at Annie B. Jones Community Services Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her interest in singing

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vivian R. Jones remembers earning an accreditation for Annie B. Jones Community Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vivian R. Jones recalls her appointment to the Illinois African-American Family Commission

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vivian R. Jones talks about the impact of state budget cuts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vivian R. Jones describes the youth programs at Annie B. Jones Community Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vivian R. Jones talks about the programs offered by Annie B. Jones Community Services Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vivian R. Jones remembers hosting a civil rights history tour for black youth, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vivian R. Jones remembers hosting a civil rights history tour for black youth, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vivian R. Jones recalls the early financial mismanagement of Annie B. Jones Community and Family Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Vivian R. Jones talks about the South Shore community in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vivian R. Jones talks about the staff of Annie B. Jones Community Services, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vivian R. Jones talks about the successes of her foster care program

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vivian R. Jones talks about her faith

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vivian R. Jones talks about President Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vivian R. Jones reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Vivian R. Jones describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Vivian R. Jones narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Vivian R. Jones narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Vivian R. Jones remembers hosting a civil rights history tour for black youth, pt. 1
Vivian R. Jones talks about the programs offered by Annie B. Jones Community Services Inc.
Transcript
There any program that we haven't touched upon?$$Well, we have what we call the A.G.A.P.E. program [Across Generations Action and Prevention Education], that's, that's a new program, generational where we work with generational family's issues trying to help them to bridge those generational gaps of being able to work together and understand each other and--$$Yes.$$--and communicate with each other. And it's about lifestyle changing really. Yeah, we just started that one.$$And you, you have a lot of, you do a lot of things for teens and children you say, so is there an after school program, can kids come?$$Well, we have a, Ray of Hope [Ray of Hope Center of the Arts, Chicago, Illinois] is another organization that, that's housed in this building.$$Okay.$$We work with them and they have a program called after school matters.$$Yes.$$And ABJ [Annie B. Jones Community Services, Inc., Chicago, Illinois] had an after school matters program, but we decided to, to step out and let Ray of Hope do it because they were, they, they, they, most of their focus is totally on youth.$$Okay.$$And they were, they're an artistic organization and I, I believe that a lot of kids--it's, it's so much easier to reach the kids through the arts--$$That it is.$$--then it is through anything else as far as I can see, and it's been demonstrated to me on more than one occasion. For instance, back in 2002 we got a grant from the state, a $250,000 grant from the state. Senator Emil Jones [HistoryMaker Emil Jones, Jr.] helped us get this grant. And the reason he gave us the grant is we, I went to meet with him and I was telling him that we needed to do something about the kids, you know there was too many of them on the streets, they, they don't have any after school program, they don't have any activities. And he, he was like, "Well they're not gonna do anything anyway." And he was just really upset with the kids because I guess something had happened recently--$$Yeah.$$--and he was just really upset. And I told him, I challenged him. I said I, "I guarantee you that if they get the, if you give these kids an opportunity they will show you that they are about more than what you think they about." He said, "Okay." He said, "I'm gonna try it. I'm going to, I'm going to see if I can help you get a grant, and I'm going to see what you do with it and I want a report."$$Yep.$$I said, "You're gonna get a report." So, he helped us to get the $250,000 grant, and we put together a program, a cultural tour. It was a culture program of the Civil Rights Movement. We took two hundred kids, that's four different bus loads, of kids to the South. We started the tour in Atlanta, in Georgia, and where they went to Dr. King's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] house, The King Center [Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change]. They went to the, they went all over everywhere in Georgia, in, in, you know that had--$$Yeah.$$--anything to do with the civil rights--$$Yes.$$--the barbershops, everywhere. And then we took them on from there to Alabama. They went to Mobile [Alabama]. They went to Montgomery [Alabama]. They went to Selma [Alabama]. They went to the park where the dogs attacked them. They saw the dogs. They went to the Rosa Park museum [Rosa Parks Library and Museum, Montgomery, Alabama], sat on the bus that, where they saying, "Go to the back of the bus"--$$Yes.$$--and all that. They saw all of that, and we took them to the church where the, the little, four little girls got bombed in the 16th Street Baptist Church [Birmingham, Alabama] and all of those; they went to all of those places.$Tell me now, so what--give me just a brief overview of then the programs that you offer now. 'Cause you had mentioned different things, and so I can get a, a feel for this day and this point, what services are offered by ABJ [Annie B. Jones Community Services, Inc., Chicago, Illinois]?$$Well, you already know about the foster care program.$$Yes, okay.$$We have employment in training and we, that program deals mostly with people that receive food stamps, and the goal is to get them to be self supporting, help them find job--get them job ready, you know teach them some soft skills like resume writing and interviewing techniques and different things like that, and then helping them place them in, in some jobs that they feel comfortable in and getting them ready mentally to work, to become self sufficient. So that's one program. The other program is TANF, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families [sic. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families], which they've changed that to another name and I can't think of the name off hand. But those are people mostly women that have children and they have like a cer- a specific amount of time that they can receive assistance before they will lose those benefits, so our goal is to get them to become self sufficient prior to them losing their benefits. We do substance abuse treatment for adolescents; that's really our specialty--$$Okay.$$--and, and counseling chil- counseling youth. And a lot of the, the police department [Chicago Police Department] and the schools or whatever they send a lot of kids to us when they get community service or any, any kind of restrictions like that they usually send them to us--$$Okay.$$--to work with them.$$Substance abuse and, and other problems too okay.$$Right. And then we have a food and clothing pantry, which really caters a lot to, it's, it's open to everybody, but we get a lot, lot, lots of seniors--$$Okay.$$--that come here every Thursday and for a while we closed the pantry down because we didn't have the money to keep it going. Well, that time that it was closed we got phone calls, people coming by here. They were all saying the same thing they really needed it. Some of them told me about their hor- horror stories. They was eating cat food. They were going in garbages. They was, it was just awful. So we, one of my staff members wrote a proposal to the Chicago Community Trust [Chicago, Illinois] a couple of years ago, and they gave us twenty-five thousand dollars to reopen the pantry--$$The pantry.$$--and we've been making it work ever since then. And we still get, like this past week we had two hundred people that came to our pantry.$$You open up once a week and the people just come and they get what they want.$$Sometimes we open for emergencies, if some real emergency occur we'll help somebody.$$Okay, and then the people just come in and get what they want or you have people there to actually bag it up?$$Oh no we have people there that bag it up--$$Bag it up and--$$--volunteers.$$Volun- okay.$$And now we, that food pantry was named in mem- after, her name was Murtese Brady [ph.]. She is the champion of that, of that program, which is why we're able to keep it open. She, she do a lot of fundraising including hunger walks--$$Okay.$$--and all kinds of things to, to, to make it, you know keep it going. So, I totally credit ABJ's ability to do the food pantry to the commitment and loyalty of Ms. Brady and a couple of other people that work, voluntarily work with her every week.$$And along with that do you have the clothing pantry too?$$Yes.$$So people can get clothing and--$$Yeah people donate clothes to us and we, whatever clothes, furniture they, you know--$$Okay.$$--they donate all that stuff to us and we give it out on the same day that we do the pantry.$$Okay.$$People that come to the pantry they can go and look through the, the things that are available and pick out some things that they need or want.

Ann Dibble Jordan

Corporate executive and social work professor Ann Dibble Jordan was born to a prominent family in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1934. In 1955, Jordan graduated from Vassar College with her B.A. degree, and in 1961, she earned her M.A. degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. From 1970 to 1987, Jordan worked as an Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration, and from 1970 to 1985, she served as the Director of Social Services of Chicago Lying-in Hospital, a maternity and women's hospital at the University of Chicago Medical Center. From 1986 to 1987, Jordan served as the Director of the Department of Social Services for the University of Chicago Medical Center. In 1986, she married Vernon Jordan, who made history when he helped organize the integration of the University of Georgia in 1961.

From 1981 to 2007, Jordan served as a director of Johnson & Johnson, and from 1989 to 2007, she served on the board of directors of Citigroup as the Field Work Director. In 1990, Jordan became a director of National Health Laboratories, now called LabCorp, and one year later she became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization in Washington, D.C. From 1993 to 2007, Jordan served on the board of directors of Automatic Data Processing (ADP), a global provider of integrated computing and business outsourcing.

In 1994, Jordan and her husband organized a Democratic fundraiser that raised $3 million for the Clinton Campaign; one year later, they were recognized as a power couple by Forbes Magazine. In 1996, Jordan co-chaired President Clinton’s Inauguration, becoming the first African American to chair a Presidential Inaugural. The recipient of a 2004 American Woman Award from the Women’s Research & Education Institute, Jordan became a Director of Revlon in March 2009. Currently Jordan and her husband, Vernon, reside in Washington, D.C. and have four adult children.

Ann Dibble Jordan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 26, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.068

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

6/26/2010

Last Name

Jordan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Dibble

Occupation
Schools

Tuskegee Institute High School

Northfield School for Girls

Vassar College

University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

Chambliss Children's House at Tuskegee Institute

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Ann

Birth City, State, Country

Tuskegee

HM ID

JOR06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/13/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Community leader Ann Dibble Jordan (1934 - ) was an associate professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. She served as a director of many companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Revlon.

Employment

University of Chicago Hospitals

University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

Chicago Lying-in Hospital

University of Chicago Medical Center

Johnson & Johnson

Favorite Color

Purple, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ann Dibble Jordan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ann Dibble Jordan lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her maternal grandfather, Robert Robinson Taylor

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her maternal family's legacy in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ann Dibble Jordan lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls her home in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers her early independence, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers her early independence, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls her childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers visiting relatives during the summers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls her maternal uncles

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes the Chambliss Children's House School in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls the differential treatment of boys and girls

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers her childhood friends

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers the Northfield School for Girls in Gill, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her activities at the Northfield School for Girls

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls her academic experiences at the Northfield School for Girls

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her social life at the Northfield School for Girls

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers her decision to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her experiences at Vassar College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes the African American community of Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about race relations at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls studying the sociology of race at Vassar College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ann Dibble Jordan reflects upon her early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about the alumnae of Vassar College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her field work in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls her experiences on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her marriage to Mercer Cook

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls her role as a social worker at the University of Chicago Medical Center

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her child abuse casework

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her career at the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Ann Dibble Jordan reflects upon her experiences at the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers receiving support from her family in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes her involvement with Operation PUSH

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's role in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ann Dibble Jordan remembers the campaigns of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her divorce

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ann Dibble Jordan recalls serving on the board of Johnson and Johnson Products

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her marriage to Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her roles on corporate and charitable boards

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her relationship with President Bill Clinton

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about President Barack Obama's healthcare proposal

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ann Dibble Jordan reflects upon her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ann Dibble Jordan reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ann Dibble Jordan talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ann Dibble Jordan describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ann Dibble Jordan narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ann Dibble Jordan narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ann Dibble Jordan narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

5$12

DATitle
Ann Dibble Jordan describes her maternal family's legacy in Tuskegee, Alabama
Ann Dibble Jordan describes her career at the University of Chicago
Transcript
Your mother's family basically was raised--you know grew up around Tuskegee [Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama] is that--?$$Yes.$$Okay, did your mother [Helen Taylor Dibble] have any stories in growing up that she shared with you? That you remember?$$No, but I think my mother had great love for Tuskegee because of growing up there and I think they had a very close family and I think she had you know sort of a normal family life where in black families at that time one of the great things that everybody encouraged people to do was to become educated 'cause they saw that a way out or a way to deal with prejudice.$$Okay, did she have any reflections on Booker T. Washington? Did she ever meet him?$$Well, I think she was quite young when he was around and though she had some memories of it. I don't think they were very defined in terms of a relationship.$$Okay.$$Huh?$$(CLARICE DIBBLE WALKER, IV): (Unclear).$$Yeah, her father [Robert Robinson Taylor] worked for him but, yeah.$$(CLARICE DIBBLE WALKER, IV): (Unclear).$$She knew the children and the grandchildren, she knew the next generations.$$Right, right and I--Booker T. Washington lived until 1915, so she was born 1901, about fifteen years ago.$$Yeah.$$Yeah you can see him coming and going, and your grandfather built The Oaks [Tuskegee, Alabama] his residence from what I understand right?$$The what?$$The Oaks?$$The Oaks, yes. He probably was the architect for the most of the buildings in that time period.$$Okay, all right, now, now she didn't--I mean I'm just trying to get you know what she might have shared about growing up in Tuskegee in those days, what it was like for her to grow up on that campus with all that activity?$$I think it was unusual in the sense of here you are in the middle of the South where education for blacks had been very limited and Booker T. Washington had this goal and he achieved his goal in large part of providing a place that people could be, could reach, could be educated and finish college and go onto a better life, and I think that, that idea and that effort was always a big part of the experience of living in Tuskegee, the importance of getting an education, of being able to contribute and work in a society that had not been friendly to blacks, but in fact where blacks were determined to succeed.$$Okay, did she have any stories about meeting any of the celebrities from those days? 'Cause this is not--you may take this for granted but most people don't grow up on a campus where they know Booker T. Washington and the other notables of the--that period of time.$$Well, we did, we had a very interesting life because they of course entertained a lot of people who came to visit Tuskegee, so even though we lived in a small town we heard Marian Anderson sing 'cause she sang at the college campus 'cause they couldn't sing in most places. So we had the great experience of seeing a lot of people from the bigger world who came to Tuskegee to perform, and that was a different experience than most people had in the South living in, in segregated communities.$$Okay now did your mother go to school at Tuskegee herself as a child?$$As a--yeah, she went to school in Tuskegee and then she went to Fisk [Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee] to college.$$Okay, all right and what did she major in at Fisk?$$I think socio [sociology].$$(CLARICE DIBBLE WALKER, IV): (Unclear).$$Music, yeah.$$Okay, so your mother was a music major? Did she play--was she an expert on any particular instrument?$$She's a very good pianist.$$Okay.$$In fact we have her piano, I have it right there.$$Oh you're right--okay (laughter).$$It's in the living room.$$In the living room, okay.$It says that from 1970 to '87 [1987] you worked as a field work associate professor at the School of Social Service Administration [University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, Chicago, Illinois].$$Um-hm.$$How did that come about?$$Pardon? I did that in conjunction with my job. We had field work students that were placed in our offices.$$Okay, so did you teach? You taught, you were teaching (unclear)?$$Well, I was their advisor there, teaching there. That we--they had--part of their course work was a practicum and they were placed in our offices at the University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois], and I was--yeah I was involved in that.$$Okay so they would report to you as?$$Well we were, yeah, we were responsible for supervising their training, practical training.$$Okay you did that for long time.$$Yeah.$$Um, then you came and--the director of social services at Chicago Lying-in Hospital at the University of Chicago Medical Center [Chicago, Illinois]. Now what is the Chicago Lying-in Hospital?$$That's the obstetrical hospital.$$Okay.$$Women's diseases and obstetrics.$$Okay so you provided social services for women--okay. And yeah in the maternity ward there basically?$$Yeah.$$Yeah.$$But we had a big hospital for that.$$Okay so you were--you did that from--is it correct that you did that from 1970 to '85 [1985], is that?$$Um-hm.$$Okay, I'm sorry I didn't get the--I should've asked. What year did you get married?$$To Vernon [HistoryMaker Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.]?$$No, to [HistoryMaker] Mercer Cook before, I didn't ask that question.$$(Laughter).$$I--you know.$$Fifty-six [1956].$$Oh, fity-six [1956]. Okay.

Charles Collins

Community leader, association branch chief executive and Harvard trained lawyer Charles Collins was born on November 22, 1947 to Daniel Collins and DeReath Curtis James in the Fillmore community of San Francisco, California. After graduating from Tamalpais High School in 1965, Collins pursued higher education at Williams College, where he earned his B.A. degree with honors in 1969. Four years later, Collins earned his M.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and subsequently his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1976.

Upon completing his education, Collins began his professional career working with the law firm of Steinhart and Falconer, and then the law firm of Berkeley and Rhodes. An active member of the San Francisco and California communities, Collins led a comprehensive study for the City and County of San Francisco in 1979 and subsequently became the deputy secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency for the State of California in 1980. Collins has also served in leadership capacities as president and chairman of WDG Ventures, Inc., a real estate development firm in San Francisco; president and chief executive officer of the Family Service Agency of San Francisco; and president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of San Francisco. In his work with the YMCA, Collins has supported its mission to strengthen the foundations of communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Collins has received much recognition for his work in community development, including the 2003 Bicentennial Award from Williams College. In 2005, Collins was named the senior vice chairman of the National Urban League. For his dedication to the organization, the National Urban League established the Charles Collins Award in his honor. Collins was the author of The African Americans, a collection of photographs recognizing the accomplishments of African Americans in various capacities. He was also the senior editor of A Day in the Life of Africa.

Collins is married to Paula Robinson Collins. They have two daughters, Sara DeReath Collins and Julia Elizabeth Collins.

Collins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.010

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/10/2011 |and| 11/9/2012

Last Name

Collins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Old Mill Elementary School

Edna Maguire Elementary School

Tamalpais High School

Williams College

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Flexible

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

San Francisco

HM ID

COL20

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, but all ages

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mediterranean

Favorite Quote

Must Be A Responsible Adult Guiding Youth.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/22/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Association branch chief executive and community leader Charles Collins (1947 - ) was a Harvard trained lawyer known for his dedication to the San Francisco community, primarily in his position as president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of San Francisco.

Employment

YMCA of San Francisco

Family Service Agency of San Francisco

WDG Ventures Inc.

San Francisco Art Institute

National Urban League (NUL)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Berkley and Rhodes

State of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Collins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Collins discusses his maternal lineage and the history of their family business

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Collins discusses his maternal family history, his grandparents, and his maternal great grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Collins discusses his family's relationship with Howard Thurman and his mother's, Dereath James Collins, upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes his paternal family and his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Collins talks about his father's education, how his parents met, and his early childhood in San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Collins discusses his developmentally challenged brother, Craig Collins, and their upbringing in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Collins discusses the sociopolitical aspects of San Francisco, California during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Collins describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, and his family's leisure activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Collins discusses his early education and his family's move to Mill Valley, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes his experience living in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Collins describes his experiences living in Washington, D.C., segregation, and his parents' civil rights involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about the shift in his perspective after returning from Washington, D.C. and his summer experience in Finland.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Collins discusses his parents' political party affiliation, and his junior high school experience and his father's work

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Collins describes his high school experience in Mill Valley, California and his classmates

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Collins discusses his teen years and the musical influences in his home

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Collins describes his college application process and experience attending Williams College in Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about his father's trade business in West Africa, and the challenges of importing and exporting and West African Politics

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Collins describes his first impressions and experiences at Williams College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Collins talks about his art history education, African American Art and his relationship with Romare Bearden

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes Williams College's political and social environment

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Collins discusses his experience in the later years of the Civil Rights Movement and his extracurricular activities at Williams College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about his post graduation plans, receiving the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and meeting his wife Paula Robinson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles Collins discusses researching migration and city planning in South America and Rio de Janeiro, and the death of Whitney Young

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles Collins discusses cinematic depictions of Brazil and the impact of rapid urbanization in Rio de Janeiro

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles Collins talks about his educational influences, time spent in Athens, Greece and transitioning to Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles Collins discusses his time attending Harvard Law School, his classmates and professors

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about working with Steinhart and Falconer, and Berkeley and Rhodes

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles Collins gives his thoughts on the People's Temple suicide, urban renewal and displacement, and draws connections between these phenomena

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Collins' interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charles Collins remembers Jim Jones and the massacre in Georgetown, Guyana

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charles Collins describes his position at the law firm of Berkley and Rhodes

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charles Collins talks about the study he conducted for the San Francisco Planning Department

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes his role at the State of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charles Collins recalls his accomplishments at the State of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charles Collins describes his reasons for starting Western Development Group

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Charles Collins talks about Western Development Group's construction projects, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Charles Collins talks about Western Development Group's construction projects, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Charles Collins describes San Francisco's Fillmore District, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Charles Collins describes San Francisco's Fillmore District, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Charles Collins remembers the 1989 earthquake

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Charles Collins talks about his book, 'The African Americans'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Charles Collins remembers John Hope Franklin

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes the process of selecting photographs for 'The African Americans'

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Charles Collins describes Venus Williams' photograph in 'The African Americans'

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Charles Collins talks about individual photographs in 'The African Americans'

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Charles Collins remembers acquiring a photograph of Arthur Ashe

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Charles Collins talks about the initial idea for the book 'A Day in the Life of Africa'

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Charles Collins describes the shooting process for 'A Day in the Life of Africa'

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about one of the photographs in 'A Day in the Life of Africa'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Charles Collins recalls the reception of 'A Day in the Life of Africa'

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Charles Collins describes how he came to work for the Family Service Agency of San Francisco

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Charles Collins remembers his accomplishments at the Family Service Agency of San Francisco

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Charles Collins describes how he became the president and CEO of the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Charles Collins recalls the state of the YMCA of San Francisco upon his arrival

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Charles Collins talks about the YMCA of San Francisco's programs

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Charles Collins talks about his work with the YMCA Sri Lanka

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Charles Collins talks about the importance of youth programming at the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Charles Collins describes the growth of the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Charles Collins talks about publicity for the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Charles Collins describes the National Urban League's Charles Collins Award

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Charles Collins lists his organizational involvement

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Charles Collins talks about his interest in art

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Charles Collins talks about his future plans for the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Charles Collins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Charles Collins reflects upon his life

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Charles Collins reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about his family, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Charles Collins talks about his family, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Charles Collins describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

9$8

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Charles Collins describes the shooting process for 'A Day in the Life of Africa'
Charles Collins talks about his book, 'The African Americans'
Transcript
Yes, we were talking about the--'A Day in the Life of Africa' [David Elliot Cohen and Lee Liberman], how, you know, one of my questions is another quan- a quantity question. Ho- how many photographers were employed on this?$$We had close to 100 photographers.$$And I guess you had to sit down and decide like where are they gonna go in Africa, right?$$You have to have an outline for such a big project and the outline was both geographic and thematic. The thing about this book ultimately that made it important and the impetus for this book was the then looming AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] crisis in Africa. Time magazine had put on its front cover, you know, the scourge of AIDS, and the decimation of the continent of Africa because AIDS had not been really focused on as a huge public health hazard. And this is an epidemic, a pandemic, and you--you, you have to--sometimes you just have to get up and do something about things. And our response and the impetus for this was that, you know, David [David Cohen] and Lee [Lee Liberman], you know, really felt that, you know, that something had to happen. We had to shine light on this continent and really let people know how important it is, you know, that Africa is not expendable. And it's certainly not expendable from the point of view of its people. And so all of the proceeds from the 'A Day in the Life of Africa' went to support AIDS education on the continent. So that was the cause, that was the reason, you know, for doing this. That we needed to shine a bright light on Africa that people would care more, that they would see the face of Africa through many, many lenses and understand how, how much we all share in its outcome. And so, you know, how you tell that story is, you know, to slice it and dice it. North, south, east, west, central, different cultures, religious, you know, themes, and, and how do you--how do you then pull that together. You bring in the best photographers in the world and you essentially ask them to go to their sweet spot. These are photojournalists, they know how to get into tough spots, they know how to get out of it. So they can go into places that would be remote or could be perilous or hazardous. But, but their, their skills, you know, their social and professional skills, and their artistic vision would be able to render something really important. They could find the moment and really define it. And so we all met in Paris [France]--there was a huge amount of planning, but we all met in Paris for a couple of days and we briefed all the photographers, gave them their equipment. Their equipment was all digital, and that was new then, you know, digital technology and photog- and photography were just beginning to fuse. And so that was just a tremendous opportunity for a lot of these photographers that had been basically, you know, taking their pictures on film to learn digital photography. And it was then gonna be a project that we could do electronically. We worked with Apple Computer [Apple Computer, Inc.; Apple Inc.] also. And so we could fuse all this technology now in the new way of storytelling. The storytelling, itself, is, is still you know rooted, you know, in humans, but we would use new technology, you know, to get the output. So we all met in Paris, we briefed them and then we sent them, you know, on planes, you know, to go to all of these different places in Africa. We had to have lots of connections. We had to have a whole command center. We had to make sure that any situations that got tight, you know, we could work through. We informed all of the embassies, all of the--all of the nations from which all of these photographers came to make sure that all of their visas and all of their, their basic needs could be met on the spot. So there was an entire logistical and support unit, you know, in case somebody got into trouble. So the photographers fanned out and they had about two days to get into their situation, two days to figure out, you know, what they were gonna do and then on the 28th of February in 2012 [sic. 2002], you know, they took those pictures.$$So, so they arrived four days ahead of time?$$They were--they were there probably, you know, yeah in some cases, you know, two to three days ahead of time just to get themselves on the ground and to get their logistics straight and how they were gonna go and what they were gonna photograph. And then they went in and they took these pictures on that day.$$Okay. This--that must've been really expensive. (Unclear)--(simultaneous)--$$It was an expensive project. It was a very expensive project because then we had to get them all back from, from where they were back to Paris. They had to deposit all their film and then we had to get them back to where they came from. So that, you know, that was just wonderful, you know, to think about, you know, getting a chance to see, you know, these, these just incredible people who wanted to co- make this contribution.$I don't know if it's time to ask you about the development of the book or not. But the book came out in nine--1993, 'The African Americans' [Charles Collins and David Cohen].$$Yeah.$$Did--when did you start working on 'The African Americans'? (Unclear)--(simultaneous)--$$That's--you know, that's--this is one of the happiest chapters of my life, you know, me doing these books. My neighbor, David Cohen, who lived literally next door to me, and his wife were very good friends of ours. And David had just completed, you know, a great set of books and he and his wife and their kids were setting off to go to Bali [Indonesia]. And we were talking over the fence and they said, "Well why don't you come over to Bali and visit us." I'd never been to Indonesia and Paula [Collin's wife, Paula Robinson Collins] hadn't either, and so we thought well what a great invitation, we--we're gonna go to Bali. And so there we were, you know, we got on the plane, went to Hong Kong and then we ended up in Indonesia and--on this beautiful island of Bali where we stayed for a couple of weeks. And in that type of space it's again amazing how creative your mind can be, when it's calm and what I always say sort of flat and horizontal and you get a chance to see new patterns. And so David and I were out playing golf in an impossibly horrible rain storm, we were the only people on the golf course. We just started thinking about, you know, books and you know, what would the shape of a book that we would do together be. And so I said, you know, "Let's do a book that really celebrates the significant achievements and contributions that black people--that African Americans have made not only to the American landscape, but to the world." And so we just committed right then and there, we said when we get back we're gonna do this book, and we did.$$Okay, okay. Now there have been other such books way back, I mean not exactly like yours but, but similar in some ways. There--(simultaneous)--$$'Songs of My People' ['Songs of My People: African Americans: A Self-Portrait,' Eric Easter and Dudley M. Brooks].$$Yeah, 'Songs of My People.' Way back Langston Hughes and Milton Meltzer actually produced 'A Pictorial History of the Negro in America'--$$That's right.$$--which a, you know, dealt with more, I think, historical pictures but then had a--had contemporary pictures done in black and white. A couple others, I think Ebony had a set, 'Black America' ['Ebony Pictorial History of Black America'], you know, with black and white pictures. Now were you--had you seen those and--$$Sure, I grew up with that type of literature. I grew up in a household where everything, you know, that was published about black people was sitting there in the bookshelves or on the table or beside the chair. So the idea of this type of ongoing celebration, a real storytelling was important to me. But one of the reasons why this book became important to me was that it was also at the beginning of the hip hop generation. And you know, young people were redefining themselves and, and brushing up against culture in really different ways and voicing who they are and what they saw and what they were concerned about, very powerfully. And my daughters [Sara Collins and Julia Collins] are of that generation. And I wanted, at the same time as they were developing their own voice and their own culture which is absolutely important for every generation to do, is to again self define and look at their own creativity and their own way that they're going to express themselves. I wanted them also to know where they came from and who they are, and to make sure that they are grounded in pride and not working from a deficit. So no matter how hard that you work, you know, as a parent to make sure that your kids feel good about themselves and they know about themselves, that they know that they're not unique, that they know that they're not really all that special, but they come from a long line of people that have been forging the story of America. You know, this was a time to create a new book that would tell the story, you know, in new terms, and that was what 'The African Americans' was all about.$$Okay, okay. So it's an idea that we've been working with for a long time, but this is a refreshment of that idea for another generation?$$I think that it's very much like HistoryMakers. You know, if you don't tell your story, somebody else is gonna tell it or they're gonna interpret it or misinterpret it, or at least you have the opportunity to have an interpretation. And in this case, I wanted 'The African Americans' not only to have the historical roots and references, you know, that we have been a part of the foundation of this country, that this country would not be the America that it is if it hadn't been for the blood, sweat, tears, labor, effort, intelligence, genius and vision of all of its people, including African Americans. And so as, as you in this great project, you know, called The HistoryMakers are allowing people to tell their story, I wanted to put it in--in a book form. I--I would've loved to have done it and there were many offers in fact for us to begin to tell the stories in other ways, but in a sense, you know, I'm really ultimately not a storyteller, I'm ultimately not a book maker, I happen to have done a couple of these things, but it takes that persistence to be able to really map it out and, and to see the future, you know, through story telling. But this was my stab at it and I wanted it not only to be grounded in the historical matter, but I also wanted to tell contemporary stories so that people could see the new heroes and sheroes are being made every single day in all these different walks of life throughout our country, throughout the landscape in all these different dimensions. That, you know, it's not over, that the best can lie ahead of us, but we need to be able to ground ourselves in the past and then also to see our way into the future.

Ada Anderson

Civic leader and philanthropist Ada Anderson has been highly acclaimed for her civil rights work. She was born October 2, 1921 in Austin, Texas to Cecilia and Walter Collins – the fourth of nine children. In 1937, Anderson graduated from L.C. Anderson High School which remained segregated until 1971. She went on to Tillotson College, graduating with her B.S. degree in home economics in 1941.

After college, Anderson worked for the Texas Employment Commission as an employment counselor creating workshops and seminars on dealing with finances, aimed particularly at women. She went on to teach for the Austin Independent School District and worked as a psychometrist. In 1951, she finished the coursework for a M.S. degree in library science. However, she could not complete the degree as the school would not allow her to attend the program’s required fieldwork at the state library. This experience enforced Anderson’s commitment to civil rights. In 1951, she gained co-ownership of the real estate and insurance firm Anderson-Wormley with her husband, Andy Anderson. Two years later she helped found the Austin chapter of Jack and Jill of America and worked as both a National corresponding secretary and its South Central regional director. In 1965, Anderson earned her M.S. degree in educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and completed graduate courses in business and finance at Northwestern University. A landmark election occurred in 1982 when Anderson was the first African American to win a countywide election in Travis County to serve on the Austin Community College Board.

Anderson is the recipient of many accolades including her entrance in the Texas Black Women’s Hall of Fame and the African American Women’s Hall of Fame both in 1986. In 1992 she was named Woman of the Year by the Women’s Symphony League of Austin and in 1999 she co-chaired the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Austin Independent School District. Her ties to the school board remained strong and in 2006 she was celebrated by the Austin School District Board of Trustees as an Outstanding Alumna in their Alumni Hall of Fame.

Ada Anderson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 13 and 14, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.011

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/13/2010 |and| 5/14/2010

Last Name

Anderson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Occupation
Schools

Huston-Tillotson University

University of Texas at Austin

L.C. Anderson High School

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

First Name

Ada

Birth City, State, Country

Austin

HM ID

AND10

Favorite Season

October

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Wiesbaden, Germany

Favorite Quote

You Can Find Mediocrity Anyplace And Anytime, But Not On My Time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/2/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Austin

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Community leader Ada Anderson (1921 - ) was the first African American elected to the board of the Austin Community College District. For her work with civil rights, she received several awards, including 'Woman of the Year.'

Employment

Anderson-Wormley Real Estate

Austin Independent School District

Texas Employment Commission

Favorite Color

Pastel

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ada Anderson's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson describes her paternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson describes her paternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson talks about her paternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson describes her paternal great-grandfather's land in Austin, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson describes her paternal great-grandfather's property in Pilot Knob, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson talks about the founding of Pilot Knob Elementary School in Pilot Knob, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson talks about her paternal family's land in Pilot Knob, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson describes her paternal grandparents' home

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson remembers her relationship with her paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson describes her paternal aunts' and uncles' duties on the farm

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson remembers her childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson describes the history of L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson lists her father's siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson lists her father's siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ada Anderson describes the geography of Pilot Knob, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson lists her siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson describes her maternal grandfather's family background

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson talks about her maternal grandfather

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson describes her family's emphasis on education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson lists her mother's siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson talks about the memorials to her family in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson describes the history of education in Pilot Knob, Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson describes the history of education in Pilot Knob, Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ada Anderson describes her family's community involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ada Anderson describes her mother's personality and talents

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson describes her parents' education

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson remembers her father's role in the community

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson talks about her neighbors in Pilot Knob, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson remembers the Great Depression

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson describes her parents' finances

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson describes the sounds of her childhood

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson describes the expectations of her as a young girl

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ada Anderson remembers a flood in Pilot Knob, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ada Anderson describes her earliest memory of school

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Ada Anderson remembers bird watching with her older brother

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Ada Anderson describes her family's holiday traditions

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Ada Anderson describes her grandfather's first car

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Ada Anderson remembers her father's farmhands

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson describes her maternal aunts' occupations

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson describes the geology of her family's land

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson remembers L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson remembers the faculty of L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson remembers Tillotson College in Austin, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson describes her teaching career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson remembers her wedding

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson talks about women's rights in Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson describes her access to her own finances

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson recalls the birth of her children

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson recalls her return to Austin, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson recalls integrating the library program at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson recalls her experiences of discrimination at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson talks about her master's degree in educational psychology

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson remembers working at the Texas Employment Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ada Anderson describes the discrimination at the Texas Employment Commission

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson recalls investigating employment discrimination in Austin, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson remembers founding the Austin Human Relations Commission

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson describes her civil rights activism in Austin, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson remembers the disenfranchisement of African Americans in Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson describes her master's thesis

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson recalls becoming a psychologist for Austin Independent School District

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson recalls conducting aptitude tests for the Austin Independent School District

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson remembers a student she diagnosed with a learning disability

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson recalls founding a real estate firm with her husband

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson remembers the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson recalls founding a life insurance company with her husband

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson remembers meeting Robert F. Kennedy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson describes her support of John Connally's gubernatorial campaign

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson remembers Texas Governor John Connally's inaugural ball

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson describes her friendship with President Lyndon Baines Johnson

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson recalls the integration of the Austin Independent School District

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson describes her children's experiences in integrated schools

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson recalls the closure of L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, Texas

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson remembers her election to the board of the Austin Community College District

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson describes her board service at the Austin Community College District

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson remembers founding the Leadership Enrichment Arts Program

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson describes the Leadership Enrichment Arts Program

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson recalls traveling with the Leadership Enrichment Arts Program

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson recalls organizing an exhibit at the LBJ Library

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Ada Anderson describes the discrimination against African American artists

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Ada Anderson recalls organizing the 'Our New Day Begun' exhibit, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Ada Anderson recalls organizing the 'Our New Day Begun' exhibit, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Ada Anderson talks about her inclusion in 'Black Texas Women: 150 Years of Trial and Triumph'

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Ada Anderson recalls being honored by the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Ada Anderson recalls her role in the construction of the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Ada Anderson talks about the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Ada Anderson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Ada Anderson reflects upon her legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 11 - Ada Anderson reflects upon her legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Ada Anderson narrates her photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$6

DAStory

6$9

DATitle
Ada Anderson describes her paternal great-grandfather's land in Austin, Texas
Ada Anderson describes the discrimination at the Texas Employment Commission
Transcript
In 1872 he [Anderson's paternal great-grandfather, Newton Isaac Collins] purchased his first land, that's the first that we have, we're aware of. And he bought ninety-two and a half acres. And the improvements he put on it was, I mean, again I'm, I'm quoting from the written document, large two story house for his family, and a well, two barns, and a tenant house for a tenant to farm the land and while he was, his--he was working in his construction company. And the tenant was supposed to, from when his sons got old enough from time to time teach them farming. Newton Isaac also when they got old enough would take one and then another of his sons to teach them the building trade. The land I told you has such fascinating bits to it. The, the land he bought, the ninety-two and a half acres was part of the Henry Warnell tract. Henry Warnell was one of the defenders of the Alamo [San Antonio, Texas]. And the, the land was land that the government gave him as a reward for his service at the Alamo. My grandf- Newton Isaac purchased the land from Henry Warnell's heirs directly from, (laughter) to the heirs. I was, when I started working on, on, on the family history I was really--oh, and the, the deed to that land said that it was three miles from Austin [Texas]. I found out that three miles from Austin meant three miles from the capital which meant something interesting was on that land currently. And it was really interesting at how I learned that. I had, I had gone down to the general land office to find out a little bit more about the history of that land and one, there was someone else, when I asked, when I asked my question of the, the worker there, the, the attendant, there was a customer sitting there who overheard my conversation and he said, "Lady," (laughter), "do, do you know who Henry Warnell was?" "I don't have a clue." And then he went on to tell me. And he said, "You know, if I, my family owned any land," (laughter), "and it belonged to someone who had fought at the Alamo, I would tell everybody." I said, "Oh, okay" (laughter). But at any rate, they located the land and what was on it currently, (laughter) first of all, my own real estate office 'cause we later had a real estate business [Anderson Wormley Real Estate and Insurance Company, Austin, Texas], my, my own business, you know, over a hundred years after my great-grandfather had sold it. And it extended into what was the old airport [Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, Austin, Texas]] which is now being redeveloped. And so we recently--and, and by the way, he bought the ninety-two and a half acres but as land became available adjacent to his land, he purchased additional land to a total of a hundred fifty-six acres. And so that 156 acres extended from our office at 3724 Airport Boulevard into the airport (laughter) which was, I was really delighted to learn (laughter).$And I wasn't there very long, very long but I was the only who had had enough background, I was qualified to be a counselor and it, it was nobody else in the, in the local office [of the Texas Employment Commission; Texas Workforce Commission] that could be a counselor so I was promoted to a counselor and I did all of the testing, aptitude testing, all of it for this whole area. And the, and, and I did all the testing for the, for the labor unions. They did not permit African Americans to take any tests, nothing, nada, nothing. Hispanics could only take one thing, I only remember one thing, it might have been two but it was whatever was the most undesirable thing that you could possibly imagine. And at that time they were using for, for insulation, what is that stuff, it's, it, it just cuts your, it's, I can look, I can see it now, little pink stuff and it was, they used it in, in all of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Fiberglass, is it fiberglass?$$Fiberglass. That was the only thing Hispanics could take. And everything else the white folks could take but they couldn't take electrical, they couldn't take plumbing, they couldn't take any of those, those tests. The--I also did the test for clerical workers. And from time to time they had courses that would help the, the clerical workers hone their skills. And the, excuse me, when a clerical worker would come in, they would, two sisters, one my color and one fair, two sisters, they would give them, the, the one my color would not get a referral and they were pretty consistent about that. And they had to teach--then I, when I started interviewing they had to teach me the system and by this time we'd had some legislation that affected all of that so you didn't just blatantly say it's, you know, it's race, it's race based. So when a new person would come in to apply for a job, if it were an African American, we had little cards like this with the form printed on it and at the bottom it had, well you first you described them, and you--kind of their demeanor, and then you have a little section that you talk about, you, you describe any comments you want, remarks, it's marked, it was remark. So if it were an African American they would always start the first sentence with courteous or anything that started with a C for colored. And if it were Hispanic they would--we used a pencil--and if it were Hispanic, you just kind of accidentally (laughter) hid a, you know, a little mark in the, in the remarks, you just kind of, as though your, your, your pencil kind of slipped. Fascinating stuff (laughter). We had, we had one man who owned a, a, a John Deere company in, in, not company what's the word? You know, in Austin [Texas], anyway a dealership in Austin. And periodically he would call for a cook (laughter) and he would say, "I want one of those big, fat black mammy types that can cook" (laughter). So I would just go and take all of his information and never comment. I said, "One of these days he's gone walk in this office and ask for me" 'cause I apparently was his favorite (laughter). One day he came in and asked for Mrs. Anderson [HistoryMaker Ada Anderson] and they brought him to my desk (laughter) and he acted as though, you know, absolutely nothing had happened and he did not use (laughter) that same language. And I was still there longer, you know, and he would call in, (laughter) he didn't use the same--he still would call for me but (laughter) he wouldn't use the same language.

Carolyn Armenta Davis

Curator, historian, lecturer, writer and producer Carolyn Armenta Davis is a native of Gary, Indiana and attended Froebel Public School from kindergarten until graduation from high school. Davis received her B.A. degree in mathematics from Indiana University in 1970.

After being a permanent high school substitute teacher from 1966 to 1970 in the Gary Community School District in Gary, Indiana, Davis moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she worked from 1970 to 1973 as executive staff of the American Medical Association’s Department of Community Health Care. For nine months in 1973, Davis was a television news writer for WMAQ-TV, the Chicago NBC affiliate. In 1974, Davis started her communications business in Chicago. She provided public relations, marketing communications, and media production services to national and international corporations, non-profits, and governments agencies, domestic and foreign.

Davis independently created, wrote and produced three landmark projects on accomplishments of men and women of the African Diaspora. Her debut project, The Black Classical Composers, was the first radio series on classical music written from 1771 to 1975 by Blacks and its 39, 1-hour programs aired from 1976 to 1977 on fine arts station WEFM-Chicago. In 1978, Davis did the Feminine Footprint radio series of mini-documentaries on 65 African American women trailblazers; it aired nationwide on 91 stations and earned the American Women in Radio and Television Award.

In 1990, Davis launched her Design Diaspora: Black Architects and International Architecture 1970-1990 ™ exhibition-lecture project on fifty contemporary African American, Black-European and African architects from eleven countries. From 1993 to 2000, Davis toured the Black Architects project to twenty venues in the Americas, Europe and Africa.

Davis continues to write and lecture on Black Diaspora architects. Lectures have included African Union of Architects Congress and Assembly, Nairobi, Kenya; International Biennial of Architecture, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Amerika Haus, Munich, Germany; University of Cape Town, South Africa; The Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland; Society of Black Architects, London, England; Illinois-National Organization of Minority Architects, Chicago, IL; Chicago Cultural Center; Chicago, IL. In 2008, she lectured at the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.; Boston Society of Architects AIA, Boston, MA; and Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Architecture writings by Davis include reviews of 1992’s African American Architects in Current Practice by Jack Travis and in 1994 of Architect to the Hollywood Stars, Paul R. Williams by Karen E. Hudson plus articles on Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates Christian de Portzamparc, Tadao Ando, and Sverre Fehn.

In 1997, Davis served on the design jury for the Organization for African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Union of International Architects (UIA), and Republic of Senegal International Competition for the Design of the Gorée Memorial Complex for Dakar, Senegal.

In 2002, the documentation of contemporary Black Diaspora women architects compiled by Davis was added to the archives of the Winifred Foundation in the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Davis has served on several non-profit organizations’ boards. She is a member of numerous organizations including the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, the Society of Architectural Historians, International Women Associations, Chicago; Old Town Triangle Association, Chicago; the Lincoln Park Renewal Corporation; and the NAACP.

In 2004, Davis qualified for a Series 3 License, National Commodity Futures registration.

Davis is writing a book on 21st century Black Diaspora architecture.

Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 21, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.141

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/21/2008

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Middle Name

Armenta

Occupation
Schools

Froebel School

Friedrich Froebel High School

Indiana University Northwest

Indiana University

First Name

Carolyn

Birth City, State, Country

Gary

HM ID

DAV25

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring, Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Et Cetera.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/8/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Community leader Carolyn Armenta Davis (1944 - ) produced three Black Diaspora landmark projects: the 1976-77 Black Classical Composers radio series; the 1978 award-winning Feminine Footprint syndicated radio series; and the 1990-2000 exhibition, Design Diaspora: Black Architects and International Architecture.

Employment

American Medical Association

WMAQ-TV

Gary Public Schools

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:3888,111:5832,143:6237,149:7290,166:19440,322:20250,336:22320,368:24912,382:25461,393:27657,456:28267,468:33761,507:34840,563:36832,579:42257,615:42994,630:55105,768:64418,881:66134,920:69030,963:71991,1017:73503,1040:74637,1067:75204,1079:77661,1121:78417,1139:79110,1152:79488,1159:79740,1164:80181,1173:84620,1218:85644,1246:85964,1252:88844,1308:89420,1318:90124,1330:90444,1336:90828,1343:92300,1374:93452,1400:94348,1414:94796,1427:102544,1572:102960,1582:105722,1606:106370,1623:106802,1639:107522,1651:108242,1663:108818,1672:109682,1701:110834,1728:113714,1794:114866,1816:122070,1877:123450,1890:124374,1908:125067,1918:127993,2057:132290,2136$0,0:318,4:11545,258:13225,284:14380,296:15220,306:17530,335:18370,346:19315,356:20890,374:25182,393:25578,400:25842,405:26172,411:26502,418:31874,483:34945,530:35443,537:35941,543:39427,595:42498,646:43079,655:48520,707:63484,874:63820,879:64660,891:65416,901:66172,912:67432,931:68860,962:69364,974:70120,985:70540,991:71044,998:71548,1006:72136,1028:79532,1143:81050,1174:83536,1191:89278,1273:90018,1284:92534,1346:94828,1463:95124,1468:96234,1515:97492,1556:98232,1568:115704,1833:123856,1892:125026,1912:134440,2096:134890,2106:144654,2269:145158,2279:146238,2298:147534,2317:148254,2328:148542,2333:149190,2344:149910,2362:150486,2371:151710,2392:156289,2410:158106,2435:159054,2449:159528,2456:159923,2462:161345,2490:164268,2540:164900,2549:165295,2555:165690,2561:166243,2569:169196,2594:169766,2600:172388,2621:176029,2656:176464,2662:177769,2683:178726,2696:181684,2732:182380,2741:183076,2746:185773,2777:191732,2829:192564,2837:193188,2844:196412,2878:199220,2932:200572,2950:201092,2956:230415,3183:230715,3188:234309,3228:236051,3259:239340,3283:241133,3293:242231,3317:242475,3322:243146,3334:243451,3340:244915,3369:245586,3384:246379,3404:247477,3430:248026,3440:249185,3466:249551,3474:250344,3490:256384,3561:259122,3614:274436,3840:279600,3913
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carolyn Armenta Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carolyn Armenta Davis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her father's employment and activities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carolyn Armenta Davis lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers her community in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carolyn Armenta Davis recalls the black professional community in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers her piano performances

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carolyn Armenta Davis recalls her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her early awareness of the black arts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carolyn Armenta Davis talks about the social history of Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes the generational differences in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her parents' influence

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carolyn Armenta Davis recalls Friedrich Froebel High School in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carolyn Armenta Davis recalls her early entertainment

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers the racial tensions in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carolyn Armenta Davis recalls her activities at Friedrich Froebel High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers her aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers Indiana University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers Indiana University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Carolyn Armenta Davis recalls the start of her teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her work at the American Medical Association

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carolyn Armenta Davis recalls interviewing with WMAQ-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carolyn Armenta Davis recalls her work as a communications consultant

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers African American newscasters in Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carolyn Armenta Davis reflects upon her time at WMAQ-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers her mentor, Studs Turkel

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carolyn Armenta Davis remembers AfriCOBRA

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her radio program, 'The Black Classical Composers'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her radio program, 'Feminine Footprints,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carolyn Armenta Davis talks about the healing power of music

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her radio program, 'Feminine Footprints,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carolyn Armenta Davis talks about her research on African American architects

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carolyn Armenta Davis talks about African American architects

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes the cultural differences in architecture, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carolyn Armenta Davis reflects upon the relationship between economics and architecture

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes the cultural differences in architecture, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Carolyn Armenta Davis talks about the client-architect relationship

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Carolyn Armenta Davis reflects upon her research process

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carolyn Armenta Davis talks about her research plans

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carolyn Armenta Davis talks about contemporary architects

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes the response to her research

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carolyn Armenta Davis reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carolyn Armenta Davis reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carolyn Armenta Davis reflects upon her family's health

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carolyn Armenta Davis describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Carolyn Armenta Davis reflects upon her time at WMAQ-TV in Chicago, Illinois
Carolyn Armenta Davis talks about her research on African American architects
Transcript
How were you treated in the newsroom [at WMAQ-TV, Chicago, Illinois]?$$I was treated fine, other than the fact that I was naive. I mean I had never seen a wire tape machine (laughter). So I mean, you know, the professionals, you know, are like who is this person and why was she hired? And, and you know, and, and--but they couldn't figure it out because why I was hired, it was because of some friends of a friend of a friend I got an interview, but I also talked myself into it. Whereas, it was as an unlikely, unlikely--it was Ed Planer. I mean it was an unlikely person that would've hired, even though he said he didn't make the decision, the fact that he sent me over I think influenced it a little bit. Yeah, but--there were--yeah at the newsroom, I mean because the newsrooms are so time sensitive, one of the things I learned is people didn't have time to deal with people's drama and trauma. They had a newscast to get on. And if you fell over, then some of them would step over you and keep moving almost. Not, not that that happened. And then I also had to work weekends. Of course I got the lousy shifts. I worked Saturday and Sunday from three to eleven [o'clock] (laughter), and my off days were Tuesday and Wednesday, which turned out to be fine with me because it allowed me the wonderful opportunity after having such a structured type of, you know, you work, you teach school or you work for the medical association [American Medical Association] or some, then all of a sudden you have Wednesdays off and you realize there's a whole 'nother world out there. There's another world, there are people who, who wouldn't do anything on Saturday night, they leave it for the people who can't go out on Tuesday night, you know, 'cause they gotta go to work. So anyhow that was a--it was an interesting adjustment position to, to sort of do that. And friends that were recording at Universal studios [Universal Recording Corporation] at Walton [Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois], on Walton at that time, and you could go there and stay out all night with them 'cause you didn't have to go to work the next day.$The third big project is the architecture project?$$Yeah the black architects. 'Design Diaspora: Black Architects and International Architecture' ['Design Diaspora: Black Architects and International Architecture 1970-1990']. And again I saw a void in the knowledge of--void in the information about the contributions. And although blacks had graduated from architecture school in 1892, it seemed that every time I would ask someone in my architecture circles they didn't know of anybody old, living or dead. And I just--I've always liked buildings and beautiful things and architecture and design, et cetera. And I actually became a docent with the Chicago Architecture Foundation [Chicago, Illinois] probably 1981, '82 [1982] or something. I don't give tours anymore but I used to, you know, give tours, et cetera. And, and continued to read and go to lectures and take seminars on different aspects of architecture. And again noticed the void. I was also on the board of a small museum here in Chicago [Illinois], a museum of architecture and design [Chicago Athenaeum, Galena, Illinois], and there, there were no, you know, there just weren't anything shown by blacks, although there were blacks--as I used to say to a guy--they're building, you know, Johnson Publishing Company on Michigan Avenue [Chicago, Illinois] was built--was designed by Moutoussamy [John Warren Moutoussamy, Sr.] and had been open for what--I don't know--thirty, forty--it's been open for a long time, at least, at least about thirty years, right? Yeah, I, I, I just know it's a long time, I can't keep dates in my head (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Now Moutoussamy, he was a--I know he's the father of [HistoryMaker] Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe who--$$Yes.$$--married Arthur Ashe. He was responsible for a number--I think, oh god oh, there's a number of buildings here that, yeah--$$He was a well-known architect here. He also was a partner in the firm [Dubin, Dubin, Black and Moutoussamy, Chicago, Illinois] that was--I think it was Moutouss- anyhow he was--I can't call it off my head right now. But a number of projects that he was one of the leading, a well-established architect, black architects in Chicago. And since then, there've been a number of them. And--and the field has changed a lot. My project dealt with architects from around the world who are all licensed architects and built projects. And it didn't include everyone, people had to submit their work. If they wanted to be considered they had to submit it. And we got, oh probably about three hundred submissions and from the three hundred submissions, fifty projects were selected. And fifty projects but I don't remember how many studios--but I'm sorry seventy projects were selected by maybe thirty-eight studios or whatever. And represented architects in Canada, United States, Caribbean, and Brazil, as well as England, France, Amsterdam [the Netherlands], South Africa, the first architect to be licensed in South Africa, Peter Malefante [sic. M. Peter Malefane] who is now dead. Senegal, Nigeria, Cam- I think Cameroon, I can't remember. And so I knew, and it was literally the first time somebody could walk into a room and look around and see the picture of this black--of this black face or person of color and their built project and some information about them. And I often vacillate between saying people of color and black, because in certain countries like Brazil, people don't like to call themselves black, they'll say I have African ancestry, but you know, they--it's a country with I don't know a couple hundred words for variations of being black, so. I let people decide themselves whether they wanna be included or not. And Pedro Rocha which is--and I don't know how he's doing but one of the established architects down there who had done some wonderful residential, as well as some religious facilities was included.

Dr. Josephine English

Community leader and gynecologist Dr. Josephine English was born on December 17, 1920 in Ontario, Virginia to Whittie, Sr. and Jennie English. She grew up in Englewood, New Jersey and received her B.A. degree from New York City’s Hunter College in 1939. English went on to earn her M.A. degree in psychology from New York University. She attended Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee and while there, became interested in obstetrics and gynecology. English graduated from medical school in 1949 and began working at a hospital in Manhattan.

In 1956, English moved to Brooklyn, and in 1958, she opened a women’s clinic in Bushwick. Over the years, she has delivered thousands of babies, including the daughter of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and the six daughters of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. In 1979, English established the Adelphi Medical Center to provide better medical care to both men and women. She soon added a senior citizens' center. In 1981, she started the Up the Ladder Day Care Center and After School Program and a summer youth camp. Her work continued in 1982 when, in an effort to bring more of the arts to the community, she purchased a deserted church next to the Adelphi Medical Center and converted it into Brooklyn’s Paul Robeson Theater. In 1986, English became the first minority and the first woman to be awarded a license from the New York State Department of Health to develop a free-standing ambulatory surgical center.

Due to budget issues English self-funded many of her programs and has had to continuously fight foreclosure. The Brooklyn community stood behind English, and she has been honored with several awards, including the African Community Contribution Award and a Lucille Mason Rose Community Activist Award. In 1996, Brooklynites formed the Dr. Josephine English Foundation in order to honor English and to carry on her health and welfare initiatives.

Dr. English passed away on December 18, 2011 at the age of 91.

Dr. Josephine English was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 8, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.227

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/8/2007

Last Name

English

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Lincoln Early School

New York University

Hunter College

Meharry Medical College

Dwight Morrow High School

First Name

Josephine

Birth City, State, Country

Ontario

HM ID

ENG01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/17/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

12/18/2011

Short Description

Community leader and gynecologist Dr. Josephine English (1920 - 2011 ) delivered thousands of babies, including the daughter of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and the six daughters of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. She established the Adelphi Medical Center and Brooklyn's Paul Robeson Theatre.

Employment

Harlem Hospital Center

Adephi Medical Center

Paul Robeson Theater

Interfaith Medical Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7857,211:21534,406:21922,413:35975,611:47522,804:47874,809:57800,948:58250,954:59960,987:62565,997:63840,1011:90038,1497:92390,1539:98541,1669:105719,1827:124386,2067:126878,2175:145486,2377:159580,2543:199860,3110$0,0:3460,44:14691,204:15055,209:15510,215:16602,295:21152,381:21516,459:27249,615:60836,842:75962,1092:80308,1214:83506,1267:92050,1360:92330,1365:97071,1421:103391,1544:120554,1875:121586,1927:134039,2111:140519,2199:149932,2303:155268,2389:159132,2461:166300,2572:175030,2645:180470,2718:200510,3003:214810,3193
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Josephine English's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Josephine English lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Josephine English describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Josephine English describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Josephine English remembers her community in Englewood, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Josephine English describes her schooling in Englewood, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Josephine English remembers her early activities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Josephine English recalls discrimination at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Josephine English recalls developing an interest in psychiatry while in college

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Josephine English remembers Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Josephine English recalls her medical internship at the Harlem Hospital in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Josephine English recalls working at the Harlem Hospital in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Josephine English talks about New York City's Harlem community

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Josephine English recalls the health problems in the Harlem community

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Josephine English describes her gynecological practice

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Josephine English talks about practicing medicine in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Josephine English describes the Adelphi Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Josephine English describes her community service in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Josephine English recalls founding the Paul Robeson Theatre in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Josephine English describes the history of the Paul Robeson Theatre

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Josephine English describes New York City's black medical community

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Josephine English talks about New York City's black theater community

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Josephine English describes the Dr. Josephine English Foundation, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Josephine English reflects upon the importance of the theater

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Josephine English reflects upon her life

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Josephine English talks about the closure of the Adelphi Medical Center

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Josephine English reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Josephine English narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

1$8

DATitle
Dr. Josephine English recalls working at the Harlem Hospital in New York City
Dr. Josephine English recalls founding the Paul Robeson Theatre in Brooklyn, New York
Transcript
So we're talking about Harlem Hospital [Harlem Hospital Center, New York, New York] when you arrived there in about 1949?$$Um-hm, 1949 (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And you were saying that Harlem Hospital at that time, didn't--sort of gained its black doctors one by one.$$Yes, they did.$$Can you just tell us a little bit about that and about where the hospital is going now?$$Yes, it seems impossible that a hospital would just be accepting black physicians. And that's when they had Aubre Maynard [Aubre de Lambert Maynard]. He was one of the first black physicians. He became an outstanding surgeon. They were the first ones to come into Harlem Hospital.$$Can you repeat his name for me?$$Maynard, Aubre Maynard.$$And (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) He became an outstanding surgeon. At the time that Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] got stabbed, they called him in. He became an outstanding surgeon. And to think that now, that it became totally black and that now it's going to go through another episode which has already started of whites.$$What's happening now with Harlem Hospital?$$Well, they're building, they're building a new hospital, state-of-the-arts and it's gonna be totally white. It's gonna be a top-notch hospital under Columbia Presbyterian [New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York].$$Under Columbia Presbyterian?$$Yes.$$And does that have anything to do with the changing, the gentrification of Harlem [New York, New York]?$$That has to do with it. That's the whole thing. If you're gonna change a population, you're gonna change your hospital. And you're not gonna have a second rate hospital that nobody wants to go to. You're gonna have a top hospital.$$And how quality--what was the quality of Harlem Hospital like when you arrived? Was it a top quality hospital (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) When I first came here--$$--at the--in 1950?$$Yeah, its quality was excellent because the whites were just being replaced by the blacks. And they took outstanding black physicians.$$And by what year--just give me an approximate, would you say that Harlem Hospital became an all-black hospital?$$I would say it took about five years.$$So by 1955, 1960, Harlem Hospital was majority black.$$Totally.$$And over the years has the reputation of Harlem Hospital gone down?$$It has gone down.$$And why has that happened?$$Because they took away the good, white physicians and they had only blacks. They took away a lot of money, a lot of the research money, a lot of the money for supplies. You know how to get hospitals to get lower. Everything gets lowered. The staffing is lowered, the scale of employment, of types of employment is lowered. It's very easy. So now, it's going in the other direction because it's gonna be a top-rank hospital again.$$And those doctors--it's not gonna be predominantly black. Those doctors are gonna be (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, they're not gonna be black--$$--pushed out.$$--by no means. And the city is gonna put money in the building. The city is gonna put up a top-notch hospital.$How did you get into the theater business?$$Because I was over there at Fort Greene [Brooklyn, New York] at the building where I had the daycare, and there was a church there owned by the Catholics. And they never helped me, but they saw the work I was doing. So when they got ready to leave, they offered the, the church. And that's where I made the theater.$$And did you have that idea to make a theater already?$$Yes, but I didn't have a facility. And they gave me the--and it was very easy. We started the theater with the pews, and then we built it up and built, built--and we haven't done what we should have done because we've been there twenty-six years. And we still have not renovated the way we should.$$And why not?$$Because we never got any funding or any recognition from the city. What we did, we did on our own, but we need, we needed money. And BAM [Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York] is around the corner, and they had a $600 million. They never gave us a penny. But we continued, and now, I think we got--they're going to give us something, but up to this date, we never got anything.$$What kind of theater is the Paul Robeson Theatre [Brooklyn, New York]?$$It's a general community theater. In other words, we do plays, all kinds of plays. We do--people can come in with their play and production and put it on. We help them put it on. We do our own productions. We've done over a hundred different plays since we've been there.$$Can you name a few of the plays that you've done?$$Oh, yes.$$Those that are particularly memorable?$$We do--we've done quite a few of [HistoryMaker] Ntozake Shange's plays. In fact, we just did 'Colored Girls' ['For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When The Rainbow Is Enuf,' Ntozake Shange] and we've done the popular black writers. We're one of the few theaters to do great works of black artists.$$Are you an all-black theater?$$Am I what?$$Are you an all-black theater?$$Yes, we are all black. And we hope to remain all black, in terms of management because around us, they're building--they have what, six theaters that they're putting up, the city's putting up. And they're not gearing, geared to the black audience, either financially or otherwise. In other words, they charge a lot of money. BAM, you have to have money to go there, sixty-five dollars, and--we are community. We charge twenty, twenty-five dollars. We're glad to--we do the school kids. We have a lot of school kids who come to the theater. So we brought the theater on the community level. But the community has no money, and they have not fought for the theater.$$Well, what is the importance of theater to the community?$$It's very important because as I said, in terms of the children alone, it's fantastic because we've done the play, 'The Meeting' [Jeff Stetson] which is with Malcolm [Malcolm X]--Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.], and the kids love it. And we taught them a lot about black heroes that they otherwise would not know about. It's really a help to the community. We provide good entertain- clean entertainment for them and for the kids, the community, church and so forth.

Lester "Les" N. Coney

Community leader and corporate executive Lester Norman Coney was born on April 28, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Coney attended George Williams College in Downers Grove, Illinois, graduating with a B.A. degree in 1980.

In l981, Coney taught at Potential Elementary School on Chicago’s Southside. Resigning in l982 to accept a position as Account Representative with Travelers Insurance, Coney remained with the insurance company through the merger with United Health Care in 1994. Coney served as Director of Key Accounts and National Sales Director. In 1996, Coney joined AON Insurance as Senior Managing Director and became active in Chicago’s civic community. In 2006, Coney accepted the position of Executive Vice President and Senior Managing Director for Mesirow Financial.

Coney was the first African American to serve as Chairman of Chicago’s Goodman Theater. He also served as Vice Chairman of the DuSable Museum of African American History and Founding Chair of the Congo Square Theater’s Board and Chairman of City Year Chicago. Additionally, Coney served as a Trustee at Roosevelt University, the Kohl’s Children’s Museum, the Athletes Against Drugs organization, and as the Co-Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Coney’s honors include the Leadership In Arts Award from the Business Council of Chicago in 2006; the Community Service Award by the 100 Black Men in 2005; and Crain’s Chicago Business’ Top 50 Minorities in Business in 2004. Lester N. Coney resides in Chicago’s West Loop.

Lester Coney was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 15, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/15/2007

Last Name

Coney

Maker Category
Middle Name

N.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Cleveland Grover Sch

Harding Warren G Ms

Frankford Hs

George Williams College

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Lester "Les"

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

CON04

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

All Good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

4/28/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Corporate executive and community leader Lester "Les" N. Coney (1958 - ) worked for Mesirow Financial and was the first African American Chairman of the Board of Chicago's Goodman Theatre.

Employment

Potential School for Exceptional Children

Marshall Fields

Traveler's Insurance, Co.

Mesirow Financial

AON Insurance

Goodman Theatre (Chicago, Ill.)

Democratic National Committee

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:1170,54:10686,172:31810,494:44882,771:66214,1132:66526,1137:68008,1192:94650,1615:95210,1638:101210,1744:123769,2072:124210,2081:128850,2145$0,0:565,8:13108,264:16159,315:23232,336:24102,342:25010,349:41216,622:41654,629:43625,699:44574,725:44866,730:48808,835:52677,889:55743,987:63666,995:64330,1009:65824,1039:70555,1122:76480,1184:77120,1194:86320,1351:90000,1423:93420,1429
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lester "Les" N. Coney's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lester "Les" N. Coney lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his mother's career and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lester "Les" N. Coney lists his family members' birth years

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls his home on 18th Street in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes the community of South Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers the Nicetown Boys Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers meeting Sandra Day O'Connor

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls his experiences at the Nicetown Boys Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls his mother's role at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his experiences at Grover Cleveland Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers Harding Junior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lester "Les" N. Coney lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers his early athletic activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls his influences at Frankford High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his siblings' education

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls his decision to attend George Williams College in Downers Grove, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his experiences at George Williams College

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers the Abyssinian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls a gift from his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls meeting his ex-wife, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls meeting his ex-wife, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls his first experience in a restaurant

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers visiting Atlantic City, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his ex-wife's family vacations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers his wedding

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers working while attending college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls a lesson about the importance of fidelity

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers his divorce

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers Linda Johnson Rice's divorce from Andre Rice

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his challenges as a spouse

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls graduating from George Williams College in Downers Grove, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers his family's first experience on an airplane

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes Frankford High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls his aspiration to open a boys club

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls teaching at the Potential School for Exceptional Children in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers joining The Travelers Indemnity Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his insurance sales training

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his social life at George Williams College in Downers Grove, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers his return to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his role as an insurance account representative

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers buying his first suit

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his corporate insurance clients

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lester "Les" N. Coney talks about experiencing discrimination from clients

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers attending conferences with The Travelers Indemnity Company

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lester "Les" N. Coney talks about his interest in sales

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers joining the Aon Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his work at the Aon Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lester "Les" N. Coney recalls joining Mesirow Financial

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers joining the board of the Goodman Theatre

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his friendship with Juanita Jordan

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lester "Les" N. Coney talks about his children

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his work with the Congo Square Theatre Company

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lester "Les" N. Coney talks about his chairmanship of the Goodman Theatre

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes the Goodman Theatre's role in the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Lester "Les" N. Coney lists his awards

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Lester "Les" N. Coney reflects upon his marriage and divorce

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Lester "Les" N. Coney talks about his clients at Mesirow Financial

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Lester "Les" N. Coney reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Lester "Les" N. Coney reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes his advice to African American youth

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lester "Les" N. Coney describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lester "Les" N. Coney talks about his values

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lester "Les" N. Coney explains why he agreed to be interviewed

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$9

DATitle
Lester "Les" N. Coney remembers joining the Aon Corporation
Lester "Les" N. Coney describes the Goodman Theatre's role in the African American community
Transcript
Mesirow [Mesirow Financial, Chicago, Illinois] was an agency where, Mesirow was an agency where, no one really wanted to work with this firm because they would always have opportunities to quote but never really closed any deals. And, and, that became really almost my claim to fame, if you will, because I took on Mesirow because, you know, I was the new kid on the block. And, they became the number one producing brokerage firm for Travelers [The Travelers Indemnity Company] in the whole country. So, I was very proud of that. Well, through that I got a chance to meet a gentleman by the name of Jim Tyree [James C. Tyree] whom was the, back then he was the president, but now he's the CEO and chairman. And, we became very good friends and had been friends for years. So, while I was with Travelers, it then was sold to United Healthcare [United Healthcare Corporation; United Healthcare Services, Inc.]. United Healthcare after a few years, I decided I was gonna go work for Jim Tyree at Mesirow. He had offered me a job, and I had accepted. And, about a month before I went to take the job, I happened to mention to John Rogers [HistoryMaker John Rogers, Jr.], my good friend John Rogers, who's the chairman and founder of Ariel mutual funds [Ariel Investments], that--and he serves on the board of Aon Corporation [Aon plc]--I happened to tell him that I was going to work for Mesirow. And, he says, "Well, wait a minute, you always told me if you left United Healthcare, you would at least look at Aon." So, I had agreed to, I had agreed to, to at least just go over and talk to Aon as favor to John. Without telling John that I actually had already official, officially accepted the job at Mesirow. So, but, after I went over and met with Michael O'Halleran, who was then the president, and then met with Pat Ryan [Patrick G. Ryan], who was then the chairman, and is still there as the chairman, as executive chairman, you know, they--we hit it off and they, and they made an offer that I couldn't refuse. And, so, I went on to work at Aon for the next ten years. And, working with Aon was a wonderful experience for me.$Now, it seems to be a larger black contingency here at the Goodman [Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Illinois] now.$$Well, pardon me (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Or, black support.$$Yeah. Well, you know, one of the, one of the main reasons for that is the product on stage. The Goodman Theatre is the only theatre in America whom has had every single production, every--all ten of August Wilson plays in a cycle on--here. And, and we're the only theatre in America that has done that. So, so, first it starts with the product, if you will. Second, it starts with having minorities on the board who can advocate, advocate people coming here, because you know, you bring your friends. So, if you're black and you're bringing your friends, and they're black then that's more blacks coming to the theatre. If you're white and you bring more whi- I mean, that's bringing, you know, so, it's that kind of thing. So, I think that's--the Goodman has been an institution to, not only has the work on stage, but it also has the diversity in the staff. It has the diversity on the board. It has diversity in places where we do business, and we have diversity in our subscribers. So, it's really an institution that has gotten it right. And, I'm proud to be, I wish I can sit up here and say I take all the credit, but I just, I play just a small role in that whole effort to, to help the Goodman be the institution that it is today.

Ozell Sutton

Civil rights activist and community leader Ozell Sutton was born on December 13, 1925, on a plantation in southeast Arkansas in the city of Gould. Sutton‘s mother was a widow who raised eight children: six boys who worked as cotton sharecroppers, and two girls who cooked and did laundry. Despite grueling hours and backbreaking work on the cotton plantation, Sutton managed to graduate from Dunbar High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In 1944, Sutton became one the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. After surviving bloody conflicts from the Solomon Islands to Saipan, Sutton enrolled in Philander Smith College where he received his B.S. degree in 1950. Sutton became the first black reporter for the white-owned publication Arkansas Democrat; he also served as one of the escorts for the Little Rock Nine in 1957. In 1961, Sutton became director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations where he was part of the group that began the Community Relations Service (CRS). Sutton was given responsibility for the civil rights and opportunity groups that became known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1964.

Sutton’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement included his role as a field representative for the Community Relations Service. Sutton was at the Lorraine Hotel in the room next door to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. Sutton then became Special Assistant to the late Governor Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas. In 1972, Sutton directed the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service and was responsible for the department’s racial and ethnic conflict prevention and resolution efforts.

In 1990, Sutton served on the board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 1994, Sutton received the Distinguished Service Award from the United States Department of Justice. Sutton was a former national president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and continued to be a civil rights activist.

Sutton Passed away on December 19, 2015.

Accession Number

A2007.020

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/19/2007 |and| 9/10/2007

Last Name

Sutton

Maker Category
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Gould Colored School

Philander Smith College

First Name

Ozell

Birth City, State, Country

Gould

HM ID

SUT01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Sponsor

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

What Is Required Of Thee Old Man? But To Do Justly. But To Love Mercy And But To Walk On Land.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/13/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Seafood

Death Date

12/19/2015

Short Description

Civil rights activist and community leader Ozell Sutton (1925 - 2015 ) served as an escort for the" Little Rock Nine," director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations, as a field representative on the Community Relations Service, and a director of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service.

Employment

Arkansas Democrat

Winthrop Rockefeller

Arkansas Council on Human Relations

Community Relations Service

Arkansas State Governor's Office

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ozell Sutton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton talks about sharecropping

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton describes what he knows about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers his family's employer

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls his mother's dispute with the plantation owner

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton remembers Gould Colored School in Gould, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton describes his education at Gould Colored School

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls his siblings' migration to St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton remembers reciting poetry at Gould Colored School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls his mother's values and her influence

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers sustaining an injury while slaughtering hogs

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls living with his mother in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton describes his work experience during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls being drafted to the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton describes the segregated U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls attending Philander Smith College with Daisy Bates

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton recalls recruiting and organizing the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton recalls his activities at Philander Smith College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls writing for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton describes his marriage to Joanna Freeman Sutton

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton remembers working as Winthrop Rockefeller's butler

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton recalls working at the Little Rock Housing Authority

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton remembers returning to work for Winthrop Rockefeller

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls directing the Arkansas Council on Human Relations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton remembers attending the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls the deaths of Medgar Evers and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton recalls how the Civil Rights Act changed in the U.S. Congress

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton recalls his involvement in the Community Relations Service

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls the lack of funds for the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls Winthrop Rockefeller's generosity

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton remembers the second Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton recalls being hired by the Community Relations Service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls investigating discrimination in New Orleans' French Quarter

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting the New Orleans mayor about discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls investigating the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls accompanying Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Birmingham jail

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls his strategic use of his job title

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes the aftermath of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers assisting demonstration organizer Bayard Rustin

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting a judge against his employer's wishes

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers serving as Winthrop Rockefeller's special assistant

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls appointing African Americans to the Arkansas government

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls becoming a Community Relations Service regional director

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Ozell Sutton's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls orchestrating an escape from the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls violence between African Americans and the Ku Klux Klan in Decatur, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers requesting protection from Governor George Wallace

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls conducting a mediation in Decatur, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers protecting the civil rights of the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls an encounter with black militants in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting the Ku Klux Klan in Wrightsville, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls mediating a conflict for the Atlanta Police Department

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton describes the resolution of the Atlanta police hiring conflict

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls Hosea Williams' march in Forsyth County, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls securing protection for the march in Forsyth County

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton describes the history of the Community Relations Service

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton remembers mediating a conflict at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls conducting mediations after the Rodney King riots

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton talks about his public speaking engagements

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton describes his involvement in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls organizing a conference on the issue of missing children

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls founding the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes his fundraising with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers organizing a 100 Black Men, Inc. national conference

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton talks about his books

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton describes his wife and children

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton shares a message for future generations

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton remembers his mother's encouragement

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$7

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Ozell Sutton recalls recruiting and organizing the Little Rock Nine
Ozell Sutton recalls conducting mediations after the Rodney King riots
Transcript
So the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in so many cases got involved in the civil rights struggle and of course I was with them when the kids entered Central High School [Central High School] in Little Rock [Arkansas].$$In Central High School.$$Yeah, in Little Rock.$$In Little Rock, okay.$$Yeah.$$Tell me about that.$$Well, when they went to Central High School--first place we had to recruit the kids and convince 'em to try to go to Central High School. Me and a young, a young white professor, named Dr. Georg Iggers [Georg G. Iggers], that's German. Georg was a German Jew and during World War II [WWII] a lot of the German Jews escaping Hitler [Adolf Hitler] came to this country and quite a few of 'em started to teach at black colleges [HBCUs]. Georg and his wife Wilma [Wilhelmina Iggers] started teaching at Philander Smith College [Little Rock, Arkansas]. Wilma taught German, I had German under Wilma (laughter). I learned never have a foreign language on a native (laughter), they're rough. That Wilma was rough, I tell you. You had to get that German right (laughter), but anyway.$$You were recruiting the kids to go to--$$We went house to house, family to family to try to talk the parents and the kids out of--most especially those youngsters who lived in the Central High School district. After all, Central High School was such close proximity to the black community. A whole lot of blacks walked right by Central High School to Dunbar High School [Paul Laurence Dunbar High School; Dunbar Magnet Middle School, Little Rock, Arkansas] to go to, to go to high school, so Central High School was not something out of sight, it was right, right adjacent to the black community and at first we had thirty-five or forty students primed to go, but as time went by (laughter) they dropped off, and when the time came we had nine, nine to enroll in Central High School.$$So tell me about that?$$And when they enrolled two of us was posted upon the steps of Central High School as decoys. The mob assumed that the kids were gonna come that way 'cause we standing up there on top of the steps, but instead the kids went in the side door and when the mob found out that they were in school and we were decoys they took off after us and I started running. At first I, I was running but they caught my buddy and they knocked him down and they had him down on the ground and I went back to help him get up and that's the way the beat the hell out of both of us, but we finally escaped. You ever seen anybody run a belt line? Do you know what a belt line is?$$No I don't.$$Do you know what a belt line is sir?$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): I've heard of it but I need to have you explain it.$$Well, when I was started at college, freshman had to go through it and the seniors would like up with them belts and you'd have to run through that line as they whale you, that was part of your induction into the school, but this was not a belt line this was a stick and brick (laughter)--we were running through that crowd and they were whaling on us but we finally got away and that's how I was involved, but not only that, Georg, the young white professor and I organized at Philander Smith classes to help the young people with their grades, 'cause there was certain teachers at Central High School who were not teaching the young people, they were just there right, and so we had classes, evening classes and Saturday classes over at Philander Smith to help them with their biology and to help them with their math and to help them with those subjects with which they were having difficulty, so I helped organize behind that at Central--at Philander Smith College and that's how we assisted the young people in getting through high school.$Now tell me about Rodney King, what did you do out there in California?$$Same thing.$$Oh, same thing.$$I was called in to--sent there by the director of the CRS [Community Relations Service] and I said, "Well why are you sending me out there we have a regional director for the Western Region and he's right in San Francisco [California]. Why are you sending me into his territory?" He said, "Ozell [HistoryMaker Ozell Sutton] nobody knows as much about--in CRS--knows as much about street conflict as you do." I said, "You're calling me a street one, right," (laughter) and we laughed about that. He said, "No but you've more experience in dealing with street conflict than any regional director we have,"--we have ten regions--"and we want you to go." I went out to California, one young man was--two young men--they're two of us and the second night and two of us and we were looking for somewhere we could eat 'cause they'd burned up most of the places down in the area and then we came to this place and that other guy who was with me went on in to the restaurant and I was trying to find a newspaper and I was out. So two young men came up to me and, and I turned around real quickly and they said, "Did we scare you old man?" Well, you know I'm no baby so that doesn't insult me--they called me an old man. I said, "You scared me, not hardly." You know you--one of the things about dealing with conflict you can't show fear. Showing fear is like dealing with a dog, you can't show fear so I said, "You scared me? No, not hardly." He said, "Well you turned around so fast." I said, "I turned around to the ready." He said, "Ready for what?" I said, "Whatever you got on your mind," (laughter) you know, "Scared to death, right? Don't even have a pencil." He said, "Well suppose we decide to take what you have?" I said, "Well if you think I'm gonna stand here and let you do that, well you do that," and so one of the kids said, "Listen at the old man." I said, "Let me tell you young people something." I go on the offense, that's my style. "Last night you was running around burning stuff and running into places and running with TVs on your shoulder and all that, and boy you embarrassed the police. You made them look so bad, but don't think you're gonna get away with that tonight. They are ready for you, they gonna blow you away. I want you to know that. If you've got any sense at all get off these streets." And he said, "Listen at the old man." I said, "You get off these streets 'cause they're ready for you tonight and they gonna blow you away," and one of 'em had a little old Saturday night special. "We can take care of ourselves." I said, "You fool," said, "they got tanks over in the next street over there. You see that helicopter up there." I said, "What scares me, not you but they got both of us in their sight, and in their effort to contain you they might hit me." I said, "And you're here talking to me. So what I'm afraid of is up there, not you." And I said, "Let me tell you one thing, yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil 'cause I'm the baddest SOB in the valley," (laughter), and they had to laugh (laughter), and that way I got rid of them.

Sonjia W. Young

Founder of Eventions, Inc., one of the first minority and female owned full-service communications companies, Sonjia Waller Young was born Sonjia Amar on October 6, 1941, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her parents, Bernadette Louise Honore Amar and Apollonare Germain Amar, were both of Creole heritage. Young attended St. Francis Xavier School and McKinley High School. When her parents passed away, she moved in with her sister at Southern University. She graduated from Southern High School in 1959 and went on to earn her B.A., B.S. and Masters degrees in educational counseling from Southern University.

When she was seventeen years old, Young was asked to join the Ebony Fashion Fair as a model when it came to Baton Rouge. After touring with the Ebony Fashion Fair, Young married the late Walton Waller, a United States Air Force pilot, and lived for a while in Germany. In 1970, she married Dr. Walter Young and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she worked as a teacher and counselor at Atlanta Junior College, Clark Atlanta University, and Georgia State University. During these years, Young also worked as an interior designer. In 1982, she founded Eventions, Inc., which has become one of the top event planning/communications companies in the Southeast. Eventions’ clients include: The Coca Cola Company, Georgia Pacific Corporation, AME Conferences, Coors Brewing Company, DeKalb International Training Center and the Pan African Conference. Young has also worked with Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Andrew Young, Muhammad Ali, and others. Eventions renovated the Wachovia Bank Building in East Point, Georgia, as the company’s headquarters.

Young is the recipient of numerous awards. Among these are: “One Hundred Top Business Owners in Georgia,” Women Looking Ahead Magazine’s “Blue Print Award,” the Atlanta Business League’s “Diamond Award,” the Atlanta Tribune’s “Salute to Black Business Owners Award,” ITC’s “James Costen Award,” and the Atlanta Media Women’s “Public Relations Award.” Frequently appearing as an inspirational speaker in the Atlanta area schools, Young, who has four grown children, is an avid supporter of educational efforts for youth. A member of Atlanta’s First Congregational Church, Young enjoys golf and yoga in her spare time.

Accession Number

A2006.117

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/13/2006

Last Name

Young

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Schools

Southern University Laboratory School

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School

McKinley Senior High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Days, Evenings

First Name

Sonjia

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

YOU06

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: All

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Let's Think Positively

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/6/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Community leader Sonjia W. Young (1941 - ) founded Eventions, Inc., one of the top event planning and communications companies in the southeast United States.

Employment

Samuel Whiteman and Associates

Eventions, Inc.

Ebony Fashion Fair

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sonjia W. Young's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sonjia W. Young describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sonjia W. Young remembers picking cotton

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sonjia W. Young describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sonjia W. Young remembers picnics with her family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sonjia W. Young recalls her first experience of racial discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sonjia W. Young describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sonjia W. Young remembers her uncle who passed for white

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sonjia W. Young describes her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sonjia W. Young lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sonjia W. Young describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Sonjia W. Young describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sonjia W. Young describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young recalls the St. Francis Xavier Church in Baton Rouge, Louisisana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sonjia W. Young describes the St. Francis Xavier School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sonjia W. Young remembers the deaths of her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sonjia W. Young remembers the Southern University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sonjia W. Young talks about being bullied as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sonjia W. Young remembers adopting her name

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sonjia W. Young recalls joining the Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sonjia W. Young remembers Freda DeKnight

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sonjia W. Young remembers meeting Dinah Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Sonjia W. Young recalls touring with the Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Sonjia W. Young remembers her marriage to Walton Waller, Sr.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sonjia W. Young remembers meeting her husband, Dr. Walter Young

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sonjia W. Young describes her early career in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sonjia W. Young remembers founding Eventions, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sonjia W. Young remembers guiding a tour for Eventions, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sonjia W. Young recalls the events organized by Eventions, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sonjia W. Young describes the services offered by Eventions, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sonjia W. Young describes the challenges facing minority businesses

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sonjia W. Young remembers the 1996 Summer Olympics

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sonjia W. Young explains her preference for corporate clients

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Sonjia W. Young talks about event planning technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sonjia W. Young recalls Joseph Lowery's tribute roast

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young remembers planning Coretta Scott King's funeral

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sonjia W. Young recalls the speakers at Coretta Scott King's funeral

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sonjia W. Young recalls working with the U.S. Secret Service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sonjia W. Young describes her work at the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sonjia W. Young talks about golfing

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sonjia W. Young describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sonjia W. Young reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sonjia W. Young reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sonjia W. Young talks about her family

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Sonjia W. Young describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Sonjia W. Young talks about the First Congregational Church in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sonjia W. Young narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Sonjia W. Young recalls joining the Ebony Fashion Fair
Sonjia W. Young remembers guiding a tour for Eventions, Inc.
Transcript
So when you were in high school [Southern University Laboratory School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], like what did you, what were you thinking in terms of career, future career? What did you see yourself becoming, or did you have those kind of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, when I was in high school I wanted to be a model, or a dancer, all the creative things that, you know, you want to be when you're involved in that, an actress, you name it, and actually I had the opportunity of going--let's see, where were we--we were at a friend's home and one of our neighbors had a tennis court in the yard and a pool and so we used to play tennis and swim and stuff, and, I forget, he was a professor at the university [Southern University; Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] and the Ebony Fashion Fair came to town, and there, at Dr. Bernard's [ph.] home, which was around the corner--friends of ours. They had a reception or a dinner or something for the Lottos [ph.] and for Freda DeKnight, who was running that years ago. And so I went to the dinner, had been playing tennis with my girlfriend, who wanted to be with the Fashion Fair, but I did not and had no desire to necessarily do that and I knew my sister would not let me go anywhere out of Louisiana, so we went over and she was trying to talk to them about being in the show and Freda says, "Well, you really, you know, you don't--."-- I was really tiny at the time and she wasn't--and she says, "You, Sonjia [HistoryMaker Sonjia W. Young] is the one that I'd like to have in the show." And I'm like, "Oh," She says, "There's a young woman who is leaving who looks like you." I've forgotten her name now, but she was, it was like the first or second show they've done for Ebony. And, I can't remember the young lady's name but she was on my (unclear) and so she said, "I'd really like to have her in the show," and I'm like, "Oh, that'd be great." My sister said, "Oh, no. You're not going anywhere. You've gotta finish school. You can't do anything, finish school, finish school." Because, you know, my mother [Bernadette Honore Amar] said that we all had to get an education and so it left her to take that responsibility for me and my sisters. So, you know, I just figured I couldn't go. Then I started thinking. I'd really like to go on that, you know, I'm seventeen years old, I can go to New York [New York] and you say like, "Oh no, you're a--."-- So Freda kept calling and finally she said, I convinced her that I should go. Only if you come back and you go directly and you finish your education.$$So, this would take you out of school for a year or something?$$Yeah, um-hm.$$For a better part of the year, or? When did you go?$$Well, I had to go, you had to go to be fitted by all the designers and trained and everything. So, that's when I, I convinced her and, of course, all of my uncles thought that that was a horrible thing to do, for any young girl to go to be model (laughter).$$How old were you then?$$Seventeen.$$Seventeen, okay. So, were you a senior in high school?$$Um-hm. I had just finished.$$All right.$$It was in '59 [1959].$$Okay. Okay, so you hadn't, you had just finished high school.$$Um-hm.$$Okay, all right.$$Um-hm. I had just finished high school. I was in love with, actually the guy [Walton Waller, Sr.] I would wind up marrying, and so I was like really torn between should I go, should I stay, should I go on to school, and finally I thought, if I don't go I will never know that, you know, what I missed. So, my sister agreed that I could go. I was the youngest, actually, on the tour. There was one other girl who was a couple months younger than me but she didn't last. They put you on a trial and so you go to Boston [Massachusetts] and, at that time, you would go to Boston and some other smaller shows and if you didn't make it through, I don't know how they judged you, by audience participation or something when you came out or something, and so she didn't make it, but actually that young lady is an anchorwoman somewhere in New York. It's funny, because I saw her one day and I know her, I know her, you know, like, it's been a long time. You know, she was with the Fashion Fair for a couple months. I'm like, that's who it was. So, you know, things go around. What comes around, goes around, they say, so you see people that were involved in your previous life (laughter) but, yeah, I know, I made it through and so I lasted and I, I was really a little country bumpkin, hair down to my back and scared of everything, you know, thought that everybody in New York--first day I got there we were up at Ebony's office and I looked down and the cop, a policeman shot somebody robbing a bank right in front of me and I'm like, "(Makes sound) I want to go home, it's time to go home."$What have been some of the highlights, n- now when you were, when you started Eventions [Eventions, Inc.], Atlanta [Georgia], was really, well, it had been booming for about ten years, I guess?$$Yeah, Maynard [Maynard Jackson] was mayor. I have a picture of us, I mean I really don't know what those pictures are, but it's so cute. We were like, (laughter) we used to dress, some of my friends that are still my friends now that had started off with me, so we'd get these good-looking women who were hostesses and we'd dress alike at every event and so it got to be a thing that you could have the Eventions staff or hostesses working for you. So, they were all gorgeous girls, young women and some of them, one of them, actually, my friend, worked with me for a long time and she's doing this too and the other is married to Nate Goldston [HistoryMaker Nathaniel R. Goldston, III], Valerie Goldston [Valerie Hampton Montague Goldston], and she is, they had a surprise birthday party for me the other day and we were reminiscing and just enjoying talking about how far we've come and how long we've been friends, like thirty years, I mean, so it's all good.$$Okay. So, what are some of the events, I mean, when you started out did you, was there a, who was getting most of the convention business then? Was it somebody else?$$Well, nobody, I don't think they really, I think they did a lot of in-house, but they weren't any minorities doing it. There were general market people, a few of them that were doing some, not a lot of them but, tour gals and stuff like that, were, had just started business too and planning a lot of the convention stuff. I would- I would not ever do another tour in life (laughter). We have some real stories to tell about this.$$From tours, really?$$Yeah. Because I thought, well, we're gonna do the tours, and we're going to do, you know, the city with the conventions, and I took on this big tour as a part of the meeting planning part, and we (laughter) the people, the tour gals didn't show up. The tour women that we hired, two of them didn't show up, so they said, "Oh, my god, Sonjia [HistoryMaker Sonjia W. Young], you're going to have to do this." I'm like, "I can't do it. I don't know all those dates or anything." So Michelle [ph.] was working with me, another one of my friends was here working with us. "Oh, yeah. We can do this. We can really do this." So, I said, "Okay." The people were librarians. They wanted dates for everything, so we get on the bus and it was a tour from hell (laughter).$$Was it the American Library Association?$$Yeah, something like that. I mean, you know, sticklers for dates and times. So, we get on the bus and I'm going, oh, my god; you know, "To your left is the High Museum [High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia] and--." You know, "Well, what year was it built?" "Um, well, around--," (laughter). So, we get to, so I'm going, "Okay, now how many of you here are from California?" And they go, "Yeah, yeah, I'm from California." "How many from Chicago [Illinois]?" "Yeah, I'm from Chicago." Then, they go, "Okay now, what was the date of that again," I'm trying to distract 'em from asking me these questions. (Laughter) So, I'm like okay, when we get to the Carter Center [Atlanta, Georgia], we go to the bathroom and we get in the stall and we get this book, and we start reading it and writing down notes. Then the bus breaks down. I'm like, that's--the bus broke down? I can't even believe that (laughter). So, it was like, no. This is not going to be a part of what I do. It was really funny. One lady says, "We want our money back." And I said, "Is that right? Well, why do you want your money back?" She says, "That tour guide we had was terrible." And I said, "Really? Who was your tour guide?" And they said, "You." (Laughter) I'm like, "Here's your money." It was terrible (laughter).

Ruth Wells

Community leader Ruth Wells was born on August 1, 1934, to Mettie Johnson and George Darnell, in West Point, Mississippi. Wells attended Cola Springs School, Cedar Grove School, and Lamont County Training School in Caledonia, Mississippi . At thirteen, she moved to Gary, Indiana, and attended Theodore Roosevelt High School. By 1950, Wells had dropped out of school to work for the Standard Oil Company in Whiting, Indiana. In 1952, she married James "Ira" Wells and in 1959 she began working for Chicago’s 3M Company. The Wells bought a home on land contract, where they fell victim to Chicago realtors known as “panic peddlers.”

In 1968, when her West Side home insurance rates rivaled those of Chicago’s North Shore residents, Wells confronted the realtors head on. Father James Egan (the late Monsignor Egan) introduced her to Father Jack Macnamara, a young Jesuit organizer whose resources honed Wells' leadership skills. She became the voice of hundreds of African American homebuyers who formed the Contract Buyers League (CBL). Civil rights attorney, Robert Ming, and pro bono attorneys from the law firm of Jenner & Block filed a lawsuit, and by 1972, most of the unethical “contracts” were converted to mortgages.

In 1972, Wells was recruited by Mary Powers to join Citizens’ Alert, a criminal justice watch organization. There, she organized citizens and confronted powerful figures like Chicago Police Superintendent James Rochford and City Personnel Director Cahill. In 1976, she was hired as an Information Officer by the Office of the Village Clerk of Oak Park, where she retired in 1990.

Ruth Wells passed away on June 14, 2009, in Chicago, Illinois.

Ruth Wells was interviewed by the HistoryMakers on January 15, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.002

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/15/2004

Last Name

Wells

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy

Cola Springs School

Cedar Grove School

Lamont County Training School

First Name

Ruth

Birth City, State, Country

West Point

HM ID

WEL01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/1/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bread (French), Vegetables, Seafood

Death Date

6/14/2009

Short Description

Community leader Ruth Wells (1934 - 2009 ) was a member of the Contract Buyers League, assisted black homebuyers fight housing discrimination in Chicago, Illinois, and was an advocate against police brutality.

Employment

Standard Oil Company

3M Company

Oak Park Office of the Village Clerk

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ruth Wells' interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Ruth Wells' interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ruth Wells lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ruth Wells talks about her mother and mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ruth Wells talks about her father and reflects on the system of sharecropping after emancipation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ruth Wells talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ruth Wells recalls her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ruth Wells mentions her move from West Point, Mississippi to Caledonia, Mississippi and speculates about her parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ruth Wells talks about growing up between her father's home and various older siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ruth Wells comments on changes she has seen in parenting styles over the years

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ruth Wells offers her thoughts on contemporary parenting

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ruth Wells recalls the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ruth Wells recalls when one of her older sisters was bitten by a snake

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ruth Wells remembers being healed from life-threatening pneumonia and other childhood stories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ruth Wells reflects on her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ruth Wells remembers attending Lamont County Training School in Vernon, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ruth Wells talks about her schooling and reflects on her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ruth Wells recalls her move to Gary, Indiana as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ruth Wells recalls a story from when she attended Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ruth Wells reflects on the importance of not playing favorites with one's children

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ruth Wells briefly talks about her move from Gary, Indiana to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ruth Wells describes her relationship with her niece when she lived with her in Gary, Indiana as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ruth Wells talks about meeting and marrying her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ruth Wells recalls being hired at Standard Oil in Whiting, Indiana despite not having a high school diploma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ruth Wells recalls learning that white women at the Standard Oil factory were paid not to quit

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ruth Wells recalls discriminatory hiring practices at Standard Oil in Whiting, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ruth Wells describes the kitchens at the YMCA in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ruth Wells talks about moving to Chicago, Illinois and tells a story about how South Siders disliked West Siders

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ruth Wells describes teaching a South Sider a lesson about her prejudice against Chicago's West Side

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ruth Wells talks about white southerners' fear of being exposed for the extent of their racism during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ruth Wells talks about her and her husband's political leanings

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ruth Wells recalls buying a home on Chicago's West Side in 1959

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ruth Wells describes hiring a bad lawyer to help her fight against housing discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ruth Wells talks about meeting Jack Macnamara through Father Egan, a Jesuit priest on Chicago's West Side

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ruth Wells describes how she became involved with the Contract Buyers League with encouragement from Jack Macnamara

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ruth Wells talks about the formation of the Contract Buyers League, finding lawyers, and fundraising

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ruth Wells describes how realtors blockbusted on Chicago's West Side

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ruth Wells talks about lawyers who helped with the Contract Buyers League case

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ruth Wells talks about attorney Bob Ming and his imprisonment

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ruth Wells talks about lawyers for the Contract Buyers League and the basis of their case

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ruth Wells describes how realtors inflated housing prices for African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ruth Wells recalls attempting to make contact with Cardinal John Cody

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ruth Wells talks about speaking publically on behalf of the Contract Buyers League

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ruth Wells describes realizing that she could change her situation through the Contract Buyers League

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ruth Wells remembers causing a realtor to change his mind about renegotiating a contract

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ruth Wells describes some tactics for getting realtors to agree to renegotiate contracts

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ruth Wells describes the Contract Buyers League's role in helping homeowners renegotiate the terms of their contracts

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ruth Wells recalls confronting her landlord

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ruth Wells remembers an opposing lawyer whose argument was in favor of the Contract Buyers League

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ruth Wells talks about attempts to make contact with Cardinal John Cody and Mayor Richard J. Daley

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ruth Wells describes the end of contract renegotiations and getting Walter Cronkite to do a segment on the Contract Buyers League

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ruth Wells reflects on what might have moved people to agitate for change on Chicago's West Side after 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ruth Wells talks about how door-to-door work and community trust helped build momentum for the Contract Buyers League

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ruth Wells talks about how she became involved with Citizens Alert

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ruth Wells talks about calling for psychological testing for new policemen

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ruth Wells talks about standing up to the Chicago Police

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ruth Wells recalls an interaction with Chicago Police Superintendent James Rochford

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ruth Wells talks about a Red Squad member who infiltrated the Contract Buyers League

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ruth Wells talks about lawyer Robert William "Bob" Ming

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ruth Wells talks about her involvement with Citizens Alert and receiving an award from the Guardian Police Association

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ruth Wells describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ruth Wells reflects upon her life and the breakdown of the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ruth Wells reflects upon power, morality and unity

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ruth Wells reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Ruth Wells describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ruth Wells narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

8$9

DATitle
Ruth Wells describes some tactics for getting realtors to agree to renegotiate contracts
Ruth Wells talks about standing up to the Chicago Police
Transcript
So did the court ever decide that those contracts should be renegotiated, or did they just or did it happen on its own? How did it happen?$$It happened sort of like the one--only I didn't say that 'cause it was other people, you know, threatened, but it sort of happened they just seemed to have come to the--well you know we talked to some of 'em wives. Meet 'em for lunch and have--even if you didn't want no lunch. You know maybe you have a cup of tea or something.$$Now who--whose idea was that to--$$Different strategies that we had. Like Jack [Macnamara] and maybe Baker [ph.] or Ross [ph.] or some, somebody in the group would say well you think--and, and Jack would tell us things that we wouldn't ordinarily know. For an example, he said that if a white man is doing something illegal or immoral, he doesn't want his wife to know about it. So they figure well then why--they figure from why, the wife doesn't know they doing what they're doing and how they're doing it. They know they--they may know that I purchased a couple of pieces of property, you know. They might, you know may have known that. But they don't know how they went about it; how they got the property, what they doing with it, they just got some property. But they don't know the details. So we did two or three--I don't know whether it was three meetings with the wives, had met 'em for lunch. And they in turn--see word of mouth works too. In turn they went you know, like and faced their husbands about what is this I hear about them people out there, 'bout the contracts or something? And they insisted on them telling 'em. So I heard, I didn't hear, I didn't hear her say it, that this one woman told her husband he, he had to, he had twenty-four hours to call them people and do what--whatever is right. You gonna do it. And, and that's how we got a lot of 'em renegotiated. And then some of them, I don't know what changed their minds or what made 'em wanna renegotiate. I don't, I don't know. But then for the example this one--this one--renegotiate. So if you came in and say okay bring me your figures. Then you wanna renego--after you see that, you wanna renegotiate what you do is call the office. And say I wanna renegotiate. And that's how a lot of 'em came in, you know they, they would renege--if you wanted to renegotiate, they'd renegotiate. If ten wanted to renegotiate, the ten--$$So--$See I would be there every time they would have a meeting. They had to have a meeting every so often. And I would be in there. We could always check and find out what was going on, and so I'd be sitting up in there. And he, he got where he knew me, I mean not personally but I mean he, he knew me when he saw me. But he was nicer when I asked questions. Then we left there and we did the police board. They were having meetings, the police board. But what the public didn't know that the public can attend those meetings, the board meetings. But see they're not--they didn't do anything to notify the public that you supposed to sit in on these meetings if you want to, and you supposed to ask questions, you know. Nobody--most people didn't know it, so that's what--after we found out they had done the research and we went to the meetings. They were in a little room where they--and we told 'em we wanted to come to the meeting, they said no, they didn't have any space and nowhere for you to sit. So the--we just kept going anyway. You keep going, you keep talking. And they finally start having board meetings in the auditorium where it should have been in the first place. But the reason they didn't have it there is because they didn't want anybody there but the ones they, you know, the board. And the, and the head of the, the--you know the police superintendent. So anyway, they moved it into the auditorium and they I believe met once a month and I went, I wouldn't miss a month, not one. I'd go to the meeting and I'd have my questions all ready before I got there. But every time I would ask a question, (unclear) like I say, these authorities, these political authorities have their way of setting you down, you know don't wanna be bothered. They don't wanna be questioned about certain things. And I would ask my questions and he would dah, dah, dah, dah, next. But without catching his breath. You know he give me this little nothing answer, dah, dah, dah, dah, next. That mean somebody else stand up and I would shut up. I did that for--at first. Then I was on my way down there one day and I told Dick, I said, "Look Dick." I said, "You know how [James] Rochford always sitting me down?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "I'm not sitting down today."