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Grady Poulard

Nationally known motivational speaker and human relations consulting firm owner Grady Emory Poulard was born on August 15, 1936, to Leola Green Poulard and Grady Emory Poulard, Sr. in Crowley, Louisiana. Poulard grew up in Crowley and attended Ross High School, graduating in 1953. He attended Southern University, was elected student body president and served as the editor of the school’s newspaper. Poulard graduated from Southern University in 1957, and received a Rockefeller Fellowship, earning his M.A. degree from Yale University in philosophy and religion thereafter. Poulard also earned his M.A. degree in urban affairs at Columbia University, and is a graduate of the Pacific Institute Graduate Trainer Program.

After college, Poulard began working as an assistant to minister and civil rights activist Dr. Gardner Taylor and held the position of Director of Education at the Concord Church of Brooklyn, New York. He, then, served as an international field representative of the U.S. Student Christian Movement in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Between 1962 and 1964, Poulard served as dean of the Chapel at Christian Medical College in Vellore, South India. In 1965, Poulard became pastor of Peoples Congregational Church in Washington, D.C. He soon became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, as a field executive for the Council of Federated Civil Rights Organizations. This included the NAACP, SCLC, CORE, and SNCC.

In 1969, Poulard became a National Urban Fellow at Clairmont College and decided to go back to school and earn his M.A. degree in urban affairs from Columbia University. In 1970, while working at the American Institute of Architects, Poulard and Robert Nash developed the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). In 1972, Poulard served as special assistant to the Mayor of Washington, D.C. and became the executive director of the Independent Foundation. In 1974, Poulard became the Director for Human Relations for the U.S. General Accounting Office. Poulard is the president of his own management and human relations consulting firm called GPA, Grady Poulard Associates, which he formed in 1975. He is a member of the National Urban League, a board member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., is involved with the Black Executive Exchange Program, and is a part of the liaison staff of the White House Conference on Civil Rights.

Poulard has published one book and has contributed articles to several professional journals. He is single, and the father of two sons, Kenneth and Michael.

Accession Number

A2005.117

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/4/2005

Last Name

Poulard

Maker Category
Schools

Ross High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Yale Divinity School

Columbia University

Yale University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Grady

Birth City, State, Country

Crowley

HM ID

POU02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: 10% of engagements can be pro bono

Preferred Audience: Any

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

It all comes to pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/15/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive, civil rights activist, and motivational speaker Grady Poulard (1936 - ) owns the consulting firm, Grady Poulard Associates. In 1972, Poulard served as Special Assistant to the Mayor of Washington, D.C., and became the executive director of the Independent Foundation. In 1974, Poulard became the Director for Human Relations for the U.S. General Accounting Office.

Employment

American Institute of Architects

United States. General Accounting office

Concord Church of Brooklyn

Washington, D.C. Mayor's Office

Christian Medical College (Vellore, India)

Peoples Congregational Church

Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)

Grady Poulard Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Grady Poulard interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Grady Poulard discusses his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Grady Poulard discusses his and his father's name

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Grady Poulard discusses his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Grady Poulard details his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Grady Poulard lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Grady Poulard shares childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Grady Poulard details his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Grady Poulard remembers his early music lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard remembers his preparatory school experience, mid-1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Grady Poulard recalls his undergraduate years at Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Grady Poulard recalls his experience at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, late 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Grady Poulard describes the religious climate of the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Grady Poulard evaluates modern Christianity

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Grady Poulard details his assignments to international posts, 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Grady Poulard discusses his first marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Grady Poulard details his years in India

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Grady Poulard discusses his civil rights involvement as a Council of Federated Organizations official

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Grady Poulard recounts his training efforts as a Council of Federated Organizations official

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard reflects on his appointment as minister of the People's Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Grady Poulard discusses conservative Christian practices and theories

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Grady Poulard evaluates mega-churches

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Grady Poulard discusses his civil rights work in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Grady Poulard remembers the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Grady Poulard reviews his studies in urban affairs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Grady Poulard reviews his efforts as an institutional organizer

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Grady Poulard discusses his employment with the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Grady Poulard discusses his employment with the United States General Accounting Office

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard describes his venture, Grady Poulard Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Grady Poulard shares advice on marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Grady Poulard shares reflections on his life's course

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Grady Poulard reflects on issues of race and class in the U.S.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Grady Poulard shares his personal philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Grady Poulard considers his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Grady Poulard discusses his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Grady Poulard continues to discuss the institution of marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard describes how he'd like to be remembered

Mujahid Ramadan

Diversity and human relations consultant Imam Mujahid Ramadan was born November 17, 1951, on the outskirts of Lake Providence, Louisiana. Raised by his stepfather and his mother, Flenorte and Elizabeth Harris, Ramadan attended Carroll Elementary School in Louisiana. When his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, Ramadan attended Kit Carson Elementary, J.D. Smith Junior High School, and graduated from Valley View High School in 1970. Ramadan was involved as a youth, in his church, as a youth member of the NAACP, and later as a member of the Black Panther Party. Ramadan attended Northeastern Oklahoma A & M Junior College, but dropped out and returned to Las Vegas. Ramadan worked at the West Side Boy’s Club where a hydrocephalic youngster named John “Bookie” Dorsey inspired him to return to school. Ramadan earned his B.A. degree in sociology from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in 1976. He later became director of the West Side Boys Club.

Ramadan embraced Islam in 1975, took a Muslim name in 1981, and eventually became resident Imam of the Masjid As-Sabur in Las Vegas, Nevada, and vice-chair of the American Muslim Council (AMC). Ramadan served in the probation department of Clarke County Juvenile Services and became a policy advisor to the Las Vegas Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, and a number of elected officials including Senator Harry Reid. In 1989, Ramadan was appointed Nevada State Drug Policy Director by Governor Bill Miller. Ramadan was later appointed CEO of Nevada Partners Organization, Inc.; he also served as a national executive board member of the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Ramadan later became a member of the local interfaith council and developed a reputation for being an expert in diversity awareness training. Ramadan served as an advisor to the President’s Faith Community Initiative; a board member of the Inter-Faith Council for Workers Justice; a participant in the National Leadership Summit on Race Relations and America's Public Education System; and a trainer for the Justice Department Violent Crimes Program.

In 1983, Ramadan founded the diversity training firm, M.R. Consulting, later renamed Ramadan Ballard and Associates. Ramadan went on to serve as CEO of Ballard Communications, which he founded in 2001.

Accession Number

A2004.184

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/29/2004

Last Name

Ramadan

Schools

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College

Carroll Elementary School

J.D. Smith Junior High School

Valley High School

Kit Carson International Academy

First Name

Mujahid

Birth City, State, Country

Lake Providence

HM ID

RAM01

Favorite Season

Ramadan

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

With Every Difficulty, There Is Relief.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

11/17/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive and imam Mujahid Ramadan (1951 - ) served as the resident Imam of the Masjid As-Sabur in Las Vegas, Nevada, and vice-chair of the American Muslim Council. In addition to holding these positions, Ramadan has been involved with several interfaith commissions, and has acted as an advisor on interfaith and diversity matters on the national level.

Employment

West Side Boys Club

Masjid As-Sabur - Las Vegas, Nevada

American Muslim Council (AMC)

Clarke County Juvenile Services

Las Vegas Police Department

Las Vegas Sheriff’s Department

Office of Senator Harry Reid

State of Nevada

Nevada Partners Organization, Inc.

Ramadan, Ballard and Associates

Ballard Communications

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mujahid Ramadan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan talks about Emmett Till and the Deacons for Defense and Justice

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his family's involvement in the Deacons for Defense and Justice

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon the philosophy of nonviolence in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his mother's personality and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his father and brother's deaths

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls his childhood in Lake Providence, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan remembers his teachers at Carroll Elementary School in Lake Providence, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his siblings and stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his stepfather's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls growing up in segregated Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mujahid Ramadan remembers the schools he attended in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon the differences between Nevada and Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls his high school football coach, Overton Curtis

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his childhood influences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan describes the African American community in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his experiences at Northeastern Oklahoma Junior College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his literary interests and the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan remembers the Boys Club of Clark County in Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls being hired at the Boys Club of Clark County

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mujahid Ramadan remembers the young men at the Boys Club of Clark County

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls meeting his wife, Sumayah Ramadan

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Mujahid Ramadan describes what attracted him to Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his conversion to Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his early uncertainties about Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan describes reconciling his African American identity and Islamic beliefs

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan explains what his Islamic name means

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan explains the history of the Arabic language

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon issues in Islam, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon issues in Islam, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan describes schisms within the Nation of Islam and Warith Deen Mohammed

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan explains the difference between American Muslims and Arab Muslims, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan explains the difference between American Muslims and Arab Muslims, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan explains the difference between American Muslims and Arab Muslims, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan explains how he became a cultural diversity specialist

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan talks about spirituality versus religion

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his role as drug policy director for the State of Nevada

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his role at Nevada Partners

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his move from Nevada Partners to Ballard Communications

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan describes the influx of African American professionals in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan describes the different cultural experiences for minorities in America

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan describes unique features of the African American experience, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan describes unique features of the African American experience, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon the need to make America an inclusive nation

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his mother's response to his success

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Mujahid Ramadan describes his family's involvement in the Deacons for Defense and Justice
Mujahid Ramadan describes reconciling his African American identity and Islamic beliefs
Transcript
Maybe you can, if you can, I know the deacons [Deacons for Defense and Justice] have been written about, I don't think exhaustively or anything but they've been written since that, those days and there's a, there's an impression that they were, that some have written there were a whole lot of 'em, some have written that there weren't that many of 'em, but being an organization that wasn't really out in, you know all out in public anyway.$$No.$$And identified as, I mean what's your impression of--who were the--just for the record like who, what's your impression? Who were the deacons and how many do you think there were and how much did they do?$$Probably not a large, large number. I think they were very select because I, I knew some. Now I know that I can look back and see who were and they were a very small--some--very small group. I knew my father [Johnny Young (ph.)], my [maternal] grandfather and my father were, but very small and select. Most of them probably were religious men who were members of churches and who, who saw, they saw a different purview of you know not so much turn the other cheek. I think they saw that more spiritually and symbolically, but not so much in the physical sense of turn the other cheek. I think it was their religious and spiritual convictions that led them to being who they were and that feeling as though they had a right based on you know the law of God you know to defend and, and protect themselves. So I think that was a basic foundation to it, and, and probably I, I use to hear every now and then while sitting on the porch and hearing discussion about, "Well you know the white man in Louisiana was a different kind of white man," so he wasn't one who you could possibly interact with while, while many of them publicly had relationships with the, the transitional non-violence of Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]. That wasn't something they could actually practice with everybody because they didn't think some people were accepting to that so they felt as though the best way to deal with them is the way they dealt, and, and because the, the Civil Rights Movement while it was visible but it never had a stronghold in Louisiana because Dr. King wouldn't come there because of the deacons, because of what they practiced or the way they approached things--I would say the way they would approach things that, that affected that, and it--I notice sitting around, it was only like sitting around on the front porch and hearing about it sometimes and then sometimes then be told to, "Get, get outta here boy ain't nobody talking to you," but being--I, I guess that maybe the fact that being that my name was Deacon I was privy to at least hearing so maybe at a certain stage in life I would remember you know what that was about.$$Yeah, there's a--well, I know there's, there've been rumors that the deacons had--were followed certain civil rights marches just to make sure that if anybody you know was fired upon that there'd be some kind of protection, you know available and that sort of thing, but I, I don't you know you hear a lot of stories but you never know what really.$$Well you never knew who they were, I mean you know I was just in a family that they were a part of but you never knew like knew publicly who they were and they, they were like shadows you know pretty much now that I look back on it and now that I look back and, and being in the audience with my grandfather sometimes I can look back and say, "Oh, okay, this person was and who wasn't," you know you could tell by the way they talked to one another. I remember language like, "How you doing pilgrim?" "Hey pilgrim, how you doing?" But he wouldn't call everybody pilgrim and there weren't you know and then the other--not everybody called him pilgrim back. The ones he called pilgrim they called him pilgrim. So I probably concluded that they were, they were in that group because it was just such a small portion of them that were like that and most of them were in church.$What did you think about the Nation of Islam or I know a lot of black people in the 19--early, late '60s [1960s] and '70s [1970s] especially young men admired Malcolm X.$$Yeah, um-hm.$$And--$$And we were, yeah we were swept up in that, but, but the Black Panther Party gave us perspective that, that was, that was in somewhat of an antithesis, they were antithesis of one another because in the Nation of Islam remember the black man was seen as a God, but the philosophy of the Black Panther Party is that oppression didn't have any color, you know it was more universal in its nature and I think that was legitimate there. Remember Malcolm spawned the Black Panther Party, so I had this thing with the Nation that okay, y'all say the white man is a devil but you know in the Black Panther Party I've read, I read more of a broader language than just the cultural language of the Nation of Islam. So I, I--that's why I didn't come into the Nation of Islam, I had some spiritual yearning, it was the just the problem of calling somebody a devil I had a problem with, and so then, so I didn't--but I remember though when I was a newspaper boy, I--one of the sergeants in the Fruit of Islam, I was--I threw papers to him and I remember sometimes we'd sit around he'd talk to me about the Nation of Islam and what it was about which I could appreciate, you know, the respect for family. He had two twin daughters, I won't forget that they were little girls and the respect he showed for his wife and then of course we knew about Malcolm, we knew about Muhammad Ali so that was very infectious at that point in time, but I just couldn't get--the hate part never did sit very well with and, and so that was it. Then I came--then I saw the sp--and I knew but I had all--I had heard of [HistoryMaker] McCoy Tyner and I had heard of a few people like a basketball player--Kareem Abdul-Jabbar obviously who was Ahmadiyya, but we just knew him as a Muslim. Walt Hazzard who had also converted to Islam I think right behind that Ahmad Rashad who I'm not sure if he's a practicing Muslim but he did choose a name and several others. So I knew there was something else that was out there and when I met this brother Abdul Rehman Bukhari I said okay, this is it. I, I remember the following spring I went down to Sea World and took my wife [Sumayah Ramadan] and daughter down there and I saw a basketball player from the Houston Rockets and he was dressed up like an Arab and I thought dang that seems to be an uncomfortable dress out here in Sea World but his wife was dressed with the veil and everything. And so even then as a Muslim, I didn't even, I didn't even introduce myself--no, I think we did. I gave him the greeting I said, "Assalam Alaikum," he said, "Wa Alaikum Assalam," but I was thinking--and one thing told me I'm not as good a Muslim as he is, but the other thing told me, I don't that's Islam, I think that's something else, and so my, my own deductive reasoning was telling me all the time. So I stayed aloof you know for five or seven years, didn't practice, but said I was a Muslim and then in about 19--I'm jumping ahead again, 1982 there was a--some people here who had been in the Nation of Islam who had somewhat successfully made a semi-transition to Islam proper, and they came to see me because I was the quote, unquote the only quote a Sunni Muslim that they had known maybe who lived here and I started interacting with them that's how I heard the teachings of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and that's when I became comfortable with Islam. I understood that I can dress like this. I understood that I have my own diet, I have my own culture. I began to understand things like the U.S. Constitution gave me rights that Muslims did not have and that America really was more maybe the most Islamic country in the world. Now I really began to understand the freedom that we have here. I didn't become an American until after I became a Muslim and heard the teaching of Imam Mohammed, that's when I became an American.$$Now, yeah he did link the two and can you tell us how they--well, just give us your analysis how they link?$$Well, I, I remember hearing him make the observation. He said America he said, he'd always--he talked about that there's excellence in everything. There's excellence in everything, you just have to be able to see it. He says and the excellence that you see in America that you can vividly see is the, the freedom for everybody to reach their human potential. America will not restrict you in reaching your potential. If you, even if you want to be a savage, America will allow you the freedom of being the biggest savage that you wanna be, but if you want to reach the pinnacle of excellence that God has ordained for you, America also gives you that. So he says, and we can see now that Islam is the fuel and America is the car that you put the fuel in to make it drive. And America has--that's the excellence that's in America that you won't find anywhere in the, in the Muslim world, you will not find it anywhere in America. So he, he was able to make the connection but also through making the connection I think he revealed to many of us if we come through the door of Islam and not Arab culture, we will come through the door of America, and so many of us that's what we've done. We, we couldn't come into America unless we came in for us. I mean I'm not saying others can't, but we could not enter into America unless we'd come through the door of Islam. And so he--that opened up the, probably was after that I really began to see you know Islam in the scope of a social active movement. I was saying to some friends of mine who are in a religious labor organization in Chicago [Illinois], I was speaking there and Kim Bobo asked me, she said, "Ramadan [HistoryMaker Mujahid Ramadan] what about being a Muslim?" I said, "Islam really is the natural progression of the Civil Rights Movement, Islam and America is the natural progression of the Civil Rights Movement, i.e. we go from civil rights to human rights." So we become advocates now for the, for the big picture, not just for the rights of African American people or the right of women, the rights of all the poor, the rights of all children, the rights of the disenfranchised, the rights of the prison inmate, and then also then you begin to see the connection between Islam, Christianity and Judaism so it, it that, that has been just monumental. It just so happens that I have the luxury of being in the city that I, the town that I grew up in so it adds, it adds another dimension to my life that say for instance this dimension kind of sets me aside from the people I grew up with and that becomes--because I've been Mujahid Ramadan now for--matter-of-fact if you go ahead my mention my name most people won't remember what my name was and if somebody remember it they'll say, all right so they've known me for over thirty years, but I'm the guy who grew up here then converted to Islam and changed his name.

Ralph G. Moore

Minority business consultant Ralph G. Moore was born in Evanston, Illinois on July 4, 1949. His mother, Alberta, worked in the post office, while his father, William, was a railroad worker. After graduating from Evanston Township High School in 1967, Moore attended Southern Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1971. The following year, he was awarded his CPA license.

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Moore took a position with accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where he remained until 1973. From there, he served as vice president for the Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company and was controller for the Parker House Sausage Company. In 1979, Moore founded Ralph G. Moore & Associates (RGMA). Today, RGMA is one of the premier consulting firms for helping employers to diversify their suppliers. In addition, they consult government agencies with the development and implementation of Affirmative Action programs and help entrepreneurs raise capital.

In addition to his consulting work, Moore serves on the board of directors of several firms. He has also been a contributor to the Harvard Business Review and MBE Magazine. He is also a co-founder and the president of the Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs. Since 1994, Moore has served as a trustee of the City Colleges of Chicago, and he is also a trustee of the University of Chicago Hospitals & Health System.

Moore’s numerous awards over the years include “Entrepreneur of the Year” from Inc. Magazine and Enrst & Young and the Governor’s Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year Award from former Illinois Governor George Ryan.

Accession Number

A2004.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/9/2004

Last Name

Moore

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

G.

Schools

Evanston Township High School

Southern Illinois University

First Name

Ralph

Birth City, State, Country

Evanston

HM ID

MOO03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

We're All In This Together.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/4/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Business consultant and business consulting chief executive Ralph G. Moore (1949 - ) founded Ralph G. Moore & Associates (RGMA) in 1979. Over the years, RGMA became one of the premier consulting firms for helping corporations diversify their supply chain.

Employment

Arthur Andersen

Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company

Parker House Sausage Company

Ralph G. Moore & Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:14456,204:15584,230:35903,466:36704,476:40264,533:55122,832:55466,837:57272,865:58218,879:58648,885:59250,894:63894,977:65442,1027:67162,1062:74884,1209:77819,1341:102190,1657:102595,1679:103729,1691:104944,1711:106968,1726:107727,1749:124635,2049:134966,2194:140784,2275:142390,2323:142974,2333:143266,2338:145748,2393:146405,2407:146989,2416:147938,2431:149544,2487:152610,2564:155019,2607:157282,2654:158085,2674:158669,2684:164610,2708$0,0:5645,154:5937,159:11412,292:11923,365:19223,493:25510,537:31810,627:32126,632:32679,640:33390,651:37261,754:38288,777:38604,782:38920,787:39236,792:39552,797:55717,1072:56253,1089:58933,1139:59469,1158:62484,1250:68440,1343:74080,1421:74990,1445:81290,1597:82340,1615:82760,1623:94476,1860:98556,1962:99168,1972:99440,1977:100732,2010:101276,2019:102092,2034:102636,2043:104132,2068:106648,2176:107736,2197:119378,2276:121765,2310:123998,2379:132391,2539:140128,2602:144662,2688:145017,2714:154816,2852:156108,2878:158920,2930:159832,3003:166368,3154:177920,3324:178494,3338:195040,3596:195742,3607:196054,3612:196600,3620:199486,3680:218480,3942
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ralph G. Moore's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his mother's move north to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore describes his mother's life in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore recalls the lack of family conversation about racism during his childhood visits to Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore lists his mother's jobs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore explains his father's reasons for leaving the South

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ralph G. Moore recalls stories about his paternal aunt and father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ralph G. Moore recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ralph G. Moore describes the racial dynamics of his childhood neighborhood and elementary schools in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his frustrations with his Evanston Township High School's academic expectations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore describes his personality during the time he attended Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore recalls the impact of his teachers at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore comments on the racial and ethnic demographics of Evanston, Illinois in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore compares the histories of the African American community and Jewish community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore explains his decision to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore talks about black student body at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his social activities and interests during his teenage years

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his older brother's influence on his decision to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his initial experience at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore recalls challenging an accounting professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his activities as a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore recalls organizing a black arts festival in Marion prison in Marion, Illinois with his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore talks about how he managed to finance his college education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his initial experiences working at Arthur Andersen

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore explains how he was able to advance despite initial discrimination at Arthur Andersen

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore recalls leaving the Chicago Board of Trade to work for the Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company in 1947

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his experience working at Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his involvement with various community and business organizations in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore talks about Habilitative Systems, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his trusteeship at the University of Chicago Medical Center

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore talks about black accountants in Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his business, Ralph G. Moore & Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore talks about the personal significance of his company's work with baseball

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his daughter's affinity for history

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his relationship with his daughter's mother and becoming a father

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his daughter, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his daughter's influences and aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ralph G. Moore talks about Ralph G. Moore & Associates' role in promoting supplier diversity and minority business development

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore talks about the National Minority Supplier Development Council

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore gives examples of what suppliers do within the business world

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore explains the importance of supplier diversity and its implications for minority businesses

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore talks about the importance of buying from companies that work with minority vendors

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore talks about racial disparities he encountered at Arthur Andersen and witnesses in corporate America

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore reflects on the importance of teaching black youth their history

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore talks about the importance of remembering the history of African American struggle

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore reflects on opportunities he has been given and his hope for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ralph G. Moore reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his family's reactions to his accomplishments and his mother's struggle with Alzheimer's disease

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Ralph G. Moore talks about black accountants in Illinois
Ralph G. Moore talks about the importance of buying from companies that work with minority vendors
Transcript
So, I'm involved; also, the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce [Chicago, Illinois], and this is where the clock kind of swings around. In 1972, I passed the CPA [certified public accountant] exam. That's another, I'm one of those stories. It's hard to imagine and it just speaks to how we've been denied opportunity, but in 1972, I passed the CPA exam, November. I was the 68th black CPA in the state, in the history of the State of Illinois. Now, I mean you can celebrate that, but it means, to me it's a tragedy. Now there are hundreds of black CPAs, but at the time we were less than 100, and you know Lester, and [HistoryMaker] Jim [James] Hill [Jr.], they came before--[HistoryMaker] Lester McKeever, they all came before me, but in the history of the state, to be number sixty-eight tells me that there's a problem. But, what happened, and even there it speaks to the whole issue of race, again about Arthur Andersen [Chicago, Illinois], and there's another brother there, Reggie Burton [ph.], who was another black person who started the same as me, University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois], M.B.A., Roosevelt [University, Chicago, Illinois] undergraduate, very--I wouldn't call it arrogant, but very full of himself. Well, [HistoryMaker] Ralph [G. Moore], he went to SIU [Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois]. That exam should be pretty tough for a year but, you know, you should do, you know, study hard, you might do okay. You might make it through. So, we took the same exam, right. Long story short, the results came out. I passed it the first time and, a matter of fact, it was one of those tests November '72 [1972] test, I look back and look at the statistics, only 12 percent of the people who took it the first time passed it. Reggie Burton, who was, needless to say he didn't pass it, not only did he not pass it that time, he took it another seven times before he passed it, so I was very, that was one of those moments. I said, we partied, but we got a couple things done.$$You said accounting is an exact science, so you know it or you don't.$$You either know it or you don't. But I think the other issue, I mean the reason I go back and tell that story is that just to be an accountant, you know, not to, to be able to use these tools for the betterment of the community really is what makes it so good for me. So, I volunteered, I've done work with the National Association of Black Accountants [NABA]. We formed a group called the National CPA Society [ph.], which were the first CPAs, and is trying to help other accounting students come through the program, accounting programs. So, it's been a number, I've done a number of things in the community.$One of the stories I tell in our training, we talk about the value proposition. We [Moore and his daughter, Avery Moore] were in a grocery store. She's nine years old. Now, your daughter is fourteen. When she was nine, when you turned into the cereal aisle of the grocery store, you lose control. Whatever is going to go in that cart, she's, she already knows what she wants. She, some Co-Co this or something she saw on TV. So, when we got to the, she reached for her favorite cereal, which was from a company that was not doing that much with supplier diversity at the time. I said, "Well Avery, let's look at this. This company doesn't do much with minority vendors. So, if we give them our money, that money's gonna go straight outside the community. None of it will ever come back into the community." Now here's the--Cap'n Crunch. I always thought it was Captain but it's Cap'n, Quaker Oats. "Cap'n Crunch--now here's a product that you love. I've seen you eat it, Quaker Oats does a lot of work in the community and when we give them our money, that money, they give money back to our community and that money floats around and some of that money ends up in my checking account, and that's the money I take you to [Walt] Disney World [Orlando, Florida] with." And she looked like wait a minute! No Disney World, Disney World??? Why didn't you tell me?? She was mad that I hadn't told her before that if we buy products from, in our house there's only good companies or bad companies. The good companies work with minority vendors, the bad companies don't. So, the good companies are the ones we support. Same thing when she goes shopping. Now, you've heard about the Tommy Hilfiger problem, true or false, Tommy Hilfiger doesn't seem to do a lot in my community. So, we don't buy Tommy Hilfiger. That was a tough lesson for her because she was, you know, it was a big thing for her. My only point to her was we have to shop with companies that have, that are members, that are national members of the national supplier, the NMSDC, the National Minority Supplier Development Council [New York, New York]. Nordstrom's is a member, Express is a member, Limited is a member, which owns Express, Bloomingdale's is a member (unclear) stores, so it turned out that all of the stores that she would like to shop at are members. So, now, what's the one that had a Ghettopoly game, Urban Outfitters, they're not a member, and they, and plus after that Ghettopoly mess, we don't give 'em any of our money. But the reality is there's enough good companies out there that we can support, and the things I tell her, if you can't buy from a black company, buy from a black salesman in a white company. And if you can't buy from a black salesman in a white company, buy from a company that at least works with black businesses and minority businesses. So, she's armed and ready. Again, if we could get more people thinking like her, we could turn this around. You have companies like SONY records [Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., New York, New York], and my lawyer told me to stop calling names, probably because it's amazing how people hear what I say, 'cause I speak a lot around the country. But, you have companies like SONY records, who don't do anything with supplier diversity. How dare you take all that money out of our community with rap music and not do anything with minority and black vendors! It's crazy. So, there's another point in my career, after I get to this plateau where everything's working fine. I get the book written, I'm going on a one-man crusade to help educate black consumers, minority consumers, so we can start buying from companies that do business with us. And that's really been, that would be the final chapter of my career; that I've done very well in creating the strategies for companies who get it to do well, but now we have to go after those companies who don't get it.

W. Gregory Wims

William Gregory Wims was born on September 2, 1949 in Bethesda, Maryland. His mother worked as a domestic and his father was a laborer. He earned his high school diploma from Gaithersburg, High School in 1968, where he played on the track and football teams and was active in civil rights sit-ins.

From 1968 until 1970, Wims attended Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. In 1969, he was named the Vice President of the Maryland Youth Commission. In 1970 he transferred to Howard University but left before earning his degree.

In 1972, Wims was hired as the coordinator for the Extension Service for the 4-H Club of Montgomery County. In 1974, he became the first male Head Start Teacher in Montgomery County and worked on Republican Newton Stears’ campaign for Congress. From 1976 until 1978, he worked as Stears’ legislative assistant and became the first African American professional from Montgomery County to work on Capitol Hill. In 1978, Wims became a legislative assistant for Congressman Melvin Evans. From 1981 until 1989, he worked in the legislative affairs office for the Secretary of Agriculture and a Special Assistant to the Director for Minority Affairs and Economic Development. In 1989 he started his consulting firm, Hammer and Nails, which assists local businesses in working with the federal government.

In the early 1990s, Wims served as the membership chairperson for the NAACP, recruiting more than a thousand new members. In 1994, he was elected president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP. During his tenure, he was successful in highlighting discrimination claims of African American employees at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH case received local and national media coverage and led to Wims becoming president of the Maryland NAACP chapter. In 1996, Wims founded the Victims Rights Foundation (VRF), an organization providing financial and emotional support to crime victims. Through the VRF Wims was able to provide thousands of dollars to the families of the Washington, D.C. sniper victims in 2003.

Accession Number

A2004.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/24/2004

Last Name

Wims

Maker Category
Middle Name

Gregory

Schools

Gaithersburg High School

Gaithersburg Senior High School

First Name

W.

Birth City, State, Country

Bethesda

HM ID

WIM01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/2/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive W. Gregory Wims (1949 - ) was the former president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP, the Maryland NAACP, and served as the vice president of the Maryland Youth Commission.

Employment

4-H Club of Montgomery County

United States House of Representatives

United States Department of Agriculture

Director of Minority Affairs and Economic Development

Hammer and Nails

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Montgomery County NAACP

Victims Rights Foundation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7776,183:8100,188:8424,193:15633,310:16686,353:19764,407:20412,418:30910,582:31750,620:32030,625:34690,713:35040,719:40570,892:41060,906:45400,989:50020,1084:59170,1152:65407,1263:71644,1409:74965,1501:77233,1527:81364,1634:91228,1735:100471,1922:103315,1982:117436,2168:118174,2178:122930,2258:127932,2357:128342,2363:134328,2480:135968,2504:138264,2553:139576,2570:153744,2801:165400,2939:166246,2956:179569,3137:183876,3232:185555,3305:185920,3329:187745,3364:192855,3500:193877,3522:194753,3538:200300,3549:205424,3659:207356,3693:215756,3901:232890,4141:240820,4349:243485,4396:244005,4432:253812,4546:254514,4741:257400,4878:292364,5379:298052,5506:299000,5533:306580,5626$0,0:2935,76:3390,84:3845,92:4495,104:5015,113:5405,120:8980,195:9500,204:9890,211:16760,327:17100,332:17695,341:23475,471:34780,667:43889,747:44470,755:46545,833:65462,1106:65842,1112:68882,1181:69262,1187:69794,1197:71010,1285:79370,1415:79674,1420:92134,1607:93984,1656:94502,1664:97536,1728:97980,1735:98498,1747:99534,1801:109894,2045:111892,2085:112336,2093:112706,2099:119660,2119:120004,2124:120520,2131:121380,2139:128260,2262:131356,2314:142317,2451:143118,2461:143563,2468:144186,2476:145966,2501:146322,2506:156538,2642:157358,2653:158424,2667:159572,2672:161868,2705:162196,2710:162852,2720:166132,2789:180044,2998:181260,3015:181792,3024:192812,3325:199120,3475:220280,3881:226902,3974:227590,3983:228364,3995:244114,4252:244504,4258:250120,4417:266510,4647:271130,4747:272208,4815:278368,4960:298883,5251:299297,5258:311880,5503:314940,5541
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of W. Gregory Wims' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his maternal and paternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims recalls walking to school and childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - W. Gregory Wims describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - W. Gregory Wims describes his childhood community of Stewart Town in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - W. Gregory Wims describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences in elementary school in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - W. Gregory Wims describes his personality in elementary school in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Gaithersburg Junior High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Gaithersburg Senior High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his views on the Civil Rights Movement during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experience attending Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his first jobs in public service after leaving college in 1972

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about working as a legislative aide in the United States Congress

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experience working in the administration of President Ronald Wilson Reagan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his role working on the 8(a) program for the federal government

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims describes his involvement with civil rights issues and the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims considers the effects of his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at GEICO and Hughes Network Systems

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his tenure as president of the Maryland NAACP chapter

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about organizing a task force to study discrimination in the federal government

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his hopes for the future of the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims talks about starting the Victims' Rights Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims describes the work of the Victims' Rights Foundation during the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his hopes and plans for the Victims' Rights Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims reflects upon his life and considers whether he would have done anything differently

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about why he thinks history is important

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims shares his values

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - W. Gregory Wims reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - W. Gregory Wims relates his hopes for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - W. Gregory Wims narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland
W. Gregory Wims talks about starting the Victims' Rights Foundation
Transcript
Let's talk a little bit about your involvement with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in the early '90s [1990s], so around '92 [1992] or so. You were very active fighting against discrimination at the National Institutes of Health [NIH]--$$Yes.$$--in Bethesda [Maryland]; tell us a little bit about--$$Okay.$$--how that all came about.$$Okay. Well, first I have to go back to my father [Earl Wims] being a fighter, although, he only went to the third grade and that's always been in me. And then with the great experience that I like to say, from Capitol Hill [Washington, D.C.], four years, and then with the [President Ronald Wilson] Reagan administration working at the White House [Washington, D.C.] and that; as a matter of fact, I even traveled abroad, went to Africa, to several countries as an ambassador for the president. There was a lot of things that I learned and did in those eight years working for President Reagan. When the NAACP first approached me to work with them, I used all that knowledge that I had, one in recruiting members. And when I first--well, actually, I was--I said I was the vice president, I was actually the director of membership for the NAACP, locally, Montgomery County [Maryland] from '90 [1990]--probably '90 [1990] to '91 [1991], for about two years. And then that's when I ran for president because I had brought in 1,000 members; it's like unheard of, anywhere in the nation. If you think about it, ask that--an individual bring in 1,000 members--$$How were you so successful with your recruiting?$$Because I learned the marketing skills again, working on Capitol Hill and understanding media and relationships and working with the president and with the companies around the nation. I just had a feel for how to present material. I would sell information. And so I would present the NAACP as the only avenue for civil rights and that I made a commitment to them that we would work and not just be a paper tiger, and people believed then that message and so we--and we did some things. But when I became president, I had watched from my mother [Rachel Stewart Wims] cleaning houses of doctors and scientists at NIH, how they had an opinion that they were like God; that they were more important than anybody. And so I've never forgotten that part, that they were human beings like all of us. If you--in an auto accident, you bleed like everybody else if you--and when I was at NI--the president of NAACP, the first group of people that came to me, they were literally thirty women and about--there were thirty-five guys saying, "We're being discriminated against. We cannot get, in the janitorial thing, permanent status, we're, we're indentured servants," as I called it. Now, see, they were--what they were, they were contract employees, five, ten years some of them, no health insurance, no benefits at all. They worked for a salary, you know, and it was ridiculous, in the federal government. The women who came, I cannot move as a secretary to the next level, get a grade raise say from a GS-5 [General Schedule] to a GS-7 because a white woman would come in, I would train her and then she would move ahead to maybe a GS-7 and that would happen almost every time with the women 'cause there's always white women against the women. And then some of the other guys who happened to be, sort of, maybe professional, a few, not that many, first came to me, they were a GS-9, which is still low, but they couldn't get the promotions just because of racism. So with that information, I held a meeting and asked people to come, and to my surprise, one hundred employees came to the meeting and they all had stories; I mean, I couldn't believe it. I said one hundred people, would you certify--would you sign a letter saying that you have been discriminated--and from there on I was so outraged as the leader. We had to talk--we were working with the NAACP, we had to get permission from the executive board said, "This is the issue. I would like to have a press conference and I would like to denounce all of this." And the folks who had been there for years said, "Well, we have heard of these things, but until you came and really put it all together, we didn't realize it was this widespread." So they gave me permission and we went down and what was so big about this where it go to be a national story and an international story, the employees came out with me to the press conference, and that had never been heard of, where people who worked for the government would come out and fight against the government. And we ended up going back because nothing would happen, each week for three weeks and it grew to 200 employees, stood with me and the NAACP in that third week, and then the lady, the director said, "Yes, we have a problem."$$And was it Bernadine Healy at that time?$$Bernadine Healy. She was one of the few people in all my NAACP history would admit that they were doing something wrong and said, "Yes, we have a problem. We're going to work it out." And it turned out that we helped a lot of those people and it was a great experience. But there was actually a public hearing on Capitol Hill. Congressman Albert Wynn, an African American congressman who rep--$$From Maryland?$$--from Maryland, who now is part of the Congressional Black Caucus, held hearings to talk and called the scientists and doctors in and my statement was, "These guys are not God. They should treat us taxpayers, although, we're working there, as human beings." I remember that statement. And we had some things changed.$So, around the mid to late '90s [1990s], you started becoming involved--you started getting involved in victims' rights issues.$$Yes.$$Tell me a little bit about what spurred your involvement in victims' rights issues.$$When I left the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], I wanted to--I like to call myself a renaissance person. You know, the issues are there, but people see, but they don't know what to do with it. So when it comes to victims, I'm saying, "Well, every day there's a victim in our community and people are saddened by it. They don't know what to do." So I said, "From my experience again, through the church, the NAACP," I said, "What can we do to help them?" So what I thought of, and I got several colleagues to start the Victims' Rights Foundation, a 501(c)(3), a non-profit foundation, is to one, volunteer. Everything we do will be volunteer, that no one will get paid, no matter how busy we are, how widespread that we're known throughout the nation, because people need to know that we care about them, that's why we volunteer. Two, to go to court with the families that are victims when they have to look at for the first time, the person who committed the crime, whether it was someone who murdered their loved one, or someone who abused their child or whatever. And, usually, court dates only go from two to a week. You know, you see on TV these long trials, but for most victims, it's mostly, low income on low income; I wouldn't say black on black 'cause there's all kinds of victims, but those trials don't last that long. So for two days to a week, we would sit with the family and support them during the trial, and that means a lot because usually the family members are only one to three people, but yet, the lawyer has his people and the family, 'cause they're trying to stop the person from going to jail. There might be ten or fifteen on the criminal side, as I call it, but on the victim's side it's just us. And then the third thing, so it's very--there's only three goals in, in the organization, is that we would raise money to help some family members that were desperate for medical or burial on some cases, there might even be a reward that we put out for something that's really bad with crime solving. So in starting that organization, we have been able to help now in eight years we have been volunteering, you know, several dozen families, but we've raised something like a million dollars for help, and we have been to court maybe twenty-five times or so with families over the last eight years with Victims' Rights Foundation.$$But was there any particular case or issue that really initiated this?$$That's a good question, because it was inspired again, I call it divine intervention by God, because I've never been a victim or any one of my immediate family and people ask me that, they're really surprised. I'm blessed, and I'm hoping I won't be a victim or no one in my family, but I can see from just church work what was happening.$$Is it victims of violent crimes?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Because we don't, can't help--because we're volunteering.$$Sure.$$We--strictly, the worst of the crimes. And I have to say, sometimes I pray to God as a God, why do you let me see these things? Because when I go to see a--like a case we're working on now, a mother went to the store and she came back, her nine-year-old daughter was shot in the back and her husband shot several times in a robbery, and I'm dealing with the mother now who's crying almost every time we see her on my shoulder. I say, "Man." and that gets me. Why do you see--but if it wasn't for us helping her, she probably wouldn't be able to make it.$$Right.$$So it's victims of violent crime, and we support them in a volunteer effort.$$But was there any particular case, in particular?$$Oh, now this started--there was one case that you know how everyone says, "I'm going to do something about that?" Three African American women, ages nineteen through twenty-three, went out to a club after work on a Friday night just to have a good time. Some man approached them and evidently, he wanted to try to rob them or try to rape them, but whatever the situation, it didn't work and he killed all three young ladies, nineteen to twenty-three. And the bad part about it, 'cause we had not seen that kind of thing before, he drove them off from where he murdered them, as we now know now because the trial has already happened, and dumped their bodies on the side of a road in Prince George's County, Maryland, and it just so happened it was adjacent to the [U.S.] Department of Agriculture's research building there. And that's when I said, "Boom, somebody has to do something. This is the most horrifying thing we've ever seen." Called our friends, and on that one, we actually raised money to put up a reward. We put up a reward. It was on TV. We counseled the families, and then we went to court with 'em and that started a long campaign now of eight years going.$$And did the reward lead to the arrest of the--$$As it turned out--$$--perpetrator?$$--we could put the money back in the bank. The good detective work helped, but what the reward did was gave it more media attention. It wasn't just another statistic, 'cause after a couple weeks people forget and they move on, but we kept it in the media for--actually, it was about four months. They didn't catch the person 'til about eight months out, actually. And that's what we do also with the media, we keep it alive.

Grayson Mitchell

William Grayson Mitchell was born March 8, 1950 in Mobile, Alabama. The son of educators, he attended Baldwin County Training School in Daphne, Alabama through the 9th grade. A precocious student, Mitchell qualified for and was granted early admission to Morehouse College, but graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.S. in economics in 1971.

At Morehouse, Mitchell found himself drawn to journalism as his writing in the school paper earned for him a valuable summer internship. He was a political reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1970, at the age of 20. Mitchell was Metro Reporter for the Washington Post from 1972 to 1973, where he knew Watergate reporters, Woodward and Bernstein. Invited by his friend, the late, Jet magazine editor Robert DeLeon, Mitchell signed with Johnson Publishing Company becoming Washington editor for Jet and Ebony magazines from 1973 to 1974. He was Washington columnist for Black Enterprise magazine from 1975 to 1979. He switched careers in 1980 when he became Director of Corporate Communications for Johnson Products in Chicago. In 1983, the 33 year old, Mitchell became Press Secretary for Chicago's first African American Mayor, the Honorable Harold Washington. His new job placed Mitchell in the thick of "Council Wars" as city council factions struggled for political control. Leaving the Mayor's service in 1985, Mitchell went on to found Summit Consulting, Inc., Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Consultancy of which he was Chairman and CEO.

Mitchell also served as director of Lakefront Supportive Housing, the Illinois Humanities Council and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. He was a member of the Economics Club of Chicago. Mitchell had two grown children. They all resides in the city of Chicago.

Mitchell passed away on February 23, 2018 at age 67.

Accession Number

A2003.295

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/12/2003

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

University of Illinois at Chicago

Morehouse College

Baldwin County Training School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Grayson

Birth City, State, Country

Mobile

HM ID

MIT04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/8/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Death Date

2/23/2018

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive and newspaper reporter Grayson Mitchell (1950 - 2018 ) was the founder, chairman and CEO of Summit Consulting, Inc., Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Consultancy. He served as a political reporter for the 'Chicago Sun-Times,' Washington editor for Jet and Ebony magazines, Washington columnist for Black Enterprise magazine and director of corporate communications for Johnson Products.

Employment

Chicago Sun-Times

Washington Post

Jet Magazine

Ebony Magazine

Black Enterprise Magazine

Johnson Products

City of Chicago

Summit Consulting

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Grayson Mitchell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his maternal family ancestry, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes his maternal family ancestry, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in the bay of Mobile, Alabama, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes his paternal family's history in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the class difference between his maternal and paternal families

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in the bay of Mobile, Alabama, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about unusual race relations in the North American Gulf Coast and the influence of French settlers

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his Aunt Hattie's open interracial marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell describes his intellectual interests as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes his experience at Baldwin County Training School in Daphne, Alabama, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell describes teaching a summer English and reading course at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida when he was thirteen

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes submitting a book he wrote about the Civil Rights Movement to a publisher at eleven years old

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell talks about socializing with adults at the Elks Club in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell describes his neighborhood church in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes family members in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell talks about an influential guidance counselor and black periodicals in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell describes his experience at Baldwin County Training School in Daphne, Alabama, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his family's relationship to Ralph Abernathy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell describes his first day at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his experience as an early admissions candidate at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell remembers Dr. Benjamin Mays, former president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes working on HistoryMaker Julian Bond's campaign for Georgia State Representative

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Willie Ricks' and Stokely Carmichael's radical organizing in 1960s Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes the events leading to the 1969 student takeover at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell describes the 1969 student takeover of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell describes the 1969 student takeover at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes the consequences of the 1969 student takeover at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure as a reporter for the Southern Courier civil rights newspaper

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell describes the dangers of civil rights reporting in the American South

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell describes working as a reporter for the Newsweek Chicago bureau

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell describes joining the Chicago Sun-Times as a reporter in 1971

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his graduation from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure as a reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes working as a reporter for the Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell describes meeting Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes the Washington Post's involvement in the Watergate investigations, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell describes the Washington Post's involvement in the Watergate investigations, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell describes outstanding journalists he met at the Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes leaving the Washington Post for Ebony magazine and its associate editor Robert DeLeon

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure at Ebony magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell talks about winning the National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in journalism from Stanford University

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Robert DeLeon's marriage to HistoryMaker Diahann Carroll

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Robert DeLeon's death in 1977

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his offer to join the Los Angeles Times

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes his relationship with John Howard "Jack" Nelson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure at the Los Angeles Times

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his coverage of Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential election campaign, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell talks about his coverage of Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential election campaign, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell remembers meeting George H.W. Bush in Plains, Georgia on the 1976 presidential election campaign trail

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell talks about journalist Ed Bradley's legacy in Plains, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes an interview with U.S. Senator Russell Long

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the relationships he developed with U.S. Senator Russell Long and other southern U.S. congressman

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about HistoryMaker Andrew Young's appointment as United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell talks about HistoryMaker Leon Dash's work with Angolan rebel forces in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Grayson Mitchell talks about black agents in the CIA and the recovery of a black United States spy in Russia

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Grayson Mitchell talks about HistoryMaker Andrew Young's diplomacy in Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell talks about U.S. reporting in Angola during the Angolan independence wars in the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes HistoryMaker Andrew Young's resignation as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell critiques Jimmy Carter's presidency

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell talks about former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz's racist remarks

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell shares his opinion on Richard Nixon's domestic policy record

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the emergence of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell explains why he came back to Chicago, Illinois to work for HistoryMaker George Johnson and Johnson Products Company

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the legacy of HistoryMaker George Johnson, the founder of Johnson Products Company, and other black hair care entrepreneurs

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell describes the Federal Trade Commission's assault on the Johnson Products Company

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell describes the Johnson Products Company strategy to fight the Federal Trade Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell explains how Jane Byrne's tenure as mayor set the stage for Harold Washington's election as Mayor of Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Chicago United's support of Warren Bacon for Mayor of Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell talks about a Chicago Defender poll and Harold Washington's reputation

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell remembers Harold Washington's presentation to Chicago United, when he was seeking the organization's endorsement

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell explains why Harold Washington's mayoral campaign was financed primarily by black contributors, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell explains why Harold Washington's mayoral campaign was financed primarily by black contributors, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Hugh and Christie Hefner's support of Harold Washington and Chicago's independent black politicians

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes Harold Washington's campaign strategy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Harold Washington's victory in the 1983 Democratic mayoral primary

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Harold Washington's friendship with Eppie Lederer

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell describes a boycott of the Harold Washington administration and minority and women's business enterprises by Chicago contractors

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Jewish supporters of Harold Washington's campaign

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure as press secretary for the Harold Washington administration, and the onset of the Council Wars

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell describes avoiding a shutdown of O'Hare Airport

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell talks about how race influenced the Council Wars and the relationship between Harold Washington and Edward Vrdolyak

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell critiques Chicago alderman Edward Burke

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell describes his appointment to press secretary for the Harold Washington mayoral administration, and his resignation in 1985

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the relationship between Harold Washington and mayoral chief of staff William "Bill" Ware

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell describes his strategy as press secretary for Harold Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell describes his strategy as press secretary for Harold Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes Harold Washington's personality and skill as an orator

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Harold Washington's legacy as Mayor of Chicago

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the Chicago City Council's support for Harold Washington's second term

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the formation of his consulting firms, Summit Consulting, Inc., and its predecessor North Star Communications, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Grayson Mitchell describes the media agenda surrounding the Harold Washington administration

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Grayson Mitchell lists Chicago media personalities he liked and disliked in the 1980s and 1990s

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Grayson Mitchell lists black Chicago media personalities in the 1980s and 1990s, including HistoryMakers Vernon Jarrett and Avis LaVelle

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the state of contemporary investigative journalism

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Grayson Mitchell talks about Mayor Richard M. Daley's supervision of the press

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Grayson Mitchell talks about the formation of his consulting firms, Summit Consulting, Inc., and its predecessor North Star Communications, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Grayson Mitchell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Grayson Mitchell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Grayson Mitchell considers what he would have done differently

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Grayson Mitchell describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$7

DAStory

4$12

DATitle
Grayson Mitchell describes submitting a book he wrote about the Civil Rights Movement to a publisher at eleven years old
Grayson Mitchell describes his tenure as press secretary for the Harold Washington administration, and the onset of the Council Wars
Transcript
I had authored a book like when I was around eleven or twelve, and actually, and actually met with a publisher.$$Now what book was it? What was it about?$$You know what I can't even remember now what the--it was, it was nonfiction and I had written about the South 'cause I was very shaken at that point because my mother [Helen Bailey Mitchell] had been a classmate of Ralph Abernathy who was very prominent in SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference]. So, he would come by the house a lot and on some of those occasions he would bring Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] with him. Through that connection, I also met Autherine Lucy and Autherine Lucy was the person whose now kind of forgotten, but she was the first black student to integrate the University of Alabama [Tuscaloosa, Alabama] and having met those people and watch what would happen to them on the news I was very emotionally shaken by that. And I found myself writing about it, and I wrote. I remember about writing by hand on yellow legal pads and when I had finished I typed it up and I actually sent it to a publisher in New York [City] who actually came down to interview me with my parents not even knowing it. And then when he found out that my parent--when he found out how young I was he was at the Admiral Semmes Hotel [Mobile, Alabama] and I was supposed to go there for a two o'clock meeting, I'll never forget it, he sent a letter and everything and I asked my father [William Gray Mitchell] to drive me other there and that's the first time he knew that I had this meeting and the guy, and my father called the guy and, and my father asked him did he know I was just a kid, and the guy said no he didn't know I was a kid. So, my father said you know he can't come and meet without his parents. So, that was the end of that meeting. Yeah, but I mean I was a classic nerd. I mean, I didn't even like playing. I mean, I was non-athletic and didn't like going out of the house to play with other kids.$$So, you didn't play baseball or basketball or--$$No.$$--anything? Nothing outdoors?$$No. I, I mean I was really a boring, one-dimensional kid.$$Did you have any friends?$$I did and now that I think back on it they were very tolerant because I must have been absolutely no fun because I was only into, into books, into reading, into, into being a bookworm because I really was trying to, trying to excel at that 'cause my goal was at that point to get through college as fast as I can and get a Ph.D. by the time I was twenty-one and then I was gonna come back and teach. That was my goal. So, I was in a race with that.$Okay, well what was it like being press secretary for Harold Washington?$$Crazy, 'cause it was like fighting a race war by day and running a government by night. Council wars really permeated the first two years of his tenure. Council wars was actually just an out and out media war and a political war that was fought under a scorched turf policy. [Edward] Vrdolyak was just as, as, as smart of a strategist as Harold and was playing for keeps. We were playing for keeps, so every day we would come in there to fight and do harm. So, for two years every day twenty-four-seven we had knock down, take out war. In the evening at the end of the day after the news cycle, we then would get around to running a government; that's what it was like twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I remember once Harold was so intense he actually called me on a Christmas Eve and he said, we were talking about something we were getting ready to do they were trying to do us and we're trying to do them, one or the other, and he was saying look call everybody together let's meet at my house tomorrow morning at ten. I said, "Mr. Mayor tomorrow is Christmas." He, I didn't hear a sound, he got embarrassed he said, "Oh, oh, oh, oh I knew that, I knew that." No, he didn't know that. It was intense, and we played--it, it was--we played, we had to play for keeps 'cause so much was at stake. But, we now later learned though and very interesting that that was not quite as it seemed either, which is always a good lesson I think for history 'cause one of, one of the interesting historical footnotes is that Harold and Vrdolyak had secret meetings throughout the entire time. And frankly, they, they, they would have had to because for the first year and a half Harold needed Vrdolyak's consent in order to get anything done in the [Chicago] City Council, I mean anything.

Ulysses Ford

Ulysses Grant Ford, III was born September 28, 1943 in Charlotte, North Carolina to Roberta and Ulysses Ford, II. Ford graduated from West Charlotte High School in 1961. Moving to Talladega, Alabama to attend Talladega College, Ford pursued his interest in mathematics and received a B.A. in 1965. That year, he married Beverly Odom Ford, who now owns the consulting firm ASM & Associates. They have three sons.

From 1965 until 1968, Ford worked as a math teacher and basketball coach at Charlotte Catholic High School. In 1968, Ford became an accountant and worked for Allstate Insurance and Equitable Life Insurance. In 1972, he began his career in civil service as an administrative assistant for the public works department of the City of Charlotte. In 1978, Ford left Charlotte to become the Director of Solid Waste Management for the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ford went on to hold the title of Director of City Services for seven years in Fort Worth, Texas. Then he moved to Houston and served as Director of Public Works until 1992.

At this point in his career, Ford moved from government service to business and became responsible for marketing as the Vice President of Waste Management, Inc., a post he held for six years. In 1998, Ford founded SDC Consulting, Inc. in Macon, Georgia. SDC represents private companies, helping them increase their access to local governments across the country and thus combines the two main areas of his life's work.

Ulysses Ford, III has been a member of 100 Black Men of America since 1998 and served as president of the Municipal Waste Management Association of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Ulysses Ford passed away on March 20, 2012.

Accession Number

A2002.020

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/18/2002

Last Name

Ford

Maker Category
Schools

West Charlotte High School

Fairview Elementary

Northwest School Of The Arts

Talladega College

First Name

Ulysses

Birth City, State, Country

Charlotte

HM ID

FOR03

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alaska, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do The Things That You Fear And The Death Of Fear Is Certain.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/28/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Macon

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens

Death Date

3/20/2012

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive Ulysses Ford (1943 - 2012 ) was the president of SDS Consulting.

Employment

Charlotte Catholic High School

Allstate Insurance Company

Equitable Life Insurance

Charlotte Department of Public Works

City of Ann Arbor, Michigan

City of Forth Worth, Texas

City of Houston, Texas

Waste Management

SDC Consulting

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ulysses Ford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford describes his maternal grandfather's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford describes his maternal grandfather's first job

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford talks about his maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ulysses Ford describes the difficulties his family faced after his father left

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ulysses Ford talks about his household chores

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's personality, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's personality, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ulysses Ford describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Ulysses Ford describes his segregated childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Ulysses Ford describes his childhood personality

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience at the Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience as a Boy Scout, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience at West Charlotte High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience as a Boy Scout, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford describes his pride at receiving his Eagle Scout badge

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's and grandfather's reactions to his receiving his Eagle Scout badge

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford talks about his childhood athletics

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ulysses Ford describes receiving a scholarship to Talladega College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ulysses Ford describes being a good student

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ulysses Ford talks about deciding to attend Talladega College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's interest in his athletics

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford talks about growing up without a father

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford talks about his mentor and teacher at West Charlotte High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford discusses the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford remembers his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford remembers meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford describes his Civil Rights activism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford describes his Civil Rights activism, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's reaction to his Civil Rights activities

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford discusses his grandfather's reaction to the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford talks about overcoming his fears about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford describes meeting his wife at Talladega College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford describes his wife Beverly Ann Odom's personality

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford talks about looking for jobs after college

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford describes becoming a high school teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford describes his experience teaching at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford talks about being hired as an underwriter for Allstate Insurance Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford discusses his experience as an underwriter for Allstate

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford discusses the racism he encountered at Allstate

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford discusses becoming an insurance salesman

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford discusses his alcoholism

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford discusses starting work for the Public Works Department in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford discusses someone he inspired

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford discusses his experience in the Public Works Department, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ulysses Ford discusses his experience in the Public Works Department, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford discusses recovering from his alcoholism, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford discusses recovering from his alcoholism, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford discusses leaving the Public Works Department of Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford discusses his experiences in the Public Works Department in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford talks about the difference between a strong mayor and council manager forms of government

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford discusses privatizing garbage pickup in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford discusses his growing reputation in Public Works Departments

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford reflects upon his grandfather's passing

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford discusses his move into the private sector

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience at Waste Management

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford talks about launching SDC Consulting

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford reflects upon his motivations and mentors

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford discusses books that have inspired him

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford narrates his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Ulysses Ford remembers meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ulysses Ford talks about launching SDC Consulting
Transcript
But the momentous occasion in my life was when Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] came to campus. And again, as luck would have it, or fate, or whatever you want to call it... The three rooms that we would have for male guests on campus were in my dorm. And the one Dr. King was in was on my floor, right across the hall from... our doors faced each other across the hall. [HM] Jesse Jackson came with him, it was the first time I met Jesse. And I know if Dr. King were alive, I don't see a reason why he would remember me, as I don't see a reason why Jesse would. But I did get to meet them. And I can remember--because Dr. King came back a couple times--that we would sit in his room on his bed and talk till daylight. He was talking about all kind of things. He was very knowledgeable about what other things were going on in the world, whether it was sports or politics or whatever. And I can remember--not just me, I mean there were three or four of us. It was Tracy, my roommate at that time, and we sat there and talked with Dr. King. And sure enough, the day finally came, in the spring of '62' [1962], still my freshman year.$And then in October... Well, I formed my company in August of '98' [1998]. In October of '98' [1998], I began to work it. And those relationships that I had developed over the thirty years just did it for me. What I do is represent private companies desiring to do business with local governments. So, if you've got a good or a service that you want to market to anybody--to any city or county in the country--then I'd like to be on your team, to help you get that business. I mentioned getting to know the staffs of these professional organizations. I remember a client saying that they wanted to go to Salt Lake City [Utah], because the Olympics was coming. And they financed airport work, and they knew from Atlanta [Georgia] that Salt Lake City would be doing a lot of work at their airport, and they wanted to be the bond financier of it. And I said to myself, "I don't know anybody in Salt Lake City. I never... to my knowledge, I've never met a Mormon." (Laughter). So I said, "Um." So, I called the Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors [Tom Cochran]. I said, "Tom, who do I know in Salt Lake City?" He says, "You know Deedee." Deedee Corradini was the mayor. I said "Well, I know Deedee to speak, and she may know me to speak, but we don't know each other. You know, we're not buddy-buddy." "Oh yeah, you do." He said, "Hang around." About thirty minutes later, Tom calls back. He says, "See, I told you Deedee knows you, she's waiting on your phone call." Sure enough, I call up Deedee, take my client out, and we got the business. (Laughter). So, those kind of relationships worked, as well as me being able to pick up the phone and call a Solid Waste director, or a Public Works director. I remember when I was with Waste, and we were going after the city of St. Louis, and another company had the business. And supposedly the city, the Solid Waste director, really liked the other company, and wasn't interested in changing. The other company had had the business for 15 years or something. We put our bid on the table, and we were high bid. Not high, we were the second high bid. But we came in and did our presentation. And I'll never forget when we walked in to do our presentation, there was Steve sitting there. And he said, "Oh, hell, Waste Management has got to be serious now. They done brought that damn Euly Ford here." Well, I had forgotten Steve was a Solid Waste director in St. Louis. I'd flat-out forgotten. Steve and I had been on the Education Foundation for eight years; we had some real war stories to tell. (Laughter). You know, we got the business. And people say when we left that night, Steve was the one that converted everybody to vote for Waste Management. So, those relationships have come in very, very handy for me. And now, I'm able to help my clients that in turn help me.