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Merton Simpson

Painter Merton Daniel Simpson was born on September 20, 1928 in Charleston, South Carolina to Jenny and Marion Simpson. He began drawing after being hospitalized at childhood with diphtheria. William Halsey, an artist who gave private instruction to the young artist, soon recognized Simpson’s talents. During his formative years, Simpson worked at the Gibbes Museum there he was the only African American in the still segregated institution.

Moving to New York in 1942, Simpson began his studies at Cooper Union Art School and also at New York University where he studied with professor Hale Woodruff. In 1951, he joined the U.S. Air Force, where he was the official U.S. Air Force artist and painted portraits of officers including one of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1952, his painting, "Nocturnal City" was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Concluding his military service in 1954, Simpson returned to New York to continue painting and was included in two museum exhibitions, Young American Painters at the Guggenheim Museum in 1954 and Eight New York Painters at the University of Michigan in 1956.

In 1954, Simpson opened a gallery on Madison Avenue, which featured African and Modern art. During the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, Simpson joined the Spiral Group, an organization of African American artists that included Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and Charles Alston. For Simpson, this sense of social consciousness led to his "Confrontation" series, a group of mostly black and white canvases, which expressed the anger, and frustration of the times.

Traveling extensively to West Africa in the 1970s, Simpson built a collection of African art and is known as one the preeminent dealers of African art. In the 1980s, he created two series of work, "Universal Orchestrations" and "Contemporary Melodies" both showed his great love for jazz music. By the 1990s, Simpson began using fragments from West African hunting cloth, which were used to wrap tribal objects during shipments from Africa. His work gained a sculptural quality reflective of tribal art. In 1995, the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston presented a retrospective exhibition and published a catalogue entitled, "Merton D. Simpson, The Journey of an Artist." The Studio Museum in Harlem honored Simpson in 2002 for his work as an artist and humanitarian.

Merton Daniel Simpson resides in New York City.

Merton Daniel Simpson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 29, 2005.

Merton Simpson passed away on March 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2005.250

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/29/2005

Last Name

Simpson

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

New York University

Cooper Union

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Merton

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

SIM03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/20/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date

3/9/2013

Short Description

Painter Merton Simpson (1928 - 2013 ) was the first African American to exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum, and was a member of the Spiral group, an African American art collective during the 1960s.

Employment

United States Air Force

Favorite Color

Orange, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:2175,21:2550,27:3150,37:5025,61:6750,87:7350,97:9375,143:36958,569:37230,574:37706,582:38454,600:60819,1075:62878,1109:74547,1339:74982,1345:86399,1593:115680,2045:125650,2200$0,0:9976,125:10268,130:44330,700:44658,705:59740,949:66485,1002:78620,1177:86460,1322:87300,1354:91150,1454:91710,1505:111335,1764:112830,1781
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Merton Simpson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Merton Simpson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Merton Simpson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Merton Simpson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Merton Simpson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Merton Simpson recalls his childhood neighborhood and Christmas celebrations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Merton Simpson describes his childhood illness and paintings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Merton Simpson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Merton Simpson describes his childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Merton Simpson describes his first painting mentor

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Merton Simpson describes his experiences in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Merton Simpson recalls painting portraits and playing jazz in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Merton Simpson remembers moving to New York City in the mid-1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Merton Simpson recalls protesting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Merton Simpson describes the Spiral group

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Merton Simpson talks about the black art aesthetic

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Merton Simpson describes his exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum and his painting technique

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Merton Simpson describes his experiences in Paris, France

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Merton Simpson recalls his trips to Africa

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Merton Simpson talks about prominent civil rights leaders

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Merton Simpson describes collecting African American art

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Merton Simpson describes the Spiral group and the concept of black art

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Merton Simpson recalls selling art to famous buyers

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Merton Simpson describes his painting series 'Confrontation'

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Merton Simpson talks about his private collectors and accomplishments

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Merton Simpson reflects upon the importance of history and his career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Merton Simpson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

10$1

DATitle
Merton Simpson describes his first painting mentor
Merton Simpson recalls protesting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
Transcript
So, who gave you the first paint and brushes, and helped you become a painter when you were that child? And how did painting start? You were looking at the comic strips?$$The comic strips, yes. And I'm sure the family got together and bought me a paint set, you know. I don't remember exactly when, you know. But I remember at some point we used to have white paint, and I couldn't buy. So we'd get sometimes an old toothbrush and buy toothpaste and put a binder in it and use that as a paint canvas, and it worked for the moment, you know. But I always had the good luck of running into good people. There was one lady by the name of Jean Flemings [ph.]. She was a portrait painter, and she lived in the People's Building in Charleston [South Carolina], which was down in the rich part of the city. And Edward Johnson [ph.] had a frame shop that I worked in for a little while, and he introduced me to Jean Flemings, and she had me sit for a portrait. And she said she could show me something about the technique, and she did the painting. And strangely enough, that painting turned up about six weeks ago, very badly damaged. So I had it sent to me, and I'm going to have it restored, and probably give it to the Schomburg [Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York], you know. But she gave me my first lesson in portrait painting by painting--I was sitting in as a model, yeah. That was a good way to do it, you know. And that's the kind of thing I remember most about Charleston, you know. And she was in the People's Building, you know, a major building on Burke Street [sic. Broad Street] in Charleston, right near city hall, you know. I don't know whether Mia [ph.] mentioned to you, but in the city hall in Charleston, there was a portrait of Reverend Jenkins [Daniel J. Jenkins] who started the art thing for the jazz group. And he was a black man being honored by black artists, so I did the portrait. And they hung the portrait right across from John C. Calhoun, that big racist guy, and that's where it hangs today in Charleston, you know. There's a photograph of it in the file there, of Reverend Jenkins. He was a brilliant man, you know.$You'd mentioned Norman Lewis.$$Uh-huh.$$I was going to have you just talk about the year you met him, and then the impact on your friendship.$$Okay. Well, he was one of the mainstays of the Spiral group, you know, that started. And he was a very intense man, you know, and very concerned about the better things in life, you know, a high respect for the arts, you know. I remember when they had the program at the Metropolitan [Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), New York, New York] about showing black artists, and he was one of the main guys in the picket line, you know. And a lot of people didn't want to do it, you know. Romare [Bearden] did it, you know. And loving these people, I got in line with them, you know sort of, you know. And it did open up the place; they did take a few people in at the Met, you know.$$What were you protesting at the Met, and what year was this?$$There were no black artists being exposed there, you know, almost nil, you know. But that's--because you know, that was during the Civil Rights Movement at the time, you know, and it affected so many things, you know. But like I said, Norman was one of the ringleaders, you know. Not only did he march, but he marched and he was chanting, you know, "Stay away from this museum." And he stopped people from going in. He stopped them, you know, the politicians that were going in, and for them not to cross the picket lines. And I think about six months after that, there were a couple of black artists exposed there, you know. At one point I was in one of the group shows, and I didn't win a prize, but I got an honorable mention, you know. And it was the first pastel I ever did, you know. And I sold it during the show in August recently, sold it to a man on Wall Street, you know.

Clayola Brown

Union and civil rights leader Clayola Brown was born Clayola Beatrice Oliver on August 4, 1948, in Charleston, South Carolina. Of Gullah ancestry, Brown attended school in Key West, Florida and Oxnard, California before graduating from Philadelphia’s Simon Gratz High School in 1966, where she was an athlete and majorette. At age fifteen, Brown joined her mother, Ann Belle Jenkins Shands, in a successful campaign to bring the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) to the Manhattan Shirt Factory in Charleston. Brown later attended Florida A&M University, graduating in 1970 with her B.S. degree in secondary education and physical education.

In 1970, Brown was hired by TWUA in their claims department in Opalaca, Alabama. Subsequently, Brown went on to play an organizing role in the seventeen-year struggle to unionize the textile giant, J.P. Stevens, culminating in 1980 with four thousand workers winning a contract through the newly formed Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU). Brown served as the ACTWU’s education director, civil rights director, and also, for thirteen years, as manager of the ACTWU’s Laundry Division. In 1991, Brown was elected international vice president of the ACTWU; a post which she was continually reelected to for over a decade. In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Brown to the National Commission on Employment Policy. In 1995, Brown helped merge the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) with ACTWU to form the Union of Needle Trades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE, now UNITEHERE!). That same year, Brown was elected international vice president of the AFL-CIO. In 2004, Brown became the first woman to serve as national president of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.

Brown served on the board of Amalgamated Bank, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and SCLC. At the NAACP, Brown served on the Labor Ad Hoc, and NAACP Image Awards Committees. Brown also served on the Executive Committee of the Workers Defense League and as the first vice president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). Brown was honored with the NAACP Leadership and Keeper of the Flame Awards, the CBTU Woman of Valor Award, the SCLC Drum Major for Justice Award and many others.

Brown and her husband, Alfred Brown, have a son, Alfred, Jr.

Accession Number

A2005.161

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/13/2005

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Schools

Simon Gratz High School

Hueneme High School

East Bay Elementary

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

First Name

Clayola

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

BRO28

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Let The Work I Do Speak For Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/4/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard)

Short Description

Civil rights leader, labor leader, and union leader Clayola Brown (1948 - ) was vice president of the AFL-CIO, and the first female national president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Employment

Textile Workers Union of America

A. Philip Randolph Institute

Manhattan Shirt Factory

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clayola Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown talks about her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown describes her maternal family's move between Vance and Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown describes her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown talks about the Gullah and Geechee languages

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown talks about her mother's upbringing in South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown talks about her father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes how her mother and biological father met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Clayola Brown talks about her stepfather's family

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Clayola Brown describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Clayola Brown shares early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Clayola Brown describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clayola Brown describes her early musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown remembers attending Vance Baptist Church with her family in Vance, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown describes how she takes after her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown recalls her school experiences in Charleston, South Carolina and Key West, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown remembers her fourth grade teacher at East Bay Elementary in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown describes moving between Florida, California, Pennsylvania and South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown remembers Daisy Richardson, her mentor at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown remembers union organizing at Manhattan Shirt Factory in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clayola Brown describes her female role models

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown describes her independent and questioning mind

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown recalls music and literature that inspired her

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown remembers conversations with white teenagers at the Gloria Theater in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown describes Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown recalls her introduction to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown describes her experiences at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown describes her experiences at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes National Pan-Hellenic Council groups at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clayola Brown remembers her activism at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Clayola Brown describes being hired by the Textile Workers Union of America in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Clayola Brown remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clayola Brown describes her employment with the Textile Workers Union of America

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown describes balancing her early career and her marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown describes organizing workers at J.P. Stevens & Company in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown describes the decline of U.S. unions and job opportunities

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown describes J.P. Stevens & Company's organizing campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown remembers her tenure at Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown describes the qualities for effective labor organizing

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown describes the role of religion and party politics in unionization

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes her experience as an African American woman organizer

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Clayola Brown describes her mentors and board service

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Clayola Brown shares her perspective on the NAACP Image Award

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clayola Brown shares her concerns for the labor movement, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown shares her concerns for the labor movement, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown describes the trade union movement and Walmartization

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown shares her perspective on the effects of Walmartization

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown her leadership vision for the A. Philip Randolph Institute in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown talks about her mother's support

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes how she would like to be remembered

Thelma Lee Russell

Early childhood education advocate Thelma Russell was born Thelma Lee Cox in Charleston, Missouri, on July 15, 1931. Russell's parents, Gerline Fulks Cox and Ernest Cox, migrated to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Russell attended Harmar Elementary School. An award winning school artist and youth church leader, Russell wanted to be a teacher; however, when she graduated from Central High School in 1950, she immediately married Robert Russell, Jr., with whom she started raising a family. A serviceman’s wife, Russell lived in Baumholder, Germany, from 1957 to 1958; when she returned to Fort Wayne, she attended St. Francis College (now St. Francis University) where she studied early childhood education and business.

From 1962 to 1970, Russell, then an office assistant and teacher’s aide at James Smart School, noticed that children were missing school to take care of their preschool-aged siblings. Feeling inspired by God, Russell decided to start a preschool program in a large apartment building she owned; brushing aside various forms of community racism, the building was remodeled to adhere to state and local standards and regulations. In 1970, Russell quit her job and opened The Gingerbread House, the first black owned educational and developmental child-care center in Fort Wayne. Starting with one child, the enrollment grew to fifty-five children in the first three weeks, and eventually grew to one hundred and twenty-eight. With an integrated staff, Russell emphasized school readiness in reading and math with two hot meals a day and regular field trips. Russell soon offered after school tutoring and a learn to read program for children six to ten years old. With the addition of a large multi purpose room, The Gingerbread House became a center for African American art and history, celebrating the lives of great black heroes and inventors. In 1990, The Gingerbread House’s 20th Anniversary Celebration featured actors and activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, who read to the children and conducted workshops for the parents. In 1995, one hundred Gingerbread House alumni gathered to celebrate the institution.

Russell, who retired as executive director of The Gingerbread House in 1999, also served on the board of directors of the Urban League, the Fort Wayne Club, and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. The NAACP, Kappa Alpha Psi, Y.W.C.A., Links Inc., Times Corner Kiwanis Club, Zeta Phi Beta, Fort Wayne Club, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Day Committee have honored Russell. Russell received the Hoosier of the Year Award and the Mayor’s Twenty-Five Years of Excellence Award from the City of Fort Wayne. In addition to her professional activities, Russell raised six children.

Russell passed away on December 11, 2016 at age 85.

Accession Number

A2005.123

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/24/2005

Last Name

Russell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Lee

Organizations
Schools

Central High School

Harmar Elementary School

University of Saint Francis

First Name

Thelma

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

RUS06

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Lincoln Financial Group Foundation

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

North Carolina

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All Things Through Christ That Strengthens Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

7/15/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Wayne

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Broccoli

Death Date

12/11/2016

Short Description

Education entrepreneur Thelma Lee Russell (1931 - 2016 ) founded The Gingerbread House, the first black owned educational and developmental child-care center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Employment

James H. Smart School

Gingerbread House Inc.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:8024,117:8860,129:10076,191:10836,211:19150,344:24495,391:24945,398:30795,565:31320,573:32670,606:34770,641:39700,660:45530,717:46202,726:46682,732:48122,762:48602,768:49562,782:50810,809:54938,867:55418,874:55802,880:64459,996:65189,1007:65700,1017:66284,1027:66795,1036:67744,1052:68255,1061:68693,1068:69350,1079:72125,1085:73026,1109:76436,1140:77210,1152:77640,1158:80280,1167:80585,1173:80829,1178:82988,1202:84644,1231:86231,1259:86576,1265:86852,1270:87818,1292:90980,1302:92900,1341:93200,1347:93620,1355:97774,1403:101080,1419:101740,1431:102202,1439:102466,1444:104842,1487:109645,1531:110580,1543:112450,1554:113410,1572:120560,1711:120808,1716:121180,1724:124480,1748:125236,1759:126328,1780:131304,1827:134912,1890:137372,1936:152961,2090:153817,2100:158313,2139:158581,2144:158983,2151:159318,2157:159586,2162:162352,2182:163504,2199:164144,2211:164592,2219:164976,2226:165488,2236:165808,2243:166128,2250:166448,2256:166896,2265:167280,2272:170529,2293:174140,2325:174565,2331:175415,2339:176265,2348:178135,2375:184618,2475:185678,2489:190008,2519:190360,2524:193230,2545:193790,2558:194014,2563:194238,2568:195974,2581:196722,2598:197680,2605$0,0:210,4:1794,48:6474,155:11325,193:11689,198:12417,207:12781,238:16421,324:17422,337:21995,372:22803,381:23813,393:26237,404:29020,431:29422,452:30226,468:30829,479:31700,493:42268,627:45598,663:46326,672:49910,702:50310,707:59813,774:61152,791:62285,803:66030,844:67380,858:67920,865:68550,874:73142,925:73472,932:79756,1015:89370,1115:90580,1126:91570,1136:96292,1192:101908,1288:102268,1294:113126,1392:121550,1479:121950,1485:124282,1502:125170,1517:126580,1524:127490,1539:129450,1582:130500,1600:130990,1609:132040,1634:132670,1646:137224,1687:137782,1698:138464,1713:140820,1774:146050,1786:146425,1793:147325,1809:150620,1826:151124,1834:152636,1859:153224,1868:153896,1877:154736,1896:159266,1930:160820,1940:163710,1964:166698,2005:167445,2015:172840,2059:178340,2103:179700,2142:180100,2148:182164,2181:182788,2191:183724,2206:184114,2212:184894,2224:185908,2235:186220,2240:189978,2270:190290,2275:191226,2290:199820,2369:200145,2375:200925,2388:201575,2401:202095,2410:208071,2468:208339,2473:208674,2479:210483,2520:210751,2525:211354,2536:215760,2556:216160,2563:217760,2591:220980,2614:222852,2638:227211,2696:227649,2703:234820,2763:235585,2775:236010,2781:236690,2790:238560,2827:239920,2845:243822,2936:248060,2980
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thelma Lee Russell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thelma Lee Russell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thelma Lee Russell describes Charleston, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her family's move to Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thelma Lee Russell describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thelma Lee Russell describes the African American community in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thelma Lee Russell describes what it was like being a stepchild

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her experience at Harmar School in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her leadership and speaking roles at Central High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thelma Lee Russell names her favorite teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thelma Lee Russell talks about deciding to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her husband and his time in the U.S. military

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thelma Lee Russell describes working at St. James Elementary while enrolled at St. Francis College in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thelma Lee Russell recalls her inspiration for the Gingerbread House

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thelma Lee Russell explains how she was inspired to create the Gingerbread House

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thelma Lee Russell describes remodeling the building for The Gingerbread House

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thelma Lee Russell describes launching The Gingerbread House

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thelma Lee Russell describes educational programs at The Gingerbread House, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thelma Lee Russell describes educational programs at The Gingerbread House, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her teaching and management for The Gingerbread House

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thelma Lee Russell describes using government subsidies at The Gingerbread House

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thelma Lee Russell describes graduation ceremonies at The Gingerbread House

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thelma Lee Russell describes a theft from The Gingerbread House, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thelma Lee Russell describes a theft from The Gingerbread House, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thelma Lee Russell describes The Gingerbread House's twentieth anniversary celebration

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thelma Lee Russell describes generational differences in parenting styles

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thelma Lee Russell talks about her retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thelma Lee Russell describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thelma Lee Russell reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Thelma Lee Russell talks about her family

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Thelma Lee Russell talks about her father witnessing her success

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thelma Lee Russell reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thelma Lee Russell describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thelma Lee Russell narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thelma Lee Russell narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Thelma Lee Russell recalls her inspiration for the Gingerbread House
Thelma Lee Russell explains how she was inspired to create the Gingerbread House
Transcript
Now we're getting up to, now tell me if I've skipped anything but we're almost getting up to your, your starting the Gingerbread House [Inc., Fort Wayne, Indiana]. And what were some of the conditions that you were noticing? I mean, when, when, I know when I read about the Gingerbread House you said that, that you just noticed a lot of, of mothers, well a lot of the students at, at the school would miss days 'cause they had to watch their brothers and sisters--$$Yeah.$$--little brothers and sisters at home.$$Yeah.$$So these are little, little kids watching smaller kids--$$Yeah.$$--missing days in school.$$Well as I told you before there was a lot of migrating to Fort Wayne [Indiana] and with that came the jobs for black people and with that came the large families. In those days you didn't just have one or two children, almost every family you met had three, four, five, or six kids 'cause I had six of my own. And being at [James H.] Smart [School, Fort Wayne, Indiana] there at elementary school, I could see that the children in the first or second grade were very, they were not ready for school. They had, and then so many of the older siblings would miss school to babysit their younger brothers and sisters because mom and dad had got these nice jobs, paying this big money and they would keep 'em at home to babysit their younger ones. And I saw so many that weren't ready for school. And it bothered me because they became discipline problem and would end up standing in the hallways and sitting in the principal's office and that meant to not only did they, were they discipline problems but they would miss another day of learning because they weren't in the classroom even though they were at school. And I began to ponder and wonder, "How could I help these kids?" And because kids, I've just always loved working with them and I thought this is so unfair that this child is spending her day either at home babysitting or in the office. So that's when owning this building that we owned, we owned an apartment building, this was in the '60s [1960s]. And there was still no hotels or apartment buildings that blacks could move into. And we owned this large brick building on Pontiac Street which was just a half a block from the school where I worked. And there was one night when I left Saint Francis College, which is now Saint Francis University [sic. University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana], I had go by to collect rent and just as I was coming out, it was if God was just talking to me and he said why not take this building and make a childcare center.$All right. Now I wanted to ask you, you talked about acquiring, having this building, you know, and I was asking you off-camera, how did you acquire this building and, and, and--$$We acquired this building from an--$$And this is you and your husband [Robert Russell, Jr.], right--$$Yeah.$$--acquiring a building?$$Yeah, we acquired the building. This attorney owned the building because his mother and brother, his brother had a little slight mental problem and his mother and brother lived there and he was, I think, wanting to move them out of the neighborhood so they wanted to--$$Is this a white gentleman?$$Yes, a white family.$$Okay.$$And we acquired the building from him. And we rented it a long time for apartments and extra income because in the '60s [1960s] I think we had one black hotel here in Fort Wayne [Indiana]. And I can remember when people like Cab Calloway and used to come to Fort Wayne and didn't have a place to stay, they would live in someone's homes or in this one hotel. So that's when we bought the building and our intentions was to make a hotel out of it. But we rented it for years as a apartment building. It had about eight apartments in it, two big ones down stairs with double bedrooms, about four apartments on the second floor and two on the third floor. And, but we rented it to blacks because at that time blacks had a terrible time finding a place to live. And some time you got paid and some time you didn't. This was why the night that I, that God revealed to me that I could take the building and make a childcare center I was going by there at night to collect, trying to catch some of the tenants at home, they would leave, leave before you come by in the morning so I was trying to catch 'em at home to collect some money. And when I come out of the building, it was just as clear to me as if it had been God standing right there on the porch by me. He said, "Take this building, make a childcare center with emphasis on education and preschool readiness program." And the tears just began to come because I had wanted so badly to help those children that I had seen at [James H.] Smart School [Fort Wayne, Indiana] get ready for school and the older children be able to go into school. I had spent evenings when school was out trying to tutor them and some would, would absorb it and some wouldn't. But I think it's because there was no concrete foundation for them to, to, to be ready. And I began to, that night that I went by the building, I became to walk around the building and to see what I could do and it was just so clear to me that that, this building is large, remodel it according to state, fire marshal, and board of health standards and get a program going and teach these kids. So that was my first teaching experience, even though I hadn't got finished at Saint Francis [College; University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana] but I had enough and I wanted it. It's just in me to be a teacher.

Della Hardman

Arts educator Della Hardman was born on May 20, 1922, in Charleston, West Virginia; her mother, Captolia Brown, was a teacher, and her father, Anderson Hunt Brown, owned a meat market in Charleston and later worked as a realtor for fifty years. Following the death of her mother, Hardman was raised by her aunt Della Brown, a teacher who always encouraged her young niece to pay attention in school, especially in history. After graduating from Garnet High School in 1940, Hardman enrolled in West Virginia State College, where she earned her B.S. degree in education in 1943. From there, Hardman continued her education at the Massachusetts College of Art, and earned her M.A. degree from Boston University in 1945. Hardman continued on with her education throughout her lifetime, earning her Ph.D. from Kent State University in 1994; she also attended numerous educational institutes both in the United States and abroad.

While attending college, Hardman worked throughout the summers at her father’s real estate office, where she was a licensed real estate broker in West Virginia until 1986. In 1952, Hardman took a position with the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, where she remained for two years; from there, she began teaching art in the Boston Public Schools. In 1956, Hardman became an associate professor of art at West Virginia State College; she continued in that post for the next thirty years. During her tenure at West Virginia State College, Hardman also lectured at a number of other universities and art galleries. Concurrently, Hardman hosted The Black Experience on WKAZ in Charleston between 1978 and 1988.

Throughout the course of her life, Hardman served actively with a number of groups, including acting as a chairperson of the board of trustees of the Charleston Art Gallery, and being a member of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the National Association of Art Administrators. Hardman was recognized as an Alumna of the Year by her alma mater, West Virginia State College; as the Outstanding Art Educator by the NAEA; and was named commissioner of the West Virginia Arts and Humanities Council by Governor John D. Rockefeller.

Hardman traveled extensively around the globe, and was the proud mother of three, including HistoryMaker Andrea Taylor and grandmother of seven; she passed away on December 13, 2005, at the age of eighty-three.

Accession Number

A2004.134

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2004

Last Name

Hardman

Maker Category
Middle Name

Taylor

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

West Virginia State University

Boston University

Garnet High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Della

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

HAR11

Favorite Season

None

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Don't Move When You're Eighty.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

5/20/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

12/13/2005

Short Description

Art professor Della Hardman (1922 - 2005 ) was an associate professor of art at West Virginia State College for thirty years, and a frequent guest lecturer at a long list of universities and art museums.

Employment

Fogg Art Museum

Boston Public Schools

West Virginia State College

WKAZ Radio

Favorite Color

Lavender

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Della Hardman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Della Hardman lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Della Hardman talks about her maternal family background and the history of African Americans in Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Della Hardman remembers her maternal grandparents and an uncle's familial research

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Della Hardman talks about her mother's life and art

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Della Hardman remembers learning about her mother through memories shared by others in her community

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Della Hardman shares her paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Della Hardman talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Della Hardman talks about her father's real estate and business ventures

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Della Hardman recalls her earliest childhood memories of Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Della Hardman describes her paternal aunt's personality and influence on her life

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Della Hardman recalls a trip to Ghana with her father and her daughter around 1964

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Della Hardman remembers her father's successes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Della Hardman talks about her father and brother's participation in civil rights activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Della Hardman remembers the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Della Hardman recalls music, sports and teachers in Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Della Hardman remembers attending the First Baptist Church in Charleston, West Virginia when it was pastored by Mordecai Johnson and Vernon Johns

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Della Hardman remembers notable West Virginians

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Della Hardman talks about James Produce Company, the oldest continuously operating black business in the U.S.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Della Hardman talks about attending Boyd School in Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Della Hardman remembers her close-knit community, teachers and class trips during her time at Garnet School and Boyd School in Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Della Hardman remembers the March on Washington in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Della Hardman recalls being reared by her Aunt Della

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Della Hardman recalls an influential art teacher at Garnet High School in Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Della Hardman talks about her experience growing up black in Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Della Hardman recalls her experience attending Garnet High School in Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Della Hardman talks about her father and brother's avoidance of arrest while integrating parts of Charleston, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Della Hardman remembers her father's insistence that she attend West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Della Hardman recalls others who attended West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Della Hardman talks about learning black history from her aunt and father and hosting a radio program

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Della Hardman explains how she was able to interview Gwendolyn Brooks

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Della Hardman talks about her radio show, 'The Black Experience' and how she finds interviewees

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Della Hardman recalls her summer college job and moving to Boston, Massachusetts to study art

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Della Hardman recalls her experience living in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Della Hardman talks about her marriage to her first husband, Francis Taylor

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Della Hardman talks about being hired to work at the Fogg Museum at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Della Hardman explains how teaching art at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia led to her world travels

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Della Hardman remembers Hoyt Fuller

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Della Hardman talks about attending the World Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN) in Dakar, Senegal

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Della Hardman talks about attending Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC '77) in Lagos, Nigeria

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Della Hardman remembers travelling in South Korea as part of the Friendship Force International

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Della Hardman remembers her first husband's death

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Della Hardman talks about her art career and her experience teaching at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Della Hardman recalls spending her sabbatical year at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Della Hardman talks about the life and works of William Edouard Scott

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Della Hardman talks about taking her students at West Virginia State College to Europe

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Della Hardman talks about retiring from pottery-making and starting her radio show the 'Black Experience' in 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Della Hardman explains how childhood visits to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts led to her buying a home there

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Della Hardman talks about her trips to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts as an adult and buying property on the island

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Della Hardman explains why she loves Martha's Vineyard and Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Della Hardman talks about writing for the Vineyard Gazette

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Della Hardman describes her stories in the Vineyard Gazette featuring HistoryMaker Bill Overton and HistoryMaker Robert C. Hayden

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Della Hardman talks about reuniting with Leon Hardman

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Della Hardman talks about her marriage to Leon Hardman

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Della Hardman talks about her children and grandchildren

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Della Hardman describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Della Hardman reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Della Hardman reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Della Hardman talks about her family's support for her

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Della Hardman names notable and memorable students

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Della Hardman describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Della Hardman narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

12$9

DATitle
Della Hardman explains how she was able to interview Gwendolyn Brooks
Della Hardman talks about writing for the Vineyard Gazette
Transcript
The very first person that I interviewed was--she just died, poet laureate of Chicago [Illinois].$$Gwendolyn Brooks.$$Gwendolyn Brooks, the very first interview. And how did that happen? Well, the story about that is this. My husband, my first husband, Francis Taylor, died in 1978, and my brother [Willard L. Brown], incidentally died a month later. I'll never forget 1978. And my--the radio station [WKAZ-AM, Charleston, West Virginia] had offices in the building next door to my father's [Anderson Brown] building in downtown Charleston [West Virginia]. And they knew my husband 'cause he was a very popular musician in town. Everybody knew Francis Taylor. And after he died, they approached me and said they felt that they were not doing enough to meet the needs of the black community and would I be interested in hosting a radio show. Well, (laughter) I was shocked because I'd never done anything like that. I had been writing art reviews for the state's largest newspaper. And that's one thing. I'm supposed to know something about that, but to host a radio show, I'd never done anything like that. So I, I said, "Well, what makes you think I can do it?" And they said, "[HistoryMaker] Della [Hardman], you can do it." So it just so happened the person who lived across from me--by this time, I had married and had children, and I was living in Kanawha City [Charleston, West Virginia] in Charleston. And the person who lived behind me on another street, our backyards met, was a white neighbor. And she was very active in the West Virginia Writers Group [sic. West Virginia Writers, Inc.]. And she told me, she said, Della, guess who's coming to be our speaker? Gwendolyn Brooks. And she said, I think you should know about that. I said, oh, that's exciting. And I said, Gwendolyn Brooks--and this was the time that they were asking me about this radio show. I said, wouldn't it be great if I could get her to, to let me interview her. So she said, she's staying--and she told me where she was staying. And she was staying in a hotel close to where--you know, I could pick her up. And I knew how to reach her. I called Gwendolyn Brooks. And I said, "Ms. Brooks, you don't know me, but we have a mutual friend, Hoyt [W.] Fuller." Does that name mean anything to you?$$Oh, it means a lot. He was--$$Hoyt was a good friend--(simultaneous)--$$--the editor of Black World and Negro Digest, right?$$--of mine. Okay, I said, "We have a mutual friend in Hoyt Fuller," and I said, "Hoyt is a very good friend of mine." I said, "I've been asked to do this radio show ['The Black Experience'], and I'm sure (laughter), I'm--I've never done this before." And I said, "If you don't mind being my guinea pig, I'd love for you to be my first interviewee." And she said, "Well, certainly." So I picked her up and took her to the radio station and did this interview.$Now, you are a reporter. You write a weekly column, in--what's the name of the paper?$$The Vineyard Gazette.$$The Vineyard Gazette, and you cover Oak Bluffs [Massachusetts], which is part of--correct me if I'm wrong, but Oak Bluffs is a historic--I mean part of it is a historic black community basically--(simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, historically--$$--in Martha's Vineyard [Massachusetts].$$--I think more blacks have been here. But now blacks are everywhere, like everything else. Yes, there's an interesting story about my becoming a part of the Gazette staff. I had a major heart attack in 1998--was it '98 [1998]; can't even remember that, in '95 [1995]. And it as in '95 [1995], and I was going to take a writing course because I'm thinking about these memoirs and that biography and someone was offering a, a writing course that I thought would add a great deal to what I wanted to do. So I took the writing course. And while there, you had to read whatever you had written. And someone was in the class who worked for the Gazette and she went back and told [Richard] Dick Reston that she thought she'd found someone who might want to replace Dorothy West. Now, can you imagine that? So Dorothy was not well, and had not written a column for some time. She was a friend of mine. And I knew her quite well. So when I was approached, I said, well, there're two or three things I have to consider here. The first thing I have to do is discuss this with my cardiologist because I've had a major heart attack. And if there's anything I do not need it's stress. So they said, well, talk to him, and, you know, think about it, and let us know. So I talked to my cardiologist in Boston [Massachusetts] and we discussed it. And he said, "Well, [HistoryMaker] Della [Hardman], since it's only for, once a week, and if you'd like to do it, why don't you give it a try. And if you find that you can do it without pressure, go ahead. And if not, you know, don't. You don't have to commit yourself." So when I went in to talk to them about it, I had written a piece. They printed the piece that I wrote. And that's how I got the job. And I--that was, let's see. I talked to Dorothy about it, and she was very pleased. I said, "Dorothy, I've never done anything like this." I used to write the art reviews for my school paper, for maybe the state's paper, the state's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette and the Sunday Gazette Mail [Charleston Gazette-Mail]. I said, but I've never done anything like this. She said, "Oh, Della, you can do it. And you'll enjoy it." Well, I'd had that radio experience [program, 'The Black Experience'] which was a little bit similar. So at any rate, to make a long story short, I've done it now--I said, Dorothy did it for thirty years. And I said, I'll do well if I can make it to thirty months. And I've done it now since, since Dorothy died. So I've enjoyed it, and I do the column every week. And from time to time, there will be other stories that I do as well. And this, two weeks ago, I had three things in the paper, including the column. And if they print everything that went in yesterday, there'll be three this week. So I enjoy it because I, as I say, I like to be busy, and I like to know what I'm doing when I wake up in the morning and I've got to work out a schedule now that's going to allow me to fit other things into my schedule, and especially, do I want to just take a certain day that I'm gonna do nothing but write on those projects that I'm working on for me.

Dr. John Clark, Jr.

Dr. John F. J. Clark, Jr. was born in West Virginia on December 8, 1922. After attending Charleston public schools, he enrolled in West Virginia State College in 1939, but left for Ohio State University in 1941 and earned his A.B. degree in 1943. Clark then entered Howard University School of Medicine, earning his M.D. degree in 1946. He continued his training at Howard University Hospital as a resident in obstetrics and gynecology, finishing in 1951.

Upon the completion of his residency, Clark began working at Howard as a clinical assistant, and by 1955, he was an instructor in obstetrics and gynecology. A year later, he was named assistant professor, and in 1957, he began consulting at the District of Columbia Hospital, as well. That same year, he became chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a position he retained until 1976. Clark was named a full professor in 1964, and continued consulting at area hospitals, including Norfolk Community and Sibley Memorial. In 1972, Clark wrote “The Weekly Health Column,” which was distributed to thirty-five African American newspapers across the country on the health concerns of women and children. Clark worked at Howard University until 1996 as a professor, and remained there as a consultant until his death.

Active in a variety of other areas, both civic and professional, Clark served as a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Defense and the Medical Society of the District of Columbia. He also headed up a March of Dimes campaign and was an activist in the integration of hospitals.

Clark held the distinction of training more qualified black physicians in obstetrics and gynecology than anyone in the world and was honored numerous times. In 1978, both the College of Medicine and the Hospital (Howard University) honored him with the Kaiser-Permanente Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the National Medical Association presented him with an award for being a Distinguished Physician, Teacher and Scholar. The Howard University College of Medicine endowed the John F.J. Clark, M.D. Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology on his behalf in 1994, and President Bill Clinton praised him for the work he did through the generations.

Clark passed away on September 8, 2008 at the age of 85.

Accession Number

A2003.240

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/11/2003

Last Name

Clark

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F. J.

Organizations
Schools

West Virginia State University

Howard University College of Medicine

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

CLA07

Favorite Season

Football Season, Fall

Sponsor

SuperValu

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/8/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cookies (Chocolate)

Death Date

9/8/2008

Short Description

Medical professor and obstetrician Dr. John Clark, Jr. (1922 - 2008 ) taught for fifty years at Howard University College of Medicine, which endowed the John F. J. Clark, M.D. Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology on his behalf in 1994. Clark held the distinction of training more qualified black physicians in obstetrics and gynecology than anyone in the world.

Employment

Howard University Hospital

District of Columbia Hospital

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Clark interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Clark's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Clark shares details about his family's history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Clark talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Clark talks about his mother and sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Clark talks about notable West Virginians

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Clark reflects on his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Clark discusses the educational background of his family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Clark reflects on his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Clark discusses his education and decision to become an obstetrician/gynecologist

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Clark shares stories about college and medical school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Clark recalls serving as the head of DC General Hospital's OB/GYN department

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Clark discusses realtionship between health status in the black community and the number of black physicians

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Clark reflects on his legacy and accomplishments in the field of medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Clark discusses problems and challenges facing the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Clark shares his concerns about the prison system and obesity

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Clark talks about medical experimentation, hysterectomies, and the treatment of over-weight patients

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Clark talks about his recent book and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATitle
John Clark reflects on his father
John Clark shares stories about college and medical school
Transcript
Tell us about your father [John F.J. Clark Sr.] now. What was he like and what did he do? Tell us about his schooling. You've mentioned it a couple times. But just tell us the whole story.$$Well Dad's first wife died and he didn't marry again, 'til sixteen years later. Now he was forty-four when I was born. And he was not a man throwing the football and so on and basketball.$$Now how did he and your mother meet?$$Well, she was teaching. School teaching. Yeah. And--.$$Was she teaching in his school?$$She was at the same elementary school. She was (unclear). In fact, he spent more time with us academically. He loved to do math. And we loved the math. And he went to give examples and so on. Was in charge of the summer school. Occasionally he didn't have enough people, he'd make us go to summer school . Not because it was needed it, 'cause education wise. So that's whether we--I didn't learn--well as far as sports, he was not out there throwing the ball with me. Yeah. I wanted to play football so bad. But during our education, I started skipping grades. And I was thirteen in the tenth grade. I weighed 108 pounds. I was sixteen when I graduated and I weighed a 126 pounds.$When I was on the track team, I would occa--we would occasionally go to--I went to Indiana. And we stopped in Indianapolis overnight. I could not eat with the team. Bill Willis threw the shotput. And he said, "Well we'll fix the coach." He'd ordered 50 eggs. I ordered so many eggs. And went to Bloomington. Sat down to the table in Bloomington. He said, "Well since you boys like eggs so well I'm bring--buy you some more eggs." Willis told him, "Coach, if you don't order me two steaks, you're gonna hit the floor." And (laughing) that's why I remembered Bill so. The same thing when we went to Ann Arbor [Michigan]. I stayed in a hotel named Roosevelt. We couldn't eat with the team.$$Not even in Ann Arbor, Michigan. All the way up in --.$$We stayed in Detroit and took the bus.$$Mm-hm.$$I remember all these hotels. One was named Lincoln in Indianapolis. Another one was Roosevelt in Detroit [Michigan].$$Now wait a minute. You couldn't stay in the Lincoln hotel?$$No, I stayed in Lincoln. I couldn't eat in the dining room.$$Okay.$$And I know what to do. And see we stayed over night in Indianapolis. The bus in Bloomington. In Bloomington we couldn't eat with the team. We couldn't eat with the team in Indianapolis. Couldn't eat with the team in Detroit--Roosevelt.$$Probably [West] Lafayette [Indiana] either, I guess. Yeah.$$Yeah.$$And pretty much--.$$Well only 'cause I wanted (unclear). I was only on the indoor track team. Michigan State I don't remember. But I wasn't impressed with those things. Well anyway I'm glad I came to Howard [University]. I thought Washington [D.C.] would be a--I was always bashful (laughing). child. I didn't know how I would survive this big city and so forth. But having a sister was the best thing that happened there. Like a design to come to Howard. In fact, (unclear) when I came to medical school, I was elected president of my class in medicine here. And I was all four academic years president of the class. But one school calendar was a war zone. See '43 and '46 [1943-1946] (unclear). And I was very vocal (laughing). Changing the curriculum and doing certain things. It was an enjoyable time for me.$$Okay. Was it--it was never a tough time when you (unclear)?$$(simultaneously) Not academically.$$Okay.$$Yeah. Actually--Well I say a few things in life not important. It is a fact. Two P's, either political or propaganda. And actually when I applied for a resident--well an intern, you only have a few choices. Freedman's Hospital [Washington D.C.] when I graduated, Harlem Hospital [New York, New York]or (unclear).$$Homer [G.] Philips [Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri]?$$Yeah, Homer Philips. All those are small little hospitals. So I wanted to do OB/Gyn [obstetrics/gynecology]. And I stayed at Freedman's. I accepted Harlem and so on. Harlem was a very prejudiced. You interned at Harlem, but very few people at that time got to do a residency in OB. Italians and Jewish people were very strong and they were graduates. And when I applied at Howard for a residency in OB/ Gyn, Dr. Ross thought I was too radical. I talked too much. I asked too many questions and he gave several sermons. He gave me about--a sermon about Peter (laughs) and what Paul--What was the Lord had changed the name?$$Oh Peter. Yeah he was--$$Yeah.$$No. No, Paul.$$Yeah.$$He changed his name from Saul to Paul.$$(unclear) Gave me that lecture. He said, "Clark you need to--." See I would ask questions. 'Cause I'm raising questions. "What are you doing? Or why are you doing this?" He was always being the (unclear). And he gave me a lecture about Peter. "You need a real change." And he asked me, "Where'd you go to school?" I'd say, "Ohio State." "Well I'm glad you didn't go to Lincoln. Cause you never see a freshman talking to a sophomore. And I said, "Well I'm glad I didn't go to Lincoln too." (laughs). That didn't help it.

Hal Jackson

Born on November 3, 1914 in Charleston, South Carolina to Eugene Baron Jackson (a tailor) and Laura Rivers Jackson, Hal Jackson became one of the most important radio personalities of all time.

When Jackson was eight, his parents died within five months of each other. After living with his sisters and other relatives, he moved out on his own in 1928 - at the age of 13. Two years later, he moved north, settling in Washington, D.C. He attended Howard University, where his interests in sports and broadcasting grew. By the late 1930s, Jackson was an announcer for Howard University and Griffith Stadium.

In 1939, Jackson approached WINX in Washington, D.C. and proposed a radio show. Management flatly refused. Undeterred, Jackson purchased airtime through a wholesale buyer of radio. He interviewed pioneering African Americans during his talk and music program, highlighting achievements of the community. His show proved so popular that, within six months, Jackson was able to buy airtime and sell ads on three additional stations in different cities! Broadcasting live from each station, Jackson worked extremely long hours.

In the early 1940s, Jackson organized the Washington Bears. This black basketball team played against white local and professional teams and finished the 1942-43 season with a record of 66-0. He also began the Good Deed Club, which donated toys, money, books, and volunteers to hospitals and others. In the spring of 1949, Jackson's television variety show premiered. At the end of that year, he moved to New York with his radio show, "The House that Jack Built." By the mid-1950s, he was again working at multiple stations. As the first African American announcer on network radio, he attracted the largest radio audience in the world at that time. Jackson continued to succeed in television as well, hosting a Sunday morning children's show, Uncle Hal's Kids Show.

Through the years, Jackson's civic works became legendary. He used every opportunity to improve people's lives-from busing groups of underprivileged children to the Palisades Amusement Park, to establishing a scholarship fund for Howard University. He also began Hal Jackson's Talented Teens International, a scholarship competition that has impacted over 30,000 young women of color. Jackson used his position and popularity to agitate for civil rights and actively participated in numerous history-making events. The NAACP and the SCLC benefited from his fundraising efforts. In 1969, Jackson helped African American models gain recognition by hosting The Miss Black America Pageant. In 1971, Jackson and other African American entrepreneurs founded Inner City Broadcasting and bought stations all over the country.

Jackson has hosted "Sunday Classics," on New York radio station WBLS for over a decade. Jackson was the first African American inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame, and several U.S. Presidents have honored him with special achievement awards.

Bibliography:
Jackson, Hal. The House that Jack Built. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

Hal Jackson passed away on May 23, 2012.

Accession Number

A2002.007

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/5/2002

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Avery Normal Institute

DeWitt Clinton High School

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Hal

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

JAC02

Favorite Season

November

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

It Is Nice To Be Important, But It Is Important To Be Nice.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/3/1914

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Carribean, Jamaican Food

Death Date

5/23/2012

Short Description

Radio personality and sports promoter Hal Jackson (1914 - 2012 ) was a legendary presence on New York City radio stations for his work on many programs, including Sunday Classics on WBLS, which he hosted for more than a decade.

Employment

Howard University

Washington Bears

Miss Black America Pageant

Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

WBLS Radio

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hal Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson describes his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson describes the deaths of both of his parents when he was eight years old

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson describes his relationships to his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson talks about attending Avery Normal Institute for elementary school

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson describes living on his own means as a teenager in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Hal Jackson describes his experience at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Hal Jackson describes his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson reflects upon his relationships with his older sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson describes getting his start in sports writing and announcing with Sam Lacey

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson describes the first time he went on the air at WINX as a baseball announcer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson describes his early success in radio broadcasting, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson describes his early success in radio broadcasting, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson describes being a single parent to his daughter Jane

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson talks about meeting his second wife, Julia Hawkins

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson describes working with Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson describes the popularity of his WINX sports show

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson describes his experience as owner of the Washington Bears basketball team, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Hal Jackson describes his experience as owner of the Washington Bears basketball team, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson talks about some of the athletes who played with the Washington Bears

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson talks about why he left the Washington Bears

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson talks about two times he almost became the first black baseball announcer for a professional team

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson talks about his influences in broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson talks about his experience with Richard Eaton at WOOK in Silver Spring, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson talks about his community involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson reflects upon the importance of humility

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson describes organizing the union for his coworkers at WOOK in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson describes launching 'The House that Jack Built' on television in 1949

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson describes adapting to television from radio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson describes his experience working for WABC, WMCA, and WLIB

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson talks about some of the musicians he met while working at Birdland

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson describes his experiences living in Harlem, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson remembers broadcasting live from the funeral of Bill Bojangles

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson describes his friendship with Rose Morgan

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson describes working with Parks Sausage founder Henry Parks

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson recalls his Sunday morning children's television broadcast 'Uncle Hal's Kiddie Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson talks about returning to WLIB in 1955 and purchasing the station with Percy Sutton in 1971

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson describes launching WHUR-FM at Howard University in 1971

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Hal Jackson describes his friendship with United States Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Hal Jackson describes meeting Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Hal Jackson describes being suspended from WLIB during the Payola scandal in the late 1950s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson describes radio personality Douglas "Jocko" Henderson

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson describes Alan Freed and the payola scandal in the late 1950s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson describes his experience at the Palisades Amusement Park

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson talks about returning to radio after the payola scandal

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson talks about some of the acts he featured at the Palisades Amusement Park

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson talks about Motown Records founder Berry Gordy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson remembers his reaction to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson describes his involvement in creating a national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson talks about hosting Miss Black America in 1969

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson describes starting his Talented Teen competition in 1971

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson describes hosting the first Miss Black Teenage America program in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Hal Jackson talks about some of the winners and performers on his Talented Teens International show

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Hal Jackson talks about founding the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation with Percy Sutton in 1971

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Hal Jackson talks about his current work with Talented Teens International and Inner City Broadcast Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Hal Jackson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Hal Jackson describes how it feels for him to get behind a microphone

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Hal Jackson reflects upon the progress of blacks in the communications industry during his lifetime

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Hal Jackson reflects upon how the communications industry enhanced his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Hal Jackson reflects upon his parents

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Hal Jackson narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Hal Jackson narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

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Hal Jackson describes the first time he went on the air at WINX as a baseball announcer
Hal Jackson describes his experience as owner of the Washington Bears basketball team, pt. 1
Transcript
And those were times when, you know, they would rent, they probably had, they had black days when they would rent out the [baseball] stadium, right?$$Yeah.$$For, for the teams [Negro League Baseball].$$Well, and that's when they made the big money. The regular team, which was in the American League, the Washington Senators, they would draw 3, 4,000, but when the blacks came in 32,000 and Satchel Paige and, you know, the, the blacks, the people, really turned out. And the whites turned out too for these black games and that's when it started going all around the country and I was anxious to, you know, broadcast the games and I ran around--A guy named C.C. Coley he was, he had barbecue places, about eight or ten (he was a black guy), and I spoke to him about if I got a thing going would he sponsor it. He said, You know I will," and, and that's why when I went into this WINX at 8th and I [Streets] and talk to them about it [in 1939]. You know and the guy calls everybody in and said "Can you imagine this 'N-----' talking about going on this radio." The Washington Post owned that station too by the way. And "none will ever go on this radio station." He, he called his people in. So, I went to wholesaler who buys time and nobody questioned him because he's bringing the station so much money as to what they were gonna put on. And I got Coley to give him the money and we got all set to go on the air. They didn't know what was going on. We sat outside the car. I had Dr. [Mary McLeod] Bethune out there. I had Dr. Charles Drew out there and, and, and when the time came we just went and went on the air and it took off so big that four days later Annapolis [Maryland] was calling me, Baltimore [Maryland] was calling wanting me to do the same kind of show there. So, there I am now and it started picking up. I said, "What is this?" I would do a wake-up show in Washington [D.C.], go to Annapolis because those were the days you couldn't pipe in like, you know, in Washington and talk to Annapolis. Go into Annapolis for two hours, go to Baltimore and do a little sports summary, and come back to Washington and do a four-three, so it, it was feast or famine. I was doing four radio shows a day and finishing about 12, 1 o'clock at night. But, it was inspirational. I felt good doing it.$Now, talk about how you got started as a, a basketball team owner.$$(Laughter) Well, you know I love sports so much and having played football, basketball, and baseball I, Sam and I, Sam Lacey--there was a place in Washington [D.C.], nothing. Blacks were not allowed to play in what was then the N.B.A. [National Basketball Association]. No black players. Okay, so I had always followed these, some of the guys played in New York on independent teams, and it was during the war [World War II] and they work at Grumman, Grumman Aircraft [Corporation], so they were exempt from the Service and I said to Sam, "You know what maybe we can put some kind of team" and Wa, Washington didn't have a team in what was then the N.B.A. So, I went to this beautiful arena, Uline, Mike Uline's arena [now the Washington Coliseum], and well he knew I was a sports writer. He didn't want me to knock it, he didn't really care, but I said, "How is it you don't let black people, you know, come here." "Oh, they're welcome, you come on in bring some people." But, then I would look up I'd be the only one there with my people. So, I asked him about playing basketball in his arena. Oh, no he couldn't have that, but it was an ice arena. They had hockey and all. Now, I said, "Well Washington don't have any team. I'm gonna put a team in Washington." "Where you gonna play?" I wrote to a guy named Joe Turner. He used to have a big arena [Turner's Arena] for wrestling and everything and I showed him, Sam and I, showed him how he could block it out and play basketball. And he said, "Oh yeah, so yeah, we said we'd do it." I brought the C.I.A.A. [Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association] there afterward, the--(unclear)--the col, black colleges they had no place and I'd bring them there for their tournament and everything. But, anyway I showed him how he could do it. Ahmet Ertegun, the, you know, was there with the Turkish embassy. He was in Washington and he would be there every Sunday with me. We played every Sunday afternoon and we played all of the teams that were in, what was then the NBA. We beat up everybody. It was unbelievable and packed 'em in. So, then the word got around so that-- in Chicago [Illinois] where they have the World's Championship, Frank Forbes who was one of the big men in Chicago went to the mayor and he said "You know they have a team in Washington, they got a team now it's not in the NBA, but we ought to invite them out here for the World's Championship Professional Basketball Tournament." It was something and they called me and they asked me because we had a record of like, I think we only lost two games out of like 80, 82 games. So, this guy Forbes said "Man you gotta do it." So, I went out, he took me to the mayor and the mayor says you know, "You think this team can compete." I said "Yeah." He said well we'll invite 'em out to the tournament [in 1943]. So, we got on the train. Mike Uline, no, the guy who owned in Washington all the, don't forget now all the theaters was segregated, and this guy owned oh about twelve black theaters and I made a deal with him. I said, "If you let me advertise on the screen about the teams and the games I'll put your name on the jerseys" and he said, "Great." He was a very, very good guy. And I said you got a deal, fine.