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Tanya Hart

Producer and television host Tanya Hart was born on January 29, 1949 in Muskegon, Michigan to Lewis Hinton and Jean Hinton. She received her B.A. degree in communication from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan in 1971, and her M.Ed. degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1976.

Hart worked for WBZ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Boston, where she served as host and contributing producer of Coming Together an Emmy Award winning prime-time news magazine series. She was also an announcer for WBZ’s evening newscast and hosted and produced syndicated specials. After eleven years at WBZ, Hart moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and joined BET’s West Coast production operations and helped launched its first program in BET’s Burbank Studios. There, Hart served as host and senior producer of BET’s, Live From LA with Tanya Hart, where she interviewed celebrities and recorded over three hundred episodes. Also in 1990, she interviewed Winnie Mandela during the world tour with Nelson Mandela, for a U.S. television exclusive. In 1992, Hart was based at the Walt Disney Studios lot, where her company, Tanya Hart Communications, developed and produced films, television programs, syndicated radio programs, and music with Boston International Records and Hollywood Records. In 1995, Hart became an entertainment correspondent on the KACE-FM morning show in Los Angeles. She also served as a host with Roger Ebert covering the Academy Awards, and appeared as herself in the iconic All My Children. For six years, she served as a correspondent and alternate host of E! Entertainment’s The Gossip Show. From 2001 to 2005, Hart hosted the daily syndicated radio feature Hart Moments which her company also produced. In 2003, excerpts from her interview with Tupac Shakur were featured in the documentary Tupac: Resurrection. In 2005, she released her debut album Tanya Hart Sings. She has also produced several documentaries for PBS, as well an audio documentary Ray Charles: The Music Lives On. In 2006, Hart was a producer and guest disc jockey on Live in Hollywood, the weekly syndicated television show. She became host of Hollywood Live with Tanya Hart on American Urban Radio Networks (AURN). Hart has also appeared on Rolonda, Court TV, Inside Edition, Celebrity Justice, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo and Forgive or Forget.

Hart has been recognized with numerous awards, including The Diversity In Media Award from the Caucus of Producers, Writers and Directors, four Emmys, eight Emmy nominations, and five medals from the International TV and Film Festival of New York. In addition, she received the Peabody and Ohio State Awards for her documentary films. In 2016, she became co-chair of The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors, making her the first African-American and first woman to lead the organization

Tanya Hart was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 16, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.156

Sex

Female

Interview Date

08/16/2017

Last Name

Hart

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Michigan State University

Harvard Graduate School of Education

First Name

Tanya

Birth City, State, Country

Muskegon

HM ID

HAR50

Favorite Season

Spring/fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

At the end of the day...

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/29/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

I'm a really good cook, I like many things

Short Description

Producer and television host Tanya Hart (1949 - ) launched BET’s West Coast production operations and served as host and contributing producer of the Emmy-award-winning show, Coming Together, she also hosted Live from LA with Tanya Hart.

Favorite Color

Purple and blue in winter, orange and yellow in the summer

Melissa Harris-Perry

Television host and political science professor Melissa Victoria Harris-Perry was born on October 2, 1973 in Seattle, Washington. Her father, William M. Harris, Sr., was the first dean of African American Affairs at the University of Virginia; her mother, Diana Gray, primarily worked for nonprofit organizations, colleges, and state government agencies. Harris-Perry was raised in both Charlottesville and Chesterfield County, Virginia, and attended Thomas Dale High School. She received her B.A. degree in English from Wake Forest University in 1994 and her Ph.D. degree in political science from Duke University in 1999. She also studied theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Harris-Perry first taught at the University of Chicago, and then as an associate professor in the department of Politics at Princeton University. In 2011, she was hired as a professor of political science at Tulane University, where she also founded the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. In 2012, she became host of “Melissa Harris-Perry” on MSNBC. In July of 2014, Harris-Perry returned to her alma mater, Wake Forest University, where she was named the presidential chair professor of politics and international affairs. She also directs the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University.

Harris-Perry’s 2004 book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. She released her second book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, in 2011. She has also been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes, and authored a monthly column entitled “Sister Citizen” for The Nation magazine.

In 2009, Harris-Perry became the youngest scholar to deliver the W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard University. Also, in 2009, she delivered the prestigious Ware Lecture, becoming the youngest woman to ever do so. Harris-Perry served as a trustee of The Century Foundation and sat on the advisory board for Chef's Move!. She has received honorary doctorate degrees from Meadville Lombard Theological School and Eckerd College.

Harris-Perry is married to James Perry, and is the mother of two daughters, Parker and Anna James.

Melissa Harris-Perry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.203

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/12/2014

Last Name

Harris-Perry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Victoria

Schools

Thomas Dale High School

Wake Forest University

Duke University

Union Theological Seminary

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Melissa

Birth City, State, Country

Seattle

HM ID

HAR47

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Washington

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barcelona, Spain

Favorite Quote

The Struggle Continues

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

10/2/1973

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Winston-Salem

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Red Velvet Cake

Short Description

Television host and political science professor Melissa Harris-Perry (1973 - ) is the host of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry” and the presidential chair professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University. She founded the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South and has authored two books: Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.

Employment

University of Chicago

Princeton University

Tulane University

MSNBC

Wake Forest University

The Nation Magazine

Favorite Color

Tiffany Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Melissa Harris-Perry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Melissa Harris-Perry lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her family's history of polygamy as well as her parents' previous marriages

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her family and godmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her family's Christmas traditions

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her childhood experience in the Unitarian Universalist Church

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her childhood understanding of her own racial identity

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her current occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about the relationships between her mother, father, and godmother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about how her white stepsister experienced racism because of Harris-Perry's mixed race

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Melissa Harris-Perry shares the lessons she learned from her father, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Melissa Harris-Perry shares the lessons she learned from her father, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her relationship with her father, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her relationship with her father, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her relationship with her white stepsister

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her teachers, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her teachers, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about what she wanted to be as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her decision to attend Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes what influenced her feminism

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes enrolling at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina for graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her doctoral dissertation and her first book

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about establishing the NIA House at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes how her feminism changed her identity as a black nationalist

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her experience as a rape survivor

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her friendship with Blair Kelley and teaching at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes the beginning of her career in the media

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her career as an academic at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois and at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her mother's role in helping to raise her daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, New York

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

11$5

DATitle
Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her childhood understanding of her own racial identity
Melissa Harris-Perry describes her career as an academic at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois and at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey
Transcript
Now, can you talk a little bit more about that? You grew up in a home with a white mother [Diana Gray] and a white sister [Elizabeth] and African American you in the South [Charlottesville, Virginia]. How did your identity form as a young girl?$$And, I also just don't want to miss that at every point also visiting the black home of my dad [William M. Harris, Sr.], who had this very, very strong, I mean who was college roommates with Stokely Carmichael. They lived on the same hall at Howard [University in Washington, D.C.] and, you know again, who had been at the March on Washington and saw himself as a community organizer and, who also, you know my relationship, my parents' relationship was often marked my race in some really important ways in that my dad constantly was-- had a lot of anxiety about his black child being raised by a white woman and so my mother was very open to--"Okay, so what do I need to do?"--and my dad was very open to telling her-"this is what you need to do." The most important things that my mom did, I think, around my racial identity, or both of my parents, is there was not, in the 1970s, a notion of biracial identity. There is now. It took me a long time to understand that because race is socially constructed that I have to accept other interracial young people. They really do experience themselves as biracial. I do not. I experience myself as a black person with a white parent, and that is because from the beginning that is always how I was described to myself, how my family described me; just, the notion, "biracial" was not a word that was used. But also, my mother was very concerned that we live in a community that had many African Americans; again, I went to Jackson Via [Elementary School in Charlottesville, Virginia], named after two black women, and it was a predominantly black elementary school, as well as my middle school; maybe not predominantly black, but certainly more than 1/3. I had black child care providers all through my baby years, who helped to teach my mom how to do my hair and my mom was extraordinary. She could corn row my hair in extremely fancy styles and beads on the ends, and you know even the little, like, you put the tin foil on the end to keep the beads, my mom did all of that. And those were very self-conscious decisions made by my parents, sometimes thought out by my parents, about making sure that I was constantly understanding myself as a little black girl, and so I did. And, there was never, whether that was bad or good, it certainly was very straight forward. There wasn't a space for a crisis of identity there.$So, what are you doing academically as you are building this media profile for yourself?$$Oh, working on the next book. So, the first book ["Barbershops, Bibles, and BET"] is, you know, out of the dissertation and it's about, you know, black folks disagreeing. I am writing articles along because, you know, you just, just trying to tenure (laughter). That's what that goal is. So, tenure is always, you know, you must get the second book. So, I mentioned I went through a very painful divorce, my daughter not even two years old when my husband [Dennis Lacewell] left. The financial circumstances of suddenly becoming a single parent and, so I decided to write a book about black women this time and, at this point, I have really much more clearly solidified my identity as a feminist. I am working very closely with Cathy Cohen. She has at that point, taken over leadership of the Race Center [Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois]. I am on the Board of the Race Center at Chicago. We are pushing the administration to give us a building and postdocs. I am running that workshop. I am also running a workshop on race and religion. I am running another workshop on political psychology. I am engaging across fields. I am giving tons of lectures around the country--although not nearly as many as I give now--but it felt like a lot, especially as a single parent at the time, and I am working on this book about black women and the idea of the strong, black woman and the challenges around the notion of the strong black woman, collecting tons of data, I am doing experiments. I am teaching that high school class with the Kenwood Academy [High School in Chicago, Illinois] kids, and I am very much trying to build a life as a Chicago intellectual, and then I have lunch with one of my white male senior colleagues in the political science department and I tell him about my new book project, which I am really excited about, and he says, "Well, that's not very interesting. I'm not sure that you'll be able to get tenure with that." And I thought, okay, okay, I'm okay. I'm just going to go to Cathy and we'll go to Michael [Dawson] and they're going to tell me that they got me. It's going to be all right. So, I go to Cathy and I go to Michael and I was like, "Okay, this is what the senior colleague told me, but you got me right?" And they were like "Well....I don't know, maybe, it's really hard to just have you. We are sort of governed by consensus and I think a lot of people are going to think that" and I was like (gasp) Oh my God! I might not get tenure. I might not get tenure and I'm divorced and I have a baby, and I am working my butt off and I don't know what to do and I, I freaked out. So, I did what all people who freak out do. I went to Princeton [Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey]. (laughter). And, I spent a semester as a visiting professor at Princeton and built my relationships there. I was offered tenure in both the politics department there, and I never came up for tenure in Chicago, so I don't know whether I would have gotten tenure in Chicago or not. I was too freaked out after that. Found another route, and headed off to New Jersey.

Bobby Jones

Gospel vocalist and television host Bobby Jones was born on September 18, 1938 in Henry County, Tennessee. He excelled academically, graduating from high school at age fifteen and Tennessee State University at age nineteen, where he received his B.S. degree in elementary education. Jones went on to receive his M.Ed. degree from Tennessee State University and his Ed.D. degree from Vanderbilt University. He also graduated from Payne’s Theological Seminary with his Th.D. degree.

Jones taught elementary students in the St. Louis Public Schools from 1959 to 1965, and Nashville Metropolitan Schools from 1966 to 1968. He then became a textbook consultant for McGraw Hill Publishers and worked as an instructor at Tennessee State University from 1974 to 1986. As a teacher, Jones helped develop the idea for a Black Expo in Nashville, Tennessee. During that effort, he introduced the pilot for what became “Bobby Jones Gospel” to WSM-TV in Nashville. WSM-TV picked up the show and it ran in Nashville from 1976 to 1980. Jones also created, produced and hosted “Bobby Jones’ World,” a magazine-style show that ran from 1978 to 1984.

In 1980, Black Entertainment Television premie`red “Bobby Jones Gospel,” the longest continuously running original series on cable television, where Jones serves as host and executive producer. Jones then produced the show “Video Gospel,” which premiered on BET in 1986. He went on to produce and host a number of other shows, including The Word Television Network’s "Bobby Jones Gospel Classics" and "Bobby Jones Presents,” the BET Gospel Network’s "Let's Talk Church,” and The Gospel Channel’s “Gospel Vignettes” and “Bobby Jones Next Generation”. He has also hosted “The Bobby Jones Radio Show” and “The Bobby Jones Gospel Countdown,” which have aired on The Sheridan Gospel Radio Network. Jones has toured with the musical group, New Life; he oversees The Nashville Super Choir; and, for twenty-four years, was host of “The Dr. Bobby Jones International Gospel Industry Retreat.” He has opened his own production studio in Nashville, and is an instructor at Nova Southeastern University.

Jones’ discography includes "Sooner or Later" (1978), "There's Hope for This World" (1979), "Caught Up" (1980), "Soul Set Free" (1982), "Come Together" (1984), "Tin Gladje" (1985), "I'll Never Forget" (1989), "Another Time" (1990), "Bring It To Jesus" (1995), "Just Churchin" (1998), "Live In Perusia, Italy” (2004), “Faith Unscripted” (2007), and “The Ambassador” (2007). He has authored two books: 1998’s Touched By God, and the 2000 memoir, Make A Joyful Noise, My Twenty Five Years In Gospel Music.

In 1980, Jones received the Gabriel Award and an International Film Festival Award for writing and performing Make A Joyful Noise, a black gospel opera which aired on PBS. In 1984, he won a Grammy Award for the Best Soul Gospel Performance By A Duo Or Group with Barbara Mandrell for "I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today." Jones has also received a Dove Award, three Stellar Awards, three Trumpet Awards, and a presidential commendation from President George W. Bush.

Bobby Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2014

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Middle Name

Louis

Schools

Caton School

Central High School

Tennessee State University

Vanderbilt University

First Name

Bobby

Birth City, State, Country

Henry

HM ID

JON37

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Favorite Quote

Amen Goes Right There.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

9/18/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Nashville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Gospel singer and television host Bobby Jones (1938 - ) was the Grammy Award-winning host and executive producer of BET’s “Bobby Jones Gospel,” the longest continuously running original series on cable television. He was also the author of two books: Touched By God and Make A Joyful Noise.

Employment

St. Louis Public Schools

Nashville Metropolitan Schools

McGraw Hill Education

Tennessee State University

WSMV-TV

WDCN-TV

Black Entertainment Television

The Word Television Network

BET Gospel Network

The Gospel Channel

Sheridan Gospel Radio Network

Nova Southeastern University

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bobby Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones lists his favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones talks about the prevalence of alcoholism in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bobby Jones lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bobby Jones describes his home life

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones remembers the Caton School in Henry County, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones remembers listening to the radio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones describes his experiences at the Caton School in Henry County, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones describes his early interest in gospel music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones describes his schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bobby Jones recalls his parents' separation

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bobby Jones describes his experiences at Central High School in Paris, Tennessee, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bobby Jones describes his experiences at Central High School in Paris, Tennessee, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bobby Jones recalls his decision to attend Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bobby Jones describes his experiences at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones remembers teaching at Farragut Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones talks about his return to Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones describes his position at McGraw-Hill Education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones talks about the founding of the Nashville Black Expo and Music Fest

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones remembers his experiences of being robbed

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones describes his reasons for leaving the Nashville Black Expo and Music Fest

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bobby Jones talks about his early television programs

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bobby Jones recalls how he came to the attention of Robert L. Johnson at BET

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones talks about the creation of 'Bobby Jones Gospel'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones talks about his gospel records

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones describes his productions at BET

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones talks about the distribution of his television shows

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones remembers the guest performers on 'Bobby Jones Gospel'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones describes the genres of gospel music on 'Bobby Jones Gospel'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bobby Jones remembers winning the Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones talks about the perception of gospel music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones talks about his mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones talks about his gospel music influences

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones describes the history of gospel music

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones talks about his favorite musical artists

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones describes his books

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bobby Jones talks about the rise of megachurches

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones talks about the production costs of 'Bobby Jones Gospel'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Bobby Jones talks about the creation of 'Bobby Jones Gospel'
Bobby Jones remembers his experiences of being robbed
Transcript
Here we are, I think 'Make a Joyful Noise' reminded me of other movies and shorts that were made by white people who discover a genre, like they discovered the blues, and then there would come blues films. And they made a film, 'Louie Bluie,' by a blues musician [HistoryMaker Howard Armstrong] in Chicago [Illinois], and some other films, you know. But music is largely segregated in the country.$$Uh-huh.$$And white people are just not going to know the gospel, I mean, and the black singers of many genres, except for the ones that reach the Top 40.$$Right.$$You know--$$Right.$$So, gospel is being discovered here on some level, and these guys are the ones who introduced it to Bob Johnson [Robert L. Johnson].$$Yes, that's exactly how it happened. They took that show. Wyatt is his last name, W-Y-A-T-T. And they're in New York [New York] now, he and his wife. And she was good in producing this show, 'Make a Joyful Noise.' And so, they're the ones that met Bob Johnson, and that's how I got the Gabriel Award and all of that, with 'Make a Joyful Noise,' from the PPS show [Public Broadcasting Service]. Okay, and Joe [ph.], the guy who was really over that at this WDCN station [WDCN-TN; WNPT-TV, Nashville, Tennessee], hired me from Channel 4 [WSM-TV; WSMV-TV, Nashville, Tennessee] to also host the show over there at the PBS station. So, I had two things going. I had the show at PBS ['Bobby Jones World'], teaching at Tennessee State University [Nashville, Tennessee], and I had the Bobby Jones--'Nashville Gospel' at the time. And so, they wanted to go--I was, I just took over the producer's role at the 'Nashville Gospel Show.' And they thought I was too overbearing. They didn't, they didn't--you know, the input--their input was not the same level as mine was, because I had more experience than they did. And they didn't know how to produce, and I did, you know. So, while I was in Italy with this 'Make a Joyful Noise' thing, they met with the station managers. And they wanted to have a meeting with me when I came back, to discuss the fact that they should have the same role. And I said no, and my attorney said no. And so, then we end up splitting. So, they kept the name, 'Nashville Gospel.' By this time, then I called mine 'Bobby Jones Gospel' (laughter). And how they (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They took your role--$$Yeah, they really kind of pushed me out, you know. And so, my energy in the city was strong enough where they couldn't get rid of me, you know. All the community leaders came to my defense, and went to Channel 4 and told them, "Oh, you need to keep him, you know. This is our," whatever and whatever. So, we, you know, we had a little fight about that. And so, so, I said, "Okay, I'm going to do my own show." And then I--$$So--$$--and so, I thought about Johnny Carson and all these white guys that had TV shows with their names. I said, "Oh, I'm going to call it 'Bobby Jones.'" (Laughter) That's simply how it came about. And I asked my godmother, a little church lady, you know, who took care of me--and I said, "What do you think if I called it 'Bobby Jones,' like Johnny Carson and them do?" And she was like, "Okay." And that's where it came from. And so, I began to produce my own shows at Channel 4, and you could see clearly the distinction between the two. They kept their show; the same network had two shows, mine and theirs (laughter). And the regular community churches supported them, because they had a big newspaper article about I didn't want white people on, and I didn't want local people on--just stuff they made up, you know, to put on the show. And so, the community went with them, basically, but they knew the difference. So, then I began to really, really do it, you know, really do a good show. I brought in, you know, good talent and organized it, and was able to conduct it as a national show. And then that's what Bob Johnson saw, he saw one of those shows, after the breakup of me and the 'Nashville' people.$$Okay, okay. All right, so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm. And then, then it started in 1980.$Because we had one affair in my home where we had, we had a couple of celebrities here, and we were robbed in my home during one of my parties (laughter). (Unclear) was there.$$Now, this is, now--oh, I didn't, I didn't ask you about the St. Louis [Missouri]--about the robbery. Now, you were robbed in St. Louis, you said?$$I was, yes.$$Yeah. Was this like a street robbery, or what?$$Yeah. I was driving down the street, and stopped at the red light. And this guy jumped in my car and put a knife to my neck, and told me to drive. And I drove (laughter). And he says, "I want your money." And I said, "I don't have any." And I really didn't. And I'm thinking, while he's telling me to drive, "Go down this street," you know, and, "go back down towards--," it was going downtown. And we stopped at another light, and I saw a cop's car parked across the street. And I said, he's got a knife, and I don't know what he'll do to me when we get where we're going. I opened my car door, and out I jumped. And across the street I went running, "Police, police, police." (Laughter) And this guy jumped out of the car, you know, on the other side, and he fled. And the police saw him, and they ran after him. So, the police never did get a--because once he was gone, my car was still sitting in the middle of the street, and cars were passing. So, I ran and jumped in my car, and back to my apartment (laughter) I went. I'm laughing now, but it wasn't funny then, because I was going to get hurt, I'm pretty sure, because they were vicious.$$So, somebody actually came into your house during a party and robbed--?$$No, this was in Nashville [Tennessee].$$Yeah, in Nashville, yeah.$$Oh, yeah. Three, four, I think it was four guys that robbed us. All of the Black Expo committee [Nashville Black Expo and Music Fest] was there, with our guests, you know. And it was a very, very high social event, it wasn't ragged at all. And the kind of people that were there were leaders in the community. And it was by mistake they came. They were, I think they were looking for an after hour joint. But they saw all these cars. And one girl was going out, and they was asking, "Well, what, who's, who lives there? What's going on there?" "Oh, we're having a party," blah, blah, blah. "Having a party?" (Laughter) And they came and they--with their guns and things, and that's--$$So, they seized an opportunity to (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, yeah.$$--you know--$$To get some--$$--when they saw a lot of wealthy people--$$They thought, yeah.

Janet Langhart Cohen

Award winning journalist, Janet Leola Floyd Langhart Cohen was born on December 22, 1941, in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was raised by a single mother who worked as a domestic. She earned her high school diploma from Crispus Attucks High School in 1959, where she was a member of the band and debate team.

From 1960 until 1962, Cohen attended Butler University. In 1962, she was hired as an Ebony Fashion Fair Model and toured across the United States with the group. Four years later, she moved to Chicago to pursue her modeling career and was hired by WBBM-TV as a weekend weather girl. While living in Chicago, Cohen befriended singer Mahalia Jackson, Muhamad Ali and Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1972, she was hired by her hometown television station to host a new show, Indy Today with Janet Langhart.

The following year Cohen’s career soared when she was hired by the ABC affiliate in Boston to host Good Day in Boston. During her twenty-five year career, she has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and BET, and produced several programs, including On Capitol Hill with Janet Langhart. As an overseas correspondent, she covered news in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and special assignments for Entertainment Tonight. Langhart also co-hosted America’s Black Forum with Julian Bond.

Shortly after the death of Dr. King, Cohen married her first husband, Tony Langhart, a Chicago police detective. In 1978, she married Dr. Robert Kistner, a physician and one of the developers of the birth control pill. In 1996, Cohen married former Secretary of Defense, William Cohen. During his tenure she created and hosted Special Assignment, a weekly television program that was broadcast globally over the Armed Forces Network from 1997-2001.

In 2004, Cohen authored a book of her memoirs entitled From Rage to Reason: My Life in Two Americas. She has also worked as a columnist for the Boston Herald and served as a spokeswoman for Avon Cosmetics and U.S. News and World Report. She has been a judge for the White House Fellows Program and advised the Miss America Organization.

Accession Number

A2005.072

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/18/2005

Last Name

Cohen

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Langhart

Organizations
Schools

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Janet

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

COH01

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

If it is going to be, it is up to me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/22/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bread

Short Description

Television host and television producer Janet Langhart Cohen (1941 - ) is an award-winning television journalist and worked as a newspaper columnist for the Boston Herald. During her twenty-five year career, she has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and BET, and produced several programs, including, "On Capitol Hill with Janet Langhart." As an overseas correspondent, she covered news in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and special assignments for, "Entertainment Tonight."

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janet Langhart Cohen interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janet Langhart Cohen's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janet Langhart Cohen recounts her reunion with her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her early understandings of race and racism

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janet Langhart Cohen remembers her paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janet Langhart Cohen shares an early memory of a Ku Klux Klan meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janet Langhart Cohen details her upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes the sights, smells and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her childhood environs, Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her elementary school experience in Indianapolis

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her early religious involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janet Langhart Cohen remembers the Emmett Till murder

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls how Emmett Till's murder affected her

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Janet Langhart Cohen shares a lesson in race from her college years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Janet Langhart Cohen discusses her aspirations of becoming a model

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Janet Langhart Cohen discusses the racial climate of Indianapolis, Indiana during the Civil Right era

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her stint as an Ebony Fashion Fair model

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her interactions will Mahalia Jackson

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janet Langhart Cohen recounts the beginnings of her television career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janet Langhart Cohen details her television career in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janet Langhart Cohen reflects on her early television success

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janet Langhart Cohen discusses her marriages and racism due to her interracial marriages

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janet Langhart Cohen details her employment with television program 'Entertainment Tonight'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her experience working at BET, Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her career as "First Lady of the Pentagon"

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janet Langhart Cohen reflects on issues of race in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janet Langhart Cohen reflects on interviews she conducted

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Janet Langhart Cohen reflects on her life's course

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Janet Langhart Cohen wants to be remebered as a 'race-woman'

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Janet Langhart Cohen discusses her lobbying efforts on behalf of anti-lynching legislation

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Janet Langhart Cohen shares an early memory of a Ku Klux Klan meeting
Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her experience working at BET, Black Entertainment Television
Transcript
Tell me, what is your earliest memory of growing up? What's one of the first things you remember?$$My earliest memory--is being at the [Ku Klux Klan] Klan meeting.$$Tell us about that. This is--.$$My mother was working for a white couple in the suburbs of Indianapolis, and they had two lovely daughters. I was about five, maybe four or five, and they were ten or twelve or whatever, and it was in, in what we call Indian summer in October. And I remember playing with them. They were awfully nice to me. They would give me their ribbons cause I had long pigtails or plaits as you call 'em, and, and they were silk ribbons. And they would say, let Janet have our ribbons. She doesn't have any ribbons. And in one of the pictures in my book, I'm wearing their ribbons. And it's--I never thought of it being second hand except that they belonged to two very sweet girls. But one Indian summer afternoon a parade of cars were coming by, a caravan of cars were coming by, big black, shiny cars with bug-eyed lamps and beautiful grills that looked like faces. And the girls would say to me, Sally and Jane, I don't remember their names, but those are the names I gave them, said, let's go see where they're going. And I said, okay. So I went with them, and I remembered, they had me in the middle and holding my hand or running up, following the cars. And we were on this, this slope, looking down at a grade. And we can see the cars there, and we saw--and what was strange to me, it was children. It was women, men, but everybody was wearing white, white robes. And I thought that was fascinating, and we're lying on our bellies looking over at this. And then as it started to get dark, as it does during October, it gets dark earlier, the girls looked at me and said, oh, stars are beginning to come out; come on, we got to go. And just before we did that, they put something over their heads that looked like pillow slips, hoods, and they began to chant something. All of them were chanting in a strange formation. And then at the end of the clearing, this puff of flame, just (whoosh sound). It was a cross, and it was burning, and I thought as a child, fire is fascinating. And I wanted to yell out, but I remembered the girls had asked me to be quiet because they told me, we'd get into trouble if they found out we had you here. And I thought it was because I was little, and they were taking me far from home. And later--I didn't tell mother. When we got home, the kids went up, the girls went up to get ready for their dinner. My mother was preparing their parents dinner. After she prepared their dinner, I stopped with my little coloring books, and she and I had dinner. And I thought about telling her, but then I thought, no. I'd already been admonished about being quiet, going too far from home. And I thought I wouldn't tell mother that until years later we were watching TV. And I saw a Klan meeting on TV, and I said, I was at one of those. And mother said, no, you weren't (laughter), you wouldn't have survived. And I said, I was there, I saw it. This is what they do and whatever. And she said, you were? And I, and I said, yeah, I said, I can tell you the lady you were working for when, when this happened. And then mother remembered there used to be a lot of Klan meetings cause in those days, the Klansmen would walk out of their offices with their Klan uniforms on or robes, and so mother would see that. And so she knew that, well, maybe I had too. And I told her exactly how it happened. The little girls had gave me their ribbons and how nice they were. So that's one of my first memories. One of my other memories is probably sitting in front of a potbelly stove in another boarding house in a rocking chair and watching galoshes--I don't know if you know what galoshes are, but they're overshoes, rubber overshoes. We called them galoshes. And when you wear them out in the cold, they get real stiff. But if you put 'em by the stove, as they get warm, they fall over. And so I remember their falling over and scaring me, and I flipped over in the rocking chair and everybody laughing. And I remember that's the first time, I didn't like people laughing at me. It's the first time I felt embarrassed, that feeling.$After E.T. ['Entertainment Tonight'], you did have, have the opportunity to work with America's Black Forum and BET.$$Out of the blue.$$And what was that like for you as an African American journalist?$$Oh, it was heaven. It was heaven because I didn't have to worry about somebody calling up and say, tell that--go back down South. I didn't have to mince words to not, to not hurt the feelings of racists, to give them their innocence. I could, I could talk about that black stuff that my white producers had asked me not to talk about. Don't talk about that because the viewers don't think of you as black. And I said, well, do they think of me as white? No, I said, so if they don't--.$$But just not really black.$$Oh, yeah, not that black as somebody had said once, which is insulting, isn't it? Yeah. So to be on America's Black Forum with Julian Bond, to be at Black Entertainment Television, and with all the criticism that BET got for not being substantive enough, I got to do substantive stuff. I was in heaven. It was, it was--I was just free to be me, to be all that I am and not be a black girl dressed up in a white girl's suit, dancing around things that are equally important to us.

Iola Johnson

Iola Vivian Johnson was born on October 10, 1950, in Texarkana, Arkansas, to Horace and Eurea Lee Johnson. Her father was a respected land owner and rancher. Johnson’s family moved to a predominantly white neighborhood Tucson, Arizona, when she was four years old. She attended Mills Elementary School and Mansfield Junior High School. Johnson graduated from Tucson High School in 1968 and attended the University of Arizona. She has degrees in political science and journalism.

Johnson was the first woman and the first African American to write for the ten o’clock news for the NBC affiliate KBOA in Tucson, Arizona. In 1973, Johnson was approached to take a position with WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas. She worked her way to becoming the first woman and the first black news anchor in Dallas. Johnson worked for WFAA-TV for more than 12 years, where she and co-anchor Tracy Rowlett had the longest running and most successful news anchor team in the history of the Dallas-Fort Worth television industry. Johnson became the highest paid local news anchor and the “Most Popular Woman in Dallas” according to Dallas Magazine.

Johnson left her job at the television station in 1984 to start her own business. A couple of years later, Johnson became the morning news anchor at radio station KKDA in Dallas, after spending a year in St. Louis, Missouri. She reappeared on television in 1990, where she once again teamed up with Tracy Rowlett, this time at the CBS affiliate in Dallas. She later became the host of a weekly community affairs show, Positively Texas on KTVT-TV in Dallas.

Johnson has been recognized numerous times for her excellence in journalism. She also received the Life Time Achievement Award from the Dallas-Forth Worth Association of Black Communicators.

Accession Number

A2006.088

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/3/2006

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Tucson High School

Mills Elementary School

Mansfield Junior High School

University of Arizona School of Law

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Iola

Birth City, State, Country

Texarkana

HM ID

JOH28

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Kleberg Foundation

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii, Italy

Favorite Quote

God Doesn't Make Mistakes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/10/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Television news anchor and television host Iola Johnson (1950 - ) was the first woman and the first African American news anchor in Dallas, running a highly successful co-anchor team with Tracy Rowlett for over 12 years. She was also morning news anchor at Dallas radio station KKDA, and later became the host of a weekly community affairs show, 'Positively Texas,' on KTVT-TV in Dallas.

Employment

WFAA-TV

KTVT-TV

KKDA AM

KVOA-TV

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:1280,24:7030,152:7880,184:10685,211:11280,220:12385,238:13405,252:13915,259:14595,264:16890,299:17230,304:25650,379:27329,403:30979,476:31490,484:37100,552:37452,557:38244,569:49540,724:53515,801:54040,810:54790,824:55540,835:59290,889:59740,899:60715,921:61090,927:61465,941:61840,947:65390,964:66210,975:71450,1032:71825,1038:72425,1048:80329,1147:80977,1160:89563,1370:90859,1400:94580,1407:95630,1430:96005,1436:97505,1466:98105,1476:108400,1631:109030,1667:112740,1741:113160,1748:113650,1756:114140,1765:114490,1771:115400,1786:122110,1831:129118,1921:130684,1947:136603,2020:141823,2114:147400,2143:148505,2172:148765,2177:149285,2190:149610,2196:151170,2227:151430,2232:152600,2255:153575,2279:154095,2290:154420,2296:154940,2305:155330,2312:156305,2336:158385,2382:159295,2401:162220,2497:168262,2522:170400,2531:170968,2536:173078,2547:173925,2561:174387,2568:175619,2586:176389,2597:176697,2602:177082,2608:177852,2619:178391,2634:181009,2687:181625,2696:182780,2718:184012,2748:184551,2757:188270,2766:189614,2795:190702,2821:190958,2826:191662,2839:192046,2845:197870,2982:198254,2988:199406,3012:199726,3018:199982,3026:200238,3031:203160,3037$0,0:2126,42:2558,49:3350,61:20986,363:21454,370:22000,378:22780,397:23170,403:26056,431:26992,446:29714,496:31370,528:33113,539:33397,544:44844,683:45168,688:54306,783:55153,795:57078,823:62929,880:70797,957:71365,965:72288,982:79540,1053:87010,1173:87410,1179:91490,1257:91890,1263:97274,1323:99068,1351:99692,1360:106940,1437:107920,1458:108340,1465:109530,1488:109880,1494:110440,1506:110720,1511:111000,1516:114220,1573:121485,1672:127725,1805:128960,1840:129415,1848:138282,1937:138856,1948:139266,1954:145504,2013:146096,2023:146392,2028:152386,2137:152830,2144:160758,2210:161248,2216:161836,2223:162228,2230:163208,2242:167128,2296:167520,2301:176796,2366:177141,2372:180235,2382:181425,2398:181765,2403:183266,2410:185698,2455:188928,2477:189152,2482:192820,2539:198454,2604:198894,2610:203638,2676:203954,2681:204902,2697:207509,2734:207904,2740:208773,2752:209642,2766:210669,2782:214540,2837:230287,2997:230722,3003:232462,3026:233593,3039:241254,3146:246714,3257:254750,3328:255450,3339:255870,3346:256430,3357:257970,3396:276670,3644
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Iola Johnson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Iola Johnson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Iola Johnson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Iola Johnson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Iola Johnson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Iola Johnson recalls how her parents met and had their children

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Iola Johnson talks about her maternal family's history of landownership

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Iola Johnson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Iola Johnson describes her experiences in elementary school in Tucson, Arizona

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Iola Johnson describes her personality during childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Iola Johnson describes the role of religion in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Iola Johnson recalls her favorite childhood extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Iola Johnson describes holidays in her childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Iola Johnson recalls her experiences at Tucson's Mansfeld Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Iola Johnson describes the demographics of Mansfeld Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Iola Johnson recalls how she was influenced by the events of the 1960s, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Iola Johnson recalls how she was influenced by the events of the 1960s, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Iola Johnson describes her experiences at Tucson High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Iola Johnson recalls working full-time while attending college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Iola Johnson recalls her job at the telephone company in Tucson, Arizona

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Iola Johnson describes her experiences at the University of Arizona in Tucson

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Iola Johnson describes the African American community at the University of Arizona

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Iola Johnson recalls her start in the television news industry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Iola Johnson recalls becoming a local news anchor in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Iola Johnson describes challenges as an African American female news anchor

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Iola Johnson recalls leaving television news to start her own business

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Iola Johnson describes returning to work in television news in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Iola Johnson recalls leaving KTVT-TV in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Iola Johnson describes her family life and love of horses

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Iola Johnson describes her mother's career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Iola Johnson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Iola Johnson offers advice to those considering a career in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Iola Johnson recalls reporting on the refugee crisis in East Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Iola Johnson narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Iola Johnson recalls her start in the television news industry
Iola Johnson recalls becoming a local news anchor in Dallas, Texas
Transcript
You're getting ready to graduate from college [University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona].$$Um-hm.$$Tell me what's going on in your life?$$Well, I started looking for a job, and the only jobs that were forthcoming were for very conservative newspapers in places like Springfield, Illinois or someplace like that, you know, and decided I really didn't want to do that. And my major professor in journalism suggested that I try a television station, and I did and was hired on my writing ability. And I didn't want to leave home at the time because I was very close to my mother [Eurea Lee Hubbard Johnson], and I had a young niece who I was crazy about and she was a little, little one who, you know, needed some guidance and direction and that sort of thing. And--so I didn't want to leave home, so I ended up working for a television station and breaking down some barriers as I said for women and minorities, being the first woman and the first black hired by a television station in Tucson [Arizona]. And worked there for about three years and then I was discovered. A man called one day and said, "I'm a seventy-three-year-old man. I'm not trying to be funny or anything but how would you like to work in Dallas [Texas]?" And I thought, no, never thought about it. You know, to me Dallas was still the city where Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] was assassinated. And, you know, people still thought of it in those terms. And he said, "Well, I think you should really look into this. I think you'd be great in Dallas." And, I wasn't particularly interested, but he mentioned my name to the folks at the ABC affiliate [WFAA-TV, Dallas, Texas], which is locally owned in Dallas/Fort Worth [Texas] and they also own The Dallas Morning News and other newspapers and businesses. And they flew me down. And the first time I came down, I was not terribly impressed and they offered me a--I think a job doing the noon news as an anchor. And I was doing weekend news in Tucson, and didn't particularly like what I saw in Dallas so I turned the job down. About a year and a half later, they came back and asked me to come to work for them again. And at this point, I was about ready to leave. I wanted--I'd done everything and learned everything there was to learn in a small training market like Tucson. So, I was ready to, you know, spread my wings and I was thinking seriously about moving out to San Diego [California], which is my--one of my favorite cities in the whole country. And, so I came down and this time I ran into a couple people that had made the transition from local television station to the network. And I thought, ah ha, this could be a real stepping stone for me. And my ambition at that point was to become a national correspondent for one of the networks, and I wanted to work somewhere in South America drinking tall cool ones every day and filing an occasional report. (Laughter) I just, you know, could envision myself working in South America. Why? I'm not quite sure at this point.$Anyway, I took the job and I remember the police information officer in Tucson [Arizona] saying to me when he found out that I was coming to Dallas [Texas], "You know that's where they shoot presidents, don't you?" This was in 1973. And, oddly enough, I came to work for the television station on the anniversary of my father's [Horace Johnson] birthday, and I didn't realize that until several years later, May 19, 1973. And I started as the weekend co-anchor [at WFAA-TV, Dallas, Texas] and reporting three days during the week. And then eventually worked my way up to the six and ten o'clock Monday through Friday anchor job, and became the highest paid local anchor, and the most popular woman in Dallas according to D Magazine, the Dallas magazine. It was a rough ride, an interesting ride. But again, being the first at anything does have its drawbacks and there is a price to be paid for that. A lot of negatives involved with being the first African American and the first woman anchor in a market the size of Dallas/Fort Worth [Texas].$$Were there other women in news?$$As reporters, yes (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) (Unclear) Reporters only. Okay. In other markets, did you see any other blacks in other markets?$$No, I'd never seen a black woman on television. I think I was one of the first in the country, and definitely the first in Texas.$$Why do you think you were so popular as an anchor?$$Well, one of the things that a lot of people said to me, especially older people, was that they could understand every word I said, that my voice was so clear and my diction so distinct that they--and, you know. I, once in a while, will be sitting at home today and I'll listen to an anchor person or somebody do a tease, and I don't understand a word they've said, for example. But people always said that they could clearly understand me even with their back turned to the television, they could understand every word. And older people, especially, liked that. And it was interesting--I think the fact that maybe I wasn't as threatening maybe as a woman if I'd been wearing, you know, an afro, maybe if I'd had darker skin, maybe if I talked a little more ethnic. Who knows? All of those things that I didn't have were maybe not as threatening to the white viewers as they would have otherwise been. That's my only explanation. The one thing that I am proud of is the fact that I think my being on television and my being so popular did a lot for race relations in Dallas/Fort Worth. People don't talk about that and don't come out and say it, but I think it really made a major difference.$$And then tell me why you think that, or how?$$People were willing for the first time in many cases to accept a black person into their home on television, for example, and all of a sudden. Okay, well, maybe black people aren't so terrible after all. There's Iola [HistoryMaker Iola Johnson], she's on TV. We like her. Maybe we shouldn't be so racist or so, whatever. I never encountered any racial hostility or animosity as a black anchorwoman. People--and it used to surprise me, to be perfectly honest with you. I would go out to interview older whites and they would, you know, "We love you Iola," and they would welcome me into their homes. And I'm like, I'm sure you didn't feel this way ten years ago, twenty years ago, that sort of thing. And it always, it always surprised me how well and warmly I was received by these people who obviously had at some point in their lives probably harbored a lot of racist views, and, you know, who knows what they've done. And I was always a little surprised by that.

Xernona Clayton

Broadcast executive, foundation chief executive, nonprofit executive, television host, and television producer Xernona Clayton and her twin sister, Xenobia, were born August 30, 1930 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Clayton’s parents, Reverend James M. and Lillie Brewster, were actively engaged in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee. In 1952, Clayton earned her B.A. degree from Tennessee State Agricultural and Industrial College, now Tennessee State University. She later earned a scholarship and pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago. In 1957, Clayton married noted journalist and civil rights activist Edward Clayton, who died in 1966. She later married jurist Paul L. Brady, the first African American appointed as a Federal Administrative Law judge.

Clayton's civic involvement and participation in the Civil Rights Movement was informed by the Chicago Urban League, in which she worked to investigate discrimination in employment. As an activist, Clayton was instrumental in coordinating activities for the Doctor's Committee for Implementation project, which culminated with the desegregation of hospital facilities in Atlanta, Georgia. Clayton also worked closely with Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to organize fundraising initiatives for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). By the mid-1960s, Clayton was writing for the Atlanta Voice, and in 1968, she became the first black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, Variations, which became The Xernona Clayton Show on WAGA-TV in Atlanta. Her guests included Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. Later that year, Clayton successfully convinced the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan to renounce the Klan. In 1982, Clayton began her long standing and impressive career with Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). At TBS, she assumed many roles throughout the years, including producing documentaries, hosting a public affairs program entitled Open Upand serving as director and vice-president of public affairs in the early 1980s. Ted Turner, founder of TBS, promoted Clayton to assistant corporate vice-president for urban affairs in 1988. In 1993, Clayton created the Trumpet Awards for Turner Broadcasting to honor African American achievements. The program is seen in over 185 countries.

As Governor of Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter appointed Clayton to the State Motion Picture and Television Commission. She is a member of the Academy for Television Arts and Sciences, the National Urban League, among other civic and professional organizations. Clayton is also a board member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and served as chairman of the Atlanta University Board of Trustees. The recipient of numerous accolades, Clayton received the Leadership and Dedication to Civil Rights Award and the Drum Major for Justice Award from SCLC in 2004. In her honor, the Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Black Journalists established the Xernona Clayton Scholarship. Clayton’s autobiography, I’ve Been Marching All the Time was published in 1991.

Xernona Clayton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 22, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.143

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/22/2005 |and| 2/21/2014

Last Name

Clayton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Dunbar Elementary School

University of Chicago

Manual Training High School

Tennessee State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Xernona

Birth City, State, Country

Muskogee

HM ID

CLA10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada, Bahamas, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

If You Can't Change People Around You, Change The People Around You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/30/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Grapes

Short Description

Foundation chief executive, broadcast executive, and television host Xernona Clayton (1930 - ) was the founder of the Trumpet Awards, and the first black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, Variations, which became The Xernona Clayton Show on WAGA-TV.

Employment

WAGA TV

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Chicago Urban League

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Xernona Clayton's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton talks about her mother's paternal background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton relates lessons from her father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recounts how her parents met in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Xernona Clayton recalls her father's leadership in the Baptist church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton remembers her father's work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls her father's humbling response to public praise of Clayton and her twin sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton describes Dunbar Elementary School in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton recalls her favorite teachers and classes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of Xernona Clayton's interview, session 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton talks about her educational foundation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton remembers Manual Training High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton talks about being a twin

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her father's role in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes her adolescent career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton recalls her decision to attend Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton recalls being named the smartest girl in her class at Manual Training High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recalls matriculating at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Xernona Clayton considers how her childhood influenced her activism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Xernona Clayton considers how her childhood influenced her activism, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton recalls her collegiate extracurricular activities, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls her collegiate extracurricular activities, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls being sheltered from discrimination during college

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton recalls participating in a University of Wisconsin twin study

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton recalls studying with her twin at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes her approach to learning

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton explains her decision to attend the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton reflects upon the impact of her father's lessons on humility

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recalls how she became involved with the Chicago Urban League

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton describes her initial work with the Chicago Urban League in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton talks about the Chicago Urban League's position on labor integration

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls chairing the most successful Chicago Urban League charity dinner

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton remembers deciding to leave graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton talks about meeting her husband, Edward Clayton

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton recalls her involvement in Chicago's South Side society

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton recalls teaching a prominent Chicago businessman to read and write

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton reflects upon her legacy as an elementary school teacher in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton explains how she began working for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 1
Xernona Clayton describes her initial work with the Chicago Urban League in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
But as a twin, now, people say it's--did you feel special--I guess you'd have to feel special as a twin, and did you have a special relationship with your twin [Xenobia Brewster]?$$Yes, we did feel special because when we found out we were rare and people made such notice of it--$$When did you first kind of realize it that something unusual was going on?$$Well, since we heard it every day, we started saying, "Mm-mm, you know, we're pretty special." But then we were so close. I mean, my sister and I, it's so like you have a best friend all the time. Everybody else has to go and try to find one and chose one. But I had one, and she had one, and we had each other. And it's somebody you really trust. I mean, you can tell your innermost secrets to your twin sister, and she could tell me hers. As a matter of fact, when we started courting, she'd tell me, like, she's going to slip out tonight when we had the curfew on and we couldn't get out after eight o'clock, and she had this hot date that she was determined to keep. And she says, "I'm going to slip out of the window"--we shared a bedroom; we slept together all the years. She said, "I'm going to slip out because my boyfriend's going to rap on the window, then I'm going out of the window, and then when I come back, I'm going to rap on the window, you let me back in and Mother [Lillie Elliott Brewster] will never know." And, of course, I didn't want her to do it, but that was my sister and my closest friend. And so, she was determined to slip out, that I was going to help her and support her, rather. And I was the one who really was always Miss Goody Two-Shoes. You know, I'd say, "Oh, no you can't break the rules. No, no, no." But she'd say, "Oh, yes, yes, yes." And so, since she was determined, I was going to support her because I didn't want her to get a whipping. And so, like we had those little secrets that nobody knew but us. But one night it backfired because my mother, having her own leveled wisdom, kind of figured something was going on I guess by the behavior pattern or body language. And so, that night when my sister slipped out and I was to assist her to slip back in when she rapped on the window, my mother opened the window (laughter). And she said, "Help me in," and the voice said, "Okay," and she thought it was my voice; it was my mother's voice. And when she came up, you know, she wanted to run back then; of course, it was too late then. Then when my mother gave her that little spanking, then I cried, too, because I didn't want her to, you know, to get spanked. But we shared everything, just everything.$We were talking about the Urban League of Chicago [Chicago Urban League]. And--$$Yes.$$--they needed--$$Well, discrimination was a reality, but they couldn't get a handle on it. So what they decided to do was, let's see if we can, you know, catch come--let do our homework to see if it's really being practice like what we think. So the pattern then was to, or the process was to look in the want ad sections and see who's hiring, what jobs are open, and then apply; apply meaning--now, this was in '52 [1952], and requirements or skills were not all that involved. Like, if you were a clerk, you could apply for a clerk/typist job if you could type and you could spell. And so you didn't have to have, you know, a medical degree to get a job. Now, my sister [Xenobia Brewster] and I had graduated from college [Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College; Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee], so you assume we knew something. We could spell, read, and write, and we could type, and, and we learned how to type in, in college. And I don't know if you remember a man name Cortez Peters, who was the fastest man in, in America.$$Right, Cortez Typing School [sic. Cortez W. Peters Business School].$$Yeah, he was a typist. And we had a chance to meet him. And he came to our college one year, and I got a chance to meet, and boy, I was so fascinated by him. And I said one of these days I'm gonna type like Cortez Peters. And I learned to be a pretty good typist, you know, of course nowadays it doesn't matter much. But I learned how to be a good typist, and so was my sister. So we were both good typists. And so the Urban League said well, let's do this: you be our front men. And we'll always like, position five minutes, ten minutes away from where we'd call. So we called, say Marshall Field's [Marshall Field & Company]. There would be an ad in the paper for a clerk typist. And we'd call and said, "I see you have an ad in the paper." "Yes." "Is the job still open?" "Yes." "It's okay to apply?" "Yes." Then we'd make a beeline over there, like ten minutes away. And we'd get there and, "We're here to apply. I understand you got a clerk/typist at"--we don't tell we're the ones that called. You said, "I came to apply for your clerk/typist job." "Oh, so sorry, but we just filled that." You know, (laughter), well, then you got them right there. Well, that happened with so many companies, Spiegel [Spiegel Inc.]--well, I don't wanna name all of the companies that were kind of guilty but major companies that looked like they were good guys. You know, Marshall Field's, everybody went to Marshall Field's. It was a joy to go to Marshall Field's. They looked like good guys. Spiegel was a good mail order place and oh, a lot of places. And my sister and I went to many of those places that did the same pattern, apply--I mean broadcast the--advertise an opening, and then when you got there, you're black, it's not for you. And we broke down a lot of that. And it was kind of, you know, fun job; job meaning, you know, it was assigned tasks. They were really very--and I was waiting for school to start anyways, then the summer, so it was before we went to col- before I went to school.$$So, so would the Urban League then confront the business in, in a (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And they would--$$--formal setting--$$Oh yeah, and then they, they would document it.$$(Unclear)--$$And so they put, I mean had very good documentation, which means--and then they called a press conference. And of course, then you embarrass the company. And then the, you know, the good guys say well, we gotta change our image. You know, we can't be out here looking this bad. So that's how the integration took place, is all I think just felt embarrassed.$$

Tavis Smiley

The third oldest of ten children, Tavis Smiley grew up near an Air Force base in Kokomo, Indiana, where his father was a master sergeant and his mother a Pentecostal minster. Smiley took an interest in politics from an early age, and in high school was voted class president and "Most Likely to Succeed". He attended Indiana University where the death of a classmate at the hands of the police first made him aware of the issues facing the African American community. Convinced that he wanted to pursue a political career, he spent a semester as an intern in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Law and Public Policy.

After graduating, he returned to Los Angeles where he worked as an advisor to the City Council president and ran unsuccessfully for a council seat. Soon after his electoral defeat, Smiley started the Smiley Report, a 60 second radio news commentary. The report's popularity earned Smiley his own television talk show on Black Entertainment Television, BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley. The show was extremely popular among African Americans and Smiley earned national recognition for an eclectic program that featured interviews with the likes of Bill Clinton, Ice Cube and Pope John Paul II. In April 2001, thousands of Smiley's viewers were outraged when BET terminated his contract.

Since his departure from BET, Smiley is now a correspondent for ABC on Prime Time Thursday and Good Morning America, as well as a commentator for CNN. Smiley also hosts his own signature show on NPR, The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR, a first for an African American. He has authored five books, including How to Make Black America Better, and also writes for USA Weekend.

Throughout his career, Smiley has used his visibility to lead numerous successful public advocacy campaigns, among them, saving the popular Fox television show Living Single from a scheduled cancellation, convincing Sotheby's to donate slave artifacts intended for auction to an African American history museum, and pressuring prominent marketing and advertising firms to spend more money in the black community. In 1999, he founded The Tavis Smiley Foundation, which funds programs that develop young leaders in the black community.

Smiley's success has brought him numerous awards and honors. He received a Black Emmy Award in 2000, as well as a Congressional Black Caucus Harold Washington Award the same year. In 2001, he was honored with the NAACP President's Image Award, the Brotherhood Crusade's 2001 Walter Bremond Pioneer of African American Achievement Award and the Los Angeles Press Club Headliner Award.

Smiley lives and works in Los Angeles.

Accession Number

A2001.069

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

6/26/2001

Last Name

Smiley

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Nead Elementary School

Maconaquah High School

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

No

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Tavis

Birth City, State, Country

Biloxi

HM ID

SMI01

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sleeping

Favorite Quote

If a task is once begun, never leave it till it's done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/13/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Publishing chief executive and television host Tavis Smiley (1964 - ) was a correspondent for ABC on Prime Time Thursday, and Good Morning America, as well as a commentator for CNN. Smiley also hosted his own signature show on NPR, The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR, a first for an African American. He has authored five books, including How to Make Black America Better. Smiley has used his visibility to convince prominent marketing and advertising firms to spend more money in the black community.

Employment

Los Angeles City Council

BET

National Public Radio

ABC

CNN

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating for Tavis Smiley Interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tavis Smiley favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tavis Smiley talks about his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tavis Smiley shares his favorite story about his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tavis Smiley talks about his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tavis Smiley talks about his father's quiet personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tavis Smiley talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tavis Smiley talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tavis Smiley shares his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Tavis Smiley recalls familiar sounds from his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Tavis Smiley talks about the responsibility of being the oldest son

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Tavis Smiley talks about his experience moving from Mississippi to Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Tavis Smiley talks about going to school in a white environment

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Tavis Smiley talks about his shyness with women

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Tavis Smiley explains the role of church and family in his upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Tavis Smiley talks about growing up in poverty

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Tavis Smiley talks about the importance of faith, family, and friends in his life

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Tavis Smiley talks about his childhood ambitions

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tavis Smiley describes how he acquired his interest in public service and politics

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tavis Smiley briefly talks about his high school courses and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tavis Smiley describes his experiences at Indiana University

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tavis Smiley talks about interning for the mayor of Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tavis Smiley describes how his parents' divorce affected him

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tavis Smiley talks about wanting to intern with Mayor Tom Bradley

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tavis Smiley explains why he chose to intern with Mayor Tom Bradley

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tavis Smiley talks about his role in Mayor Tom Bradley's office

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Tavis Smiley talks about organizing a major project for Los Angeles, California at a young age

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Tavis Smiley tells his story of Mayor Tom Bradley's office nearly rejecting his internship application

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tavis Smiley tells the story of accepting Mayor Tom Bradley's internship offer

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tavis Smiley explains his monetary situation during his internship with Mayor Tom Bradley

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tavis Smiley talks about working for the SCLC in Los Angeles after college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tavis Smiley talks about what he learned under Mayor Tom Bradley

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tavis Smiley talks about running for City Council in Los Angeles

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tavis Smiley tells what he learned from his experience running for Los Angeles City Council

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Tavis Smiley explains how he got started on the radio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Tavis Smiley talks about initial support for his radio career

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Tavis Smiley compares and contrasts politics with being on the radio

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Tavis Smiley talks about his collaborations with radio host Tom Joyner

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Tavis Smiley explains how he uses radio as a tool for empowerment

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tavis Smiley talks about speaking out against CompUSA on Tom Joyner's radio show

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tavis Smiley talks about continuing to criticize CompUSA in defiance of ABC

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tavis Smiley details the African American response to his criticism of CompUSA and ABC

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tavis Smiley discusses his dismissal from the BET television network

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tavis Smiley talks about gaining inspiration and a sense of purpose after his dismissal from BET

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tavis Smiley talks about his future goals

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Tavis Smiley discusses his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Photo - Tavis Smiley with Rosa Parks [c. 1993]

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Photo - President Bill Clinton signs a copy of 'Time' Magazine for Tavis Smiley [c. 1994]

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Photo - Tavis Smiley poses with his grandmother [c. 1980]

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Photo - Tavis Smiley and actress Lorraine Toussaint [2001]

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Photo - Tavis Smiley shakes hands with Pope John Paul II [late 1990s]

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Photo - Tavis Smiley shakes hands with Fidel Castro [1999]

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Photo - Tavis Smiley and Geraldo Rivera [late 1990s]

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Photo - Tavis Smiley and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley [1985]

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Photo - Tavis Smiley at a reception [unknown date]

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Photo - Tavis Smiley with Bishop Noel Jones and Randall Robinson [date unknown]

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Photo - Tavis Smiley with Desmond Tutu [1986]

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Tavis Smiley and Tom Joyner at Johnson Publishing Company [2001]

Vernon Jarrett

Born on June 19, 1918, in Tennessee, Vernon Jarrett was one of the nation's most prominent commentators on race relations and African American history within the United States. Newspaper, television and radio broadcasts have all been forums for his insights. Jarrett began his journalism career at the Chicago Defender,/i> during the 1940's and later worked for the Associated Negro Press before making the transition to radio in 1948. For the next three years, Jarrett and composer Oscar Brown, Jr. produced "Negro Newsfront", the nation's first daily radio newscast created by African Americans.

In 1970, Jarrett became the first African American syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He used his editorial voice as a forum for commentary on the social and economic trends affecting African Americans, as well as the global concerns of pan-African politics. During this period, Jarrett served as host on Chicago's WLS-ABC TV, where he produced nearly two thousand television broadcasts. In 1983, Jarrett left the Tribune and began writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he continued his tradition of political and social commentary, which has always been firmly grounded in the African American experience.

In 1977, Jarrett created the NAACP-sponsored ACT-SO program. An acronym for "Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics", ACT-SO is an enrichment program for exceptional African American students nationwide. Through the program, over $1,000,000 in computers, scholarships and books have been awarded to top-ranking students, who are recognized and honored each year during ACT-SO's national television special. To date, hundreds of students across the United States have participated in the annual event.

Jarrett also became a columnist for the New York Times' New American News Syndicate and his social commentary could be heard during "The Jarrett Journal", a news show broadcast on WVON-AM, Chicago's only African American-owned radio station. He was also a member of the editorial board of the NAACP's ninety year-old magazine, The Crisis, which was created by W. E. B. Du Bois. Jarrett's outstanding journalistic efforts have earned him numerous honors and awards, including his being the first recipient of the NAACP's James Weldon Johnson Achievement Award and his 1998 induction into the National Literary Hall of Fame at the University of Chicago's Gwendolyn Brooks Center. Jarrett passed away on May 23, 2004.

Accession Number

A2000.028

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

2/10/2000 |and| 6/27/2000

Last Name

Jarrett

Maker Category
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Vernon

Birth City, State, Country

Saulsbury

HM ID

JAR02

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Profound.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/19/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Turnip), Peas (Black-Eyed), Ham (Smoked)

Death Date

5/23/2004

Short Description

Newspaper columnist, television host, and radio host Vernon Jarrett (1918 - 2004 ) was one of the nation's most prominent commentators on race relations and African American history within the United States. Jarrett wrote for the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as the Chicago Defender. Jarrett also worked extensively in radio and television including broadcasting his own show called The Jarrett Journal on WVON-AM, Chicago's only African American-owned radio station.

Employment

Chicago Defender

Associated Negro Press

Chicago Tribune

WLS TV

Chicago Sun-Times

New York Times

WVON Radio

Crisis

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett describes his childhood as wonderful

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett recalls Joe Louis and how media and organizations served as "cement" for the mostly rural black population

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett recalls the love and solidarity in the black community of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett remembers his parents, rural schoolteachers in Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the start of Negro History Week and its impact in his school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett recalls his first grade teacher's creative way of teaching about black heroes

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett recalls an essay in junior high that influenced him to become a writer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett describes the black community's strong support for higher education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett remembers his ongoing literature contest with a daughter of a white family he worked for

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett talks about soul food and philosophy

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett describes Southern black communities' emphasis on educational achievement against the odds

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett reveals his school suspension for kissing a white girl

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett speaks with emotion about his mother's creative writing and frustrated ambition

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett remembers the pride in education of his family and other African Americans

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett discusses the hunger for education of black people like his grandmother who illegally learned to read as a slave

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vernon Jordan recalls a lesson from an ex-slave about respecting black women and their contributions to the race

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the need for a renewal of blacks' learning their history

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett talks about working at an Alcoa plant and joining the Navy in WWII

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett remembers his first impressions of Chicago in the 1940s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett spells his name and discusses the date with the interviewer

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett describes his vocation as a writer and gaining employment at The Chicago Defender

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett talks about meeting W.E.B. DuBois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett recalls librarian Vivian G. Harsh's influence on him

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett explains the importance of academic role models and mentors for younger people today

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett describes the post-war "new world" mood prevalent when he moved to Chicago to become a journalist

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett describes the appeal of The Defender and the city of Chicago to Southern blacks

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the importance of Joe Louis and radio in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vernon Jarrett talks about a lost sense of community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vernon Jordan talks about the significance of radio for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vernon Jordan discusses the insidious racism and violence against African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett recalls the impact of black newspapers during his youth

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett recalls a lesson in race relations and pride from his father

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vernon Jordan remembers his start at the Chicago Defender

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vernon Jordan remembers covering white mob violence against integration of Airport Homes in Chicago, 1946

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett recalls learning that some black politicians collaborated against the interest of their people

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett explains his inspiration by courageous black journalists of his youth

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett discusses the dangers the NAACP faced in the American South

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett talks about black baseball players in the major leagues, an inspiration for African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett talks about interviewing Congressman William L. Dawson for The Chicago Defender

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett recounts some of the risks he became known for taking as a young reporter

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett explains his role in the Associated Negro Press clipping service

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett talks about black theater and radio plays in Chicago in the 1940s-1950s

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett discusses the African American housing crisis caused by restrictive covenants in Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Vernon Jarrett details changes in Chicago from the late 1940s through the early 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett talks about his radio programs and real estate involvement, from the late 1940s to early 1950s

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett recalls his years as a brewery sales rep and writer in Kansas City during the 1950s

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett talks about his work for the Chicago Community Conservation Board and a controversial speech

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett tells about a Chicago television special to discourage riots after King's assassination, part one

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett tells about a Chicago television special to discourage riots after King's assassination, part two

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett talks about beginning to work for WLS-TV in Chicago in 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett tells how he began working for the Chicago Tribune in 1970

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett talks about a few factual errors that made it into his column

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett talks about attending national political conventions and interpreting them from a black perspective

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett talks about his role in the election of Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett talks about his television show and moving from the Chicago Tribune to The Chicago Sun-Times

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the importance of mentorship to young African Americans

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett explains the Freedom Readers program and recalls how his own interest in reading developed

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett talks about founding the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett describes his notion of his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett explains what made him an effective journalist

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Vernon Jarrett discusses some of his values and beliefs

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett discusses his philosophy on life and religious faith

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the centrality of race in his worldview and the future of the black race

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Vernon Jordan recalls a lesson from an ex-slave about respecting black women and their contributions to the race
Vernon Jarrett talks about meeting W.E.B. DuBois
Transcript
This part of our heritage was every day. Somebody was always stopping me on the street. When I--they'd catch you using dirty language, you know how kids playing the dozens. "Boy what are you gonna make out of yourself? You know that's a disgrace to talk--" I used to play the dozens. Are you familiar with that? It's where kids talk about each other's mama. We used to practice the dozens. We didn't have a basketball court at the time. So we'd pla--One part of the town, one community, black community would play the dozens (laughing) with another part. And I remember one Saturday afternoon, we were practicing in an alley--back of this kid's house. And there was a man, an old ex-slave. Some people said he was 100 years old. We don't know how old he was. His name was Dumas (ph.) He was sitting back there in the bushes and we didn't know it. And he heard us talk about each other's mother in rhyme. And I could rhy--I had a way with words. And I--What I said about this little boy's mother, (chuckle) after he had said something about my mother [Annie Sybil Jarrett]. Mr. Dumas came out of the bushes. I remember this kid said something awful about my mother [Annie Sybil Jarrett] and father. And, it, it was directed at toward the fact that my brother [Dr. Thomas Dunbar Jarrett] had light skin and my father [William Robert Jarrett] was darker. And I didn't like that. I thought there ought to be some boundaries where (chuckle) they draw the line. And I was trying to think of the worst thing I could say about this kid. And I heard the train whistle. The L and N railroad train, and I heard that whistle. This is where Mr. Dumas was impressed but at the same time wanted to slap me. I said,"Around the bend comes the L and N, loaded down with your mama's men," (laughing). And everybody just cracked up and this little boy almost cried and Mr. Dumas came out and he said,"I've had enough of this. And he gave us a little lecture on what slavery was like. And on black women in slavery. It was an interesting thing. It's still with me. He said,"I never thought I'd live to see the day that little black children could be out here talking about the black woman! --black mothers--the way you all are doing. You'd think we just did all of this for nothing." He said,"You all are just down here degrading and insulting black women! And all that black women have done--" he said,"Don't you know that when they were selling us, somebody would always come up and become our mother? You always knew that there would be a black mother somewhere. Somebody who had never heard of you--would make you her son. That black woman kept us together." And we stood at attention and listened. Because we were ready to do anything to keep him from going down to our parents and telling them about the dirty language we were using. And he said," I don't want to ever hear or suspect any of you little boys, all of you came from nice families, talk about black women, the way I've heard you talk about them this afternoon." And then he turned to me. Now this is interesting, very interesting. And he says,"You, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Anybody that can put words together the way you do," he says, "you oughta be on 'The Chicago Defender.' instead of out here talking about somebody's mama," He said,"You ever read 'The Chicago Defender'?" And I said,"I'm gonna start. No sir, no sir." We were ready to do anything. But he stood there for a half an hour and gave us an oral account of what black women had contributed to the survival of our people in slavery.$$Hmm. Okay.$$Isn't that something?$$It's really. And well guess what. Evidently he passed some of this on to his kids. One of his sons was one of the first blacks to go North and graduate from Northwestern University's dental school. You see. That old man--And even--This was way before my time. And I think his son was one of the first blacks to get a degree from Northwestern Dental School in the 1920'. That's remarkable isn't it?$And you say that you spent an evening with W.E.B. [William Edward Burghardt] DuBois. Talk us about that evening.$$(Simultaneously) Well, that was in the home of Dr. Metz T. P. Lochard [Associate Editor of the Chicago Defender] when I spent a social evening. He was in the city [Chicago, Illinois]. If I'm not mistaken, that could have easily have been 1948, either '48 or 1950. I get them mixed up a bit. But I and two other journalists were permitted to bring our little girlfriends in, which meant it must have been '48 because in '50 I was married. (Chuckles.) And we sat and he--and DuBois shocked us all. You know, he was a very rigid appearing man and she said, "Well, you young people, if you'd like, you can sit on the floor. We're going to listen to some classical music." So Dr. Lochard had some big pillows and we sat there and he said, "Why not turn down the lights, Doctor." He was talking to his friend. "Turn the lights down a little low." And I was just stunned. And he smiled and he loosened his collar up. Now he was not so loose that you'd say, "Hey, Doc" or anything. You didn't call him 'Doc' and you didn't call him 'Doobie,' or you didn't go around slapping him on the back and all of that stuff. But well despite all of this formality, he came through so well with us sitting on the floor that we were anxious to get out. We just wanted the honor of being with DuBois and we wanted to go out and try to get in a nightclub. Well, I think one of us might not have been old enough to go to a nightclub, but the majority, we were going to try to get into the Club DeLisa and the Rhumboogie, which was about four blocks from where we were on 55th Street. But, you know, we did not want to leave when he got through talking. We listened to him as he put on Antonin Dvorak's 'New World Symphony' and, and he said, "Just listen for a while. I want you to just observe and see if you hear any familiar music." And then when they got to that--I forgot which section of it. It's a largo section of 'New World Symphony.' I said, "I've been hearing that all my life." He said, "That's what I thought." And he was--and he began to talk all through the symphony as to where Dvorak had gotten sections of his composition. Then he introduced to us for the first time the name of the, we learned later, Harry T. Burleigh. We said Burleigh studied under Dvorak, you know, this was shortly after the turn of the century. And when he played the largo section, I said, "I--I used to hear that at our funerals and it was called 'Going Home'," and people would sing, (singing:) "I'm just going home--da..da..da, da, da, da. Friends I knew so--" And I said, "Yeah." Well, he said, "That's precisely where you he got it. This is African-Americans' contribution to classical music." And, of course Harry T. Burleigh later became a very famous orchestra composer and writer and director. But that was one of the most enjoyable non-youthful meetings I've had with anybody. We just chatted and he was so loose, and we were looking at him with degrees of respect, and we talked about his philosophy of life and just--I still look back at this and I can't believe he was eighty years old. So this is how I can tabulate about when this was. I think he was eighty years old and we would--had the impression he might have been sixty-five or something. The man was phenomenally healthy for a person that age. I had seen him before. But part of my pay for being on The Chicago Defender was just writing for the same paper as W. E. B. DuBois, who wrote a column every week in The Chicago Defender, and so did Langston Hughes at that time. And this was a very instructive period in my life, and this is why I deal so much with young people today. These older people really had an impact on me.