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Vera Ricketts

Pharmacist and civic leader Vera Ricketts was born on October 20, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Sarah Chilton Phelps and Robert Phelps, Sr. There, Ricketts attended Hazel Hart Hendricks School 37 and Crispus Attucks High School where she graduated in 1941. She later went on to attend Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and graduated with her B.S. degree in pharmacology in 1948. As an undergraduate student, she was an active member of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Ricketts began her career as a pharmacist at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1958, Ricketts became the first female African American pharmacist at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. During this period, she also helped establish the pharmacy at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, where she trained nurse practitioners in pharmacology. Ricketts eventually returned with her husband, William Newton Ricketts, to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the District of Columbia General Hospital pharmacy. In 1960, she and her husband moved to Los Angeles, California, where she worked as an administrator at his medical practice. An active community leader, Ricketts advocated for the creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in Los Angeles’ South Central neighborhood. Ricketts went on to serve as the president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association from 1981 to 1982.

In addition to her professional career, Ricketts was also active in other community organizations in the Los Angeles area. In 1979, Ricketts founded the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and she served as its chapter president from 1983 to 1985. Ricketts also founded the Theta Mu Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Through her membership in the sorority, she volunteered on the board of the Jenesse Center, Inc., a shelter for battered women and children in Los Angeles. In 2017, Ricketts and her husband, William Newton Ricketts, received recognition for their thirty plus years of humanitarian work in Jamaica.

Ricketts and her husband have four daughters: Verlie Ricketts Lockings, Renee Ricketts, Victoria Ricketts Wilson and Wendy Ricketts Greene.

Vera Ricketts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 23, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.143

Sex

Female

Interview Date

07/23/2017

Last Name

Ricketts

Maker Category
Schools

Hazel Hart Hendricks School 37

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

First Name

Vera

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

RIC21

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Give something back to the community.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/20/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oats, Raisins and Dates

Short Description

Pharmacist and civic leader Vera Ricketts (1922 - ) worked at Howard University Hospital and Duke University Hospital. She also served as president of the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and was a founding member of the graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Employment

Howard University Hospital; Freedmen's Hospital

Duke University Hospital

D.C. General Hospital

Favorite Color

Yellow

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vera Ricketts' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts talks about her parents' move from Clarksville, Tennessee to Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts recalls her early interest in science

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts remembers attending Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts talks about her early racial experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts remembers the everyday amenities of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Vera Ricketts remembers her early career aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Vera Ricketts recalls attending the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Vera Ricketts remembers her challenges at the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts remembers graduating from Indianapolis College of Pharmacy in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts describes her responsibilities as a pharmacist

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts recalls being rejected for a job in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts remembers meeting her husband, William Newton Ricketts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts recalls working at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts talks about the birth of her daughters

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts recalls her coworkers' support at Duke University Hospital

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts remembers returning to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts recalls joining Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts remembers segregation in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts recalls her work at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts remembers moving to District of Columbia General Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes the process for manufacturing saline solutions

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts remembers moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts talks about her administration work at her husband's medical practice

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts remembers advocating for the Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts talks about her organizational involvement in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts remembers the founding of the Los Angeles chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts recalls establishing a partnership between The Links, Incorporated and Jamaica, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts recalls establishing a partnership between The Links, Incorporated and Jamaica, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts remembers co-chartering the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Vera Ricketts talks about her public service activities

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Vera Ricketts describes the role of friendship in The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts narrates her photographs

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts describes her role as president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes her daughter's careers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts talks about her grandchildren

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts shares her advice to aspiring pharmacists

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts talks about her marriage to William Newton Ricketts

Regina Jollivette Frazier

Pharmacist Regina Jollivette Frazier was born on September 30, 1943, in Miami, Florida to pharmacist Cyrus Martin Jollivette, who founded Liberty City’s Community Drug Store in 1948, and teacher Frances Reeves Jollivette Chambers, the youngest daughter of The Miami Times founder Henry E. S. Reeves. Frazier graduated valedictorian from Northwestern Senior High School in 1961, Frazier received her B.S. degree in pharmacy from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1966, and her M.B.A. degree from the University of Miami in 1983.

In 1968, Frazier accepted a pharmacist position at Peoples Drug and the National Association of Retired Teachers & American Association of Retired Persons Drug Service. In 1970, she returned to Miami as senior pharmacist for the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics. Three years later, Frazier was promoted to Director of Pharmacy, a position she held until she retired in 2007. As Director of Pharmacy, Frazier also served as a Preceptor for the University of Florida’s College of Pharmacy as well as a Clinical Field Instructor for Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy.

Frazier served on numerous boards, including the United Way of Miami-Dade, New World School of the Arts, National Coalition on Black Voter Participation, the Commonwealth Institute, YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade, of which she is a life member, Miami-Dade County Addiction Services, University of Miami Medical Sciences Subcommittee for the Protection of Human Subjects, and Breakthrough Miami. She was also chairperson of the Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida, which awarded her the Thanks Badge, and the Miami-Dade County Zoning Appeals Board.

She joined The Links, Incorporated, in 1970, and served as National President from 1986 until 1990, and is the youngest person to hold the position. While National President, she chartered the organization’s first international chapter in Nassau, Bahamas. Frazier also holds membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Orange Bowl Committee, and the International Woman’s Forum.

Frazier was also active with the Association of Black Health-Systems Pharmacists, from which she received the Pharmacist of the Year award in 1990, the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, and the National Pharmaceutical Association.

Frazier received numerous recognitions, including Florida Memorial College’s Sarah A. Blocker Meritorious Community Service Award; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Beta Beta Lambda Chapter’s Distinguished Community Service Award; Women’s Committee of 100 Trail Blazer Award; Women in Communication’s Community Headliner Award; Bronze Medallion of The National Conference of Christians and Jews; Anti-Defamation League’s Woman of Achievement Award; In the Company of Women Award; United Way Starfish Award; Association of Black Health-System Pharmacists’ Meritorious Service Award; and Red Cross’s Sara Hopkins Woodruff Spectrum Award in Community Service.

She was also cited as one of Ebony magazine’s One Hundred Most Influential Black Americans from 1987 to 1990, and in 1988, as one of Dollars and Sense magazine’s selection of America’s Top 100 Black Business and Professional Women.

Frazier and her husband have three children: Ronald Eugene II, Robert Christophe, and Rozalynn Suzanne.

Regina Jollivette Frazier was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.049

Sex

Female

Interview Date

03/08/2017

Last Name

Frazier

Maker Category
Middle Name

Jollivette

Occupation
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School

Holy Redeemer Catholic School

Miami Northwestern Senior High School

University of Miami

Howard University

First Name

Regina

Birth City, State, Country

Miami

HM ID

FRA13

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere International

Favorite Quote

Service Is The Price You Pay For The Space You Occupy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

9/30/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Pharmacist Regina Jollivette Frazier (1943 - ) worked at the University of Miami Hospitals and Clinics in the pharmacy department for thirty-seven years.

Employment

University of Miami Hospitals and Clinics

Peoples Drug

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:12200,215:15240,273:17800,318:18600,330:20120,353:20440,358:36660,476:46842,612:50245,647:53067,691:74350,891:76534,1159:113320,1456:113790,1463:116672,1477:117274,1485:121328,1524:130621,1614:131929,1628:133564,1645:142206,1720:143421,1737:145358,1751:151343,1816:152729,1841:153125,1846:155105,1873:156590,1890:157382,1899:160910,1912:163160,1941:163610,1947:171388,2008:173490,2018:174489,2028:175488,2042:176598,2055:178041,2070:185405,2117:186500,2133:198424,2227:199313,2236:203162,2254:204658,2269:205098,2278:210671,2323:215036,2409:222380,2458:223190,2478:227690,2557:233074,2580:248760,2770:249849,2781:260000,2813:270970,2902:276778,2958:277808,2970:278529,2978:287906,3073:288282,3078:289316,3091:292888,3147:293546,3155:298716,3203:304948,3289:305276,3294:306014,3304:309130,3376:315201,3387:317811,3415:318159,3420:324350,3466:327340,3505$0,0:609,8:1044,14:5046,125:7308,153:10701,205:11571,216:24040,304:24450,310:32345,382:33107,389:40660,436:50050,494:51990,503:52620,514:52900,519:53670,532:58630,561:59170,568:59800,576:60340,583:61150,595:61780,602:62770,616:63490,626:65200,652:65560,657:66280,667:67900,693:72450,716:80846,769:85948,804:93778,853:94594,862:97015,875:97695,885:100450,903:102452,932:104636,964:105637,981:107275,1000:110096,1054:111097,1067:111552,1073:116540,1100:117310,1108:119620,1132:120060,1137:124928,1162:126164,1175:126576,1180:127091,1186:128739,1201:129563,1210:146759,1369:148176,1384:150029,1408:158680,1461:159535,1472:159915,1477:164449,1496:164933,1501:166143,1514:169652,1562:170257,1568:170862,1574:174250,1622:179482,1659:180186,1673:180626,1679:181066,1685:181418,1690:184058,1726:213790,2032:214690,2042:221960,2085:229158,2185:232914,2243:234812,2285:235104,2290:243560,2422
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Regina Jollivette Frazier's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Regina Jollivette Frazier lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her likeness to her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Regina Jollivette Frazier lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her earliest memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about the National Conference of Christians and Jews

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her communities in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers her parents' protectiveness

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes the Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers Miami Northwestern Senior High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers travelling through the segregated South

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Regina Jollivette Frazier recalls her teachers at Miami Northwestern Senior High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Regina Jollivette Frazier recalls her interest in journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers her maternal grandfather, Henry E.S. Reeves

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers her family's famous guests

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about the activism on campus at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers the riots in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers her classmates at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her pharmacy internships

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers her professors at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her graduation from Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Regina Jollivette Frazier remembers joining the staff of the University of Miami Hospitals and Clinics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her role as the pharmacy director of the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about drug theft prevention

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes the problems with pharmaceutical branding

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about the development of robotic prescriptions dispensary systems

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her responsibilities and colleagues

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her membership in The Links

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her national presidency of The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes 'Linkages and Legacies'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her volunteer work

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her efforts to improve relations between police and the community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about the gentrification of Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her current volunteer activities

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Regina Jollivette Frazier reflects upon her career

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Regina Jollivette Frazier reflects upon the challenges of a pharmacy career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Regina Jollivette Frazier reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her children

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Regina Jollivette Frazier describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Regina Jollivette Frazier narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Regina Jollivette Frazier describes her role as the pharmacy director of the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics
Regina Jollivette Frazier talks about her national presidency of The Links, Incorporated
Transcript
Okay, now what was your position when you came on in 1970?$$I was a staff pharmacist, I think. I'm saying I think because the university [University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, Miami, Florida] was terrific with titles you know. I think I went from staff pharmacist to senior pharmacist, from senior pharmacist to director of pharmacy and I guess I just wasn't creative enough over the years because at one time I opined to someone, I said, "Maybe if I change my title to grand exulted director of pharmacy, I could get more money."$$So you became--I have here that you became the director in '73 [1973], is that true?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Right. I mean it was a big deal you know. The Miami Herald covered it. I was in my twenties and so.$$Okay. Okay. Well what were--what was the nature of what you had to do and, and--$$As director?$$Yeah, and the conditions that you worked in.$$Well, what I had to do was make sure the pharmacy [at National Children's Cardiac Hospital; UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Miami, Florida] ran smoothly and that it met all of the legal requirements and that the drugs were there when they needed them. So it was, make it work.$$Okay so, so many people who are gonna be watching this have never been a pharmacist, can you just walk us through a typical day as a director of a big pharmacy like this for a hospital (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well you know the thing is that every day is different. It was, when I started I was filling prescriptions when I--or drug orders. When I ended I hadn't been near filling an order in, in years so when I started the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations [Joint Commission] was just a joint commission on accreditation of hospitals and they had one sheet of paper, I think eight and a half by eleven, that wasn't even covered with writing and those were the requirements for hospital pharmacies. When I left there was a book about this thick okay, on the requirements so that's why there was something different every day. I also had the opportunity to serve on the IRB, which is the board, it's the investigational review board [institutional review board] that reviews proposed protocols for the institution that are testing drugs for possible entry into the market. There were just all kinds of things that you did. You know there was designing the pharmacy, there was hiring the staff, monitoring the staff, just whatever, whatever it took.$$So this is a hospital pharmacy--$$Yes.$$--and so the people--$$It had a hospital and it had clinics and it was, it concentrated on cancer therapy after, after a few years.$$Okay. And so how do you best design that, you said part of your job is designing the facility right?$$Well, one of the ways you do that is by attending the mid-year clinical which is held every December. When I went to my first mid-year clinical, I think it was maybe the seventh one they had. There were about maybe twenty five hundred people there. Now, this year was the fifty-first. I stopped going after, after I retired and they probably had twenty, twenty-five thousand people there. So it's the largest meeting in the world and so you get to hear all these speakers. You get to see all these exhibits you know and you get to one of the most important thing for me was the review of the joint commission new requirements so that I was right there knowing exactly what they were going to, to be reviewing when they came by and I never had a problem ever.$Tell us about what are the activities of The Links [The Links, Incorporated] and, and, you know what, what, what did you do, what was your agenda during your term?$$My agenda was to make the, the chain of friendship that encircled the globe not only figurative but literal, and to that end I charted the first international chapter in Nassau, the Bahamas. Subsequently I charted a second international chapter in Frankfurt [Germany]. That did not survive because it was related to the [U.S.] military people who were stationed in Germany and when that ended, people started coming back to the United States and we could not sustain the chap- not we, they could not sustain the chapter there because it was, it was operative for I would say 1990, 2000 at least twenty years I think. And then I had the great pleasure of inducting Leontyne Price as an honorary member. And during my presidency we had four program facets. We now have five, but we had the arts, services to you, national transcend services and international transcend services and our programs are built around those. So we had a program called Project L.E.A.D. High Expectations in which we collaborated with other organizations, national organizations like Sigma Pi Phi, Boule, like Jack and Jill of America [Jack and Jill of America, Inc.] for example and this was to stop--encourage kids not to take drugs you know it was a, it had a just say no component to it and we ran a pilot in, I forget how many cities, and at the time that was the largest grant we had. It would--ended up being about three quarters of a million dollars so those were big programming funds in those days.$$So where did the grant money come from?$$I knew you were gonna ask me that. I wanna think it was NIDA, which is the National Institute for Drug Abuse [sic. National Institute on Drug Abuse] under NIH.$$Okay, National Institute of Health [sic. National Institutes of Health], right okay--$$Um-hm.$$--okay.$$And that program is still going today.$$Okay.$$We call it one of our signature programs.$$Okay. So, now you were--you're president from '86 [1986] until when?$$Ninety [1990].$$Okay. So it's a four year term?$$Yes. Well actually at that--things change, you know the more things change, the more they remain the same, at that time it was a two year term and then I was reelected.$$Okay so it's two, two year terms, okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm.

Edgar Duncan

Accomplished pharmacist Dr. Edgar Newton Duncan was born on February 1, 1932 in Monessen, Pennsylvania to Willie and William Duncan. Duncan’s father worked as a tailor in the first tailor shop in Monessen. Duncan’s mother, graduated from the Tuskegee Institute, became a teacher, married and passed on her love of learning to her six children. Excelling in school, Duncan knew that he wanted to go to college. After graduating from high school as class valedictorian, Duncan went on to Duquesne University.

In 1954, Duncan would be the only black student in his class to graduate from Duquesne University with a B.S. degree in pharmacy. He graduated magna cum laude. At Duquesne University, Duncan would meet Lauraine Thorne, and the two would get married in 1954. In 1956, Duncan became the first black student to graduate with his M.S. degree in hygiene from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH). Duncan began working in the U.S. Public Health Service’s Commissioned Officers Corps, and in 1972, he became the first pharmacist to be promoted to surgeon general. After returning as Associate Dean of GSPH, he began to work with Pitt’s Partners in Education Consortium and other programs to encourage black and other minority youth to pursue health professions. These programs have made a difference for many young minority students.

In 1990, Duncan earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. He and his wife raised three sons and sent them all to college.

Duncan passed away on December 17, 2011.

Duncan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 13, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.105

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/13/2008

Last Name

Duncan

Schools

Duquesne University

University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health

University of Pittsburgh

First Name

Edgar

Birth City, State, Country

Monessen

HM ID

DUN04

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Right Place, Right Time, Right Person.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

2/1/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pittsburgh

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pancakes

Death Date

12/17/2011

Short Description

Pharmacist and presidential appointee Edgar Duncan (1932 - 2011 ) was the first black student to graduate with a M.S. degree in hygiene from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health in 1956. He later was the first pharmacist to be promoted to Assistant Surgeon General in 1972.

Employment

Western Pennsylvania Hospital

U.S. Public Health Service Hospital

Indian Health Service

Assistant Surgeon General

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield of New York

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

University of Pittsburgh Graduate School

Center for Minority Health

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:3360,44:3780,49:5040,63:5880,74:6825,86:9135,153:10605,162:14202,217:17058,347:26370,435:30345,502:33320,582:40810,649:46710,720:50092,756:52406,855:53919,874:60684,935:64166,962:64943,970:66648,980:67664,990:78060,1089:78480,1096:81432,1123:81756,1130:89355,1267:101228,1410:102124,1427:103030,1436$0,0:4536,69:8568,170:9156,178:12096,226:12936,237:20228,299:20830,308:26678,443:27280,451:30828,511:34023,572:34520,580:41500,613:42236,627:44260,654:45456,677:50424,786:51068,799:55484,909:56220,922:56772,930:65230,963:66510,977:68552,993:72910,1039:79738,1092:81142,1135:81532,1141:83820,1157:86480,1198:87012,1207:87848,1220:100730,1367:101318,1381:102298,1386:106218,1439:110986,1469:112506,1500:112962,1509:116458,1569:130119,1694:130634,1701:131046,1706:131458,1711:132385,1721:134548,1787:138197,1811:144160,1987:145406,2014:146118,2035:152660,2104:153060,2113:154820,2143:156900,2173:157540,2182:157940,2188:159060,2203:159460,2209:160180,2219:160580,2225:166384,2255:173805,2321:185202,2474:195697,2590:201266,2653:202286,2665:203306,2697:204428,2710:206060,2731:209864,2768:217986,2868:220763,2887:221330,2895:221654,2900:229795,3042:246669,3223:247805,3245:248160,3251:248728,3259:249296,3271:249864,3281:250503,3291:251000,3299:252562,3340:253130,3349:267870,3534:268914,3552:269378,3557:269842,3562:273036,3603:273580,3613:277715,3650:280226,3662:284028,3703:284484,3710:284940,3717:290488,3861:296096,3929:299624,3959:299896,3964:301980,4001
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edgar Duncan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edgar Duncan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edgar Duncan describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edgar Duncan describes his mother's experiences at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edgar Duncan recalls visiting the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edgar Duncan describes how his parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edgar Duncan talks about his mother's friendships

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edgar Duncan describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edgar Duncan describes his paternal ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edgar Duncan talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edgar Duncan recalls his family's emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Edgar Duncan remembers his father's profession and talents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edgar Duncan recalls his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edgar Duncan describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edgar Duncan remembers his community in Monessen, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edgar Duncan describes the sights, sounds and smells of his neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edgar Duncan recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edgar Duncan recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edgar Duncan describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edgar Duncan recalls his mentors in school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edgar Duncan recalls his activities at Monessen Vocational High School in Monessen, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Edgar Duncan remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Edgar Duncan recalls his valedictorian speech

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Edgar Duncan remembers Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edgar Duncan describes his experiences at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edgar Duncan recalls his extracurricular activities at Duquesne University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edgar Duncan remembers his mentors at Duquesne University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edgar Duncan recalls attending the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edgar Duncan recalls his graduation from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edgar Duncan recalls his accomplishments as a pharmacist in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edgar Duncan talks about his rank in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edgar Duncan describes the history of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edgar Duncan recalls his work with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Edgar Duncan recalls his promotion to assistant surgeon general

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edgar Duncan reflects upon his role as assistant surgeon general

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edgar Duncan recalls his roles at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edgar Duncan describes his position at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edgar Duncan recalls his role as a researcher for the Health ABC Study

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edgar Duncan remembers earning a Ph.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edgar Duncan recalls his retirement from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edgar Duncan reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edgar Duncan reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Edgar Duncan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Edgar Duncan reflects upon his family

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Edgar Duncan reflects upon the importance of education

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Edgar Duncan describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

11$9

DATitle
Edgar Duncan recalls his family's emphasis on education
Edgar Duncan recalls his work with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
And we had books in the house and obviously were encouraged to study, not only by our parents [Willie McMillan Duncan and William Duncan, Sr.] but by my mother's sisters [Sadie McMillan and Ruth McMillan]--remember I said they'd all gone to Tuskegee [Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama]? And the two sisters that are older than I both graduated from Tuskegee and they adopted the brother next to me [William Duncan, Jr.] and myself to help us get through college, but it was--you grew up in Monessen [Pennsylvania] and you were one of those Duncans and so then they didn't ask, "Where are you going to study," or "Do well in school." It's--, "How well were you gonna do in school?" So in the piece it says I graduated valedic- as valedictorian [from Monessen Vocational High School, Monessen, Pennsylvania] that was in part a challenge. My, this brother again next to me and one of his friends sat me down at the kitchen table one night and said, "Okay, your sister graduated sixth, your brother graduated fourth, you can graduate one, and here's what you do to do it," and that's what came to pass. It wasn't I'm you know I'm, I'm just sitting around--, "How many more books can I read? How many more formulas can I work on? How many more chemistry sets can I blow up something with." It was (laughter)--$$Okay.$$(Laughter) You had, you had--fortunately very subtle sometimes pressure.$So you're in Washington, D.C. and were you work- you were working in Washington, D.C. yourself, right?$$Right, well actually in Rockville when the promotion to assistant surgeon general came we were working out in Rockville.$$Rockville, Maryland?$$Yeah.$$Okay, so now, so you worked, you were there over ten years, right in Washington, D.C. from 1962 (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, we're in D.C.$$Until?$$From '62 [1962] to '77 [1977], fifteen years.$$Okay, s'62 [1962] to '77 [1977], okay. Now tell us about the events leading up to you being appointed assistant surgeon general?$$Well, I was working on what it--were called the health delivery programs of the [U.S.] Public Health Service, not the [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration, not NIH [National Institutes of Health], this was the part that actually delivered healthcare to the seamen [U.S. Merchant Marine], Indian [Native American] health services was part of that at the time, federal health program where people have, in companies and things, have programs for their workers and that was the part that I had started out with in Staten Island [New York] and I was still working in that area until it became clear they were not going to maintain and replace the public service health hospitals where mainly the merchant seamen, had gone and that's when I joined the Indian Health Service. Then I spent about a year working in EEO, affirmative action, equal employment opportunity, and I would tell people, "That's not a career," that you should get that job, do what you can with it and move on to some other professional career where you're simply recognized like everybody else in the workforce is recognized, and it was also a time when President Nixon [President Richard Milhous Nixon] had come on board and was decentralizing a lot of things out of Washington and sending them to the ten HEW [U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] regional offices like Chicago [Illinois] and New York [New York], San Francisco [California] and that required some coordination from the, from the headquarters back in the D.C. area and I ended up with that activity being responsible or being concerned about those ten offices, and during that time I pointed out to the person that I was working for that some of it had to do with the pay structures. That I would--I was as high as far as I could go to the rank of captain or colonel in the [U.S.] Army and there were people in secretary and general administrative jobs who were earning higher income than I did, and I was also faced with one son [Eric Duncan] going off to a high cost college and another one [Conrad Duncan] two years behind that and it was make decision time. Do you try to seek a promotion to a higher rank or move on to some, somewhere else in the industry? And so he inquired about, "Is there a problem with your being promoted?" I said, "Yeah, no pharmacist has ever done that." Regardless of what they were doing, the people in charge of pharmacy programs hadn't done it, it hadn't been done by anyone with the pharmacy designation in their, in their rank and he says, "Well let's see if we can do that." And they did it, and because I was not the first African American to become an assistant surgeon general; there'd been a physician and an engineer before me, he says, "But you're the first pharmacist," so that's what went out in the press. Obviously, if I were the first pharmacist, I was the first African American pharmacist but that's how all of that came about, and it was very interesting a few years ago when they honored the people who had become rear admiral in the, in as pharmacists in the Public Health Service [U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps]. Some were from NIH, FDA, all parts of the Public Health Service. There were eleven at that time, but it was certainly an honor to be of, to have been the first one to whatever ceiling that might be called rank ceiling I guess.

Myrtle Davis

Pharmacist and veteran city council member Myrtle Reid Davis was born on October 9, 1931 to Emmalee Reid, a teacher, and Carl Reid, a postal worker. Davis was raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina where she attended Emmett School Elementary and High School. After graduating from high school in 1949, Reid went on to attend Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana where she pursued her B.S. degree in pharmacy.

In 1953, Davis was hired at the Queens City Pharmacy in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1956, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she was hired by the Triangle Prescription Shop. That following year, she was married to activist and local physician, Dr. Albert M. Davis.

Throughout the 1960s, Davis served on the boards of numerous Atlanta based organizations including the League of Women Voters of Fulton County, where she served as president. She also served on the board of directors for the Gate City Day Nursery Association, and in 1970, she was elected to serve on the board of directors for the Atlanta Urban League. In 1979, Davis was hired by Leadership Atlanta where she worked as co-executive director for ten years.

In 1981, Davis ran for public office and was elected as a member of the Atlanta City Council. During her tenure on the Atlanta City Council, Davis served as chair of the Human Resources Committee, the Water and Pollution Committee and the Community Development Committee. Davis also served for five years as chair of the Finance Committee. Then, in 1994, after Maynard Jackson decided to leave his post as mayor, she became a candidate for mayor of the City of Atlanta. She later became the coordinator for the 1996 Atlanta Expo, and in 1998, Davis retired from city government as water utility manager for the City of Atlanta.

Davis’ other affiliations include the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, the National Board of Girl Scouts, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Task Force for the Homeless and the City of Atlanta’s Board of Ethics.

Davis lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her two daughters, Judge Stephanie C. Davis and Stacey Davis Stewart. Stephanie is a judge in the Magistrate Court of Fulton County, and Stacey is the senior vice president of Fannie Mae.

Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 28, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.037

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/28/2008

Last Name

Davis

Schools

Emmett Scott School

Xavier University of Louisiana

First Name

Myrtle

Birth City, State, Country

Rock Hill

HM ID

DAV22

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Walgreens

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Treat Others As You Would Want Them To Treat You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/9/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Pharmacist and city council member Myrtle Davis (1931 - ) was a city councilwoman for the City of Atlanta, Georiga. She also ran for mayor of the city in 1993. Davis served as the coordinator for the 1996 Atlanta Expo, and in 1998, she retired from city government as the City of Atlanta's Water Utility Manager.

Employment

LaBranche’s Drug Store

Queen City Pharmacy

Triangle Prescription Shop

Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Myrtle Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis lists her favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes her parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis talks about her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis describes her community in Rock Hill, South Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis describes her community in Rock Hill, South Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis remembers segregation in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls segregation in Rock Hill, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis talks about her college education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis describes her mentors during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis describes her early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her childhood aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis talks about her Catholic faith

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls her social life during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis recalls her preparation for college

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis talks about her childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Myrtle Davis remembers the start of World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls the entertainment of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis remembers her arrival at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis recalls her experiences at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis remembers the leadership of Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes her activities at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis recalls her classes at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers her professors at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her internship at LaBranche's Drug Store in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis talks about Mardi Gras

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls her graduation from Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis describes her first impressions of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis recalls how she met her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Myrtle Davis remembers Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis remembers the community on Auburn Avenue during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis describes her husband's civil rights activism in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis talks about her children

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis recalls her mother's civil rights activism in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes segregation in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers the Peyton Wall in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis describes the Collier Heights neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis remembers the events of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls joining the League of Women Voters of Atlanta-Fulton County

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls her experiences of discrimination in the medical field

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis describes the integration of the medical industry in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis describes her role at the Gate City Day Nursery Association

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis talks about her work for the Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis remembers her involvement with her daughters

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes her role in the Leadership Atlanta program

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers her older daughter's car accident and rehabilitation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her younger daughter's college application process

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis remembers her campaign for Atlanta City Council

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her time on the Atlanta City Council

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls her campaign for the mayoralty of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon the mayoral leadership of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis remembers the support for her mayoral campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis recalls her role at the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes her civic involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Myrtle Davis talks about her Catholic faith
Myrtle Davis describes her husband's civil rights activism in Atlanta, Georgia
Transcript
Now, you talked a little bit about church and your parents [Emmalee Williams Reid and Carl Reid] being Presbyterian, what church did your family attend?$$They were Presbyterians; both were very active in the church. And let me tell you how the whole intrusion of the whole--how Catholicism started in my life. My father got sick and went to St. Philip's Hospital [Rock Hill, South Carolina] and was--which was a Catholic hospital. And, of course, he had daily visits from, from the Chaplin there at the hospital who was a Catholic priest. And this Catholic priest was telling him about his plans to build a new Catholic church in the colored section of town which was Saint Mary's [Saint Mary Catholic Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina]. And that he needed someone to, to be an organist and asked him if he knew anybody. So my father said, "Well, my, my, my daughter Myrtle [HistoryMaker Myrtle Davis] plays. Maybe she would play for you." So he asked me if I wanted to do it and I said, "Well, sure, I'll do it." But, what my father used to do, we used to go to the 9:30 Mass and I would play and he would be outside waiting for me to take me to the Presbyterian church. Well, as time went on, and we did that for a long period of time where every Sunday morning he would take me to play at the Catholic church and then we would go to the Presbyterian church. Then it got to the point where I really liked the Mass and the Catholic church. And, they were a little bit disappointed I guess that I did not wanna continue in the Catholic church, but certainly they said it was my decision to make. My, my father said, "You're already female and you're already colored, why do you wanna add another thing to your, your life, another misery to your life to become Catholic as well?" But I hadn't looked at it like that. But there at that time, of course, in Rock Hill, South Carolina there were very few Catholics. There was one Catholic church, Saint Anne's [Saint Anne Catholic Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina] and, of course, St. Mary's was developed when I was in, in high school [Emmett Scott School, Rock Hill, South Carolina]. But, that was the whole motivation for my changing in, in religion from one to the other.$$How old were you?$$Well, I was actually, when I became interested in it, I was probably was fourteen, fifteen years old. When I actually was baptized or taken into Catholic church, it was my freshman year in college [Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana].$$Okay. What was the name of the Presbyterian church?$$It was Hermon Presbyterian Church [Rock Hill, South Carolina].$$Okay, and the Catholic church again?$$St. Mary's.$$St. Mary's.$$Uh-huh.$$And so, you went through the religious instructions to be confirmed and first communion and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's right, that's right. Actually, what happened was I had taken instructions at St. Mary's before I went to college, and I didn't finish. Well, when I came back my freshman year, was when I had my--when I was taken into the church. My confirmation took place in New Orleans [Louisiana] because I was a sophomore in college and it was occurring at the St. Louis Cathedral in, in New Orleans and they had a confirmation class. And that's where I was confirmed.$Now let's talk more about your husband. You get married and he's a very prominent physician, tell me about your husband and--'cause he's involved in a lot of different organizations and things here in Atlanta [Georgia] so tell me about some of his doings here in Atlanta (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, well he was, and particularly leading into the Civil Rights Movement. My husband was truly an activist. And I think if anybody had--if he'd had his, his--he made his own decisions about what he wanted to be I think he would have--first of all, he would have been a foot, football, football or basketball coach. He loved sports. But, in addition to that, he was truly a social activist. He became involved in, in causes and he was very active during, during the student movement [Atlanta Student Movement]. Supported the students entirely. He helped them get out of jail, he got out and picketed with them and so he was, he was that kind of person. I can remember one night in particular when he and [HistoryMaker] Dr. Clinton Warner and someone else went down to the old Heart of Atlanta Motel [Atlanta, Georgia], and they took bags and in the bags they had just packed towels, you know. They were gonna check into the Heart of Atlanta Motel because it was one of the places that, you know, just refused to open up. So they went down and, of course, they were arrested. So he did have--he had that streak of rebellion in him. I mean, he, he--there was, there was this need to, to make things better and he was gonna be a part of it. I mean, he--there was hardly a time that he ever sacrificed being out of his office but when something came up that he had to attend to that had a civil rights' nature to it, I mean, he was involved in that. There was a group of men who met on a regular basis to strategize and to support the students. And some of those people included Jesse Hill and--I'm trying to think of some of the early leaders in there but they were a lot of people on the Atlanta University [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia] campus, professors on the--many doctors, folks who, whose certainly livelihood did not depend on, on jobs. I mean, they--there jobs were not threatened as a result of the actions that they took. But Albert [Davis' husband, Albert Miles Davis] continued to be active, he also became president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and served in that capacity. In fact, I think he was serving as president of the NAACP when, when Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was assassinated. I mean, with it came a lot of--well, lot of things to respond to at the time, I mean, other than the student unrest and meeting with the downtown business people about opening up businesses. And he and Sam Williams [Samuel Woodrow Williams], who was--Sam Williams was a pastor of Friendship Baptist Church [Atlanta, Georgia], were very instrumental in meeting with the Atlanta school board to help integrate the schools. So he was very much involved in all of the integration efforts going on at that time.$$Now, after you marry, you no longer work at the--as a pharmacist?$$I worked for a while, I worked until possibly I was carrying Stephanie [HistoryMaker Stephanie Davis] and I stopped after a while during my pregnancy.$$I'm sorry, I meant to ask you about your husband. You mentioned the Guardsmen [National Association of Guardsmen].$$Um-hm.$$What group was that?$$It, it's a social organization that still exists. But they started a, a chapter here in Atlanta and there were about thirty guys who got together and established an Atlanta chapter. And what it was, it was truly a social club but they had entertainment at the various cities where each chapter was located. It still goes on this way about four times a year. And, of course, the Atlanta parties were the parties that, that people liked to go to 'cause it was a, really a good time.$$

Augustine Davis

Augustine Davis, survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor and pioneering black pharmacist, was born on November 19, 1917, in LaGrange, Texas. His early years were spent helping his family with farm work. Aware of the lack of medical attention available to his family, Davis desired to become a doctor. When he graduated in 1936 from Taylor High School in Taylor, Texas, Davis needed money to attend college, but he was unable to find a working scholarship available for any of the black colleges.

To finance his college education, Davis enlisted in the U.S. Army’s segregated black 25th Infantry, which recruiters told him was the only armed black unit in the Army. After a three-year stint, he still needed tuition money, so he enlisted in the still-segregated U.S. Navy. The pay from the U.S. Navy was a little higher, though all black recruits were assigned special duty in the messman branch. However, Davis’ naval duty, which superseded special duty, was that of a gunner.

At daybreak, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese military launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Davis rushed to his gun as the enemy opened fire on the U.S.S. Breese. One plane flew so low that Davis could see the pilot’s face. His loaders never reached him, but somehow Davis loaded his gun and fired back, only to see planes disappear into clouds of smoke. His gun was the only one on the Breese to get into action, but Davis received no citations for valor. He went on to see combat duty in other pivotal engagements, including the Battle of Midway. Davis was placed in charge of a battery aboard the U.S.S. Essex, which consisted of four anti-aircraft machine guns, all manned by black men.

After the war, Davis attended Ohio State University and earned his B.S. degree in pre-medicine, then graduated from the Ohio State College of Pharmacy – one of few blacks to have done so. Davis retired after a long professional career. He has two daughters, six grandchildren and two siblings. He lived with his wife, Gwendolyn, in Montclair, New Jersey.

Davis passed away on July 5, 2014.

Accession Number

A2002.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/9/2002

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

La Grange School

Taylor High School

Bates College

The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University School of Pharmacy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Augustine

Birth City, State, Country

LaGrange

HM ID

DAV04

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Walgreens

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

For heaven’s sakes!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/19/1917

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans

Death Date

7/5/2014

Short Description

Pharmacist and sailor Augustine Davis (1917 - 2014 ) was a World War II Navy gunner and Pearl Harbor survivor. After the war, Davis attended Ohio State University and earned his B.S. degree in pre-medicine, then graduated from the Ohio State College of Pharmacy, one of the few blacks to have done so at the time.

Employment

Mt. Carmel Hospital, (Columbus, OH)

University Hospital

St. Joseph's Hospital

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Augustine Davis interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Augustine Davis's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Augustine Davis describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Augustine Davis describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Augustine Davis recalls the racial climate of the La Grange, Texas of his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Augustine Davis describes his family structure growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Augustine Davis reflects on his youth in La Grange, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Augustine Davis discusses the history of Native American/black relations in the U.S.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Augustine Davis reflects on his school life

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Augustine Davis recalls leaving home at age sixteen

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Augustine Davis recalls his false imprisonment in Katy, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Augustine Davis describes his beginnings in the U.S. military

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Augustine Davis reviews his educational pursuits while in the U.S. military

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Augustine Davis recounts the bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Augustine Davis gives examples of discrimination in the segregated U.S. Navy during the 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Augustine Davis evaluates portrayals of World War II generals and admirals

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Augustine Davis talks about mispersceptions about blacks' roles in the Navy during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Augustine Davis recalls the destruction of the U.S. fleet at the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Augustine Davis shares memories of the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Augustine Davis explains the U.S. Navy's strategy after defeat at Pearl Harbor

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Augustine Davis reflects on his and other African Americans' military service in World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Augustine Davis describes how a gun battery works

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Augustine Davis describes his experience in World War II's Battle of Midway, 1942

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Augustine Davis mentions Tokyo Rose

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Augustine Davis relates an unreported incident of an American cruiser sunk by friendly fire during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Augustine Davis illustrates how he and other black soldiers were not appreciated at home during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Augustine Davis illustrates racism aboard the U.S.S. Essex aircraft carrier

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Augustine Davis advocates for the acknowledgement of African American military service in World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Augustine Davis describes his experince at Bates College after his discharge from the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Augustine Davis recalls averting a frontal lobotomy while at a Veteran's hospital

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Augustine Davis describes his efforts to start life anew after leaving college and the military

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Augustine Davis talks about his return to college and obtaining his undergraduate degree from Ohio State

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Augustine Davis talks about the difficulty of getting into medical school after graduating from college

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Augustine Davis explains why he attended pharmacy school

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Augustine Davis recalls how he dealt with racism he encountered at Ohio State

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Augustine Davis describes the challenges he faced due to racial prejudice while working as a pharmacist

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Augustine Davis discusses the prevalence of racism in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Augustine Davis recognizes shortcomings in the mentoring of black youth

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Augustine Davis discusses his parents' responses to his success

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Augustine Davis describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

1$8

DATitle
Augustine Davis recalls the destruction of the U.S. fleet at the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941
Augustine Davis describes the challenges he faced due to racial prejudice while working as a pharmacist
Transcript
Let's go back to [the attack on] Pearl Harbor [Hawaii, December 7, 1941] and let's talk about what the scene looked like there. And maybe why the [U.S.S.] Breese didn't get sunk. And there's a story about the [U.S.S.] Arizona too.$$You ready for me to talk? Tell you about it?$$Yeah, yeah.$$Then Pearl Harbor, now, see, they have what they call battleship row, and they--now, we weren't tied up to any of those docks. Destroyers was moored to buoys, we were tied up to buoys. Now, we were right around, as you came out of the channel, we weren't too far, after getting out to the channel into the main harbor, tied up to a buoy. Now, when there was all that attack, that was going on there--see, most of those ships were sunk within a minute of--a half an hour because when they knew anything, those guys was dropping bombs and things down on--practically down the smokestacks and things before any of the other guys were even out of the bunks. Ships was sinking and burning. And the guys were abandoning ship, jumping in the water. And those fighters were still coming in strafing and killing the guys in the water. So, and this, another thing, they always say, now, telling it, giving a description of something that happened in a case like that or during war or anything else in the--individuals tell the story from where they--their viewpoint, where they were and what was happening. Now, they, they talk about they only lost 2,500 men in Pearl Harbor. That's hard for me to believe because you take each one of those battleships carried almost 400--4,000 men, not to mention the destroyers or anything like that that carried three--around 300 men and stuff. Now, and most of those guys were lost on those ships. Now, you take like the [U.S.S.] Arizona. The Arizona just went down, and the guys didn't have a chance. But when they sound, man your battle station, even though their ship was blowing up and sinking at the time, here again, that was a battleship. And like I said, most of your black guys on there was assigned to the magazine. Those guys went to their battle station knowing that that ship was going down. They went to their battle stations. Consequently, they're all down there on that, the Arizona in Pearl Harbor right now. Now, about a couple of months before that happened, before the war brought--see, in the [U.S.] Navy they like all the other service, the Army as well, they, they go after good athletes. Ships compete for good athletes just like there in the Army bases and things, like companies go after good athletes. So the guys, the admiral has rank and the captain of the Arizona was an admiral, where the captain of the destroyer I was on was only a commander. Now, the captain of the Arizona was trying to get me off of the destroyer on the Arizona because I was a good athlete.$$What, to play baseball?$$For, to play baseball--now see, I played everything. I played but football, and so, yeah, that's what, yeah, that's what it--because ships compete against each other like schools and things, your bases and things, ship bases, they, they have base teams and things like that. They, they compete against each other just like colleges and things do. So he was trying to get me off, gonna take me off the destroyer, that destroyer and move me to the Arizona. Well, the captain of the destroyer I was on, he made an appeal to the admiral of the fleet saying that the captain of the Arizona was pulling rank on him and attempting to take his best men away from him which was lowering the efficiency of his ship. And the admiral of the fleet stopped that transfer. Now, had that not happened, I would be down there with the rest of those guys on that Arizona right today. So here again, I say, well, maybe there is a God. I mean so many things have happened to me that I can't explain. But anyway, that's--$$Well, what did--yeah, can you--I just wondered if you could describe what it looked like and what it smelled like, and--?$$Oh, during that attack?$$Yeah, after the battle, yeah.$$Well, you couldn't, you couldn't smell anything but oil and oil all over the water, from the ships and things, and naturally, smoke, you, you--black smoke and stuff. You're inhaling that, it's stifling to you--and during, during the battle, you, you could hardly see so far because the, it was so much dense black smoke from those ships burning and sinking. So it was, it was just, it was, it was complete pandemonium. As I say, you smelled a lot of fuel oil and stuff like, all those planes right there on Ford Island [Pearl Harbor, Hawaii]. Those planes was all blowing up so there's aircraft fuel and fumes in the air, and all from the ships, the, the whole harbor was covered with oil. And they guys, if you--that was in the water, all you could do was--and it was fire on the water. So you were taught in the navy anyway, abandon, abandoning ship in case of fire or it might be fire on the water from the--so you swim as far as you could in the water and when you come up, you come up with your hands first and part the water, part that oil and stuff. So you could catch your breath and then go back down. See, you could do that when that, when that oil and stuff is burning on the water, you come up, you part the water, you part that blaze, give you a chance to stick your head up there and, and catch a breath and then go back down. Well, that's--.$$So what do you try to do? Swim under it--?$$Swim under it, you have to stay under it. And that's only, you can only go so far like that, and you, you have to come up. So it's just, you're just lost. I mean you just come up and get burned up. And then another thing, when a ship is sinking like that, you have to get as far away from it as you can because it, it'll pull you right down with it. It's taking on water, you see, and it's sucking that water in; it'll suck you right in with it. And that vacuum of the ship going down, even if it, you--it's no longer seen on the surface of the water, it's still a vacuum, there's water coming in to fill that void where that ship went down. So, so that water and current will, will pull you right down with it. And it may take you so deep so you won't be able to hold your breath long enough to get back to the surface. But that's, that's what these guys were doing in the water. And then--another thing, as I say, most of them didn't have a chance because even though they managed to get off the ship and into the water and trying to swim to the shore, these, these--the fighter planes were coming and just spraying the surface of the water with bullets killing 'em in the water.$When I graduated from pharmacy [Ohio State University College Of Pharmacy, Columbus, Ohio] it was a routine--they usually brought in representatives from all your major pharmaceutical companies, things like that, to come in and interview the senior class. It was two of us graduating in my class. One more black guy. They brought these guys in to interview all these other guys. And none of them ever interviewed myself or this other--Rudy, this other black guy. Never interviewed us. At that time you couldn't--black guys couldn't get in the pharmaceutical industry. You couldn't even get a job in retail pharmacy. You apply--I applied for jobs in retail pharmacy and they said they need you there, but they were afraid to hire you because it may drive a lot of their white customers away. So hospital pharmacy would take a black pharmacist in for the simple reason that none of these other guys--because they made more money in industry and that type of thing than they could make in hospital pharmacy. So hospitals needed pharmacists. So they would take us. So that's how I got into hospital pharmacy. And in order to augment my salary, bring my salary up to something comparable to what these other white guys were making in the industry and that, not only did I do hospital pharmacy, I worked part-time retail pharmacy in areas--all black areas. They wouldn't hire you in retail pharmacy. These chains and things in none of the retail pharmacy that you know. Private drugstores. They wouldn't hire you in a white area. But those people--drugstores in all black areas, they would hire you. Now that's what was going on then, all right. Now another thing that I get into, you get into that. Even there in hospital pharmacy you could never become the head of the department a chief pharmacist even in hospital pharmacy, that paid more than just a regular staff pharmacist. That was going on even in hospital pharmacy. I went--I went into hospital pharmacy in Columbus, Ohio and I stayed in pharmacy in Columbus, Ohio 'til I met my wife [Gwendolyn Newberry] and got involved with my wife and she lived in Cleveland [Ohio]. So that's when I moved to Cleveland and went into hospital pharmacy in Cleveland. And the first thing I was told when I reported to work at University Hospital in Cleveland--the head of the department called me inside and said, "Now just because we will be working with you, that doesn't mean that we want to socialize with you." See that's the thing that burns me. A lot of these blacks today they're out here walking around with their nose in the air and not--and they don't know what we went through. And to a great extent still going through, up until I retired. I was working in--I transferred to a hospital [St. Joseph's Hospital] in New Jersey, because it paid a little bit more money than the hospital was paying--the University Hospital was paying in Cleveland. I got there--it was a situation where most of the people they had working in pharmacy there didn't know anything about hospital pharmacy. So that's why they latched on to me in the first place, all right. The head of the department, that one that should have been running the department--and when they had department head meetings and all this kind--that should have been attending those meetings, I was sent to those department head meetings. And I was told at one of the meeting--it kept happening. I was told at one of the meetings something. The president was talking about some kind of program. Whatever they were talking about and they wanted the opinion of all--coming from all departments. And I said how it would affect the pharmacy department, the problems and things we would have and that type thing. And the president one day--one day I just had had it. This particular day the president said, "Oh that's not for you to say. That's for the head of your department to say." And I had had it. I said, "Well why do you think I'm up here? Do you think I came here on my own? The head of the department sent me here. Why do you think I was sent here?" And you could hear a pin fall. He didn't know what to say. And I--in the department I set up an IV [intravenous] department. I did all the research work and that type of thing. I set up an IV department. So I was put in charge of that IV department because the other pharmacist, they didn't know anything about that. So they got another white youngster coming in there right out of college. And he was assigned to my department, the IV department. He didn't wanna work back there because I was in charge of that department. So the head of the pharmacy department started hee-hawing around and came to me and said, "Well--" talking about the situation. He said, "Well why don't we just make both of you head of that department." Now this might seem ridiculous to you.$$Yeah it does.$$"Why don't we just make both of you head of that department." I told him--I said, "This is ridiculous." I said, "Well I'll just do what you don't have the guts to tell me. I'll just tell you what I'll do myself. You can give that department to that fellow. I'll take orthopedics, intensive care and cardiac care. And I'll take those three departments--floors. Cardiac care, intensive care and orthopedics." And then they said, "Well that will be fine. But then also what will happen before he makes any decisions as to what's to be done back there in that IV department, he'll have to get it approved by you." I was telling you about some of the things I went through. Some of the things I went through.$$That sounds crazy. Sounds absolutely crazy.$$And that's--and that hadn't been eons--years ago. That's right on up until--you have doctors and things coming to the pharmacy with questions and things about medication and what not. They'd walk right by me and go to one of these white individuals. And that white individual had to turn and come to me to get the answer. And that soon became--and all the doctors--it wasn't no black doctors in that hospital out there. They [unclear]. They were aware of that. Yet they would come if they'd come there, they'd still go to one of those guys and they had to get what I had to say through one of those guys. Also the thing that, you know--so tell you the truth I'm a--I am a better man today and it makes it worse when I have to endure and think of what other people thinks about me and that type of thing. Now I--getting back to the beginning when I transferred from Ohio to New Jersey, New Jersey was supposed to reciprocate with Ohio. Supposedly all I had to do was go there and apply for a license in New Jersey. I had to get a New Jersey license. But that's all it should have been. Because I'd been working as a pharmacist in Ohio for what? Five or six years. But when I got to New Jersey instead of reciprocating with me, they did it for other pharmacists. I've known other white pharmacists to come from Chicago [Illinois] here and Boston [Massachusetts] there. Came there and all they did was apply for a New Jersey license and got it. But with me--you know how they requested for me to get licensed in New Jersey? I had to get authentic documentation from the elementary school that I graduated from, the high school that I graduated from, the college that I graduated from. I had to get a letter from two of the professors in the college that I graduated from. And a recommendation from the hospital that I had just left. They requested all that stuff from me. Now how in the world did I get through high school? How did I get through college? How would I get an Ohio license if I hadn't graduated from college?

Dr. Henry Lewis

Born on January 22, 1950 in Tallahassee, Florida, Dr. Henry Lewis III received his B.S. degree in pharmacy from Florida A&M University; his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Mercer University; and completed his post-doctoral training at the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Lewis has served as a professor, dean and Interim President of the Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Lewis has also served as president of the Minority Health Professions Foundation and its sister agency, the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools, which, under his leadership, secured a combined sum of over $100 million in support of programs, research and activities to improve the quality and availability of health care to minority and underserved communities. Lewis also played an instrumental role as president of the National Pharmaceutical Association and the Care-Net Health System for the uninsured in Leon County. Under his direction, FAMU has opened a pharmacy for medically deprived patients at the Bond Community Clinic.

Besides serving on numerous local and national boards, Lewis has testified before many Congressional subcommittees on health, research and educational funding, and has provided service to such organizations as the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, the National Urban League, Big Bend Hospice and the American Cancer Society. In 1986, he made history by becoming the first African American elected to the Leon County Board of County Commissioners. The Student National Pharmaceutical Association recognized Lewis as a Teacher of the Year. He married his wife, Dr. Marisa Lewis, also a pharmacist, in 1990.

Accession Number

A2002.058

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/22/2002

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Tallahassee

HM ID

LEW03

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Walgreens

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Amelia Island, Florida

Favorite Quote

To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

1/22/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tallahassee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Crabs

Short Description

Pharmacist Dr. Henry Lewis (1950 - ) was the first African American elected to the Leon County, Florida Board of Commissioners.

Employment

Florida A&M University, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Henry Lewis describes his family and his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Henry Lewis describes his father's background and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Henry Lewis describes his childhood and his earliest memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Henry Lewis describes his neighborhood in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Henry Lewis describes the sights, sounds, and smells growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Henry Lewis talks about his mentor growing up in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Henry Lewis describes his experiences and teachers at Bond Elementary School in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Henry Lewis describes himself as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Henry Lewis talks about working at Economy Drugstore during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Henry Lewis talks about working for Mr. Howard Roberts at the Economy Drugstore in Tallahassee, Florida while in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Henry Lewis describes himself as a leader

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Henry Lewis talks about his Pentecostal upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Henry Lewis talks about race relations and the Civil Rights Movement in Tallahassee, Florida in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Henry Lewis talks about the Tallahassee, Florida bus boycott in 1956-1957

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Henry Lewis talks about the segregation and racism in Tallahassee, Florida during his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Henry Lewis talks about attending the pharmacy school at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1968

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Henry Lewis describes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination and his own detention by the National Guard on April 4, 1968

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Henry Lewis talks about the pharmacy school at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Henry Lewis describes working at Olin Chemical Corporation's munitions plant during college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Henry Lewis describes how the Vietnam War affected him as a student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Henry Lewis talks about his disappointment in how African American soldiers were treated during and after the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Henry Lewis describes his Civil Rights activism during college at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Henry Lewis talks about pursuing a career as a pharmacist in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Henry Lewis describes the influence a white family, the Basses, had on his development

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Henry Lewis describes becoming the first black director at Bay Front Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1973

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Henry Lewis talks about the difference in treatment that black and white patients received at Bay Front Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Henry Lewis talks about returning to a position at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University's Pharmacy School in 1974

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Henry Lewis narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Henry Lewis narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Henry Lewis talks about becoming an assistant dean at the School of Pharmacy at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Henry Lewis talks about his work on issues of diabetes and sickle cell anemia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Henry Lewis describes the inequalities in research and care of diseases that adversely affect African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Henry Lewis talks about how AIDS affects the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Henry Lewis talks about empowering the black community to improve its healthcare quality

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Henry Lewis talks about becoming the first African American elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 1986

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Henry Lewis talks about his experience serving on the Board of County Commissioners

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Henry Lewis describes becoming Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Texas Southern University from 1990 to 1994

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Henry Lewis talks about returning as Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1994

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Henry Lewis talks about serving as interim president of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2002

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Henry Lewis talks about the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Henry Lewis talks about what he wants his legacy to be and how he wants to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

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DATitle
Henry Lewis talks about becoming the first African American elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 1986
Henry Lewis describes becoming Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Texas Southern University from 1990 to 1994
Transcript
Now between 1984 and '89 [1989] you come back here and you come back here as dean of planning and development and you're still at the Pharmacy Department [School of Pharmacy, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University] but you're activism is really taking over now, explain that.$$Well working through the local chapter of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] we thought that the county government here in Tallahassee, Florida needed to reexamine the way they elected its commissioners. I worked with the then president of the NAACP, Anita Davis to examine the voting rights and indeed voting system of Leon County [Florida] which was an at large system totally at that particular point in time to say whether or not African Americans and other minorities had an equal opportunity to get elected to our Board of County Commissioners. Our findings showed that they did not. We, in fact, filed a lawsuit through the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] to change the at large voting system to a single member district form of governance and we prevailed in that lawsuit through the District Court of Appeals. Once we had won the case, we looked around and said well you won the case, now who's going to run? And they said, "Well Henry you got us in this mess so you've got to run." So I in fact did seek that office of the first single member district office here in Tallahassee in Leon County and I won in 1986 becoming the first African American elected to the Board of County Commissioners.$$What are some of your achievements that you're proud of that you brought forth when you did that?$$I think first and foremost bringing to the county governors a representation of the African American community a voice to the table that they did not have. If you look at the whole county system of governance, we were disenfranchised. Most of the dirt roads in Leon County at that time were where African Americans lived. So we started on a program that we coined as SAFE and that acronym stood for "Surface Asphalt For Everyone" and that was a road paving project that we attempted to pave every unpaved county road in Leon County. And today all of those roads except about five or six that the people on those roads chose to keep as unpaved have been paved by county government and I think that was a significant move to improve access for minority people within the Leon County area. I think the health department system here was not what it should be. We started the branch system of health department coverage. So people who couldn't get out of French Town [Tallahassee, Florida] and other areas had a place close to home to go so we opened up a new county health unit over on Old Bainbridge Road in the French Town area and that now provides, I think, excellent coverage for people who can't--who don't have a physician home but certainly need coverage. There is a full time physician on staff there all the time in that regard. And we finally started the minority business enterprise program for Leon County and I think that allowed minority businessmen and women, in fact, to access county contracts and county services in a way that they never had and that program right now, I think is netting about five to six million dollars a year in county contracts going to minority disadvantaged businesses.$Now from there we're going to your first deanship--$$Yes.$$--at a school. Texas Southern University [Houston]. Now how was, how did they even call or come to you that Texas Southern University wants the man of Tallahassee [Florida]?$$Well I think that the College of Pharmacy [Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University] was growing and continued to grow and we're in good stead as I served both on the [Leon County, Florida] County Commission and working on the faculty here in the College of Pharmacy. I had these aspirations of moving on and staying in academia. I said earlier I had no prior inkling that I wanted to be in academia once I got there, I found out I said hey this is my thing, I kind of like this. So I think I'll make a career out of this and my mom said I couldn't work in a drugstore and I couldn't work in a hospital pharmacy so I had to teach (laughter). So teaching was indeed my forte and I think now that you search for things that really give you that thrill and that benefit and sometimes it's right under your nose and being in academia has been that forte for me and I actually love it. The call came from Texas Southern [University, Houston] because I was president at the same time of the International Pharmacy Association and I had the chance to interact with the African American pharmacists across the nation. I interacted with quite a bit of the alumni from Texas Southern University and, in fact, through the president of the alumni association that I got a call saying that we would like for you to consider the deanship. That was at the same time I was finishing up my first term of office as county commissioner and nobody at that particular point in time had announced opposition for my candidacy for reelection if I had so chose to do that. So I was another decision thinking point. Do I run for county commissioner again and stay in Tallahassee [Florida] or do I go ahead and pursue my aspiration of staying in the academy and I chose the latter. Staying in academia I think was a positive move, I think I got into politics only because I was the rabble rouser and they didn't have anybody else to run for office after you won like a dog chasing a car once you catch it what do you do. And that's how we kind of evolved into that political arena. But what I found though is being in academia has allowed me to be in the political arena as well as the academic arena simultaneously. Being a dean has allowed me to work with congress in crafting legislation, getting funding, getting new programs started and at the same time I'm able to serve the students by providing an opportunity for them to achieve their career aspirations in whatever their chosen field is.$$How were you received at Texas Southern University [Houston] (unclear)?$$Being a rattler and going into--their mascot is the fearless tiger, it was different at first but certainly within the first few months being able to move the school then. They had both pharmacy and six programs in the health sciences, I had little knowledge of physical therapy and occupational therapy and environmental health and those kinds of--health information management--and those kinds of programs that were part of the umbrella of the College of Pharmacy Health Sciences there but I was a quick study. I had good people around me to give me information about the whole process. In my first two years I had four accreditations come up and that's a horrendous task for any dean and certainly a dean with no background in some of those disciplines. But our faculty rose to the occasion and we prevailed. We set about changing the mission of that institution just like Dr. [Charles] Walker changed the mission here. We set forth a course of, a research focus and a graduate program focus and now they are one of the--certainly in the Southwest one of the leading research institutions in the southwest and they now have PhD programs in the pharmaceutical sciences as well and they did not have that prior to then.$$We're going to change the tape.