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Lewis E. Dodley

Youth Advocate and Motivational Speaker Lewis E. Dodley was born on December 25, 1940 in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from East High School in Columbus and went on to attend Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. Dodley has received extensive training to become a Violence Prevention Certification Specialist and a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor (CCDCIII). He is also a Certified Afrocentric National Rites of Passage Elder and Trainer.

Dodley joined Ohio’s Department of Youth Services in 1960 as a staff development trainer. Ten years later, he also began serving as director of family services for Rosemont Family Center. Dodley received his Ph.D. degree in psychology and guidance counseling from the Ohio State University in 1981. Since 1984, he has served as a trainer and consultant for Youth to Youth International, a drug and violence prevention organization. In 1987, Dodley became a project director and consultant for Salesian Boys Club. He organized the Simba Circle in 1993, a two-week male rites of passage program for African American youth, and heads the Outward Bound Program for the Simba Circle. Also in 1993, Dodley became a consultant for the Columbus Public Schools. From 2004 to 2011, he held the position of drug prevention coordinator for the Columbus Health Department. Dodley serves as a licensed counselor for the Federal TRIO Programs’ Upward Bound Program and a senior consultant for the Harambee Leadership Academy, Inc. He has over twenty years’ experience in criminal justice, children’s services, violence prevention, therapeutic intervention and drug prevention. With his expertise, Dodley is a sought-after speaker around the country including presenting at the Ohio Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel OAEOPP Student Leadership and Professional Conference and the S.A.V.E. (Stand Against a Violent Environment) Rapid City Youth Conference.

Dodley has been recognized for his commitment to youth issues and violence prevention including receiving the Community Against Violence and Abuse Award in 2005. He also has been recognized by the Columbus Urban League. Dodley was a member of the Raising the African-American Potential (RAAP) Leadership Committee in 2006. He has four adult children, Lewis, Traci, Mark and Kimberly.

Lewis E. Dodley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 6, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.103

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/6/2012

Last Name

Dodley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

E

Schools

The Ohio State University

Otterbein University

East High School

Douglas Alternative Elementary School

Champion Avenue School

First Name

Lewis

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

DOD04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

It Is Better To Build Children Than Fix Adults. A Warrior Doesn't Build A Shield On The Battlefield.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/25/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Motivational speaker and youth advocate Lewis E. Dodley (1940 - ) was an expert on youth violence and drug prevention. He founded the SIMBA Circle, an Afrocentric rites of passage program for young African American men.

Employment

Columbus Health Department

HARAMBEE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY, INC.

Department of Youth Services, State of Ohio

Rosemont Family Center

Salesian Boys Club

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority

Favorite Color

Pink, Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lewis E. Dodley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lewis E. Dodley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lewis E. Dodley describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the Flytown section of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lewis E. Dodley describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his father's employment

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lewis E. Dodley describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers his father's return from World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lewis E. Dodley lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers a childhood friend

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lewis E. Dodley describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers the black businesses in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers Douglas Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his family members' alcoholism

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers his activities at East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lewis E. Dodley recalls his recruitment to Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the schools near Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers marrying his first wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his relationship with his first wife

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his work experiences after leaving Otterbein College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers enrolling at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the black male leaders in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the black female leaders in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his influences at The Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about joining an all-white fraternity at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his research for his master's degree

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers working with Youth to Youth International

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about youth drug prevention programs

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers working at the Ohio Department of Youth Services

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about developing rites of passage for black youth

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the Afrocentric movement

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lewis E. Dodley remembers the influential black psychologists

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lewis E. Dodley describes his rites of passage program

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the rituals in his rites of passage program

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the SIMBA Circle summer camp

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lewis E. Dodley describes the SIMBA Circle's crossover ceremony

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the mask making ceremony at SIMBA Circle

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lewis E. Dodley describes the final ceremony at SIMBA Circle

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lewis E. Dodley describes the teaching philosophy of SIMBA Circle

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his rites of passage program for former prison inmates

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the value of Afrocentric principles

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lewis E. Dodley reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lewis E. Dodley reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the Safe in My Sister's Arms Circle (SISMA Circle)

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about the funding for the SIMBA Circle

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about working with youth from different cities

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lewis E. Dodley describes his family

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Lewis E. Dodley talks about his grandchildren

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Lewis E. Dodley describes his love of fishing

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Lewis E. Dodley describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Lewis E. Dodley narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Lewis E. Dodley remembers working at the Ohio Department of Youth Services
Lewis E. Dodley talks about the rituals in his rites of passage program
Transcript
Let me go back a little bit to 1981 when you got your Ph.D., now did you, did you immediately go after a different job? Or did you get hi- did you get offers for any other jobs?$$I had a couple of offers. But I stayed with the Department of Youth Services [Ohio Department of Youth Services] for a while, because I wanted to, for one thing, to pay back the money, in order to not be bogged down with loans. They have what they call the Juvenile Justice Act [Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974], or the law enforcement act, LEAA [Law Enforcement Assistance Administration]. And whereas if you worked at an agency that paid your tuition, you'd pay it back by working there. This is why I liked that idea a lot. It keeps you in your field, you know. Yeah, so that was 1981. Okay, I became interested in--I got so tired of seeing our kids die. I met a young man from, he used to be a pastor at this church. Harvard Stephens [Harvard Stephens, Jr.] was his name. He had a program called Young Men with a Future, and he saw me working with kids at the detention center during the time I had my doctorate. I joined groups on Saturdays at the DH [ph.]. He said, "How about coming to my church and work with a group of boys on rites of passage programming?" I said, "Sure." So after that it branched off, and I met with people in Chicago [Illinois] through the Evangelical Lutheran [Evangelical Lutheran Church in America] headquarters on Higgins [Road].$$About what year is this?$$Ninety [1990].$$Nineteen ninety [1990]?$$Ninety-one [1991].$$Ninety-one [1991], okay.$$Yeah, because we started our first camp in '93 [1993].$$Now explain, what is the rites of passage program, and how do these programs get started? Were you aware of these in the past?$$Yeah. Dr. Kelsey [Moriba Kelsey] had always said that he feels like the biggest problem our kids have is not knowing what a real man is, or what a real woman is. And how you get that, every culture has a rites of passage program, but it had to be retrieved. And rites of passage, of course, are those events that you go through physically, emotionally, and psychologically to make you, quote, a responsible person. And those steps sometimes get lost. And I think I have to remind kids sometimes--they know what a bar mitzvah is, but they don't equate it with what they're going through, okay. So, rites of passage are those agreed upon activities and events you have to have in order to maintain who you really are. You've got to know who you are. If you don't know who you are, you set yourself up for abuse. Because people will say anything about you, but when you know who you really are, then you don't have to worry about hating somebody else, because you know who you really are. Plus, it's just fascinating when kids understand. For example, little facts like pyramids. They still--I mean they don't--when I say, "Somebody built a pyramid that looked just like you," you know, and there's some questions. I said, "Have you ever seen a brick of a pyramid, guys? One is big as this room."$Okay.$$Oh.$$You were walking us through (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah. And when they throw their pain in that fire, I'd tell them, "Look up, look at the stars. And write your name in the stars, connect the dots. And all the rest of the stars are ancestors, someone who died so that you could go on." And I remind them, "Your ancestors didn't bring you this far to let you down." Now, and I also tie that into another--it's about rituals, learning about rituals, and why we have rituals. We explained to them, why do we do libations or tambiko? Not to be just to be doing it, not worshipping. You're remembering. So for anybody who thinks that it's sacrilegious, it's not that we are worshipping. We're remembering, and honoring and understanding that there are people who came before us that allowed us to even be on this campus that we're all on here today, this sort of thing. And when you stand, you stand--like if you're playing football and you're a wide receiver, you don't stand on one foot, because then you standing on the ancestors' shoulders--heads. And we don't want that, so you stand firmly, like this. And then you--we had them--if you've never done libations or tambiko--I know you have. But it's a real teaching moment for kids to remember their ancestry. Because we first start out by asking them to remember someone before slavery, and then, "Where is Timbuktu [Mali]? I thought that was in Texas." Then we teach like that. So we always ask them to think about someone before slavery, and were talking about the first doctors, Imhotep you know. Of course you know all of that, but I'm saying that kids don't know it, you know. They say, "Well, maybe it's a mummy." I say, "Well, to mummify a body, you have to be a physician." I said. And they still are amazed at how they preserve those bodies. That sort of thing. So, that piqued their interest. And the more people they call out, you know, the better we are. And some of them don't know. Then now, they want to know. And then we ask them to answer the Moth [ph.], not the Middle Passage, and explain what that means. We don't use that term anymore, because it's a great tragedy, and it's not like we were able to ride back home and stuff like that. Slavery was one way. And so, you get a chance while you're doing libation to teach at the same time. And even when you get to the part where you have the boys to call up their own personal ancestors, like that, I say, "Somebody who makes you smile," and you ought to see the smiles on their faces. And sometimes they explain who it is. You don't have to. And then we always ask them to pour a libation for an event or something in your life that's meaningful to you. For example substance abuse, teenage mothers, people born with AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome], and all kind of stuff like this. Bring their consciousness up about what's going on with us during the rites of passage ceremonies. And the whole curriculum [at SIMBA Circle], that's just the ten days. I mean we do this in ten days, and then we come back and expand on each one of those points in our school and afterschool programs. That's why we have the Urban Warriors [ph.]. We have boys now at a conference in Toledo [Ohio], I think that's where it's at. In fact, the guy who took them, is one of our nation builders, which is a rank in rites of passage. And the nation builders are the ones who work directly with the Warriors. I'm an elder, so the camp is designed, you got the elders--well, you got the watoto's [ph.], or the warriors, the kids that have the war spirit. Then they're surrounded by nation builders. And the nation builders are surrounded by the elders. And the elders are the ones who help, if we need to.$$Providing overall guidance for them?$$Right. We have a--and we always make the difference between an elder and an older, like that.

Kenneth D. Rodgers

Civic minded mechanical engineer, Kenneth D. Rodgers was born September 20, 1951 in Lansing, Michigan. With family roots in Mississippi, his parents, Joe and Irene Rodgers were members of Paradise Baptist Church. As a child, Rodgers was mentored by Art Jones of the National Society of Civil Engineers. Attending Allen Street Elementary School, West Junior High School, Rodgers improved his grades and graduated from Sexton High School in 1969. At the University of Detroit, Rodgers instituted New Dawn, a youth enrichment project. He graduated with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1975 and earned a master’s in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University in 2002.

Starting as a schoolteacher, Rodgers was hired as an engineer for Goodyear in Lansing. Moving to Reading, Pennsylvania in 1978, he started a youth chapter, and became president of the NAACP. He also set up a program called Brothers and Sisters. In 1982, Rodgers moved to the Chicago area. Youth Action Ministries (YAM) was founded by Reverend Hycel B. Taylor at Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Illinois that same year. Rodgers became volunteer executive director for YAM shortly thereafter. Programs instituted by Rodgers include: youth mentoring, tutoring, and self esteem workshops. Since 1989, YAM has offered an annual college tour highlighting historically Black colleges and universities. Through the EdgeUp project, Rodgers introduces students to engineering.

A member of the Evanston Zoning Board, the Coalition for the Improvement of Education in South Shore, Rodgers also serves on the boards of the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Children’s Defense Program. He works as an engineer for Greely Hanson in Chicago and is vice president of the National Society of Black Engineers. Honored for his community service, Rodgers is a popular motivational speaker.

Accession Number

A2004.253

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/9/2004

Last Name

Rodgers

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Occupation
Schools

University of Detroit Mercy

Allen Street Elementary School

West Junior High School

J.W. Sexton High School

Northwestern University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, Weekends

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

Lansing

HM ID

ROD03

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/20/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tacos

Short Description

Youth advocate Kenneth D. Rodgers (1951 - ) served as the volunteer executive director for Youth Action Ministries. Rodgers is also an engineer for A.M. Kinney Inc. in Chicago, and has served as vice president of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Employment

Commonwealth Associates Inc.

A.M. Kinney

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth D. Rodgers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth D. Rodgers lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about his parent's background and his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes his parents' contribution to their local African American community

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes his paternal grandfather and father's work

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth D. Rodgers remembers growing up in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes the values his parents instilled in their children

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes himself as a student

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth D. Rodgers reflects on the transformation from his childhood to his more responsible adult self

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about his extracurricular activities at J.W. Sexton High School and his influences during that time

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth D. Rodgers recalls dropping out of University of California, Los Angeles and then entering the University of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about his involvement in community organizations as a young adult

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes working for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company while attending the University of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about his involvement with civic organizations in Reading, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about moving to Chicago, Illinois and his involvement in community organizations in the Chicagoland area

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes his youth organization, Youth Action Ministry (YAM), in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes his approach with the children in Youth Action Ministry (YAM)

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes his motivational philosophy for Youth Action Ministry (YAM)

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about the leadership of children in Youth Action Ministry (YAM) and the program's college attendance rate

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes a Youth Action Ministry workshop

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about HistoryMaker Tavis Smiley's Youth to Leaders program and selecting topics to cover during Youth Action Ministry workshops

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about instilling self-esteem into young African Americans

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about the yam symbolism used in Youth Action Ministry (YAM)

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about Youth Action Ministry's connection to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes the history of Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about the racism experienced during Youth Action Ministry trips

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about HBCUs and the importance of African Americans knowing their history

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about the college scholarship opportunities available for African Americans

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes the importance of preparing African American children for higher education

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth D. Rodgers reflects upon an incident from his childhood he regrets and the life lesson learned from it

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth D. Rodgers reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about his parents' opinion of his success

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth D. Rodgers describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth D. Rodgers narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Kenneth D. Rodgers describes his youth organization, Youth Action Ministry (YAM), in Evanston, Illinois
Kenneth D. Rodgers talks about instilling self-esteem into young African Americans
Transcript
Okay. Well, tell us about YAM [Youth Action Ministry, Evanston, Illinois]; that seems like a major act--volunteer activity (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, Youth Action Ministry, like I said, when I got involved with it at the time, there was like--it was started at Second Baptist Church [Evanston, Illinois]; there was like five students in it. Dr. [Hycel B.] Taylor, one Sunday, announced that he was lookin' for somebody to take over his youth program. My wife [Toni Rodgers] and I--we came and we met with him and we told him that our goal was to make the youth program not a sec--not a church program, but make it community-based program, and he asked what did we mean by that, we said that we think that it's very important that we open up our doors not only to kids of the church, but kids--not only of Evanston [Illinois], but kids of the community. So we came up with this crazy idea; we said, "Why don't we do college trips during the summer?" And he goes, "Well, there's not that many people doing college trips; college trips are"--Dr. Taylor was sayin' at the time, were like really, really expensive. And we said, "Well, how about we have our kids raise money? Now, we'll show the kids how to do like car washes, we'll show 'em how to sell t-shirts, how to sell barbeque--things that we learned in Detroit [Michigan] in Lansing [Michigan]." And we took the kids to Michigan State University [East Lansing, Michigan] the very first year that we started the Youth Action Ministry. When we got back from there, we decided that what we wanted to do was--because of--my wife is a former educator and bein' one of the financial aid officers and directors at Michigan State University, we wanted to have the kids fill out a application, so we started tutoring kids, we started doing mentoring and things like that, and from there we decided that we wanted to focus--because we were dealin' with African American kids, we wanted to focus on, on African American colleges. So we took the kids--the next time we took the kids, we took the kids to Nashville, Tennessee. We took 'em to Fisk [University, Nashville, Tennessee], we took 'em to Meharry Medical School [sic. Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee], we took 'em to the colleges in the Tennessee area, the black colleges, and that's basically how YAM got started. And since then, we have had, I would say anywhere from three to four thousand kids have actually gone through my program. Ninety-five percent of the kids that go through my program actually graduate from college, and we do--and the program is basically--there's no money that exchange--all the adults who are in the program basically volunteer their services. The kids run the program; they are the ones who make the decisions about what they wanna do, how they wanna do it; we teach the kids everything from junior toast master, public speaking, to investments, to--they even do things with senior citizens as for doin' grocery shoppin' for 'em and things like that, but our main goal is gettin' kids off the street and givin' 'em some basis for education--for them to improve themselves. We have been in Essence magazine, we have recognized--recognized [HistoryMaker] Susan Taylor, [HistoryMaker] Senator Carol Moseley Braun has recognized us, we've been recognized by the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], we've been recognized by [HistoryMaker Reverend] Jesse [L.] Jackson, [HistoryMaker] Jesse Jackson, Jr., we've been recognized by several different people. I mean we've been--every year we're getting different awards. We just got--we were just in Washington, D.C. just recently where we went to Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s office. The kids got a chance to go to the White House [Washington, D.C.], so we take--I mean this year we're takin' the kids--this spring we're takin' the kids to visit black colleges in Atlanta [Georgia]; in the summer we're takin' the kids to visit colleges in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. So, and like I said, we've been doin' this for about twenty-five years in this dynamic. It's dynamic; the kids love it.$$Now, you keep a full-time job; you're not--you don't do this for a living; this is volunteer (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) No, this is volunteer; this is, this is volunteer. I'm an engineer full-time; I'm a full-time engineer.$$All right, so do you have to write all the proposals for this organization, or--$$Actually, we have a board of directors that--actually we have a, a young lady name Jan Roy [ph.], who write proposals like for the school district; she's on the board of directors so she help us write grant proposals and things like that. My wife and I do a lotta the writing, a lotta the counseling, but we have a, a very dynamic board, and we try to select board members. Vickie Pasley, who's a well-known attorney here in Chicago [Illinois], she's our legal advisor; Bill Jackson [ph.] who's also the church's attorney, is also our legal advisor. Dr. Sandra Shelton who's a professor of accounting at DePaul University [Chicago, Illinois] is our financial advisor, so we have people--and all these people volunteer their services; everybody volunteer their services just--Judge Mary Maxwell Thomas is on our board of directors. She's been our counselor and do things for us, so we have different people, and the thing what makes it is that it's just constantly growing, it's constantly growing.$Okay. Now, in terms of the specific self-esteem issues that--I mean this is 2004. Do African American kids have different self-esteem issues than other kids in the city, you think?$$I think that--racism is, to me, is always a big thing that you gotta deal with, you know. You have to, you have to tell kids that you gonna be black all your life; no matter what you say, no matter what you do, you're gonna have to get around that. I think one of the things that--I have an adopted daughter that we adopted when she was very, very young, and she was a child who had some physical problems, medical problems. It's a thing that we--that you gotta teach kids is that you have to love yourself, pride--take some pride in yourself so--and I think African American kids sometimes feel as though that the system is always gonna be against them, so I think that yes, there are some issues that black kids deal with that other kids do not have to deal with, and I think that racism is something that, even though people keep sayin' that it doesn't exist, I--to me, I think it does exist, and I think a lotta the problems that black kids face is because of the racism in America.

Joe Marshall

Joseph Earl Marshall, Jr. was born on May 12, 1947, in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Joseph Marshall, Sr. worked for a gas company while his mother, Odessa Marshall, worked as a nurse. By splitting shifts, Marshall's parents ensured that one was always home and that all nine of their children could attend college. Inspired by this example and by his grandmother, who told Marshall when he was six, "The more you know, the more you owe," Marshall has become a role model with a monumental mission: to save a generation of African American youth.

Marshall spent much of his own youth in South Central Los Angeles, California, before attending the University of San Francisco, where he majored in political science and sociology. After graduating with a B.A. in 1968, Marshall began teaching middle school in San Francisco. He earned an M.A. in education from San Francisco State University in 1974. Despite his influence as both a teacher and administrator, Marshall saw too many children drop out, go to jail or die. Desperate to address what he saw as a lack of information about how to live, Marshall teamed up with a fellow staff member at Potrero Hill Middle School, Jack Jacqua, to form the Omega Boys Club in 1987.

The Omega Boys Club began with fifteen members and offered tutoring, basketball and other positive activities to fulfill a mission of keeping young people alive, unharmed by violence and free from incarceration while providing opportunities and support for youth to build positive lives. Since that time, over 180 young people supported by the Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers have gone to college, many of them former gang members and drug dealers. Omega's services include the Omega Academic Preparation and Scholarship Program, a thirty-six-week course which prepares youth for college; the Street Soldiers Violence Prevention Program, which educates community agencies, schools, and inmates in both juvenile and adult correctional facilities about behaviors that increase the risk of violence and how to decrease that risk; the Omega Training Institute, a four-day seminar which teaches Omega's methodology of violence prevention and intervention to youth service providers, teachers, police officers, lawyers and judges; and the Street Soldiers Radio Show, a nationally syndicated call-in talk show which provides approximately 450,000 listeners in forty cities with weekly counseling.

Marshall earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Wright Institute in Berkeley, California in 1997. He has served as a Planning Board Member of the Surgeon General's Report on Youth Violence and as an advisor for community violence prevention at the Harvard University School of Public Health. He received the Freedom Works Award from the U.S. Congress, a MacArthur "Genius Award" and numerous other honors. He and his wife Saundra have three children.

Accession Number

A2002.037

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/28/2002

Last Name

Marshall

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Organizations
Schools

St. Alphonsus School

Loyola High School

University of San Francisco

San Francisco State University

Wright Institute

Central Catholic St. Nicholas School and Academy

First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

MAR02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

The More You Know, The More You Owe.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

5/12/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Greens

Short Description

Nonprofit chief executive and youth advocate Joe Marshall (1947 - ) was the co-founder of the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, which offered tutoring, basketball and other positive activities to young people in order for them to build positive lives. Marshall received the Freedom Works Award from the U.S. Congress, a MacArthur "Genius Award" and numerous other honors.

Employment

San Francisco Unified School District

Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joseph Marshall interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joseph Marshall's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joseph Marshall talks about his parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joseph Marshall lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joseph Marshall recalls early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joseph Marshall discusses his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joseph Marshall remembers his relationship with his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joseph Marshall explains his Catholic school experience

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joseph Marshall talks about his interests and aspirations as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joseph Marshall describes his family's move from St. Louis to Los Angeles

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joseph Marshall discusses differences between living in St. Louis and Los Angeles as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joseph Marshall describes Los Angeles's violent social climate

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joseph Marshall remembers entering and leaving a Los Angeles gang

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joseph Marshall remembers his experiences at Loyola High School of Los Angeles

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joseph Marshall talks about attending University of San Francisco

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joseph Marshall explains how he brought awareness of African American culture to University of San Francisco

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joseph Marshall recalls his involvement in a riot at University of San Francisco

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joseph Marshall details his early teaching experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joseph Marshall talks about how teaching high school lead him to form Omega Boys Club

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joseph Marshall discusses the ethics and success of Omega Boys Club

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joseph Marshall talks about replicating the methodology of Omega Boys Club

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joseph Marshall discusses his methodology for shaping youth

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joseph Marshall explains the the universal goal shared in helping youth

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joseph Marshall talks about the importance of teaching black history

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joseph Marshall's hopes and concerns for black youth

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joseph Marshall considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Joseph Marshall discusses the ethics and success of Omega Boys Club
Joseph Marshall recalls his involvement in a riot at University of San Francisco
Transcript
In 1988, I had my first group of seniors, and I said, they were ready to go to college (laughter). And I didn't have any money, right? But Channel 7, ABC [American Broadcasting Corporation], came in to film what we were doing. They had heard about this, these dedicated teachers who were trying to help these inner-city kids. And they filmed it. They were gonna come one time, and the guy came and said, this is great. So they filmed it for a week, and at the end of the week, they went on television and said, this is great. If you want, if you like this, please send in money. So they sent me $40,000 (laughter). People just reached in their pocket, and I got forty grand. That's how I sent my first group of kids on a tour of historical black colleges down South, and how I paid my first group of tuition. And once word, the word got out, foundations then started coming to me. And they said, you know, can we help? And that's how it all happened. I mean I never, I didn't have a five-year plan. I didn't have any money. I didn't have anything. All I had--it was a lot like, you know, my grandmother [Leslie Pierce], I mean we've got a theme around here, "If you do good things, good things come to you". So we just started doing good things, and I guess people recognized it, and good things started happening.$$Why do you think you were having success with the kids, though? This is an after, it's an after-school program, right?$$Um-hum.$$So--.$$No sports, no basketball, none of that stuff.$$So what, were you getting any resistance from the schools themselves, cause sometimes, you know, teachers have felt that organizations like yourself are stepping on their toes. None of that?$$Probably. I had tunnel vision, and I probably had a, that stuff is happening. I mean it didn't matter, and I had the kids. The kids were coming so any flack that I took or any, but what the kids call, player-hating (laughter), it didn't really matter to me. And when we met on Thursday nights or we met on Tuesday nights, and we did our tutoring and, and you know, we, we had those, that's all that mattered to me. It's all that mattered to me, all that mattered to me. And a lot of these kids were kids, you know, I found out their stories. They were selling drugs, you know, they were gangbanging. There was a lot of, of, of really, really intense violence in the city at that time. We never had Crips and Bloods, but we had neighborhood rivalries. We had, you know, one of the area of the city would shoot somebody on sight, and somebody in another area of the city. One of--you asked me why--I'll give an example. There's a kid had got kicked out of high school, and his mother brought him to the club. And this kid told me that he wanted to go to a black history course. He was from one area of town. The course was in another neighborhood. And he said, he was afraid to go. I said, what do you mean you're afraid to go. He says, Marshall, if I go over there, they'll kill me. I said, you want to go study at this place, and they're gonna kill you for that? He said, yeah, so I'm not going. I said, nah, you going. He said, well, how I'm get there? I said, I'm gonna take you. He said, Marshall, they'll kill you too. I said, well, if they kill me, they kill me. And he was like, looked at me. That's the kind of attitude I had. So if you're asking me why was I successful because I was willing to put my life on the line for them. And there were a lot of times, in those early years especially, where there were situations where my life could have been taken. But I didn't care. I was not gonna let these kids down. I think early on, that really carried us. Our, our--you understand, these kids don't have anybody that looks out for them. They don't have any fathers because of crack cocaine. And crack cocaine really hit the streets big when I started the club, they don't have any mothers. We got kids that don't have anybody. And these kids--I was willing to step in there and fill that void in any way that I could to the extent of, you know, I would protect you. So there were oftentimes in these early years, we would have these meetings, and there would be gun shots, literally, outside the place. But the only safe place--inside, it was gonna be safe. There were guys who would come up to get guys, who were inside, and I'd stand at the door. And I said, you ain't going in there. And these guys were carrying guns, but I didn't care. I mean these are my kids. It was like my house. Right, you're not coming in there. So, you know, they believed in us and we believed in them. And eventually, we bent the way of the streets to us. I mean it took a long time. We changed the code--we got them to believe in what we did. So they came to see that, don't mess with Omega [Boys Club/Street Soldiers]. Dr. Marshall or Mr. Marshall and Jack [Jacqua], they ain't letting you mess with their kids. They're not letting you mess with those kids. They're not letting you mess with those kids. And when our kids would leave, they would be called names. They were called future kids because they believed in the future. They were called little Marshalls. They were called Malcolms. They were called, you know--they wore these t-shirts that say, "I don't do drugs; stop the violence". And they would, you know, they would be teased for wearing these shirts. They would be just--but they, they, they kept coming back. You know, they took all this, and then when they were willing to risk ostracism, that made me even, Jack and I, even more willing to take things for them and, and to work hard and raise money for them. And then when we sent our first group of kids to college, and they came back home for the summer, and they were off in Atlanta [Georgia], and they were off in, you know, in Delaware, at Delaware State [University, Dover, Delaware], they were like, this guy is serious. So, you know, we became this lore of the neighborhoods, and, and it just, you know, it's just, it just, it worked.$Had our [University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California] little riot (laughter). When I, I always characterized myself--you, did you see the movie, "Do the Right Thing"? I was the [character] 'Mookie', I was the guy that was holding everybody else back, but when Mookie, he's the one that started a fire. Well, that was me. I was the one--I was the level-headed, practical one, you know, I was the one, we had all these philosophical types at the school who would smoke dope and, you know, read the '[Little] Red Book [of Chairman Mao]'. That was a big thing at the-- Mao, quote Mao Tse-tung, right. But I was always very practical. Let's go tutor kids. Let's give Carnival, let's do this, let's do that, and let's--I was always very practical. But the university, of course, resisted me greatly. And I mean any change, they resisted change. And I remember we brought this group called, from McClymonds High School [Oakland, California]--why are they banging on that? (referring to off-camera noise.) That's bad, huh?$$It's better if they don't.$$That's a real problem. I don't even know what they're doing.$$Who is it?$$I don't know.$$Just talk about your riot.$$We were making all these changes at the school, but they weren't moving fast enough for me, but, of course, the, the administration thought I was moving too fast, you know, why can't we wait, you know, as [Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] says [sic, "Why We Can't Wait"]. And, and I remember we were constantly trying to bring things to the school. And we had this group of cheerleaders from a local black high school. And they came to perform at, you know, at halftime, at a basketball game. And as they began to perform, I guess the crowd thought their routine was going on too long. So they started booing them, and they started throwing stuff at them and throwing--and spitting on them and everything. And, man, we were, cause we had invited these kids. And these are high school girls, and we were, we were really, really upset. And my, and, and the kids wanted to riot that night. They did, they wanted to tear USF up, but I held them off, I held them off. Well, the next there was this, another intramural basketball game. It's so funny how it goes back to when I was in high school and there was an intramural basketball game, and it was the BSU [Black Student Union] versus some other team and in the end we felt we got robbed. So at the end of that game, I couldn't take it any more. I closed the gym, took all the basketballs, chased all the white students out. And it was like we held--and I, I remember saying we ain't taking any more, blah, blah. And when I broke, everybody else broke. So then we broke the windows in the gym. Then we went over to the, the student union, and we, we held up in the student union, and we just boiled over. We ended up trashing the student union. It was our little mini-riot. We thought about taking over the administration building, but by now, you know, we was like, oh, God, we really did something, right, real serious. So, they, eventually, they put all of us on trial. And, but the one that was on trial first was me cause they figured if they'd get me, everybody else would follow. So, they had trial in the law school building, the moot court building. The place was packed. I mean it was, like students came, cause I was pretty well known on campus. And they, they packed this place. And I'm saying, what am I gonna do? I'm gonna get kicked out of school. Now, my parents [Joseph E. Marshall Sr. and Odessa Taylor Marshall] are really worried. I'm gonna get kicked out of school. I'm like, oh, man. And I was working on my teaching credentials. I was teaching by day and taking my courses at night. I said, I'm gonna lose my credential, I won't be able to teach. Then a professor from the law school came and found me, and he says, I don't like what they're doing to you. So I'm gonna defend you. Can I be your counsel cause I had no counsel. He says, I'll be your counsel. So the dean of men lined up, and he came in, and they read the charges, you know, the charges against me, all the BSU students were there. All the white students were (laughter) there. And then this lawyer stood up and said, I want you to tell everybody what your experience at USF has been like. So I just started talking about it, what it was like since I had been there, my sense of social isolation, the, the incident at the Texas Western [College, now University of Texas at El Paso, Texas] basketball game where they had talked about, you know, don't let those niggers win. I just talked about what it was like being black at USF. And everybody listened, and we went home. And then the next day, they came back, they convened court again. And (laughter), the dean stood up and said, all charges have been dropped (laughter). All charges have been dropped against Joe Marshall and all the rest of the students at USF who were in the riot, and the place erupted. I mean it erupted. So, you know, it was my twenty-third birthday, I remember that, cause then we had a big party that night. And I was very lucky. I was very, very fortunate that--again, it showed me that it was, it's, it's the law school people that came to my defense and my aid, and they pointed out literally what it was, what it was like being black at USF, which in many ways was just what it's like being black in America, this sense of social isolation.