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Bert Mitchell

Accountant Bert Mitchell was born on April 12, 1938 in Manchester, Jamaica to Joseph and Edith Mitchell. He grew up on his family’s farm in Jamaica, and excelled as a straight-A student at Kingston Technical High School. In 1958, Mitchell immigrated with his parents and six siblings to New York City. There, he worked as a full-time clerk at a local Teamster labor union while taking night classes at Baruch College, CUNY. Mitchell earned his B.B.A. degree in accounting in 1963.

Mitchell was the 100th African American CPA in U.S. history and began his career in accounting as the first African American CPA at J.K. Lasser & Company in 1963. In 1965, Mitchell became the CFO of Intra-American Life Corporation, a life insurance company founded by civil rights leader and lawyer Clarence B. Jones. Mitchell began working with the Ford Foundation in 1966. While there, he earned his M.B.A. degree at Baruch College in 1968; and the following year, he conducted a survey of African Americans CPAs, reporting that out of 100,000 CPAs in the U.S., fewer than 150 were African American. Later, in 1975, Mitchell published a follow-up study that indicated the number of African American CPAs had tripled to 450.

In 1969, Mitchell became a partner at Lucas, Tucker & Company, the oldest African American owned CPA firm in the U.S. and remained there until 1972 when he started an independent accounting firm with James L. Tatum, Jr. Mitchell then partnered with Robert P. Titus to found Mitchell & Titus LLP later that year, which became the largest minority-owned accounting firm in the U.S. He served as chairman and CEO of the firm, whose clients include such organizations as the NAACP, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. To expand their business, Mitchell & Titus LLP entered joint venture agreements with major accounting firms like Peat Marwick and Ernst & Young. They also acquired other minority firms such as Stewart, Benjamin & Brown and Frye Williams & Company. After serving as CEO of Mitchell & Titus LLP for thirty-six years, Mitchell retired in 2008.

Mitchell helped found the National Association of Minority CPA Firms in 1971. In 1977, he was elected to the board of directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, becoming the first African American to serve on the board. He also served as chair of the board of trustees of Ariel Mutual Funds. In 1987, Mitchell became president of the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA), the largest CPA Society in the United States. During his tenure, the NYSSCPA launched the Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) program whose focus was to increase the number of minorities in the profession.

In 2012, the Journal of Accountancy, in celebration of its 125 years of existence in America, listed Bert Mitchell among the 125 CPAs of most impact in the accounting profession.

Mitchell and his wife, Carole Mitchell, have three children: Tracey, Robbin, and Ronald.

Bert Mitchell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 29, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.136

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/29/2018

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Bert

Birth City, State, Country

Kingston

HM ID

MIT16

Favorite Season

Anytime but Winter

State

Jamaica

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/12/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Jamaican Food - Curried Goat

Short Description

Accountant Bert Mitchell (1938 - ) was the co-founder of Mitchell & Titus LLP, one of the most successful minority accounting firms in the United States.

Favorite Color

Blue

Larry Bailey

Accountant Larry Bailey was born on September 11, 1950 in Sanford, Florida to Richard and Inez Bailey. He graduated with his B.S. degree in accounting from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) in 1972. He went on to enroll at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Graduate School of Business. In 1976, he graduated with his M.B.A. degree in finance. Bailey is a certified public accountant, and holds memberships with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the District of Columbia Certified Public Accountants.

From 1972 to 1976, Bailey worked as an Internal Revenue Service agent, and was also a member of the Richmond (Virginia) District Speakers Bureau. When Bailey graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, KPMG Peat Marwick, LLP offered him a position at the firm. As an associate, Bailey work focused on taxes and consulting services. He offered financial advices to foreign and domestic institutions, insurance and investment agencies, energy corporations, real estate brokers, and individuals. In 1976, Bailey joined the multinational firm of PricewaterCoopers, LLP as a junior partner. In this capacity, he specialized in providing due diligence review services for the Resolution Trust Corporation and the Government National Mortgage Corporation. Bailey also provided consultation services to private and public agencies involving tax strategies and contract negotiation.

In 2000, Baily and Keven Joseph Davis negotiated a five-year, $40 million endorsement contract between tennis player Venus Williams and sports apparel company Reebok. It was the largest endorsement contract signed by a female athlete in U.S. sports history. When Williams turned professional, she did not have an endorsement deal. Her father, Richard Williams, in 1995 requested Bailey and Davis to negotiate an early deal with Reebok after several sports management agencies showed interest. Bailey also played a major role in developing the career of Serena Williams. His development efforts at PricewaterCoopers led to well over $100 million of new and recurring business for the Firm, some of which is ongoing. Bailey founded LDB Consulting, Inc. in 2002. As president, he oversees strategic financial and tax consulting services to corporations, small business and private individuals. 

Bailey’s achievements have been recognized by professional and academic institutions. In 1995, he was also inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Black Entertainment Sports Lawyers Association. Bailey was honored with the SIUC Distinguished Service Award by at the 2012 spring commencement ceremony.  He is one of the founders of SIUC’s Blacks Interested in Business (BIB), which currently provides capital to minority owned communications companies, and received the BIB Leadership Award in 2011.  The College of Business inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1991. Bailey is also a member of the Board of Directors of Broadcast Capital Inc. Baily lives with his wife, Loleta Thomas, in Washington D.C.

Larry D. Bailey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 13, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.225

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/12/2012

Last Name

Bailey

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Southern Illinois University

James A. Garfield Elementary School

Seatack Elementary School

Maryland Park Junior High School

Central High School

First Name

Larry

Birth City, State, Country

Sanford

HM ID

BAI09

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

God's Gift To You Are The Talents He Gives To You. Your Gift To Him Is What You Do With Them.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/11/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Accountant Larry Bailey (1950 - ) was a licensed CPA and former partner at KMPG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. As a private consultant, he represented tennis players Venus Williams and Serena Wiliams.

Employment

KMPG Peat Marwick

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

LDB Consulting, LLP

Internal Revenue Service

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larry Bailey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larry Bailey lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larry Bailey describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larry Bailey describes his mother's upbringing in Sanford, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larry Bailey recalls his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larry Bailey describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larry Bailey talks about his father's service in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larry Bailey describes how his parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larry Bailey remembers his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larry Bailey describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larry Bailey describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Larry Bailey describes his neighborhood in Southeast Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Larry Bailey remembers playing baseball as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Larry Bailey recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larry Bailey remembers his elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larry Bailey describes his school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larry Bailey recalls his early interests, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larry Bailey recalls his early interests, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larry Bailey describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larry Bailey recalls the historic events of the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larry Bailey remembers his parents' money management skills

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larry Bailey recalls his leadership roles during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larry Bailey recalls his aspiration to study business

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Larry Bailey recalls his decision to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Larry Bailey remembers changing his major to accounting

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Larry Bailey reflects upon his experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Larry Bailey remembers the campus community in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larry Bailey recalls the Blacks in Business student organization

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larry Bailey talks about his political affiliation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larry Bailey remembers his summers during college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larry Bailey recalls joining the Internal Revenue Service

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larry Bailey describes his position in the Internal Revenue Service

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larry Bailey recalls his decision to attend the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larry Bailey recalls his influences at the Wharton School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Larry Bailey recalls his challenges at the Wharton School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Larry Bailey remembers obtaining his certified public accountant license

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Larry Bailey recalls his prospects after graduating from business school

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Larry Bailey recalls his position at the Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell accounting firm

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Larry Bailey remembers his involvement with African American organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larry Bailey remembers becoming a partner at Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larry Bailey recalls his panel at the National Student Business League

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larry Bailey describes his role as a partner at Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larry Bailey recalls joining Coopers and Lybrand

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larry Bailey remembers his trip to Senegal

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larry Bailey recalls overseeing the African operations for Coopers and Lybrand

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larry Bailey describes Cooper and Lybrand's presence in South Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larry Bailey talks about Africare

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Larry Bailey remembers his friend, Willard W. "Woody" Brittain, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Larry Bailey describes his transition to the financial planning industry

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Larry Bailey talks about Venus Williams and Serena Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larry Bailey talks about his clients at LBD Consulting, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larry Bailey reflects upon the growth of technology

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larry Bailey talks about discrimination in Corporate America

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larry Bailey talks about his mentorship of young accountants

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larry Bailey talks about networking in the black business community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larry Bailey reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Larry Bailey reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Larry Bailey describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Larry Bailey reflects upon his family

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Larry Bailey describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Larry Bailey narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$11

DATitle
Larry Bailey recalls his aspiration to study business
Larry Bailey talks about Venus Williams and Serena Williams
Transcript
All right, so in, in high school [at Central High School, Capitol Heights, Maryland] now did you have any--were, were, were you a good mathematician?$$I was okay in math, yeah. And you know it's really funny, people think that you know they look at you, you're a CPA [certified public accountant], you're good at math. And I just laugh at them. I think you have to have good analytical skills, particularly today's environment because you know everybody uses a computer or a calculator. But you know I've always had very good analytical skills and that's what I think it takes to be a good accountant or a good financial advisor, not math.$$Okay. So young people watching this if they're--they don't have--they're not natural mathematicians, that's not a hindrance?$$No, no. I mean if you're a mathematician, maybe you're going to be in physics or engineering or something like that. But you know in, to be in business you have to have good analytical skills. You have to have good--you know. And, and one of the things that troubles me now is, is that I don't think you know and even mine are slipping now with the--because of the way you write on your iPads and your BlackBerries. And your good--the writing skills just aren't what they used to be. And, but I think you have to have good oral communication skills and, and I think that you know the math skills yeah, I mean you know it's mostly the computer and I think if you have good analytical skills you can find your way around the computer.$$Okay. Now in terms of just thinking about this now, reflecting back on it, what influenced you in terms of you know developing an interest or some kind of a grounding in business when you were a teenager? I mean what did you see around you? Who did you--$$Oh, well--$$I mean you worked at McDonald's, that has to be some--$$Well that was good, but I--be--after my freshman year in college [at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois] I worked for my uncle up in Rochester, New York, my Uncle James [James Smith, Sr.] and my Aunt Emma Smith [ph.], they had a grocery store. It was called J-E Grocery [J-E Grocery, Inc.] in Rochester, New York. And I went up and worked for a summer there for them in their store. My uncle was one of these people that you know both of them believed in hard work. They started out buying a little store and lived in the back room and they kept building and building it. And the first year I came up there I was mopping the floors, stocking the shelves and it was a good sized grocery store and worked the cash register a little bit. The second year I came up I was working the cash register and, and in the office a little bit. And then the last year I came up which was the year before my senior year I actually ran the store. I was in the office making deposits. I think it was the first time they ever took a vacation during the summer. They went away and left me in charge. So that was my really first exposure to, to the business world. The true business world, you know.$$All right.$$Yeah, other than in school and academically but it was the first--and, and it was the first time I ever really knew what it was like and I tell my students this and my staff this, that you know if you finish something, step back and look at it and see, does it make sense? That way you know if it's right or wrong 'cause I'll never forget, I was filling out a payroll tax report for my uncle or some type of tax report and I looked at the way it was worded and the percentage to me meant a certain number the way to do it. And so I--and I brought it in to my uncle to look at it was, it was a big number. And he said, "Larry [HistoryMaker Larry Bailey], but just think about it, if the number was that big, I would be out of business." And so I had interpreted it wrong and it's, it's something that stuck with me. And I tell young people you know when they would bring something to me you know and you know when I, when I--as I went--worked my way up through the firm [Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell; KMPG] and I was reviewing other people's work. And I would say if you would stop and look at this, you would see it makes no sense. It's wrong. I learned that from that one experience with my uncle and I've never forgotten it.$$Okay. So you had to think in terms of proportions and what's appropriate--$$Yeah, what, what makes sense, does this make sense, okay? And when you look at it you know--I, I--just recently I was looking at something and a client is selling an asset and he wanted a proof of funds and what they sent us, I just looked at them. I said, "This, this deal is never going to close. I mean this number makes no sense. It makes no sense." And it didn't make any sense and the transaction never closed. So, but I learned that from my uncle just step back and look at it, you know. You know sometimes you can get caught up with trying to get something to, to close and be done that you kind of lose sight of reality. But you know if you step back and look at it, I think it, it really will, will save you a lot of time, a lot of frustration.$And so I think she was nine and Venus [Venus Williams] was sh- several weeks short of her tenth birthday.$$And there is a photo that shows Serena was ve- very short. She wasn't--$$She was nine years old. She could barely see over the net. I thinks that's the photo that--I have that photo at home I think but I think the one that you're referring to was the one that Bill Rhoden [William C. Rhoden] did when Keven [Keven Davis] died. There was a story he did in The New York Times right after Christmas last year. And was when the two of us were together with them when they were little girls. And so I've still been in, you know involved but you know while I'm their financial advisor I'm as part of the family. I mean I've watched them grow up. As I tell people, I'm more proud of the two fine young ladies that they have become as just opposed to their tennis I mean academically and what they're trying to do with their careers off the court. And Keven and I were very, very involved within their early days before they got their management companies. And you know it was really funny that I think someone in The New York Times did a story once and said that their father [Richard Williams] wasn't as crazy as people thought he was. He went out and hired a CPA [certified public accountant] and a partner in the largest accounting firm in the world at that time. And Keven was bar review at Berkeley [University of California Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, California] and a partner in one of the largest law firms in Seattle [Washington] at that time. And so we were there and did a lot of their early deals before they got their management companies involved and you know he was a great friend and he was a great mentor to the girls. And as a matter of fact when Serena [Serena Williams] won the U.S. Open [U.S. Open Tennis Championships] just last week I--she--went up and gave her the biggest hug and I said, "This was for Keven." And she said, "Larry [HistoryMaker Larry Bailey], I miss him so much." And he was a, just a great guy. Great guy.

Larzette Hale-Wilson

The 17th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc. Larzette Golden Hale-Wilson was born in Idabel, Oklahoma, to Thomas and Mary Golden. Under Hale-Wilson’s leadership, the AKA Sorority underlined the accomplishments of contemporary African American women through the founding of its Heritage Series. She is also the first black female Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the United States to also hold a Ph.D. in accounting.

Hale-Wilson was initiated into the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at Langston University in 1937. She went on to graduate summa cum laude with her B.S. degree in business administration and secondary education in 1937. Hale-Wilson then married her college sweetheart, Dr. Henry William Hale in 1940. After completing her undergraduate studies, Hale-Wilson worked as a secretary to the business manager at her alma mater. She later enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned her M.A. degree in accounting and finance in 1943. In 1951, Hale-Wilson passed the Certified Public Accountant Examination, and in 1955, she earned her Ph.D. in accounting. She established her own CPA office in Atlanta that same year .

In 1958, Hale-Wilson was elected to the office of International Treasurer at the Golden Anniversary Boulé and used her professional skills to initiate the AKA Sorority’s coordinated central accounting system. She went on to serve as the Basileus-Elect in 1964, and in 1966, she was elected as the 17th International President of the Sorority. In 1968, Hale-Wilson began the Heritage Series and produced more than five thousand copies of booklets on the accomplishments of contemporary African American women.

In 1971, Hale-Wilson and her family moved to Utah, and she was hired as a professor of accounting at Utah State University. She went on to write several articles in various business education journals including The Balance Sheet and the Journal of Business. In 1974, Hale-Wilson was appointed by the governor of Utah to the State’s Committee on Cultural Awareness and later she served as chair of the supervisory committee of the Utah State University Credit Union.

Larzette Hale-Wilson passed away on February 5, 2015.

Accession Number

A2008.056

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/17/2008

Last Name

Hale-Wilson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Golden

Schools

Langston University

First Name

Larzette

Birth City, State, Country

Idabel

HM ID

HAL13

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Alpha Kappa Alpha

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Birth Date

6/8/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cake (Strawberry Shortcake)

Death Date

2/5/2015

Short Description

Accountant and association chief executive Larzette Hale-Wilson (1920 - 2015 ) was the first black female CPA in the United States to also hold a Ph. D. in accounting. As president of the AKA sorority, she initiated the sorority’s coordinated central accounting system and began the Heritage Series, which produced more than five thousand copies of booklets on the accomplishments of contemporary African American women.

Employment

Utah State University

University of Utah

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
0,0:17730,254:20780,274:22366,287:38036,418:44184,491:45456,501:48770,508:71416,644:72018,652:77264,719:82854,789:83800,802:84918,813:92480,861:103410,934:110544,1021:110888,1026:112350,1049:112866,1056:116736,1118:117166,1125:118800,1149:124046,1229:124734,1239:125250,1246:126368,1264:127056,1273:134560,1302:144532,1461:150164,1530:151396,1545:154560,1551:156492,1577:162372,1672:174336,1830:174852,1837:175282,1843:178120,1895:179410,1917:198415,2161:205480,2238$0,0:18708,244:26670,331:27645,337:35284,365:35628,370:51203,520:51605,527:74038,780:74836,788:75292,793:87698,882:87966,887:88234,892:101410,1052
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larzette Hale-Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larzette Hale-Wilson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larzette Hale-Wilson describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larzette Hale-Wilson remembers the Industrial Institute for the Deaf, Blind and Orphans of the Colored Race

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larzette Hale-Wilson recalls becoming First Lady of Langston University

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larzette Hale-Wilson explains why she ran for Alpha Kappa Alpha supreme basileus

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larzette Hale-Wilson recalls starting an Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter at Langston University

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larzette Hale-Wilson remembers becoming the supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larzette Hale-Wilson recalls her initiatives with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larzette Hale-Wilson describes her leadership style

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larzette Hale-Wilson talks about the problem of hazing in sororities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larzette Hale-Wilson describes her proudest accomplishments with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larzette Hale-Wilson recalls what she learned from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larzette Hale-Wilson describes her vision of sisterhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larzette Hale-Wilson remembers friends from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larzette Hale-Wilson reflects upon her tenure as supreme basileus

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larzette Hale-Wilson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larzette Hale-Wilson shares advice for future Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. leaders

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larzette Hale-Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larzette Hale-Wilson recalls rewarding experiences as supreme basileus

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Larzette Hale-Wilson talks about The HistoryMakers

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Larzette Hale-Wilson describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

9$4

DATitle
Larzette Hale-Wilson recalls her initiatives with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Larzette Hale-Wilson remembers friends from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Transcript
Why do you think you were successful [as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. supreme basileus]?$$I had special expertise, I was a CPA [certified public accountant], I think that gave the sorors trust that we were handling the money right, because that's so important. I think that was the encouragement to think that I could make a difference and I did help us refine our accounting system, set up an investment fund so that we would have some savings to look forward to and I understand that that fund helped when we built the new building in Chicago [Illinois]. Two things, well, three things I did. I had a program for high school students, writing contest about black heritage and those who, papers who won, we had nine region, we'd have one from each region to win, toured the United States, very historical black places that--places where blacks had made real contributions. The other was, each, from each of the nine regions, this, the, the soro- the undergraduate soror who made the highest average, was given a free trip. After boule, we always went abroad and they would have that free trip and during the years, since then, I've had so many sorors say, "I won the trip to travel," (laughter) because that gave 'em a chance to travel abroad which they wouldn't have, some of them would not have otherwise.$$Okay, now how--$$And the third thing I did was to develop the heritage brochure [Negro Heritage Brochure] which was a little book, a booklet, that told the story of blacks who had achieved in various areas like black lawyers, black doctors, black nurses and that, it's just the size you could carry in your pocketbook but it, it was distributed to high schools over, over the country which I thought helped blacks be known by their own group.$$I remember that series. We had a--$$Oh, do you.$$--set of them at Wright State University [Dayton, Ohio], we used to use them for, like the Upward Bound program that we'd call Wright Start in those days. I remember that series. It had an illustration--$$That's wonderful.$$--on the cover, had black women in dentistry and law and different professions, yeah, I remember that.$$I think it helped encourage the undergrads too to see how people had achieved in various areas.$Who were some of the sisters that you really depended on when you were supreme basileus?$$Sumlin [HistoryMaker Bernice Irene Sumlin] was number one. She was chairman of my standards committee [National Standards Committee] and she and a soror from Clark College [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia]. I had a committee of about seven sorors and they were, they were supportive and if we had problems, I would send the committee to solve it, rather than try to solve all of them by myself and the young lady who became after me, Mattelia Grays [HistoryMaker Mattelia B. Grays] from Houston [Texas], sometimes the incoming, the present basileus and the incoming basileus don't get along too good. Well, Mattelia and I have the record of being the best team and we've been friends ever since that. So, these seven ladies, and then I tried to pick at least one or two sorors from each region that I could relate to and they would alert me if we were having difficulties in any place and you could put out the fire before it became too dangerous.

Rufus Williams

Accountant and Chicago Board of Education President Rufus Williams, Jr. was born on December 30, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois to Dicye Belle and Rufus Williams, Sr. Williams was raised in a household of six children in the North Lawndale and West Garfield Park communities on Chicago’s Westside. During his childhood, he attended Crown Elementary School and Dvorak Elementary School before graduating from Morton Upper Grade Center. In 1974, he graduated from Orr High School where he was a member of the school’s basketball team.

Without the finances to pay for a higher education, Williams postponed his plans of attending college to work at a fast food restaurant. He eventually earned enough money, received a scholarship and with the help of his parents, enrolled at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1978, he graduated magna cum laude with his B.S. degree in accounting in 1978. Williams was then hired as a certified public accountant for Arthur Anderson & Company. He worked there until 1988 when he became the corporate audit manager for the Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Williams later went on to work for Harpo Entertainment Group as a senior manager. There, he was instrumental in establishing the operational structure and financial management of Harpo Studios. Oprah Winfrey then encouraged him to follow his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. In 2000, Williams founded Olympus LLC and began providing business management, contract negotiations and career development sources. His clients consisted of a variety of entertainers and athletes including veteran baseball player Gary Sheffield.

Williams was appointed to the Chicago Public School (CPS) Board in 2005 and served on the board of trustees of the CPS Teachers Pension and Retirement Fund before succeeding Michael Scott as the school board president in 2006. As president, Williams has helped to form the Charitable Fund for Inner-City Athletic Equipment, a fund that provides athletic shoes to CPS student athletes from low income families. In 2007, Williams launched Real Men Read which was designed to encourage a love of literacy in young boys, while encouraging long lasting school-community partnerships.

In addition to serving as president for the Better Boys Foundation, Williams has served as Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of Providence-St. Mel School and as the president of the Local School Council of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School.

Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 22, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.025

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/22/2008

Last Name

Williams

Schools

Orr Academy High School

Crown Elementary Community Academy Fine Arts Center

Dvorak School of Excellence

Morton Upper Grade Center

Lane Technical College Prep High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

First Name

Rufus

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL45

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

I Am The Master Of My Fate, I Am The Captain Of My Soul.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/30/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish

Short Description

Accountant, education chief executive, and financial chief executive Rufus Williams (1956 - ) was the president of the Chicago Board of Education. Williams founded his own company, Olympus LLC, which provides business management, contract negotiations and career development sources for its clients, after working as a certified public account at Arthur Anderson & Company and as senior manager at Harpo Studios.

Employment

Arthur Andersen

Baxter International

Harpo Studios Inc.

Olympus LLC

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rufus Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rufus Williams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rufus Williams talks about his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rufus Williams talks about his maternal family's migration to the North

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rufus Williams talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rufus Williams talks about his parents' migration to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rufus Williams considers how he resembles his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rufus Williams lists the neighborhoods where his family lived in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rufus Williams recalls his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rufus Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rufus Williams talks about gang activity on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rufus Williams talks about his activities with the Boys Brotherhood Republic growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rufus Williams remembers his experience at Anton Dvorak Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois and its principal, HistoryMaker Barbara A. Sizemore

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rufus Williams recalls his influential teachers at Anton Dvorak Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rufus Williams remembers meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1966 and the emergence of the Black Panthers in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rufus Williams remembers segregation in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rufus Williams talks about his experiences at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School and Orr Academy High School during the 1970s in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rufus Williams remembers the aftermath of the 1968 Chicago Riots on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rufus Williams describes fashion styles in the 1960s and 1970s in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rufus Williams describes his experience with religion while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rufus Williams recalls the death of his oldest sister in 1977

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rufus Williams describes his freshman year at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rufus Williams describes his freshman year at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rufus Williams remembers his hopes and dreams during his time at Orr Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rufus Williams recalls life lessons he learned in eighth grade at Morton Upper Grade Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rufus Williams remembers playing on Orr Academy High School's basketball team in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rufus Williams talks about the gang presence on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois during the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rufus Williams describes how his motivation to be successful protected him in his neighborhood

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rufus Williams recalls selecting a college to attend

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Rufus Williams talks about his siblings' college education

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Rufus Williams remembers not being able to afford college

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Rufus Williams recalls being robbed while working at Burger King

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rufus Williams remembers an influential history teacher at Orr Academy High School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rufus Williams recalls being admitted into Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rufus Williams describes the impact of receiving an academic scholarship from the Better Boys Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rufus Williams talks about choosing a career path in college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rufus Williams talks about playing basketball at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rufus Williams remembers pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rufus Williams describes his social and academic experiences at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rufus Williams shares advice that made him successful at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rufus Williams describes the benefits of attending a historically black university

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rufus Williams recalls joining Arthur Andersen and Co. in Chicago, Illinois right after his college graduation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rufus Williams describes being hired at Arthur Andersen and Co. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rufus Williams describes the training process at Arthur Andersen and Co. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rufus Williams recalls working toward a promotion at Arthur Andersen and Co. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rufus Williams describes trying to become a manager at Arthur Andersen and Co. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rufus Williams recalls two difficult assignments at Arthur Andersen and Co. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rufus Williams talks about his family life and work with the Better Boys Foundation during his time at Arthur Andersen and Co. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Rufus Williams explains his decision to leave Arthur Andersen and Co. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Rufus Williams explains his decision to work at Baxter Healthcare Corporation in Deerfield, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Rufus Williams describes joining Harpo Studios, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois and moving to the Lincoln Park neighborhood

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rufus Williams recalls his aspirations when he became vice controller at Harpo Studios Inc. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rufus Williams remembers working with Oprah Winfrey to help set up the Oprah Winfrey Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rufus Williams remembers his introspective conversations with Oprah Winfrey while working at Harpo Studios Inc. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rufus Williams talks about his experience working at Harpo Studios, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rufus Williams explains his decision to remain at Harpo Studios Inc. in Chicago Illinois in 1991

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rufus Williams explains why he decided to leave Harpo Studios Inc. in Chicago, Illinois in 2000

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rufus Williams talks about the origin and evolution of his wealth management company, Olympus LLC, in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rufus Williams describes negotiating Gary Sheffield's baseball contract

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Rufus Williams comments on the Detroit Tigers 2008 baseball team

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Rufus Williams explains how he was appointed president of the Chicago Board of Education in 2006

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Rufus Williams reflects upon the importance of his role as president of the Chicago Board of Education in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Rufus Williams talks about former Chicago Board of Education presidents, HistoryMakers The Honorable Kenneth Smith, Sr. and Michael Scott, Sr.

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Rufus Williams considers the ways to improve the education of African American children

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Rufus Williams describes starting the Real Men Read mentoring and literacy program in Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Rufus Williams remembers Bill Cosby's 2006 speech at Chicago Public Schools' Power of Parents conference

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Rufus Williams reflects upon his goals as president of the Chicago Board of Education

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Rufus Williams considers some of the challenges he faces as president of the Chicago Board of Education

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Rufus Williams recalls a conversation about education with HistoryMaker Barbara A. Sizemore

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Rufus Williams considers how long he will serve as president of the Chicago Board of Education

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Rufus Williams reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Rufus Williams reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Rufus Williams describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Rufus Williams talks about the origin and evolution of his wealth management company, Olympus LLC, in Chicago, Illinois
Rufus Williams reflects upon the importance of his role as president of the Chicago Board of Education in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
At that time, there was, there was a young lady who had been interning at Harpo [Studios Inc., Chicago, Illinois]. And I'd see her. She was clearly interning, clearly young, very attractive. I'd wave you know as we went through and I learned later that she had actually married this professional baseball player who she met at the basketball All Star game with another young lady who worked at Harpo who I knew very well because I had helped her get a job there because she had been a scholarship recipient of the Better Boys Foundation [(BBF), Chicago, Illinois] and they had become friends. And so she married--I learned that Deleon [Richards] had married Gary Sheffield and you know I thought that was, wow. In 2000, Gary had been involved in a lot of businesses and he was cap--just providing a lot of money for working capital for those businesses. And Deleon had talked to her friend. Her friend had told her you know what you should probably talk to [HistoryMaker] Rufus [Williams]. And she did and so we talked in that May. That was in '99 [1999]. We talked in May of '99 [1999], and then we talked again in October. Around Thanksgiving, Gary and Deleon came to Chicago [Illinois] because Deleon lived in North Chicago. And I met them for dinner. We hit it off. I flew down to St. Petersburg [Florida] where they lived right after Christmas and started helping Gary manage through these businesses. And, and really managing through them was kind of managing them away because I didn't think--as they were, he was putting in too much money. And I didn't think that they were really gonna be successful given what they were. So we started managing them away. And over that next six month period, I spent a lot of time working with Gary and a lot of time working with Harpo. And then came the conversation with Oprah [Winfrey] and just figured you know what, this is really what I was looking to do. I can't have a better client to start with. So, or this was about as good of a client to start with as you can have. And so I decided to leave and start my own business doing business management for athletes and entertainers.$$Okay, so what did you call your business?$$Olympus.$$Olympus?$$Olympus LLC [Chicago, Illinois]. It was right around, you know, that was right around the, right around the [2000 Summer] Olympics [Sydney, Australia]. And I think it was around the millennium [2000] and a lot of people were naming stuff Millennium. It was around the Olympics. I had gone down. I had actually gone down to the [1996 Summer] Olympics in Atlanta [Georgia] with my son [Bradford Williams]. We were two blocks away when the bomb went off. And it was just kind of in all of these things I decided you know in thinking about what my business was, I'm sure that was there and I thought about it and the people who I would work with and Mount Olympus [Greece] being the place where the gods alight from, it seemed like the right place to provide that stability. And so I named my company Olympus Incorporated and started, started providing that service to whoever I thought could use it focusing primarily on athletes and entertainers. Figuring that I--the work that I could do, it was really thinking about Oprah has a staff of people managing all these things for her. What about those people who come into the wealth and don't have the time or the capacity and have a staff working for them. This is the uniqueness of what I have because I probably, probably are not gonna encounter people who have as much money as she does. Probably have not, will not encounter people who have had as many options to do what a number of things that she does. So I will probably either not see anything I haven't seen before or certainly won't see anything I can't help figure out. And with that, I thought those were the uniqueness of my abilities and I started my business based on that. Over the years, things, things go as they go and as I would expect, I have an opportunity to show my full competency to my clients and particularly in Gary's case, it moves on beyond just managing his money to also negotiating his contracts. So it goes full circle. And that's what my business has become.$Okay. All right, now how has, how's it been being president of the [Chicago] Board of Education?$$There is no more important job that I can have. I am a product of Chicago Public Schools [CPS]. My son [Bradford Williams] is--my son left private school and picked Whitney [M.] Young [Magnet High School, Chicago, Illinois]. He didn't pick public schools. He picked Whitney Young of all the schools in the city and he could have gotten into all of them. So that was a very conscious decision. Watching him go through public school and my son decided that he wanted to go to Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut]. And he decided to apply early. And he applied only to Yale and he got in. So he has been one of those that we continue to say--that I continue to say if this--we know the schools are good. We know that this is what they can do. And it is my push to try and get everybody not to go to Yale, but get everybody at a point that they can feel confident to go wherever they wanna go. I know that it works. I know that it worked for me. I know that it worked, it worked for him. It is one of the biggest challenges because there is so many things to do. And for me I am trying to change a lot of things and I know more than anything. I'm trying to change a culture. I'm trying to change a culture outside where we know that our children can be successful, that we know that parents are the key people that make that work. I'm trying to make sure that the right accountability and the right pressure is put in the right places. But I think more than anything else if we believe that we can get something done and we put forth the work to get it done, then we can get it done. I don't think we're putting forth the work to get it done. I don't think the people believe well enough that our children can be successful. And that is the culture that I'm trying to change. I'm trying to change it on the outside and I'm trying to change it on the inside. Our district is the third largest school system in the nation. I think that as we go the nation goes. When we show them we can do we can show the world that we can do. So it's a really big undertaking as we look to the future. And to me, you know I go out to schools as much as I can. I read to children. When I look in the eyes of a kindergarten kid, I was at a school today for their African American history month and as those children sat there and they looked up at me when they learned who I was in some awe, I know that that child is expecting me to do the best I can by him. And in some fifteen years or so, he will let me know one way or another whether or not I have. The mayor is responsible for our schools in Chicago [Illinois]. And under him is the board of education. And I'm the president of the board of education. He makes it painfully clear all the time that I am responsible for our schools and I take that responsibility very seriously. So as we try to move it and I try to move it with expecting excellence, I'm not accepting excuses, not accepting victimization. Recognizing that we don't have all the resources that we need, I expect everybody to do everything they can with the resources that we have. And we will work on the other hand to try to get more. But I think you know there were times and places and schools where there was nothing and people have gotten to a lot. We've got a lot of work to do and I fully believe that we can get it done.

John E. Wilson

John Ethelbert Wilson was a business executive and accountant. Known by his friends and family as Big John, Wilson was born on December 9, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois, to Carrie Simpson Wilson and Leroy Wilson. Among members of Wilson’s extended family were his uncle, Arthur Jewell Wilson, the first African American certified public accountant in Illinois, and his grandmother, Dora McDermott, a building owner and manager with property in Chicago’s Bronzeville/Grand Boulevard. Wilson grew up in the Bronzeville/Grand Boulevard area, and attended Wendell Phillips Elementary and High School, which counted amongst its alumni members of the original Harlem Globetrotters, Nat "King" Cole, Dinah Washington, and John H. Johnson.

Wilson went on from Wendell Phillips High School to Northwestern University’s School of Commerce, where he received his B.S. degree in 1954, and was the first African American to graduate from the program. Following college, Wilson served in the United States Navy from 1955 to 1957, returning to Chicago to work for his uncle from 1957 to 1963. It was during this period that Wilson married Velma Brown in 1960; they subsequently had two children, Ginger and Kelly.

In 1963, Wilson was hired by the State of Illinois Commerce Commission as an auditor. From there, Wilson went to work at Bowey's, Inc., as general accountant in 1964. Wilson became a certified public accountant in 1965, and became Capitol Food Industries, Inc.’s treasurer and Bates Packaging Company’s controller in 1969. Wilson also served as the president of John E. Wilson, Ltd., and assistant treasurer of the Public Building Commission of Chicago.

In addition to these responsibilities, Wilson was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the Illinois Society of Certified Public Accountants; the National Association of Minority Certified Public Accountants; Kappa Alpha Psi; Sigma Pi Phi; and Trinity United Church of Christ. He was awarded with the Alumni National Award in 1996.

John Wilson passed away on October 16, 2013.

Accession Number

A2005.168

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/21/2005

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Occupation
Schools

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Wendell Phillips Elementary School

Northwestern University

First Name

Ginger

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL27

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

The Jay Pritzker Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

I Will Never Leave You. I Will Never Forsake You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/9/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Death Date

10/16/2013

Short Description

Accountant John E. Wilson (1932 - 2013 ) was a former auditor for the State of Illinois Commerce Commission, and assistant treasurer of the Public Building Commission of Chicago. In addition to these duties, he founded John E. Wilson, Ltd., an accounting firm based in Chicago, Illinois.

Employment

Bowery's Chocolate Company

Capital Food Industries

Wilson and Gills

John E. Wilson, Ltd.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue, Tan

Timing Pairs
0,0:2414,41:3479,53:4686,82:17472,315:18176,328:25482,440:26028,447:26756,462:27666,473:32564,504:38502,548:38818,553:44743,684:45612,703:48061,787:55090,823:56290,836:56850,845:57490,854:71570,986:74143,1099:76434,1140:82438,1257:84492,1292:93350,1355:103745,1464:106295,1503:106595,1508:111620,1729:123134,1839:146224,2095:152166,2153:152887,2161:159955,2260:163220,2298$0,0:9647,174:20900,374:21962,386:22552,392:23732,403:26800,443:27272,448:62810,889:77768,1055:83970,1129:95520,1274:95920,1279:99390,1288:109840,1404:110749,1414:111456,1426:111961,1432:113490,1450:114535,1468:116815,1519:141904,1835:142334,1841:142678,1846:143882,1869:144484,1878:145344,1896:156400,2018:164882,2138:165530,2153:169472,2204:169962,2210:173365,2238:174388,2250:175132,2260:183788,2400:184128,2406:185148,2424:192623,2511:195769,2527:202970,2591
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John E. Wilson' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John E. Wilson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John E. Wilson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John E. Wilson describes the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John E. Wilson describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John E. Wilson recalls his inspiration to become an accountant

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John E. Wilson remembers his paternal grandmother, Dora McDermott

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John E. Wilson describes his mother's personality and his likeness to her

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John E. Wilson describes his childhood jobs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John E. Wilson remembers being mugged as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John E. Wilson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John E. Wilson describes his childhood personality and influences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John E. Wilson describes the influence of church on his life

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John E. Wilson remembers Chicago's Wendell Phillips Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John E. Wilson remembers classmates at Chicago's Wendell Phillips High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John E. Wilson remembers playing basketball at Wendell Phillips High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John E. Wilson recalls his time at Chicago's Wendell Phillips High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John E. Wilson describes choosing Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - John E. Wilson describes housing at Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John E. Wilson describes his social life at Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John E. Wilson remembers studying accounting at Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John E. Wilson recalls racism in accounting firms and at Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John E. Wilson remembers his professors and graduating from Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John E. Wilson recalls his time in the U.S. Navy, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John E. Wilson recalls his time in the U.S. Navy, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John E. Wilson remembers his work as an auditor

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John E. Wilson describes his wife, Velma Brown Wilson

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John E. Wilson remembers working at Capital Food Industries, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John E. Wilson describes his accounting firms

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John E. Wilson describes competition in accounting

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John E. Wilson talks about volunteering

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John E. Wilson describes good accounting practices

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John E. Wilson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John E. Wilson reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John E. Wilson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John E. Wilson talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John E. Wilson describes his organizational affiliations and how he hopes to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$2

DATitle
John E. Wilson describes his childhood personality and influences
John E. Wilson remembers studying accounting at Northwestern University
Transcript
How would you describe yourself as a kid growing up, were you--what kind of a kid were you and how would other people see do you think?$$I think I was--because in my particular building there were three buildings [in Ida B. Wells Homes, Chicago, Illinois], there was a gang, and I think I was little bit frightened about that. First thing my mother [Carrie Simpson Wilson] would've killed me if had been a gangbanger, but I didn't I'm not saying that I'm I did everything straight. But I never had the nerve to do many crooked things, I would do some things, in those days they had those big old red streetcars going down the street. And I would hop on the back sometimes like the kids, but that was just danger to myself, I wasn't hurting CTA [Chicago Transit Authority], I could've fallen off and got killed. I don't think that I ever did anything illegal, you know where I could've gone to jail or something like, matter of fact I know I didn't. And then a couple of my friends were doing illegal things and I would see them with money and stuff, and I would say, "Man, I'd sure like to get some of the money." They wouldn't even, they wouldn't even talk to me about stuff like, guys would say to me, "Hey, don't you ever do anything like this you know. You our boy, you growing up around here being honest, stay that way." So I think I was, I also would study some, I never study as much as I should have, but I would do, always do my homework. And I always liked stuff like arithmetic for some reason, and geometry and trigonometry you know through high school [Wendell Phillips High School; Wendell Phillips Academy High School, Chicago, Illinois]. And I would do, I would do my work, I wish sometimes I worked a little harder, but then on the other hand whatever I did must've been okay 'cause I passed one of the hardest exams to get through, especially in those days the CPA [certified public accountant] exam you know. But I think I was just, I was ordinary, I didn't have a lot of money, but I was honest, and, and that honesty was the influence of my mother. It would've broken her heart if I had done something and wound up you know in real trouble. And I, I don't know, I always respected my mother, 'cause I used to see her work so hard for us, I mean tremendously hard.$Were there any black instructors at Northwestern [Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois] when you were there?$$None, there might've been some, I was the first black to graduate they tell me now from the Commerce School [Northwestern University School of Commerce, Evanston, Illinois]. Now it's called Kellogg [Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, Illinois], but I never saw a black instructor anywhere, and if so, they could've been some downtown [Chicago, Illinois] on the Northwestern campus. But I'm not sure, but I never saw one up in Evanston [Illinois].$$Okay now did you, were, were you majoring in accounting?$$Yeah, and the reason was obviously I knew I had an uncle [Arthur Wilson] that was a CPA [certified public accountant] and accounting of all the courses seem to be, come to me it was easier for me than most things. So I just kept taking accounting courses, I can't tell you that I was the greatest student in the world, but the accounting came pretty easy. And I just looked up one day I had a major in accounting, I hadn't started off to be a CPA though.$$Okay what, what were you, did you have a specific goal when you started?$$Just to graduate from Northwestern and since I was in the, in the Commerce School, to get some type of job with some company, that my education would lead me to, I thought. What happened is, when I was graduating and they had job interviews everybody ignored the black people. Actually from the Commerce School, there wasn't but one guy me, and when the, when the accountants--they had the Big Eight Firms up from there and the large regional firms and nobody would talk to you. They would just say, "That's very fine," and brush you off you know, they wouldn't be insulting but it was insulting. And nobody would talk to me, and then you know what, as I think back, I never knew anybody, any black guy that was working in one of these big white accounting firms, no one. And I didn't realize I never thought about the fact that I was in the Commerce School and there were only two guys. I was ahead of a guy of by the name of Woods, I wanted to say Woodside [ph.], but that isn't his name, he's dead now. But you know I never thought about that, but the black student association about ten years ago honored me and gave me a big plaque and whatnot. And they were the ones that told me they had researched and found out I was the first black to graduate from the Commerce School. But when I came out trying to get an accounting job, it was impossible; the only job I got was with my uncle, at a very low rate (laughter).

Frank K. Ross

Businessman Frank Kenneth Ross was born on July 9, 1943, on the island of St. Kitts. He and his siblings moved to the United States after his father’s death to live with an uncle in Yonkers, New York. As a youth, Ross dreamed of becoming a lawyer. However, he opted for what he thought a more practical degree and commuted two hours a day from Yonkers to Long Island University in Brooklyn. There, he took courses in business and accounting while also working as a bookkeeper for a community organization in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

After graduating, Ross took a position at the accounting firm Peat Marwick Mitchell, now KPMG, at its office in New York while continuing at Long Island University to study for his M.B.A. There, he met Cecelia, the woman who would become his wife.

Although already a senior manager, in 1973 Ross decided to start his own practice, Ross, Stewart & Benjamin. Government programs of that era were attempting to encourage more minority-owned businesses and Ross felt that the time was right to start his own. Ross, Stewart & Benjamin garnered a significant client base. However, Ross was lured back to KPMG in 1976 and within a year promoted to partner, transferring to the Washington, D.C., office in 1979.

Today, Ross serves as the KPMG managing partner for the Mid-Atlantic and managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office. He is dedicated to maintaining KPMG’s market share. Ross also serves as an instructor at Howard University, teaching a class on auditing. He remains active on numerous community boards, including the National Association of Black Accountants (which he helped found); the Washington, D.C. Urban League; Corcoran Gallery of Art; the United Negro College Fund for Washington and Baltimore; and the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund.

Accession Number

A2001.073

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/25/2001

Last Name

Ross

Maker Category
Middle Name

K.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

P.S. 1

School 5

Roosevelt High School

Long Island University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Frank

Birth City, State, Country

St. Kitts

HM ID

ROS01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, College, Students, and young Professionals

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No - $5,000 - $10,000

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $3000-7000
Preferred Audience: Youth, College, Students, and young Professionals

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

All things are possible under the sun.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/9/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

Favorite Food

Rice

Short Description

Accountant Frank K. Ross (1943 - ) was a partner at the accounting firm KPMG since 1976. Ross served as the KPMG managing partner for the Mid-Atlantic and managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office. He was dedicated to maintaining KPMG’s market share. Ross was also an instructor at Howard University, teaching a class on auditing. Ross helped found the National Association of Black Accountants.

Employment

KPMG

Ross, Stewart & Benjamin

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frank Ross interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frank Ross's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frank Ross remembers his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frank Ross describes changes in his family life

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frank Ross shares episodes from his school life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frank Ross recalls life with his surrogate parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frank Ross remembers his youth in Yonkers, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frank Ross discusses his and his brothers' college prospects

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frank Ross discusses his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frank Ross describes his academic interests

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frank Ross describes himself as having been a dreamer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frank Ross describes his early social network

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frank Ross recalls his early racial encounters

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frank Ross describes his career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frank Ross recounts his college experience

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frank Ross recalls the effect of the Civil Rights Movement on student life

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frank Ross discusses racial discrimination in accounting firm recruitment

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frank Ross remembers his mentors at Peat Marwick

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frank Ross recounts facing racism at Peat Marwick

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frank Ross explains why he started his own firm

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frank Ross recalls how he made partner at Peat Marwick

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frank Ross reflects on what he learned running his own firm

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frank Ross recalls running his own accounting firm

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frank Ross reflects on his career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frank Ross discusses his family life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frank Ross shares his thoughts on success

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frank Ross discusses his philanthropic activities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frank Ross shares his plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frank Ross expresses his hopes for young people

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frank Ross reflects on his West Indian heritage

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Frank Ross considers his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frank Ross discusses founding the National Association of Black Accountants

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frank Ross talks about getting support for the National Association of Black Accountants

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frank Ross reflects on the success of NABA

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Frank Ross reflects on what he learned running his own firm
Frank Ross discusses founding the National Association of Black Accountants
Transcript
Now with your practice [Ross, Stewart & Benjamin], who were your clients and what things did you learn about yourself? You know, in that process? 'Cause remember you were saying I was young still business wise.$$Mm-hm.$$Mm-hm.$$I think I--starting with the second question. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that well--I learned how to run a business. Okay. I learned how hard it is to meet payroll. To this day, I pride myself on the fact that we never missed a payroll because my wife [Cecelia], if she was sitting here she would say, yes, but we also--but we also didn't have money on some weeks. But I didn't miss the payroll. So I knew how hard it was to go out and to collect cash, to meet the payroll, etcetera So I learned a lot about how to run, manage, operate a business. I learned a lot about myself and how to deal with different people. You know, and how to treat people. Different--you know, people working for you when you have the ultimate responsibility for them. So I learned a lot about that. And I learned a lot about myself. I think that if I did not do it--do that, I probably would not had been as successful at--today as I am. 'Cause I think I had to go through that experience. And because of that experience, I got the confidence in myself. I got to know that I can do something. I can do it. I--you don't have to tell me, you know, convince me. I mean I know I can do it. All I have to do is go and do it. So I learned a lot about confidence. I also learned some strengths and weaknesses. I learned that I'm great in a large organization. I learned that I am not the type of person that's going to be able to just walk into a crowd and knock on the door. Walk into a crowd and say, "Hi, I'm Frank Ross. Here's my card. Give me a call. I'll call you tomorrow and why don't we do some business?" Some people have that type of personality. They could just do that and they're gonna walk out of an--of a reception with lots of cards, lots of meetings. I found out, that's not me. I'm the type that, if you give me an opening, I'm going to find a way. After I got that opening, I'm gonna find a way to work with you and to get your business. And we just work and talk it out until we figure out how, with the both of us can do something together. But I can't get that opening. Somebody else had to help me. And that's where KPMG and the larger organization really came in handy.$Your being the co-founder of National Association of Black Accountants--.$$[Simultaneously] National Association of Black Accountants.$$And how that came about?$$National Association of Black Accountants was formed in--officially it was incorporated in 1969. And it was formed probably in 19--the first meeting was probably formed--was probably occurred in the--in 1968. Actually a couple of us got together in my living room. I think I'd just gotten married [to Cecelia Ross]. My daughter--I was married over a year but my daughter [Michelle Ross] was just born. We had no furniture in our living room. And I'm inviting--think I told my wife, we'll have about sixteen people to--for Sunday afternoon to talk about doing this. And could she fix some, you know, hors d'oeuvres and stuff like that. And she said, "Where are they going to sit? We have no chairs or anything. We have a couch and nothing else." And--but we met. We filled up the floor. You know. And started talking about why we needed such an organization. And it was really formed for the reason that--you have the professionals--I was saying earlier where, you know, just opened up. Had just started to open up to blacks. In 1967, '68 [1968]--1966, '67 [1967], firms were still hiring only one black. In 1968, the New York City Human Rights Commission [New York City Commission of Human Rights] brought a lawsuit against the major firms in New York--that had headquarters in New York City, and sued them. And as a result, the firms' reaction to that was to go out and hire anyone, as long as you were black. You were--they gave you a job as an accountant. And they brought you on. And then when you go to a firm and you say, "Well. But this person doesn't have the background." A lot of us would go and say, you know, you're hiring from a school that's not really teaching--don't really have an accountant program. How do you expect that student to compete with a student coming out of an NYU [New York University, New York, New York] or a Pace [University, New York, New York], which have very strong accountant programs? Don't you think you need to do something to bring them up to speed? If you're going to recruit from those schools, don't you need to do something? But of course, that don't get you into remedial, you know, training. And that gets into the whole concept that you're not hiring. You know, that you're making exceptions in your hiring policies. And no one wants to go there. So what we said is, well maybe we could address some of these concerns by forming an organization that would be able to, you know, provide a group for networking. A group for--where people could get to know others, and ask questions. And we could sort of overcome, you know, the problems that they were facing or help them overcome it. So we started the organization. We came by--you know. We started in New York. Of course, we had to get it accepted by the profession, the AICPA [American Institute of Certified Public Accountants], the New York state society. We had to get those firms be--those organizations behind us. We had to get the major firms behind us. And I guess that's where the fact that I that I had, had a reputation within KPMG of being, you know, someone that is not going to be a rebel rouser. And someone that's going to be doing things positively, but I'm not going to be the type of person that's not going to do something, came in handy. And as a result, I was able to get the major firms to all support it. And we started. Now--but it was really started with the intent of filling a void that existed. And I guess that void still exists because the organization has grown. And, you know, every--and it's been relatively successful.

Lester McKeever

Lester McKeever was born on June 15, 1934, in Chicago and was raised in the city. McKeever graduated from Douglas Elementary School and Wendell Phillips High School. He was educated at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and studied law at the Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law.

After law school, McKeever joined the accounting firm of Washington & Pittman, thus beginning a long career. In 1976, McKeever was elected to Washington & Pittman's Board of Directors as a managing partner and eventually the firm was renamed Washington, Pittman & McKeever. A passionate civic leader, McKeever has served on the Finance Committee under Chicago mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley. In 1997, he made history when he was appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. With this position he oversees bank operations in Chicago.

In 1993, McKeever was elected to the Illinois Institute of Technology's Board of Directors. McKeever is also the treasurer of the University of Illinois Board of Trustee. McKeever has served as board chairman for the Chicago Urban League and is an active member of the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Neighborhood Institute Development Corporation. His wife, Nancy, is a former Chicago public school teacher. They have two children, Steven and Susan, both of whom are lawyers.

Accession Number

A2000.031

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/19/2000

Last Name

McKeever

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

H.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Daniel Webster Elementary School

John J. Pershing West Middle School

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

University of Illinois at Chicago

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Lester

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MCK01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa, Europe

Favorite Quote

Experience is a drag.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/15/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Accountant Lester McKeever (1934 - ) is a civic finance leader and was appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. McKeever is also the treasurer of the University of Illinois Board of Trustee. McKeever is a partner at the accounting firm Washington, Pittman & McKeever.

Employment

Washington & Pittman

Washington, Pittman & McKeever

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lester McKeever interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lester McKeever's favorites, part 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lester McKeever's favorites, part 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lester McKeever describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lester McKeever remembers his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lester McKeever recalls his childhood home on Chicago's South Side

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lester McKeever remembers his early school life

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lester McKeever describes his childhood behavior

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lester McKeever details his early support network

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lester McKeever remembers influential classmates

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lester McKeever remembers his mentors, the Beasleys

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lester McKeever recalls his college experience

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lester McKeever remembers his years at the University of Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lester McKeever recalls his post-college pursuits

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lester McKeever reviews his years in the military

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lester McKeever discusses his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lester McKeever recalls his military duty in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lester McKeever recalls his beginnings in accounting

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lester McKeever discusses the history of accounting

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lester McKeever discusses African American art

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lester McKeever discusses his family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lester McKeever expresses his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lester McKeever wants to be remembered as someone who contributed

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lester McKeever reflects on community involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lester McKeever discusses his involvement in the racing industry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lester McKeever reflects on his family's history

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lester McKeever talks about starting his accounting practice

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lester McKeever talks about his growing responsibilites at Smith Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lester McKeever describes the impetus behind African American businesses becoming successful on a larger scale

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lester McKeever addresses a question about his qualifications for becoming managing partner

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lester McKeever recalls hisrise to managing partner at his firm

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lester McKeever discusses how he helped his firm through Chicago United and other community building activities

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lester Mckeever reflects on his career and the firm he has helped to build

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lester McKeever talks about the future for black in accounting and business

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lester McKeever compares the work ethic and education of the younger generation to his generation

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lester McKeever describes his mentors

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lester McKeever details his tenure on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
Lester McKeever discusses African American art
Lester McKeever discusses his involvement in the racing industry
Transcript
You and your wife are big collectors, and I want to know where that came from and why you think--I'd like to ask that question first.$$Well, surprising, I've always appreciated art. Never thought that I could afford art and although my wife says we didn't pay very much for our first painting, when I first went to look at it, I thought it was really expensive and although I loved it, I didn't want to buy it. So, lo and behold, what do I get for Christmas as a present was that painting, so that's the one I consider the most precious piece in our collection. Since then I've just tried to better understand art and particularly African/American art. I love African art but I don't know that much about it. I don't know how you got about valuing those things but I look at art in the same way I look at traditional art by other artists that, you know, if you find the old masters, the older painters that did great works that may not still be here, that was the emphasis that I wanted to place on how early were blacks into painting and what kind of works that they do early on. So, that was a main thrust that drove me into trying to get--then I met Margaret Burrows who as you know, founded the DuSable Museum and was very knowledgeable about the African American artist and everything at the time and found sources where I could start trying to acquire some of those things. So, it's just been a love affair since then. I'm not nearly as knowledgeable as I'd like to be still in the old African American art scene, but I think we do have some really wonderful pieces now so that I feel proud about that.$$(Inaudible) you have pretty significant collection. Why do you think that art is an important part of siding, especially to the African American (unclear)? Why is that important?$$You know, the African American image is so tarnished by our enslavement that there's so many beautiful things that we, as a people, have done that have not always been recognized that I think is so important to perpetuate. I think like the theater, the ETA for example and my wife is working so hard in, the (unclear) art and the paintings depicting some of our circumstances not even necessarily depicting our circumstances, some of the art pieces I have are just landscapes or may be of a white subject, but they were done by African American at a time where very few people knew there were African Americans doing these kinds of things, so I think that anything that connects the African/American community to creativity and to good positive works in our society is important for all of us to try and perpetuate.$How did you get involved in the racing industry?$$Well, in 1976, they passed an affirmative action law in the state legislation that the race tracks at the moment interpreted as being, that there should be some blacks involved in racing, so there was a black woman that worked at the racing board who brought this to John Swain's? attention, and John Swain came to me and so then we started pursuing this opportunity, going out to Washington Park--Arlington Park and they had Washington Park and we, then sought a lease from them. They wanted to give us an experimental lease with thoroughbred racing in the wintertime. There's no thoroughbred racing in the wintertime, so they went to the racing board and they had given us a lease for this and the racing board liked us as a group, liked our credentials and asked Arlington Park wouldn't they give us a harness lease for some summer dates out at Washington Park, so they were over the barrel. That's not where they had expected to be and so then they agreed with the racing board that they would do this and so that's how we got started. I think we're the first African American group in the United States that ever operated at the race track and from that, Washington Park, because we had a favorable lease thinking that it was thoroughbred racing, wanted to change our lease the second year and they just kept holding off and holding off and making us sweat as to whether or not we were going to get a lease and they burned down. So, we had gone to Maywood just as an alternative before Washington Park burned down and they agreed to give us a ten year lease. I always thank the (unclear) for that because they really older people, very wealthy people and so very socially conscious people and so they did that and gave us that opportunity, so they gave us some longevity, so we weren't worried on a year to year basis as we would have, otherwise, been. Then, the (unclear) sold the track in 1979, so I had an opportunity, I was asked by the buyers whether or not I wanted to participate, so I joined in and got a small ownership interest in the track, so that's led to a little small interest in Balmoral, so it's now Maywood and Balmoral. But, I've always been active, didn't want anyone to think that we were getting, just getting something so I--in that business I've been very active. I got on the board of the (unclear) Insurance Company, have been the chairman of harness tracks of America which is the international harness owners and tracks association for United States and Canada, so I've stayed in there. I'm still active with that so I have gotten a lot that I've tried to contribute again, because whenever you do that, you've got to get something back and you aren't in it for that, but that invariably is what happens. (Unclear) just grateful about the whole experience, that people of that--my mother was a little nervous when I first went into racing thinking that there was an element there that's unsavory, but I have met the most wonderful group of people that you can imagine in the racing business on both sides of the track, that's either thoroughbred and harness. It's really been a great experience.