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Chester C. Owens, Jr.

Community activist Chester Owens, Jr. was born on April 9, 1933 in Ashdown Arkansas to Francis and Chester Owens, Sr. The family moved to Kansas City, Kansas in 1946 where Owens graduated from Sumner High School in 1949. He then attended Sumner Junior College until 1951 when he joined the United States Air Force and was deployed to Japan. Owens was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1955, and subsequently completed his B.S. degree in business administration at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, graduating from there in 1958.

In 1959, Owens was hired as an underwriter and salesman at the insurance agency H.W. Sewing & Co. in Kansas City, Kansas. He worked here until 1961 when he joined General Motors. After one year, Owens returned to H.W. Sewing & Co. as an underwriter and salesman. In the early 1960s, he worked with the Northwest District Citizens Committee and the NAACP to desegregate the downtown shopping district. As chairman of the NAACP’s Labor and Industry Committee from 1960 to 1963, Owen’s and his late wife, Lillie Anne, wrote letters to local business owners and organized pickets of stores refusing to hire African Americans. In 1976, Owens bought H.W. Sewing and Co. from the founder, Henry Warren Sewing, and served as president of the agency. In 1983, he was elected to the City Council of Kansas City, Kansas, making him the first African American elected to Kansas City government in the 20th century. He served two terms on the council, during which time he also briefly served as deputy mayor in 1984. Owens retired as president of H.W. Sewing and Co. in 1998.

Owens has also served on numerous boards, including for Douglass State Bank, United Way of Wyandotte County, Kansas, and the Kansas Association of Independent Insurance Agents, and as president of the Northeast Business Association, Struggler’s Hill/Roots Neighborhood Association, Kansas City, Kansas Association of Independent Insurance Agents, Homeowner's Task Force for the State of Kansas, the Economic Opportunity Foundation, and Sumner High School Alumni Association. He is also a member of Sigma Pi Phi and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternities.

Owens is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kansas City, Kansas Leadership Award in 1989, of which he was the first ever recipient; being named amongst the Kansas City Globe’s One Hundred Most Influential Citizens in 1990; the 2012 Outstanding Leadership Award presented by the Kansas House of Representatives; being named in the Kansas City, Kansas USD 500’s 2012 Reasons to Believe; the NAACP Civil Rights Award; and the Friends of Yates’ Black Man of Distinction Award. Owens has also been honored through the naming of the Chester C. Owens Sumner Alumni Room and The Chester Owens Jr. Construction Skills Training Center, which houses a U.S. Department of Labor-run program called YouthBuild, both named in 2011.

Chester Owens, Jr. resides in Kansas City, Kansas and has three daughters and two grandsons.

Chester Owens, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/5/2019

Last Name

Owens

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Lee Herman

Occupation
Schools

Little River County Training School

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science

Kansas City Junior College at Sumner

Pittsburg State University

First Name

Chester

Birth City, State, Country

Ashdown

HM ID

OWE03

Favorite Season

Mother's Day and Father's Day

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I Am Whole, I Am Perfect, I'm Strong, I'm Powerful, I'm Loving, I'm Harmonious, And I'm Happy

Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

4/9/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Community activist Chester Owens, Jr. (1933- ) was chairman of the Kansas City, Kansas NAACP’s Labor and Industry Committee from 1960 to 1963, the first African American elected to Kansas City government in the 20th century in 1983, and owner and president of the insurance company, H.W. Sewing and Co., from 1976 to 1998.

Employment

The Kansas City Star

United States Air Force

Gustin-Bacon Manufacturing Company

H.W. Sewing & Company

General Motors

Favorite Color

Blue

Patrisse Cullors

Community activist Patrisse Cullors was born on June 20, 1983 in Van Nuys, California to Cherisse Foley. She graduated from Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda, California and received her B.A. degree in religion and philosophy in 2012 from the University of California, Los Angeles. Cullors also attended the Roski School of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Southern California.

In 2001, Cullors joined the Bus Riders Union, a Los Angeles-based advocacy group. She later launched Dignity and Power Now, a coalition designed to fight police brutality. In 2012, Cullors curated her first performance art piece addressing the violence of mass incarceration, STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence. Then, she co-founded the #BlackLivesMatter movement in 2013; and, the following year, Cullors completed an Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership fellowship, and prepared and led a think tank on state and vigilante violence for the Without Borders Conference. She also produced and directed POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied, the first in a series of theatrical pieces. In 2016, Cullors delivered the keynote address at over a dozen colleges and universities including American University, The University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell. In 2018, she coauthored her New York Times bestselling memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, and expanded her Los Angeles based coalition work with the advocacy groups Justice L.A. and Reform L.A. Jails. In 2018, Cullors became an adjunct professor at Prescott College in the Social Justice & Community Organizing program.

In 2006, she was honored by receiving the Mario Savio Young Activist Award. In 2015, Google awarded Cullors with the Racial Justice Grant, the Justice Teams for Truth and Reinvestment. Cullors was also named by the Los Angeles Times as a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century, and she received the Sydney Peace Prize for her #BlackLivesMatter work. In 2016, Cullors was named a Leading Edge Fund Fellow by The Rosenberg Foundation, a Senior Fellow for Maternal Mortality by MomsRising, a Kick-Ass Woman of Color by DLG Media, and received the Defender of the Dream Award from the AFL-CIO Executive Council Committee on Civil and Human Rights. Her other awards include the Revolution Award for Freedom from ImageNation Cinema Foundation, the Justice Award from National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Community Change Agent Award from BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., and the Glamour Women of the Year Award for The Justice Seekers. Cullors also received honorary doctorate degrees from Chicago’s South Shore International College Preparatory High School and Clarkson University.

Patrisse Cullors was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 10, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.222

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/10/2018

Last Name

Cullors

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Patrisse

Birth City, State, Country

Van Nuys

HM ID

CUL02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Someplace Warm and Tropical/Miami

Favorite Quote

Black Lives Matter

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/20/1983

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Indian

Short Description

Community activist Patrisse Cullors (1983- ) was a cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement and coauthored her New York Times Bestselling memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.

Favorite Color

Purple

Cal Williams

Community activist Cal Williams was born on November 30, 1941 in Monroe, Louisiana. A college graduate, Williams served in Vietnam in the United States Air Force during the early 1960s and participated in the historic March on Washington and was affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In 1965, he moved from Louisiana to Alaska, seeking job opportunities, racial integration and a better life. In Alaska, Williams continued his political and civic activism working with the AdHoc Democrats organization in Alaska. He was named President of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also served as a member of the Alaska Delegation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. In 2012, Williams ran for the Alaska House of Representatives District 17-serving the communities of Mountain View, Airport Heights, and Russian Jack in the Anchorage area, and was defeated by opponent Geran Tarr in the August 28th Democratic primary. Williams served as the Filipino choir director at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, and also as the Chappie James American Legion Post 34 chaplain in Anchorage. He worked as a photographer and also helped to exhibit the collection of the late Alaskan historian George Harper, who documented the history of African Americans in Alaska, including the black U.S. Army troops who worked on the Alaska Highway. Williams was elected to the board of directors for Anchorage Senior Activity Center in 2016.

Williams was named in the Anchorage Municipal Assembly for his contributions to the growth and strength to the State of Alaska. In 2017, Williams was the recipient of the St. Francis of Assisi Award. Williams has served as Grand Knight of the Council of Knights of Columbus at St. Patrick's Church in Anchorage, as well as in 2018, he served as the District 22 chair for the Alaska Democratic Party.

Cal Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.097

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/19/2018

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Grambling State University

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles City College

First Name

Cal

Birth City, State, Country

Monroe

HM ID

WIL84

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans

Favorite Quote

That's What I'm Trying To Tell You

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alaska

Birth Date

11/30/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Anchorage

Favorite Food

Cat fish

Short Description

Community activist Cal Williams (1941- ) named chair of the Alaska Democratic Party District 22 in 2018, had served as President of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Employment

Municipality of Anchorage

Alaska Housing

State Farm Insurance

Favorite Color

Yellow

Ed Wesley

Community activist Ed Wesley was born on January 9, 1951 in Bolivar County, Mississippi.  He graduated from Pace Elementary in 1965 and then his family moved to Chicago, Illinois where he attend Forestville High school. 

In 1972, he was drafted into the United States Army stationed at Fort Greely, Alaska as a military police officer.  He attained the rank of Specialist 4 and his general equivalency diploma (GED) from the state of Illinois, and was honored twice as Ft Greely’s post soldier of the month.  He separated from the military in 1974 with an honorable discharge.

From 1974 to 1977, he worked as security officer on the Trans Alaska Pipeline.  In 1977, attended University of Alaska at Anchorage. Wesley’s career and work experience includes forty years in several industries in Alaska to include real estate and insurance brokers and tax advisor. He retired in 2015.

Wesley was credited for his leadership as president of the Anchorage NAACP and his role in the creation of the historic thirteen-point, two-page agreement with the Anchorage Police Department on the use of deadly force and related issues against the citizens of the Municipality of Anchorage in 1981.  In 1988, he was also credited with helping presidential candidate Jesse Jackson win the Alaska Democratic Presidential Caucus, subsequently served as whip for the Alaska Jesse Jackson delegation at the Democratic convention in Atlanta, Ga.  In 2016, Wesley was elected as national committeeman for the Alaska Democratic Party and ran an unsuccessful bid as a Democratic candidate for district J of the Alaska State Senate.  

An active community member, Wesley has served on the boards of numerous organizations such as treasurer for the Anchorage Council of PTAs, Deacon of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Worshipful Master of Mt McKinley Lodge #2 and Grand Jr Warden of Prince Hall Masons State of Alaska and its’ jurisdiction, chairman of the 3rd great Alaska high school basketball classic tournament, Municipality of Anchorage Zoning Board of Examiners and Appeals, vice president, Anchorage Board of Realtors, president of Alaska Black Leadership Conference, president of the African American Business Council, president of the African American Historical Society (sponsor of Juneteenth) and Board of Trustees for the State of Alaska Personnel Retirement System.
A veteran’s advocate for many years, Wesley has served on the Veterans Volunteer Committee at the Alaska Veterans Administration Hospital. He is past commander of American Legion Post 34, where he sponsored activities for Veterans. He has raised funds for local Disabled Veterans to attend the National Wheel Chair Games. He has worked towards and championed youth activities continually in Anchorage. Wesley has been honored by the Alaska State Legislature as a nation builder for his community service and the National Association of Black State Legislators for his community service.

Wesley and his wife Frances, have five adult children, Wendell, Cynthia, Chairita, Kiala and Tamika.

Ed Wesley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.096

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/19/2018

Last Name

Wesley

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Ed

Birth City, State, Country

Bolivar County

HM ID

WES14

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Visiting Relatives Out Of State

Favorite Quote

When We Come Into This World We Are Greeted By Family And Friends. When We Depart, Family And Friends Come Together To Send Us Off. And, If We’re Smart, We Stay Connected In Between.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alaska

Birth Date

1/9/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Anchorage

Favorite Food

Southern Cuisine

Short Description

Community activist Ed Wesley (1951- ) served as president of the Anchorage NAACP, credited for his role in the creation of the historic thirteen-point, two-page agreement with the Anchorage Police Department on the use of deadly force and related issues against the citizens of the Municipality of Anchorage in 1981.

Favorite Color

Brown

Munir Muhammad

Community activist Munir Muhammad was born on March 27, 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama to Mary Henley Waller and Robert L. Waller. After graduating from Wenonah High School in 1968, Muhammad moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he first worked in the shipping and receiving department for DeMert & Dougherty, a hair care product and grooming supply company. Then, in 1970, Muhammad became an assistant code enforcer for the City of Chicago.

Muhammad joined the Nation of Islam in 1972, and began reading the texts of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Although he left the Nation of Islam following the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975, he co-founded The Coalition for the Remembrance of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad (C.R.O.E.) in 1987, along with Halif Muhammad and Shahid Muslim. The organization started as a small group of individuals meeting at Muhammad’s home on the South Side of Chicago to study and discuss Elijah Muhammad’s teachings and speeches. In 1994, C.R.O.E launched C.R.O.E TV; and in 1997, the organization established the C.R.O.E. TV Production Studio in the West Englewood neighborhood. Muhammad served as the executive producer for C.R.O.E. TV. He also hosted several television programs, including The Munir Muhammad Show and Muhammad and Friends, in addition to radio programs Political Talk and The Muhammad Speaks Radio Show. Muhammad interviewed a number of notable individuals, including Minister Louis Farrakhan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Illinois Representative Gus Savage, and actor Harry Lennix. C.R.O.E. TV’s programming broadcast in many cities across the United States, including in Chicago, Atlanta, New York City, and Charlotte. Muhammad and Colonel Eugene Scott also initiated an editorial partnership between The Chicago Defender and C.R.O.E. TV in 2001. In 2018, C.R.O.E. held its 31st Annual Founders Day celebration, which was attended by news anchorman John E. Davis, Judges Anne Burke and Dorothy Brown, and Reverend Al Sampson. Muhammad also served as the business manager of C.R.O.E. for over thirty years.

Muhammad served on the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and was also appointed to the Cook County Board of Corrections in 2004.

Munir Muhammad was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 5, 2018.

Muhammad passed away on July 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2018.093

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/5/2018

Last Name

Muhammad

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Munir

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

MUH03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere People Are

Favorite Quote

The Uniting Of Knowledge And Finances And Wisdom Would Be Good For Us As A People.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/27/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Salmon

Death Date

7/9/2019

Short Description

Community activist Munir Muhammad (1950 - ) co-founded the Coalition for the Remembrance of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad (C.R.O.E.) in 1987, and hosted The Munir Muhammad Show and Muhammad and Friends on C.R.O.E. TV.

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Charlene Carruthers

Community activist Charlene Carruthers was born on July 28, 1985 in Chicago, Illinois to Gwendolyn White and Charles Carruthers. After graduating from Senn High School in 2003, Carruthers went on to earn her B.A. degree in international studies and history in 2007. Carruthers then received her M.S.W. degree at Washington University in St. Louis in 2009.

In 2010, Carruthers became a program coordinator for the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights in Washington, D.C. She then worked as an online organizing strategist for the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. In 2011, she joined the Women’s Media Center, where she worked as a strategic initiatives manager. After working as a campaign manager for Color of Change in 2012, Carruthers returned to Chicago to work as the director of online engagement for the National People’s Action. In 2013, she co-founded and became the national director for the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100). Under her leadership, BYP 100 expanded to include eight local chapters, launched a campaign to reduce the criminalization of black youth, and formalized its Agenda to Build Black Futures project. Carruthers also organized a number of protests in Chicago after the shootings of Rekia Boyd and Laquan McDonald by Chicago police. In 2015, Carruthers served as a member of the Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation; and in 2018, she released her book entitled Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Our Movement. Carruthers also developed political training programs for several organizations, including the NAACP, the Center for Progressive Leadership, Young People For, and Wellstone Action.

Carruthers received several awards for her activism work, including the Movement Builder Award from the United States Students Association, and the New Organizing Institute 2015 Organizer of the Year Award. In 2017, Carruthers received the YWCA’s Dorothy I. Height Award. She served on the board of directors for SisterSong. Carruthers has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Reader, The Nation, as well as Ebony and Essence magazines. She has appeared on CNN, Democracy Now!, BBC and MSNBC. Carruthers has also written for The Root, Colorlines and the Boston Review.

Charlene Carruthers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 4, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.092

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/4/2018

Last Name

Carruthers

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Charlene

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CAR38

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico City and Paris

Favorite Quote

Nobody's Free Until Everybody Is Free.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/28/1985

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Spicy Food

Short Description

Community activist Charlene Carruthers (1985 - ) worked with nonprofit organizations like the Women’s Media Center, Color of Change, and the National People’s Action before serving as the founding national director of the Black Youth Project 100.

Favorite Color

Purple

Jahmal Cole

Community activist Jahmal Cole was born on July 15, 1983 in Chicago, Illinois to Leonard and Gloria Cole. He graduated from Reuther Central High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and received his B.S. degree in communications from Wayne State College, in 2005, in Wayne, Nebraska. Cole was one of the first African Americans players on the Wayne State Wildcats basketball team, where he played for four seasons and received the Scholar Athlete Award in 2005. Cole later received his M.S. degree in internet marketing from Full Sail University Online in 2011.

Cole began his career working for Colorado Technical University Online as national admissions advisor. In 2009, Cole was hired at WH Trading, LLC in Chicago as a Microsoft Systems administrator, and obtained his Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator Certificate from Microtrain. He founded the Role Model Movement, a not-for-profit organization offering a series of initiatives geared toward empowering underserved youth, and authored, through its publishing arm Role Model Publishing, Athletes and Emcees, a motivational book providing candid advice on careers, confidence, friendship, school, ingenuity and determination. In 2013, he founded MyBlock, MyHood, MyCity, a non-profit organization based in Chicago, dedicated to providing opportunities to underprivileged youth focused on STEM, arts & culture, citizenry & volunteerism, health, community development, culinary arts, and entrepreneurism. He is also the author of The Torch of Decency: Rekindling the Spirit of Community Organizations, Exposure Is Key: Solving Violence By Exposing Teens to Opportunites, Mud Sharks, and 50 Excuses to not Follow Your Dreams.

In addition to his role as a mentor to inner city youth, his honors and accomplishments include being named the Chicago Ideas Award Winner by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011, a certificate of appreciation by the Illinois Office of Volunteerism and Community Service in 2012, the Chicago Urban League Innovator Award in 2016, and becoming aa Bluhm Helfand Social Innovation Fellow in 2017.

Cole has also been an active associate board member of the Children’s Research Triangle and Children’s Home Aid, and a mentor for the Illinois Education Foundation. Cole has served as the Treasurer of the Greater Chatham Alliance.

Cole and his wife, Tiffany, have one daughter, Khammur Monet.

Jahmal Cole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 22, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.021

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/22/2018

Last Name

Cole

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Jahmal

Birth City, State, Country

Libertyville

HM ID

COL35

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Julia Stasch

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui

Favorite Quote

My Block, My Hood, My City

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/15/1983

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Community activist Jahmal Cole (1983- ) founded MyBlock, MyHood, MyCity in 2013 – a non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for underprivileged youth and authored the book Athletes and Emcees in 2010.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Daughters Birthday

Jessica "FM Supreme" Disu

Poet and community activist Jessica “FM Supreme” Disu was born on October 12, 1988 in Chicago, Illinois to Ida Breckenridge Alashe, a music producer, and Segun Disu. As a child, Disu took part in Kuumba Lynx Hip Hop Arts Program and Chicago Young Authors. She was a two time winner of CYA’s youth poetry slam competition, Louder Than A Bomb, and released her first album, The Diary of a Mad Black Woman Mixtape, in 2005 under the stage name FM Supreme. After graduating from the Chicago Academy of the Arts in 2006, Disu spent a semester at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, but ultimately received her B.A. degree in international arts management from Columbia College Chicago in 2014.

Upon returning to Chicago in 2007, Disu founded Rez Publica Inc./CommonWealth Music Group, an independent record label. CommonWealth Music Group released several of FM Supreme’s records including The Beautiful Grind Mixtape in 2008, The Go State of Mind in 2010, and Beautiful Grind III in 2014. In 2012, Disu founded the Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, a program under the Holy Family Ministries that facilitated international peace exchange efforts in Chicago, England, and Asia. As the co-founder of The Peace Exchange: Chicago - Asia 2013, Disu led trips to Thailand, Myanmar, Nicaragua, South Africa, and India. Disu was also a founding member of the Black Youth Project 100, served on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Commission for a Safer Chicago, and worked with the Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement. She also led workshops at Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, and was a creative writing teacher and HerStory Director at Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart in Chicago, which later moved to Bowen High School. In 2016, Disu gained public attention for her impassioned speech on Fox News’ Kelly File calling for the demilitarization of police in the United States. In 2018, Disu released a new music video called “Untitled, in the Beginning Black.” Disu has shared stages and performed at conferences with Chance the Rapper, Russell Simmons, Common, Nick Cannon, and Spike Lee. As the founder of the FM Supreme Company, Disu has also performed her rap and spoken word poetry internationally, and worked as a consultant to Fortune 500 Companies.

Jessica “FM Supreme” Disu was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.020

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/21/2018

Last Name

Disu

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Jessica

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DIS01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Julia Stasch

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barcelona and South Africa

Favorite Quote

If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/12/1988

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Falafel Sandwich

Short Description

Poet and community activist Jessica “FM Supreme” Disu (1988 - ) was a two time winner of Chicago Young Author’s Louder than a Bomb poetry slam competition. She also founded Rez Publica Inc./CommonWealth Music Group, and the Chicago International Youth Peace Movement.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Grace Y. Ingleton

Social activist and health care professional Grace Y. Ingleton was born on September 14, 1936, in Panama, Republic of Panama, In 1955, Ingleton migrated to Brooklyn, NY, and graduated from Prospect Heights high School. Later, she would attend Lincoln School for Nursing and receive a Nursing Diploma. Ingleton also earned B.S. and M.A. degrees in nursing from Long Island University. After graduating as a registered nurse, she joined the staff of Brooklyn Jewish Hospital.

Ingleton’s career in long term care began at Midway Nursing Home in 1973, where she has been the director of nursing services and administration for more than thirty years. Serving in this position, Ingleton has obtained several grants to prepare and present seminars and workshops on a variety of issues specific to the long term care industry and has consulted with many major health care organizations. She is also an adjunct nursing professor at the college and university level, lecturing at Medgar Evers College up to 2005. Ingleton is presently a nursing consultant to the Nursing Department at Parker Jewish Institute, part of Long Island Hospital.

Ingleton has been honored by several organizations including The Dedicators, Inc., the Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.; Imani Literary Reading Group, Inc.; Savacou Fine Art Gallery; Celebration of Black Artist; The Black Nurses Day Community Services Award for her community service and professional activities.

Grace Ingleton is married to Edward I. Ingleton, who live in Brooklyn, New York.

Grace Ingleton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 1, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.163

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/1/2012

Last Name

Ingleton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Y.

Schools

Justo Arosemena Elementary

Liceo de Senoritas

La Boca Occupational High School

Prospect Heights High School

Lincoln School for Nursing

Long Island University

First Name

Grace

Birth City, State, Country

Panama City

HM ID

ING04

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Zealand

Favorite Quote

Remember To Do Something Nice To Someone Else, It Will Make You Feel Better.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/14/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Panama

Favorite Food

Cottage Cheese, Fruit

Short Description

Community activist and healthcare executive Grace Y. Ingleton (1936 - ) served as the director of nursing at numerous long term care facilities in the New York City area, including the Midway Nursing Home and the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. She was also a professor of nursing.

Employment

Brooklyn Jewish Hospital

Midway Nursing Home

Parker Jewish Institute*

Medgar Evers College

Provident Clinial Society Neighborhood Health Center

The Dedicators

Haym Salomon Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation

Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

Long Island University

Queensborough Community College

Heart to Art, Inc.

Imani Literary Group, Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Grace Y. Ingleton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Grace Y. Ingleton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about her maternal grandparents' migration to Panama

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about the West Indian community in Panama and the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her mother's life in Panama

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes the discrimination against West Indians in the Panama Canal Zone, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes the discrimination against West Indians in the Panama Canal Zone, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about her paternal grandparents' migration to the Panama Canal Zone

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her father's education and career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about her upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers the Escuela Justo Arosemana in Panama City, Panama

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers learning to speak Spanish in Panama

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers an influential teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her experiences of World War II in the Panama Canal Zone

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers the Liceo de Senoritas in Panama City, Panama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her decision to attend high school in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her exposure to American culture in Panama

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers her transition to Prospect Heights High School in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Grace Y. Ingleton recalls adapting to the winters in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her experiences at Prospect Heights High School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers applying to nursing schools in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers the Lincoln School for Nurses in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Grace Y. Ingleton recalls meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes the founding of The Dedicators, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes the founding of The Dedicators, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about the Panamanian chapter of The Dedicators, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Grace Y. Ingleton recalls studying at Long Island University while working at the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers joining the staff of the Midway Nursing Home in Queens, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers her leadership of the Midway Nursing Home in Queens, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Grace Y. Ingleton recalls the racial tensions during her tenure at the Midway Nursing Home

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her career after leaving the Midway Nursing Home

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her work as a healthcare educator and consultant

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about the rewards of nursing administration

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes Heart to Art, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Grace Y. Ingleton remembers the influence of Lawrence Dorsey

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Grace Y. Ingleton recalls her introduction to in the black arts community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about her art donation to the Links Foundation, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about her art donation to the Links Foundation, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Grace Y. Ingleton reflects upon her interest in art

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Grace Y. Ingleton talks about the Imani Literary Group, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes the philanthropy of the Imani Literary Group, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Grace Y. Ingleton reflects upon the importance of community engagement

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her hopes and concerns for the African American Community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Grace Y. Ingleton reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes her international travels

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Grace Y. Ingleton reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Grace Y. Ingleton describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$5

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Grace Y. Ingleton describes the discrimination against West Indians in the Panama Canal Zone, pt. 1
Grace Y. Ingleton remembers her leadership of the Midway Nursing Home in Queens, New York
Transcript
I think you were telling me before we started that the Panama, the school system in Panama put a ceiling on where, how far you could go?$$Yes.$$So--$$On the canal zone's area, and the canal zone [Panama Canal Zone] was administered by the America- U.S. government, okay, and they had schools for West Indians, in particular, that went no further than the eighth grade. It wasn't until many years later that they started a high school and that had to be probably in the, the late '40s [1940s], that they started high school.$$So, let me get this straight. If you were a, some other nationality, you weren't a West Indian, you could get a higher education at the expense of the state?$$No you could not.$$You could not?$$No, because basically the workers were Hispanic or Caribbean, and Caribbean primarily, and you had Hispanics but they rarely worked for the canal zone and that's why there's always that, that, that discussion that the canal [Panama Canal] was built by West Indians. They don't get credit for it but there are a number of research, research has been done and shown that this is where the building of the canal came from, truly, West Indians, and those are the ones that came primarily from the West Indies that lived there and raised their families and their only job was to build a canal. So the education, as I said, they brought people with them, women in particular, that educated, trained, initially. I, I know that I learned my ABCs and my multiplication tables. I could, if you woke me up in the middle of the night, I said twelve times twelve is how much and I'd say 144 but I knew that when I was about three or four years old because I used to sit on the stairs, looking into an apartment, a little room, to a room that Mrs. Carrington [ph.] held classes for the children of the people in the community and she would have the front row is for those children that are from maybe kindergarten to third grade and then from fourth grade to eighth grade, you had another, another group that she trained or they went off then to the elementary school and later, much later, just before I came to this country in 1953, they, I guess at '53 [1953], yeah, '53 [1953], they, I went to the junior high school [La Boca Junior High School, La Boca, Panama] to complete my eighth grade and at that time they had then put, initiated, the high school that went from nine to twelve.$$Okay, but when your mother [Edith Pond Brown] was growing up--$$My mother--$$--she could only, she was allowed going to eighth grade--$$--she only could go to eighth grade, eighth grade--$$--but what you're saying is--$$--and my aunts.$$--is that her education was supplemented by the teachers that they brought over from--$$Exactly, yes.$$--home, from Montserrat?$$From Montserrat and from Trinidad and from Jamaica and Jamaica in particular, and Barbados. Barbados had people I recognized that were really quite bright, educated themselves but, or learned from the English, but they were really very well informed. If you had a Barbadian teacher, you were very proud.$Nineteen seventy-three [1973], at Midway Nursing Home [Maspeth, New York] now. You're the director--$$Yes.$$--of nursing services and administration and you were there for more than twenty-five years?$$No, no, no no--$$No? Okay.$$--I was there for ten years.$$Ten, okay, (laughter) we've got that wrong.$$Yeah, ten years, um-hm.$$Ten years, all right, that's a big difference. So, well tell us about that experience.$$It was an interesting experience because as I said, when Earline [Earline Ross] recommended me it was a new facility, it was a facility that was put into a community called Maspeth [Queens, New York] which was made up of people, Lithuanians and, and so on, Slavic areas and they, this community existed in a place called Maspeth, M-A-S-P-E-T-H, and the arrangement that the owners of the facility, Midway Nursing Home, had to make with them is that they will be willing to hire people from the community to work there, for them to get permission to put this site on, in the neighborhood, well, they shortly did, they got their approval. So when I was hired, I did not know that I had, I had to hire people from the community, solely, and I started doing that and when you came into the facility, and again I always seem to end up indirectly with some sort of racial situations, I, on the first floor was the administration staff. I was the only black person in, in the building, in the position of authority and because of my background, I was able to, the owners of the facility left me in charge of purchasing supplies, of hiring, developing their policy and procedure manuals and it was just a really tough job getting started but it was good, I looked at it as good experience for my future. And so when I started hiring, I was able to get people from the community to work the day shift which was seven to three [o'clock], up, a few to work three to eleven, very few to work eleven to seven was a difficult, a night tour, and, in the process of doing that, and this is way back then, in the '70s [1970s], right, in the process of doing that, I had to hire, no, I could not find people from the community to work nights and I'm having difficulty staffing. So I went to the owners and I said, "Look, I'm going to have to put an ad in the paper, not the local papers only, seeking help and hoping that people will come in, if they meet the criteria, then I'll hire them and I cannot just strictly depend on, because I cannot depend on the neighborhood people," so I did. And then when I started hiring, I had difficulty later on and in no time, the community had a community board meeting and they were raging against the owners and they're hiring people from out of the neighborhood and so, of course, all of this came to me, they said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I'm hiring people. I have to staff the place. I have a health code that I have to follow. I have to provide--." Well, "Why are you hiring those people?" Who are those people? I mean, I'm not conscious of those people. I'm hiring people to work that are willing to work and, and, and the community got together and said that they were not happy because I was hiring people, and I said, well you all define who I'm hiring that's a problem and then I had, they said I had, I was hiring people from Haitia- you know, Haitian people, I was hiring African American people, I was hiring Spanish people, I was hiring some Chinese, I had a few Chinese people, Vietnam, whatever it was, and I said, "Well those are the people that applied and they're qualified. I don't have people from the community coming in to work nights. If you can get me some people from the community that are willing to work the night tour, then I will not have these people and I will follow the guidelines which you all originally agreed to that, people from the community will be given the first choice," and I couldn't get them. And that created some stress between the day shift, the evening shift, and the night tour. So I was constantly, you know, refereeing things through the supervisors, well, to the point that one lady came in one day and she said to me that, it was a horrible story, one of the aides, they had, you know, negative terminologies to call them as they took care of tha- them, as elderly, and this aide was from Brazil, came and said to me, "Mrs. Ingleton [HistoryMaker Grace Y. Ingleton], I don't like to be called names," and so on and so on and this lady, I said, "You're dealing with the elderly, you're dealing with people are confused and maybe they don't know what they're saying but your job is basically to provide care and not to be interacting in a negative way," and so on. She said, "That's fine if you're not delivering the care and having people call you all that they call you." I said, "That goes with the territory of having a job, human behavior, and your point is that you do not react to people the way they are treating you in that manner." Well, a couple of times I had residents that were so hostile from that environment that they spat in the face of one of the, the aides and she unfortunately returned the same negative response. And so, the reason I raised that is because it became quite a, quite a issue in the community and, you know, what the aide had done, not saying what the patient had done, and was back and forth. So I went through that period. I had to terminate the aide and then I thought about it and I said, well, you know, I'm going to give her a long suspension and I'm sure she will resign after that. She never resigned, she came back after nine months that I suspended her for but, but the problem with the situation that became a very hostile one, for me, for a period of time, but I was just determined that if I cannot find people from the community to work, I have to provide jobs to be fair to people that were willing to take the job and do it and I said it's going to be a battle of the wills because I, my goal was always, you bring me staff that were willing to work and I will be willing to hire them. If you cannot do that, then I think we meet halfway and you accept the people that are working, willing to do the work, and it took a while. I mean, I gained an enormous amount of respect from the staff and many of the community people and there are those that never ever accepted the fact that we were not able to staff with the people from the community, not looking at the fact that they were unable to provide the staff. It was a good learning experience for me because it, I mean, it made me a good administrator, I think, better than, than just the paperwork and the ordering and the budget and the policy and procedure, it taught me a lot about human behavior and, and learning when to be flexible and when not to be flexible and learning where to believe, to work by your, by your value system and it brought a lot of issues and value. What does it mean? Do I sacrifice providing quality care for the residents, for those people that are willing to come and do it and learn and provide good care or do I succumb to threats, really, subtle threats and, and verbal threats and so on. They used to look out for my car to come in, there were times that I would have a flat that, no one would know how I got the flat, you know.

Alice Key

Community activist, dancer, and newspaper columnist Alice Marie Key was born on March 18, 1911, in Henderson, Kentucky to Louise and Malcolm Key. As a young child, she moved to Riverside, California with her family. She finished high school in Riverside and then went to the University of California, Los Angeles to pursue a degree in journalism. Her mother managed a coffee shop near the famous Club Alabama in central Los Angeles, California. Key met a girl there who worked at the Cotton Club in Culver City, California, who eventually persuaded her to dance at the club, too. She left school and danced for the next five years.

Key’s career as a dancer took her to New York where she worked at the Ubangi Club, and later, she spent six months in Europe touring with the Cotton Club Show. In 1943, Key ended her dancing career and started working as a writer for an African American newspaper, the "Los Angeles Tribune." In 1954, she moved to Las Vegas to take a job working for the "Las Vegas Voice." Not long after her arrival, Key and Bob Bailey started the first all-African American television talk show in Las Vegas, "Talk of the Town," which she co-hosted for several months. In the 1960s, Key became the public relations manager for the Nevada Committee for the Rights of Women, which promoted education about birth control and fought for reforms to the abortion laws in Nevada. After that position, she worked for the Economic Opportunity Board until 1971. In 1983, Governor Richard Bryan named Key as the Deputy Commissioner of Labor, a position she held for ten years. She became involved in political campaigns, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and founded the Barbara Jordan Democratic Women’s Club. When she retired from public service, Key worked to preserve the history of African Americans in Las Vegas through the Moulin Rouge Preservation Association and the Black History Society, Inc. On July 20, 2005, Key was inducted into KLAS, Channel 8’s Wall of Fame.

Key resided until her death on September 29, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her dedication to equality and commitment to her community helped to lower barriers faced by women and African Americans in Nevada. She had one daughter, Alice McAbee, two grandsons, and several great-grandchildren.

Alice Marie Key was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 31, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.313

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/31/2007

Last Name

Key

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Marie

Schools

Longfellow Elementary School

Riverside Polytechnic High School

University of California, Los Angeles

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alice

Birth City, State, Country

Henderson

HM ID

KEY02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Kentucky

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Born To Serve.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

3/18/1911

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chitterlings

Death Date

9/29/2010

Short Description

Community activist and newspaper columnist Alice Key (1911 - 2010 ) was the co-host of the first all-African American television talk show in Las Vegas, 'Talk of the Town,' and was active in fighting for civil rights in Nevada and California. She worked to preserve the history of African Americans in Las Vegas through the Moulin Rouge Preservation Association and the Black History Society, Inc.

Employment

Cotton Club

Ubangi Club

Los Angeles Tribune

Las Vegas Voice

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

State of Nevada

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alice Key's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alice Key lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alice Key describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alice Key describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alice Key talks about her maternal foster grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alice Key describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alice Key describes her maternal family's involvement in Riverside, California

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alice Key describes her neighborhood in Riverside, California

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alice Key recalls her political efforts in Riverside, California

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alice Key describes her experiences in Riverside, California's public schools

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alice Key remembers her childhood burn and healing

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Alice Key describes her experiences at Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Alice Key describes her experiences at University of California, Los Angeles

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alice Key talks about the role of the chorus girl

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alice Key recalls dancing as a chorus girl at Frank Sebastian's Cotton Club in Culver City, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alice Key remembers Louis Armstrong

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alice Key remembers Duke Ellington

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alice Key describes her move to the Cotton Club in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alice Key describes her experiences at the Cotton Club in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alice Key describes the Cotton Club's European tour

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alice Key recalls her final performance as a chorus girl, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alice Key remembers adopting her daughter

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alice Key recalls her final performance as a chorus girl, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alice Key describes her relationship with Lena Horne

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alice Key recalls reporting on the segregation of donated blood by the U.S. military

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alice Key remembers Lena Horne and Paul Robeson

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alice Key remembers Joe Louis

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alice Key remembers hosting a show for the United Service Organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alice Key remembers her move to Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alice Key describes her involvement in voter registration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alice Key talks about segregation in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alice Key describes her working relationship with William "Bob" Bailey

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alice Key recalls the closure of the Moulin Rouge Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alice Key describes her political activities

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alice Key recalls serving as the editor of the Las Vegas Voice

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alice Key talks about the Nevada Committee for the Rights of Women

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alice Key remembers Nat King Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alice Key remembers Billie Holiday, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alice Key remembers Billie Holiday, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alice Key describes her work with the State of Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alice Key describes her involvement with the Nevada Democratic Party

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alice Key describes her role at the NAACP chapter in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alice Key recalls serving as the deputy commissioner of labor for the State of Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alice Key talks about her organizational involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alice Key remembers moving back to Riverside, California

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alice Key recalls being honored by KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alice Key talks about the Las Vegas Black Historical Society, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alice Key reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alice Key describes her advice to aspiring entertainers and activists

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alice Key reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alice Key reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alice Key describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alice Key reflects upon her values

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alice Key describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Alice Key talks about the importance of history

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Alice Key describes the WonderChild-SHEROES project

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Alice Key narrates her photographs