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Barbara Rodgers

Television news anchor Barbara Rodgers was born on September 27, 1946 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Anna Connor, a homemaker, and Jackson Rodgers, a minister. In 1968, she received her B.S. degree in business education from Knoxville College. She attended graduate school at SUNY Buffalo in 1976 for creative writing, and also completed graduate coursework at the University of Chicago in 1986.

The Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York hired Rodgers in 1968 as a computer programmer, one of only a few African American female computer programmers at the time. Rodgers later became a public affairs researcher for Kodak, before becoming an instructor and department head of the business skills department of the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center in 1971. In 1972, Rodgers joined WOKR-TV in Rochester, New York where she became the station’s first female news reporter and first African American news anchor. Rodgers joined KPIX-TV, a CBS affiliate in San Francisco, California in 1979 as a reporter, later becoming a co-anchor on the weekend and noon Eyewitness News broadcasts. She helped to create and host Bay Sunday in 1989, an award-winning public affairs program. She co-founded the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA), the Bay Area chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, in 1982. In 1985, Rodgers was selected for the William Benton Fellowship in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Chicago, the first African American woman to become a Benton Fellow. Rodgers was chosen in 1993 as one of five journalists to participate in the South Africa Journalists Exchange, a collaboration between the National Association of Black Journalists, the Freedom Forum and South Africa. She earned an Emmy for her hour-long documentary, “South Africa After Apartheid.” Rodgers retired from KPIX in 2008. In 2010, she joined Comcast as a regular host on Comcast Newsmakers, and in 2011 became host of the “Bronze Report” cable show. Rodgers co-founded Friends of Faith, Inc., an organization that helps provide information and financial support to low income and underinsured individuals undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Rodgers received numerous honors and awards for her work. She won seven Emmy Awards and the Governors’ Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 1992, she was selected by the San Francisco League of Women Voters as a “Woman Who Could Be President.” Between 1981 and 2007, she won five “Excellence in Journalism Awards” from the National Association of Black Journalists, and was awarded the Madam C.J. Walker Pioneer Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in 2004. Rodgers received the Frederick D. Patterson Outstanding Individual Award from the United Negro College Fund in 2008, and was recognized twice by American Women in Radio and Television, Inc. for her outstanding work in broadcasting.

Barbara Rodgers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 15, 2015.

Accession Number

A2015.007

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/15/2015

Last Name

Rodgers

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

University of Chicago

Austin-East Magnet High School

Knoxville College

Lyons View School

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Knoxville

HM ID

ROD05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Never Let Anyone Define Your Reality.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/27/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Mom's Chicken And Dumplings.

Short Description

Television news anchor Barbara Rodgers (1946 - ) was an anchor for KPIX-TV in San Francisco, California for thirty years, and co-founded the Bay Area Black Journalist Association.

Employment

The Bronze Report

Comcast Newsmakers

KPIX-TV/CBS 5 San Francisco

WOKR-TV

Educational Opportunity Center at SUNY Brockport

Eastman Kodak Company

Favorite Color

Yellow

Tom A. Goss

Insurance chief executive and athletic director Tom A. Goss was born on July 6, 1946 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He attended Knoxville’s Austin High School, where he was a standout football star in the 1960s. Goss went on to attend the University of Michigan and was named to the all-Big Ten team as a defensive tackle during his senior year. He graduated in 1968 with his B.S. degree in education.

Goss was first hired by Procter & Gamble in 1969. In 1970, he became a regional manager at R. J. Reynolds Industries, and was then named regional vice president for sales at Del Monte Corporation where he worked until the mid-1980s. Goss subsequently returned to Michigan as vice president of sales and marketing at Detroit's Faygo Beverages. In 1987, he moved to California and served as an executive at National Beverage Corporation until 1993, when he was named president and chief operating officer of PIA Merchandising. In March of 1997, Goss established and became managing partner/advisor of The Goss Group, Inc., a commercial insurance brokerage firm. That same year, he applied for and was hired as the first African American athletic director of the University of Michigan.

In 2000, Goss resigned from the University of Michigan and became chairman of The Goss Group, Inc. In 2001, The Goss Group, Marsh Inc. and the GMAC Insurance Group announced the establishment of a joint venture company, Goss LLC, where Goss also went on to serve as chairman.

Goss has served on numerous boards throughout his career, including the Barbara Ann Karmanos Institute, the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Tigers Baseball Advisory Board, United American Healthcare Corporation, and Omni Care Health Plan Inc. He was the former board chair of the Detroit Workforce Development Board, and has served as a trustee to the African American Experience Fund of the National Parks Service & Foundation. His awards include the 2001 University of Michigan’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Goss is married to Carol Goss. They have three children: Anika, Fatima and Maloni.

Tom Goss was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 24, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.232

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/1/2014

Last Name

Goss

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Austin-East Magnet High School

University of Michigan

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Tom

Birth City, State, Country

Knoxville

HM ID

GOS03

State

Tennessee

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

7/6/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Short Description

Insurance chief executive and athletic director Tom A. Goss (1946 - ) , chairman of Goss LLC and a principal at The Goss Group, Inc., was the first African American athletic director of the University of Michigan.

Employment

Procter & Gamble

R.J. Reynolds Industries

Del Monte Corporation

Faygo Beverages

National Beverage Corporation

PIA Merchandising

The Goss Group, Inc.

University of Michigan

Goss LLC

Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr.

Cardiologist Dr. Paul L. Underwood, Jr., was born on March 23, 1960 in Knoxville, Tennessee. After Underwood graduated from Austin-East High School in 1976, he received his B.S. degree in biology at Morehouse College with departmental honors and his M.D. degree from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. Underwood completed his post graduate training at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Iowa Heart Center.

In 1987, Underwood began working at St. Croix Hospital in the U.S. Virgin Islands. During his three year stay there, Underwood eventually became the Director of the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit for the hospital. He also became the Physician Advisor for the Peer Review Organization at the Virgin Islands Medical Institute.

In 1997, Underwood acted as a consultant among a sixteen member multidisciplinary medical team that traveled to Dakar, Senegal to provide cardiovascular medical care for the community. The venture, Project MEDHELP, led by Albert F. Olivier, consisted of cardiothoracic and general surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, internists, public health experts, dermatologists and gynecologists.

In 2004, Underwood was appointed as the tenth president of the Association of Black Cardiologists, where he served until 2006. Under Underwood’s leadership, the organization developed various community based programs including Changing Health Outcomes by Improving Cardiovascular Education and Screenings (CHOICES), and the Center for Continuing Education and Professional Development (CCEPD), which is ranked in the top five percent of accredited providers. Underwood also developed Project Hope, a project that provided Hurricane Katrina evacuees with medical care and refurbished medical records.

Also in 2004, Underwood led the Association of Black Cardiologists to manage and unveil the results of the African American Heart Failure Trial (A-HeFT), the first study conducted in a heart failure population in which all of the participants identified themselves as black. The results of the study led to the production of the drug, BiDil, the first ever heart medication specifically geared towards African Americans—the racial demographic with the highest percentage of heart disease.

In 2006, Underwood joined the North Phoenix Heart Center, before joining his wife at Sonoran Health Specialists in Scottsdale, Arizona. Underwood serves on several boards and organizations including the Black Board of Directors Project and the Use of Force Disciplinary Review Board of the Phoenix Police Department.

Underwood lives with his wife, Dr. Hollis Underwood, a physician in private practice, and their three sons, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Underwood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.207

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/14/2007

Last Name

Underwood

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lester

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Austin-East Magnet High School

Morehouse College

First Lutheran School

Ft Sanders Education Development Center

Webb School Of Knoxville

Mayo Medical School

First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Knoxville

HM ID

UND01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martinique

Favorite Quote

Look Forward And Keep Climbing On Each Experience.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

3/23/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Turnip)

Short Description

Cardiologist Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. (1960 - ) is a former president of the Association of Black Cardiologists. Underwood spearheaded the African American Heart Failure Trial that led to BiDil, the first ever heart medication specifically geared towards African Americans.

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:1020,12:5595,121:11520,274:13470,308:24925,462:27334,509:27918,518:29816,549:30400,558:31349,573:32371,591:33174,604:33466,609:33758,614:34050,619:35802,656:47398,816:50368,884:51094,899:54592,984:56638,1030:75448,1375:76868,1402:85616,1499:88199,1547:88640,1554:89963,1580:90656,1593:90971,1599:94877,1700:109162,1880:111394,1969:112258,1979:114130,2015:114634,2027:127554,2167:128016,2175:129996,2217:138840,2394:140226,2420:142404,2479:142800,2487:161832,2728:162820,2743:166468,2830:173903,2957:174187,2962:174826,2972:175891,3010:176175,3078:176814,3106:190900,3251$0,0:13207,194:20726,360:37876,618:42913,726:43327,733:44431,754:47743,823:50365,875:57925,924:61435,1007:61760,1013:62020,1018:62280,1023:72225,1237:86485,1463:91210,1604:115864,2056:116554,2068:127962,2221:136676,2350:138806,2395:140013,2421:144202,2577:152952,2703:155366,2743:155721,2749:160336,2889:161685,2941:163957,2980:171390,3036:171810,3043:175170,3095:177550,3149:177970,3156:178600,3166:178880,3171:180560,3216:183640,3279:197190,3492:197490,3497:202365,3627:202965,3637:207660,3707
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his mother, Jacqueline Martin Underwood

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his father, Paul Underwood, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his earliest memories of childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recalls his childhood neighborhoods in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his limited experiences of racial discrimination as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes the Underwood household during his childhood years

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his religious background

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his elementary school years at First Lutheran School in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recalls his years at Ft Sanders School in Knoxville, Tennessee, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recalls his years at Ft Sanders School in Knoxville, Tennessee, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his experience at Webb School of Knoxville in Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his transition into Austin-East High School, an all-black school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about race relations in the Knoxville, Tennessee community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recounts his experiences in white homes while playing on a traveling ice hockey team in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recalls how his father influenced his decision to pursue math and science

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his experience at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his experience living off-campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes HistoryMaker Dr. David Satcher

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. continues to talk about HistoryMaker Dr. David Satcher

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes working as a nurse's aide at Grady Memorial Hospital and meeting Dr. J. Willis Hurst

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his decision to attend the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his experience at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes the black and white communities in Rochester, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recalls experiencing racial discrimination at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about equal opportunity and African American professors at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about dating his wife, HistoryMaker Dr. Hollis Underwood

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recalls his year-long internship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes Detroit, Michigan during the mid-1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his interactions with African American patients while interning at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his tenure in St. Croix as the director of the emergency room and the intensive care unit at St. Croix Hospital

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recalls the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in St. Croix

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about entering the field of cardiology while at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his father's death

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his time at the Iowa Heart Center in Des Moines, Iowa

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. remembers his decision to move to Advanced Cardiac Specialists in Gilbert, Arizona

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his work with the American Heart Association through HistoryMaker Marvin Perry's Black Board of Directors Project

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. recounts his travels to Dakar, Senegal with Project MEDHELP

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about the Association of Black Cardiologists and his presidency of the organization

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about the Association of Black Cardiologists' response to Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about BiDil, a prescription drug for African Americans with heart disease

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about winning the 2006 Lincoln Ragsdale Award and Ragsdale's legacy in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about working with his wife, HistoryMaker Dr. Hollis Underwood, at Sonoran Health Specialists

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about his professional hopes for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. shares his advice for aspiring African American medical students

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. concludes his interview

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

3$9

DATitle
Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. continues to talk about HistoryMaker Dr. David Satcher
Dr. Paul Underwood, Jr. talks about BiDil, a prescription drug for African Americans with heart disease
Transcript
How did you feel when you found out that he'd been made Surgeon General, appointed Surgeon General?$$I was really elated because I knew him [HM Dr. David Satcher] and I, I already had a lot of respect for him, certainly if someone that you know becomes the surgeon general, it's a very, very rewarding. But also because he was very impactful in terms of the Healthy People 2010, which we still work on, that was his, his document, you know, and, and so to know that not in terms of just, I mean, all surgeon generals have impact, but he had fairly profound impact and his ability to garner resources to make sure that things are--go into place, and to be able to codify aspects of like Healthy People 2010, is very well written, you won't be able to, to argue with it very much, all you gotta do is just follow the document and then, even if he's not the surgeon general anymore, we still use that document and it's actually the basis for say, The American Heart Association and our goals are drawn, many organizations goals are drawn off that Healthy People 2010 document. When he left there to go to the Centers for Disease Control, I said, you know, this is just wonderful, I mean, he, he does everything. I think, in fact, there was a period of time when he was actually both, he was the surgeon general and head of CDC, and during his time, CDC has, has been held in high esteem. For example, that was when Ebola became about and his attitude was why don't we send a team over to Africa to study Ebola because even though it's not in the United States, we can extend our resources to other countries, because we don't want these illnesses to actually end up in the United States, so why not meet them there. Which was the first that the Centers for Disease Control had actually left the American boundaries. Recently, you see other surgeon generals, and I, I mean, not that it relates to this particular interview per se, but the--Dr. [Richard Carmona], his attitudes about his to--his tenure as surgeon general and interaction with the administration, the, the president and how he's, he's--relates how he felt as he was stifled. You see the Centers for Disease Control and this person with the multiple resistant TB when they come back. So these agencies can fall very quickly in disfavor, but with Dr. Satcher, it was not that way. The, the CDC was flourishing and the surgeon general actually set up a national policy that we're still following to this day, so that of course makes me feel very good.$$Great.$$I've had a chance also to see Dr. Satcher. He came here to, to celebrate a ceremony of relationship between Morehouse College [Atlanta, Georgia] and T-Gen which is a large translational genomics lab that's here in Phoenix [Arizona] and so I had the opportunity to have my son, who was sixteen at the time, meet Dr. Satcher and I said, and he's a, he's a Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia] student as well, so I said this is just wonderful that, you know, at about the same age that I was to meet Dr. Satcher, you know, you're meeting him at the same age and he still seems that he hasn't aged at all and (laughter) obviously that's not the, the case, but it's just, it's extremely rewarding to be around him, honestly.$Now in 2005, the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] approved a drug, can you tell me what that drug was called?$$BiDil.$$BiDil, tell us about BiDil.$$That was another very rewarding experiences that we had during my tenure at the Association of Black Cardiologist. There was a large multi-site, multi-center, clinical trial, so it was across the nation trial that looked at a particular drug called BiDil, isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine combination, fixed dose combination. And it was used exclusively in African American patients.$$Was it designed for that purpose totally?$$No, the, the combination had been used in the veterans' heart failure trials in the '70s [1970s] and '80s [1980s], in all populations, but it seemed that combination had more benefit in African Americans and so the desire was to use it in solely African Americans to see if that benefit was real or not. So, on top of standard therapy, it wasn't, it didn't replace any therapy for another, but on top of standard therapy, using this drug combination or just using this drug led to a 40 percent improvement in mortality in African--but it was all African Americans. And with that data, the company NitroMed went to the Food and Drug Administration and asked them to approve the drug and because it's a trial, the pivotal trial, this landmark trial was for African Americans, it was indicated, it was written for use for African Americans, although it's--if non-African American takes it, I doubt it's gonna make them sick, in fact, I've used it on non-African Americans, and they seem to respond equally as well. But, that was very rewarding in several ways, for one, there was a close interaction between the Association of Black Cardiologists and NitroMed in terms of exploring the aspects of, cultural aspects of African Americans, heart failure in African Americans, so the communities, a need came out, the issue of race and medicine was very prominent and the Association of Black Cardiologists had a prominent spot in being able to help define for the country or educate the country some of the issues on race and medicine. We had interactions with the Food and Drug Administration and the Office of Minority Health, you know, testimonials and what not on the interaction and the opportunity to have African American investigators conduct a clinical trial that was very well conducted and to--brought back important scientific information for everybody to use, and we've learned, we're still learning from the A-HeFT [African-American Heart Failure Trial] trial that had the largest number of women in any heart failure trial involved with it and so for--there's a condition called peripartum cardiomyopathy, which it's a strange illness that gives young women heart failure after they've delivered, directly after they've delivered, we have the largest registry of that. So, just, just for an example, so there's a lot of scientific information that we're all gonna benefit from that came out of this particular trial and so, as I've told people that often times the community at large would think that, that African Americans and health are basically taking something away from them, that you have to give the African Americans this, this is one chance where there's actually been some good that's come--they're many other instances, but this one clear instance where there's been good for the overall community that's been based on African Americans in our, in our experience here and so it's very rewarding to be involved with the group and getting that through.$$And you were president at this time?$$I was president when the trial was reported at the American Heart Association in New Orleans [Louisiana].

The Honorable Debra James

Judge Debra Ann James was born on February 16, 1953 in Knoxville, Tennessee. During her early childhood, the family relocated to St. Albans, Queens, New York. James attended Monmouth Regional High School in New Jersey where she was a member of the student council and the honor society. She earned her high school diploma in 1971.

James received her B.A. degree in American government and political science in 1975 and her J.D. degree in 1978 from Cornell University. After graduating, James worked as the assistant corporation counsel for New York City. She represented municipal corporations in trial and appellate courts. In 1983, she served as associate counsel for New York State Mortgage Loan Enforcement and Administration Corporation. James then went on to work for the New York Mortgage Agency. Prior to running for judgeship on the New York civil court, she served as general counsel for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

In 1994, James was elected to the New York City Civil Court. During her tenure on the bench, James has managed thousands of lawsuits across a variety of areas. In 2002, James was appointed acting state supreme court justice.

A resident of Harlem for more than twenty years, James is a member of a number of professional and civic organizations. She is an avid reader, jazz music enthusiast, and art collector.

James was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.033

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/31/2005

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Monmouth Regional High School

Ps 34 John Harvard School

Cornell University

Cornell Law School

Ps 192 Jacob H Schiff School

First Name

Debra

Birth City, State, Country

Knoxville

HM ID

JAM01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/16/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Black Beans, Rice

Short Description

State supreme court judge The Honorable Debra James (1953 - ) served as a judge for the New York City Civil Court before being appointed an acting state Supreme Court justice.

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1522,23:11862,129:15624,245:34581,496:54179,771:60404,913:66000,968:73400,1183:101466,1606:103482,1622:104058,1627:112632,1690:113100,1789:119210,1890:140040,2220$0,0:2192,24:6422,68:7644,79:13472,194:28780,348:29860,358:37832,406:40146,462:56776,765:57440,775:67600,980:68692,1016:72808,1091:75328,1159:85520,1249:98740,1428:107851,1515:109243,1537:112515,1560:113230,1587:113835,1601:117118,1636:117670,1643:137405,1955:137930,1961:138560,1968:143086,2042:146430,2096:148661,2135:150800,2156:151502,2168:159810,2300:186134,2471:187262,2513:193457,2814:194247,2826:200912,2926:211258,3076:219450,3164:219947,3263:238932,3470:242504,3510:243632,3542:255000,3709:262896,3790:267660,3854
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Debra James' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Debra James lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Debra James describe her mother, Elizabeth Kemp James

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Debra James describes her father, Edward James

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Debra James talks about how her parents met and their early married life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Debra James describes her earliest memory of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Debra James talks about her grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Debra James talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Debra James describes her childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Debra James recalls holiday celebrations in her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Debra James describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Debra James talks about her elementary school years at P.S. 34 in Queens Village, New York, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Debra James talks about her elementary school years at P.S. 34 in Queens Village, New York, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Debra James talks about her junior high years

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Debra James describes her personality in junior high

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Debra James describes the impact of her family's move from New York to Tinton Falls, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Debra James recalls her experience at Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Debra James talks about her early aspirations as a high school student

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Debra James describes the role of church in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Debra James describes the factors that informed her passion for justice

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Debra James talks about her decision to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and the student takeover of Straight Hall in 1969

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Debra James talks about her experience at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Debra James recalls her decision to study law

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Debra James describes her experience at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Debra James talks about her first job as assistant corporation counsel for the City of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Debra James describes her tenure on the New York State Mortgage Loan Enforcement and Administration Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Debra James recalls the challenges she faced in the job market as an African American woman after graduating from Cornell Law School in 1978

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Debra James describes why she moved to Harlem in New York City, New York and how she became a judge

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Debra James talks about running for a judgeship in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Debra James describes the controversy surrounding elected judges in New York State

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Debra James talks about her first campaign for a judgeship

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Debra James describes her experience with criminal cases

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Debra James comments on memorable cases from the Civil Court of the City of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Debra James talks about her appointment to the New York Supreme Court

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Debra James talks about the difference between lawyers and judges

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Debra James talks about the qualities a judge possesses

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Debra James talks about Rochdale Holding Corp. v. Neuendorf

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Debra James describes the increase of gender and ethnic diversity on the bench

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Debra James describes herself as a judge

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Debra James shares her advice for lawyers and for aspiring lawyers

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Debra James talks about reality-based court shows on TV and the importance of jurors

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Debra James talks about appellate authority over jury decisions

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Debra James describes how the African American experience informs her perspective

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Debra James talks about her desires to be an appellate court judge

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Debra James reflects upon her position as a role model

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Debra James talks about what she would do differently

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Debra James describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Debra James talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Debra James talks about the importance of history

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Debra James talks about her values

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Debra James reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Debra James describes her greatest accomplishment

Tape: 4 Story: 17 - Debra James talks about the importance of art

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Debra James narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Debra James recalls her decision to study law
Debra James talks about Rochdale Holding Corp. v. Neuendorf
Transcript
And one of my favorite courses was a course given by Daniel Danowski, professor of government, called the development of African American rights in --constitutional rights of African Americans in the United States. Really wonderful course. He used a book by a lawyer named Loren Miller, I think his name was. And it was just a really eye-opening course in terms of how the rights of African Americans evolved over, over, you know, time since we--our ancestors were brought, for the most part, here, until, I guess up 'til the Civil Rights Movement, and sort of what happened in the law. And that was an undergraduate course that I took. That was probably just very, very powerful course, and probably clinched or cinched my decision to ultimately study law.$$And so that's what--that was going to be my next question. When were you thinking, okay, my father [Edward James] was right, I'm going to go to law school?$$Toward, really toward the--probably my junior year. We had to sort of declare what we were going to do as a major, and I knew I had explored the medicine and my passion really wasn't there. So, and there's this is sort of wisdom that says, if you're not sure what you want to do (laughter), you go to law school, so that was the wisdom then. And I think, I decided, well I'm not sure what I want to do and I get a chance not to make up my mind again. I mean, I'll study law, but I don't have to actually make up my mind as to what I want to do.$$Until you went to Cornell Law School [Ithaca, New York]?$$Yeah, I remained at Cornell.$$Why did you decide to stay at Cornell?$$Well, financially, it made sense, frankly. Cornell had a great law school. That was the reason. You know, and honestly, it was second to Columbia [University, New York City, New York]. That was really my first choice 'cause I wanted to be in New York. You know, I had been away in high school, and I had missed such a--always I wanted to be back in New York. But financially Cornell made more sense. My father [Edward James] frankly again, he won on that one too. He thought, you know can always go to New York, and this is probably going to be an easier adjustment, so you can really concentrate on studying law.$So, Judge James, I know that when we ended you had mentioned one of your cases that was just in the law review?$$New York Law Journal it's called.$$Law Journal, I'm sorry. Tell us a little bit about that one?$$Well the New York Law Journal just to get a little introduction, is the paper record of, in New York State for the court system. And it publishes articles about decisions of interest, and many, judges are very proud, proud about our written work, so we're very proud when the Law Journal chooses to publish one of our opinions in full. So we're even prouder when they decide to do a cover story. So, on Friday, the Law Journal published a story about one of the cases, one of the recent decisions I made in a case.$$What--can you tell us a little bit about the case [Rochdale Holding Corp. v. Neuendorf]?$$Yes, it, it began--New York City, you cannot get away from landlord-tenant, I'm realizing that. You really can't get away from it. But in any event, it--and again, it, the questions, the legal questions are probably more, of more interest, of more interest to lawyers than academics, frankly. As is the Law Journal in general. But in short, it involved an international art dealer name Har- Hans Neuendorf, who lived in New York for a few years in Manhattan. And he and his family rented a mansion. He fell behind in his rent and was brought to court, and the civil court, the lower court, determined that he must pay $112,000. Well, his--he and his family moved back to Germany, and he still runs a business here in New York. But what the interesting legal question was, whether or not, the--my court, the higher level court, maintain jurisdiction over him, does the lower court have jurisdiction? And again, it sounds fairly straightforward, but it's pretty technical, I mean, the question of whether or not the power of the court, it's called, over Mr. Neuendorf would continue in the [New York State] Supreme Court. And there really haven't been a lot of decisions about it. I mean, it's partly because--a question of whether it continues in this other court, which process was not served on him in that new court. And part of the question was, when does personal jurisdiction, once you're before a court, and again, in personam jurisdiction means power over the person, I mean it's sort of the essence of what law is about. I mean the people subjecting themselves to the power of the court, when does that end? And there have been some indications under New York State law that it only ends when judgment is satisfied. But it was not a foregone sort of conclusion. And this gentleman had moved out, not only out of the state, 'cause there are limitations on the state's power over people who do not--no longer live in the state--but moved to Germany. And so I found that because the state had effectuated its power over Mr. Neuendorf in the initial court, that that jurisdiction and that power remained. And particularly, it was important because the asset, his company, is still here in New York. So the question was whether that company was required to make good on the debt. And I found that the company, you know, would be required to make good on that debt. So he's required to make installment--the company is required to make installment payments toward this $112,000. And then Mr. Neuendorf does come back into New York, 'cause that was part of the equities when we talk about heart and head, the heart and mind. There's a law that says the person--the power of the, the court's power extends, you know, until the judgment is satisfied. But then the equities of it, he was coming back to New York and staying at some very famous, (laughter) you know, hotels and clubs while he stayed here, and so there's some equity, I think there that the court was influenced by, the judges were influenced by.

Nikki Giovanni

Award-winning poet, author, and civil rights activist, Nikki Giovanni, was born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr,. on June 7, 1943, in Knoxville, Tennessee, and was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A poet and spoken word artist, Giovanni entered Fisk University in 1960, where she edited the school's literary magazine and became involved in both the Writer's Workshop and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; she received her B.A. degree in 1967. Giovanni became active in the Black Arts Movement, organizing the Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati; during this period of her life, she developed strong and enduring friendships with fellow writers James Baldwin and Sonia Sanchez. Radicalized by the assassination of Malcolm X and the rise of the Black Panthers, Giovanni's poetry in the 1960s and 1970s became the voice of many African Americans. Later, Giovanni applied for and was accepted into the graduate program of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Work; she also went on to study at Columbia University's School of Fine Arts.

In 1970, Giovanni founded her own publishing company, Niktom Limited. Throughout her career, Giovanni published more than fourteen volumes of poetry, including: Black Feeling Black Talk, Black Judgement, Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day, My House, The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni and Love Poems. She has also written and published books, including Racism 101 and Blues: For All the Changes. In 1987, Giovanni began working as a professor in the English department of Virginia Polytechnical Institute; there she taught writing, poetry, and literature, and was eventually named a distinguished professor.

Giovanni received many honors and awards for her work, including numerous honorary degrees; the NAACP Image Award for Literature in 1998 and 2000; and the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996. Giovanni was also named Woman of the Year by several magazines, including Mademoiselle, Essence and Ladies Home Journal. In 2008, Giovanni was commissioned by National Public Radio's program, All Things Considered, to pen an inaugural poem for President Barack Obama. A popular guest speaker, Giovanni was invited to read poetry at the Lincoln Memorial for the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln's birth in 2009.

Nikki Giovanni was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.027

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/31/2003

Last Name

Giovanni

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Nikki

Birth City, State, Country

Knoxville

HM ID

GIO01

Favorite Season

None

Speaker Bureau Notes

Virgina Fowler 540-381-1490 (home)-scheduler

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

What kind of sense does that make?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

6/7/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Christiansburg

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Poet Nikki Giovanni (1943 - ) was the author of fourteen volumes of poetry and several books. She also taught writing, poetry and literature in the English department at Virginia Polytechnical Institute.

Employment

Niktom Limited

Vriginia Polytechnical Institute

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Nikki Giovanni explains her how she got the nickname Nikki

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Nikki Giovanni interview: date and location

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her family's history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her father's family history and Italian surname

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nikki Giovanni's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nikki Giovanni remembers her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nikki Giovanni describes her elderly cousin, Bea

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her relationship with her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her role as a niece, part 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nikki Giovanni describes growing up with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her role as a niece, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nikki Giovanni describes her family members

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nikki Giovanni discusses memorable grammar school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nikki Giovanni describes her continued relationships with teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nikki Giovanni discusses how her family influenced her as a poet

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nikki Giovanni shares her philosophy on writing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nikki Giovanni evaluates influential black figures

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nikki Giovanni remembers her adolescent social life

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nikki Giovanni explains her decision to attend Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Nikki Giovanni recalls getting a coveted dorm assignment at Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nikki Giovanni recalls participating in the Nashville sit-ins while attending Fisk University, 1960

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nikki Giovanni describes conflicts she had with the administration at Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nikki Giovanni remembers influential classmates from Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her vocational choices

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her decision to leave Columbia University's MFA program

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nikki Giovanni recalls her book party at Birdland for 'Black Judgment'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nikki Giovanni discusses the gangster figure in the past and present

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nikki Giovanni discusses motherhood

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her son Thomas's educational decisions

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nikki Giovanni expresses her interest in grandchildren

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nikki Giovanni discusses life with her only child, son Thomas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nikki Giovanni discusses being pregnant and unwed in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nikki Giovanni considers the issues famous families face

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nikki Giovanni describes her relationship with Queen Latifah

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nikki Giovanni discusses highlights in her career

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nikki Giovanni considers her commercial successes

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nikki Giovanni describes her respect for hip-hop music

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nikki Giovanni wants a Grammy Award for her album liner notes

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nikki Giovanni considers rap's figurative dimension

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nikki Giovanni considers how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nikki Giovanni reflects on human existence

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nikki Giovanni shares her reflections on life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nikki Giovanni discusses the richness of the oral tradition

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sponsors of Nikki Giovanni interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Opening to 'An Evening With Nikki Giovanni'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Introduction of Nikki Giovanni with a performance of her poem, 'Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why)'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nikki Giovanni reminisces about having to babysit Pearl Cleage as a child in Detroit

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nikki Giovanni talks about the concept behind her poem 'Ego Tripping' and its longevity

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nikki Giovanni discusses her family background and childhood in Cincinnati

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Nikki Giovanni recalls her grandmother and her first experience picketing

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Nikki Giovanni's poem, 'Lady of Pleasure' performed by Andrea Mills

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Nikki Giovanni shares her experiences at Fisk University

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Nikki Giovanni talks about getting her first poems published while at Fisk University

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Nikki Giovanni recalls one of her first jobs as a social worker

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Nikki Giovanni's poems performed by Adriana Santiago and Charlotte Della Cain

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Nikki Giovanni talks about H. Rap Brown and modern rap musicians

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Nikki Giovanni discusses recording her poetry to music

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Nikki Giovanni explains the concept of gender in her poetry

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Nikki Giovanni's poem 'All Eyez on U (For 2Pac Shakur)' is performed

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Nikki Giovanni talks about rapper Tupac Shakur and other current rap artists

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Nikki Giovanni comments on what the future holds for Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Nikki Giovanni recites her poem, 'My House'

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Closing credits to 'An Evening With Nikki Giovianni'

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Nikki Giovanni recalls participating in the Nashville sit-ins while attending Fisk University, 1960
Nikki Giovanni recalls her book party at Birdland for 'Black Judgment'
Transcript
You started off on a good foot [at Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee]. Unfold for us the years that you bloomed and as you bloomed intellectually (simultaneously, unclear).$$Oh, I enjoyed Fisk, you know, but you're in college. You've got a lot of freedom and you've got a repressive institution, which my concept of college was going to be what I had seen in the movies or what I had heard, you know, that you do these things. I'm able to do the work. I tested out of freshman English, you know, you're doing that, so I'm in good shape with the work. I'm enjoying that very much, but and I say repressive, and I mean no disrespect on that, but they wanted to fine tune you and we're in the '60s [1960s] and the sit-ins are there and there's a lot of volatility going on. The [1960] sit ins in Nashville, as you know, were started by Tennessee State [University, Nashville, Tennessee], and it was the State kids who led it and the Fisk kids were--not that we weren't involved--but they were, kind of, watching it. But Tennessee State, the president [Walter S. Davis] was not a strong man and that was understated. Some would say he was crazy and evil but I wouldn't probably push it that way. But he was compelled in his own mind to expel the students. And so he expelled the leadership of the student movement which was not yet SNCC [The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] in--from Tennessee State, you know, they all got these pink slips. And so a girl who I know you have interviewed or should certainly, Diane Nash, and so Diane Nash said, "Well, Fisk will take it up," and Diane did. And I was a foot soldier. I did enough to know that it was very frightening and that's the truth. And people talk about the days--I know how brave those children were in Birmingham [Alabama, protests in 1963] because we didn't have that in Nashville, and it was still very frightening to get in the line of people and go downtown and protest. I've got an angel sitting somewhere on my shoulder, you know, or certainly I did at that point because the group spread out to do different things. They gave us--this was my first march--they gave us different targets and I could easily have been in the group going to the bus station, but they had sent my group over to the restaurants. There was a place called the Simple Simon['s] and we were to go in. Well the Simple Simon actually, which was, you know, just a restaurant. And when we came in the man said, you know, "We're not serving you." And we were told, you know, you sit down and, you know, you dressed respectfully, whatever. And so we sat down and he sent the staff home and locked the doors, said, "I'm just locking the doors." Well in many respects this probably saved our lives because at the bus station [which Nashville students also attempted to integrate], the young, crazy whites came because where I grew up--when I grew up riot meant white people. And they beat those--I mean in the bus station you were slipping. The blood was so bad, they just beat people to death. We were locked in, right? So even if somebody had wanted--and I'm saying we because there were, like six of us and we were told to sit, you know, so that's what we're doing. We're sitting on the counter. But now you're sitting on the counter watching what's going on on the outside, and of course, you know, you saw the people begin to run because it was--there was the--it was, was the Nashville riot [The violence against protesters actually did not reach the level of a riot.] It was a, it was a really terrible thing but nobody came to let us out until night, and so now it's dark. It's ten o'clock at night, so we've been there. We knew better than to eat or drink anything, you know, we're just sitting there and waiting to see what's going to happen. So the guy opens the door and now you're afraid that he's opened the door and we're going to go out and somebody's going to kill us. And we're a pretty good distance, you know, Fisk is on the other side of town, and so we just grouped off into two's and walked back to the campus. We just got lucky nothing happened, you know. We cut through and there we were.$I had an apartment which I had gotten, you know, through their [Columbia University, New York, New York] good offices and I don't know what you know about Manhattan [New York, New York], but being a Columbia student I also get my phone turned on on time because if it wasn't for Columbia in those days you could wait a year, you know. Now, of course, everybody's got a cell phone. But we got that and that was wonderful. And I had a book ['Black Feeling, Black Talk'] and so all I had to do was find a way to sell the book. So I had five hundred books at five hundred dollars which meant if I sold them for a dollar, which I knew I should because I need to get it below movie fare in order to be able to sell it. So I'm going to lose thirty cents every time I sell a book, so I know I'm going to go broke, right? 'Cause there's not that many--you know that's econ 101. But I wrote the book 'Black Judgment,' and I decided that 'Black Judgment,' you know, if it's going to be my swan song it's going to be a good one. My mother's [Yolande Cornelia Watson's] a real jazz fan and I'm, as I said, I'm close to Mommy. So I had decided when 'Judgment' came out--my friend Bill helped me out and got it illustrated and we got it printed, and so now it's great. And I wanted to have a book party because I'm a southerner and I'm used to how you work small towns, right? New York just a bigger, small town. So I decided I wanted to have it at Birdland. I thought this is great because Birdland is the home--I mean it's [musician] Charlie Parker, right? A little gangster--he's a wonderful man, he's dead, he got murdered--named Harold Logan who was a partner with Lloyd Price own Birdland. And so, I went down, I made a call and I made an appointment with Mr. Logan and went down. Now, I know Mr. Logan (laughing) is a gangster because he was. I get dressed up and I go down, because Birdland is down [in midtown Manhattan], you know. I go down and Logan is there and, "How are you doing Mr. Logan? I'm a poet," yak yak yak. And said, "On Sunday you're closed," which they are, "and I would like to have a book party," you know, "and I wondered if I could have it on Sunday. It wouldn't cost you anything and maybe we could make a deal that would make sense." He said, "Well how much money--(imitating his voice) how much money do you have?" I said, "Well, I don't have any money, Mr. Logan, I'm a poet," you know, "Where am I going to get any money?" I was--I said, "I was thinking, well, if we did that," you know, "you could open the bar and," you know, "that would be your money. I'm not trying to make it I'm just trying to sell books." And so I'm sure, you know, Logan thought, "What the hell is this?" And he said, "Well, I'll tell you what," he said, "Bring me one hundred people and you can have the club. Bring me ninety-nine people and you owe me five hundred dollars." I said, "You're on," I said, "That's great. Thank you," and I shook his hand. I walked back upstairs into the sunlight of Broadway and it hits me, Harold Logan is a gangster. I bring ninety-nine people into this club, he's going to break my legs or something, because that's what he is, he's a gangster, you know. It's like, "Oh, my God." So I started doing late night radio. You know, WWRL I started all over the city, you know. And what we kept saying is "'Black Judgment' is coming." And so people got into the habit, and so now you started to hear people uptown, because now my base is Harlem [New York, New York] and I'm going to bring Harlem downtown without even realizing I was doing something extraordinary. It was like up in Harlem everybody said, "'Black Judgment' is coming. 'Black Judgment's' at Birdland." And so people are coming to say, you know, "Yeah, we're going to do that." My neighbor's [actor] Morgan Freeman, right? Morgan agreed to read with me. Barbara Ann Teer read, Larry Neal read, you know. So, I had all of my actors and, you know, friends. Amanda Ambrose and them. And of course Birdland is overlooked by the New York Times [Building]. So Sunday about two o'clock people start to line up, and it's going to be a four o'clock show, so the line is going to grow and grow and grow. Now, the New York Times is watching this line and they're, "What's going on?" So they sent a reporter down. And the reporter, you know, is asking people in line, "What's going on?" They said, "'Black Judgment,'" right? And so at the time I was like, "Wow, what's going on?" So somebody finally, you know, said Nikki Giovanni. So a reporter comes over to me and says, you know, "I'm looking for Nikki Giovanni." I said, "Yeah." "Well where is he?" And I said, "I'm Nikki Giovanni." "I need to talk to him 'cause you're not listening." I said, "I'm Nikki Giovanni." "I just want, I--." "I'm Nikki Giovanni." And he said, "You're Nikki Giovanni." I said, "I'm Nikki Giovanni." "So what is this?" And I had the same answer, "It's 'Black Judgment.'" So they took a picture and the line went from here and then turned on 42nd Street--it was a phenomenal thing. So I got the second news front, 'Black Judgment,' right? So my book is, like, okay, this is going to do really beautiful because this is going to get the attention of William Morrow, who is still my publishers. The 'Amsterdam News,' [Harlem-based African American newspaper] of course, was a weekly at that point and the 'Amsterdam News' ran it and 'Muhammad Speaks' [Nation of Islam newspaper] ran it, and it was 'Muhammad Speaks' that called me 'the princess of black poetry' and it stuck.$$Beautiful story.$$Yeah. Oh, it was wonderful. Yeah, Harold--.$$What year was that?$$'69, '68 [1968] excuse me. Harold [Logan] did, by the way, get murdered, shot down on Broadway [New York, New York]. He was a gangster, but I always liked Mr. Logan. I wrote a poem for him because he was my kind of gangster. I mean he stood for something. He's not--I mean he earned his living the way he earned his living the way he earned his living. What did--Don Corleone [fictional character from 'The Godfather'] he said, "I apologize for nothing." He did what he had to do, but you could talk to Mr. Logan and you could work with him and he worked with--he didn't have to do that, you know, but of course, it was good for Birdland. I mean he, he--but when he did it, he had no idea. All he knew was there was some poet standing there who didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. He didn't have to do that. And so I always appreciated that, because I didn't know Lloyd [Price], but I know Lloyd well enough to know it was Harold who made that decision.$$And you brought in the drink--Sunday afternoon--,$$I did.$$--at 4:30 [p.m.], cash register.$$I did. He did okay with it but he didn't do it for that reason. He did it from his heart and I always loved him for that and I was very unhappy with his death.

The Honorable John Rogers, Sr.

John Rogers, Sr. was born on September 3, 1918, in Knoxville, Tennessee. His mother died when he was four and his father died when he was twelve. Rogers and his sisters moved to Chicago, Illinois, to live with an uncle, Henry Tanner, who was very benevolent and proved to be a great role model for Rogers.

From a young age, Rogers wanted to fly. After receiving his pilot's license, he got the chance of a lifetime when he was drafted into the U.S. Air Force. He was shipped off to Tuskegee, Alabama, where he became part of the legendary 99th Squadron of the Tuskegee Airmen. As an Airman he excelled, gaining a reputation as a combat pilot and flying more than 100 missions. By 1944 Rogers gained the rank of captain.

Upon his return to Chicago, Rogers decided he did not want to be a teacher and applied to law school at the University of Chicago. While there, he met and married Jewel Stradford, the daughter of a prominent family and a fellow law school student. Rogers served on the bench in Illinois as a Juvenile Court judge for twenty-one years. During that time, he developed a strong reputation as a justice who was both committed and fair.

Accession Number

A2000.034

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

2/22/2000

Last Name

Rogers

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Schools

Frances E. Willard Elementary School

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School

South Side Junior College

University of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Knoxville

HM ID

ROG02

Favorite Season

None

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/3/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

1/21/2014

Short Description

Juvenile court judge and tuskegee airman The Honorable John Rogers, Sr. (1918 - 2014 ) is a decorated fighter pilot of 99th Squadron, Tuskegee Airmen. After serving in the United States Air Force, Rogers moved back to Chicago, finished law school at the University of Chicago, and eventually served as a judge for twenty-one years in Illinois Juvenile Court.

Employment

United States Army Air Corps

Illinois Juvenile Court

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - John Rogers, Sr.'s favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Rogers, Sr. recalls his childhood environs, Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Rogers, Sr. describes his family life

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Rogers, Sr. recalls segregated Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Rogers, Sr. remembers his school life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Rogers, Sr. reflects on his early interest in aviation

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Rogers, Sr. recounts his early employment in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Rogers, Sr. remembers his uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Rogers, Sr. discusses his college prospects

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Rogers, Sr. describes his experience as a teacher in Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - John Rogers, Sr. remembers segregation at the time of his military enlistment

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Rogers Sr. recalls training with the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Rogers Sr. relates instances of discrimination in the army

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Rogers Sr. describes being a combat pilot in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Rogers Sr. recounts his experiences in North Africa during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Rogers Sr. remembers flying over Sicily as a World War II combat pilot

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Rogers Sr. recalls other flying experiences in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Rogers Sr. discusses what made him a good combat pilot

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Rogers Sr. recalls his return to the U.S. after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Rogers Sr. relates why he went to law school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Rogers Sr. describes his law school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Rogers Sr. remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Rogers Sr. recounts his early marriage and career

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Rogers Sr. discusses changes in the social and legal environment from the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Rogers Sr. recalls his work to end discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Rogers Sr. remembers Walter White and Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Rogers Sr. discusses his wife and son

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Rogers Sr. describes his work as a juvenile court judge

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Rogers Sr. reflects on his life and career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Rogers Sr. shares his opinion of Dempsey Travis

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
John Rogers, Sr. reflects on his early interest in aviation
John Rogers Sr. describes being a combat pilot in World War II
Transcript
What I'm wondering as a youth. 'Cause we as, you know, young people always sometimes have some dreams and aspirations. I mean, what type of child would you sort of describe yourself as? And were there any things that you sort of dreamed about or, you know, fantasized about? Or--.$$Well, I wondered what's was gonna happen to me. I'm twelve years old going into a completely new environment. And you'd wonder what would happen to you. But I had a good, stable uncle [Henry Tanner]. And we didn't mo--I lived there in his house, one place till I went out on my own. And it wasn't like moving from one place to another. That you have with so many kids. I guess I have to say that because I experienced it as a judge in juvenile court. I had every opportunity. If I didn't do better, it was my fault. Now I know some people like to hear you say you liked flying and wanted to fly. Well that's true. And this movie that they have about Tuskegee Airmen and having a kid out in a field in an airplane coming in. And he says--he makes some expression about flying, I've forgotten what. But I wanted to fly. I remember when I was in Knoxville [Tennessee], walking with a friend of mine, all the way to the airport. Just to be able to say, I touched an airplane. I never expected to fly one. What was the name of that book? It was a book with (pause). God I'm getting old and can't remember. You would know the name of the book, I'm sure. But this was about--I can't think of the name at the moment. But they--the fella writes the story about the troubles that kids had. And one of the things was a plane was flying overhead and he was looking at that airplane and said, gee, some of these white boys sure can fly. He never had--he had no hope of ever flying. Bigger Thomas was one of the characters in that book ['Native Son']. I forgotten it. It was a long time ago.$$So you did have--You had dreams of sort of flying then.$$Well, I wanted to fly. I always wanted to fly. But I never expected to fly.$But, I don't know where we were. You asked--$$We were, we were talking about you flying as a combat pilot. You said that you, you're really, you know, you're glad you had the experience. And I would like you to talk about what that experience was. Where you were stationed and--$$Well, we were stationed various places. We started out in North Africa. And we first hit combat flying off of Cape Bon. And we would dive-bomb Pantelleria [Italy] which is a little island between Africa and Italy. And we used to, really Sicily, 'cause it's part of Italy. But we used to dive-bomb there. And well, nobody wants to get shot at. But once you're going down--see when you dive-bomb, you're going down. and when you're going down, you're trying to hit what you're going there for. You aren't going there to play. And you get a certain exhilaration I guess out of it. They're shooting at you sure, but you're shooting back, (chuckle). And you can see the tracers. Every fifth bullet is a tracer. And you see those tracers going out there. It would be--sometimes depending on what the target was, it would be so bad it would look like rain coming up. Because when they explode the fifth bullet, it's like a black smoke, and like a table top down there. And you're going down through that stuff. But they couldn't hit you because there was no way in the world a guy was gonna know where I'm gonna be, like they say, if you're flying at 10,000 feet. It's gonna take a bullet to come up there something like ten seconds, I may be off on the timing, but ten seconds. But no way in the world they're gonna know where I'm gonna be when that bullet gets up there. Because you didn't go straight in a straight line like the guys in the bombers. They were scared to death. Well, anybody would be scared. But in the bombers they had to hit--they'd go to the bomb line and from that bomb line to the target they flew in a straight line. They could anticipate where you were gonna be. But with us, you're going down, up, over any kind of way. You just don't keep the same altitude and don't go in a straight line. And what we did was trying to figure out to get to the target that you didn't want to be in a straight line where they would have a good chance to shoot at you. And I don't know. I don't think that there were so many guys shot down in dive-bombing. Even in strafing. Now that was the thing I hated most and strafing was down on the ground. That means at bases they got you going out there to shoot the people who are going in to protect the, our soldiers. They have you going to station a road or something like that, you see. Well, I was told along with others by more experienced pilots who had been there, don't go down the road. Go across the road. So you're there and gone before they got a chance to get their guns on you. So you got some exhilaration out of doing that.