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Cullen L. Dubose

Construction Executive Cullen L. Dubose was born on July 5, 1935 in Moss Point, Mississippi. Dubose attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi and received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tri-State University in Angola, Indiana in 1958. Dubose also attended graduate school in housing and finance at Michigan State University.

From 1958 to 1969, Dubose worked as a Bridge Design Engineer, Civil Engineer, Structural Draftsman, and Highway Draftsman for the Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation in Lansing, Michigan. During much of that time, Dubose also worked as a Civil Engineer for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. From 1977 to 2008, Dubose was the Chief Operating Officer for Painia Development Corporation, a minority-owned company that provides comprehensive site selection advice and evaluates sites along with design builds for corporations looking to locate or relocate their facilities such as distribution centers, call and data centers, warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Dubose was featured in several articles on urban renewal and housing markets, including an article in Reader’s Digest entitled, “Tales of Two Cities: Renewal in Detroit and Jersey City.”

Dubose sits on numerous boards including the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, to which Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed him in 2003. He is also a board member of the National City Corporation for Michigan Multi-Cities, the secretary for the Michigan Housing Council, a member of the Board of Directors for the Detroit Investment Fund, a member of the Michigan Minority Business Development Council, and a member of the African American Association of Businesses and Contractors. Dubose sits on the Board of Directors for the University Cultural Center Association and for Tougaloo College, and he is the recipient of several awards, including the Omega Psi Phi Citizens Award and the NAACP Citizens Award. Dubose is married to Helena Joyce and has three children: Cheri, Cullen, and Freddie.

Cullen Dubose was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 8, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.046

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/10/2010

Last Name

Dubose

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.

Schools

Magnolia Elementary School

Magnolia High School

Tougaloo College

Trine University

Michigan State University

First Name

Cullen

Birth City, State, Country

Moss Point

HM ID

DUB01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

There's No Mysteries If You Have The Facts.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

7/5/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Lansing

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Construction executive Cullen L. Dubose (1935 - ) was the chief operating officer for Painia Development Corporation from 1977 to 2008, and was appointed to the Michigan Economic Growth Authority in 2003 by Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Employment

Michigan Department of State Highways

Painia Development Corporation

Michigan State Housing Development Authority

Favorite Color

Blue, Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cullen L. Dubose's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cullen L. Dubose lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cullen L. Dubose remembers his father's entrepreneurship, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cullen L. Dubose remembers his father's entrepreneurship, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his parents' marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cullen L. Dubose lists his siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cullen L. Dubose lists his siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cullen L. Dubose lists his siblings, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his father's personality and his likeness to him

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cullen L. Dubose recalls lessons from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cullen L. Dubose describes the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cullen L. Dubose describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his experiences with racial discrimination at Magnolia Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cullen L. Dubose describes how he came to attend the Tougaloo Southern Christian College in Tougaloo, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cullen L. Dubose remembers his teachers at Magnolia High School in Moss Point, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his decision to study engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cullen L. Dubose remembers his interest in Brown University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cullen L. Dubose describes how he came to work for the Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cullen L. Dubose remembers the housing discrimination in Lansing, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cullen L. Dubose remembers the housing discrimination in Lansing, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his role at the Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about the NAACP's opposition to the construction of Interstate 496

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his decision to leave the Michigan Department for State Highways and Transportation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his role at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his role at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about the Michigan State Housing Development Authority's Project Rehab

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his reasons for leaving the Michigan State Housing Development Authority

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cullen L. Dubose recalls the Painia Development Corporation's first project

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cullen L. Dubose recalls his experiences of discrimination as the founder of the Painia Development Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about the Farmers Home Administration project in Gaylord, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about the disadvantages of certification as a minority owned business

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about the Federal National Mortgage Association

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his role on the Michigan Economic Growth Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cullen L. Dubose reflects upon the success of the Painia Development Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cullen L. Dubose reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his role on the board of Tougaloo College

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his partnership with A. Alfred Taubman, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his partnership with A. Alfred Taubman, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about his work during the mayoralty of Dennis Archer

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about business development under Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cullen L. Dubose recalls his tenure on the board of the Detroit Investment Fund

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Cullen L. Dubose describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Cullen L. Dubose reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Cullen L. Dubose reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about his parents' response to his success

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Cullen L. Dubose talks about his children

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Cullen L. Dubose reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Cullen L. Dubose describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Cullen L. Dubose talks about the disadvantages of certification as a minority owned business
Cullen L. Dubose describes his partnership with A. Alfred Taubman, pt. 1
Transcript
What is the significance of being certified as a minority owned business?$$I don't think it's any significance, you're supposed to get points in the county and to me, my son got that certification, I had it early in business and I found out that people, as soon as they discovered that you were minority, you got pushed back and harmed and nitpicked. So for years I let mine's expire and I didn't get it. My son has--since he came with the company [Painia Development Corporation, Detroit, Michigan], he's now rejoined then and had put it there. I don't think it's, I don't think it's been significant at all. I think the only thing that I know where we've got points, we got points with the county for being a county based business on one contract. But we don't do a lot of work for other people, you know, most of our stuff is there. But I, I think it's, in many cases it's a disadvantage because it quickly points out you may have a, it's similar to what I said about the mortgage, twice in my life, the Farmers Home [Farmers Home Administration] I told you about, the first house I built, Prudential Insurance Company [Prudential Insurance Company of America; Prudential Financial, Inc.] had agreed to finance it with never seeing me, when me and my wife [Helena DuBose] showed up to close, they wouldn't close the loan. So I, obviously my son is with the company and, and in fact, the table, he's, he's taken charge of a lot of stuff. And he feels that it was some significance but I've never seen any advantage, me and a person that work in the Lansing [Michigan] office who happened to be white, but I think she's a fair person, we both agree that in the cases when I tried to use it very early, it was a negative, not a positive.$$So you've kind of tried to fly under the radar of, of identification?$$I flew, yes, yes. I tried to fly under the radar and when I came out, thought I had the education and the money I got slapped pretty hard three or four times okay, or several times. And it's happened in the last, in this governor's [Jennifer Granholm] administration even though I had three, participated in two fundraisers for her and had one, there was staff who did it this time, 'cause they knew who we was and knew (unclear) there and, and I got very little support. And the rules was written that all you could do, I guess we could have filed a lawsuit but I, you know, you just go on and find a way to get around this. But no, so the, I, we are certified, I think Freddie [Dubose's son, Freddie DuBose] is certified as, and it cost us like fifteen--$1800 or $3,000 a year to go through the process. But I think it's, it's, it's, it's, it's useless. So yeah, you try to fly under the radar. And I shared with somebody who had been a major (unclear) a few weeks ago that I flew under the radar and when I came out, and I don't think it's that you can come out openly now, now obviously some of it you can get (unclear). It's a guy up in Lansing, Joel Ferguson [Joel I. Ferguson], black, he's, just forced a contract but he got a joint venture white partner, this $40 million deal. But he had the influence and the Democratic congress, the state house [Michigan House of Representatives]. And the white partner had friends in, in the Republican side. So the governor wanted to slow this down and she wasn't gonna get her budget until they got their police station, okay. So if you get at that level, you know, you know, where, you know, he was very close to the Clintons [Hillary Rodham Clinton and President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton], he got two TV license but at our level it, it, it's, it's better to get as far as you can before they know who you are, you know, even if you're gonna confront it, if you don't get down the pipe it, it's still difficult. And then you make a economic decision, do I wanna argue with this or do I wanna go somewhere else. So, yes, I, I have ducked of, of them not knowing who I was.$I just wanted to ask you--$$Yeah (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) a quick question like--$$Yeah.$$--what difference has, you, you were describing off, off camera, you know, the, this development [Lester Morgan Cultural Gardens, Detroit Michigan] and how it came into being and how Coleman Young fought for low income housing, and housing for the, the low income residents here and medium income residents in this development that we're sitting at right now which was, you know, projected as a high income, you know, living facility by some of the directors at the DIA--$$Yeah.$$--Detroit Institute for the Arts [sic. Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan], so.$$Well, Coleman was, was strong in both low income and minority participation. If you were gonna do something that required a lot of city approval, participation, he wanted you to take in a black partner and, and, and if the black partner didn't know the game, learn him the game. If the architecture firm wasn't big enough to do it, he'd put two black firms together or he put the black firm with a white. That was, that was Coleman's thing is that, you know, our experience. So on this particular job here, Alfred Taubman [A. Alfred Taubman] didn't like what the city had requested for proposal. Alfred Taubman is a large real estate developer and, and has made some news. But anyway he owns shopping centers and so forth, one of the big and, and he had a real interest in the city, in the DIA and Coleman's administration. So when we got the proposal for this development it was to be a senior citizen low income. And he called and said that he wanted to meet with me. So I said fine. At first I thought it was a joke when the secretary told me, and she thought it was a joke that, "Alfred Taubman's on the phone. They wanna meet with you." I had done no business with him and didn't know any reason why he would call me, but at the time he called me. When I met with him, he told me he had talked to two or three other people and they said I was a difficult person and I probably wouldn't meet with him and some of 'em had said that, you know, they could get a meeting with me for a fee or something to that effect. And he called Coleman and Coleman said, "No," I was always a boy to Coleman, a young man, so he said, "No, call the boy, he'll meet with you, he, he ain't got no problem, just, just pick up the phone, you don't need to go through XYZ for him to meet you." So he called and I met with him. And in the first meeting we got a little aggravated at times. He said that him and Max Fisher and some of the people was tired of us building all this low income stuff in the city. And I said, "Well, you know, if your banks, you and Max Fisher are the largest stockholder in Chase Bank [Chase Manhattan Bank; JPMorgan Chase and Co.] and y'all own Manufacturers Bank [Manufacturers Bank, N.A., Detroit, Michigan] here. If y'all lend us some money we'd do it." And then, you know, we got pretty husky and he says, "Well, set- settle down, settle down, we can work, work together." And in the final analysis he said, "Can the city support a market rate development?" I said, "Yeah, but we can't get, borrow, no money from no place but the state housing authority [Michigan State Housing Development Authority], and they don't allow you to spend but fifty-five thousand dollars a unit. And you can't build a market rate unit with that, you can't get a nice unit." He said, "Well, come back in with the numbers and tell me what you need and I'll get you the mortgage." I said, "I don't--no recourse mortgage [nonrecourse mortgage]--." I said, "Do you understand, I'm not signing personally for nothing?" He said (laughter), he laughed and say, said, "Yeah, I know what a no recourse mortgage is," you know, we just got through talking about something, $300 million or something--he had just talked to somebody on the phone about a, a $30 million or something, but anyway, some big numbers. He said, "So that conversation is so--you know who I am. And I own A and W Root Beer [A and W Restaurants, Inc.] but anyway, I know what a no recourse mortgage is." So I said, "Okay, I could be back in here Thursday and give you the numbers." And I came back and told him that we needed, what we needed. And he said, "Fine, I'll have Michigan National Bank [Lansing, Michigan] deliver a, a commitment over to you." And then, and then he asked me about my financial statement. And I said, "Well, now I done told you I ain't gone personally guarantee nothing." He said, "No, I just wanna see the history of your financial statement since I'm going to make the commitment for the loan, the bank's gonna depend on me." I said, "Well, I don't wanna show no cosigner." He says, "We ain't gonna cosign. They gonna just give you one on the fact that I tell them to give you one." And so I showed him my financial statements and he looked at it and said, "You know, this is accurate." I said, "Yeah, it's accurate." He said, "Well, okay. I'm satisfied that you ought to be able to get the loan on your own." And I said, "Well, we didn't get it and I ain't gonna waste no time, wasting money with architects and so forth." So he arranged for Michigan National to bring me a letter with a $5 million commitment. So then when I told Coleman Young what happened, he said, "No, we gonna have some low income people in there." He, "Low income blank, blank, people in there. We ain't gonna let y'all come in here and just do this." So I went back and I told him, you know, what the new numbers was, he said, "Okay. We can, we can work with that."

Herman Russell

Atlanta construction executive Herman Russell is a civic leader and philanthropist whose construction company ranks as the fourth largest in the U.S. The company has annual sales of more than $150 million and employs 700.

Russell, chairman/CEO of H. J. Russell & Co., was born on December 23, 1930, in Atlanta, one of seven children of Maggie and Rogers Russell. His father was a plasterer from whom he learned the trade starting at the age of twelve. He bought his first parcel of land for $125 at age sixteen, later building a duplex on the property. He used his savings to help pay his tuition at Tuskegee University. Returning to Atlanta, he worked alongside his father. After his father's death in 1957, Russell took over the company and expanded it into a conglomerate that includes general contracting, construction/program management, real estate development and property and asset management. Russell's other interests are in airport concessions.

In 1963, Russell became the first black member, and later president, of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He also played a leading role in the modern Civil Rights Movement working very closely with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Russell has served also as a board member for civic organizations like the Allen Temple; Butler Street YMCA; Central Atlanta Progress; Tuskegee University; the NAACP Atlanta chapter; Citizens Trust Bank; Midtown Improvement District and the Georgia State University Advisory Board.

An avid supporter of Atlanta and its youth, Russell is the founder of the Herman J. Russell Entrepreneurial Scholarship Foundation for an Atlanta elementary school. Among his recognition awards are induction into the Junior Achievement Atlanta Business Hall of Fame in 1992, and recipient of the Horatio Alger Award in 1991. He and his wife, Otelia, lived in midtown Atlanta. They are the parents of two sons and a daughter, who are executives with H. J. Russell Co.

Herman Russell passed away on November 15, 2014, at the age of 83.

Herman J. Russell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 15, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.025

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/15/2002

Last Name

Russell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

J.

Organizations
First Name

Herman

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

RUS02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Zealand, Europe

Favorite Quote

Do the best you can.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/23/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Vegetables

Death Date

11/15/2014

Short Description

Construction executive Herman Russell (1930 - 2014 ) was the chairman and CEO of H. J. Russell & Co., the fourth largest construction company in the U.S. An avid supporter of Atlanta and its youth, Russell was also the founder of the Herman J. Russell Entrepreneurial Scholarship Foundation.

Employment

H.J. Russell & Co.

Favorite Color

Dark Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:368,3:736,8:4232,73:4784,82:5152,89:5520,94:11316,189:11776,195:20470,224:23271,233:31530,287:31870,293:33970,303:37184,334:47947,430:66700,630:87360,878:87750,884:90324,939:90636,944:95733,994:96288,1001:98064,1020:99396,1037:100062,1044:101394,1061:102282,1071:102726,1076:103281,1082:114043,1174:114666,1183:117870,1240:124901,1419:125257,1424:136838,1519:144120,1577:144480,1582:145740,1591:146100,1597:146460,1602:151680,1682:162372,1784:163119,1795:163700,1809:164862,1832:167684,1872:168348,1881:169095,1895:177776,1987:179196,2014:182080,2054:186460,2151:186700,2156:186940,2161:187240,2167:187600,2174:188320,2196:190920,2214$0,0:1168,22:2847,53:3139,58:4161,82:5402,111:5694,116:15755,241:22042,280:30350,367:34796,454:40545,531:43010,554:45645,576:45985,581:53168,644:53840,652:54980,658:55320,664:58856,764:67400,862:69110,883:70370,903:81355,1021:81925,1029:82875,1046:83920,1058:136330,1628
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his mother and other members of a church organization

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his mother and niece in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his mother in front of their Martin Street home

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Photo - Herman Russell presents an Army photograph of his brother Lawrence Russell

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his brother and friends in Buffalo, New York, 1950s

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Photo - Herman Russell with his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Photo - Herman Russell with his father, mother and sister at their home, 1947

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Photo - Herman Russell and unidentified group at David T. Howard, 1946

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Photo - Herman Russell with unidentified woman, 1946

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Photo - Herman Russell playing football

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Photo - Herman Russell at the Dogwood construction site, Atlanta, Georgia, 1980

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Photo - Herman Russell in his office, 1974

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Photo - Herman Russell and Jesse Hill

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Photo - Herman Russell and Jhon Porter

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Photo - Herman Russell and Tom Bradley

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Photo - Herman Russell with Jimmy Carter, Vernon Jordan and Jesse Hill in the Oval Office, Washington, D.C., 1977-1981

Tape: 1 Story: 21 - Photo - Herman Russell, Vernon Jordan, Jesse Hill and unidentified man, Oval Office, Washington, D.C., 1977-1981

Tape: 1 Story: 22 - Photo - Herman Russell, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young and Ralph Abernathy

Tape: 1 Story: 23 - Photo - Herman Russell with NSI board members, 1989

Tape: 1 Story: 24 - Photo - Herman Russell, President Bill Clinton and Ann Jackson

Tape: 1 Story: 25 - Photo - Herman Russell and Mayor Willie Herenton, 1990-1992

Tape: 1 Story: 26 - Photo - Herman Russell, Otelia Russell and Donata Russell, 1986

Tape: 1 Story: 27 - Photo - Herman Russell holding his son Herman Russell Jr., 1959

Tape: 1 Story: 28 - Photo - Herman Russell with Herman Russell Jr. and Donata Russell

Tape: 1 Story: 29 - Photo - Herman Russell in ROTC uniform, 1952

Tape: 1 Story: 30 - Photo - Herman Russell presents a photograph of his parents, Maggie and Roger Russell

Tape: 1 Story: 31 - Photo - Herman Russell with his family

Tape: 1 Story: 32 - Photo - Herman Russell, family portrait

Tape: 1 Story: 33 - Photo - Herman Russell with grandchildren

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Herman Russell interview

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herman Russell's favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herman Russell talks about his mother's background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herman Russell talks about his father's background

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herman Russell lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herman Russell recalls his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herman Russell reflects on his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herman Russell remembers sights and smells of Summerhill, Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herman Russell touches upon the importance of church during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herman Russell briefly speaks about elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Herman Russell talks about his speech impediment

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Herman Russell describes his successes as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Herman Russell speaks about his entrepreneurial talents while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Herman Russel tells about the influence his father had on him

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Herman Russell recalls getting his first bank loan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herman Russell reminisces about his high school era athletic exploits

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herman Russell speaks about one of his heroes, Jackie Robinson

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herman Russell talks about buying and building on his first piece of land

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herman Russell's decides to attend Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herman Russell remembers managing a band

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herman Russell's experience at Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herman Russell talks about managing his duplex while away at college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herman Russell describes Tuskegee's highlights and his current involvement with them

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Herman Russell outlines his business's growth through the late 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Herman Russell tells of his business relationship with Herman Talmadge

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Herman Russell describes his professinal relationship with whites during the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Herman Russell talks about his insurance company

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Herman Russell describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Herman Russell talks about Civil Rights leaders in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Herman Russell talks about Martin Luther King Jr. and Vernon Jordan

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Herman Russell tells of his involvement in the television industry

Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Herman Russell briefly tells the current status of his business

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herman Russell explains his experience as a cable franchisee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herman Russell tells of his involvement in the television industry

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herman Russell talks about his wholesale operation comared to the airport business

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herman Russell talks about Judy Byrd

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herman Russell speaks about his role in politics

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herman Russell discusses the presence of African Americans in politics

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herman Russell tells of his involvement with the Citizens Trust Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Herman Russell talks about his current and future business plans

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Herman Russell explains the importance of black business ownership

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Herman Russell expresses his feelings on the status of the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Herman Russell states his opinion on how to better the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herman Russell gives his opinions on family and raising children

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herman Russell talks of the younger generations becoming involved in business

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herman Russell speaks about his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Herman Russell in front of H.J. Russell Company headquarters

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Herman Russell during construction of his duplex, 1947

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DATitle
Herman Russell speaks about his entrepreneurial talents while growing up
Herman Russell tells of his business relationship with Herman Talmadge
Transcript
In your household, what were--you said you spent a lot of time with your mother.$$Sure.$$Your father was also--what age were you starting to work with him and his plastering?$$Well, let me recap that for you. At the age of eight, I went into my first entrepreneurial business. I had a paper route. I would get up early and had the paper on people's porches at six in the morning. And after doing that for a couple of years, I decided I would set up on the weekend, a shoeshine parlor. And I sat up a shoeshine parlor on the corner in front of our house on a vacant lot that I did not own. And I was so good at shining shoes that I got so many shoes dropped off; I got someone to help me. And then I realized that I could sell shoelaces, Coca Cola [beverage] and ice cream. So that got to be quite of an enterprise. And then during the summer, my daddy [Rogers Russell] would take me out on a job. And I would go out on a job and work with my father in the construction business. And when I reached the age of sixteen, I was a master mechanic. I was making as much money that to the older, men because I was the best at what I was doing. And then I bought a lot from the city of Atlanta [Georgia] at the age of sixteen and, and began building a duplex on and worked for a couple of years. And when I finished [David T. Howard] high school [Atlanta, Georgia] I went Tuskegee [Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama], came back during the summer and finished that duplex. So I, that was my first piece of real estate that I owned and renting out at that time. So everything just took off from, that point. I started buying more and more land, more and more land. And during my first year at Tuskegee, I was working during the weekend on people's housing and all. And I asked my brother to come down and help me. And I had an enterprise set up down there during my, freshman year. And we were doing so--the end of my freshman year, sophomore and junior year, and we were doing so much business, the sheriff came out. And we didn't have a license there to build. They gave my brother twenty-four hours to leave the city because we were taking work from other people that really needed to work at that time.$And no one was really stopping you, that--I mean you were operating mainly in the black community. No one was like stopping you or trying to try and put roadblocks in your way or--?$$Well, see, what I did in the '60s [1960s], particularly, late '60s, I hired a Greek fellow. He went all through the South and bought land for me. And, you know, once he'd buy, we'd change the title over. Now, a lot of land that I bought here in Atlanta [Georgia] and elsewhere, it was in the deed--you being a lawyer, years ago, it was legal. They had, in the deed, they could never sell this land to a Negro. Okay, but you know what happened, the [U.S.] Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional [see Shelley v. Kraemer (1948).] But it still was in the deed because it had been recorded years ago, you see? So it was a whole--it was a lot I had to overcome, but I had a good friend, who's a best friend of mine today. He, he was my front man for it.$$And this was the Greek fellow?$$Yeah.$$Now, how did you come to know him?$$I came to know him--it's a funny thing that I got to know [United States Senator] Herman Talmadge. And he was--his daddy was [Georgia Governor] Eugene Talmadge. He was a segregationist, Herman Talmadge, when he was a senator. But he never--as his later years in life, Herman Talmadge's son--was a friend of mine. And Jim Cochran was a friend of Herman Talmadge. I met Jim at a party through Herman Talmadge's son. And that's how we got to--$$Now, Tabin is T-A-B-I-N [Talmadge is correct spelling]?$$Yes.$$Okay, and then the other name Cochran?$$Yes.$$C-O-C-H--$$H-$$R-A-N?$$That's right. That's right.