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Shirley James

Shirley James was born in Georgetown, South Carolina on September 5, 1946. Her mother, Camille Barber, was a schoolteacher and her father, Eli Baxter Barber, was a mail porter. In 1964, James graduated from Howard High School. She continued her education at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received her B.A. degree in psychology in 1968. She went on to receive her M.A. degree in education from Harvard University in 1970.

In 1971, James became a counselor and administrator for Savannah State University. She also held positions as Director of Testing, Vice President of Student Affairs and Counselor Orientation Director. During her tenure, James developed Peer Counselors, a committee to support the students of Savannah State University.

James also became a publisher and editor for The Tribune, a weekly newspaper founded by James’ husband, Robert Earl James, that focuses on the issues of African Americans.

In 2002, James left her position at Savannah State University to become the Coordinator of the Savannah Black Heritage Festival. Between 2004 and 2005, she served on the Board of Directors of the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and in 2005, she was appointed to a five year term for Savannah’s Airport Commission. James is a member of several professional organizations as well as owner of the Education Testing Services in Savannah.

James and her husband Robert live in Savannah, Georgia. They have three adult children.

James was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 17, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.013

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/17/2007

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Howard High School

Howard Adult Center & Optional School

Spelman College

Harvard Graduate School of Education

J.B. Beck Middle School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Shirley

Birth City, State, Country

Georgetown

HM ID

JAM02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

You Live, You Learn, And You Pass It On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/5/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bread

Short Description

Academic administrator and newspaper publishing chief executive Shirley James (1946 - ) was the owner and former publisher and editor of the Savannah Tribune. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, James held positions as Director of Testing, Vice President of Student Affairs and Counselor-Orientation Director at Savannah State University.

Employment

Savannah State University

The Savannah Tribune

Favorite Color

Winter White

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shirley James describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shirley James describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shirley James describes the history of her family's home

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shirley James remembers her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shirley James describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shirley James describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shirley James remembers her father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shirley James describes her older brother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shirley James talks about her brother's U.S. Army career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shirley James remembers her younger brother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shirley James describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shirley James remembers her community in Georgetown, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shirley James describes her grade school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shirley James describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shirley James recalls her activities during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shirley James remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shirley James describes her early work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shirley James remembers applying to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shirley James describes her experiences at Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shirley James recalls her influences at Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shirley James remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shirley James recalls participating in a student exchange program

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shirley James describes her experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Shirley James describes her social activities at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Shirley James recalls her activities after graduation from Spelman College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shirley James recalls becoming a counselor at Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shirley James describes the peer counseling program at Savannah State College

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shirley James remembers retiring from Savannah State College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shirley James describes the history of The Savannah Tribune

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shirley James talks about her presidency of The Savannah Tribune

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shirley James talks about Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shirley James describes her organizational involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shirley James talks about her activities during retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Shirley James shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shirley James describes her children and their professions

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shirley James talks about her husband and grandchildren

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$2

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Shirley James recalls becoming a counselor at Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia
Shirley James describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
Transcript
Both you and your husband [HistoryMaker Robert James] graduate in 1970 from Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and you moved to Atlanta [Georgia], is that right?$$Yes.$$Okay. And how long did you stay in Atlanta?$$We were in Atlanta approximately a year. Right after graduation in June we moved here and he worked for a year at Citizens and Southern Bank [The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia]. I got to be a housewife and a mom, and then we moved to Savannah [Georgia] in August of '71 [1971].$$Okay. And you took a position, administrative counseling position at Savannah State University [Savannah State College; Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes, I did.$$So, tell me about that position.$$Well, something that I loved, because that counseling, you know, was my area, my field, and Dr. Prince A. Jackson [HistoryMaker Prince Jackson, Jr.] was president at Savannah State University at the time, and he actually hired me. During that period I was probably the first trained counselor that they had on the campus, and as a result of that, he kind of challenged me within about a year or, within the first year, and it was twofold. One was to look at establishing or getting a grant together to establish a counseling center, because that was not anything that we had had. I worked initially out of what you call a student affairs office with the dean. His name was Nelson Freeman, so student affairs you know, encompasses everything that's outside of the academic area, and, but we didn't have anything specifically to address, like a center for counselors, so that was one of the challenges, and he paired me with Hinton Thomas [ph.], a person who was working in one of the, a federal funded program that had been housed at Savannah State University at the time, and the two of us got together and wrote the grant through Title III, so by 1972, we were able to get the counseling center started, and the second challenge that he had given me was to start an organization where students could be almost like paraprofessional peer counselors, because there was Dr. Lucy Cutlive [ph.]. I'm not sure what her married name is, her name now, but at the time it was Lucy Cutlive, and she was at Tennessee State University [Nashville, Tennessee].$$Cutlive? How do you spell that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Cutlive. I think it's C-U-T-L-I-V-E.$$Okay.$$But I'll have to check that to be sure.$$Okay.$$But she did an address at Savannah State and talked about the students helping students at Tennessee State, and Dr. Jackson heard and he said, "Oh, this is something I'd like to have happen at Savannah State," so as a result of that, I was able to put together what we call a peer counseling program, which they served as student leaders during orientation, but they also served as peers and student-to-student counselors like throughout the year, so you selected upper classmen and we paired them, well not paired them, they would work with groups of new students coming in, so they may have two or twenty-five students that they were kind of responsible for, assisting through that first year of college to help them become acclimated to what college was about, so they would help him academically from a social side just all the way around. So, to this day and it is now 19--2007, the peer counseling program is still thriving at Savannah State University.$When you think about growing up, what sounds, sights, and smells come to your mind?$$(Laughter) The smells would be the smell of the International Paper Company; (laughter) the odor from that. I don't know if you've grown around, grown up in a town where you get this odor from pulp and from paper being made, so that is a pungent kind of sound, smell, and even to this day if you're driving into Georgetown [South Carolina], you know, even with all the new things with the environment and trying to control the atmosphere and all that, there's still that little thing that's there, so that's one of them. The other is like Christmastime; the kind of smells, you know, from making fruitcake and hog head cheese, turkey and dressing, you know, those kinds of smells, just from the kitchen, are things that I still can relate to or reminisce about and seemingly can still, you know, kind of smell chitlins (laughter), which I do love. Okay. You talk about sights. One of them is the beach, because we went to Pawleys Island [South Carolina] and to Atlantic Beach [South Carolina], but on Pawleys there was a beach called Frank's beach [McKenzie Beach], which was specifically for African Americans, and so it was kind of very well developed for that period of time and in the summers we would go to Frank's Beach for swimming. After we got older my Uncle Freddie [Fredrick Bessellieu], who grew up on Pawleys Island and from that area, would take us crabbing and clam hunting, and whatever we caught, you know, a lot of times we would eat it at the creek, eat a certain amount of it at the creek and then the rest of it we had to take back to the block to the neighborhood, because then we had this crab boil at night. Whatever, you know, we got we shared it with the neighbors, and so just the sight of the beach was one thing, and just the neighborhood, really. You know, just the sight of my neighborhood, really, was a good thing. Sound? That's kind of difficult, but what comes to mind right now that I'm thinking of is high school with the band and the orchestra, because I was able to participate in both; in the marching band, and we also had an orchestra. I played clarinet and I was able to ascend to first clarinet, so I'm listening to some of the things that we played as an orchestra, and going, like to state band competitions and actually winning. You know, a little school in Georgetown, South Carolina, Howard High School, but the band instructor that we had there, Mr. Ephraim [ph.], really just did so much for us and carried us so far and helped us to appreciate a lot of classical music. I still remember some of the symphonies and some of the parts that the clarinet would play in the symphonies and when I hear them now, I said, oh, you know, it's a good thing (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And remember.$$Um-hm.

Jay Harris

Communications professor and newspaper publishing chief executive Jay Harris was born December 3, 1948, in Washington, D.C. to Margaret Estelle Burr Harris and Richard James Harris. Harris attended Santa Clara University in California.

In 1970, Harris began working at "The New Journal" in Wilmington, Deleware as an editor and reporter. Harris worked for Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism as a professor and assistant dean from 1975-1982. While working for Northwestern University, Harris initiated the American Society of Newspaper Editors' national census of minority employment. Through the initiation of this census Harris earned a position on the National Association of Black Journalists' list of the 100 Most Influential Black Journalists of the 20th Century. In 1982, Harris became a correspondent and columnist for the Gannett News Service and in 1985, he became the executive editor for the Philadelphia Daily News under Knight Ridder, Inc. Three years later, Harris was promoted to the corporate staff of Knight Ridder's Newspaper Division, where he served as assistant to the president; by 1990, he had become Vice President of Operations. Harris became chairman and publisher of the SJ Mercury News in 1994, and ran the Mercury News from 1994 until 2001. His accomplishments during his tenure at the newspaper include the launching of Nuevo Mundo and Viet Mercury, which are Spanish and Vietnamese versions of Mercury News. In addition, Harris worked to diversify the staff to include 50 percent female employees and more than 30 percent ethnic minority employees.

After leaving Mercury News, Harris joined the faculty of the University of Southern California in October of 2002. At the University of Southern California, Harris held the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Journalism and Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and worked as the founding director of The Center for the Study of Journalism and Democracy. He also worked as the Presidential Professor at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California.

Jay Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 7, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.235

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/7/2005

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Bruce-Monroe Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jay

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

HAR18

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Saint-Barthelemy Island

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/3/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive Jay Harris (1948 - ) was the chairman and publisher of the San Jose Mercury News from 1994 until 2001. He held the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Journalism and Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication. He was also the founding director of The Center for the Study of Journalism and Democracy.

Employment

Wilmington, Delaware, News-Journal

Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism

Garrett News Service

San Jose Mercury News

University of Southern California

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:35129,521:35664,529:164244,2140:164664,2146:177400,2277:186790,2369:189016,2388:199790,2483:202460,2495$0,0:4596,75:5688,83:15506,151:25650,226:48156,540:48793,550:51705,594:52069,599:61816,688:74380,834:75180,844:80580,935:87043,998:99650,1173:102285,1215:154564,1671:155056,1680:173020,1896
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jay Harris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jay Harris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jay Harris describes his maternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jay Harris describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jay Harris talks about his family's connection to W.E.B. DuBois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jay Harris describes his maternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jay Harris describes his maternal family history, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jay Harris describes his great-uncle's correspondence from World War I

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jay Harris talks about the imposition of segregation in the early 20th century

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jay Harris describes his maternal grandmother's childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jay Harris talks about his maternal grandmother's early life and work with the Urban League in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jay Harris talks about his grandmother's civil rights work

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jay Harris describes his grandmother's contributions to her family and her husband's career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jay Harris describes his mother's childhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jay Harris talks about his maternal aunt's life in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jay Harris describes his mother's job as a social worker

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jay Harris talks about his mother's childhood neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jay Harris remembers his childhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jay Harris describes his father

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jay Harris describes his father's family background

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$1

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Jay Harris talks about his family's connection to W.E.B. DuBois
Jay Harris describes his maternal family history, pt. 3
Transcript
--Funny story. Once I was talking--I have always been a great admirer of Dr. [W.E.B.] Du Bois. And I think I was a sophomore in college [The University of Santa Clara; Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California], and I had discovered Dr. Du Bois. I thought he--I thought that no one other than me knew of Dr. Du Bois, so I would lecture my parents [Margaret Burr Harris and Richard Harris] and [maternal] grandparents [Sarah Walker Burr and John Burr] on him to their bemusement. And I also thought he walked on water. Still do, although I realize his feet get pretty wet.$$(Laughter).$$But I was holding forth on Dr. DuBois' many fine attributes. And my grandmother was in the kitchen, and she said in a soft voice sort as I was wrapping up, "He was an arrogant S.O.B., too." I sort of whipped around and said, "What do you mean?" And she said---then I realized then that she had met him. And she was--indeed, she had known him and knew Du Bois enough to form the judgment that he was an arrogant S.O.B. when it came to dealing with other--at least, when it came to dealing with other black families in the Boston [Massachusetts] area. Actually, there were many ties between my family and Dr. Du Bois. I have an aunt who gave me his hymnal. It's from the 1930s, I guess. It's a book called 'Cabin and Plantation Songs.' And he had come back to Fisk [University, Nashville, Tennessee] to--he was at--I think he was at Atlanta [University; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia] then. And he had come back at Fisk to deliver the Sunday sermon or some such thing. He had come by my aunt's house afterwards, and he had left his hymnal and one other book. And my aunt, many years later in the 1970s gave me the books. So that one of them--the book called 'Cabin and Plantation Songs' has Dr. Du Bois' notes in there for his unscripted remarks to Fisk on that day. So I opened my grandmother's hope chest to those stories just to tell you sort of how this goes. And in it, well, I still have this, there was an old browning, cracking newspaper, and I gently opened it up. It was the front page--it was the paper, a paper from Boston, and the lead story of the paper that day was that Frederick Douglass had died. And so one of the things that is very strong in my memory of that part of the family is that, people who I grew up thinking of as historical figures were persons who were public figures and at the time personal friends in their lifetime and in their lives.$I have this lovely letter to my [maternal] grandmother [Sarah Walker Burr] shortly after my grandfather [John Burr] died. And the letter was from the great black theologian Howard Thurman. And Howard Thurman, before he left first for Massachusetts and then eventually ended up in San Francisco [California], was the chaplain at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] for many years. And there's this lovely handwritten note from Thurman who had been out of town when my grandfather died. But, again, you have this--I have in my personal library a shelf of books by Howard Thurman. And it's very interesting to see something personal from Howard Thurman in your family's story, and in each of our families because all of our families at least have these types of stories.$$We want all of those details. I'm going to move--because we'll get back to that (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That'll be fine.$$--to the Civil War. But I want to just move down to any relatives that you might know of immediately following that young cabin boy in the Civil War. Do you have any (simultaneous)--$$Well, it would be--again, I would have to show you the records.$$Okay.$$But we have in the family a family tree with the documentation from, say, a census in Massachusetts. On the Indian [Native American] side, I talked about the Indians in my family, an important part of my family. And the 1860s, the State of Massachusetts caused a census to be done of all of the Indians in the State of Massachusetts, and it points to one member of the Oneida tribe whose name was Eli Burr. And the census, which is a government document, reports that Eli Burr's grandfather--now, we go back two more generations--was a chief in the Oneida tribe. So there is this--it's interesting. You see, the metaphor of the tree for a family is very apt to be, because you see the various branches and it comes to a trunk.

The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire

Newspaper publisher and former congressional staff member Jerome Whyatt “Jerry” Mondesire was born October 10, 1949, in Harlem, New York. Mondesire’s working class parents, Jerome Alexis Mondesire, a Dominican Garveyite, and Winnifred Taylor Mondesire of South Carolina, emphasized education. Mondesire attended P.S. 88 and Junior High School 172; he graduated from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens in 1968, where he was a member of the NAACP High School Youth Council. Mondesire attended City Colleges of New York, where he studied journalism and was a student activist and volunteer with SNCC in 1969.

Mondesire covered the Black October killings of Maryland State Senator James Turk Scott and “Pee Wee” Matthews for the Baltimore Sun in 1973. At the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1974, Mondesire covered Mayor Frank Rizzo’s strip-searching of the Black Panthers. At the Inquirer, Mondesire became assistant city desk editor, turning to politics full-time in 1977. Mondesire was later chosen to work as chief of staff for William H. Gray’s successful congressional campaign. As Congressman Gray’s top aide, Mondesire influenced and shaped policy; he was instrumental in the 1985 national Stop The Springboks! Campaign, and helped to write the South African sanctions legislation for Congress. In 1991, Mondesire started his own weekly newspaper, The Philadelphia Sunday Sun. In 1992, after Congressman Gray retired, Mondesire acquired the Philadelphia Sun newspaper including the online edition. Mondesire also hosted the FreedomQuest, a local public and political affairs talk show on Philadelphia cable television.

Mondesire was elected president of Philadelphia’s NAACP chapter where he increased membership to over 5,000. Under Mondesire the NAACP overturned the ex-felon disenfranchisement law in 1999. Mondesire remained active in welfare to work training, health care, youth violence and police brutality.

Mondesire passed away on October 4, 2015.

Accession Number

A2005.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/11/2005

Last Name

Mondesire

Maker Category
Middle Name

Whyatt

Schools

Martin Van Buren High School

P.S. 88

Irwin Altman Middle School 172

City College of New York

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jerome

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MON04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Ignorance Is A Terrible Thing To Watch.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

10/10/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Strawberries

Death Date

10/4/2015

Short Description

Association branch executive and newspaper publishing chief executive The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire (1949 - 2015 ) published the Philadelphia Sun newspaper and acted as president of Philadelphia's chapter of the NAACP. Mondesire passed away on October 4, 2015.

Employment

The Baltimore Sun

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Congressman William H. Gray, III

Philadelphia Sun

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes being raised by his father after his mother's death

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls the African National Memorial Bookstore

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire remembers Blumstein's Department Store

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his childhood in Harlem

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire remembers Harlem's Apollo Theater

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his childhood personality and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his early educational experience

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls studying Russian in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire remembers his first TV

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls New York City's music scene

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his civil rights participation, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his civil rights participation, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls a dangerous political situation from his college years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls why he became interested in civil rights activism

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his interest in journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire talks about the NAACP Youth Council

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls his experiences in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire remembers joining The Baltimore Sun

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls his work for The Baltimore Sun, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls his work for The Baltimore Sun, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls covering the murder of James "Turk" Scott

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls covering Black October, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls covering Black October, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire reflects upon Black October's approach to Baltimore's drug culture

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls moving from Baltimore to Philadelphia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his work at The Philadelphia Inquirer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls being chief of staff for HistoryMaker William H. Gray, III

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes founding the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls his anti-apartheid involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire talks about Nelson Mandela

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire reflects upon his political involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls the bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and his NAACP involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes joining the NAACP's Philadelphia chapter

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his Philadelphia NAACP presidency and prison reform

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes the Philadelphia NAACP's program involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes the Philadelphia NAACP's anti-violence activities

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire talks about long-term solutions to violence

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls a visit to Pennsylvania's Graterford Prison, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls a visit to Pennsylvania's Graterford Prison, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire talks about Mayor John F. Street

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his challenges as Philadelphia's NAACP president

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Jerome W. Mondesire remembers prominent NAACP leaders

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire reflects upon his life and running for political office

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire reflects upon his legacy and describes his children

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATitle
The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls the African National Memorial Bookstore
The Honorable Jerome W. Mondesire recalls covering the murder of James "Turk" Scott
Transcript
I guess it's just me but maybe I'm just drawn to this bookstore [African National Memorial Bookstore, New York, New York] (laughter).$$No.$$Name of [HistoryMaker] Charles Blockson, who was in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's right.$$--used to talk about, you know, taking a train ride to that store, you know.$$It was the most phenomenal--the most phenomenal, probably, collection of literature in North America, dealing with people of color. The Michaux family, you've gotta keep in mind, the man [Lewis H. Michaux] who owned it, was also related to Oscar Micheaux, the filmmaker. I don't know if they were cousins or if one was--they weren't brothers but they were related, so you had one Micheaux who was a pioneer black filmmaker--$$Yeah, Oscar and then--$$--who made all these great films and used some of the black stars, who became somewhat famous in Hollywood in later years, and then you had this other member of the Micheaux family that--$$Lewis--$$Lewis Michaux, with his collection and he had this great series of pictures of Kwame Nkrumah and other African leaders, Haile Selassie, on the front of the building. So, just walking past the store was, in fact, a black history lesson and he would change the books in the window, you know, repeatedly on a regular basis. It's the first place I encountered J.A. Rogers [Joel Augustus Rogers], you know, history of black people, Paul Laurence Dunbar, obviously Elijah Muhammad, and then Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, the books by Garvey, of course all of Du Bois' [W.E.B. Du Bois] books were there, but you were also encouraged to go inside the store. That was the other part of it. You could meet anybody in there, you could meet professors from Columbia [Columbia University, New York, New York], or City College [City College of New York, New York, New York], or Fordham [Fordham University, New York, New York]; sometimes, even the white professors would come, but all the black professors would come, but all the activists would come, all the lawyers and the people who were in the movement, things that you would see in the news, you'd hear about it, you'd see, I saw Floyd McKissick in there one day, Sutton [Percy Sutton], the lawyer for Malcolm X (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Percy Sutton, yeah.$$--who went on to--Percy, and who went to fame and then fortune as an attorney and now as a cable TV operator. Adam Clayton Powell [Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.] would hang out in there on his way up to Frank's Restaurant [New York, New York], or going across to get some coffee at the Chock Full o'Nuts from the Hotel Theresa [New York, New York], so it was a gathering spot, and then during the height of the movement, during the height of the '60s [1960s], all of the pan-Africanists, the Black Panthers [Black Panther Party], the Nation of Islam, the Five Percenters [Five Percent Nation], you name the group, you give their initials, SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference], CORE [Congress of Racial Equality], SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] would meet there, Muhammad Ali is there, in fact it's depicted in the film ['Ali'] where--with Will Smith. He is walking past the bookstore after, you know, signing autographs and then making a speech. During times of trouble and crisis, when King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] is assassinated, when there were also people killed by the police and there was trouble in the neighborhood. The bookstore became also a repository of fact; not that Michaux saw himself as some kind of street leader, but he would gather, people would come to the bookstore so you could find out was, in fact, someone killed by the police, what was his or her name. What's the condition if they weren't killed, and so things were--there was a conversation that was always going on. It became a very important place, and when it was lost because of his death, it left a huge hole and there was a place that opened up on Lenox Avenue [Malcolm X Boulevard], called Liberation Bookstore [New York, New York], but it never filled the void. I mean, it was just such a unique place, plus it was huge. It was--I believe, I remember I was going as a kid and I believe it had a backyard. So, and then there were books everywhere, from the floor to the ceiling. It was just a wonderful place; so, you're right to remember it.$July 13th, I was at my girlfriend's house, summer of July 13th of '73 [1973], and I get a call late at night. I was watching an old movie and by this time, the man who was calling me and giving me the information as a member of Black October, had given me a code name that he would use, and I'd given him my home number and how to reach me so that if something ever did happen, I said, "Well you just call me if anything really does happen." Of course, did I ever believe it? No. And, about 11:30 that night, he called me and said, "This is"--gave me the code name, and said, "We've just killed James "Turk" Scott, and you'll find his body in such-and-such a place and we used these kinds of weapons," and he gave me the calibers, "and he's dead." And I said, "Are you 'S'-ing me?" He said, "You'll find his body," and he hung up the phone. So I jumped in my little Volkswagen, I drove down to at a high rate of speed, broke--went through red lights and there was "Turk" Scott's body, sprawled out in his garage of his basement--parking garage of his fancy apartment building. He's a huge guy, about 6'4", weighed about three hundred pounds, body's riddled with bullets and around it are leaflets that say drug dealer, and there's a young, white, rookie cop, he looks like a rookie to me, and he goes for his gun. He goes for his holster and I said, "Hold it, hold it, hold it. I'm from The Baltimore Sun." He said, "How the hell did you hear about this? We haven't even gotten the paramedics and the other cop." I said, "I heard it on the police radio." We had police scanners in the company cars at the time. He didn't know I had not driven my company car. And I said, "Well, can I see who it is?" And he just let me get close to the body, and then he shooed me away. So, I went back to the nearest pay phone, because there were no cell phones in '73 [1973] (laughter), and I called the city desk, and it was one of the few editors who actually liked me, an Irish guy, older guy. And I said, "You're not gonna believe this, but Scott is dead, and I could tell you where he was killed. I can't tell you who killed him. I can tell you how he was killed." And, I said--of course, people don't believe it, but the presses actually do run. And so, he said, "You're telling me a story. I should stop the presses." He said, "We've never done this. We haven't done this since World War II [WWII]." I said, "Well, you better do it now." And so he did. And he ordered a stop on the press. He said, "But, if you're wrong, we're both gonna lose our jobs." I said, "You're not gonna lose your job." And he stopped the press somewhere in the mid-run for the final edition. I think we made about 2/3 of the final edition and they changed the headline, and said that Scott had been killed. And TV, of course, starts out the morning questioning the story because they're the ones who always break, you know, big crime stories. It's just their nature, radio and TV. So, they come on that morning saying, "The Baltimore Sun reports that so-and-so was allegedly killed," because the police won't identify it either.

Alexis Scott

Journalist and publisher Marian Alexis Scott was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia; her grandfather was W.A. Scott II, the founder of the Atlanta Daily World, which was the nation’s first black-owned daily newspaper. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, Scott attended Barnard College in New York City and Spelman College in Atlanta; she later attended the Columbia University School of Journalism as a summer participant in the 1974 Michelle Clark Fellowship Program. Scott also graduated from the Regional Leadership Institute in 1992, and Leadership Atlanta in 1991.

After a twenty-two year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Cox Enterprises, Inc, where she worked her way up from reporter to vice president of community affairs at the and then director of diversity at Cox, Scott became involved in the inner workings of the Atlanta Daily World. Scott's duties included acting as publisher and featured commentator on The Georgia Gang, a week-in-review program on politics, which was broadcasted on FOX 5 in Atlanta. Scott was also active in nonprofit organizations such as St. Jude’s Recovery Center; Kenny Leon’s True Colors theater company; and serving as a board member of Atlanta History Center; the High Museum of Art; the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Central Atlanta Progress.

In 2003, Scott was appointed by Mayor Shirley Franklin to the board of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. Scott has received many awards and honors, including the 2004 Imperial Court Daughters of Isis Hall of Fame Award; the 2004 TD Jake’s Megafest Phenomenal Woman Award; an honorary doctor of humane letters from Argosy University in Atlanta in 2003; and a 2001 Citizen of the Year Award from Southwest Hospital and Medical Center. Scott also served as the president of the Atlanta Press Club.

Accession Number

A2004.173

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/22/2004

Last Name

Scott

Maker Category
Middle Name

Alexis

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Oglethorpe Elementary School

Spelman College

Barnard College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

M.

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

SCO03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Wonderful.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

2/4/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive and newspaper columnist Alexis Scott (1949 - ) has had a long and celebrated career in the field of journalism, including publishing and writing for the Atlanta Daily World.

Employment

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Atlanta Daily World

Cox Enterprises, Inc.

Georgia Gang, a week-in-review program on politics, broadcasted on Fox 5 in Atlanta

Newsweek

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alexis Scott's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alexis Scott lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alexis Scott describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alexis Scott describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alexis Scott describes her father's service in the U.S. Army during World War II and his subsequent career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alexis Scott talks about her father's involvement in the Atlanta Daily World, the family business

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alexis Scott talks about her grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alexis Scott describes her earliest memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alexis Scott talks about her family life during her childhood in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alexis Scott talks about her love of cooking during her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alexis Scott describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alexis Scott recalls her experiences at Oglethorpe Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alexis Scott talks about her childhood dreams and aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alexis Scott talks about her childhood religious and intellectual influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alexis Scott describes her experiences at Barnard College in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alexis Scott talks about her first marriage to Marc Lewis

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alexis Scott talks about her second husband and her two sons

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alexis Scott lists her extracurricular activities at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alexis Scott talks about returning to school to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alexis Scott explains how she became office manager for the Atlanta bureau of Newsweek

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alexis Scott describes her career path in print and television journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alexis Scott talks about the financial difficulties of the Atlanta Daily World during the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alexis Scott relates how she chose to take over running the Atlanta Daily World

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alexis Scott relates the history of the Atlanta Daily World

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alexis Scott reflects upon her life and the Atlanta Daily World

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alexis Scott describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alexis Scott reflects upon her family

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alexis Scott describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alexis Scott talks about her most memorable experience at the Atlanta Daily World

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alexis Scott talks about why she thinks history is important

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alexis Scott reflects upon her legacy

DASession

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Alexis Scott describes her father's family background
Alexis Scott talks about the financial difficulties of the Atlanta Daily World during the 1990s
Transcript
What was your father's name?$$My father's name was William Alexander Scott, III. And he worked for his entire life here at the Atlanta Daily World newspaper. He was one of two boys born to Lucille McAllister Scott and William A. Scott, II. And William A. Scott, II was the founder of the Atlanta Daily World [Atlanta World]. My father died in March 1992, when he was sixty-nine years old.$$Where was he born?$$My father was actually born in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was during 1923, January 15, 1923. And that was during a phase when his family was moving from Mississippi, first to Tennessee and then to Atlanta [Georgia]. My father's--let me get this straight, my father's grandfather [Reverend William Alexander Scott], who would be my great-grandfather, was a minister and his church involvement kept him moving some. And he also had health issues, with asthma and other breathing conditions that made him continue to look for a drier climate, which made him move from Jackson, Mississippi to Tennessee.$$And did he grow up there, in Tennessee?$$No, my father actually grew up--finally moved to Atlanta when he was about four or five years old with his mother and his father. His parents were divorced though, when he was quite young. So he lived with his mother and she raised him. And also, his father, W.A. Scott, II, who was founder of the paper, was killed in 1934 when my father was only eleven years old. So he was not around for his upbringing.$$Do you know what happened related to that killing?$$The circumstances around the killing of my grandfather were never officially solved. There was an inquest that was held and there were people who said that a Maddox [ph.], I can't remember his first name now, was the shooter, but there was no eyewitness. They never found the gun, and so he was never convicted with the crime. But he was the brother of my grandfather's fourth wife. Scandal.$$Okay (laughter). What else do you know about your father's background?$$My father, as I said, grew up with his younger brother in Atlanta, not a long distance from where my mother [Marian Willis Scott] grew up. And they--he also attended Oglethorpe Elementary School [Atlanta, Georgia] and [Atlanta University] Lab[oratory] High School [Atlanta, Georgia] and then Morehouse College [Atlanta, Georgia]. He, I guess, liked to do the things that boys liked to do. I've seen pictures of him with his bicycle, with a football, you know, when he was playing football when he was a kid. He was very smart, I kind of characterize him as being a Renaissance man. He was a photographer and I guess he played chess, he did a lot of things that were maybe not typical, or stereotypical for sure, of black men. He painted; he did oil painting. He liked classical music as well as Duke Ellington. So he was just kind of an all-around person; loved to tell stories; was very personable and charming; very brilliant, I think.$How did you arrive here?$$How did I end up here at the Atlanta Daily World with Auburn Avenue [Atlanta, Georgia] and all its sounds and trucks going by? I ended up sort of responding to a family call for help. It's kind of--the paper got on my mind, first in '92 [1992] when my father [William Alexander Scott, III] died, because I always thought he would be the one to take it over and keep it going and then hand it off to somebody. But when he died, that sort of wrecked that plan or that scenario that I had envisioned. And I guess a couple of years after he died my cousin Portia [Scott] called and said she needed to meet with me because things weren't going well at the paper, and they needed some help. And this was only a year after I had gone out to Cox [Enterprises Inc., Atlanta, Georgia]. And I told her, I wasn't sure there anything I could do, because the job that I had out there was so demanding, it was a traveling job, so. And of course I still had this six-year old kid [David Reeves, Jr.] that I was trying to be the mother to, so I just wasn't able to respond to her. And so another couple of years went by and she called again, and she said it's, you know, things are really not well. Her father [C.A. Scott] was frail and her mother [Ruth Perry Scott] was losing her eyesight and we needed to do something. And one of the reasons she was calling me was one, because I had, you know, the newspaper experience and two, our two families had the largest ownership of the paper. Her father and my father were the largest, two largest single owners at the time. And of course, my father was dead, so it was my mother [Marian Willis Scott], but my mother wanted my brother [William Alexander Scott, IV] and I to handle any of the business interest that might evolve. So, I guess in '96 [1996] when she called again, I thought maybe I should take a look at this, and I was just trying to see what it was that I could do without leaving my job. And around the same time a girlfriend of mine who lived in [Washington] D.C., sent me a Washington Post article about these joint ventures, these partnerships between these black publishers of black groups and major publishing, or major media companies. One of them was BET [Black Entertainment] Television combining with Time Warner [Inc., New York, New York] to do the BET Weekend magazine, which was fairly short-lived, as it turns out. It no longer publishes. The other was a project that Don Miller [HistoryMaker Donald Miller], who had been a retired executive from Dow Jones [& Company, New York, New York], was actually trying to start a national black newspaper [Our World News] with the backing from Dow Jones. And another one was the--I can't remember his name, who's the publisher of American History [sic. American Heritage] magazine, which is a joint venture with Forbes. And it talked about how these, you know, two interests were working together to produce these publications. So I thought, well, I wonder if there is something there for Cox and the Atlanta Daily World. So I called, I talked with some of the executives at Cox and they didn't say no, they're always looking for new ways to make more money. And I called Portia and I asked her would this be something that maybe the Atlanta World would be interested in talking about, but they weren't. Her father was fiercely independent and felt like this was just a way to have the big media companies swallow up this independent family owned business. And so that was kind of a blow because I thought I had found a solution. And so I decided okay, I'm going to go back; I tried. But she called again and she said, we really--it's not, things aren't going well. We really either need to close, or just sell, or do something; something has to take place.

John Murphy

John Murphy, III was born into a journalistic family legacy. Born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 2, 1916, Murphy was named for his grandfather, the founder of the Afro-American newspaper. Murphy attended Temple University in Philadelphia, earning a B.S. degree in 1937, and he later attended the Press Institute of Columbia University in both 1952 and 1971.

Journalism came naturally to Murphy and the Afro-American was rapidly increasing its circulation along the East Coast when Murphy completed college. Before joining the family business, however, Murphy went to work with the Washington Tribune, where he served as the manager from 1937 until 1961. After serving on the board of directors of the Afro American, Murphy took over as chairman of the board from his cousin, Frances Murphy, II, in 1974. He also served as the business manager and the purchasing agent for the Washington Afro American. Murphy continues to hold the post.

Murphy has remained active throughout his life in a number of organizations, including several churches. He is a member of the Churchman’s Club, is on the standing committee of the Diocese of Maryland and is a vestryman at St. James Episcopal Church. He also serves on the boards of Amalgamated Publishers and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Murphy is a supporter of the arts and education, serving on the board of the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Baltimore City Literacy Commission.

For his civic and business activities, Murphy has been honored numerous times by various organizations. The City of Baltimore proclaimed him Citizen of the Year in 1977. He has also received the Publisher of the Year Award from the University of Washington, D.C., and the Appreciation Award from the Race Relations Institute of Fisk University. Murphy and his wife, Camay, daughter of Cab Calloway, have two children.

John Murphy passed away on October 16, 2010.

Accession Number

A2003.230

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/20/2003

Last Name

Murphy

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Shoemaker Junior High School

Overbrook High School

Temple University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

MUR06

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Francisco, California, New Orleans, Louisiana

Favorite Quote

Never tell somebody, 'I told you so.'x''

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/2/1916

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

10/16/2010

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive John Murphy (1916 - 2010 ) has been the chairman and publisher of the Afro-American newspaper, which his grandfather founded, since 1974. Before joining the family business, Murphy worked with the 'Washington Tribune', where he served as the manager from 1937 until 1961.

Employment

Afro-American Newspapers

Favorite Color

Brown

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Murphy interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Murphy's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Murphy describes his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Murphy describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Murphy lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Murphy describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Murphy remembers his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Murphy recalls his childhood environs in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Murphy recounts his school life

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Murphy explains his college choice

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Murphy recalls his early adulthood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Murphy details his work in the Washington, D.C. office of the Afro-American Newspaper

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Murphy discusses the circulation of the Afro American Newspaper

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Murphy discusses the Afro-American Newspaper's relationship with its employees

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Murphy remembers past coworkers

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Murphy talks about his administration with Afro-American Newspapers

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Murphy explains the Afro-American Newspaper's political ties

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Murphy talks about his newspapers stance on black soldiers in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Murphy recalls past editors at the Afro-American Newspapers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Murphy explains the integration of newspapers

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Murphy comments the lack of African-American news in national newspapers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Murphy recalls influential figures in the East Coast newspaper community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Murphy talks about changes in leadership at Afro-American Newspapers

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Murphy discusses changes in the newspaper industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Murphy remembers highlights from his years with Afro-American Newspapers

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Murphy shares his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Murphy considers his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - How John Murphy would like to be remembered

Frances L. Murphy, II

Born on October 8, 1922, in Baltimore, Maryland, Frances Louise Murphy, II, grew up in a household that was focused on the newspaper the family published. Murphy’s grandfather, a former slave and Civil War veteran, founded the Afro-American in 1892; her father, Carl, was the editor and publisher of the paper and a professor of German at Howard University. Murphy's mother, Vashti, was one of the co-founders of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and was trained as a teacher. Murphy taught until she married Carl Murphy; she then went on to earn her B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1944, where she majored in journalism. In 1958, Murphy earned her B.S. degree from Coppin College, and her M.Ed. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1963.

During her summers, Murphy worked for the family paper. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Murphy went to work full-time for the Afro-American, and the paper expanded from a single edition to numerous local editions around the country. By 1956, Murphy was the city editor for the Baltimore edition of the paper. After earning her teaching degree from Coppin College, Murphy became an elementary school teacher; she went on to pursue her master's degree in education. Frustrated with her school assignment, Murphy resigned and began teaching English and working as the director of the news bureau at Morgan State University. Murphy stayed at Morgan State until 1971, when she was named chairman of the Afro-American. In 1975, Murphy left to become a professor of journalism at State University College in Buffalo, New York, and then on to Howard University in 1985. Murphy became publisher of the Washington Afro-American in 1987, and left Howard University in 1991; she served as editor of the editorial page and wrote the column, “If You Ask Me,” by Frankie Lou for several years.

Murphy was honored by numerous organizations for her achievements; she received the Women of Strength Award from the National Black Media Coalition in 1994 and 1995; the Woman of the 20th Century Award by the National Congress of Black Women; and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine. Murphy served on the boards of the Freedom Foundation, the University of the District of Columbia and the African American Civil War Memorial.

Murphy raised four children, and had seventeen grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.

Frances Louise Murphy, II, passed away on Wednesday, November 21, 2007, at the age of eighty-five.

Accession Number

A2003.117

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/3/2003

Last Name

Murphy

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Organizations
Schools

P.S. 112

Paul Laurence Dunbar Junior High School

Frederick Douglass High School

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Coppin State University

Johns Hopkins University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Frances

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

MUR05

Favorite Season

None

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Be strong. We are not here to play, to dream, to drift.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/8/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

11/21/2007

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive and journalism professor Frances L. Murphy, II (1922 - 2007 ) was the former publisher of the Afro-American newpaper.

Employment

Afro-American Newspapers

Morgan State University

State University of New York at Buffalo

Howard University

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frances Murphy interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frances Murphy's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frances Murphy recalls her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frances Murphy remembers her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frances Murphy describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frances Murphy recounts her parents' involvement in the NAACP with Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frances Murphy recalls growing up in segregated Baltimore with her sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frances Murphy explains how segregation allowed her and her peers full scholarships to out-of-state schools

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frances Murphy details her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frances Murphy describes herself as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Frances Murphy remembers her early familiarity with guns

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frances Murphy recalls her favorite reading material as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frances Murphy remembers her early involvement in journalism and politics

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frances Murphy recounts her experiences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frances Murphy discusses women's editorial input at the 'Afro-American'

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frances Murphy details her career with the 'Afro-American' and Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frances Murphy discusses memorable writers at the 'Afro-American'

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frances Murphy recalls her travels in Sweden and the Soviet Union

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frances Murphy shares her opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frances Murphy comments on Marion Barry's career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frances Murphy recounts the biggest scoops and biggest crisis at the 'Afro-American'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frances Murphy shares her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frances Murphy talks about her family

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frances Murphy discusses the nomenclature of the 'Afro-American'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Frances Murphy considers her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Frances Murphy recounts her parents' involvement in the NAACP with Thurgood Marshall
Frances Murphy recounts the biggest scoops and biggest crisis at the 'Afro-American'
Transcript
And growing up in that house in this kind of environment must have been fascinating?$$It was. You know you--when you grow up in that kind of environment, you really just take it for granted that this is what's going on, that coming in and out of this door were people of all different statures, from President John Kennedy to Dr. [W. E. B.] DuBois to all the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] heads to Thurgood Marshall, they were in and out of the house. Dad [Carl James Murphy] had what was called breakfast meetings. And he invited people here to the house to try to mend fences, to get people to, you know, work together. And in about 1935, his brother, George Murphy, was working with the NAACP, but it was lagging. And so Dad went in and put his money into it to get it back together again. And he called all the people together here, the Walter Whites and so forth, to sit down and talk about it. And what they said they needed was money. So Dad became the chairman of that committee to raise the money across the country by picking up the phone, and saying I need money for this case. I need money for the--this case is going before the Supreme Court. I got a bunch of kids down here in Mississippi in jail. I need money for that. And all across the country, the money was raised and brought to this house and put downstairs in the safe. And when it was needed, the cash was sent by a white person to the South to bail the kids out. It, it--and as I look back on it now, I'm saying to myself, all this was going on right underneath my nose. I knew it was going on, but it wasn't as significant as it is to me now. As I look back and see what they were able to do and what he was able to do, I'm saying, why can't we do better? They were able to do it with just a telephone call or 'I need' and 'can you do this' and so forth. And he was able to tap the leadership across the country to help.$$Now, is this the beginning of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund?$$Legal Defense Fund, he was chairman of the Legal Defense Fund. Yeah, and I can almost hear Thurgood Marshall here talking about the case, separate but equal doctrine and how they felt that that wasn't enough; that they had to do better than that and so forth. 'Plessy v. Ferguson', those different cases came through this house or were talked about. Dad wrote the editorials about 'em or, or, or wrote the news stories about 'em in both cases and got a lot of heat, got a lot of heat for it. But at the same time, he stood his ground.$Can you think of one story that may have been the biggest story the--the bigger or the biggest scoop that the 'Afro-American' had been involved with?$$Well, of course, during the early Supreme Court days and so forth, there were a lot of big stories that the 'Afro' had that nobody had. During World War II when we had our correspondents overseas, the war correspondents overseas, we had so many stories about what was actually going on during World War II because our correspondents were right there. And those were the years when the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] was breathing down our neck and trying their best to accuse us of being unpatriotic because we published the stories about the segregated troops and what was happening to the black troops over there. All of those stories back there in those days, I think many of them were just exclusive 'Afro' stories. We've had some recent years, and off the top of my head, I can't call any, but we've had some in recent years too. And going back to Clarence Thomas, I think the--one of the headline stories that won an award was written by--let's see, who wrote that? And I better not call his name. I think it was written by James Wright, where he said, "I'm not an Uncle Tom". And that was one of our front-page stories that went to, to win one of the prizes. And we won other stories--prizes like that for stories like that.$$What's the biggest crisis that the 'Afro-American' has been through?$$Crisis, crisis, crisis, let me just say that maybe in my younger years when they were fighting to have a union at the 'Afro' and the employees went on strike. And that was, oh, a long, long time ago, a long time ago. But we've had crises since then, but I think that was the one that really cut to the quick because the 'Afro' is a, is a business with families, and not just the Murphy family, but there was the Lewis family and other families, the Phillips family, families have, have come generation after generation to work at the 'Afro'. And when you have a labor dispute like that--they wanted to bring in the, the labor union, which they did. And you split that way. It's, it sort of takes a long time to heal. And, of course, we've healed now, we're, we're back together again, but I think that may have been the biggest crisis. There've been others, of course. There've been financial crisis where we've been able to pull back and so forth, but I think there's nothing to compare to that, the labor dispute way back there when, maybe in the '40s [1940s].

John Jacob "Jake" Oliver

John Jacob “Jake” Oliver, great grandson of Afro-American Newspaper founder John J. Murphy and current CEO of the Afro-American Newspapers, was born July 20, 1945 in Baltimore, Maryland. His entrance into sixth grade was used to integrate the previously all white John E. Howard Elementary School. Oliver attended Garrison Junior High School and graduated from Baltimore City College High School in 1963. He attended the University of Maryland for two years, but transferred to Fisk University in Nashville, where he flourished under the tutelage of Dr. Jimmy Lawson, Dr. Theodore Courtney, David Driskell and Arna Bontemps. Oliver graduated from Fisk University in 1969 where he was a student leader. He went on to Columbia University Law School where he earned his J.D. degree in 1972.

From 1972 to 1978, Oliver practiced corporate law as an associate with the firm of Davis, Polk and Wardell in New York City. It was founding partner J. W. Davis who had lost the landmark federal Brown v. The Board Education case. Returning to the Washington and Baltimore area, Oliver served as corporate counsel for General Electric from 1978 to 1982. However, Oliver decided to return to help with the family newspaper, the Afro-American, and then, in 1982, Oliver became its publisher, chairman and chief operating officer.

Since taking over the helm, Oliver has overhauled the Afro-American Newspapers and the African American (the AFRO) publishing business, resulting in increased circulation. Today, the AFRO is digitally connected to three offices in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Richmond as well as its printer in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Oliver serves as a board member of First Mariner Bank, past president of the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) and chairman of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Accession Number

A2003.273

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/12/2003

Last Name

Oliver

Maker Category
Middle Name

Jacob "Jake"

Organizations
Schools

Baltimore City College

John E. Howard Elementary School

Garrison Middle School

University of Maryland

P.S. 112

Fisk University

Columbia Law School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

OLI01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Adults, Journalism and Computer Technology

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring, Fall, Winter

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $500-1500, plus travel and lodging

Preferred Audience: Youth, Adults, Journalism and Computer Technology

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/20/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Corporate lawyer and newspaper publishing chief executive John Jacob "Jake" Oliver (1945 - ) is the publisher and CEO of the Afro-American newspaper and is the great-grandson of Afro-American founder, John Murphy, Sr.

Employment

Davis, Polk & Wardell, LLP

General Electric Company

Afro-American Newspapers

Favorite Color

Blue, Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:2698,56:3124,70:4473,96:4757,101:5041,129:17430,305:27590,676:30870,745:31750,759:32070,764:35590,832:36950,857:38310,876:45208,895:49422,983:50010,993:51970,1028:52362,1033:52852,1039:53244,1044:58641,1073:60342,1113:60846,1124:63430,1140:63790,1145:65680,1171:67300,1190:67750,1196:69640,1225:70900,1241:82998,1397:85940,1414:88020,1456:88280,1461:88540,1466:91400,1525:92115,1539:94715,1615:103605,1708:105050,1733:106240,1749:107345,1772:107940,1781:108450,1789:108790,1794:113034,1815:114070,1833:114958,1848:117178,1887:123690,2015:123986,2020:128962,2047:129664,2058:134656,2148:137308,2208:145894,2318:146286,2326:147182,2350:147518,2357:148190,2373:149646,2423:161620,2617:166342,2661:167512,2679:168058,2687:169150,2713:169540,2719:172330,2730:173254,2753:173650,2763:175036,2787:175564,2795:176158,2802:176488,2808:176950,2817:177280,2823:177544,2828:180774,2844:181990,2850:182886,2871:183654,2885:184230,2896:186010,2907:186910,2919:187360,2925:187900,2933:188260,2938:189840,2946:190140,2951:191490,2973:191790,2985:192240,2992:197590,3071:198940,3104:199540,3125:204115,3182:212485,3324:212833,3329:216990,3375$0,0:909,11:6750,104:7470,115:11532,194:12324,208:18100,286:19180,344:19684,353:22351,372:22789,379:23592,393:26293,459:26804,467:41712,672:47443,731:74484,1099:75444,1110:76212,1121:77076,1131:77652,1139:79832,1154:80966,1181:82748,1214:83072,1219:84692,1250:85016,1255:90129,1284:90541,1289:91880,1307:95718,1325:96030,1330:96498,1335:96888,1341:97434,1352:97980,1361:101256,1437:104724,1482:105064,1491:105744,1503:108124,1560:108396,1565:109620,1588:110096,1596:120303,1707:122214,1740:122669,1746:125945,1800:127219,1822:128675,1840:129039,1845:137286,1947:138352,1962:139582,1996:152108,2120:154711,2160:155896,2183:174856,2513:175567,2524:185670,2613:186045,2619:187245,2640:187620,2646:193020,2687:196770,2710:197260,2721:197820,2731:199080,2754:199850,2770:201740,2803:202020,2808:202790,2821:203560,2837:204050,2845:206290,2892:209000,2901:209385,2907:213774,2998:214236,3006:214929,3016:216084,3037:217008,3054:217316,3059:226627,3123:227015,3166:227403,3171:229920,3189:235608,3329:236082,3338:238057,3368:238373,3373:238689,3378:242501,3453:246888,3478:247304,3483:250008,3524:250528,3530:256144,3596:257550,3618:257920,3624:259844,3649:262360,3722:262804,3729:264284,3755:265912,3792:266430,3802:277014,3893:282576,3961:283656,3980:284160,3989:285168,4008:285600,4016:286032,4024:288330,4029
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Jacob "Jake" Oliver's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about his father's education at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his father's relationships with members of the Murphy family of Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about his childhood home in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about his father's jobs at the Afro-American Company, later the Afro-American Newspapers

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes the sights and smells of his childhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver recalls the fear he experienced transferring to John Eager Howard Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his experience at Garrison Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his experience at Baltimore City College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about his academic performance and classes at Baltimore City College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver recalls a homeroom teacher and a friend from Baltimore City College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver explains how Emmett Till's murder affected his racial consciousness

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver explains his trepidation about attending the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver recalls the hostile campus atmosphere of the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland in the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver recalls disliking the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland as an undergraduate student

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver remembers transferring from University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his undergraduate experience at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes the 1967 campus riots in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his tenure as editor-in-chief of the Fisk Forum at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his professors at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about black power activists and his decision to attend Columbia Law School in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes living in New York City's Greenwich Village in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about his mother's death

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes working in the New York Times newsroom in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver recalls conversations he had with pressroom workers at the New York Times in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver recalls conversations he had with prostitutes in Times Square, New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his first year at Columbia Law School in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about the Socratic Method of law instruction and his interest in tax law

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about graduating from Columbia Law School and accepting a position at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes working at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver comments upon the experiences of African American lawyers on Wall Street in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver recalls meeting Kenneth Chenault as an associate at Davis Polk & Hardwell in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about working as corporate counsel for General Electric

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about acquisition deals he brokered for General Electric

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about reforming operating procedures as vice chairman of AFRO-American Newspapers

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver explains how he and his cousin, HistoryMaker Reverend Frances Murphy Draper assumed control of Afro-American Newspapers

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about reforming production procedures as CEO of AFRO-American Newspapers

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about reforming delivery procedures for the AFRO-American Newspapers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver explains how new typesetting techniques made newspaper printing more efficient

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about healing family relationships and the future of Afro-American Newspapers

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about the Afro-American Newspapers' online presence

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about sports journalist, Sam Lacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about Romare Bearden's 1930s cartoons for the Afro-American Newspapers

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about cartoonists and journalists who have contributed to the Afro-American Newspapers, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about cartoonists and journalists who have contributed to the Afro-American Newspapers, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about the Afro-American Newspapers' plans to reach a younger audience

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about his initiatives as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA)

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver considers what he would have done differently

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver comments upon the relationship between politics and African American newspapers

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about his work on the Maryland Higher Education Commission

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - John Jacob "Jake" Oliver describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

2$7

DATitle
John Jacob "Jake" Oliver recalls meeting Kenneth Chenault as an associate at Davis Polk & Hardwell in the 1970s
John Jacob "Jake" Oliver talks about reforming production procedures as CEO of AFRO-American Newspapers
Transcript
And, but it was a good experience and it was something, again, that I would do. And I met some very good people. I--one of the people that I met that I'd forgotten was in--when I was in my third year at Davis Polk [& Wardwell, New York, New York], they always had summer associates come in to spend the summer. And they, once in a while, you know, they were from Harvard [University, Cambridge, Massachusetts], Columbia [University, New York, New York], Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut], and University of Virginia [Charlottesville, Virginia] or University of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. And, you know, they were always, you know, spend--encourage them to, to get to know everyone. And, and that summer, there was a young brother from Harvard. I remember him vividly now 'cause he stuck his head in my office. He was a little short but not real short. He had, of course, a tie on, and I think he had a pink button-down shirt on. And he, you know, he just slid into my office and sat down and we just spent some time talking. I'd forgotten about that conversation and, and forgot about that young man until last summer. I was invited to address all of the black executives of IBM at the IBM headquarters at Armonk [North Castle, New York] by--Ted Childs is a good friend, was senior vice president in charge of diversity there. He is a big wheel at IBM. And he convenes all the blacks once a year to--everybody check in with each other, which I think is good, but he does it also for gay, lesbians, and Hispanics and, you know, because IBM is a very different company, primarily because of what Ted Childs has done. And I was addressing the black executives for about an hour explaining what the black press was about and telling them where we need to work together. And after that, there was a reception, and then I got invited to hang out for the next speaker. And Ted grabs me and pulls me to the side and says, come on, I want you to intro- I want to introduce you to the next speaker. And I told him I really was rushing to get back. He said, no, we got time, so I got dragged across the room. And he says, "Jake, I would like to introduce you to Ken Chenault, chairman of American Express." So Ken looks up. He said, "Jake, I saw your name on the program and I was so excited that you were the--I am really glad to see you here, man, 'cause there's so much we need to talk about." I was like, "Do I know you?" He says, "You don't remember me?" I said, "I know who Ken Chenault is." He says, but I don't--he says, "Davis Polk." And then, suddenly, it came back. That was the young associate who spent that afternoon with me talking about various things. He never forgot it, which was an important lesson at that late stage for me, that it really never hurts to spend some time to try and share your experience with anyone who is willing to listen for purposes of being able to help them in some small way avoid maybe some of the things that you may not have been able to. The lesson also taught me that, you know, that, you know, there's a lot of people out there who just don't forget small things, and what I thought was a small thing to me was apparently not so small to him. So, but it was very gratifying. It was probably one of the highlights, but one of the many highlights of, of my experience at Davis Polk.$And so, we came in in '86 [1986], took over. It [Afro-American Newspapers] was not in shambles, but it really was difficult. Tony [HM Reverend Frances Murphy Draper] was just absolutely great because I was still at--I was still at, at practicing, the law firm, but I was chair- I was chairman of the board and CEO [chief executive officer]. Tony was president, but she really walked in and just grabbed the day-to-day stuff, and it was largely through her efforts that helped us get through the next two to three years, while I was still practicing. And I didn't stop practicing until '87 [1987]. I came in around '87 [1987], '88 [1988]. And when I came in, my real focus at that point was to implement the conversion of the automation, which eventually saved the paper only, because, keep in mind, we were seventeen, eighteen people in our production department. We were--I mean, our staff was so big, we were not automated in connection with anything. Tony held the reins when I got in. We started to--I started, we really started to move everything. And by 1990-'91 [1991], I'd cut the production staff from seventeen down to seven. We had converted to a totally new process, desktop publishing. We were looking at weak--encountered a very serious tax problem. And we were looking for a new location. And we took some major steps. We sold our building in [Washington] D.C. We got out of, out of, we got out of trouble with the IRS [Internal Revenue Service]. We sold our building in Baltimore [Maryland]. I mean, in, in Baltimore, because that building literally was falling down on top of us. And we moved into this building in 1991. And in 1992, I'm sorry, in 1992, we moved here. Nineteen ninety-three [1993], we threw away our paste-a-boards and our X-ACTO knives, and we became one of the few newspapers in the area that was completely automated.$$This is in '90 [1990]--$$Ninety-two [1992], '93 [1993].$$'92 [1992].$$Everything was done on the Mac [Macintosh]. And that was primarily a result of--from '87 [1987] to '92 [1992] through the move in '93 [1993], I took off my suits. I moved into the production department with Mac Classic and started to teach everyone, not only how to use a Mac Classic, how to lay out pages, and develop the process of getting people to put (laughter), to put the copy on floppy discs, if you can--I mean, can you imag- flop- we had, we had, we had a, a sneaker circuit going around where go upstairs from the editorial department. They have their stories on floppy discs. They run them downstairs to give them to me. I'd put them in--I laid out every major front page and every major section page of this paper in four years. I mean, I--not only did I teach the process, I learned the process, taught everybody how to do it, starting from classifieds, which you can't imagine what it's like laying out classifieds on a Mac Classic, which goes eight megahertz a second. I mean, it, it is like slow as can be. But we did it, and then we gradually moved up, got faster machines as they were developed. And now in '94 [1994], we blew the lid off by going ISDN [Integrated Services Digital Network] that connected us with terminals in our editorial department in the Washington [D.C.] office, and terminals in the editorial department in our Richmond [Virginia] office. Everything got connected in a wide area network. This is in '94 [1994] using ISDN. No one in the world knew what ISDN was. And then, the next year, we dropped ISDN, and went--we went frame relay. Folks thought we were crazy, but I had cut my operational expenses by one-third every time we made a move. It became so efficient. We became faster. Our paper became--came, hit the street faster. And my staff was reduced to now to the point where we have five people in production doing capacity-wise, maybe twice as much as we'd ever done. Took the savings and hired more sales people. It was a simple strategy, but someone had to sit down and learn how to do it step by step by step.

Dorothy R. Leavell

Dorothy Leavell was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on October 23, 1944. Leavell was the valedictorian of her Merrill High School class of 1962 and after relocating to Chicago, Leavell attended Roosevelt University.

Leavell’s first husband, Balm L. Leavell, Jr., founded the Crusader newspaper in Chicago in 1940 and twenty years later, began publishing a similar newspaper in Gary, Indiana. From the time of her husband’s death in 1968, Leavell has served the the Crusader as publisher and editor while rehabilitating its facilities and modernizing the production process.

Leavell was elected president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in June of 1995 for a two-year term and was re-elected in June 1997 ending her term in 1999. During her tenure, she increased the visibility and international stature of the organization. In June of 2006, Leavell was elected Chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.

A member of the NNPA for more than forty-two years, Mrs. Leavell has served in various other capacities including assistant secretary, a member of the board of directors, and as treasurer, a post she held as for ten years.

Leavell has often been honored and recognized for her philanthropic and civic contributions. A recipient of many awards, she was honored as NNPA’s Publisher of the Year (1989); the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago; State of Indiana’s “Attorney General for a Day; (June 9, 2000); Winnie Mandela Endurance with Dignity Award; Nation of Islam Distinguished Service Award; Operation PUSH Family Affair Award; by the National Association of Black Media Women; the Fourth District Community Improvement Association Award in Gary; Dollars & Sense Magazine Award for Excellence in Business; the Mary McLeod Bethune Award; the Humanitarian Award from the Council on African Affairs; the Publishing Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club and as the Grand Ye Ye at the 24th Annual 2013 African Festival of the Arts Chicago, Africa International House, Inc., among many others.

Active in her faith and church, Holy Name of Mary Church in Chicago’s Morgan Park community, Leavell is the wife of John Smith, her second husband, and the mother of two children and three grandchildren. She also raised a niece and nephew.

Dorothy Leavell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 1, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.061

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/1/2003

Last Name

Leavell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R.

Organizations
Schools

Merrill Junior High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Dorothy

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

LEA01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/23/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive and Dorothy R. Leavell (1944 - ) is the chair of Amalgamated Publishing and the co-founder of "Heroes in the Hood."

Employment

Crusader

Amalgamated Publishers

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3724,61:6536,103:8436,135:8816,141:23824,325:28185,363:30860,368:95669,1137:96559,1152:97004,1158:143370,1628:171476,1931:198110,2237:213008,2374:215856,2418:222406,2510:224212,2536:230736,2588:241670,2662:248700,2733:249825,2750:252750,2796:268530,2954:299940,3208$0,0:3891,50:9930,131:21378,229:21808,235:27398,307:27828,313:32386,362:32902,369:33676,377:35998,415:44377,468:52120,588:60250,603:61370,624:63470,653:67250,675:70890,762:80690,884:81365,894:94554,1038:99594,1112:106850,1176:107642,1187:110666,1240:111962,1263:112538,1274:115562,1312:126789,1391:131686,1429:139907,1507:145820,1578:147602,1601:150761,1639:151085,1644:151814,1656:152867,1674:159071,1723:159781,1734:168875,1863:172925,1950:182940,2030:185030,2041:207328,2299:218970,2422:239380,2670
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorothy Leavell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell talks about her parents' courtship and their having children late in life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell recalls growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dorothy Leavell describes Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the different schools in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dorothy Leavell describes Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell describes her schooling experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell talks about skipping school as a student at Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the teachers that influenced her as a high school student

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes the lessons she learned from her high school principal

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell describes being arrested as a high school student, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell describes being arrested as a high school student, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell talks about Governor Orville Faubus and her senior class trip to Winthrop Rockefeller's farm

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the Rockefeller family's reputation in her community

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dorothy Leavell describes her experiences applying to the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the significance of the Masonic Temple in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell talks about her father's job as a laborer for the Cotton Belt Railroad

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell describes her move to Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes being hired at the "Chicago Crusader"

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell talks about marrying the founder of the "Chicago Crusader," Balm Leavell, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the history of the "Chicago Crusader"

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the Negro Labor Relations League, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dorothy Leavell talks about the Negro Labor Relations League, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dorothy Leavell describes the "Chicago Crusader's" support of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell describes the challenges she faced taking over the "Chicago Crusader" in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell describes the "Chicago Crusader's" response to the murders of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell describes how the beating of Dr. Herbert Odom caused a shift in Chicago politics

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes Balm Leavell's contributions to the Exposition of the Negro in Business and Culture

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell talks about Edward Hanrahan's being voted out of office as Cook County State Attorney

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell describes the "Chicago Crusader's" support of Mayor Harold Washington's mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell describes serving as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell describes the controversies that occurred during her tenure as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell describes the controversies that occurred during her tenure as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell describes the controversies that occurred during her tenure as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell describes the challenges the black press faces covering international news

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell talks about former staff members and supporters of the "Chicago Crusader," pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell talks about former staff members and supporters of the "Chicago Crusader," pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dorothy Leavell talks about her concerns for the black press

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell shares her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dorothy Leavell describes her most significant accomplishment as publisher of the "Chicago Crusader"

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dorothy Leavell reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dorothy Leavell talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dorothy Leavell narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dorothy Leavell narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dorothy Leavell narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Dorothy Leavell describes the challenges she faced taking over the "Chicago Crusader" in 1968
Dorothy Leavell describes Balm Leavell's contributions to the Exposition of the Negro in Business and Culture
Transcript
We were talking about '68 [1968] and what a, a critical year that was for you and the paper.$$It was a critical, critical year for all black Americans I believe, really. Because in April of 1968, April 4th, Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] was killed.$$Even after he was here, you know--$$Yes, yes, that was--I believe he was here in 1967, actually marching. And then this was April of 1968 that he was killed in Memphis. And then June of that year Robert Kennedy who was running for president, was killed in Los Angeles. In 1968 August was the Democratic National Convention that was held here in the City of Chicago, where rioting broke out. It was just really a devastating--$$[Unclear].$$Right.$$Out of control.$$Right. But we also had had rioting after Dr. King's death. There was rioting on 63rd Street, on the west side. You name it, people were fighting and very frustrated from, from his death. And then October of that same year, 1968, Mr. [Balm] Leavell died. I was twenty-four years old. I, I guess two days after my birthday, October 25th, 1968, Mr. Leavell died. And we had two very small children. We had a two year old and a three year old, who would soon be four in, in December of that year. And I found myself with two newspapers. The Gary paper was seven years old, and the Chicago paper was twenty-eight years old. So I--frankly I, I didn't know if I was gonna carry on the paper. And certainly there was a great deal of opposition to me carrying it on or even being associated with anything having to do with Mr. Leavell because of his children by a previous marriage. It was a very stormy time in my life, a very confusing time to be a widow at twenty-four, two newspapers and two small children. But Joseph Jefferson, who was still living, was very supportive of me and he did give me his full backing and support to carry on the publication. So here I go at twenty-four years old, having worked at the "[Chicago] Crusader", but certainly in a supportive role. I was not the leader of the, of, of the publication. I was not editor and publisher. I'd served as office manager and also continued to be a bookkeeper. But certainly to be thrust into that role at such a young age, it was indeed exciting and frightening, all at the same time. But I was convinced that the need for the black press was so important that all of that training and all I received at Merrill High School [Pine Bluff, Arkansas], of doing your very best and never to quit, kicked in. And I worked to try to keep the publications going. So it--and it has lead to many other things in, in my life. From 1968 until many other adventures in my career. Having--being president of all of the black newspapers in the country for four years, leading a delegation in a faraway land such as Nigeria, and even my most recent accomplishments of Chairman of Amalgamated Publishers, which is a national advertising rep firm for black newspapers across the country. So it has been an interesting journey, and one which I have had many, many long days and here we are, now the "Crusader" is sixty-three years old in Chicago. This is our 42nd year in Gary. And this is my 42nd year at the newspaper.$But--which brings up an important part too in the history of the "[Chicago] Crusader", is that Mr. [Balm] Leavell had commissioned Bernard Goss. Bernard Goss was the former husband of Dr. Margaret Burroughs [HM] to paint famous black Americans. Now this is long before so many of the companies now in, in later years would, would embark upon cultural kinds of things such as doing paintings. We've heard of Paul Collins and so many of the others have been involved with Anheuser Busch and their commemoration of the African kings and queens and so many other companies, Miller and all that have done quite a few cultural things in regards to African Americans, especially during Black History Month. But Mr. Leavell certainly has the foresight and to, to do this and this was back in the late '50's [1950's] and the early '60's [1960's]. And Bernard Goss did all of these famous portraits that are now housed at the, the DuSable Museum. And Margaret Burroughs worked with Mr. Leavell to put on an exposition. Used to be at the old Coliseum at 11th and Wabash back again in the late '50's [1950's] and the early '60's [1960's] where you would have businesses that would have their company's wares on display, but in addition to that, there was the cultural part of it that dealt with the paintings and the history of these famous black Americans. And then there would be great choirs that would perform and other kinds of musical performances and all during several days at the Coliseum. Well those paintings numbered something like 110 or so when I be--when I was, was suddenly thrust in the position of publisher in 1968. And I felt that it was just a shame that nobody was seeing them because we had not had an exposition since probably 1961 or two [1962]. So I felt that the best thing to do would be to give them to the DuSable Museum where people might be able to see them. So in 1976 when they had the bicentennial, those paintings were a part of that bicentennial and they were hung in the Daley Center down on Washington between Wabash and, and I guess that's--$$Randolph--$$And Clark or whatever that is down there. And so it was a part of that. So the "Crusader" has been a part of many significant historical facts, and certainly that would be one of the highlights that we were a part of that bicentennial celebration of the United States. And of course the one here in Chicago. So we have had that for a long time--association. And, and not only covering the news, but also being a part of the cultural awareness and information to our community. We want to provide them with that, not only through the paper but in doing other things too.

Gerald Johnson

Successful publisher Gerald Oren Johnson was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 2, 1947, to Willie L. Johnson and Thomasina Johnson. He graduated from West Charlotte High School in 1965 and went on to earn a B.A. in mathematics from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1969 and an M.A. in mathematics from Villanova University in 1972.

From 1969 until 1973, Johnson worked as a programmer for Univac Sperry Rand. From 1969 to 1973 he taught mathematics and computer science and directed the Computer Center at Johnson C. Smith University. In 1978, he began working for Bank of America as a programmer and was promoted to vice president. In 1986, Johnson became CEO and publisher of The Charlotte Post and chairman of the Consolidated Media Group.

Johnson has many civic and community affiliations. He has also received numerous
awards and honors for his contributions to the city of Charlotte. He has served as a member of the Mechanics and Farmers Advisory Board, the First Ward Community Reinvestment Board, and the Goodwill Industries Board. He has been an active participant in the Community Building Initiative, the Arts and Science Council, the Charlotte Chamber's Minority Business Leader Institute, "CHARLOTTE READS" leadership committee, and Partners For School Reform. He has also been co-chairman of the Finance Committee of the New Arena Committee, first vice president and publicity committee chairman of Theater Charlotte, and secretary and second vice president of the Discovery Place Board.

Johnson is a member of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church and has two daughters, Tania and Patrice, both living in North Carolina, and one grandson.

Accession Number

A2002.217

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/3/2002

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Lincoln University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Gerald

Birth City, State, Country

Charlotte

HM ID

JOH09

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

3/2/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charlotte

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive Gerald Johnson (1947 - ) is the CEO and publisher of the Charlotte Post in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Employment

Unicac Sperry Rand

Johnson C. Smith University

Bank of America

Charlotte Post

Consolidated Media Group

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:15160,132:23686,200:54530,523:66226,753:79238,895:82509,927:87810,1033:90910,1151:105343,1293:108997,1369:112984,1403:113368,1408:140900,1729:152056,1862:171859,1977:176530,2041:223261,2438:226110,2490:229308,2516:229782,2525:232073,2575:241517,2686:263670,2886:271210,2977:279731,3063:308770,3363:309250,3371:312450,3435:313010,3449:313730,3462:314210,3469:314930,3481:317250,3525:317570,3530:323321,3539:324690,3544$0,0:11334,75:18822,200:24390,309:30023,350:37891,513:47838,669:50358,707:53550,778:58378,851:69150,1013:71250,1050:95416,1327:95992,1336:98440,1385:98728,1390:107690,1491:108873,1515:109419,1525:115698,1591:120110,1621:123551,1702:124016,1708:124481,1714:124853,1719:125225,1724:130125,1813:141865,1959:147927,2004:148362,2010:179770,2297:181246,2321:181738,2326:191831,2571:202375,2709:213470,2869:220256,2965:230825,3122:241905,3300:242205,3327:243030,3340:245499,3350:245751,3355:246255,3364:253630,3478:257188,3501:258532,3525:260450,3533:264455,3594:266550,3613
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gerald Johnson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gerald Johnson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gerald Johnson describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gerald Johnson talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gerald Johnson shares the story of how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gerald Johnson talks about the black migration to Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gerald Johnson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gerald Johnson describes his childhood house

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gerald Johnson talks about the black community in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gerald Johnson talks about his father's involvement in black newspapers

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gerald Johnson describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gerald Johnson remembers his school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Gerald Johnson recalls his favorite teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gerald Johnson describes attending West Charlotte Senior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gerald Johnson recalls his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gerald Johnson describes attending Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gerald Johnson talks about his professors at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gerald Johnson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gerald Johnson talks about cultural shifts in the 1960s and the lack of black papers on campus

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gerald Johnson describes computer programming at UNIVAC Sperry Rand in 1969

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gerald Johnson talks about earning his Master's degree at Villanova University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gerald Johnson talks about his early career and moving back to Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gerald Johnson talks about working at Johnson C. Smith University and Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gerald Johnson describes his father's editorial style of "The Charlotte Post" in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gerald Johnson explains his involvement with "The Charlotte Post"

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gerald Johnson talks about changing the philosophy of "The Charlotte Post"

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gerald Johnson describes the management of "The Charlotte Post"

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gerald Johnson describes his approach to news coverage at "The Charlotte Post"

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gerald Johnson describes covering the black community at "The Charlotte Post"

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gerald Johnson talks about police misconduct and the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gerald Johnson talks about covering racial conflict between African Americans and Hispanics in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gerald Johnson describes the reaction and impact of covering race relations between African Americans and Hispanics

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gerald Johnson talks about the problems with schools and housing in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gerald Johnson describes the quality of life in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gerald Johnson describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gerald Johnson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gerald Johnson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gerald Johnson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Gerald Johnson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Gerald Johnson explains his involvement with "The Charlotte Post"
Transcript
Now you were in college when Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] was assassinated right?$$Um-hm.$$What was the atmosphere on campus when that happened?$$Very, very bad, very bad. We--it--we were having a program of sorts at the university. I can't even remember what the program was about, but one of my frat brothers ran down, ran down the campus and started yelling that, that Dr. King had, had been assassinated and then the school just went berserk. And we did have some white students on the campus at the time and then people started going around hunting down--in fact, I had to pull him off of some, off of some people 'cause he just snapped. He was, he was from Dallas, Texas, and he just snapped, and so we literally had to pull him off of some people, and the school just went in turmoil and started burning down and tearing down the school and very, very sad situation. It got so bad that they closed--the president came and made an announcement he was closing school, announces, says, "We're closing the school, get your stuff and, and leave," and you know nobody had transportation. I mean a lot of people didn't have transportation and then a lot of people didn't have any arrangements to get home and it was just a mess and luckily some guys from Gastonia, North Carolina, had cars and they asked me if I needed a ride home and I told 'em yeah I'd ride with them to come home. And sad, even more sad than what happened on campus was the ride home. We had to go through cities like Baltimore [Maryland] and Washington, D.C. and so all down the 95 corridor going through cities was just, it was just really, really a sad sight for sore eyes because the cities were burning, people were looting, throwing stuff at cars, and it was just, it was a horrifying sight. It was a long sad drive home. Very little was said in the whole time. It took us almost sixteen hours to get home, and very little was said during the whole time on the drive and just the turmoil that we saw coming home was, was something. So, yeah that was, that was a moment in my life, yeah it really was.$$How did you feel about it, you know, personally?$$Very upsetting, very upsetting. It was very upsetting. I felt hurt, betrayed. I felt I couldn't trust anybody anymore. Just hurt, just hurt. He had spoken on campus before as well, and, and I looked at Dr. King as being a spokesman for the community, the African American community, and his assassination meant that we lost a spokesman and it also made me feel like we were, we were betrayed and that nobody wanted us to have a spokesman that could actually stand toe-to-toe and speak on our behalf and so I just had a lot of mixed, mixed emotions at the time.$$So, what did they--how, how did they--so what did they--how did they regroup and get you get, get the students back, you know, and graduate, you know?$$Well, that--we had to be back I think what he, he told us that they were gonna open the school back in, in a week. They were gonna close school down for a week, so we ended up having to come back in a week and, and it was tough. Everybody got back and just went through with what we had to do to get through and graduate. In fact, I was a junior, so I still had one more, one more year to go. No, what year was that, sixty--$$Sixty-eight [1968].$$Yeah, I was a junior, I was a junior and so we got back on campus and went through, went through the rest of the year, but that, for the rest of that school year it was just not the same. Just, the, the emotions were just too much.$Okay, so how did you gradually get involved with the paper?$$(Laughter) My father called me in--I would--he, he asked me to come and help him all along. Since '74 [1974] I would come in, but we would always bump heads, and I had another job and so I was just helping him on the side and, and anything I would suggest we'd bump heads 'cause he didn't want to do that. I wanted computers in here. I wanted to upgrade, do a lot of things, and he was, he was doing fine just the way, the way it was and so we would always bump heads. So, I would come in and, and help him out for a couple of months and just get fed up and, and leave. But, one time he called me in and told me that he was, that the doctors were gonna stop him from working for a couple of months because he was sick, and he asked me if I would come in and sit in for him while he was sick. I told him, "What you mean sit in for you while you're sick?" He said well, "I'm a, I'm a have to take a couple of months off and I just need somebody to oversee the place for me until I get back. It won't be but a couple of months," so I said, "Fine I'll do it," and started coming in and sitting in. Now he never said what he was sick from or, or what was bothering him. He just said his doctor told him that, and when I started coming in here a couple of things happened that just upset me in terms of how the employees were acting, and so I, I literally reprimanded several employees and immediately they ran off to tell him what had happened. And when they came back in, sort of with their tail between their legs, he told them that I was in charge and that whatever I said that was the way it had to be. And at that time, I knew he would never come back because otherwise he would have, we would have done that again. But, he said whatever I said was, was it and so I took over in March, had the con- had the conflict in April, in June he died. He had acute leukemia, which he never, he never let on that he had that until the, the final stages and once he died my family asked me to stay here and run it, and so I did. I stayed at the bank and did this for ten years and I left the bank in '96 [1996] and started doing this full time. But, I was tricked into it in other words. I was tricked into taking over the paper. Best trick that, that's ever happened, but he tricked me into it.$$All this time though, had you ever thought of yourself as one being involved in journalism at all (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) No, no, and that's, that's, that's very interesting because he, he, he would always ask us if we were going to get involved with the paper. I told him no I knew I wasn't gonna do it because I had no interest in it whatsoever, so I told him I had, I didn't have any interest in doing this and my other brothers none of, none of them took an interest either, and so we had no journalistic interest at the time. But the interesting thing to me about all of that was when, when he got ill and I had to come in and sit down and take over a job it was, it was no training. It was almost like when I got in the chair I knew exactly what to do and so just by hanging around him all this time and not necessarily working here, but I knew everything to do and so it was, it was sort of like a no-brainer, sort of like I was going through a training for this, for this position because it was, it was just a no-brainer, just coming in sitting down and, and start directing the ship the way I wanted it to run. And philosophically, we had several points of difference, but just changed the philosophy of the paper and moved on.

Richard Love

Prominent newspaper publisher Richard Love was born on June 24, 1938, in Hahira, Georgia. Recruited by the Los Angeles Dodgers following high school, Love declined an invitation to their farm team to pursue a college degree. Love attended Kentucky State University, but left following his freshman year to join the military.

Prior to withdrawing from Kentucky State University, Love was involved in a racially charged protest. Objecting to the school's policy of admitting whites into the all-black college, Love and several classmates staged a demonstration that led to the torching of the school gym. In 1958, Love opted to leave Kentucky State University for the military. Love spent three years in the service, and spent considerable time at Fort Devers in Boston and Bavaria, Germany, where he became the battalion photographer. Love left the military in 1961 and returned to his home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Love worked as an orderly at a V.A. hospital for several years until 1964, when he was recruited to work on vice president Hubert Humphrey's personal defense team. The next year, Love became a real estate appraiser for World Savings, where he also worked as a housing consultant for the Urban League. Love worked in real estate for nearly a decade, primarily as a housing coordinator of land-based properties in Dade County, Florida. There, he acquired his first experiences in journalism as an editor for the community newsletter.

Love moved to Westwood, California, in 1985. There, he continued working in real estate and also became an advisor for black businesses. Encouraged by the success of the African American Denver Times, Love surveyed the community to gauge support for a black newspaper. After receiving largely positive responses, he established The Long Beach Times. Singlehandedly writing, editing and publishing the newspaper, Love focused on giving African Americans a voice by including the names of political representatives and city council members and listing their contact information in each issue.

Love continues to publish The Long Beach Times and each edition of the bi-weekly newspaper reaches an estimated 30,000 readers. In the early 1990s, he founded the Long Beach Chapter of African American Commerce. A member of the NAACP and advocate of black business development, Love is a devoted leader of the Long Beach community.

Accession Number

A2002.210

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/19/2002

Last Name

Love

Maker Category
Schools

Kentucky State University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

Hahira

HM ID

LOV04

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Petersburg, Florida

Favorite Quote

We Can't Do It Without You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

6/24/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tampa

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Red Snapper

Short Description

Newspaper editor and newspaper publishing chief executive Richard Love (1938 - ) was an advocate of black business development and a devoted leader in his community where he founded The Long Beach Times.

Employment

World Savings Bank

Long Beach Times

United States Army

Mercy Hospital

Don CeSar Veterans Administration Hospital

Department of the Interior

Northeast Housing Center

Eleventh Coast Guard District

Dade County, Florida

Favorite Color

Black, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard Love's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard Love lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard Love describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard Love talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard Love talks about his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard Love describes Hahira, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard Love describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard Love talks about his father's experiences being a postman in St. Petersburg, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Richard Love talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Richard Love talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Richard Love talks about traveling to Hahira, Georgia to help with summer harvesting as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Richard Love describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Richard Love describes his admiration for his older brother

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Richard Love describes his childhood interests and activities

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Richard Love talks about being offered a scholarship to become a librarian

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Richard Love talks about being recruited by the Los Angeles Dodgers farm team

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Richard Love reflects upon completing all four years of his high school education

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Richard Love describes why his mother kept him from playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers farm team and made him finish high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard Love talks about the teachers that influenced him as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard Love describes how he came to attend Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard Love talks about attending Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard Love talks about integration at Kentucky State College

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard Love talks about racial inequality in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard Love describes his experiences training for the Army Security Agency in Fort Devens, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard Love describes his experiences being stationed in Germany while serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Richard Love talks about being a battalion photographer while serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Richard Love describes his spearheading a feasibility study for determining consumer interest in a black newspaper in Long Beach, California

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Richard Love describes being hired to work at Don CeSar Veterans Affairs Hospital in 1961

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Richard Love talks about serving on U.S. Vice President Herbert Humphrey's security detail during the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Richard Love reflects upon the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Richard Love talks about his career from 1968 to the mid-1980s

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Richard Love describes how he fell into newspaper publishing

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard Love describes how he started the Long Beach Times, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard Love describes how he started the Long Beach Times, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard Love states the mission of the Long Beach Times

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard Love talks about founding the Long Beach Black Chamber of Commerce

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard Love describes the issues with the Long Beach branch of the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard Love describes the issues he sees in the black community, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Richard Love describes the issues he sees in the black community, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Richard Love describes the issues he sees in the black community, pt. 3

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Richard Love talks about applying his parents' advice to his life

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Richard Love describes the ways in which he taught his children to manage their priorities

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Richard Love describes the demographics in Long Beach, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard comments on the changing demographics of the neighborhoods in Long Beach, California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard Love comments on how people perceive black identity

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard Love talks about the value of inclusive, rather than exclusive, mindsets

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard Love describes why culturally specific chambers of commerce are necessary

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard Love comments on the black community's need for economic viability

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Richard Love comments on the "democratic slave mentality" of some blacks

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Richard Love describes the issues he had with the Black Church

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Richard Love talks about how black people are intimidated by one another

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Richard Love reflects upon the legacy of The Long Beach Times

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Richard Love talks about his parents

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Richard Love talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard Love narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Richard Love describes how he started the Long Beach Times, pt. 1
Richard Love talks about founding the Long Beach Black Chamber of Commerce
Transcript
Alright, let's continue the story of how you got started with the paper.$$Okay, I'll be happy to. So, when I arrived in 1985 in Long Beach [California], I noticed there was not a media from a black perspective. I did a windshield feasibility study. They said, sure we would support it. And there again, not knowing anything about journalism, but I knew that you need to tell people who, what, where, why, when and how, and that kind of thing. And you get that in eighth or ninth grade, you know, in English doing essays. So, we went out and--meaning 'we,' I always talk in the plural; but nobody but me. And I got the IBM justifiable typewriter and got some legal sized stacks of paper, which is eight and a half by fourteen [8.5 x 14], and I named it The Long Beach Times. And I went out and I started telling people where jobs were, who was having babies, what kind of opportunities in certain areas, what was going on in the churches, and other information I felt they needed--how to contact their City Councilperson, their county representatives, state, local and federal. And as I proceeded to do that, in a very short time, maybe two or three months, somebody said, "Hey, is that a newspaper?" I said, "Yeah." And people began to come and say, "How much would you charge me to put my real estate card in?" I'm saying, "Oh, maybe I can keep this thing going." And I'd charge them some ridiculous low fee. Then about a year later, a gentleman walked into my office and said, "You need a computer." And his name is Mr. Robinson. He was working at UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles] as a custodial engineer, if you want to call it. And we decided after about an hour's conversation that a computer would cost about seventy-eight eight hundred dollars with, you know--$$Seventy-eight hundred dollars?$$Yeah, seventy-eight... seven thousand eight hundred dollars. And this was '87' [1987], '88' [1988]. And of course, that's what computers cost then.$$Okay.$$And we said, "Yeah." And he said, "You need about eight thousand dollars." I said, "Oh, boy... that would be a blessing." And he looked at me and said, "Mr. Love, I'm going to get you that." And I said, "Okay." And every week Mr. Robinson would stop by and stick his head in the door and say, "Its coming." And in the newspaper business, there's a lot of flies on the wall, you might say. And, but I always respected people and never, you know, put them down or anything; I just tolerated it. And the third week went by; he'd stick his head in and say, "Its coming." It took about five or six weeks he did that. And I just said, "Yes, Sir, Mr. Robinson." About the eighth week, the mailman brought an eight thousand dollar check in, in the mail. And I thought it was one of these, you know, Ed McMahon--$$McMahon-- (Laughter)$$Yeah, thin checks. You know, I'd never seen one.$$Publishing Clearing House.$$Yeah, right, Publishing Clearing House. And it was very thin; I never saw a check like that. And I just put it on my desk. And it laid there for about three or four days, until a friend of mine named Willie Glover came in. And he looked at it, and he said, "Mr. Love, why do you leave your valuables there?" I said, "Willie, that's not a check, feel it." He says, "Oh yes, it is." And he said, "You go and deposit it." And I looked at it, and I said "Okay." And I went to the bank and I deposited it. And I was waiting for the bells to ring and the doors to lock and the guards to pull their guns out, and nothing happened. And the teller said, "Is there something else I can help you with?" I said, "No, Ma'am." And I'm saying... I slowly walked out of the bank, and nothing happened.$In addition to The Long Beach Times, we, I founded and started the Long Beach Black Chamber of Commerce here in Long Beach [California], which is a twelve or thirteen year old organization here. And we're moving and we're now doing, through the Long Beach Black Chambers, some economic and entrepreneurial skills and seminar training to help blacks in business prosper. And it's amazing though as we go out, white Chamber members ask us, "Why do you have a black chamber?" And I say, "For the same reason that the strongest chamber in America is the Korean chamber." It's that Koreans have different issues than white folks have. And black folks have a different issue than other chambers. We have no great grandfathers or no uncles who's going to die and leave us thirty, forty, fifty, sixty thousand dollars. We have no connections to the financial, you know, world that we can walk in and say, you know, "I need a thirty or forty or a hundred thousand dollar loan." And the rules of the game, regardless of how they may be printed, is that the average black person in America--I'll give you a good example. Mr. John Johnson, who owns Ebony and Jet, after he'd been in business almost ten or twelve years and had a gross income of maybe three or four million dollars, still could not walk into a bank and get a hundred thousand dollar loan. So, these are the issues that are different, as why we start black groups. However, I do believe that all groups should collaborate with each other for the totality of each area's own economic growth and welfare. I don't believe in separatism, I don't believe that we should--you know, this is my area and this is your area. I do believe we should be sensitive enough to realize that there are some certain things in the Cambodian culture and community that are Cambodian, and should be relevant and that kind of thing. But at the same point and view, when we had, for example, this reception for--that's not the one--reception for Mr. Langston, who is the Deputy Director for U.S. Business Bureau out of Washington, D.C. We had a reception for him, and we had all segments of the community--black, white, Hispanic, Cambodian, Korean, to come into this reception to acknowledge Mr. Langston. And as long as we can bring together, you know, people of all ethnic groups for the benefit of the whole, that's what we're about.$$Okay. That's... similar reasons a lot of black organizations get started, and people do often ask why they get started. But, you know, there are specific interests that black people have that others may not have. And as long as I guess we're a group, we should organize ourselves--$$Uh-huh.$$--and be considered as a group.