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Gregory Baranco

Auto sales entrepreneur Gregory Baranco was born on March 8, 1948 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Dr. Beverly Victor Baranco, Jr. and Evelyn Baranco. Baranco attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, where he was a pre-med major until changing his focus to business administration after working at a stamping plant for the Ford Motor Company during the summer of 1969. He went on to graduate with his B.S. degree in business administration in 1971.

He began his career in sales at Audubon Ford in Baton Rouge in 1971, where he was eventually promoted to finance manager. During the mid-1970s, Baranco was accepted into the General Motors Dealer Development Program, where he trained as a GM dealership owner at Royal Oldsmobile in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1978, Baranco and his wife, Juanita Baranco, founded Baranco Pontiac, Inc., which began as a dealership in East Point, Georgia, and then relocated to Decatur, Georgia in 1981. During the 1980s, Baranco became one of the lead developers for Sandstone Shores, a 66-home residential development in a predominantly African American community in Decatur, Georgia. Baranco turned his focus to luxury cars, acquiring an Acura dealership in Tallahassee, Florida in 1988 that he later moved to Atlanta, Georgia; and then opened the Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead dealership in Atlanta in 2001, in partnership with his wife and former mayor Andrew Young. When First Southern Bank in Atlanta was founded in 1988, Baranco served as the first chairman of its board. In 1997, he worked with Citizens Trust Bank of Atlanta and its chairman Herman Russell to negotiate a merger between the two banks, and stayed on as vice chairman of the newly merged bank until 2003.

Baranco was honored as a Best of the Best Dealer of the Year by Mercedes-Benz USA in 2012, and given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers in 2010. He served as president of the Metropolitan Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association and chairman of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, in addition to his longtime memberships at One Hundred Black Men of Dekalb County, the United Way and the Dekalb County Task Force on Efficiency in Government. He also received an honorary doctorate from Southern University.

Baranco and his wife, Juanita Baranco, have four children: Evelyn, Grene, Janelle, and Gregory, Jr.

Gregory Baranco was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 3, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.049

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/3/2016

Last Name

Baranco

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

McKinley Senior High School

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School

Southern University Laboratory School

Catholic High School

Tulane University

First Name

Gregory

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

BAR15

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris

Favorite Quote

If The Conditions Are Right, Let's Go All In.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/8/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish

Short Description

Auto sales entrepreneur Gregory Baranco (1948 - ) founded Baranco Automotive Group, where he served as the president and CEO.

Employment

Ford Motor Company

Audubon Ford Car Dealership

General Motors Corporation

Baranco Pontiac, Inc.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gregory Baranco's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gregory Baranco lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gregory Baranco talks about his maternal uncle, Maurice A. Edmond

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gregory Baranco remembers car rides with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gregory Baranco describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gregory Baranco talks about the history of race relations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gregory Baranco describes the African American community in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gregory Baranco talks about his parents' values

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gregory Baranco talks about his paternal family's background in business

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gregory Baranco lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gregory Baranco describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gregory Baranco remembers his early sense of responsibility

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gregory Baranco describes his neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gregory Baranco describes his education in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gregory Baranco remembers integrating Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gregory Baranco remembers his high school classmate, H. Rap Brown

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gregory Baranco talks about his influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gregory Baranco describes his early interest in medicine

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Gregory Baranco remembers his decision to pursue a career in business

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gregory Baranco recalls transferring to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gregory Baranco remembers the death of his mother

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gregory Baranco recalls the student demonstrations at Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gregory Baranco remembers his courtship with his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gregory Baranco describes his first car

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gregory Baranco recalls his internship at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gregory Baranco describes the start of his career in the automotive industry

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gregory Baranco remembers learning to fly airplanes

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gregory Baranco describes his business relationship with Russell Dunn

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gregory Baranco recalls his decision to start a car dealership

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gregory Baranco describes the General Motors Corporation's minority dealer program

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gregory Baranco remembers acquiring his first car dealership

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gregory Baranco recalls opening Baranco Pontiac, Inc. in East Point, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gregory Baranco talks about his wife's involvement in the automotive industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gregory Baranco remembers acquiring a private airplane

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gregory Baranco describes the challenges he faced as an automobile dealer, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gregory Baranco describes his business relationship with Bob Spivey

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gregory Baranco talks about his mentorship of aspiring minority automotive dealers

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gregory Baranco describes the challenges he faced as an automobile dealer, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Gregory Baranco talks about his strategy as an automotive dealership owner

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Gregory Baranco talks about the failure of the Saturn automotive brand

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Gregory Baranco talks about the conditions for a successful car dealership

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gregory Baranco describes the design of Baranco Pontiac, Inc. in Decatur, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gregory Baranco talks about the success of Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gregory Baranco talks about the Mercedes-Benz dealerships in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gregory Baranco describes his residential developments in DeKalb County, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gregory Baranco shares his advice to aspiring African American entrepreneurs

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gregory Baranco describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gregory Baranco talks about the success of Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gregory Baranco talks about his children

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gregory Baranco talks about the future of automotive technology

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Gregory Baranco reflects upon his life and legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Gregory Baranco remembers his early sense of responsibility
Gregory Baranco describes the challenges he faced as an automobile dealer, pt. 1
Transcript
I mean I had a wonderful childhood, we--there were a lot of things that I learned early because of the family. My, my family ran an organization called the Good Samaritans [Baton Rouge, Louisiana] where they went to the schools. Schools gave you know gave them the name of families that needed assistance, so around Thanksgiving they would, they would start in September to collect clothes, food and everything for these families that they had identified, then you go and deliver them. Well I was young and all this was prepared upstairs in my dad's [Beverly V. Baranco, Jr.] office, so I went in there, there were tables laid out with clothes and with toys and different ages and numbers. And I, when I got up there this boy this is absolutely wonderful, I you know really could use that toy and that outfit and this that and the other. And so you know they ran me out of there so finally my dad said I want you to go on a delivery. And I never will forget the first delivery they pulled up to the house and they hollered, "Good Samaritans," and the kids would come running out. And so they gave me a bag and said, "You take this bag over there," so I carried the bag; the kids were happy to get the bags. I had a bag of food to take it in the house, well when I went inside the mother was on the couch, and she had obviously had diabetes or something and was missing a leg, and she told me with tears you know how much she appreciated bringing it in there. And I--from that point on, I never worried about the, the clothes and the toys as much, 'cause they didn't, didn't mean the same to me that they did to those kids. And the other lesson I learned was from my brother, I was--brother Beverly [Beverly V. Baranco, IV]--I had, was cutting up over some toy I'd gotten, it was a train. I was pretty excited about it, I put together and I ig- I'd ignored my brother quite a bit. So he came in and smashed that train to pieces (laughter) so I said well okay, I got it you know. So for me I, I never had a, a big connection, I've always felt that whatever it was I needed I could earn and get. And there's a responsibility that comes with that--there're folks that need it more than you do.$Well 1984, I--I take it you were making good money--$$Yeah. Yeah.$$--to afford a plane, to be able to--?$$Yeah, yeah. Well I, I was very, very fortunate. I had a, a gentleman--when I started I knew a lot about finance and how to get things financed. And when I started the East Point [Smith-Johnson Pontiac; Baranco Pontiac, Inc.], I one of the things I noticed was that a customer would--and this happened, and it also happened in Tallahassee [Florida]; most stores. In East Point [Georgia], customers would come in and they would apply to buy a car and I couldn't get them financed. And then they'd go and they'd end up buying a car somewhere else and it would get financed. So it occurred to me that I was being redlined; in other words if you bought a car--if you had great credit you could buy a car from me.$$But?$$But if you had marginal credit you could buy a car from somewhere else but you couldn't buy one from me, 'cause I couldn't get you financed. And my primary source--'cause I didn't know anybody up here--was General Motors [General Motors Corporation; General Motors Company]. So I complained to General Motors and complained and they said, "Oh no that's not true that would not happen, we would not do it." So, a customer comes in so I said well okay, I'm not gonna call this customer in. I talked to the dealer, my adjacent dealer down at Southlake by the name of Wayne Hughes. White dealer, good guy, I said, "Wayne," told him what was happening to me, I said, "Wayne, I need you to call this deal in. I'm gonna bring the application to you and I'll--as soon as you call it in you, you let me know." So Wayne called the deal in and then after he called it in, I called it in. Well Wayne got approved; I got rejected from the same GMAC office [General Motors Acceptance Corporation; Ally Financial Inc.]. So I took that information, go to Detroit [Michigan] and sat down there and told them what had happened. And so they said, well you know it can't be, I said yeah it is, so they said, "What do you want?" "I want to be transferred out to Decatur [Georgia]," was--because they had two branches. And in Decatur was a fella by the name of Bob Spivey [ph.] and, and when I had complained to the manager about them doing this, he said no. So they invited me out to lunch, he had too much to drink--we were down at The Commerce Club [Atlanta, Georgia], (air quotes) the big club in town. He had it, he was the, the lead guy he had the branch manager in Decatur and his assistant branch manager from Atlanta [Georgia]. So after too many drinks he'd begin to explain to me that--he used the N word, there's no way that I could manage a dealership; it was too complicated. And that I was just making excuses about not, you know about whether or not my deals were bought. So we left that meeting and Mr. Spivey called me on the phone and said, "Look that's not the way I am, that's not how we operate." Said, "I apologize that that happened, it was too much liquor," he said, "yeah I'd love to help you but I can't, because you're in that branch." I said, "Well suppose I get transferred to your branch," he said, "Well I'll help you." He said, "They told me my job was to help make the dealer successful." I said okay, so I came back, that's when I called the dealer Wayne, called the dealer myself, got it rejected; went to Detroit. I said, "This is what I want: I wanna be transferred to Decatur, just any--," well I didn't say Decatur, I said I wanna be transferred. There were only two branches in metro Atlanta, so that meant Decatur was the only choice. I got transferred.

Dr. Lovell A. Jones

Molecular endocrinologist Lovell A. Jones was born January 12, 1949 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He attended the University of California, Berkeley where he received his Ph.D. degree in the field of zoology, with an emphasis on endocrinology and tumor biology. Upon completing his Ph.D., Jones worked as a post-doctoral fellow/instructor in the department of physiology and obstetrics, gynecology & reproductive sciences at the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco.

In 1980, Jones joined the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as an assistant professor in the department of gynecology and biochemistry, where he has served for over thirty years. As the first African American to be hired in the basic/behavioral sciences, he rose through the ranks to a tenured full professor. During his tenure, he focused on the role of steroid hormones in reproductive cancers and health disparities that exist in minority and medically underserved populations. Jones served as founder of the Biennial Symposium Series: Minorities, the Medically Underserved & Cancer and co-founder of the Intercultural Cancer Council. He has served as director and co-principal investigator of the National Black Leadership Initiative, the first major minority outreach project sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. In 2000, Jones was named the first director of M.D. Anderson’s Congressionally Mandated Center for Research on Minority Health (CRMH). In 2011, he assumed the positions of research professor of social work at the University of Houston and director of the joint Dorothy I. Height Center for Health Equity & Evaluation Research (DH CHEER).

Jones chaired the training session of the strategic fact-finding meetings on Minority Health and Training in Biomedical Sciences for the Office of the Associate Director for Research on Minority Health (now the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Jones also served as a member of the Clinical Research Panel of the National Task Force on the National Institute of Health (NIH) Strategic Plan. In addition, he served on the Breast Cancer Integration Panel for the Department of Defense, and has published over 150 scientific articles on subjects ranging from hormonal carcinogenesis to health policy. By 2012, Jones had received more than $40 million dollars in research and educational funding.

In 2002, Jones received the Humanitarian Award from the American Cancer Society and was honored on the floor by the U.S. House of Representatives for his work. Jones was awarded the NIH/NICMHD Director’s Award for Health Disparities Excellence in Research, Policy & Practice. He received the 2012 Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award from the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, as well as the NAACP Unsung Hero Award. In September 2013, upon his retirement from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Jones became the first African American to be honored by the University of Texas System with Professor Emeritus status at Anderson. He then became the first African American in the University of Texas System to be awarded a second title of Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2014.

In retirement Jones is continuing his efforts to address the issue of health disparities and mentor the next generation.

Lovell A. Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 08/14/2012.

Accession Number

A2012.198

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2012

Last Name

Jones

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Allan

Schools

Perkins Road Elementary School

McKinley Elementary School

Southern University Laboratory School

Robert E. Lee High School

Louisiana State University

California State University, East Bay

University of California, Berkeley

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on schedule

First Name

Lovell

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

JON31

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Open

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Emergency #: 713-628-6005

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Big Island, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

If you don't care who gets the credit, you accomplish a lot.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

1/12/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese Food

Short Description

Molecular endocrinologist and biology professor Dr. Lovell A. Jones (1949 - ) is founder of the 'Biennial Symposium Series: Minorities, the Medically Underserved & Cancer' and co-founder of the Intercultural Cancer Council.

Employment

University of California, San Francisco

University of Texas

Delete

Intercultural Cancer Council

University of Texas, Austin

Center for Health Equity & Evaluation Research

University of Houston

University of California

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lovell Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lovell Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lovell Jones describes his mother's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lovell Jones describes his mother's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lovell Jones talks about his grandfather, Eddie Lockhart

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lovell Jones talks about his great grandmother and her family ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lovell Jones talks about his great grandmother's curse on her slave owner

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lovell Jones talks about his mother's growing up and the unique racial politics of Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lovell Jones talks about how he is related to Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lovell Jones talks about his mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lovell Jones describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lovell Jones talks about the lasting impact of war on his father and his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lovell Jones talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lovell Jones talks about his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lovell Jones describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lovell Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lovell Jones talks about his experience in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lovell Jones talks about the challenges of being an advanced student in school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lovell Jones talks about his experience in junior high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lovell Jones talks about his participation in the integration of Baton Rouge schools

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lovell Jones talks about his experience with racism in school - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lovell Jones talks about his experience with racism in school - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lovell Jones reflects upon his experiences in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lovell Jones describes how he came to attend Louisiana State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lovell Jones talks about his experience at Louisiana State University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lovell Jones talks about his transition from Louisiana State University to California State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lovell Jones talks about his grandmother and mother's influence on him

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lovell Jones talks about his impetus to study science

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lovell Jones talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lovell Jones talks about his decision to attend the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lovell Jones talks about his experience at the University of California, Berkeley and his mentor, Howard Burn

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lovell Jones talks about how he came to his dissertation research topic on the influence of natural estrogens on carcinogenesis

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lovell Jones talks about the impact of his dissertation research on the influence of natural estrogens on carcinogenesis

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lovell Jones talks about his post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lovell Jones talks about his reaction to his mother's diagnosis with cancer

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lovell Jones talks about his career and his parents' experiences with cancer

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lovell Jones talks about his decision to work at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lovell Jones talks about his efforts to increase awareness about the high incidence of cancer in black people

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lovell Jones talks about his education, policy, and research initiatives

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lovell Jones talks about his initiatives for addressing health disparities

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lovell Jones talks about cancer and race

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lovell Jones talks about race and the difference in how cancer effects certain populations and communities

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lovell Jones talks about slavery's legacy on racial politics in the U.S and society's declining value for people

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lovell Jones talks about the problems with the U.S. healthcare system

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lovell Jones shares his views on the U.S. healthcare system

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lovell Jones reflects on his career and talks about how people of color are valued in society

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lovell Jones talks about his wife's encounter with discrimination

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lovell Jones reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lovell Jones talks about his students and mentee's

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lovell Jones reflects on his life choices

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lovell Jones talks about his children

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lovell Jones talks about his wife and their marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Lovell Jones talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Lovell Jones talks about the problems with the U.S. healthcare system
Lovell Jones talks about his wife's encounter with discrimination
Transcript
This idea of not caring about one's fellow man in terms of health coverage. The whole idea that we're already paying for it in other ways that's costing us more than doing it the right way, is just mind boggling for me.$$What would you see as the ideal health care system for the United States?$$I, I would say it would have to be one that--the European system is not going to work here. I mean we're too far down that road. I, I think the, the way that health reform was put--the bill that was, that came out was, was not the best bill that could have come out. And it came out primarily because of Civics 101, and that--what I mean by that is we lost it because of one election in Massachusetts. We had to deal with the House version. We could never take it back to the Senate because we're now down one vote as opposed to the 60 votes. And so we're left with this thing that should have been massaged, as most legislations are, legislative bills. House comes in, goes to the Senate, Senate does its thing. Then it goes to a consensus committee. They pound on it, they make it something that's presentable to some extent, and then it goes back to both houses to be voted on. This thing never happened that way. It was--I mean in that bill is the, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shell, 1,051 times, okay. You're giving the power to one person to make decisions with some said this, some said that, maybe you know it's up to you to make that decision. The whole issue with regards to the implementation of Medicaid expansion. The whole idea of exchanges. Well that process works well in Massachusetts. It would probably work well in Michigan, maybe California. But it is not going to work well in the southwest. The reason Texas has 25 percent uninsured. If we implement it in its best form, we're only going to get down to nine, ten, 11 percent. That's a lot of people. And then when you take away the safety nets that were in place, disaster is going to happen, okay. New Mexico, Arizona, southern California, same boat to a large extent. And it's not--people say it's those undocumented, it's not. Yes they're part of it. But these are American citizens that are too poor to be able to afford the exchange, but too rich to be covered in it in terms of being covered 100 percent. They're the out lies. Now in a state that has maybe two to three percent, it can be absorbed by other venues. A state that has six to nine percent, 11 percent, there are no other venues to absorb that. And so you still have this massive pressure on the health care system.$And sometimes we're our, we're our own worst enemies. I remember when my wife, who's a high risk patient, four of her aunts, her mother, all have had breast cancer. Only one is still alive. So either there's a genetic trait or some issue related to risk. And so she came here, and I would come with her most of the time, and so a few years ago she came by herself and she got sent down to Credit Counseling. And so she called me from Credit Counseling and said dear you didn't pay the insurance. I said what do you mean I didn't pay? I'm a full professor on faculty, you know it's automatically paid. What do you mean I--and you know, and she was telling me somebody came and saw her and said Mrs. Jones, and she said yes. And she said Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones married to Dr. Lovell Jones? Yes. The Dr. Lovell Jones that works here? Yes. We made a mistake. You know we're going to take you--dear they're taking me someplace, I don't know where they're taking me. Phone hangs up. I rush over to the clinic where she is. I said where's my wife? She's not here. What do you mean she's not here? So as I'm standing at the desk, I get a phone call from my wife. Says dear I'm on my way to the Galleria, I'm going to do something. I said what do you mean? She said got back, they saw me, everything's fine so I'm going to celebrate. So I turned and I said why did you guys send my wife down to Credit Counseling? Well you know Dr. Jones there was a $25 co-pay. Yeah. It hadn't been paid. Yeah. I said my wife could have written a check. I mean if I know my wife, she was dressed to the nines. She wears my wallet. So well you know Dr. Jones a large percentage of Hispanics aren't insured. I said what's that got to do with my wife? She's not Hispanic. Well you know--I said African--I said wait a minute. What does any of that have to do with my wife? Well you know first hired, last hired, first fired. I said no, what does that have to do with my wife? Our mission here is to take care of people. So what does that have to do with--all of a sudden people start gravitating and I said you haven't heard the end of this. You have not heard the end of this. And then I started talking to people. I said people in asking did this happen to you, did this happen? And I found out that this had happened to other faculty. So it's an issue of value, but the most interesting thing about this, the person who was asking the questions, the person who denied her care, was African American. And so we assume the value system of others. And so that's--so at some point we have to get past this and that's my greatest hope and one I work towards. And I have in my research group--in fact some people refer to it as the United Nations, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Africans, whites all working together. And in fact at the bi-annual symposium a young student came up to me after one of the evening events and he says Dr. Jones I have to say this to you. This has been the best meeting I've ever been to. The things I've learned. He said but it's not what I've learned scientifically, he said I've learned that people from all walks of life, whether they're racially different, whether they're religious differences, whether they're cultural differences, whether they're political differences, can get together and work towards a common goal. I now know it's possible. And that's what I will take with me.

Elynor Williams

Corporate executive Elynor A. Williams was born on October 27, 1946 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Albert and Naomi Williams. She graduated from Central Academy in Palatka, Florida before receiving her B.A. degree in home economics from Spelman College in 1966. Williams then joined Eugene Butler High School in Jacksonville, Florida as a home economics teacher. In 1968, she became an editor and publicist for General Foods Corporation in White Plains, New York. Williams received her M.A. degree in communication arts from Cornell University in 1973. At Cornell, she worked as a tutor for special education projects.

Following the completion of her education, Williams became a communication specialist for North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service. In 1977, she became a senior public relations specialist for Western Electric Company in Greensboro, North Carolina. Williams served as director of corporate affairs for Sara Lee Corporation’s Hanes Group in Winston-Salem, North Carolina from 1983 to 1986 and director of public affairs for the Sara Lee Corporation in Chicago, Illinois from 1985 to 1990. Then, she was promoted to vice president of public responsibility for the Sara Lee Corporation, becoming the company’s first African American corporate officer. During William’s time at Sara Lee, she directed the Sara Lee Foundation, served as executive secretary of the Employee and Public Responsibility Committee for the board of directors and founded the Frontrunner Awards to honor the achievements of outstanding women. After leaving the Sara Lee Corporation, Williams served as president and managing director of Chestnut Pearson and Associates, an international management consulting firm.

Throughout her long career, Williams has demonstrated a continued commitment to her community, becoming involved with numerous local and national organizations. She is a founding board member of the Executive Leadership Council and Spelman College Corporate Women’s Roundtable. Williams has served on the board of directors of the American Cancer Society Foundation, Children’s Memorial Hospital and the Chicago Sinfonietta. She is also deeply dedicated to the advancement of women, especially minority women and has worked with the National Women’s Economic Alliance, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., the International Women’s Forum and the President’s Council of Cornell University Women. Williams has been recognized many times by national media including being named one of the 50 Top Black Executives in Corporate America by Ebony ; Magazine and one Chicago’s most powerful women by WBBM-TV. She has received the Drum Major for Justice Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was named a National Headliner by Women in Communications. Williams lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Elynor A. Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 19, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.048

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/19/2012

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

Central Academy

Spelman College

Cornell University

W.H. Council Elementary School

First Name

Elynor

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

WIL57

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/27/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab, Shrimp, Lobster

Short Description

Corporate executive Elynor Williams (1946 - ) became Sara Lee Corporation’s first African American corporate officer serving as vice president for public responsibility.

Employment

Eugene Butler High School

General Foods Corporation

Western Electric (AT&T)

North Carolina Agricultural Extension

Hanes Group

Sara Lee Corporation

Chestnut Pearson & Associates

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:657,21:1095,27:3650,67:11828,217:19145,396:38380,720:42300,801:52368,973:53241,1010:60350,1092:69198,1259:72832,1530:84520,1623:101498,1784:108390,1977:126128,2261:132122,2441:132527,2447:133013,2461:136415,2523:141500,2532:147548,2634:163030,2833:187835,3215:191500,3241:195224,3322:214410,3629:221010,3669:229224,3757:230093,3905:237221,4062:245927,4178:247428,4373:257568,4595:283987,4800:293020,4923$0,0:438,4:2263,45:14030,144:23173,254:31099,333:40875,504:60612,924:64500,1025:69756,1274:85320,1429:94459,1476:94824,1482:102781,1649:107870,1720:119584,1911:120130,1919:138556,2155:138991,2161:162480,2461:164480,2530:166400,2641:167520,2660:174950,2768:176470,2788:177430,2813:182070,2911:194190,3014:194793,3026:195396,3037:198813,3110:200153,3140:202431,3196:203034,3217:217872,3396:220302,3448:222370,3465:222811,3476:227385,3539:231627,3584:231982,3591:232337,3597:260232,3965:278200,4146:287869,4294:297520,4465:302944,4545:324402,4898:336512,5127:343669,5232:344154,5240:349959,5381:353116,5449:360080,5546
DAStories

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

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Elynor Williams lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Elynor Williams describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Elynor Williams describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Elynor Williams describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Elynor Williams recalls how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Elynor Williams talks about her parents' educational backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Elynor Williams describes her parent's personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Elynor Williams describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Elynor Williams remembers her early neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Elynor Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Elynor Williams talks about her early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Elynor Williams recalls her favorite subject at W.H. Council Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Elynor Williams describes her early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Elynor Williams remembers moving to St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Elynor Williams talks about the race relations in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Elynor Williams talks about being bullying as a young child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Elynor Williams remembers attending Central Academy in Palatka, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Elynor Williams remembers enrolling at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Elynor Williams recalls attending Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Elynor Williams talks about her civil rights activism

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Elynor Williams remembers her influential professors at Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Elynor Williams recalls her plans after graduation from Spellman College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Elynor Williams remembers teaching at Eugene J. Butler Junior Senior High School in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Elynor Williams recalls being hired at General Foods Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Elynor Williams remembers the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Elynor Williams talks about being featured in Ebony magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Elynor Williams talks about the benefits of affirmative action

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Elynor Williams recalls receiving a scholarship to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Elynor Williams remembers encountering a racist professor at Cornell University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Elynor Williams talks about her master's thesis

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Elynor Williams describes her experiences at Cornell University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Elynor Williams talks about working at North Carolina Agricultural Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Elynor Williams remembers being hired by Western Electric Company

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Elynor Williams remembers running for the North Carolina House of Representatives

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Elynor Williams talks about the corporate politics at the Western Electric Company

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Elynor Williams recalls being hired at Hanes Group

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Elynor Williams talks about advocating for women's groups at Hanes Group

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Elynor Williams describes her experiences at Hanes Group

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Elynor Williams talks about diversity at Sara Lee Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Elynor Williams recalls accepting a position at Sara Lee Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Elynor Williams remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Elynor Williams talks about her experiences with sexual harassment at Hanes Group

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Elynor Williams remembers co-founding the Executive Leadership Council

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Elynor Williams talks about her women's initiatives at Hanes Group

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Elynor Williams remembers the Frontrunner Awards at Hanes Group

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Elynor Williams talks about retiring from Sara Lee Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Elynor Williams recalls her decision to retire

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Elynor Williams reflects on her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Elynor Williams talks about her acquaintances with black female business executives

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Elynor Williams reflects on her life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Elynor Williams talks about her family, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Elynor Williams talks about her family, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Elynor Williams describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Elynor Williams narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Elynor Williams talks about working at North Carolina Agricultural Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina
Elynor Williams talks about her women's initiatives at Hanes Group
Transcript
Okay, so you went to North Carolina after you graduated, right, is that true?$$Oh yes. I told General Foods [General Foods Corporation] I was coming back. And then, I got this call from this guy from General Foods, from North Carolina Agriculture Extension Service [North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service], and he said, "I want you to come down here for an interview." He was a graduate from Cornell [Cornell University, Ithaca, New York]. He got his Ph.D. there. And I said okay, because I had never been to Greensboro [North Carolina] before, so I went down there and came back, because I was going to go work for J. Walter Thompson and, who was the other one, Ebony. J. Walter Thompson wouldn't spend the money to take me down, bring me down to New York if I didn't have any way to get there, so I'd even go for the interview for that. Another one I went to, ad agency and they wanted me to write a couple of stories, which I refused to do, and Ebony, they just didn't like me because I didn't have experience, and so that left General Foods, which I didn't really want to go back to, and so when I went to the interview at North Carolina Agriculture Extension Service, when I landed the airport was in the middle of this field and there were cows over there. I thought, oh god, I can't come and live here. So, I went back to Ithaca [New York] and didn't think anything of it, and then this guy called me. I can't remember his name, but he was cool. He called me and he said, "Are you going to take this job or what?" I said, "Excuse me?" He said, "Are you coming down here to work for us or what?" I said, "Oh." He sounded like my dad [Albert Williams], so I said, "Yeah, yeah, I'm coming." (Laughter) He gave me the riot act, so I ended up working there. I started the department of communication arts at the agri school at A and T [North Carolina Agricultural Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina].$$So, was that the, don't mumble that through because this is important.$$Oh, I'm sorry. You know, we were having a conversation. I forgot he was taping. I am so sorry.$$Yeah, now don't mumble that through. This is something, you started the department.$$Yeah, but it was just for the ag school.$$And the idea was that he was coming and you were brought there to start this department thing, is that true?$$It was just me and a secretary. I mean, we did the publicity for Ag Extension and the black school [HBCU] which is the 1890 university schools, you know. They had the separate pieces and, so I didn't really start, I started department--we're talking about two people--I was the first one that they hired to do the job, and I started and I started doing publicity for them and there was a photographer who I hired a lot, and he was cool, and he said to me, "You should join the chamber of commerce [Greensboro Chamber of Commerce]." I said, "Okay." So I did. I got in the eight o'clock club and got really active with them and I had a mentee. This is interesting. I was dating this guy because, see, I went to North Carolina on a mission. I was going to save people's lives. I was going to teach them how to cook and how to clean, how to sew and how to make their lives better. That was my mission, and I was going to have a boyfriend just to be on the side, just so I could, whatever. Anyway, he had a roommate that he said was a Vietnam [Vietnam War] vet. This guy was a runaround. I mean, I knew that. I didn't give a, I didn't care. I mean, he was a womanizer. I didn't care. The guy, his roommate, had me go with him for lunch and he said, "Did you know that this--," and I said, "Yeah, I know that. I don't care." He said, "But you're so much better than that." I said, "I know that." I said, "He's not important to me." We got to be best of friends. We're still friends. He was right, he was not a Vietnam vet. He was a student at UNCG, University of North Carolina at Greensboro [Greensboro, North Carolina]. The guy didn't want me to know he was rooming with a guy that was that young and, anyway, I got him to take a job. I said you're too smart to stay here. We got to be friends, too, because he, anytime I sent him an article or something, I used to call him up, I said, "Maurice, you know you ought to print this for me." I said, "We got a lot of stuff in the paper because of that." And, so I got him out of there and I got him to move to New York, and he just is retiring now as vice president of PepsiCo. One of my success stories. I had a lot of those.$$This is Maurice-$$Maurice Cox.$$Okay.$$From PepsiCo. Yeah. And he, to this day, he said, "If it hadn't been for you." 'Cause I used to rag at him all the time. I said, "What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do with your life? You gonna work at this paper forever?" Anyway, that was my first real mentee. I had some other people, but I was, I stuck with him.$Was there any incident that precipitated the crisis, that made you want to leave?$$I'm sure there was, but I can't remember exactly what it was because I just really had had it, because I wasn't being respected by the people, my boss at the time. I was getting slammed down for my ideas, and this was after. I came to, and I'm all around the map but let me go back one moment. When I came here I had done a program at the Hanes Group [Hanesbrands Inc.] called the Women of Hanes [ph.] and it ended up being a brochure and they wanted me in it and I said, "No, this is for them." And Paul [Paul Fulton] said, "No, you should be in it." So I said, "I'll take a picture on the cover." So, I took a picture on the cover and it had little vignettes of the women in Hanes of different levels, so when I got here, I said, "Well that's something else to start with." Because first of all they wanted me to be director of urban affairs and I said, "Unh-uh. This isn't what I do." You know. "I'm not here to be an urban affairs person. I'm here to be director of public affairs." So, I told him what title I would take and they wanted to make me senior manager because the director in the regional office was equivalent to senior manager in corporate, and I said, "No, I'm a director. That's what I've been. That's what I've known, that's what I've known in this company." So, I fought them on that and I won. So, I got to be director of public affairs and I'm making this sound easy. It wasn't. It was like painful and it was hard. I was selling pencils on the street in a cup (laughter). I was going through the whole nine yards, but I had people at my back, Bob Brown [Robert J. Brown], Paul Fulton, who never spoke to me once we moved up here, because he knew he had to put some distance between us and he was the president and I was where I was, but I helped to save the company. So, I brought the idea of women being their sole customer to the corporate office, and then I decided I wasn't just going to do this booklet, I was going to do a program. This is one of my proudest achievements in my life. And, I taught the vice presidents of human resources, because I was reporting at that time to the vice chairman; no, the vice president of corporate affairs, that's who I was reporting to. He was reporting to the vice chairman, and I said, "I'm going to go and sell this idea." He didn't care what I did, because he didn't really want me up there in the first place, up here in the first place. So, I learned that at Western Electric [Western Electric Company], you get people to buy in. When I ran for office, you get people to buy in. That's the key thing for success. You get them to buy in, and once they bought in you got 'em. So, I made these presentations that I wanted to do this program, a booklet on the women in Sara Lee [Sara Lee Corporation], but I wanted them to nominate these women, and then I wanted them from the plant level all the way up to the vice presidents of each company, to select the woman that's going to represent them, and then those names would come to corporate and I had a team of people that would review them and pick the ones the ten that we would, would choose. And I had the categories of management, secretarial, we had, in the end, Bill Clinton [William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] sent a letter when he was governor of Arkansas to this woman who had won it from Arkansas. It was an amazing program, because it still brings tears to my eyes at every level. We gave women an opportunity to be recognized and we ended up with a truck driver, she was one of the winners, an executive secretary from one of the divisions, one of the women, one woman who had done, gotten another degree through the corporate education program and she was now manager and she had started out as a secretary. Of course, we had to have some diversity in there. I mean, I told my committee what I wanted from them. We had women in so many small cities getting keys to the city. There was one women who wrote me a letter. You have changed my life. She didn't think anybody noticed. The truck driver, she's like eighteen pounds soaking wet--118 pounds soaking wet, a little bitty thing, driving an 18-wheeler. She had no dresses. The company, her friends got money together to buy her some clothes to come to Chicago [Illinois]. The division president heard about that. They bought her luggage. They bought, it was just amazing. Even women who didn't win. So, I said okay. This is good. So, what I want to do is, we aren't gonna just do this booklet. We're gonna have them present it at the annual meeting, and then I got a video tape done of all their stories. Then we did the booklet, and then we, we had them meet the board of directors. Every time I kept pushing, pushing, pushing because we only, there was a pot of money in the annual meeting budget for public responsibility, but they were always sharing something that they were doing at the foundation. I said, "No, this is more important. Give me that money." So, they gave it to me and we took them out to dinner, we got them in box seats. Some of them hadn't even travelled out of their city. I mean, it was just, I just loved it for what it did for the people's self-esteem, even, you know, even if they didn't get to come to Chicago. I was very proud of that program, and I did it with no money at all. I had just enough money to do a brochure and I kept finding little pockets of money that I could squirrel together.

Dolores R. Spikes

Esteemed college professor and mathematician Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes was born on August 24, 1936 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Margaret and Lawrence Richard. She received her elementary and high school education by attending Baton Rouge’s parochial and public school systems. Throughout her youth, Spikes’ parents strongly advocated the value of a college education and upon her enrollment at Southern University in 1954, her father volunteered for overtime hours at his job to help pay for her expenses. She went on to earn her B.S. degree in mathematics in 1957 from Southern University where she was initiated as a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and met her future husband, Hermon Spikes.

After graduating, Spikes moved to Urbana, Illinois and pursued her M.S. degree in mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While pursuing her master’s degree, Spikes gained a passion for teaching and decided that she would give back to her community by teaching at a historically black college. In 1958, she returned to Louisiana and accepted a teaching position at Mossville High School in Calcasien Parish. While serving in that capacity, Spikes helped to improve the school’s ratings by introducing independent study programs. Then, in 1961, she returned to her alma mater, Southern University, and served as an assistant professor of mathematics.

In 1971, Spikes made history by becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Louisiana State University. She went on to serve as the chancellor for Southern University-Baton Rouge and Southern University-New Orleans in the late 1980s. Spikes was the first female chancellor (and later, president) of a public university in the State of Louisiana. She was then appointed as a board member of Harvard University’s Institute of Educational Management in 1987, and in 1988, she made history once again when she was appointed as president of Southern University and the A&M College System, becoming the first woman in the United States to head a university system. Later, in 1996, Spikes became the president of the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore where she served until 2001.

Spikes has received numerous awards and recognitions for her accomplishments in academia, including: the Thurgood Marshall Educational Achievement Award and Ebony Magazine’s “Most Influential Black Women in America.” She has also served on the board of advisors for historically black colleges and universities; the board of directors for Education Commission of the States; and the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities.

Spikes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 27, 2008.

Spikes passed away on June 1, 2015.

Accession Number

A2008.065

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/27/2008

Last Name

Spikes

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Schools

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School

McKinley Senior High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Louisiana State University

First Name

Dolores

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

SPI02

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere With Libraries

Favorite Quote

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

8/24/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

6/1/2015

Short Description

Math professor and university president Dolores R. Spikes (1936 - 2015 ) served as the president of the Southern University System, and was the first woman in the United States to head a university system. She also served as the president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore from 1996 to 2001.

Employment

Southern University at Baton Rouge

Southern University at New Orleans

Southern University System

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

Favorite Color

Sky Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7368,181:24722,385:25182,391:25826,399:28310,446:34804,529:35614,540:37072,625:42985,688:45658,738:52050,795:56691,917:57146,923:74926,1115:82758,1236:88988,1436:109637,1867:110135,1874:110467,1879:115530,1982:116692,1996:138328,2255:142934,2307:157530,2485:174522,2672:183300,2786:191470,2843:199570,3014:205960,3124:206320,3129:206860,3136:215555,3190:223080,3296:230100,3410:230730,3420:232080,3436:245610,3614:246942,3646:254360,3729:255848,3741:259678,3782:265100,3828:265835,3836:271424,3921:271816,3926:272894,3940:273384,3947:280920,4002:298898,4188:299584,4200:310830,4360:313786,4374:314425,4384:317549,4432:320588,4460:320852,4465:322700,4500:323670,4505$0,0:832,16:13190,121:32910,435:33275,441:34443,459:35392,474:35684,480:36268,490:48240,667:61092,853:61428,858:76878,983:77808,1026:87994,1188:91895,1280:92393,1287:92725,1292:93057,1297:93555,1304:93887,1309:100195,1464:100610,1470:106123,1490:121548,1701:122156,1711:129029,1732:129503,1739:130451,1757:137956,1879:138904,1894:139694,1907:148700,2064:158226,2171:169952,2300:191620,2574:210091,2842:210506,2848:215024,2891:215372,2897:216155,2907:223169,2967:244612,3195:245200,3203:257490,3378:260390,3414:262350,3454:270889,3521:276860,3631
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dolores R. Spikes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her family's surname

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her family's work in the construction industry

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her likeness to her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about the culture of South Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her Native American ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her paternal family's practice of voodoo, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her paternal family's practice of voodoo, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about the Creole language

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers the impact of urban renewal in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers her childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls the demolition of St. Francis Xavier High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls the demolition of St. Francis Xavier High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her early social activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her paternal family's musical legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her time at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers Southern University President Felton Grandison Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about Louisiana's historically black colleges

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls Felton Grandison Clark's departure from Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her activities at Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her experiences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her living situation at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her decision to return to graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her experiences at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her the subject of her dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her mathematical influences

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her ambition to become a mathematician

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her transition to higher education administration

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her vice chancellorship of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her chancellorship of Southern University at New Orleans

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spike remembers becoming president of the Southern University System

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her challenges at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her separation agreement with the Southern University System

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls negotiating a consent decree to integrate Louisiana's public universities, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls negotiating a consent decree to integrate Louisiana's public universities, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the engineering and physics programs at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about the funding of graduate programs at historically black universities

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the challenges facing higher education organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls being offered the presidency of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her presidency of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers her decision to retire

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the Head Start program at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes reflects upon her career

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Dolores R. Spikes recalls her experiences at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dolores R. Spike remembers becoming president of the Southern University System
Transcript
First day I walked into one of my classes at LSU [Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], I sat sort of in the middle where I could see the board well and I could hear well. There was nobody--I was the only African American in that room. Nobody sitting in front of me, nobody sitting right behind me, and nobody sitting directly on either side of me. I remember it was quite obvious that they weren't (laughter)--I mean it was so obvious. But it didn't bother me. I had made it known that look, I've got a Ford Foundation fellow [Ford Foundation fellowship] for three years. I'm gonna get a Ph.D. in three years. I don't have time to linger around. I'm, you know, my business is to study math.$$Now, now what year is this, and--$$This is 1968.$$Okay, now how long had there been black students at LSU at this point do you think? What--about maybe three years?$$Oh, there had been--no, there had black students since, oh, earlier than that. I imagine in the late '50s [1950s] 'cause my neighbor across the street who's deceased now was there for her master's [degree] in one of the vocational programs. But he was shot at and everything else.$$Okay, so it wasn't easy.$$No. No, no, no.$$But he, he was--but they were there before--$$Yes.$$--you. 'Cause you know like we hear, we, you know, many have seen this story, you know, pictures of George Wallace in the door, State of Alabama.$$Yeah, yeah. Oh--$$Other people trying to integrate the University of Georgia [Athens, Georgia], you know, [HistoryMaker] Charlayne Hunter-Gault.$$Yeah, yeah.$$Other, other--you know, real big struggles trying to--$$Um-hm.$$So there was a struggle here at LSU?$$Absolutely a struggle at LSU.$$Here in Baton Rouge [Louisiana], same city that Southern's [Southern University; Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College] in.$$Same city.$$And people were shot at and--$$Yes, indeed. They were shot at and discouraged and everything else. It took a strong, strong willed person to go through that. But I was the first one to--first African American to get a Ph.D. in mathematics from there. They didn't have anybody to get a degree in that area before. So I was an oddity in that respect I guess. So--but, but there were good people there too. I mean there were enough faculty members who were really nice, good people who weren't racist or anything, who helped me. Who told me, "Don't go to this instructor. You know, stay away from this person." And because you know, they knew that they would not treat me fairly. And, and that was good. And my major professors were, were excellent and they helped me out a lot. But when we had our first test in this class, a teacher'd given us back our papers and as I found out later, he was really one of the good guys. And everybody was trying to lean over to see what I had made on the test. (Laughter) Well it turned out that I had the highest score I believe than anybody in the class. And so the next time I went to class, I had people right--sitting right in front, right on each side and in the back. All of a sudden the stereotype had been broken down by one test score. And so black women can learn mathematics, you know. It's something that just occurred to them. So anyway they--from then on it was a matter of, you know they wanted me to come to functions they had. But the truth was I was limited in interacting with them because I was a homemaker too and I was a mother [to Rhonda Spikes Brown]. And I, and I really didn't have time to socialize. By the time I got through with my, my studies and all, there just wasn't any time left. And even then, I was hardly sleeping at night. Wasn't enough hours in the day. So when I, when it got around to--this was during the period in which I had told you that in '71 [1971] I was winding down on my dissertation and my father [Lawrence Granville Richard] passed away. And that really set me back a semester or so. But come the end of the summer, I had finished the dissertation completely. And all I had to do was to type it. So it was being typed during the fall semester. And I marched across that stage in December of 1971, and was awarded the doctor of philosophy in mathematics. But by that time it didn't mean as much to me anymore. I realized then that maybe I was doing this for my father who had missed out on something that was within his reach had he been given the opportunity. And so it was just another credential for me to go to work.$And, but then I came to a board meeting in Baton Rouge [Louisiana] in 1989, and little did I know that I would walk away from that meeting with an offer of presidency of Southern University [Southern University System]. Seemed like they fired the then-president [Joffre T. Whisenton] like on the spot. Asked him to leave right on the spot. He was a nice fellow, I liked him, he was good. I think what happened was that some of his close associates really undermined his work, which was unfortunate. And he, so he said, "Well Dolores [HistoryMaker Dolores R. Spikes], if anybody's going to take my place, I'd feel better if you took it." And so I, I felt better about entertaining the notion, but I told them I needed to go home and talk to my husband [Hermon Spikes] first. So I did. But as is the case usually with Southern University, there's some politics involved. Fellow named Buddy Roemer was the governor. Seems that Buddy holds the idea that he wanted to have Huel Perkins [HistoryMaker Huel D. Perkins] for president and that I could be chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus [Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana]. I said well, "Joe," that's the chairman of the board was Joe Charra [ph.]. I said, "Joe," when he called with that notion that night, I said, "now I'm, I'm not--I'm happy at New Orleans [Southern University at New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana]. I'm not asking for either one of these positions. But the problems are all here on the Baton Rouge campus, and the only way I'm gonna solve them--." You got money problems, the campus was in financial exigency, the faculty was on the verge of an explosion because the board had allowed at that time salary increases for the system officers. And you just don't do that if you've got financial exigency on any one of your campuses. And the third thing was that there was an inspector general who was finding all sorts of wrongdoing on the campus, with some people even being arrested. And two years from then there was a Southern Association [Southern Association of Colleges and Schools] for accreditation visit coming up within in two years. I said, "Now with all of that going on, I'll take the Baton Rouge campus if you're gonna give me the same salary or more that you're gonna give Huel Perkins." "Well we can't do that Dolores. He's the president." I said, "Yeah, but I'm the work horse that you want and so I'm just telling you that, you know, I don't mind. Get anybody you want for the job. But that's it. So--and it's fine with me, you know, I really--if, if that's the way the governor and you all want," I said, "I'm, I'm fine at New Orleans. We're doing fine there." Getting fat with these people bringing me big cinnamon rolls and po' boys every day (laughter), but, but we're getting along fine. So the next--I kind of figured, you know, that they were gonna go along with the governor. So the next morning they called me, the board called me back for an executive session. So they said, "We want to offer you the presidency of Southern University." I said, "Will you also delay appointment of a chancellor to the Baton Rouge campus because what you really want me to do is to clean up this mess on the Baton Rouge campus. And you can't put somebody in between my doing this and, you know, and getting the job done right." So they said, "You will be chancellor for a couple of years if you want to be as well." So I held both positions.$$Now this is 19--$$This is 1989--$$--eighty-nine [1989] (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) to 1991 in which I held both positions.

Huel D. Perkins

Retired educator Huel Davis Perkins was born on December 27, 1924 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Between 1943 and 1946, Perkins served in the U.S. Navy as a musician first class. He graduated from Southern University with highest honors in 1947.

From 1948 to 1950, Perkins worked as a music instructor at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. Perkins then served as an associate professor of music at Southern University from 1951 through 1960. During this time, Perkins also completed his M.A. degree in music from Northwestern University in 1951 and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1958. From 1968 to 1978, Perkins served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Southern University. In addition, Perkins was appointed as the deputy director of education programming at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. in 1978. Perkins then commenced a long tenure at Louisiana State University where he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs from 1979 through 1990 and as Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and Special Assistant to the Chancellor from 1990 through 1998. In 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed Perkins to the Board of Advisors of the J.W. Fulbright foreign scholarship program. He served in this capacity until 2002. Perkins then founded Huel D. Perkins & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm and speakers bureau. He serves as its president. Perkins has also served as Chairman on the Education Foundation of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and has served as Grand Sire Archon of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. In 2005, Louisiana State University acknowledged Perkins’ years of service by awarding him the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and naming a doctoral fellowship program after him.

Perkins has also been honored by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (Humanist of the Year); the National Conference of Christians and Jews (Brotherhood Award); the LSU Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa (Outstanding educator); the Baton Rouge Human Relations Council (Brotherhood Award); the Istrouma Area Council of Boy Scouts of America (Citizen of the Year); the Louisiana Chapter of NAACP (A. P. Turead Award); the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Award of Merit) and received the Centennial Award given by Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He has served as a member of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Perkins has critiqued and published numerous books and articles on the African American experience in America. He has served on several dozen boards dealing with social and educational issues including the Baton Rouge Symphony, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Corp., and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Perkins is the recipient of many public service awards for his achievements both in the civic and academic communities.

Perkins is married to Thelma O. Smith. 2008 marks the couple’s sixtieth wedding anniversary. They have one child, Huel Alfred Perkins.

Perkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 26, 2008.

Dr. Huel Perkins passed away on April 15, 2013.

Accession Number

A2008.063

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/26/2008

Last Name

Perkins

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Schools

Southern University Laboratory School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Northwestern University

First Name

Huel

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

PER04

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Boule Foundation

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Man Comes To Earth Unarmed Except For His Mind; His Brain Is His Only Weapon.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

12/27/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti, Meatballs

Death Date

4/15/2013

Short Description

Academic administrator and music professor Huel D. Perkins (1924 - 2013 ) was an instructor at Lincoln University and Southern University, where he also served as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. At Louisiana State University, he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. In 2002, Perkins founded Huel D. Perkins & Associates, Inc.

Employment

Southern University and A&M

Louisiana State University

National Endowment for the Humanities

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Huel D. Perkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins talks about the significance of his first name

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Huel D. Perkins describes his father's law career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Huel D. Perkins describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Huel D. Perkins describes how he takes after his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Huel D. Perkins describes his childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins describes his childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins recalls Mount Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins talks about Reverend Gardner Taylor

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins recalls his early musicianship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins recalls the musicians who served at Naval Station Great Lakes

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins recalls his decision to return to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Huel D. Perkins remembers his influential teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins remembers his fiftieth wedding anniversary

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins describes his interdisciplinary teaching style

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins remembers his graduate studies in the humanities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins recalls student demonstrations at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins reflects upon Felton Grandison Clark's legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Huel D. Perkins talks about Valerian Smith's family

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins remembers his students at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins describes his transition to academic administration

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins remembers joining the National Endowment for the Humanities

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins describes his career at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins talks about the National Endowment for the Humanities

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins describes his research on the Harlem Renaissance

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Huel D. Perkins talks about his published works

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Huel D. Perkins reflects upon the importance of the humanities

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Huel D. Perkins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Huel D. Perkins talks about his favorite figures in the humanities

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins remembers influencing his students' interest in opera

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins talks about 'Cyrano de Bergerac' by Edmond Rostand

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins talks about 'The Fountainhead' by Ayn Rand

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins describes his civic activities in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins reflects upon his health

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Huel D. Perkins describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Huel D. Perkins narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Huel D. Perkins remembers joining the National Endowment for the Humanities
Huel D. Perkins describes his career at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge
Transcript
I spoke there [Dallas, Texas] on the importance of the humanities. The fellow was there, who was the chairman of the endowment for, for the humanities. And he came to me right after that and said, "Would you like to come to Washington [D.C.], would you like to come to the National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH]?" I said, "No sir, no sir, I would not like to." I said, "Besides, I've only, I've recently signed a contract to go to LSU [Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana]." He said, "Oh, what's his name, I'll talk with your chancellor down there. I, I think I can get you released from them." I said, "Well, I, I'm not certain I want to do that." He twisted my arm and said, "You come up and you look at our operation. I think you will want to be a part of it." I went to Washington on a kind of a look-see. I decided that's what I wanted to do. They offered me a contract to, to join them in September. I'm supposed to report to LSU. What do I do? Now, I have, I've signed a contract. I have that commit- commitment. I go down--I'll never forget this. I go down to the chancellor, Paul Murrill [Paul W. Murrill], the same fellow who had enticed me to come to LSU. I said, "I agree, I will sign, I will sign my contract." I said, "I'm supposed to report September 1st." I said, "But in the meantime, I have gotten an offer to join the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington." You know what he said? I'll never forget this because he made, he made me feel so relieved about it all. He said, "Take the job in Washington." He said, "It will be both beneficial to you and to LSU. Drop me a note, and request a year's leave of absence, and go to Washington." That's what I did, that's what I did, and I am very happy that I did it, I am very happy that I did it.$Well, I--in Washington [D.C.], I was reading proposals, making speeches, interpreting the endowment [National Endowment for the Humanities] to, to the various publics and whatnot. At the end of that year, I didn't want to come to LSU [Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] (laughter). They sent a dean up to Washington. He came up for another meeting. When he came by to see me, he said, "I'm told--we hear that you, you might want to stay in Washington a little longer than this year." He said, "I'm up here to tell you that we want you back, that we're expecting you back, and we have increased your salary just to make you, make sure you come back." So, I'm in another quandary--look, look, the qua- the quandary I gave to you earlier was when I wanted to go to--come back to Southern [Southern University; Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], and finish my, my senior year, you remember. And I said, my mother [Velma Davis Perkins] and the fraternity [Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity]--. Here I am, another quandary in my life: do I want to negate the contract down there, and stay on in Washington? 'Cause I was, I was really doing nicely in Washington, I really was--traveling all over the country and making speeches. And they liked me at the endowment, and that sort of thing, so I had to come and make some hard decisions there. My decision then was to come back to LSU. I talked with somebody, and they said, Washington is temporary. It changes administration every four years (laughter). You, you put your, your eggs in that basket, you don't know how long you're going to be there, you know, it could change. Well, I had some good counseling, so I came on back to LSU, came back to LSU, and stayed twenty-three years. I did twenty-seven at Southern, and I came back to LSU and did twenty-three, including two retirements. I retired once--they asked me to come back. I retired again, they asked me to come back. Then, this last time, which was in 2005, I think it was, I said I'm not going back this time. It became a joke: you're back (laughter) you're back down here. Every chancellor would ask me to come, come, come back there, mainly because I, I, I did a lot of letter writing, a lot of speech writing. And they would let me represent the university and I could represent it well, and people would see they have a black now at LSU, I mean, you know, who, who represents the university. Each chancellor would ask me, ask me to come back, and I, I'd stay here two or three months and, oh, come on, I'd go back down there.

The Honorable Freddie Pitcher

Former Judge Freddie Pitcher, Jr. was born on April 28, 1945, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He graduated from McKinley High School in 1962 and earned his B.A. degree in political science from Southern University in 1966. He then received his J.D. degree from Southern University in 1973.

After completing his law degree, Pitcher established the law firm of Pitcher, Tyson Avery, and Cunningham. In 1983, he was elected city-wide as the first African American City Court Judge in the history of Baton Rouge. Four years later, in 1987, he ran a successful city-wide election for the 19th Judicial District. He was the first African American elected to this position. In 1992, he ran unopposed for the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals. Pitcher authored close to 200 judicial opinions while serving on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals. He has taught as an adjunct professor of law at both Southern University and Louisiana State University. He became a partner in the international law firm of Phelps Dunbar in 1997. His practice focused on the areas of commercial, casualty and employment litigation, and he was also a member of the firm’s appellate practice group. Since 2003, Pitcher has been a full professor and Chancellor of Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. Pitcher has worked as a special counsel in the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Louisiana and as an assistant district attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish. He also held the position of associate justice ad hoc on the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Pitcher is a member of the Board of Directors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Baton Rouge Recreation Commission Foundation, Woman’s Hospital Founders and Friends Endowment, Our Lady of the Lake College, Young Leaders Academy of Baton Rouge and Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the G. Leon Netterville Award for Outstanding Achievement in Law from Southern University, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from both the Political Science Department and Law Center at Southern University, “Citizen of the Year” by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (Lambda Alpha Chapter) and the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Legal Profession from the Louis A. Martinet Society.

Accession Number

A2008.058

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/24/2008

Last Name

Pitcher

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

McKinley Senior High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Valley Park Elementary School

Perkins Road Elementary School

Southern University Law Center

First Name

Freddie

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

PIT01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Orlando, Florida

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

4/28/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Law professor, state appellate court judge, and lawyer The Honorable Freddie Pitcher (1945 - ) was the first African American City Court Judge in the history of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He served on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals, authoring close to 200 judicial opinions. Pitcher was also chancellor of Southern University Law Center.

Employment

Tyson and Pitcher

Community Advancement Incorporated

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Freddie Pitcher's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher talks about his mother's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls his father's career at the Standard Oil Company

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his likeness to his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his father's alcoholism

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls visiting New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his relation to Ralph Cato

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls the Valley Park community in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his cousin, Alex Pitcher, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his cousin, Alex Pitcher, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his early activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls his teachers at McKinley Senior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his decision to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls matriculating at Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his summer program at Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his social life in college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls the student sit-ins at Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his early interest in civil rights law

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his U.S. Army service

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls being absent without leave from the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls his decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers Southern University Law School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher talks about civil law and common law, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher talks about civil law and common law, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his first law practice

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

5$8

DATitle
The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers Southern University Law School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his first law practice
Transcript
Getting ready to enroll in law school that--for the fall and my wife [Harriet Pitcher] was pregnant, and, and I had to weigh whether or not I needed to work to deal with the pregnancy because we did not have any insurance at the time so I had to really make a call as to start school or work and, and take care of my obligations there, so I decided to go back to Community Advancement [Community Advancement, Inc.], work--said I was going to work for a year, we get through you know having a child and then I would start school the, the following year which and that's exactly what I did. I started school, law school [Southern University Law School; Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] in 1970, and when I started school in 1970, I also started an employment agency, my own employment agency. Well, I along with two other guys, it's called Fields Associates Incorporated [ph.] and this was based upon my experiences having been a job developer that time that I worked at, at Community Advancement and some people you know suggested, oh you could take this and turn it into something commercial and make a lot of money and but anyhow that lasted about just the first semester for me because law school was kicking my butt and I couldn't possibly work and, and be the kind of student I wanted to be so I sold out my, my little interest that I had in the business to the other two guys to concentrate on being a full-time law student, and my wife was teaching at the time so I had to rely on her income and you know she--we had the child and so we were you know rocking and rolling along. And then I was elected president of the student bar my second year in law school, which normally is a (unclear), your third-year person, a senior always get elected and I beat a guy out who was a senior. I became student board president. I graduated number two in my class, passed the bar on the first try.$$Now who was number one in the class, do you remember?$$A guy named S.P. Davis [S.P. Davis, Sr.] and I was--yeah it was kind of competitive between the two of us and my, my last semester in school I kind of ratchet things back and really started more concentrating on, on the bar, (unclear) bar then I was and the courses I was taking so--$$So, so when did you pass the bar?$$In July of, I graduated in '73 [1973] in May of '73 [1973] and I took the July bar and passed the July bar, matter-of-fact I was the only one in my class to pass the bar on the first try.$Now what did you do after graduation [from Southern University Law School; Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], did you try to get a job or with a firm or did you have to--did you join a firm or form one or go in (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) When I graduated I went to work for the attorney general's office [Office of the Attorney General], criminal division and, and I opened a small law practice on the side. I stayed with the--matter-of-fact I, I clerked my senior year at the attorney general's office as a law clerk and I along with Ralph Tyson [Ralph E. Tyson], who is now a federal court judge on the Middle District of Louisiana who--he and I became law partners, and just quickly on the side, Ralph and I met when I took a course down at LSU Law School [Louisiana State University Law School; Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], my--the summer of my--betwe- the summer between my, my junior and senior year, Ralph was the only African American attending LSU Law School at the time and I was--I use to call, he was the resident black, and I was the visiting black, and so and that's when the two of us first met. We subsequently ended up clerking at the attorney general's office, criminal division at the same time, and after we passed the bar we both continued to work there and I opened a small practice and then he eventually joined me at that practice and we eventually formed a, a law partnership.$$Okay now we have here that you all formed Pitcher, Tyson, Avery, and Cunningham, was that--$$Right, it was first Pitcher and Tyson, and then we subsequently had several other persons to, to join us. We had about seven lawyers in that office at, at one point. We started off in a little building on Plank Road [Baton Rouge, Louisiana], matter-of-fact I rented the buil- we rented one side of this building for fifty dollars a month, and my uncle, who's Emmanuel Pitcher was a, number one finish carpenter, he--got him to go in and panel the place and he, he carved two offices in there for us and a reception area and a small library in the back. My father [Freddie Pitcher, Sr.] gave me as a graduation present money to buy the first part of my law library and one very interesting thing that happened when I went to Claitor's Bookstore [Claitor's Law Books and Publishing Division, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] was a law book store to buy some law books. The lady behind the desk said, "Look, let me suggest that you buy this book." And she pulled out this red legal secretary's book and I became a little insulted you know I said, "I'm a lawyer." She said, "I know," said, "but you take this book it's gonna make you more money as a beginning lawyer than all this other stuff that you're buying will make," and it turned out to be true. Because (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Laughter) How so?$$Well because in there--I mean in law school we didn't have a course, which eventually they put in here, as law of- called Law Office Practice. I didn't know how to--nothing about notarizing stuff, I didn't know anything about you know I--transferring a car title, or, or doing real estate transactions whatsoever, and all of that was in that legal secretary's book.

Jeff Greenup

Jeff L. Greenup was born on March 24, 1919, on a farm in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. His family included some staunch civil rights activists, and Greenup was only thirteen when he and his father were arrested for objecting to a powerful Baton Rouge businessman when he refused to pay the agreed upon price for the delivery of produce from the Greenup farm. Greenup grew up in New Orleans where he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After spending four years, one month, twenty days, and nine hours in the army, including twenty-eight months in World War II combat in the China, Burma, and India Theater, Greenup moved to New York City where he attended Long Island University on the GI Bill of Rights and received his B.S. degree in 1948. In 1951, Greenup received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School and was admitted to the New York State Bar.

After graduation, Greenup formed the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup. In 1963, Greenup’s eighty-two-year-old Aunt Charlotte was arrested in Clinton, Louisiana, for protesting the treatment of African Americans, and Greenup served as one of her lawyers. Around the same time, he organized what would be known as the "United Nations Law Firm" of Greenup, Schimmel, Golar & Levister, a firm that included four partners and fourteen associates of diverse ethnic makeup. Greenup worked primarily in the area of litigation, and many of his cases were pro bono. Greenup spent six weeks during the summer of 1964 in St. Augustine, Florida, defending Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers. Over the years, he also represented the NAACP, CORE, and SNCC.

Greenup served as legal counsel to the Harlem Urban Development Corporation during its entire existence and was elected as president of the New York Branch of the NAACP, where he served six consecutive terms. He litigated several famous cases, including his representation of the family of Clifford Glover, a ten-year-old black youth killed by a New York City police officer, successfully winning a significant monetary reward from the City of New York. In 1984, Greenup would serve as one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, an organization determined to advance equality, excellence and support minorities in the legal profession. Throughout the 1980s, Greenup traveled extensively. He was selected to travel to Russia to study the Russian legal system and was sent to South Africa to ensure the legitimacy of the nation’s first democratically-held election. The NAACP awarded Greenup a Valor Award in 1991. He also received the Wiley A. Branton Award from the National Bar Association and the Ming Advocacy Award from the New York City NAACP.

Greenup passed away on March 1, 2013 at the age of 93. He was the father of two daughters, Carolann and Melanie Theresa Greenup.

Jeff Greenup was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 5, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/5/2007 |and| 4/26/2007 |and| 4/28/2007

Last Name

Greenup

Maker Category
Schools

Cornucopia School

Albert Wicker Junior High School

McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School

Long Island University

Brooklyn Law School

First Name

Jeff

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

GRE09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda, Northern California

Favorite Quote

Treat Everybody Else The Way You Want To Be Treated And Don't Worry About It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/24/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens

Death Date

3/1/2013

Short Description

Association branch chief executive and civil rights lawyer Jeff Greenup (1919 - 2013 ) was a former president of the New York NAACP, one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and co-founded the law firm, Greenup, Schimmel, Golar & Levister.

Employment

NAACP New York Branch

Mack, McFadden, and Greenup

Greenup, Schimmel, Golar and Levister

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:952,9:21320,400:27590,641:65976,931:96640,1275:104416,1361:111332,1404:121024,1504:126456,1576:129800,1862:189470,2322:196310,2377:200072,2424:212608,2534:216790,2567:238622,2777:246320,2847:271500,3054:273040,3116:282691,3240:293091,3371:315120,3576$0,0:606,4:21340,448:27010,575:54020,868:115855,1247:119413,1282:119761,1290:123304,1330:149431,1580:158428,1629:158798,1635:171965,1834:172390,1841:175280,1890:178425,1973:190028,2101:190396,2144:210425,2343:215000,2424
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeff Greenup's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about his paternal uncle, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about his paternal uncle, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls being arrested as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers his release from jail

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup remembers Eddie Robinson

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls first grade at Cornucopia School in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jeff Greenup recalls childhood holiday celebrations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his parents' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers segregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup talks about his surname

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls meeting a distant paternal relative

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup talks about his NAACP membership

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his U.S. Army service

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup talks about racial discrimination in the segregated U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about his siblings' higher education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls learning of his aunt's arrest for voter registration

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup remembers representing his aunt at trial

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls his cousin's role in a bus boycott in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup remembers riding in an all-white train car

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his move to New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers his early years in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about joining the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup remembers a civil rights case in Westchester County, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls meeting A.P. Tureaud, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup describes his attempt to waive his bar examination in Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup describes his attempt to waive his bar examination in Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his decision to attend Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers President Harry S. Truman's election

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup recalls living at the Harlem YMCA in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup describes the riot at Camp Stewart in Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls his overseas deployment during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup remembers an attack on the white civil rights lawyers in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls arguing a civil rights case in Quincy, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup recalls arguing a civil rights case in Quincy, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeff Greenup's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his paternal aunt, Charlotte B. Greenup

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup reads a letter from the Congress of Racial Equality in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup reads the district attorney's response to the Congress of Racial Equality in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls learning of his aunt's trial in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes a police brutality case in Nassau County, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers establishing the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup recalls his civil rights work in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup recalls conflicts with law enforcement during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers watching an interview with Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup remembers working for Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls the decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes his work at the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers Thomas Shea's trial for the murder of Clifford Glover

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls mentoring a former client, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup recalls mentoring a former client, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup talks about moving to Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls a trial in White Plains, New York

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup remembers the law firm of Greenup, Schimmel, Golar and Levister

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls the search for witnesses in a robbery case

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers the dismissal of a robbery case

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup talks about his political affiliations

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls his decision not to serve as a judge

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his legal work for New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers Gloria Toot and Evelyn Cunningham

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers his work for the Harlem Urban Development Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about the Harlem Urban Development Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about the gentrification of New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls the development of Lenox Terrace in New York City

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls the attempted evictions at Lenox Terrace

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his career trajectory in the NAACP

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers his election as president of the NAACP New York Branch

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup recalls suing the City College of New York, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls suing the City College of New York, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about the Metropolitan Black Bar Association

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes the community of black lawyers in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers travelling to the Soviet Union

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup remembers his visit to the Soviet Union

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his first trip to South Africa

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his experiences in South Africa

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers receiving the William Robert Ming Advocacy Award

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about receiving the NAACP Men of Valor award

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup describes the Wiley A. Branton Award

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes his hopes for the next generation of lawyers

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 4

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 5

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$7

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Jeff Greenup remembers his release from jail
Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2
Transcript
In those days there was a black newspaper called the Pittsburgh Courier [New Pittsburgh Courier]. And I--it used to come out once a week. I used to save my pennies, and I liked to read the Pittsburgh Courier. I read it religiously so I read a lot about the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in the Pittsburgh Courier.$$And how old were you, thirteen?$$Yeah, I was thirteen then. And so on our way to jail, my dad--we were talking about what we're gonna do. So I told my dad, I said, "There's an organization I been reading about called the NAACP. Maybe you could contact them." So as we were going in jail, there was a young black man coming out of jail. And so my dad stopped him and said, "Well son, do you know Reverend G.T. Carter?" So the young man said, "Well, I've heard of him." So my dad said, "Well that's my pastor. It's very important I get a message to him. Will you get a message to him?" So by that time the police said, "Come on, move along." So my dad said, "It's very important that you contact Reverend G.T. Carter." Said, "Mister--well actually what, what I'm gonna tell him?" "Tell him Deacon Greenup [Wallace Greenup] and his son are in jail; I need to see him." Lucky for me and my dad, that young man found Reverend G.T. Carter who was our pastor. Told him we were--gave him my daddy's message and he came to see us. So we were talking to the (unclear). Pastor Carter, he and my daddy were, daddy were discussing and agonizing over what they could do to get us out, you know. Left the wagon on the street and all that stuff. So my dad says, "Well my son was telling me about an organization called the NAA something, and I--he been reading about it and he think they may be able to help us." So Reverend Carter said, "Yes, NAACP." So my dad said, "You know anything about it?" He said, "Yeah, sure. I know Walter White when they, they meet at my church sometimes." So my dad said, "Well, where are they?" He said, "Well, they have a headquarters up in New York [New York]." So my dad sort of crestfallen, he said, "Boy, New York. I don't know anybody in New York gonna help us way down here." So Reverend Carter says, "Well I, I know Walter," Walter White was the national executive secretary, "and I'll call him." So as a result of that incident, the meeting the young man coming out of jail as we were going in, and he took my dad's message to Reverend Carter. Reverend Carter did call New York and he got Walter White and told him about our situation. And Walter White I'm told, called a lawyer named Thurgood [Thurgood Marshall], and Thurgood had lawyers around the country who would cover certain areas for him and the lawyer in Louisiana name was A.P. Tureaud. So as a result of that, they arranged for A.P. Tureaud to come get my dad and me out of jail, and he got us out of jail and he represented us. Incidentally, he was down in New Orleans [Louisiana], which is about eighty-five miles south of Baton Rouge [Louisiana]. And so we spent the night in jail. And I don't recall who took care of my dad's wagon and horses, but I do remember he told Reverend Carter he had left the horse, wagon and not long later Reverend Carter saw to it that somebody went and got the, the team. But as a result of that incident, A.P. Tureaud came and got us out of jail. That's the first and only lawyer I'd ever met, and it was as a result of that meeting and my experience with A.P. Tureaud that caused me to want to be a lawyer, and so I, I made up my mind that's what I was gonna be.$You said you and Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] crawled into the tent.$$No, we walked to the tent and, and, and in the broad daylight just before sundown so anybody who was watching would see that he was going in the tent 'cause the plan was to let whoever it was think he was in the tent when midnight came. So we walked to the tent, and he waved to folk who were out front and inclu- including Hosea Williams and other lawyers, said good night and he and I tucked in. But we only tucked, tucked in for a second, for a second. Went in and, and we didn't walk out, we crawled out of the tent all the way back to the office, and then they took him out the back of the office and took him to another location. And I stayed in the office along with a doctor, Dr. Hayling [Robert Hayling] was the dentist's name and the other members of my staff, the other four lawyers. And I think--let's see, Hosea Williams, he didn't stay; he went with Dr. King. He's one that took Dr. King wherever he took him. I don't even know where he stayed that night. And so at one, 'bout one minute after twelve [o'clock], somebody threw a stick of dynamite in the tent and blew it up. And we knew--we really became concerned then as to how that young kid knew that, and he had to hear it from somebody. And whoever he heard it from, had to be an adult and had to be--we concluded on the plan of what happened. And unfortunately the reporter said dynamite, dynamite in other tents--police, nothing happened. And I also wondered who that young kid was, where he was and I made that statement once before. I didn't know I was being covered and The New York Times picked it up and wrote it in a column. They asked me who my unsung heroes were. And I said that kid was one of them. And but I never found out who he was.$$Well you have a picture of him, though.$$That kid?$$Yes. No$$No, that picture is Dr. Hayling who's the dentist.$$The dentist's office, okay.$$Whose office we were--he allowed us to use that as our headquarters. And he had some awful type experiences also.$$So that kid saved your life as well that night.$$Oh yeah, my life and Dr. King's. We, we wondered how he knew we was gonna be sleeping in the tent. Which meant somebody had been talking out of school. I don't know how it happened, but I know the policy was that he would not sleep in the same place two nights in a row while he was there.

Sonjia W. Young

Founder of Eventions, Inc., one of the first minority and female owned full-service communications companies, Sonjia Waller Young was born Sonjia Amar on October 6, 1941, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her parents, Bernadette Louise Honore Amar and Apollonare Germain Amar, were both of Creole heritage. Young attended St. Francis Xavier School and McKinley High School. When her parents passed away, she moved in with her sister at Southern University. She graduated from Southern High School in 1959 and went on to earn her B.A., B.S. and Masters degrees in educational counseling from Southern University.

When she was seventeen years old, Young was asked to join the Ebony Fashion Fair as a model when it came to Baton Rouge. After touring with the Ebony Fashion Fair, Young married the late Walton Waller, a United States Air Force pilot, and lived for a while in Germany. In 1970, she married Dr. Walter Young and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she worked as a teacher and counselor at Atlanta Junior College, Clark Atlanta University, and Georgia State University. During these years, Young also worked as an interior designer. In 1982, she founded Eventions, Inc., which has become one of the top event planning/communications companies in the Southeast. Eventions’ clients include: The Coca Cola Company, Georgia Pacific Corporation, AME Conferences, Coors Brewing Company, DeKalb International Training Center and the Pan African Conference. Young has also worked with Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Andrew Young, Muhammad Ali, and others. Eventions renovated the Wachovia Bank Building in East Point, Georgia, as the company’s headquarters.

Young is the recipient of numerous awards. Among these are: “One Hundred Top Business Owners in Georgia,” Women Looking Ahead Magazine’s “Blue Print Award,” the Atlanta Business League’s “Diamond Award,” the Atlanta Tribune’s “Salute to Black Business Owners Award,” ITC’s “James Costen Award,” and the Atlanta Media Women’s “Public Relations Award.” Frequently appearing as an inspirational speaker in the Atlanta area schools, Young, who has four grown children, is an avid supporter of educational efforts for youth. A member of Atlanta’s First Congregational Church, Young enjoys golf and yoga in her spare time.

Accession Number

A2006.117

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/13/2006

Last Name

Young

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Schools

Southern University Laboratory School

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School

McKinley Senior High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Days, Evenings

First Name

Sonjia

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

YOU06

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: All

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Let's Think Positively

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/6/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Community leader Sonjia W. Young (1941 - ) founded Eventions, Inc., one of the top event planning and communications companies in the southeast United States.

Employment

Samuel Whiteman and Associates

Eventions, Inc.

Ebony Fashion Fair

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sonjia W. Young's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sonjia W. Young describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sonjia W. Young remembers picking cotton

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sonjia W. Young describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sonjia W. Young remembers picnics with her family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sonjia W. Young recalls her first experience of racial discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sonjia W. Young describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sonjia W. Young remembers her uncle who passed for white

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sonjia W. Young describes her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sonjia W. Young lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sonjia W. Young describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Sonjia W. Young describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sonjia W. Young describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young recalls the St. Francis Xavier Church in Baton Rouge, Louisisana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sonjia W. Young describes the St. Francis Xavier School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sonjia W. Young remembers the deaths of her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sonjia W. Young remembers the Southern University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sonjia W. Young talks about being bullied as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sonjia W. Young remembers adopting her name

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sonjia W. Young recalls joining the Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sonjia W. Young remembers Freda DeKnight

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sonjia W. Young remembers meeting Dinah Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Sonjia W. Young recalls touring with the Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Sonjia W. Young remembers her marriage to Walton Waller, Sr.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sonjia W. Young remembers meeting her husband, Dr. Walter Young

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sonjia W. Young describes her early career in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sonjia W. Young remembers founding Eventions, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sonjia W. Young remembers guiding a tour for Eventions, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sonjia W. Young recalls the events organized by Eventions, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sonjia W. Young describes the services offered by Eventions, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sonjia W. Young describes the challenges facing minority businesses

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sonjia W. Young remembers the 1996 Summer Olympics

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sonjia W. Young explains her preference for corporate clients

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Sonjia W. Young talks about event planning technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sonjia W. Young recalls Joseph Lowery's tribute roast

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young remembers planning Coretta Scott King's funeral

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sonjia W. Young recalls the speakers at Coretta Scott King's funeral

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sonjia W. Young recalls working with the U.S. Secret Service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sonjia W. Young describes her work at the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sonjia W. Young talks about golfing

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sonjia W. Young describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sonjia W. Young reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sonjia W. Young reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sonjia W. Young talks about her family

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Sonjia W. Young describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Sonjia W. Young talks about the First Congregational Church in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sonjia W. Young narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sonjia W. Young narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Sonjia W. Young recalls joining the Ebony Fashion Fair
Sonjia W. Young remembers guiding a tour for Eventions, Inc.
Transcript
So when you were in high school [Southern University Laboratory School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], like what did you, what were you thinking in terms of career, future career? What did you see yourself becoming, or did you have those kind of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, when I was in high school I wanted to be a model, or a dancer, all the creative things that, you know, you want to be when you're involved in that, an actress, you name it, and actually I had the opportunity of going--let's see, where were we--we were at a friend's home and one of our neighbors had a tennis court in the yard and a pool and so we used to play tennis and swim and stuff, and, I forget, he was a professor at the university [Southern University; Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] and the Ebony Fashion Fair came to town, and there, at Dr. Bernard's [ph.] home, which was around the corner--friends of ours. They had a reception or a dinner or something for the Lottos [ph.] and for Freda DeKnight, who was running that years ago. And so I went to the dinner, had been playing tennis with my girlfriend, who wanted to be with the Fashion Fair, but I did not and had no desire to necessarily do that and I knew my sister would not let me go anywhere out of Louisiana, so we went over and she was trying to talk to them about being in the show and Freda says, "Well, you really, you know, you don't--."-- I was really tiny at the time and she wasn't--and she says, "You, Sonjia [HistoryMaker Sonjia W. Young] is the one that I'd like to have in the show." And I'm like, "Oh," She says, "There's a young woman who is leaving who looks like you." I've forgotten her name now, but she was, it was like the first or second show they've done for Ebony. And, I can't remember the young lady's name but she was on my (unclear) and so she said, "I'd really like to have her in the show," and I'm like, "Oh, that'd be great." My sister said, "Oh, no. You're not going anywhere. You've gotta finish school. You can't do anything, finish school, finish school." Because, you know, my mother [Bernadette Honore Amar] said that we all had to get an education and so it left her to take that responsibility for me and my sisters. So, you know, I just figured I couldn't go. Then I started thinking. I'd really like to go on that, you know, I'm seventeen years old, I can go to New York [New York] and you say like, "Oh no, you're a--."-- So Freda kept calling and finally she said, I convinced her that I should go. Only if you come back and you go directly and you finish your education.$$So, this would take you out of school for a year or something?$$Yeah, um-hm.$$For a better part of the year, or? When did you go?$$Well, I had to go, you had to go to be fitted by all the designers and trained and everything. So, that's when I, I convinced her and, of course, all of my uncles thought that that was a horrible thing to do, for any young girl to go to be model (laughter).$$How old were you then?$$Seventeen.$$Seventeen, okay. So, were you a senior in high school?$$Um-hm. I had just finished.$$All right.$$It was in '59 [1959].$$Okay. Okay, so you hadn't, you had just finished high school.$$Um-hm.$$Okay, all right.$$Um-hm. I had just finished high school. I was in love with, actually the guy [Walton Waller, Sr.] I would wind up marrying, and so I was like really torn between should I go, should I stay, should I go on to school, and finally I thought, if I don't go I will never know that, you know, what I missed. So, my sister agreed that I could go. I was the youngest, actually, on the tour. There was one other girl who was a couple months younger than me but she didn't last. They put you on a trial and so you go to Boston [Massachusetts] and, at that time, you would go to Boston and some other smaller shows and if you didn't make it through, I don't know how they judged you, by audience participation or something when you came out or something, and so she didn't make it, but actually that young lady is an anchorwoman somewhere in New York. It's funny, because I saw her one day and I know her, I know her, you know, like, it's been a long time. You know, she was with the Fashion Fair for a couple months. I'm like, that's who it was. So, you know, things go around. What comes around, goes around, they say, so you see people that were involved in your previous life (laughter) but, yeah, I know, I made it through and so I lasted and I, I was really a little country bumpkin, hair down to my back and scared of everything, you know, thought that everybody in New York--first day I got there we were up at Ebony's office and I looked down and the cop, a policeman shot somebody robbing a bank right in front of me and I'm like, "(Makes sound) I want to go home, it's time to go home."$What have been some of the highlights, n- now when you were, when you started Eventions [Eventions, Inc.], Atlanta [Georgia], was really, well, it had been booming for about ten years, I guess?$$Yeah, Maynard [Maynard Jackson] was mayor. I have a picture of us, I mean I really don't know what those pictures are, but it's so cute. We were like, (laughter) we used to dress, some of my friends that are still my friends now that had started off with me, so we'd get these good-looking women who were hostesses and we'd dress alike at every event and so it got to be a thing that you could have the Eventions staff or hostesses working for you. So, they were all gorgeous girls, young women and some of them, one of them, actually, my friend, worked with me for a long time and she's doing this too and the other is married to Nate Goldston [HistoryMaker Nathaniel R. Goldston, III], Valerie Goldston [Valerie Hampton Montague Goldston], and she is, they had a surprise birthday party for me the other day and we were reminiscing and just enjoying talking about how far we've come and how long we've been friends, like thirty years, I mean, so it's all good.$$Okay. So, what are some of the events, I mean, when you started out did you, was there a, who was getting most of the convention business then? Was it somebody else?$$Well, nobody, I don't think they really, I think they did a lot of in-house, but they weren't any minorities doing it. There were general market people, a few of them that were doing some, not a lot of them but, tour gals and stuff like that, were, had just started business too and planning a lot of the convention stuff. I would- I would not ever do another tour in life (laughter). We have some real stories to tell about this.$$From tours, really?$$Yeah. Because I thought, well, we're gonna do the tours, and we're going to do, you know, the city with the conventions, and I took on this big tour as a part of the meeting planning part, and we (laughter) the people, the tour gals didn't show up. The tour women that we hired, two of them didn't show up, so they said, "Oh, my god, Sonjia [HistoryMaker Sonjia W. Young], you're going to have to do this." I'm like, "I can't do it. I don't know all those dates or anything." So Michelle [ph.] was working with me, another one of my friends was here working with us. "Oh, yeah. We can do this. We can really do this." So, I said, "Okay." The people were librarians. They wanted dates for everything, so we get on the bus and it was a tour from hell (laughter).$$Was it the American Library Association?$$Yeah, something like that. I mean, you know, sticklers for dates and times. So, we get on the bus and I'm going, oh, my god; you know, "To your left is the High Museum [High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia] and--." You know, "Well, what year was it built?" "Um, well, around--," (laughter). So, we get to, so I'm going, "Okay, now how many of you here are from California?" And they go, "Yeah, yeah, I'm from California." "How many from Chicago [Illinois]?" "Yeah, I'm from Chicago." Then, they go, "Okay now, what was the date of that again," I'm trying to distract 'em from asking me these questions. (Laughter) So, I'm like okay, when we get to the Carter Center [Atlanta, Georgia], we go to the bathroom and we get in the stall and we get this book, and we start reading it and writing down notes. Then the bus breaks down. I'm like, that's--the bus broke down? I can't even believe that (laughter). So, it was like, no. This is not going to be a part of what I do. It was really funny. One lady says, "We want our money back." And I said, "Is that right? Well, why do you want your money back?" She says, "That tour guide we had was terrible." And I said, "Really? Who was your tour guide?" And they said, "You." (Laughter) I'm like, "Here's your money." It was terrible (laughter).

The Honorable William H. Gray, III

Politician William Gray III was born August 20, 1941, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; his father Rev. Dr. William II was a college president, and his mother, Hazel Yates Gray, a dean. Gray attended Scott Street School in Baton Rouge; the Lab School of Florida A&M University; Meade Elementary School in Philadelphia; Cook Junior High School; and graduated from Simon Gratz High School in 1959 as vice president of student government and a four time varsity athlete. The Gray’s often hosted then young Martin Luther King, Jr. when he was at Crozier Theological Seminary. Gray graduated from Franklin Marshall College with a degree in history in 1963; he received his M.A. degree in divinity from Drew University in 1966, and his M.A. degree in church history from Princeton University in 1970.

Gray became pastor of Union Baptist Church in Montclair, New Jersey, in 1966, and later succeeded his father as pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia in 1972. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1978 from Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District, Gray was an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Gray became chair of the Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Party whip; he was the first African American chairman of the Budget Committee. Gray wrote the legislation that led the fight to impose economic sanctions on South Africa in 1985 and 1986. Resigning from Congress in 1991, Gray was appointed president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund and served until 2004; during his tenure, he raised $1.1 billion of the $2 billion raised in UNCF’s entire 58-year history. Following a 24-day hunger strike by TransAfrica’s Randall Robinson, Gray led a Congressional Black Caucus Task Force to Haiti in 1994. Gray then served as special advisor to the President on Haiti in 1994/95. In 1995, Gray received the Medal of Honor from Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

A former professor of history at St. Peters College, Jersey State College, Montclair State College Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Temple University, Gray was awarded eight honorary degrees over the course of his career. Gray also was awarded the distinguished Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Medal, and was consistently listed as one of Ebony’s 100 Most Influential African Americans. In the latter part of his career, Gray served as the vice chairman of the Pew Commission on Children and Foster Care.

Hon. William H. Gray passed away on July 1, 2013.

Accession Number

A2005.120

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/5/2005 |and| 6/15/2012

Last Name

Gray

Maker Category
Middle Name

H.

Schools

Simon Gratz High School

Cook Junior High School

Meade Elementary School

Scott Street Elementary School

FAMU Developmental Research School

Gen. George G. Meade School

Jay Cooke Elementary School

Princeton University

Franklin & Marshall College

Drew University

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

GRA06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Florida, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

8/20/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Death Date

7/1/2013

Short Description

Foundation executive and U.S. congressman The Honorable William H. Gray, III (1941 - 2013 ) served as the chair of the Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Party whip; he was the first African American chairman of the Budget Committee. In addition to his government service, Gray also held high ranking positions in the nonprofit sector, including a thirteen year tenure as the president of the United Negro College Fund.

Employment

U.S. House of Representatives

United Negro College Fund

Gray Global Advisors

Bright Hope Baptist Church

Union Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable William H. Gray, III's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the heritage and education of his mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his mother's growing up in Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the educational and religious traditions of his family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his earliest memory of racism, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his earliest memory of racism, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls spending time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III traces the history of historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his elementary school education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his experience at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the popular music scene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the student body at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls his experience at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the African American community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his family's relationship with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III relates why he attended Franklin and Marshall College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his history major at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about Civil War history

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III remembers the March on Washington in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the white community's perceptions of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls how Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. achieved national prominence

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the shifts in American political parties during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about how African Americans joined the Democrat Party during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his civil rights activities in New Jersey during the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of the Honorable William H. Gray, III's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III remembers deciding to enter the ministry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls significant mentors at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his family's relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III remembers his time at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about returning to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to pastor Bright Hope Baptist Church

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the African American communities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls taking a stand against Mayor Frank Rizzo of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his graduate studies in divinity

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III remembers flouting the Democratic political machine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes shifts in the Democratic Party in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the rise of the independent Democratic movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the origins of his independent Democratic movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his first campaigns for U.S. Congress during the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the people who supported him during his early campaigns for U.S. Congress

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes the success of his independent coalition in the 1979 Philadelphia City Council races

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the progressive figures in Philadelphia politics whom he supported

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls his freshman term in the U.S. Congress

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his tenure as chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about spearheading legislation to impose economic sanctions on South Africa, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about spearheading legislation to impose economic sanctions on South Africa, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recalls how he adjusted to the U.S. Congress

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III recounts balancing his responsibilities as a pastor and congressman

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his decision to step down from the U.S. Congress in 1991

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III reflects upon the leadership qualities that made him successful

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$7

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
The Honorable William H. Gray, III describes his family's relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Honorable William H. Gray, III talks about the progressive figures in Philadelphia politics whom he supported
Transcript
In 2002 [sic.] we talked about your relationship with [Reverend] Dr. Martin Luther King [Jr.], someone who would visit your home and knew your father [William H. Gray, Jr.] well and--$$Yeah, well we were very close. Our families had been friends for three generations. Daddy King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr.] and my father were very close friends. And we had spent time in their home, my father speaking at Ebenezer Baptist Church [Atlanta, Georgia]. Daddy King and later Martin speaking, Martin went to school at Crozer Theological Seminary [Upland, Pennsylvania; Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, New York] which was like twenty miles south of Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] in Chester, Pennsylvania [sic.]. And on the weekends he'd come by and visit, you know, sort of like typical of what happened in black families, you went off to a school and if the school was in Atlanta [Georgia] and your parents knew somebody in Atlanta, they'd say make sure you go by and see aunt so and so. And you'd go by and see her because she'd have great food, even give you some money. And so Martin used to come by and visit us, especially on the weekends. And as a student minister, he occasionally preached at the Bright Hope Baptist Church [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. And when he became a civil rights leader, he would come to Philadelphia and stay at our home and preach at the church and to raise money for the movement in the South.$$Okay. Now in 2002, we talked about this, and after 1963, you were saying that Dr. King was the only black public figure that, or the first black public figure to speak to the entire nation and so here he is, right after this speech he writes a recommendation for you to attend Drew University [Madison, New Jersey].$$Well, yeah, as a part of the closeness of our families, I asked him, really it was late fall of 1962, would he write one of my recommendations, you know. At that time Martin was a very controversial figure (laughter). And some people said, "Why are you asking him, he's a little controversial, there are people who don't like him, it may not help you." But I liked him and, you know, I thought a great deal of Dr. King and the work he was doing in the Civil Rights Movement and I asked him to write a recommendation for graduate school and he wrote one for me to go to graduate school and for me to become a Rockefeller fellow, which is a scholarship program for ministry. And I got in and I also got the Rockefeller scholarship as a result of his recommendation. And so I knew him very, very well personally, and he was a great human being. Did I ever think he would be a Nobel Laureate, you know, an icon of human rights and deliverance? No, I didn't know him that way. And so by 1963 I had been accepted to graduate school, I was gonna go to graduate school, and I went with my father to the March on Washington, prior to going to graduate school--$We then every year put together a progressive slate. And the next year, a young kid, a lawyer beat this establishment figure [F. Emmett Fitzpatrick], you know, you know, Eddie Rendell [Ed Rendell], then Lynne Abrahams [sic. Lynne Abraham] got elected on the back of this, this kind of a coalition. We started getting more and more blacks elected as judges. Roxanne [H.] Jones, the first black woman in the state senate, who had been a welfare rights advocate, you know. I mean, this was not an elitism in the black community, this was a cross section, you know, of people who--Gussie Clark [HistoryMaker Augusta Clark] was well trained, she was a librarian, very articulate. Roxanne, I don't even think Roxanne had even finished high school, you know, but she was one articulate, grassroots sister who was committed and had the right principles and the right values. And so we got people like that. Young [HistoryMaker Chaka] Fattah out of West Philadelphia [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], then when he moved to the state senate, we got another young man [Vincent Hughes] to take his place, and so we just kept building and building. And that young man who took his place is now a leader of the state senate and the chairman of the appropriations committee in Harrisburg [Pennsylvania] in the [Pennsylvania] State Capitol. So, you know, you can just look at the whole garden of flowers came out of that movement that led to very independent thinking on the part, and we were trying to say to the black community, don't let anybody select our leaders, we select our leaders, people who are loyal to the community, who have the values that the community want, not what some party downtown wants. And that was a very radical kind of movement. I ended up becoming the banker of it because I would raise money for my campaign and, of course, I never had a big campaign and I would be the banker of this movement. But we elected a lot of people, you know.$$Was it hard to raise money?$$No. You know, it was not hard to me. I mean, I was raising money for me, you know, Congressman Bill Gray [HistoryMaker William H. Gray, III] reelection campaign, but I didn't have a reelection campaign so what did I do with the money? I used the money to support local candidates and national candidates who represented progressive thinking and the kind of values of empowerment that I thought were important in our communities.

Reverend Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr.

Henry Beecher Hicks, Jr. was born on June 17, 1943, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He spent his early childhood years growing up on the campus of Leland College where his mother was dean of the English department and his father was dean of the Chapel. The family moved to Columbus, Ohio, when his father became pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church. Hicks earned his high school diploma from Columbus East High School in 1960, where he was active in the speech and drama clubs and debate team, and was a band announcer.

After high school, Hicks attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, until 1961. Yearning for a more nurturing environment, he transferred to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. During that same year he preached his trial sermon at his hometown, Mount Olivet Baptist, and shortly thereafter he was licensed to preach. In 1964, Hicks earned his B.A. degree from the University of Arkansas. From 1964 until 1967 he attended Colgate Rochester Divinity School in New York, earning his master’s of divinity in 1967. Between 1965 and 1968, Hicks served as senior minister at Second Baptist Church in Mumford, New York. In 1968, he worked as a training coordinator and field director of the National and Rochester Urban League before leaving to serve as senior minister at Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania until 1973. Hicks then became the senior minister at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ in Houston, Texas. In 1977, he was called to pastor Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where he continues to serve today.

Under his leadership, Metropolitan has grown to include a school, over sixty ministries and a 6000-member congregation. Hicks is the author of five books including, My Soul’s Been Anchored and Preaching Through A Storm. In 1993, Hicks was designated by Ebony Magazine as one of “America’s Fifteen Greatest African American Preachers.”

Accession Number

A2004.240

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/30/2004

Last Name

Hicks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Beecher

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Fair Elementary School

Franklin Junior High School

East High School

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Wittenburg University

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, Weekends

First Name

H.

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

HIC02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

No preference

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $5,000 - $10,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Availability Specifics: Evenings, weekends (other than the fourth Sunday of the month)

Preferred Audience: No preference

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Praise the Lord.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/17/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Pastor Reverend Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr. (1943 - ) leads the 6,000 member Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and is the author of five books including, 'My Soul’s Been Anchored' and 'Preaching Through A Storm'. In 1993, Hicks was designated by 'Ebony Magazine' as one of “America’s Fifteen Greatest African American Preachers.”

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of H. Beecher Hicks interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - H. Beecher Hicks's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - H. Beecher Hicks describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - H. Beecher Hicks remembers growing up at Leland College where his grandfather was president

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - H. Beecher Hicks describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - H. Beecher Hicks remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - H. Beecher Hicks remembers his grandfather William Hicks, a Baptist preacher and scholar

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - H. Beecher Hicks traces his family ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - H. Beecher Hicks recalls his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - H. Beecher Hicks lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - H. Beecher Hicks remembers his childhood neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - H. Beecher Hicks recalls his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - H. Beecher Hicks discusses his early career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - H. Beecher Hicks remembers influential figures and institutions

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - H. Beecher Hicks describes highlights from his high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - H. Beecher Hicks discusses his decision to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - H. Beecher Hicks describes his family's intense involvement in the church his father pastored

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - H. Beecher Hicks describes racist encounters at Wittenberg College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - H. Beecher Hicks discusses his calling to be a minister

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - H. Beecher Hicks details his first pastoral assignment

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - H. Beecher Hicks recounts his tenure with the Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - H. Beecher Hicks describes his early years of ministry across the country

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - H. Beecher Hicks describes his beginnings at Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., part I

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - H. Beecher Hicks describes his early years at Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., part II

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - H. Beecher Hicks contemplates his recognition as a top minister

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - H. Beecher Hicks considers God's plan for his life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - H. Beecher Hicks details the business side of Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - H. Beecher Hicks discusses the church's reach in African American communities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - H. Beecher Hicks discusses his book 'My Soul's Been Anchored'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - H. Beecher Hicks expresses his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - H. Beecher Hicks reflects upon his life's course

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - H. Beecher Hicks considers the importance of history

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - H. Beecher Hicks contemplates his legacy