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J. Keith Motley

Academic administrator J. Keith Motley was born on January 28, 1956 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to John Jr. and Cornelia Motley. He attended James E. Rogers Elementary School and graduated in 1972 from Peabody High School in Pittsburgh. In 1972, Motley was recruited by legendary hall of fame coach Jim Calhoun and assistant coach and recruiter Mike Jarvis to play Division 1 basketball at Northeastern University in Boston. Named team captain, Motley played four years at Northeastern and received his B.S. degree in education, speech pathology and audiology in 1978; and his M.Ed. degree in higher education administration in 1981, both from Northeastern University. He went on to receive his Ph.D. degree in education administration from Boston College, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts in 1999.

Upon graduating, Motley was hired as an admissions counselor at Northeastern, and also as a part-time assistant coach for the Huskies basketball team. In 1980, he served as an intern in the Office of Senior Vice President for University Administration. He also became assistant dean of minority affairs in 1982. In 1987, Motley became associate dean and director for the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute and served as associate head coach where he helped to lead the Huskies to seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In 1989, Motley served as founder and director for Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts, Inc. Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self Development, a Saturday academy-focused on Black males. In 1993, Motley was named Northeastern University dean of student services; and in 1996, Motley helped to establish the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. In 2003, Motley joined the University of Massachusetts at Boston as vice chancellor for student affairs. He was then named interim chancellor for the university in 2004, and served as vice president for business and public affairs. In 2006, his role was expanded to vice president for business marketing and public affairs. Then, in 2007, Motley was named chancellor for the University of Massachusetts Boston and served in that capacity until 2017. In 2018, the university established the Dr. J. Keith Motley Chair to Head New Sports Leadership and Administration Program in his honor.

Motley was inducted into the Northeastern University Hall of Fame in 1999. He is the recipient of numerous honors and recognition including: Business Journal, Power 50 Most Influential Bostonians, for five consecutive years-2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016; Harvard Club of Boston, Friends of Education Award, in 2014; John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, Vision Award, in 2015; Boston NAACP, WEB Du Bois Distinguished Service Award, in 2016; and Emerson College President’s Award for Civic Engagement in 2017.

Motley and his wife Angela are the parents of three adult children including Keith, Kayla
and Jordan.

J. Keith Motley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 18, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.219

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/18/2018

Last Name

Motley

Maker Category
Middle Name

Keith

Organizations
First Name

J.

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

MOT01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Carribbean

Favorite Quote

It's a small thing to a giant.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

1/28/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bosonton

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Academic Administrator J. Keith Motley (1956- ) was the eighth chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he served from 2007 to 2017.

Favorite Color

Blue

Brenda Lauderback

Corporate executive Brenda Lauderback was born on April 25, 1950 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned her B.S. degree in marketing from Robert Morris University and then entered a retail training program at Pittsburgh’s Gimbels department store. Where she quickly rose to a buyers in the children’s division.

In 1975, she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where she became a buyer for the Dayton Hudson Department Store Company’s women’s apparel division. After five years, Lauderback was promoted to divisional merchandise manager of the intimate apparel division for Dayton’s department stores. Lauderback was quickly promoted to vice president and general manager of the shoes, cosmetics, accessories, intimate apparel and children’s divisions in 1982. She was the first African American and youngest woman to assume this role in the company. Lauderback remained with the Dayton Hudson Corporation until 1993 when the United States Shoe Corporation hired her as the president of its footwear wholesale division. In this role, Lauderback managed sales, design and distribution of the US Shoe brands as well as oversaw the company’s offices in China, Italy, Spain and the manufacturing plants in the United States. When US Shoe sold its footwear division to Nine West Group, Inc in 1995, Lauderback became the president of the wholesale and retail group of Nine West where she was responsible for ten brands including Easy Spirit, Evan-Picone and Almalfi. Lauderback retired from Nine West in 1998.

Lauderback has served on numerous corporate boards including Irwin Financial Corporation, Big Lots Corporation, Jostens, Louisiana Pacific Corporation, Sleep Number Corporation, Wolverine World Wide, Inc and Denny’s Corporation. In 2016, she was named as the board chair of Denny’s, Inc. Lauderback has also served on the board of nonprofit organizations like Susan G Komen for the Cure, the South Carolina Aquarium and as a member of the Committee of 200; and in 2017 she was named to the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Directorship 100 list. Lauderback has been recognized in Ebony, Jet, Essence, Black Enterprise, Forbes and Savoy magazines.

Lauderback and her husband, Dr. Boyd Wright, have two children Phallon Wright and Adam Wright.

Accession Number

A2018.148

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/11/2018

Last Name

Lauderback

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Brenda

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

LAU01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

To Whom Much Is Given Much Is Expected.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

4/25/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hilton Head

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Corporate executive Brenda Lauderback (1950 - ) served as the president of the wholesale and retail group of Nine West Group, Inc. from 1995 to 1998. She was later named as the chairperson of the Denny’s Corporation board in 2016.

Favorite Color

Black

Vera F. Wells

Television executive Vera F. Wells was born on December 31, 1944 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated second in her class from Pittsburgh’s Peabody High School in 1963. Wells went on to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. to study psychology, but left before graduating to move with her husband to New Haven, Connecticut, where she worked for Community Progress, Inc. In 1969, Wells graduated from Yale University with her B.A. degree in psychology in 1971, the first coeducational graduating class. While at Yale University, Wells helped to create a new seminar called The Black Women and the Chubb Conference on the Black Woman, which brought Professor Sylvia Ardyn Boone to the university. Boone would become the first tenured African American woman on the Yale faculty upon her promotion in 1988.

After graduating, Wells became the director for School Volunteers for New Haven, Inc. She spent the summer of 1972 assisting Elga R. Wasserman on the Carnegie Council on Children alongside Sylvia Ardyn Boone, whom she had befriended at Yale University. In the 1970s, Wells spent two years at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts to study organizational management. She then became the associate director of the international division at the National Council of Negro Women where she conducted field research in East and West Africa. After returning to the U.S., Wells accepted a position in promotional research at NBC’s headquarters in New York City. She was eventually promoted to director of audience services. In this role, Wells oversaw the creation and standardization of closed captioning at NBC, following the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. After the death of Sylvia Ardyn Boone in 1993, Wells became the founder and director of the Sylvia Ardyn Boone Memorial Project at Yale University’s Timothy Dwight College. The memorial project houses the collection of Boone’s literary and personal papers and awards both undergraduate and graduate scholarships to students working in the fields of African and African American art.

Wells served as a member of the University Council at Yale University for ten years. Within the council, she was a founding committee member of YaleWomen, Inc. and the Theater Review Committee. Wells also served on the boards of the National Advisory Council of the Yale Black Alumni Association, the Yale Development Board and the Yale Tomorrow Campaign. In 2007, Wells was honored with the Yale Medal for her volunteer service to the university.

Vera F. Wells was interview by The HistoryMakers on June 28, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.135

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/28/2018 |and| 6/30/2018

Last Name

Wells

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Organizations
First Name

Vera

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

WEL07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa; Italy; Saint Croix

Favorite Quote

We all yearn for transcendence, ... (Sylvia Boone)

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/31/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Television executive Vera F. Wells (1944- ) was a member of the first coeducational graduating class of at Yale University in 1971, a long-time executive at NBC, and the founding director of the Sylvia Ardyn Boone Memorial Project at Yale University.

Favorite Color

Brown

Billy Porter

Actor Billy Porter was born on September 21, 1969 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised by his mother, Cloerinda Ford. Porter attended Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, as well as the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts, where he studied acting, music, and dance. He later attended Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama in Pittsburgh, graduating in 1991.

In 1991, Porter was cast in the ensemble of Miss Saigon, which won three Tony Awards and became one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. Throughout the 1990s, he continued to appear in Broadway musicals, including Five Guys Named Moe, Smokey Joe’s Café, and the 1994 revival of Grease, in which he played Teen Angel. Porter pursued a career in the music industry, winning the 1992 season of the talent competition Star Search and releasing a self-titled R&B album in 1997 with A&M Records. Starting in 2000, he took a hiatus from acting on Broadway to direct productions like the music revue Being Alive at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Los Angeles staging of Once on This Island, and a revival of George C. Wolfe’s play, The Colored Museum. Porter wrote the solo performance piece Ghetto Superstar, which he debuted in 2005 at New York City’s Public Theatre. Porter went on to appear in the Pittsburgh premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog, as well as in the off-Broadway revival of Angels in America at the Signature Theatre in New York City in 2010, where he played Belize.

In 2013, Porter returned to Broadway as Lola in the musical Kinky Boots, winning the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, and the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for his performance. In the years following, Porter wrote the semi-autobiographical play While I Yet Live, which premiered at Primary Stages in New York City in 2014, and played Aubrey Lyles in the 2016 Broadway musical Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. In 2018, Porter became a series regular in the television show Pose, and appeared on multiple episodes of American Horror Story: Apocalypse. He was a supporter and fundraiser for the Ali Forney Center, a community center for homeless LGBT youth in New York City.

Billy Porter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 7, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.052

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/7/2016

Last Name

Porter

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Reizenstein Middle School

Taylor Allderdice High School

Carnegie Mellon University

University of California, Los Angeles

First Name

Billy

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

POR04

Favorite Season

Spring and Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beach

Favorite Quote

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/21/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Collard Greens

Short Description

Actor Billy Porter (1969- ) won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots. He also wrote the solo piece Ghetto Superstar and the semi-autobiographical play While I Yet Live.

Employment

Broadway

A&M Records

Film

Off-Broadway

Reprise Theature Company

The Huntington Theatre Company

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Billy Porter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Billy Porter lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Billy Porter describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Billy Porter talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Billy Porter talks about his mother's second marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Billy Porter describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Billy Porter describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Billy Porter describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Billy Porter describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Billy Porter describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Billy Porter remembers Florence Reizenstein Middle School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Billy Porter describes his early interest in musical theater

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Billy Porter remembers the influence of 'Dreamgirls'

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Billy Porter describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Billy Porter remembers the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Billy Porter remembers telling his mother about his stepfather's abuse

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Billy Porter describes his daily routine during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Billy Porter talks about the effects of his childhood sexual abuse, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Billy Porter talks about the effects of his childhood sexual abuse, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Billy Porter recalls his confrontation with his stepfather

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Billy Porter describes his decision to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Billy Porter recalls his classmates at Carnegie Mellon University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Billy Porter describes his experiences at Carnegie Mellon University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Billy Porter describes the start of his career in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Billy Porter describes his experiences in the ensemble of 'Miss Saigon'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Billy Porter talks about his early work as a vocalist

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Billy Porter remembers winning 'Star Search'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Billy Porter recalls his experiences as an understudy for 'Five Guys Named Moe'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Billy Porter remembers his casting as the Teen Angel in 'Grease'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Billy Porter describes the first day of rehearsals for 'Grease'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Billy Porter remembers seeing 'Angels in America' for the first time

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Billy Porter talks about his first album, 'Untitled'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Billy Porter describes his decision to move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Billy Porter talks about his career in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Billy Porter talks about his return to New York City and Broadway

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Billy Porter remember auditioning for the role of Lola in 'Kinky Boots'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Billy Porter describes the success of 'Kinky Boots'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Billy Porter talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Billy Porter reflects upon the impact of HIV/AIDS

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Billy Porter reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Billy Porter reflects upon his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Billy Porter remembers the influence of 'Dreamgirls'
Billy Porter remember auditioning for the role of Lola in 'Kinky Boots'
Transcript
You know so then that summer was the summer that 'Dreamgirls' was on Broadway and I was washing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And what year is this now?$$This is '81 [1981], the summer of '81 [1981] I think at this point.$$Eighty-one [1981], yep.$$And I was literally--and everybody knows this story because I talk about it all the time. But I was washing dishes and the Tony Awards [Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre] came on, randomly once again, I didn't know what the Tony Awards were. They came on, I saw people in performance on a stage like I had, like I had never--it wasn't a television show. They were on stage singing and dancing and all of a sudden without knowing it they announced 'Dreamgirls' and there they were.$$And had you heard of 'Dreamgirls' before?$$I had never heard of it. I had never heard of it and I had not made--from 'The Wiz' to the musical that we were doing, which was 'Babes in Arms,' Rodgers and Hart [Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart], traditional white folks. I didn't make the connection that this was something that I could do for a living. Seeing 'The Wiz,' it didn't--I was just doing this show [at Florence Reizenstein Middle School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] and I was singing 'cause I could sing. But it wasn't the way that I sang, you know I came from a Pentecostal church, I didn't sing like, you know. So it didn't register that that was an option for making a living. And then I saw 'Dreamgirls' on television and Jennifer Holliday sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" in the same way that I sang in church, you know. And it was like (makes sound), you know like it was so crazy. And I literally, once again literally was like a ball of like weeping, like emotion in the corner like not knowing what this was.$And as I was doing that ['Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,' Tony Kushner], I went on playbill.com (laughter) and they announced 'Kinky Boots' [Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein]. And I had seen 'Kinky Boots' in the movie theater and I said to myself, and I may have said it out loud to the person I was with, "If I lived in London [England], Chiwetel Ejiofor would have been out of a job." No disrespect to him. He's brilliant. Brilliant in the movie too, but I had understood at that point the power of who I am. When I show up and I do the thing that I do, nobody else does it, and that is the thing, one of the things that I do. And once again, 'Kinky Boots,' you know they like to act like it was like, "Oh it was always you, it was always you." (Laughter) It was like, "No I remember the audition. I remember the concerns that you had about me"--$$What were those (simultaneous)?$$--(simultaneous) with 'Kinky Boots.' You know there was just, you know, I hadn't been in the business for a long--you know I, I had taken myself out of the business. You know I had lost my voice for a while, everybody knew that, you know what I mean? But when you don't talk about--and I don't talk--and I wasn't talking about why. It was a thirteen year break from the time that I was John in 'Miss Saigon' in '99 [1999] to 'Kinky Boots.' I didn't work on Broadway for thirteen years. So when that happens, and you're not talking about it and people don't know, they make shit up. "Oh, he's hard to work with." "Oh, he can't really sing anymore." "Oh, is he a team player?" "Oh, you know, will he be able to sustain--," you know all of that shit. (Pause) There was something about all of it. And it's so funny, the last audition, the final audition, because the acid reflux stuff I was still working through it, and the final audition, you know, I had come in and I had the audition and I did the songs and sang everything and then I went home and I got a telephone call and they said, "Oh, the musical director, they want you to work with the musical director and come back tomorrow." And the musical director is a friend of mine and a person who I had worked with in a creative capacity like, you know. And I walked in and I'm like, "What the fuck? What's happening?" "Oh, they're concerned about, you know, your voice," and da, da, da. And, you know, and I was like, "But it's--but I was singing it like a pop singer. I wasn't belting everything, you know, like it wasn't all balls to the wall." He said, "Just sing it balls to the wall, just sing it balls to the wall, and just sing it balls to the wall and then you get the part, you can do whatever you want." I'm like okay fine. I go home, stress activates reflux, so by the time I got home at six o'clock, I went to open up my mouth to speak and I couldn't utter a word. I couldn't make the sound. I couldn't make the sound. Ooh, I called my mother [Cloerinda Ford], I was like, "Get on, pray, come on" (laughter), "come on. I need all the Jesus you got because I gotta be able to sing tomorrow morning at 10:30--or 12:30. I gotta be able to sing tomorrow at 12:30, my life depends on it. I gotta be able to sing. Call on Jesus, the Jesus you're connected to 'cause you're more connected than I am, please call on him right now." And baby I stayed in that house, I (makes sounds), I did all my, you know, creams and unguents and potions and, you know, I went to sleep, I woke up at 7:30 in the morning, thank god for my training. This goes back to that. I was able to get in that shower. I was able to warm up my voice slowly--$$Carnegie Mellon [Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) exercise my voice slowly. Not just Carnegie Mellon, Joan Lader, since I got here, you know voice lessons all the time, you never stop learning, warming up my voice. I got it to the point where I can eek out an audition. At 12:30, I went in there, I sang those children under the table. Half hour later I couldn't speak. Jerry Mitchell called--I get a call from my agent the next day, "Jerry Mitchell, the director, wants to speak, wants you to come to his house. He wants, he wants to have coffee at his house, come to his house." And I called Jerry, who's been a friend of mine for twenty-five years, and I was like, "Listen, I don't need to come to your--is this good coffee or bad coffee? 'Cause I don't need to come to your house for bad coffee. You can just tell me over the phone." He was like, "Billy [HistoryMaker Billy Porter], just come over." (Crying) And I went to his house and he opened the door, he had a champagne glass in his hand and he said, "It's you, it's always been you. It's never been anybody else. It's never been anybody else and I'm sorry that the business is such that we had, that I had to put you through that." (Sighs) And the rest is history.

Bobby Bennett

Radio DJ Bobby Bennett was born on July 20, 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From a young age, Bennett knew that he wanted to be a radio DJ. Following high school, he enrolled in a broadcasting school in Pittsburgh.

In 1967, Bennett worked as a news reporter for Pittsburgh's WAMO-AM and WZUM radio stations. One year later, in 1968, he moved to WOL-AM in Washington, D.C., where he became known to radio fans as “The Mighty Burner” and hosted a show until 1980. Bennett then hosted a sports talk show on WTOP in the early 1980s, and served as program director for WHUR-FM from 1987 to 1992. After his time at WHUR, Bennett was hired as a morning talk show host at WXTR; and, in 1997, he became the host of an R&B radio show on WPFW-FM. In 2000, Bennett created the “Soul Street” channel for XM Satellite Radio, and served as its program director until 2010. During his career, he also was employed as a record executive and as a voice over narrator.

Bennett was the co-author of The Ultimate Soul Music Trivia Book: 501 Questions and Answers About Motown, Rhythym & Blues, and More, which was published in 1997. In 1988, Bennett was presented with several awards from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Pennsylvania. In 1972, he was named Billboard magazine’s R&B Disc Jockey of the Year, and, in 1973, was recognized as Disc Jockey of the Year by the Gavin Report.

Bennett passed away on September 8, 2015 at age 72.

Accession Number

A2014.188

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/10/2014

Last Name

Bennett

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Dilworth Elementary School

Westinghouse Academy

Gladstone High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Bobby

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

BEN07

Favorite Season

May

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cancun, Mexico

Favorite Quote

Man Don’t Pay No Overtime And I Don’t Do None.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

7/20/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Punta Gorda

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Rib Eye Steak

Death Date

9/8/2015

Short Description

Radio dj Bobby Bennett (1943 - 2015 ) worked at several radio stations in Washington, D.C. from the 1960s to the 1990s. He also created the 'Soul Street' channel for XM Satellite Radio, and served as its program director for seven years.

Employment

WAMO-AM

WZUM

WOL-AM

WTOP

WHUR-FM

WXTR

WPFW-FM

Sirius XM Radio, Inc.

Capitol Records, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bobby Bennett's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bobby Bennett lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bobby Bennett describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bobby Bennett recalls his relationship with his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bobby Bennett describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bobby Bennett recalls his mother's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bobby Bennett describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bobby Bennett describes his father's personality and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bobby Bennett recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bobby Bennett talks about his father's military service

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bobby Bennett recalls his father's duty in the Korean War

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bobby Bennett describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bobby Bennett recalls his family's reaction to his aspirations of becoming a disc jockey

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bobby Bennett describes his brothers, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bobby Bennett describes his brothers, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bobby Bennett describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bobby Bennett recalls living in a housing project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bobby Bennett remembers his early encounters with segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bobby Bennett remembers his favorite high school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bobby Bennett recalls the fashionable clothing of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bobby Bennett describes his maternal great uncle

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Bobby Bennett recalls his early interest in baseball, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bobby Bennett remembers being scouted by the St. Louis Cardinals

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bobby Bennett recalls the high schools he attended in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bobby Bennett remembers playing basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bobby Bennett recalls his early interest in becoming a disc jockey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bobby Bennett talks about the music scene in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bobby Bennett talks about the influence of the Pittsburgh Courier

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bobby Bennett remembers his challenges at Gladstone High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bobby Bennett recalls his high school activities

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bobby Bennett describes WAMO Radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bobby Bennett remembers his early work in the radio industry

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bobby Bennett remembers working at WZUM Radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bobby Bennett talks about the movie 'Get on Up'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bobby Bennett talks about movies about the African American music industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bobby Bennett remembers transitioning to WOL Radio in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bobby Bennett recalls Al Germany's guidance and advice

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bobby Bennett remembers receiving a draft deferment

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bobby Bennett talks about Petey Greene

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bobby Bennett recalls his disc jockey contemporaries

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bobby Bennett remembers being given the nickname The Mighty Burner

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bobby Bennett talks about his time as an afternoon radio host

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bobby Bennett recalls singers that he enjoyed working with, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bobby Bennett recalls singers that he enjoyed working with, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bobby Bennett remembers the decline of Sly Stone, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bobby Bennett remembers the decline of Sly Stone, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bobby Bennett talks about maintaining his integrity in the radio industry

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bobby Bennett describes WOL Radio's place in the changing radio industry

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bobby Bennett recalls his coworkers at WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bobby Bennett remembers his friendship with Chuck Brown

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bobby Bennett describes his work experiences after leaving WOL Radio

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bobby Bennett recalls working at Capitol Records in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bobby Bennett remembers joining WXTR Radio in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bobby Bennett describes his experiences at WXTR Radio

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Bobby Bennett remembers hosting cruise concerts

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Bobby Bennett talks about go-go music

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Bobby Bennett remembers working at XM Satellite Radio, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Bobby Bennett talks about the future of radio

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Bobby Bennett recalls moving from Washington, D.C. to Punta Gorda, Florida

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Bobby Bennett reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Bobby Bennett describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Bobby Bennett talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Bobby Bennett reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Bobby Bennett describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
Bobby Bennett remembers transitioning to WOL Radio in Washington, D.C.
Bobby Bennett remembers working at XM Satellite Radio, Inc.
Transcript
Tell me how you got to WOL [WOL Radio, Washington, D.C.]. What, what happened, now you're at ZUM [WZUM Radio, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], you're twenty years old. What happens?$$Well they had a program director by the name of Bill Sherard, and Bill Sherard, his mother and father lived somewhere in Pennsylvania. And I'm not sure, it was northern Pennsylvania. But he heard me, he was on his way home 4th of July for the 4th of July holiday and he heard me on the air on a Saturday afternoon. So soon as he got back to D.C. [Washington, D.C.] that Tuesday, 'cause I think the holiday was Monday. He got back on Tuesday, he called me up and I had heard, I had been to Dc and I had heard WOL and I said oh may I would love to work there, them guys are smoking. Well at, WZUM we had people that were really good, I mean we had two guys that left there and went to New York [New York], but, and I had an opportunity to go New York. But I'm saying well if Al's going to New York, this guy that started me in radio, Al Gee he went to New York and Jeff Troy who's another one and Frankie Crocker. Frankie went to New York also. So I said well I'm going to D.C., so anyway make, get back to the original. He heard me on the air, he called me said would I be interested in coming to D.C., "Are you kidding," (laughter), "yeah definitely." Said, "Well I might have an opening in a couple of months to do the a- the overnight show." Now overnight was midnight 'til five in the morning, I didn't wanna do overnights, but I'm a kid. I'm just starting in this business and I'll do whatever you want. So I go on the air and I said okay, and I didn't expect to hear from again, him again, I thought it was you know possibly a joke or what. He called me two weeks later, said, "All right, I'm ready, come on down." So me and my brother, Gary [Gary Payne], Gary was about ten years old I think, twelve years old, we get in the car and go down to D.C. And, and he told me what they were gonna pay me and I almost died, I almost, I fainted.$$How much more was it than?$$Well it was I was making seventy dollars a week, and I went from seventy-five to 250 [dollars], so you do the math, that's about 175 difference.$$Just for playing records (laughter)?$$Just for playing records (laughter).$$That's what your father [Marshall Payne, Jr.] said.$$And my show was sponsored by Ben's Chili Bowl [Washington, D.C.].$$The famous Ben's Chili Bowl?$$The famous Jim- well wasn't fam- it wasn't that famous then.$$Okay.$$They were sponsored, they sponsored the first two hours, so they would, every night they would call me and see what I'm, how many hot dogs or half smokes I wanted. And they would bring them up to the station, and I was so full, I mean that was my diet for about six months I guess. And I got the job, and in D.C. and I was doing overnights and it was, it was a great experience. So then I got drafted, Vietnam [Vietnam War] was smoking by then.$$So how, how long were you there before you were drafted?$$What six months, eight months.$Okay so I thought I'd ask you about it before we moved on to XM radio. This is, so XM's in 2001, right, you go to XM is that?$$No we went in 2000.$$Two thousand [2000]?$$Yeah we didn't go on the air 'til 2001.$$Okay all right, all right.$$Yeah.$$So well XM now this is satellite ra- radio?$$Right.$$And well, well tell us about how, how you got the opportunity and what you were trying to do.$$Well I was doing the show on, on PFW [WPFW Radio, Washington, D.C.], and Hugh Panero who became the general manager of XM Satellite Radio [XM Satellite Radio, Inc.; Sirius XM Radio, Inc.], Hugh used to listen to us every Saturday he would listen. 'Cause he'd be off and, he would le- he loved hearing the old R and B music and so forth. And I got a call one day, I'd just put a book out what was it, 501 Ways the R- to Listen to R and B Radio [sic. 'The Ultimate Soul Music Trivia Book: 501 Questions and Answers About Motown, Rhythm and Blues and More,' Bobby Bennett and Sarah Smith]. I'd just put, but he bought the book (laughter) and then he read, he went through the book and he cal- I had, they had me down for an interview. So I came in, at that point they had hired like three people, and I spoke to Lee Abrams, Lee was the guy that in charge of programming period, all 100 stations. And I convinced him that I knew more about R and B radio and R and B records than anybody else. So they, they said okay and you know this is what we want, this, "Now you're gonna have to be with this radio station until it, it," you know, "you're going have to build it from scratch," which is what I did. I, at that time I hired two other, two other jocks and what we would do would record, we do one show live, and then we would record another show. Say like you would be on twenty-four hours well twelve of them would be live, and twelve would be recorded. So that's what we did, did that for ten years, had a ball. It was, it was tough because this came along in two- in the year 2000 and all of the new technology was just coming about at this point. And I mean you're talking about me, I was a fifty year old jock, you know at that time, and you're trying to teach me new ti- all this new technology. And I'm like oh wow, so I remember one day riding down New Hampshire Avenue which I had to come on, do New Hampshire Avenue to get to work. And I'm like I'm quitting today 'cause I can't do this, I just can't do this, this is crazy. Something happened that day, I don't know what happened, and I still don't know what happened. All of a sudden all of this information that we had been de- being taught for the last four months, all of a sudden it all came together. And (laughter) all of a sudden I became the guy doing all this new technology, it was really, really wild. But after I got it, you know, I finally had it by now, and after I got it and build my station and the whole nine yards, then I really had a good time. Until the end at the end, they started hiring people that were really not ra- radio people, they were people, they were money people. And it, it didn't make no difference how you sounded as long as your station was making money. And as long, mean they would, they would play the same records like you know five times a day you know it was just crazy. So I remember Charlie Logan, Charlie Logan saying back in 2000, you know, "Those of us who build these radio stations won't be here ten years from now." And he was absolutely right, but it's funny how things happen. The, we had a new general manager 'cause our old guy he had left and his name was Jim Davis [ph.] and he came aboard and he said, "I'm a take care of all the people that helped to build this, this whole network." So what he did all of us are program directors, they offered us a year's salary, we got a year you know for not being there (laughter) that was great. Plus another year of here's a, another year, boom. So you know nobody was mad, we walked out, we said okay that's fine, they hired all new guys, they're out of New York [New York] now basically doing most of the shows out of New York. At that time they were doing everything in D.C. [Washington, D.C.], but it worked out very well and you know we were happy, and that's. That was ten years of my life that you know I really had a good time, and it was, it was fun to see something that had, didn't have legs before, all of a sudden it does now. That was fun; it was your baby it was you know. For the first year that this, this happened in two, two o-elev- '11 [2011] I believe. And I couldn't listen for the first year, I couldn't listen to my station, you know I just didn't wanna hear it. I didn't wanna hear what somebody else was doing with my station.$$I know they changed the name of the show from 'Soul Street' to 'Soul Town' (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah it became 'Soul Town,' well 'Soul Town' that was the name of, what they you know when I left, they just changed it around. Instead of the street 'cause we had a patent on the street, 'Soul Street,' they changed it to soul, 'Soul Town' so they wouldn't be sued (laughter), so.

Donald Hudson

High school and college football coach and athletic director Donald Edward Hudson was born on November 20, 1929, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, where he participated in football and gymnastics. He went on to play football at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, where, in 1953, he received his B.S. degree in physical education and commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Engineers.

Hudson served his military obligation at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri as a platoon leader for the first eight weeks of basic training. He then spent the next year and a half on the DMZ in Korea, where he served as a first lieutenant platoon leader. After military service, he earned his M.Ed. degree from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Hudson first worked at Lincoln University in the 1950s and 1960s, where he taught in the Health and Physical Education Department and was an assistant football coach, assistant basketball coach, assistant track coach and head golf coach. In 1968, he became the State of Minnesota’s first African American high school head football coach when he was hired at Central High School in Minneapolis.

In December of 1971, Hudson was appointed head football coach of Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, becoming the first African American head football coach at a predominantly white university in the United States in the modern NCAA era. He also served as assistant chairman of the Department of Physical Education and as the men’s head track coach. While at Macalester, he testified before the U.S. Congress on behalf of the NCAA National Summer Youth Program, which he also directed for six years.

Hudson left Macalester College in 1975 and returned to Lincoln University in 1976, where he served as head football coach, head girls track coach, and athletic director for three years. He was later hired as athletic director of Smoky Hill High School in the Colorado Cherry Creek school district, where he worked until 2000.

Hudson was honored for his accomplishments during the half time of a Macalester football game on October 6, 2007. The mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota declared that day “Don Hudson Day” and Hudson was given the keys to the city. In addition, the football offices at Macalester College have been named after Hudson.

Hudson and his wife, Constance, reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. They have six children, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Hudson passed away on September 30, 2018.

Donald Hudson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.185

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/12/2014

Last Name

Hudson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Edward

Schools

Westinghouse Academy

Lincoln University

Springfield College

Belmar Elementary School

Baxter Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

HUD06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Let's Do It Over Again.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

11/20/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charlotte

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bananas

Death Date

9/30/2018

Short Description

College football coach Donald Hudson (1929 - 2018 ) served as the head football coach of Macalester College from 1971. He was the first African American head coach at a predominantly white university in the modern NCAA era.

Employment

United States Army

Lincoln University

Central High School, Minneapolis

Macalester College

Smoky Hill High School, Colorado

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald Hudson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson talks about his maternal family's church band

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson talks about his parents' early relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald Hudson remembers his neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald Hudson describes his likeness to his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald Hudson remembers the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donald Hudson describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald Hudson talks about the influence of Don Hutson

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson remembers his first football team

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson recalls his experiences at Belmar Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson remembers Ahmad Jamal

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson recalls his football practice routine, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson remembers playing football at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson describes his experiences of discrimination at Westinghouse High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald Hudson remembers his positions on the football team at Westinghouse High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald Hudson describes his social activities at Westinghouse High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald Hudson remembers his aspirations to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald Hudson recalls his football practice routine, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson remember his football coach at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson recalls his recruitment to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson remembers his footballs heroes

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson describes his experiences of size discrimination on the football team at Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson talks about his knowledge of football strategy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson remembers Coach Dwight T. Reed

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald Hudson describes his experiences of discrimination in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donald Hudson describes his experiences of discrimination in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald Hudson describes his U.S. Army service in the Korean War

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson remembers playing football in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson recalls the racial tensions during the Korean War

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson remembers becoming an assistant coach at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson recalls his master's degree from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson recalls the changes in the football team at Lincoln University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson talks about Lincoln University's football league

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald Hudson recalls being hired as head football coach at Minneapolis Central High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson talks about his search for assistant coaches at Minneapolis Central High School

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson recalls his struggle to keep players on the football team at Minneapolis Central High School

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson remembers his early games at Minneapolis Central High School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson describes his roles at Minneapolis Central High School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson talks about his experiences at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson remembers coaching the Macalaster College football team

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donald Hudson remembers recruiting black players for Macalaster College's football team in St. Paul, Minnesota

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
Donald Hudson remembers becoming an assistant coach at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri
Donald Hudson recalls being hired as head football coach at Minneapolis Central High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Transcript
You got out in '54 [1954], right?$$I guess that's right.$$Finished in '54 [1954]. And what were your prospects? What did things look for you when you, when you got out? Where were you going? I think you came to Chicago [Illinois], but how did that ha- well, how did that happen? How did that happen?$$Well, I had a couple of friends, and they had heard--the word had gotten around that I was getting out of the [U.S.] Army, and I didn't have a job. And one of the guys I had asked, I think he's been here. No, he couldn't have been here. I asked him, you know, and he said yeah, he knew of a job. Well, I went over and applied for the job, and this is another job. I went over and I applied for the job, even though that they had, the [U.S.] Army had brought me out to put me in the, you know, the spot, I get the job as director at the OFC--no. I get the job, and lo and behold--as platoon leader, another platoon leader--and what do they do but send me over the--get ready to send me over to Korea again. And in the meantime, we get up a little basketball team and so forth. And I don't know how this happened. They took me out of the baseball team. I can't even play baseball. They took me out of that baseball team and brought me back to the camp. And I guess it was really a few days later that I ended up getting my divor- discharge. I don't know why, don't know how.$$Okay. So that's when you came to the United States, back (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm.$$--back to the states? And, so you worked with George Pruitt, you said, of Washington Park [Chicago, Illinois]?$$Um-hm.$$Okay. And George Pruitt was associated with the Chicago Bears in some way?$$Unh-uh.$$Nope?$$When I was a teacher at Lincoln [Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri] I came to Chicago, and I recruited George Pruitt to play basketball for Lincoln University.$$Okay, okay.$$He turned out to be a very, very great player. And he didn't play with the actual Glo- Globetrotters [Harlem Globetrotters], but he ended up, he did play with the team next to them [Kansas City Steers], whatever that was.$$The Generals, the Washington Generals (laughter)?$$(Unclear) I have no idea. And he, of course, had that (unclear) that little cup they gave him to take out. You know, I don't know what was in it. But anyhow, he played for the Army for three or four years. And I saw him maybe three or four times. He is probably the best guy I ever recruited. Yeah, as a, as an athlete.$$Okay.$$Then he died.$$And, but he played for Lincoln. You recruited him--$$Yeah, for Lincoln.$$--for Lincoln, okay. All right, so, what I was trying to figure out is when you got out of the Korean War--I mean the Army in '54 [1954], did you go back to Lincoln first, or did you go to Chicago? Well, let's just get--well, let's just take you up from Chi- from Lincoln then--$$Okay. I think--$$--when--$$--I went back to Lincoln.$$Yeah, okay. So when you went back to Lincoln you became the assistant football coach?$$Yes.$$All right, okay. All right, but you also taught track, gymnastics, swimming.$$Oh, yeah.$$It's a lot of things, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$In the interest of our time, I'm going to just ask you about Macalester College [St. Paul, Minnesota]. We're going to get right to this historic time pe- period here. Now you were the head coach at Minneapolis Central High School [Minneapolis, Minnesota] from '68 [1968] to '72 [1972]. And tell us how you found out about the job at Macalester.$$I found out through Bill McMoore [Donald "Bill" McMoore], a friend of mine who lived in Minneapolis [Minnesota] (clears throat). He wrote me and told me that the job was open, and he knew I should--he said, "You should apply for the job." And he said, "They don't have any black coaches in the school except the assistant coaches." And he said, "They're trying to go on the move," so he said, "Why don't you apply?" So I did apply.$$Okay. So this is for the job at--$$At Minneapolis Central.$$Okay. Minneapolis Central, okay, all right. (Laughter) It's like--okay, all right.$$Yeah.$$So, well, tell us about what, what happened in Minneapolis Cen- Central. Were you successful?$$Do you really want to know (laughter)?$$Yeah.$$All right, when I first got to Minneapolis Central, of course, they had me fill out some papers and stuff. And they wanted to know what my experience was and so forth. And for the most part, I had had more experience than any of the coaches that were already there. I had coached something like ten, fifteen years. And they were much less than that. And then I had coached in college against high school, although I had coached some high school ball before I got there. So as the story goes on at Central, they moved a guy up to be the athletic director. He was a very nice guy. And he came to me, and he asked me if I had any coaches that I would be bringing, and I said no. I was just coming myself as the head football coach. So he said, "I'll take you around." And he showed me around and all that kind of stuff. And we finally got down to the nitty gritty there. And I said, "Well, you know, how many coaches--?" They had had something--I think they had ten coaches. I said, "How many coaches will I have?" He said, "None." I said, "What do you mean none?" "They all quit because you got the job." And I said, "Well, can I have maybe--maybe I need to see a superintendent or the athletic director of the city. And here you, you know, here we are with a football, high school football team who's had a very good record, who has been known to have a good record, and all the football coaches on the team quit because you hired me." And, you know, I'd been all over the country, not necess- you know, coaching at different schools and so forth. And, you know, it's not like I don't know what I would be doing. So anyhow, they went a couple of days and said that they would have to check on some things. Make a long story short, I was still the head coach. And they hadn't come back yet. They hadn't made up their mind.

Susan Davenport Austin

Broadcast company executive Susan Davenport Austin was born in 1967. Her parents are Judith Davenport and Ronald R. Davenport, the founders of the Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation. Austin received her A.B. degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 1989, and her M.B.A degree from Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1993.

In 1993, Austin was hired as an investment banker at Salomon Brothers, Inc., where she went on to serve as a vice president in telecommunications finance. From 1997 to 2000, she worked as an associate director for Bear, Stearns & Company. Austin was subsequently appointed as a vice president in the communications, media and entertainment group at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she served until 2001. Then, in 2002, she was named vice president of strategic planning for her family’s Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). In 2004, Austin became president of the Sheridan Gospel Network; in 2007, she was made senior vice president and chief financial officer of SBC. She was named vice chairman of SBC in 2013.

In 2011, Austin became the first woman and first African American elected as chairman of the board of directors of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). She also serves on the boards of Prudential Variable Annuities, Hubbard Radio, and Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, Austin has served as vice chair of the National Association of Broadcasters’ Audit Committee, as president of the Stanford Business School Alumni Association, chair of the Lower Eastside Girls Club, board member of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation, and as president of the board of the MacDowell Colony.

Austin was honored by Girls Incorporated in 1998 and received the inaugural John W. Gardner Volunteer Service Award from The Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2002. In 2008, she received the International Gospel Industry Service Honor and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Prestige Award. Radio Ink Magazine has named her one of the Most Influential African Americans in Radio and one of the Most Influential Women in Radio. She has been profiled in Womensbiz, Ebony and XII magazines.

Susan Davenport Austin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 15, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.161

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/15/2014

Last Name

Austin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Davenport

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Ellis School

Harvard University

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Susan

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

AUS05

State

Pennsylvania

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/19/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Short Description

Broadcast executive Susan Davenport Austin (1967 - ) has served as vice president of strategic planning and senior vice president and chief financial officer of Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation, as well as president of the Sheridan Gospel Network. In 2011, she became the first woman and first African American chairman of the board of directors of Broadcast Music, Inc.

Employment

Sheridan Broadcasting

Goldman Sachs

Bear Stearns

Solomon Brothers

Bev Smith

Radio talk show host Bev Smith was born March 4, 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Smith is the eldest of six children born to Isabel and John Sloan. She was raised in the Homewood neighborhood of Pennsylvania, and graduated from Westinghouse High School. In 1961, Smith entered beautician school, to raise money for college, and a year later enrolled in Clark’s Business School. In 1963, she took classes at Robert Morris Junior College.

In 1969, Smith was appointed office manager for the National Conference of Christians and Jews, under Ralph King. In 1971, she was named Pittsburgh’s first African American consumer affairs investigative reporter for WPXI Television. She was then hired as news and public affairs director for Sheridan Broadcasting in 1975, and hosted a talk show on Sheridan's flagship station, WAMO. In 1977, Smith became the director of consumer affairs, as well as energy coordinator of her county in Pennsylvania. That same year, she moved her radio show to KDKA, where she also hosted a television show called Vibrations. Smith then became a radio host for Miami’s WGBS (now WNMS) in 1979, and Orlando’s WKIS in 1985. In 1988, Smith began hosting a local radio program in Washington D.C., as well as the national Black Entertainment Television talk show "Our Voices," which she hosted for over thirteen years.

In 1998, Smith became the host of "The Bev Smith Show," on American Urban Radio Networks, which made her the only African American female radio talk show host with a nationally syndicated show in the country. Smith signed off the air as host of her show in 2011.

Smith has received nearly 300 awards and recognitions for her contributions to radio and television, including the Spirit of Democracy Award, the Radio Air Crystal Award and the prestigious Max Robinson Award. She has also been selected by Talkers magazine as one of the most important radio talk show hosts in America.

Bev Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 9, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.154

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/9/2014

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Lyn

Schools

Crescent Elementary School

Westinghouse Academy

Duff's Business School

Robert Morris College

Baxter Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Beverly (Bev)

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

SMI31

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Stand Up, Be Counted, Get Involved.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/4/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pittsburgh

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Yellow Cake With Chocolate Icing

Short Description

Radio talk show host Bev Smith (1943 - ) hosted the nationally syndicated talk show “The Bev Smith Show” from 1998 to 2011.

Employment

National Conference of Christians and Jews

WIICTV (Now WPXI)

Allegheny County Government

KDKA Radio

KDKA-TV

WBBS

WKYS Radio

Daytona Beach Channel 2

WTAE Radio

WRC Radio

Black Entertainment Television

CNN

MSNBC

PBS Washington

American Urban Radio Networks

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:3168,123:4824,156:7200,195:14112,374:14400,379:15624,388:23166,428:26290,456:26710,465:28270,512:29925,529:30201,534:30753,543:31029,548:32961,600:33858,618:34341,627:39189,687:40284,710:45102,814:45467,825:45978,833:46416,845:56650,1023:60544,1081:69352,1171:70099,1182:71427,1204:76656,1318:76988,1323:87089,1434:93824,1533:128014,1919:129839,1953:131153,1976:148144,2263:148925,2275:149280,2281:150700,2316:151410,2328:151907,2337:152617,2352:155883,2408:160151,2427:161893,2463:162831,2478:163501,2489:164305,2507:168727,2594:169598,2611:170201,2627:172479,2687:173283,2704:173752,2712:174958,2737:175226,2742:184490,2849$0,0:1387,25:1792,31:3979,94:7048,116:9424,160:9712,165:13798,204:14162,210:16858,238:17820,255:19004,277:25355,348:29420,380:30050,392:30540,401:38142,522:38718,580:51258,729:51615,737:52227,752:54000,760:54315,767:54567,772:55071,781:56331,804:56772,812:58157,827:58958,840:59314,845:63853,922:70176,1005:71850,1030:76110,1071:76518,1081:76926,1088:77742,1105:78422,1118:79102,1131:80530,1171:82910,1240:84202,1263:84814,1277:86378,1308:87262,1325:87670,1332:89846,1379:90390,1389:95832,1415:96664,1432:97176,1442:97432,1447:98904,1483:102052,1522:102580,1537:105484,1640:105748,1645:106012,1650:106342,1656:107068,1674:107332,1679:111424,1761:118132,1830:118428,1835:120204,1876:120574,1882:124052,1978:125902,2024:127456,2061:128492,2102:140911,2325:141256,2331:147430,2399:150990,2456:151518,2464:151958,2504:152926,2519:158340,2583:159006,2596:159598,2606:160190,2616:160634,2628:161448,2645:164334,2715:164704,2721:165296,2730:166184,2744:172466,2794:173192,2811:173918,2825:174314,2832:175040,2850:176822,2905:178802,2965:179462,2976:188851,3081:189167,3088:192485,3156:192959,3164:197086,3197:198087,3223:210700,3420:213685,3485:214010,3492:219128,3579:229486,3813:231378,3821:233516,3837:234200,3848:234504,3853:234884,3859:235264,3870:242540,3944:243215,3950:243890,3956:248765,4028:249764,4040:250319,4046:250874,4052:254670,4079:259605,4140:260221,4149:262856,4165:263280,4170:265188,4200:265718,4206:266248,4212:270474,4253:273880,4292
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bev Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bev Smith lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bev Smith describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bev Smith describes her maternal family's home in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bev Smith talks about her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bev Smith describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bev Smith talks about her brother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bev Smith describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bev Smith talks about her father's labor activism

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bev Smith describes how her parents met, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bev Smith describes how her parents met, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bev Smith talks about her father's service in the Civilian Conservation Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bev Smith talks about her mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bev Smith lists her siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bev Smith lists her siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bev Smith describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bev Smith describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bev Smith remembers moving from the Hill District to Homewood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bev Smith describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bev Smith remembers her father's musical tastes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bev Smith remembers the Pittsburgh Courier

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bev Smith talks about her early interest in art

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bev Smith recalls her early influences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bev Smith remembers her parents' emphasis on politics and current events

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bev Smith recalls her favorite television and radio programs

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bev Smith talks about the black community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bev Smith talks about her schooling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bev Smith talks about her family's political affiliations

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bev Smith remembers the gentrification of the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bev Smith talks about her parents' strict discipline

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Bev Smith recalls her influences at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Bev Smith talks about her speaking voice

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Bev Smith describes her relationship with the Kennedy family

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Bev Smith remembers the debate club at Westinghouse High School

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Bev Smith talks about her aspiration to attend college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bev Smith recalls her responsibilities as the oldest of six siblings

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bev Smith talks about her experiences of bullying

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bev Smith remembers Duff's Business Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bev Smith talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bev Smith remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bev Smith recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bev Smith remembers her ex-husband

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bev Smith talks about her work with the National Conference of Christians and Jews

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bev Smith remembers David Chase

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Bev Smith recalls her start as a news reporter on WIIC-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bev Smith talks about the reprisals against her investigative reporting

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bev Smith remembers Fred Rogers of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bev Smith describes her transition from WIIC-TV to WAMO Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bev Smith talks about her reputation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bev Smith remembers the black community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bev Smith remembers her programs on WAMO Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bev Smith talks about the problems facing the black community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Bev Smith remembers her time at the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Bev Smith describes her return to WAMO Radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Bev Smith remembers her weekend talk show on KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Bev Smith talks about the struggle of black steelworkers in Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Bev Smith remembers working on Edward M. Kennedy's presidential campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Bev Smith talks about her advocacy at WYCB Radio

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bev Smith remembers moving to Miami, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bev Smith talks about her experiences as a radio personality in Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bev Smith remembers working for WRC Radio in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bev Smith remembers balancing her radio talk show and her program on BET

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bev Smith talks about the racist origins of marijuana criminalization

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bev Smith remembers Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Bev Smith talks about her grassroots organizing efforts

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Bev Smith talks about the changes in the role of black media

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Bev Smith reflects upon the downfall of the black media industry

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Bev Smith reflects upon her time at BET

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Bev Smith talks about her stint as commentator on the American Urban Radio Networks

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Bev Smith talks about selecting topics for her radio programs

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Bev Smith talks about her network of contacts

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Bev Smith describes the origin of her nickname

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Bev Smith remembers leaving the American Urban Radio Networks

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Bev Smith talks about independently producing 'The Bev Smith Show'

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Bev Smith talks about the future of black radio

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Bev Smith describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Bev Smith reflects upon her career

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Bev Smith reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Bev Smith talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Bev Smith talks about the threats against her life

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Bev Smith describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Bev Smith talks about her books

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Bev Smith describes her transition from WIIC-TV to WAMO Radio
Bev Smith remembers moving to Miami, Florida
Transcript
Now, in '75 [1975], you joined Sheridan Broadcasting [Sheridan Broadcasting Network] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, that was WAMO. That's where the shootings and the prisons, and all the other things.$$Well, tell us about how you, how that--were you recruited by Sheridan?$$No. I was at Channel 11 [WIIC-TV; WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], and they hired a new news director after By Williams left. And he did not like women in the newsroom, white or black. But in my particular place, he did not like. And I had just returned from Washington, D.C., where I had been named one of the fifty outstanding women in America. And I walked into the newsroom, and he used the N word and he used the B word, and he said that I was fired. So, I walked--I didn't have a car in those days. And the hill was like this, Federal Street; the television station sat up there. And I walked down that hill, all the way into town, to the Urban League [Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] where my husband [Smith's ex-husband, Ronald Smith] worked. And I called my uncle Walt [ph.] at the radio station. And he said, "You want a job?" Now, my salary was here, black radio was here. But I had a child [Heather Williams], I was separated, I had to work. And so, I said, "Yes." So, I went from being an NB to the news director for WAMO Radio [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], all in the same day.$$Now, did you consider a lawsuit?$$I did sue them.$$Okay.$$I did sue them. But in those days, a lawsuit was not like it is here. So now you sue and have laws--and you have discriminatory laws, and all the kind of things. We're talking about the '60s [1960s], we're talking about the early '70s [1970s]. Those kinds of things did not exist. But I had Teitelbaum [Hubert Irving Teitelbaum], a man who was a fabulous lawyer. And we got a cash settlement. And at the time, it looked like a lot of money. But in lieu of everything that I went through at that time, it wasn't. But I was able to get money. But the funny thing about it is that was not the station; that was one man at the station, who had a horrible reputation to begin with. Because when I returned to Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] in February of 2001--2001--some of the most interesting times that I had in television, I had at Channel 11, where my career began. Because I was on MSNBC, and they would have me go up to Channel 11. Isn't life interesting? And right now, I think that the operations manager that they have now, Mark Barash, is one of the finest individuals I know, very kind man. But he wasn't a part of that; he wasn't even there when that happened. There was one man who had a reputation. And shortly after I left, he did the same thing to the white woman there, Eleanor Schano [Eleanor Schano Feeney], and she used my lawyer to help her.$Okay. So, well, tell us about this move to Florida. Well, now how did this take place?$$Oh, this was wild. I was working at, I was the first black to have a talk show on KDKA [KDKA Radio]. And it was very, very popular. And the news director at that time was a man by the name of Lee Fowler, at KDKA here in Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania]. And he said to me, I used to say, "God bless you," which is what I say now. And I'm never going to stop saying that. So, he sent me a note, because a listener told him that I was preaching religion. I don't know how, God bless you is a religion. But anyway, I told him I wasn't going to stop. And he said, "Well, I just want to let you know." He said, "But one day, I'm going to be general manager of the station that I have complete control over, not just program director. And when I do, I will offer you a job." Well, here comes the ego again. I thought, "Yeah, right, sure." You know, "Sure you are." So, I am at WYCB [WYCB Radio (ph.)], the little station I became general manager of. And I'm on the air, and I'm doing the series called, 'Tell Me What God Has Done for You Today' [ph.], and I was teaching in the Pittsburgh Board of Education [Pittsburgh Public Schools]. I had no credentials, and I was teaching. My class was extremely popular. I would get off at eleven o'clock, and my show started at twelve. And I would get from here--because it was downtown here--I would get from here out to Braddock, Pennsylvania, which was at least maybe an hour and a half. And I'd have to be there at twelve. So, I would tell the late Gloria Briskey [Gloria Briskey Inez], who was a very well known gospel deejay all over America, to put a tape on for me. And I would tape this part that says, "Tell me what God has done for you? We're going to listen to, C.L. Franklin, talk about what God has done for you?" And I would have rehearsed that, and done that before on tape. And they'd play the tape. And then I'd get there right before the tape ran out, with his preaching. And then I was live, and people wouldn't know that I had just ran that. I said--God, help me if there had been an accident or something. So, it went, "Tell me what God has done for you? Hi, this is [HistoryMaker] Bev Smith, tell me what God has done for you?" "Well, God let me get in touch with you." That voice sounds familiar. I said, "Who is this?" He said, "This is Lee Fowler." I said, "Lee, I thought you were in Miami [Florida]." He said, "I am." He said, "Are you tired of cold weather?" It was freezing in Pittsburgh. It was like, it was about six inches of snow on the ground. So, I'm telling you, I'm moving, I am moving trying to get there. And it was about thirteen degrees above zero. And I said, "Yes." Because I lived in the suburbs, I could barely get my garage door open, it was frozen. And he said, "Well, how would like to come to Miami?" Now, this is on the radio. By this time, you have everyone's attention. I said, "Are you serious?" On the radio. And he says, "Yes." I says, "I'm getting ready to play a record, let me put you on hold, and we'll talk." He said, "Can you come to Miami tomorrow?" I said, "As in tomorrow, like, tomorrow, tomorrow?" And he said, "Yes." I said, "No, I can't." He said, "Can you come the next day?" I said, "No, I can't." He said, "Can you come on the weekend?" I said, "Yes, I can. But I have to bring my daughter [Heather Williams], because the weekend is the time I spend with my daughter." He said, "Well, don't bring her this time." He said, "Get a babysitter, and I'll send you the babysitting money." My parents [Isabelle Jones Sloan and John Sloan], I didn't need babysitting money--or her dad [Smith's ex-husband, Ronald Smith]. I said, "Good, Lee," you know, jokingly. And I went to Florida, and he offered me more money than I had ever made in my life. The station was located on Ives Dairy Road, in old North Miami Beach, in a new section that had been carved out. They paid the first, second, and third month rent on a villa in a gated community. I thought I was in heaven. And a week later, my daughter came in. And a week later, I rented a house. And three weeks later, I moved. And that's how I got to Florida.$$Wow, okay.$$Boom, boom, boom.

Geoff Brown

Journalist Geoffrey (Geoff) Franklin Brown was born on October 30, 1952, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to George F. and Helen V. Brown. Brown attended the Episcopal Cathedral School in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and graduated from Greensburg-Salem (Pennsylvania) High School in 1970. He went on to receive his B.A. degree in English literature from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1974.

Upon graduation, Brown returned to Pennsylvania where he was hired as a general assignment reporter for the Pittsburgh Press. He worked at the Pittsburgh Press from 1974 to 1975, and again from 1977 to 1978. He also had two stints at Jet magazine, from 1975 to 1977 and 1978 to 1980, where he held various positions, including entertainment writer, copy editor, co-managing editor and features editor. He was then hired by the Chicago Tribune in 1980 as a copy editor. Brown went on to serve as the Tribune’s national/foreign news editor, north suburban bureau chief, and entertainment editor. In 1998, he was promoted to associate managing editor for entertainment; in 2000, he became associate managing editor for lifestyle/features. In 2009, Brown returned to duty as the Chicago Tribune’s associate managing editor for entertainment, where he supervised the daily Arts & Entertainment, Dining, Movies and On The Town sections, plus the daily and Sunday Comics pages, and related online content. In April of 2015, Brown was named the Tribune’s operations and development editor.

Brown received the Chicago Tribune’s Jones-Beck Award for Outstanding Professional Performance in 1988, and was awarded a fellowship at Maynard’s Institute of Journalism Education in 1989. He was also honored by Chicago’s Bridge to Work program, a South Side welfare-to-work program that emphasized preparing people for getting a job as well as navigating the workplace.

Geoff Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/25/2014

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Franklin

Occupation
Schools

School On The Hill

Episcopal Cathedral School

Greensburg-Salem High School

Bowdoin College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Geoffrey

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

BRO59

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

Treat Others As You Want To Be Treated

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/30/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Snickerdoodle Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies

Short Description

Journalist Geoff Brown (1952 - ) was a managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, where he worked for over thirty years.

Employment

Chicago Tribune

Pittsburgh Press

Jet Magazine

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Geoff Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Geoff Brown lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Geoff Brown describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Geoff Brown describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Geoff Brown talks about his parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Geoff Brown describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after the most

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Geoff Brown lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Geoff Brown describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Geoff Brown remembers moving frequently for his father's career in journalism

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Geoff Brown describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Geoff Brown remembers moving from Puerto Rico to the mainland Unites States

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Geoff Brown talks about his father's career as a journalist, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Geoff Brown talks about his father's experiences of workplace discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Geoff Brown talks about his father's career as a journalist, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Geoff Brown talks about his early interest in journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Geoff Brown remembers moving to Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Geoff Brown describes his experiences at Greensburg Salem High School in Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Geoff Brown recalls the start of his career in journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Geoff Brown talks about the black community at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Geoff Brown describes the racial tensions in Brunswick, Maine

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Geoff Brown remembers his mentor at Bowdoin College

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Geoff Brown talks about his aspirations to attend graduate school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Geoff Brown talks about the development of his writing style

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Geoff Brown talks about his classmates at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Geoff Brown remembers his father's death

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Geoff Brown recalls his start at Jet magazine in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Geoff Brown talks about his contemporaries at Jet magazine

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Geoff Brown talks about his experiences as a managing editor at Jet magazine

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Geoff Brown remembers John H. Johnson and Robert E. Johnson

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Geoff Brown remembers his decision to leave Jet magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Geoff Brown remembers Bill Berry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Geoff Brown talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Geoff Brown remembers hosting celebrities at Jet's executive lunchroom

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Geoff Brown remembers his interview with Gwen McCrae

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Geoff Brown talks about the Johnson Publishing Company's corporate counsel

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Geoff Brown describes the relationship between Jet and Ebony staff

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Geoff Brown talks about his work ethic

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Geoff Brown talks about his colleagues at the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Geoff Brown describes his experiences at the Chicago Tribune during Mayor Harold Washington's election

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Geoff Brown reflects upon his expereinces at the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Geoff Brown talks about the Chicago Tribune's reputation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Geoff Brown talks about his career path at the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Geoff Brown talks about his role as entertainment editor for the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Geoff Brown talks about covering the black community in the entertainment section of the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Geoff Brown talks about the comics section of the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Geoff Brown talks about the introduction of The Boondocks comic in the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Geoff Brown talks about the impact of the internet on print journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Geoff Brown talks about Sam Zell's leveraged buyout of the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Geoff Brown describes his role at the Chicago Tribune during the financial crisis of 2008

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Geoff Brown describes the aftermath of the Chicago Tribune's bankruptcy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Geoff Brown talks about the print side of the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Geoff Brown describes his plans for retirement

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Geoff Brown talks about the entertainment scene in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Geoff Brown talks about the entertainment scene in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Geoff Brown talks about the lack of funding for arts education

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Geoff Brown talks about his decisions to pull comics from the Chicago Tribune, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Geoff Brown talks about his decisions to pull comics from the Chicago Tribune, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Geoff Brown describes the Chicago Tribune's comic strip review committee

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Geoff Brown talks about his editorial philosophy for newspaper comics

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Geoff Brown talks about the future of print journalism

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Geoff Brown reflects upon his decision to pursue a career in journalism

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Geoff Brown reflects upon his career

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Geoff Brown reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Geoff Brown narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Geoff Brown talks about his experiences as a managing editor at Jet magazine
Geoff Brown talks about his career path at the Chicago Tribune
Transcript
And so where this story is headed is that opportunity at Johnson's [Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois] it came really quick, really quick. So that's a good thing, and it's a bad thing because if you're young and you get all of that all at once, then I've seen all of this, what else is there? You're not really striving to have a bunch of experiences that it takes people at mainstream newspapers years to get to. And I'm getting it all in these concentrated bursts, so that's--$$So you become managing editor in what year? Do you remember? How long had you been there?$$It wasn't--not long. It was--so I, I'm fairly certain the copy editor was '76 [1976]. So this would have been '77 [1977] or '78 [1978].$$Right, because I have you returning back to The Pittsburgh Press in '77 [1977]. So you're managing editor before you go back to The Pittsburgh Press. That's hu- do you think because you were anointed by your, you know your father [George Brown] and, and people? And then the other was you probably were working hard.$$Oh, yeah, it was working, yeah. Yeah you worked hard.$$Like how?$$Late hours. The--the amount of work--$$Give a typical day or week. I mean what was involved with even putting that publication together?$$So let's say leaving aside original stories that you did yourself. Well we had a box of clips from other newspapers 'cause Jet is a digest, first and foremost. So you'd rewrite these clips and lots of them. And then you'd make them--you know you'd make them fit in the design and--so just a lot of work every day and a lot of stress because you, you're trying to do what's right. Then you've got to do original work. So you know you'd do some travel and, and, and all that other work would be waiting for you. No one else would do your work for you while you were gone. So just--it was intense. But it wasn't, it wasn't fulfilling. That, that kind of work wasn't fulfilling me, so I needed--$$Now why was that? Because it's so short, the writing is so short?$$Yeah. It was, it was--once you master that. I mean once the game, the game is to be as much fun with it unless it's again, a tragedy or something, to have as much fun with it as you can. But it had to be dignified. So once you master that thing and what's there for you, okay to do longer form journalism. But I didn't want to be a reporter ultimately. I like writing, didn't like reporting. And I'm a very introspective person. And so I--rather than deny it and deny it, I just embraced it and said, okay I--$$So how long--so the format--'cause you know they have the--what is the play girl, play, play--the Beauty of the Week, the Beauty of the Week. They still have the Beauty of the Week.$$Yes they do.$$Even it, you know today.$$Right, back from the [HistoryMaker] Lamonte McLemore, who was the 'Up, Up and Away.'$$The 5th Dimension.$$Yeah, 5th Dimension. You know he used to shoot most of them.$$He did?$$For a long time. Yeah matter of fact, once I picked up a Jet after not having seen it a while, I said, "Oh, oh it's a new name in the Jet centerfold."$$I see, I never knew that. He did the--he shot them?$$Yes he did.$So when you, when you come--become the national foreign news editor, that seems like--that's a big deal.$$Right, and so, so what that is was a, was a heavy duty quality control. I wasn't, I wasn't determining what was going to go in the paper. News editor was sort of a you know I had to, I had to schedule people and I had to, you know I was responsible for accuracy and I was responsible for evaluations of the production side, the, the, the assigning editors and the--but the correspondence, they all reported to the national editor and the foreign editor. So you know we--and, and we had to get the newspaper in on time, so I was a--I had to crack the whip on deadlines and stuff like that. That's what that job was, not, not determining what went in the paper. That comes later.$$Comes later, okay. So tell, tell your, tell the rest of the things, 'cause I have you metro chief for Rosemont [Illinois], national foreign copy editor, overnight page editor. You know and in this time I think Jack Fuller takes, I mean--and he's, he's probably--I mean his name became somewhat legendary. I remember his--$$Yeah, he, he's a, he's a novelist too, right. So yeah it's about this time, to answer your question you asked a long time ago, so who's looking out for Geoff [HistoryMaker Geoff Brown]? So Howard Tyner who was the foreign editor, he took a liking to me because again, conscientious sense of humor and all that kind of stuff. And he was one of those kind of people who would actually take an interest in how things worked. So he wanted to know how the copy desk worked. So I told him, you know, and he'd praise our headlines when they were good and slam them when they were bad. But for the most part, I didn't take it personally. That's what derails a lot of people, that they can't take criticism so they you know, they bite back and whatnot. It's like, "Okay you didn't like it, tell me what you didn't like about it, okay." And you and--you don't repeat the, the--your mistake. Well he--and then he start--so he's sitting off like the side saying, "We ought to do something with this guy." Bless his heart. So one day he gets to be--I think he runs--he, he winds up going over to features because that was the, the track. So Jack Fuller had been executive editor of features, and then he became the editor and they were trying to groom Howard for the same thing. So he went over to features. Meanwhile, I'm out--they decide now I, I've gone to--when I was a news editor, they said, "Okay well we wanna see you become a manager and you know, to man the troops. So we're gone put you in Rosemont." That was--they cooked up that scheme for Geoff and so I wound up being a bureau chief, which is where I meet Jerry Thomas. And, and while I hated every single moment of it, I have to say that that experience was probably the most important in my development because as a bureau chief, you have to chase fire engines and you have to deploy the troops and you have to stay there all night until the story gets done. And, and if it's not done right, it's on you. Now what I didn't like about it was chasing fire engines. All the rest of it, I dug it, right. So I managed to talk myself into returning back downtown where national, I'm just on the national foreign desk. And then Howard says, "Why don't you come work in features?" And there was this thing called the overnight page, and that was the entertainment page. And funny moment, he says, "So I, I don't know if you're into this stuff." I said, "Well, you haven't seen my resume, but that's pretty much all I did before I came to the Tribune [Chicago Tribune]." So I had an affinity for it. So that's how I got--and I wasn't--here's the thing. I wasn't too ashamed to say I really--I'm getting depressed from doing this job. I hate this so much. So can I please be relieved of it? So they were able to do it without the--but you know a lot of people asked me, "Well then didn't you think that would derail your career?" Well when you hate something that much, you don't care. I wasn't a careerist, so I got, I keep getting promoted anyway.

Sharon Epperson

Journalist Sharon Emily Epperson was born on April 12, 1968 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father, Dr. David E. Epperson, served as a dean at the University of Pittsburgh; her mother, Cecelia T. Epperson, was a schoolteacher in the Pittsburgh Public School System. Epperson graduated from Pittsburgh’s Taylor Allderdice High School in 1986. She launched her career as a reporter while a participant in the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation’s first high school journalism workshop during her sophomore year and later worked as an intern for three summers at her hometown paper “The Pittsburgh Press.” She went on to graduate with her bachelor's degree in sociology and government from Harvard University in 1990, and her Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 1993. While in college, Epperson interned as a journalist with several prominent papers, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.

From 1993 to 1996, Epperson worked as a correspondent for Time magazine, where she covered business, culture, social issues and health in the New York bureau. She was then hired by CNBC in 1996 as a correspondent in the business news division. Epperson was subsequently named CNBC’s senior commodities and personal finance correspondent. She reports on personal finance for CNBC and other NBCUniversal properties. She has also reported on global energy, metals and commodities markets from the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange since 2005.

In 2000, Epperson was hired as an adjunct assistant professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where she teaches a course on professional development for graduate students interested in pursuing media careers.

In addition to reporting for CNBC, Epperson is a regular contributor on NBC's "Today" and Today.com and appears frequently on NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and NBC affiliates nationwide. She also reports for Public Television's "Nightly Business Report." Epperson has been featured in numerous publications, including USA Weekend, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Self, Essence, Ebony and Time magazine. She is the author of the 2007 book The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money -- and Live Richly Ever After.

Epperson won the Alliance for Women in Media's 2014 Gracie Award for Outstanding Online Host for her "Financial Advisor Playbook" video series on CNBC.com, which was the second time she has been honored by this organization. In addition, she has received numerous other honors: the Vanguard Award from the National Urban League Guild, All-Star Award from the Association of Women in Communications, Trailblazer of the Year Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists, first place honors from the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Silver World Medal from the New York Festivals.

She and her husband, Christopher John Farley, also an award-winning journalist and author, live in Westchester County, New York, with their two children.

Sharon Epperson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 17, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.062

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/17/2014

Last Name

Epperson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Emily

Occupation
Schools

Taylor Allderdice High School

Harvard University

Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sharon

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

EPP04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

To Give As Much As I Can Of My Time, Talent and Treasure To Others.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/12/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lasagna

Short Description

Journalist Sharon Epperson (1968 - ) is CNBC’s senior commodities and personal finance correspondent. She is the author of The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money and Live Richly Ever After.

Employment

Pittsburgh Press

Wall Street Journal

Boston Globe

Blackside Productions

WCVB-Boston

Washington Post

American University in Cairo

Time Magazine

CNBC

Favorite Color

Red and Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sharon Epperson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sharon Epperson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sharon Epperson talks about her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sharon Epperson talks about her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sharon Epperson talks about her father and his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sharon Epperson describes her parents' religious faith and practices

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sharon Epperson tells the story of how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sharon Epperson talks about her family's dry cleaning business

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sharon Epperson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sharon Epperson talks about her younger sister, Lia Epperson

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sharon Epperson describes her integrated childhood neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Belmar Gardens

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sharon Epperson reminisces about her family life as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sharon Epperson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sharon Epperson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sharon Epperson talks about her love of school as young girl

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sharon Epperson recalls her elementary school education and her mother's impact on her education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sharon Epperson talks about her relationship with her younger sister and family vacations as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sharon Epperson talks about her father's role as the Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sharon Epperson describes challenges her father faced as Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sharon Epperson talks about her father's lessons in self-reliance

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sharon Epperson talks about her grade school years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sharon Epperson describes her interest in journalism at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Sharon Epperson describes her interest in journalism at Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sharon Epperson describes her experience in an actuarial science summer program at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sharon Epperson describes her decision to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sharon Epperson talks about her early experience at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sharon Epperson talks about her extracurricular activities at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sharon Epperson talks about attending Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her sister

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sharon Epperson describes her media internships while a student at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sharon Epperson talks about her news internships at the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal's Pittsburgh office

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sharon Epperson talks about working with Henry Hampton and Juan Williams on 'Eyes on the Prize'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sharon Epperson talks about her upper middle class background

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sharon Epperson talks about formative friendships at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sharon Epperson describes her experience working at the American University in Cairo, Egypt

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sharon Epperson talks about her graduate school experience at Columbia University in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sharon Epperson describes the beginning of her career at Time magazine in 1993

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sharon Epperson describes her coverage of HistoryMaker Minister Louis Farrakhan while at Time magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sharon Epperson describes changes in how African Americans were covered by Time magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sharon Epperson talks about Janice Simpson, her mentor at Time magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sharon Epperson describes her start at CNBC

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sharon Epperson talks about the beginning of her career at CNBC

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sharon Epperson describes CNBC's beginnings and its changes over the years

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sharon Epperson describes her first five years at CNBC, and her development as a television journalist

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sharon Epperson describes reporting on economic downturns at CNBC

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sharon Epperson talks about people she interviewed at CNBC

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sharon Epperson describes the motivation behind her book, 'The Big Payoff'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sharon Epperson describes the process of writing her book, 'The Big Payoff', pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sharon Epperson describes the process of writing her book, 'The Big Payoff', pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sharon Epperson talks about Pamela Thomas-Graham during her tenure as President and CEO of CNBC, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sharon Epperson talks about Pamela Thomas-Graham during her tenure during her tenure as President and CEO of CNBC, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sharon Epperson talks about why she stayed with CNBC

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sharon Epperson reflects on her role at CNBC

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sharon Epperson talks about her professional life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sharon Epperson offers advice to aspiring journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sharon Epperson talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sharon Epperson describes her hopes for her children

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sharon Epperson describes her hopeful outlook on the future

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sharon Epperson describes the current distribution of wealth in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sharon Epperson talks about her generation's legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sharon Epperson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sharon Epperson talks about what she would do differently

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sharon Epperson talks about her history with Jack and Jill of America, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sharon Epperson talks about her history with Jack and Jill of America, pt. 2